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Revelation 13:14

And he deceives
Empowered by the great deceiver (Rev. Rev. 12:9+), he produces the fruit of deception. The power of this deception will be unique in history. Jesus suggested that only those protected by the Holy Spirit would be able to resist his ability to convince. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand” (Mtt. Mat. 24:24-25 cf. Mark Mark 13:22).

those who dwell
Some manuscripts in the MT text line have τοὺς ἐμοὺς τοὺς καταοικοῦντας [tous emous tous kataoikountas] , those [people] of mine who dwell. This variation in the text may hint at the explicit inclusion of John’s people, the Jews, in this deception. We know from elsewhere in Scripture that the Jews will be among those who are deceived (John John 5:43).

make an image to the beast
The Beast has a problem. He claims to be god, but lacks God’s omnipresence. Therefore, an icon (εἰκόνα [eikona] ) of the Beast is to be made. While Scripture does not say, it would appear that one purpose of the icon is to occupy the place of worship in the “holy place” (Mtt. Mat. 24:15) on an ongoing basis as the focal point of worship.1 The image serves as the center of worship allowing the Beast to go about his other affairs of state. This probably occurs after the initial declaration of deity made in the person of the Beast himself (2Th. 2Th. 2:4).

The term abomination refers to an image or an idol. This even is also mentioned in Matthew Mat. 24:15-16: . . . The only clue given is that it will be something standing (like an image or idol) in the Holy Place. . . . the Abomination of Desolation must include something more than merely the Antichrist’s self-proclamation of deity. Furthermore, the Daniel and Matthew passages implied an image or idol that would be erected in the Temple. . . . Thus, the two stages of the Abomination of Desolation, lasting a total of 1,290 days will be the declaration of deity by the Antichrist in the Holy of Holies followed by the setting up of his image in the same place.2

The fact that nothing like what is recorded in our text happened in the first century represents no problem for preterists who find fulfillment in the time of Nero. The details are simply swept aside. Typical of preterism’s refusal to interpret the text at face value is the example found in Gregg:

The making of an image to the beast (v. 14), or an image of the beast (v. 15), the giving breath to the image, and the requirement that all men worship it are difficult features to correlate with any action known to have occurred in Israel in the first century. This need not be taken literally, however, and can simply refer to the Jew’s general homage to Rome’s authority. [emphasis added]3

Here we see a first-rate example of the exegetical gearshift we mentioned related to the Preterist Interpretation of this book. Their technique is to search first century documents for an approximate “fulfillment” of the literal text. When the documents cannot produce even an approximate connection, then the gear shifts to non-literal interpretation in order to move over the “speed bump.” With such a fluid means of interpretation, the authority of Scripture to specify what constitutes fulfillment is subverted.

Worship of the image made to the Beast is a flagrant violation of the second of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them” (Ex. Ex. 20:4).

See #19 - Image of Beast.


Notes

1 We have no information as to the size of the image. Since Paul informs us that the Beast will “sit as God in the temple of God” (2Th. 2Th. 2:4), and Jesus tells us that the abomination stands in the “holy place” (Mtt. Mat. 24:15), it would seem unlikely for the image to be a colossal statue for it would require the removal or modification of the temple in order to stand in the holy place.

2 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 257,259,260.

3 Steve Gregg, Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 300.

Read Revelation 13:14