1 – Introduction
2 – Worldwide Worship (Adulation) of the Antichrist
3 – The “Miracles” that Don’t Work and Those that Do Work
4 – How does Singular Change into Plural?
5 – Seemingly Miraculous Nature of the Image
6 – Destructive Power of the Image
7 – A New Initiation Rite
8 – Conclusion
4 – How does Singular Change into Plural?
At this point a little grammar study may help to clarify the plural intent of these words, “they should make an image.” Note the passage starts with a plural subject “they” and ends with the singular word “image” as its object. If we compare this to other Scriptures in the New Testament, where the singular word “image” is used in conjunction with a plural subject, we will find that, in these cases, the intended result is very plural in nature. For example:
Romans 1:21, 23 – “They (plural subject) glorified Him not as God. . . And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image (singular object) made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”
Although it says “an image” (singular), that doesn’t mean mankind has only made one of them. It just means there was only one type of image. In actual practice, mankind has made countless multitudes of images that fall into the category of images resembling corruptible man, four-footed beasts, etc. So we could re-word the passage thus:
“They (plural) glorified Him not as God. . . And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into images (plural) of all kinds of men and animals”.
1 Corinthians 15:49 – “And as we (plural) have borne the image (singular) of the earthy, we (plural) shall also bear the image (singular) of the heavenly.”
Again, the passage isn’t saying that only one person who has the image of the earthy will get to take on the image of the heavenly, but we know millions of people who love God will take, and have taken, on the heavenly image. So here, “image” just means one type of image – either “earthy” or “heavenly”. So, rewording it, we get:
“And we who were images of the earthy shall become images of the heavenly.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 – “But we all (plural) with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image (singular) from glory to glory…”
Again, it’s not just one person who gets to take on the image of the Lord, but millions of people will and already have. So, “image” means one type of image – one that reflects the “glory of the Lord”. So, rewording it, we get:
“All we who behold the glory of the Lord become reflected images of His glory.”
Revelation 13:14 – “They (plural) should make an image (singular) to the beast.”
It should be safe to conclude then that the “image” referred to in Revelation 13:14 simply means one type of image (that of the Antichrist). The image of the Antichrist on one person’s TV “shrine” will be just the same as the image that will appear on somebody else’s. And, of course, there will be plenty more of that one type. So, rewording the passage, we get:
“They should make images to the beast.” (Or, “they should each make an image to the beast.”)
The rule of thumb for interpretation is to take passages of Scripture literally if at all possible. Thus, an exact interpretation would say, “Under the direction of the False Prophet the whole world will be engaged in the operation of making just one image that everybody has to use.” Doesn’t sound very practical though. But as we have just learned, it’s quite “literal” (even more so perhaps) to say the False Prophet will ensure that all “them that dwell on the earth” will make, or have, their own image of the Beast.
After all, that is how idolatrous worship is practiced: one main object of worship (for example, Caesar or the Antichrist); and since it is impractical to demand that citizens (or devotees) all over the world make long pilgrimages to pay homage to the main idol or person, each household then is expected to have its own image of the “divine” being (demagogue).
To conclude: This passage – “saying to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast” – is just the apostle’s way of stating the fact that the image was to be distributed everywhere in the earth. Of course, his make-an-image explanation for how that comes about is wrong. But according to his limited understanding of modern image-making, that was about the only explanation he could give.