The Mark and the Image
The first thing to notice about the mark and the image is that they are always mentioned together. This would indicate that while they are two separate things, they are inseparably linked. They work together to cause people to choose whether they will become part of the false prophet’s kingdom or not. Everyone will be forced to decide one way or the other, so it’s best to understand what the mark and the image are ahead of time along with the consequences of accepting or rejecting them.
And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. Revelation 13:16-18
The “he” being referred to here is in the context of the beast that comes up out of the earth, who is the false prophet. He is the only human of the evil trio and it is his mark. This mark is commonly referred to as the mark of the beast, but since there are two beasts being described in Revelation 13, a more accurate term would be the mark of the false prophet. The mark has the following characteristics:
- It is universal.
- It is given on either the right hand or forehead.
- It is required to buy or sell.
- It is the false prophet’s name or number which is 666.
There is endless speculation as to who this person is who will require everyone to receive his mark. He will be identified by his ability to perform amazing signs and wonders that will deceive the world into believing his assertion that he is God. Only those with spiritual discernment will not be taken in by the ruse that the evil trio are going to bring about in the end times.
The mark of the false prophet is specific to him, being either his name or number. It is not technology per se although it may utilize technology in its implementation. It is somehow integrated with a global commerce system since it is universally required to buy or sell. There has been much confusion surrounding the mark but suffice it to say that the mark of the false prophet will be required by someone fitting his description and will have all of the above specifically mentioned characteristics.
And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. Revelation 13:14-15 NASB
In order to understand what the image of the beast is, we first need to understand what it is an image of. Based on the above passage, the image is a likeness of the beast with seven heads and ten horns who is an evil spirit being that comes up out of the abyss. He is the one who goes forth conquering when the first seal is opened and is the beast of the evil trio.
This beast, along with the ten horns (leaders), has spent the past several decades influencing world events and perceptions in such a way that will ultimately lead to the rise of the false prophet. The beast will empower the false prophet to perform signs and wonders in order to deceive the masses into willing subjugation. It is the beast who causes the false prophet to exercise dominion over the world and his image will do so likewise. The image of the beast has the following characteristics:
- The deceived people of the world make it.
- It is an image of the evil spirit beast with seven heads and ten horns.
- The false prophet breathes life into it.
- The image speaks to identify those who won’t worship it, likely through the mark.
- Those who are identified as refusing to worship it are killed.
The image of the beast is a collaborative effort by the deceived people of the world that will reflect the dominion that the false prophet exercises. It will be a code of laws that people are required to follow that will affirm his deity and their submission to him. This code of laws will have in it a provision that those who don't comply with its mandates are to be killed. It is a weaponized code of conduct that becomes a global law.
The means of determining initial and ongoing compliance is accomplished through the use of his mark. I expect that when those who choose to receive his mark do so, they will at that time also collaborate on the code of conduct. After a short grace period, the false prophet gives breath or life to the image by enacting it into law and compliance becomes mandatory. The mark is how the image will then speak and identify those who don't engage in the worship of the image. Those who don't have it will be confronted.
The purpose of the mark and the image is to accomplish an initial segregation of those who worship the true God from those who worship the false prophet. Jesus is returning to destroy Satan’s kingdom and his followers, and the mark and the image will serve the purpose of identifying who is on which side. Because the false prophet requires everyone to receive his mark in order to buy or sell anything, people will be forced into making a decision sooner rather than later. Those who refuse his mark, even though such refusal could mean being killed, are considered to be victorious over the false prophet. Those who are victorious will be resurrected to reign with Christ when He returns (Revelation 20:4-6).
Repenting of the Mark and the Image
Those who succumb to the deception of the false prophet and utilize his mark and worship the image are the ones who are affected by the plagues associated with the seventh seal. The purpose of the plagues is to convince those who were deceived that they made an error in judgment and should repent. Those who do humble themselves and repent of the mark and image and are alive when Jesus returns are those who will inherit the earth. The plagues will perform the final segregation separating those who will repent from the ungodly. There is a pdf in the Booklets section that goes into more detail about repenting of the mark and image.