Stacks Image 4
"…and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived." Revelation 13:14

To understand this image, it’s good to understand who the two beasts are. You can review that study for better understanding and clarity of this study.

Before we get started, let's remember that Revelation was written to a first-century church (1:4) and they had a blessing to anyone who read, listened, and did what is in the book (1:3). Let's also remember that John would have been, and did, use a lot of text from the Old Testament to describe what he was seeing; and that description will tell us the warning behind the symbols. This means we need to take this into consideration when studying the subject.

While the beast would not have rose out of the dust of the earth yet, and the people of this beast create an image all will worship, the worship of idols was nothing new in the first-century. The key in studying this text is how to get a world to worship one image.

While we go through the text of this image within the context of how it was written, let's remember the notes above.

What is the image that the second empire will cause the people to build? Remember, these are symbols. There's no physical image that can be built in America and be able to bowed to in China. Besides a literal image, the image is also defined as a simile or metaphor, or the general impression that a person, organization, or product presents to the public.

Notice that John was careful to tell us that the second empire will DECEIVE the people of the Earth, through signs and wonders, and that will CAUSE the people to make the image (The KJV says they SHOULD make an image). This is far different than the verb John used for the fire, which has the second empire MAKING fire come from Heaven, which is a forcing. This means the second beast does not FORCE the worship of this idol - it CAUSES through DECEPTION. This would mean that Christians, Buddhist, Muslims, Atheist, Hindu’s, and the likes will all freely worship. This is key to understanding this image.

There are many idols in the contemporary culture. We have movies and actors; sports, sports teams, and players; motorcycles, cars, and racing, pets; among many other things. None of these are really a tangible idol, but they are an idol just the same. If we see someone dress like Elvis, and we do often in Memphis and Vegas, this person is worshiping the image of Elvis; even though they may not have an actual image they are bowing to. Yet, anyone would be hard pressed to get the world to want to worship Elvis, or Jeeps, or dogs and cats. This image has to be something that would be loved by anyone and everyone.

"Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, 'The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.'" 1 Corinthians 10:7

Paul tells us that Israel was worshiping idols by eating, drinking, and getting up to play. We may be getting closer to what this image is. After all, who doesn't like all these things.

Is Paul saying these things are bad? No. God gave us the need to eat and drink. He gave us emotions and desires for enjoyment. How can these be idolatry?

In 1 Corinthians 10:7, above, Paul quoted out of Ezekiel 32:6. God told the people, "…if you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all people…". After this Moses went up on the mountains for God to talk to him and while they were there, the people got bored and tired of waiting and built an idol and they "sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play".

Remember Sodom? What was this city destroyed for? Most will say "homosexuality" or "sexual immorality" but did you know that is not what we are told by Ezekiel?

"Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it." Ezekiel 16:49-50

In the stories and parables of Christ we see warnings about riches, money, hoarding up, etc. but could riches really be the idol? Is it a sin to have money?

No, it's not sin to be rich. But it's sin to live in your affluence and not care for others. Think about the parables of Christ. The parable of
The Rich Fool, The Unjust Steward, The Rich Man and Lazarus, all had implication of wealth and how to handle it. Likewise, Jesus gave a warning that you cannot serve two masters and it's easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than a rich man go to heaven. The two warnings are telling us how deceptive money and riches are in that we can get caught up in the idolatry of it very easily.

With all these warnings of wealth, could there be any other idol that all the world would FREELY worship? The other test that this understanding will pass is that it's a warning to the first-century church and all churches to the end of time. Therefore, it falls into the blessing of anyone who reads, listens, and does what is in this prophecy.

When we understand that riches is the only idol the world will freely worship, and we go back to Revelation, we see the second empire will build an economy that is based on materialism and money, and the whole world will worship it. It will get to the point that if you do not worship this system, you will not be able to afford to have the abundance of technology and you will not be able to eat; thus you will die. Anyone who does not embrace this idol, the system will watch as they die, not trying to help because the people refuse the system.

Can this worship be in existence today - WITHIN THE CHURCH? Remember, this book is a warning to the church. The best way to know if you are in danger of idolizing wealth is to see your actions around it. Will you forsake the laws of God for more money? Will you not use your money for the Kingdom of God? Do you ignore the needy as Sodom did? Do you put your trust in your money and job rather than in God? Yes to these questions provides a warning for ourselves.

NOTE: WE MUST BE HONEST IN OUR EVALUATION. We need not compare ourselves to those around us, that's foolish. Compare yourself to Scripture and the warnings given to us within its pages.

Remember that all prophecy is a warning with consequences based on our decisions from the warning; this is why those who read, listen, and obey the writings of the book are blessed (Revelation 1:3). Revelation is giving us the comparison between the church that is the light of the world, in Revelation 12, and the church that is materialistic in Revelation 17. It’s a warning to those who are a peculiar people of God versus those who look very similar to non-believers in the world. Revelation is not a warning to the non-believer, it’s a warning to a church that is strayed from putting God first and worships the things of this world. This idol of wealth and material things will hit the mainstream church teachings, and those in the church will seek after God only for what God may provide them with the things of this world. They will count their riches as blessings, as warned in the church of Laodicea, and will not help people in need, or at least give the very least of what is needed to make themselves feel better about their abundance.

This really cannot be hard to understand. Look at the technology of today, the materialism, the church, and the way the world desires this life. The further we move into it, the more dependent we are becoming upon it. I drive a truck and we are now having brokers who will not give us a load unless I have a cell phone. We are becoming more and more dependent upon smartphones and computers. Biometric scanning is becoming more prevalent, and even some of the new smartphones cannot be accessed without a fingerprint scan or face scan. If anything were to happen to our technology in this world, we would surely fall. It is not the technology that is the image, its the money and materialism, and soon it will be such that one will not be able to live without being plugged into the system. If I were to stick to only my flip phone, there are many things I would miss out on. That will bring many to the technology, they are missing out. Others will come when they cannot survive without it.

When we understand that money, and the material world, is the ONLY idol that ALL would freely worship, and do worship, it changes everything on the way we are looking at the picture of Revelation; and the beast, the
timing of the end days, and the warnings of Revelation prophecy come to life.