The image of the beast may be an image of the Antichrist/beast himself or it may be a religious image (e.g. a Marian statue?) which he worships or credits for the survival of his apparent assassination attempt (Rev. 13). The Bible's last and final (sealed) prophetic book of Revelation depicts 4 main accursed players leading up to the end time scenario. They can be found in Revelation chapters 13, 17 and 18.
The 4 players are:
- the two personas called the beast and his false prophet
- an all-powerful nation/city which is a globally powerful commercial center depicted by a harlotrous woman
- ten nations who hate the harlotrous nation (depicted as ten horns on the beast's head) and plot to destroy her.
The end time scenario involving these players can be summarized as follows:
The beast/Antichrist arises out of a multicultural ocean-surrounded land. He will have great political authority and global influence, being viewed by the world as "The One". The beast fulfills his Marxist political objectives swiftly and with persuasive words within 42 months or 3.5 years, during which he will miraculously survive an assassination attempt. The beast carries (is either subject to and/or leads) the harlotrous woman. She represents a multicultural land surrounded by oceans, making nations worldwide wealthy by buying and consuming their merchandise. She also spreads her immoralities to the whole world.
After rebounding from his assassination attempt the beast will be spiritually vindicated by a false prophet who performs signs and wonders on the beast's behalf and tells the world to worship him and make an image to him. Since the beast may likely be "The One" who mediates a peace-treaty between Jews and Arabs so as to make it possible for Jews to rebuild their 3rd Temple, he and his false prophet will then demand that the beast's image will be setup in this temple. The beast will further assume global economic control by requiring everyone to receive his mark (microchip?) on their forehead or right arm, and/or the number of his name.
The beast further conspires with ten nations who hate the harlot, to have them burn her with fire in "one hour" - the only way this is possible is by nuclear attack. All the world's nations will behold this attack with great weeping and mourning, because the major consumer of their wealth has been destroyed. The destruction of the harlot is God's judgment.
More details about each of the players:
1) The BEAST (Rev 13 & 17:
- arises out of the sea (a place surrounded by oceans? or represented by people of all nationalities?)
- has the body of a leopard (moves swiftly and powerfully), the feet of a bear (trods the path of "the great bear" Russia's communism/Marxism?), and the mouth of a lion (conquering with persuasive and boastful speech)
- carries the harlotrous woman who sits upon many waters - perhaps he carries her as someone subject/accountable to her or restricted by her. Or perhaps the beast is the one the woman depends upon, carrying and leading her to her destination.
- has the dragon's (satanic) power and authority to influence all peoples and nations globally for 42 months (or 3.5 years)
- suffers a deadly wound to one of his heads (assassination attempt?) which he miraculously survives and recovers from, causing the world to marvel at his invincibility
- is spiritually vindicated to be "The One" by the false prophet who performs satanic miracles on his behalf and then tells the world to worship the beast and make an image to him and worship it.
- has 7 heads - his globally influential seat manifesting in seven consecutive biblically significant kings/empires. The first six were likely Assyria, Egypt, Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome. The seventh is a modern-day continuation of one of the six - likely the "Holy Roman Empire" (?)
- has 10 horns - ten nations co-existing at the time of the beast's rule, will "give their power and authority to the beast" for the single purpose of destroying the harlotrous woman "in one hour...with fire" (nuclear attack?)
- will have economic power and control over the whole world. No one can buy or sell without having the mark of the beast (implanted microchip/Verichip?) on their forehead or right hand, or without the number of his name (symbolized by 666), or without worshiping his image
2) The FALSE PROPHET (Rev. 13):
- is depicted as a beast which arises out of the earth (Europe?), having two horns like a lamb
- calls down even fire from heaven and performs miracles in the presence of the beast
- having caught the world's attention by means of these miracles, then tells everyone to worship the beast who survived an assassination attempt and make an image to him and worship it as well
- commands that an image of the beast be made and set up in the then reconstructed 3rd Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. This is to blaspheme God and desecrate the Jews' holiest place of worship, giving an excuse to persecute Jews who refuse to worship the beast's image.
3) The HARLOT (Rev. 17 & 18)
- sits atop many waters (representing multitudes from all nationalities)
- rides upon and is carried by the beast described in 1) - perhaps he carries her as someone subject/accountable to her or restricted by her. Or perhaps the beast is the one the woman depends upon, carrying and leading her to her destination.
- is clothed in luxurious garments and wears costly jewelry - she is wealthy and lives luxuriously, importing merchandise from all nations. She is proud and believes she is invincible.
- has made nations all over the world wealthier by importing merchandise from them (including slaves)
- has the name "Mystery Babylon" and the title "mother of harlots" written upon her forehead
- she spreads her sins and immorality to the whole world, being the "mother of harlots"
- In order to have become a harlot, she must have once been faithful. Throughout the Bible a harlot is used to represent God's nation turned unfaithful to Him...
- She becomes responsible for shedding the blood of God's people and other innocents (abortions + upcoming persecution?)
- She will be destroyed by fire in "one hour" (nuclear attack?) by 10 nations who conspire with the beast to attack her
- nations will behold her destruction with great weeping and mourning as the major consumer of their merchandise is no more . If one reads carefully concerning the creature described as having seven heads and ten horns, one will find coming up among them a little horn which will rise to preeminence above them all, this will be the beast or man of sin. Understand that the Antichrist is not a personage per se but is indeed a system, an attitude which in the time of Christ was already in the world. Satan has always been anti-Christ and will give his power to the beast. During the time of the man of sin, he will be the unquestioned head(ruler) of a world system totally given over to an antichrist system. Revelation 12:3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. Revelation 13:1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Revelation 17:12 "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. Revelation 17:16 "And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. The Harlot is Jerusalem: Isaiah 1:21 How the faithful city has become a harlot! It was full of justice; Righteousness lodged in it, But now murderers. Therefore: the seven headed, ten horned fiery red dragon referred to in Rev 12:3 is a metaphorical creature, which essentially describes the 'spirit' or 'culture' of the kings (in our modern language, they are merely 'military or political leaders') who would be ultimately responsible for Jerusalem's desolation. An historical study would produce a number of 'leaders' who have at the very least vicarious liability for Jerusalem's condition over history & into the future (I haven't explored that far myself, I'm sure someone is interested enough to do so ).
Revelation describes the image of the beast as something different from the beast itself. It may be an idol representing the beast, since Revelation also refers to the image demanding that it be worshiped, under threat of death. This ties in with the Bible's condemnation of idol worship. Also, Revelation describes at least three beasts, not just one. The first beast is mentioned only briefly, but the second beast is the one described as having multiple heads, horns, and crowns, and was given, by Satan, his "power and his throne and great authority"; this doesn't mean Satan relinquishes his powers to this beast, but rather the beast derives its powers from Satan. The third beast simply has two horns like a lamb, and speaks like a dragon, and is the one who commands that humans create the image of the second beast. The meaning of this hierarchy is still the subject of debate. Some people say the third beast is meant to be the antichrist, or Satan, or both, because his only difference from the appearance of a man, is having two short horns, and also possibly because he speaks, like Satan, like a dragon, but Revelation is clear that he is not Satan, since he is referred to as "another beast". So, these two beasts do Satan's work for him, instead of actually being Satan. Revelation 16:13 implies that the third beast is the "false prophet": "Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon [Satan], out of the mouth of the beast [the one with multiple heads] and out of the mouth of the false prophet [the third beast, presumably with just one head]." Being described as a prophet, albeit a false one, also supposedly lends support to the idea of the third beast as being "THE antichrist", but still the title is not appropriate.
Revelation makes no specific reference to "antichrist". The Bible uses the term "antichrist" only in John, not in Revelation, and doesn't provide a physical description, since "antichrist" was not meant to be a specific person, but instead any person who denied Christ. None of the beasts described in Revelation are supposed to be "the" antichrist, but at most, they express the spirit of being antichrist in general. Revelation describes the third beast, the false prophet, as being able to perform miracles to deceive people, but it doesn't state that the intent of this deception is to pretend to be Christ, or even "the antichrist", but rather as someone who IS anti-Christ. Others argue that this may be splitting hairs, since the implication in Revelation may be that he intends to masquerade, not as Christ, but as being as powerful as Christ, and hence the term "THE antichrist" may be applicable, as in "the most powerful of the anti-Christs".
The second beast of Revelation, with multiple heads, doesn't qualify for being "the antichrist", since it was supposed to be, as Revelation says, a metaphor for a powerful, repressive worldwide system, not a specific individual. Some scholars say it refers to the Roman Empire growing even worse than it was at the time, giving rise to the events described in Revelation not long after the death of Jesus, and the first few sentences of Revelation imply that to be the author's message, since they state the events described are "what must soon take place", and "the time is near". Some current scholars suggest another time frame based on their idea that major aspects of the Roman Empire never really died, which, if the second beast of Revelation refers to the Roman Empire, could still qualify any point in the future as being the time of Revelation.
As mentioned above, one reason some people mistakenly think of the third beast as "the antichrist", rather than a metaphor, is that Revelation doesn't describe him in the same fashion as the second beast (for instance, no multiple heads--just two horns), implying that he may be a kind of man. Revelation further implies this by saying he has "the number of a man". However, this still does not qualify him as being "THE antichrist", but rather "another antichrist", since the authors of the Bible wanted it to be clear that the spirit of antichrist is found in anyone who denies Christ. Others say the third beast is Satan, since, among other things, both "speak with the voice of a dragon", and the classic image of Satan (besides that of a serpent) has him having two horns, but Revelation makes no such comparison, but instead identifies both as being separate, with the third beast taking orders and getting his powers from Satan.
Also, the events described in Revelation, starting with the appearance of the second beast, take place long after many other calamitous worldwide events, which don't fit the description of any events the world has seen so far. So, if the Book of Revelation were true, then the appearance of the beasts would not occur for some time to come, so that anyone becoming a worldwide leader, or tyrant, before the occurrence of the prophesied prior calamitous events, would not represent "the antichrist" anyway.
According to Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry, the events described in Revelation took place about 2000 years ago, around AD 70, and Caesar Nero was The Beast (which some people mistakenly refer to as "the" Antichrist):
In his discussion, he describes how the descriptions of cataclysms in Revelation, are non-literal, symbolic, flowery phrases largely borrowed from the Old Testament, meant to communicate various things in coded terms so the Romans couldn't understand what was being described if they came across the text of Revelation, or overheard a Christian talking about Revelation.
We must not forget who it is that creates the image of the "sea" beast. Revelation 13 says that it is the "earth" beast that forms the image of the "sea" beast. So to find out what the image of the beast is, it would help if we knew what both beasts were.
In Daniel 7 we are told that "beasts" represent KINGDOMS. So this also applies to beasts in Revelation. Therefore these two beasts are two kingdoms. The first beast rises up out of the sea which Revelation 17:15 confirms as "peoples, nations, tongues". So the first beast is a nation that rises from a very populated area. This matches Rome in Europe.
The second beast in contrast rises up out of the earth. This is the opposite to the sea, so this kingdom would have risen out of a wilderness area that was largely unpopulated. This matches America. So if this is right, then it is America that makes the image to the first beast.
Daniel 8 which is the rise of Persia (Iran) Media (occurring as I am typing this - Summer 2015)
This leads to Daniel 11 (the destruction of Persia Media) the rise and fall of the king of the West, his death and the emergence of the 4 kings of Daniel 7 (4 winds blowing).
The kings of Daniel 7 have the same 7 heads as those given in Revelation 13 and 17, this is a one world (Global) political system (most likely a global socialist political system)
According to Daniel 7:
1) Lion - 1 head
2) Bear - 1 head
3) Leopard - 4 heads
4) Dreadful Terrible (1 head)
The first three make up the first 6 heads and Satan as Anti-Christ makes up the last or 7th
Revelation 17 will explain these heads in some detail ... They are political heads of state basically... no great step for a stepper...
According to Revelation 17, the sea is made up of all the peoples of the earth.
An historical account is to observe Persia (Iran) then Alexander the great (King from the West), then the Diadochi (generals of Alexander especially the king of the South Ptolemy and the king of the North Seleucid ), then Rome. You will find details of the king of the South and North given in Daniel 11.
The beast is therefore a political one world order made up of those kingdoms identified in Daniel 7 and proclaimed in Revelation 13 and 17. Its identical to the global political system used in the 1st earth iteration by Satan (Revelation 12).
If you don't understand the iterations of earth .... Read 2nd Peter 3, as you are now in the 2nd iteration.