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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 13

Section 2 Subsection 30

The Image of the Beast


"And he deceives the dwellers upon the earth through the wonders which it was given to him to have worked in the presence of the beast; saying to the dwellers upon the earth, to have an Image made to the beast that hath the plague of the sword, and lives. 15. And it was given to him to give spirit to the Image of the beast; that the Image of the Beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the Image of the Beast should be put to death."

On account of the difficulties and ill success of commentators in the exposition of the Image of the Beast here spoken of, Vitringa has said, "est in hac parte prophetiae quod interpres cruciat" - it is in this part of the prophecy that the interpreter is tormented. It would be no profit to the reader to specify their failures, for they are legion. The Image of the Beast has not only tormented them, but they have sadly tormented the Image, until it has been reduced to no Image at all. The commentators have commented upon one another, satisfactorily proving each other wrong; but when asked, what is the true solution of the mystery, they give no sign; so that we have to conclude, that what Doddridge confesses of himself is applicable to them all, saying, "what the Image of the Beast is, distinct from the Beast itself, I confess I know not."

But before we approach the Image these words of the text demand attention in passing, "and he deceives the dwellers upon the earth through the wonders which it was given him to work in the presence of the beast, etc." The word rendered "deceives" is plana, which also signifies, to lead astray, cause to wander; metaphorically, to mislead, deceive, cause to err. Understanding from the previous section what the semeia, wonders, or miracles, were by which the wonder-working Beast was enabled to cause fire to descend from the heaven, we may thence determine the nature of the deception practised. The dwellers upon the earth were "deceived" in being led astray by clerical fraud, and episcopal and military violence; which is characterized by Paul as "the working of the Satan with all power and signs, and lying wonders, and with all the deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish" (2 Thess. 2:9). The Beast of the Sea, or Sixth and Seventh Head, Ten Horns, and Mouth; that is, so much of it as is contemporary with Apocalyptic times: the Beast of the Earth, or Little Horn and Eyes of Daniel's vision, and the Image of the Beast - are all symbolical of "the Satan;" and were all manifested after the same kind of "working," which Paul subdivides into all kinds of dunamis, and semeja, and lying terata, which cover the whole ground of military, civil, and ecclesiastical violence, oppression, and fraud.

He deceives through his wonder-working in the presence of the Beast. To what result does he deceive the dwellers upon the earth, or inhabitants of the territory of the Holy Germano-Roman dominion? To the making of an Image of the Beast that had the plague of the sword, and lives. In other words, in the metaphorical deception, or deceiving operation, there is a conflict of powers resulting in the development and compulsory establishment of the Image of the Beast.

But, who is the instrumental deceiver and wonder-worker causing the development and establishment of the Image? The Beast of the Earth. True. But the Beast of the Earth is an aggregate of powers almost coordinate; such as the episcopal or ecclesiastical, and the secular imperial. Which of these orders in the state was the wonder-working deceiver? Exclusively neither. The wonder-working consisted in the bitter and sanguinary conflicts between the Crown and Mitre, the two-horned symbol of the Romish Hierarchy; the result of which was the triumph of the Mitre over the Imperial Crown; by which the Hierarchy became in-dependent of the secular order of the dominion. This Sovereign and Imperial Hierarchy, capitalized by the Dynasty of the Popes, and known commonly as the Papacy, is the Image of the Beast.

This wonder-working of the Lamb-Horned Beast is said to be transacted "in the presence of the beast." This phrase is equivalent to that in the thirteenth verse, "in the presence of the men" - enopion ton an-thropon: "the beast" in the one phrase being symbolical of "the men" in the other. Here is one Beast wonder-working in the presence of another Beast. Did not Daniel's Little Horn work its wonders in the midst of the Ten Horns when, coming up after them and among them, it plucked up three of them by the roots, and incorporated their peoples and annexed their territory to its Own? After the same manner the Hierarchial and Imperial Orders of the Lamb-Horned, or Mitred Beast, waged their intestine conflicts in the presence of the Ten Horns of the Beast of the Sea. In 1866, we had an example in point when Prussia, Austria, and Italy, countries of the Lamb-Horned Beast, were wonder-working in internecine war, in the presence of the rest of the European Powers who stood as spectators of the strife.

The wonder-working deceit was to develop an eikon, an image or likeness. Not an original, but a resemblance to something that had previously existed. As the prophecy is a symbolical revelation of powers to be developed in the Court of the Gentiles during the 1260 years of the subjection, or down-treading of the saints, the image to be developed was the likeness of some previously existing power. It was to be an image the counterpart "to the Beast that hath (ho echei in the present tense) the plague of the sword, and lives." What beast is this? I have shown that the Sixth Head of the Beast of the Sea was that which had been smitten with a deadly plague by the Gothic Sword; I have also shown that when Charlemagne founded the Imperial Lamb-Horned dominion, that the Sixth Form or Head, was healed, or came to life again in the West; and the New Empire became the Eighth Form of Government, or Head, upon the Seven Mountains. This being consummated, it became "the Beast that lives." The Image was to be a likeness of this living Eighth Head; in fact, a coordinate dynasty in the Holy Germano-Roman Habitable; an independent ecclesiastical imperial dynasty - an imperium in impeno, occupying the relative position to the Lamb-Horned Beast, that the Blasphemous Mouth does to Daniel's Little Horn.

The wonder-working deceiving power directed the deceived to have an Image made to the Beast that lives. The English Version of this text is what may be styled a free translation, and reads "And deceiveth them that dwell upon the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell upon the earth that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live." But the rendering I have given at the head of this section, is more literal. The word legon is rendered saying. The power of deception, or ability to deceive, the dwellers upon the earth is acquired, dia ta sumeia ha edothe auto poiesai, through the wonders which it was given him to have worked; hence what he said to the deceived or misdirected being the "saying" of a power, would be equivalent to an authoritative mandate, which it had the ability to enforce. The command of the power in the ascendant was poiesai eikona to theno, to have made an Image to the Beast; or, more conformable to our idiom, to have an Image made to the Beast. The English Version "did live," as the rendering of ezese, implies that the Beast, to whose likeness the Image was to be conformed, did live once; but was not in existence in the epoch of the creation of the image. The original word is indefinite. It leaves the time of the living undefined. The living of the Beast is affirmed in the announcement of its death plague having been healed; and the absence in the premises of any intimation of subsequent death. Hence, the indefinite present and lives, kai ezese is the best rendering of the word in the text  they were directed to make an image to the Lamb-Horned Beast then, at the time of the creation of the Image, in. hale and vigorous existence.

But the Image was not to be a mere form of government; it was to be both living and powerful. To this end, it was given to the thaumaturgic deceiver, douvai pneuma te eikovi tou therion, to give spirit to the Image of the Beast; so that it might perform all the functions of a potent and formidable despotism. This is implied in the words, "that the Image of the Beast might both speak, and cause as many as would not worship the Image of the Beast that they should be put to death." This was a terrible inspiration - a speaking Image murderously hostile towards all men, of all ranks and degrees, who would not bow down obediently to its sovereign behest. Such an imperiality was "a Mouth speaking very great things against the Most High" - (Dan. 7:8,25); a Lion-Mouth, speaking great things and blasphemies against God to blaspheme his Name and his Tabernacle, and the dwellers in the heaven Apoc. 13:2,5,6; or, in the words of the eleventh verse, elale hos drakon, it spake as a Dragon; in other words, as being itself a Dragon, or imperial. This Dragonic Image was the arrogant, blaspheming, and ferocious speaking constituent, or Mouth, of the Lamb-Horn Beast of the Earth; and the great enemy that "made war against the Two Prophets, and the Saints, and overcame them" (ch. 11:7; 13:7,15). Whosoever did not receive and would not submit to its oracular utterances were anathematized by it, and scathed with its fire from the heaven, or were excommunicated and penally destroyed as Heretics beyond the protection of law, the killing of whom was declared to be no murder. This Dragon-speaking Image decreed their extermination, and pronounced curses against all who should protect or harbor them while alive, or when dead give them any other than the burial of a dog. It decreed also the subordination of the secular powers to the spiritual, for the purpose of their extermination; and against them excited crusades, with the usual promise of remission of sins to the wretches who should bear its mark. Thus, pursuing its victims unto blood, which it drank in copious draughts unto lascivious intoxication (Apoc. 17:5,6), it illustrated the oracle in the text, that "as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed."




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