In the first post in this series I discussed the identity of the Watchtower as per Revelation 13. The second post dealt with the identity of the Harlot and the Scarlet Beast. This post will deal with the third element "The Image of the Beast", lets read Revelation 13:15-17:
The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
This "second beast" is said to be given power to breath to the image of the first beast. This imagery correlates with Genesis 2:7
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
This "Image of the Beast" is the end of a linear progression starting from the "Dragon on the shores of the sea." We start out with the Dragon, which progresses to the Beast out of the Sea rode by the Harlot. Which then progresses to the Beast out of the Earth and then to the Image of the Beast which all culminates to an act of destruction of a certain unidentified group of people. This group who "refuse to worship the image" are killed only after the breath is given which requires the linear progression of the Dragon, the two terrible Beasts and the Mother of Abominations. We are given the impression that these pieces of imagery work in conjuncture and some predispose the others.
Who are these people that are being targeted? Why are they being forced to worship an image under penalty of death? A clue can be found in Psalms 118:22
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone
the Harlot is refered to as a "great city." Any great city in the times when Revelation was written would have been made mostly of stone. What Psalms 118 is describing is a universal law of God in that when something is wrongly rejected, it is not only accepted by God, but fashioned into the cornerstone.
Jesus' disciples were always wanting to settle the debate as to who was the greatest. The solution to the argument was recorded in Luke 9:
46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”
The Watchtower likes to act like Jesus' disciples were emotionally charged during these arguments. The greek word, however, simply means a "reasoning" or a "calculation." To them it was wholly practical to determine who was best suited for the tasks required for what they were attempting to accomplish. The account says that Jesus "knew their thoughts" which means he understood the arguments from all sides. The word translated "greatest" simply means the biggest. An arm wrestling contest would be the same context. Jesus intervened on that idea by using a small child as an example. He was using the literal size of the child in relation to the adult debaters to make a point. Many people want to argue other ideas, but they are convoluting a simple message. And that's that our world has this false ideal that "biggest is best.". When we throw away something simply because it's small and not great we are throwing out the solution to our problem. This concept is a heavy theme all through the Lord of Rings Trilogy. The Hobbits were the smallest people of middle earth, but yet they were required for the salvation of the entire world. This is an idea derived directly from Christian theology which is derived from Jewish Scripture.
This all gives us insight into the identity of the group of people who who the Image of the Beast targets in Revelation 13. They are the "Hobbits" of the world, the seemingly insignificant who do not care for the world of corrupt men. The world doesn't know the true value of the Shire so they reject it's importance and to their own detriment.
The Watchtower uses the term "no part of the world" like a mantra. They boast that their entire organizational structure somehow exists outside of wordly affairs. This has been proven to not be the case time and time again. They want to say that they are the "faithful and wise servant" whom is appointed over all the belongings of the Master. Yet, that title only goes to people the builders reject. They claim to hold the single position of the "stone that was rejected" but yet THEY ARE the builders who reject what they consider insignificant. What they throw away becomes brilliant and stands against them. The amount of horror that the disfellowshipping arrangement has dished out is unspeakable. For this organization to claim to BE rejected is simply laughable. They have been defended by courts, relgions and public officials from all around the world for the better part of 120 years. Opposite of what they so arrogantly claim they have been pampered by the world not rejected! The rejection has always simply been in their minds and the world has watched in horror.
The EX JW community should relate with the martyrs mentioned in Revelation 13 along with all the other rejects from organized religion. They stand tall and in legitimate opposition to their past tyrants who existed soley off the suffering of their loyal adherents. Be proud to be rejected by such an evil, vindictive cult. It means God is on your side and he's in the process of making you the cornerstone.