I've been thinking lately about what the image of the beast might be. I think its an important subject because believers are going to give up their lives rather than worship it. I'm using the premise that the beast that comes out of the sea in Revelation 13 is a fallen angel who oversees the final world power based on Daniel 10 and the fact that he comes up out of the abyss. Its an important characterization to make since the image is a likeness of this beast.
The verses that describe the image of the beast:
And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. And he performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. Revelation 13:11-15
From this passage we know the following characteristics of the image of the beast:
- The image is of the beast that was wounded and came back to life. This is the beast with seven heads and ten horns.
- The beast with two horns initiates it.
- Those that dwell on the earth make it.
- Breath is given to the image by the beast with two horns.
- The image speaks and causes those who do not worship it to die.
Working with the premise that the seven-headed, ten-horned beast is an evil angel and is causing this final kingdom to exercise dominion, an image or likeness of this beast would reflect that dominion. There is only one image and the people of the earth make it. Because of that description, I don't see it as being a statue or anything physical. The only thing that I've been able to come up with that fits is that the image is a code of laws that the people collaborate on that expresses the authority of the false prophet (antichrist) and allegiance to him. He gives breath to this image by enacting it as law. Part of this law will likely have the ultimatum of "worship or die" in it. People demonstrate their worship, that they've bought into his claim as god, by receiving the mark. With the mark presumably being detectable electronically, the image can "speak" through technology identifying who has the mark and who doesn't, kind of the ultimate worldwide surveillance.
I'm interested in other viewpoints on this topic. I consider it to be one of the most important concepts to contemplate. In offering another perspective, please address all five characteristics of the image listed above.