Revelation 13:12 (NASB) He [the second beast] exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.

I suggest that the 1st beast of Revelation 13 is the supreme being of a false religion– a false religion because the 1st beast blasphemes God and Christianity (Revelation 13:6); and a supreme “deity” because the word “worship” is used throughout Revelation to describe his devotees’ response to him and his “image” (Revelation 13:4, Revelation 13:8, Revelation 13:12, Revelation 13:15). The word “worship” translates from the Greek word, προσκυνέω (“proskuneo”), meaning, “… in the NT of worship or veneration of a divine or supposedly divine object, expressed concretely with falling face down in front of someone; worship, venerate, do obeisance to, used to refer to the worship of a deity in Scripture.”1 Worship is also used one time in relation to the lord of the beast, i. e., satan, who is also worshiped (Revelation 13:4) but satan’s worship is through his beast because satan has given his throne to the beast (Revelation 13:2). Hence, the beast has the power of satan as satan’s delegee which is precisely what satan offered Jesus in Matthew 4:9 but Jesus refused in Matthew 4:10. Wherever the beast is mentioned in Revelation, the word “worship” appears proximate to him (and/or his image): Revelation 14:9,  Revelation 14:11, Revelation 16:2Revelation 19:20. The first beast is a demonic entity that masquerades as a supposed divine being.

If you have read my book, you know that my view is that the 1st beast of Revelation 13 refers to Allah, the divine object of worship in Islam (See Islam the Cloak of Antichrist). Since writing it, I have become ever more certain that the “image” of Revelation 13:14 is not a literal image or an idol, but rather, a word-picture for Muhammad– not as a human being in the 7th century A.D., but the “living” connotation of Muhammad’s Qur’anic message that all Muslims emulate. Muhammad “breathes” through the actions of Muslims who emulate his message (from the Qur’an and Hadith) including the massacres we have witnessed at the hands of Islamist groups such as ISIS. The importance of  Muhammad to the daily lives of Muslims cannot be overestimated. In fact, so important is Muhammad to Islam that the “Shahada,” the creedal statement one makes to convert to Islam, includes a testament, not only to Allah, but also to Muhammad: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” One Muslim source explains the Shahada as follows:

It may also be called al-Shahadatayn (the two witnessings), because it consists of two separate acts of bearing witness. The first witnessing, “There is no god but Allah,” affirms the acceptance of the divine reality by the human intellect. …  The second witnessing, “Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,” affirms one’s submission to God, which is the meaning of the word islam itself. Here, the human being responds to the divine will by acknowledging the Prophet Muhammad as both the vehicle of the Quranic revelation and the paradigmatic muslim or “submitter” to God. By stressing the sources of both the theoretical and the practical knowledge of religion (i.e., Allah and the Prophet), the “two witnessings” of the Shahadah thus reaffirm the complementarity of faith and practice in Islam.2

The Scripture states that the second beast exercises all the “authority of the first beast,” Allah, but only in his presence, meaning Allah’s words have been “breathed” into the minds of his devotees through their submission to the message of Allah as communicated by the messenger:

Revelation 13:15, “And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.”

Muhammad, the man, is not the first beast nor the second beast. Allah’s message as revealed to Muhammad and communicated to his followers “breathes” when Muslims emulate Muhammad’s actions to kill to the glory of Allah the Greater.The Greek word translated “image” in Revelation 13:14 is εἰκών (“eikon”). Gingrich’s Greek lexicon translates the word, “image, likeness. Mk 12:16; 1 Cor 11:7; 15:49; Rev 13:14f. … Rom 1:23, 8:29; Col 3:10; Heb 10:1.” New Testament passages use the word to describe a stone idol or inscription designed as a visible “likeness” of a person (Mark 12:16). In addition, however, other passages translate the word, not as a visible likeness, but as a lifestyle to emulate based on the teachings, behaviors of another person, e.g., Christians who are called to emulate Jesus Christ. Colossians 3:10. If we use this latter definition of eikon in  our interpretation of Revelation 13:14-15, we come to a quite different view than that of a stone object that miraculously comes to life and speaks.

We read on a recurring basis of the atrocities of the Islamic State, including genital mutilation of women and the crucifixion of Arabs of Iraq who refused to convert and submit to the caliphate of Islam. A video was released by Palestinian Media Watch of a Palestinian of HAMAS using a favorite quote of Islamists: “We love death more than you love life.” Osama bin Laden was another who used this phrase and many more like it. Bin Laden was frequent to quote from the Qur’an as the justification for violence in the name of Allah. One such statement is as follows:

May the words of God Almighty stay in your mind: “A prophet should not take prisoners until he has ensured his dominance in the land” (Qur’an 8:67). And “When you meet the disbelievers in battle, strike them in the necks” (Qur’an 47:4). Your reprimand to the Crusaders should be just as the poet said: “All there is between you and me is the piercing of kidneys and smiting of necks.”3

In writing my book, I came across many such statements including this one made by an Islamic cleric:

Special Dispatch No. 2845 … Egyptian Cleric Wagdi Ghneim on HAMAS’ Al-Aqsa TV: “We are a nation that excels in the production of the art of death … I will die anyway, so I should be creative to make sure my death is for the sake of Allah.” Later, he said: “Brothers, we pray to Allah that we be terrorists, if terror means Jihad for the sake of Allah.”4

How can one understand evil committed in the name of a god to be a just and righteous act? Because Allah’s message declares it to be so and his messenger, Muhammad, transmitted the message. Actually, it is not the actions of Radical Islamists such as ISIS that are the issue but the Qur’an that reveals it and the Hadith that explains it. When Islamists carry out the message, it is no different to them than a soldier obeying the orders of his commanding officer. This is precisely the meaning of Revelation 13:15. It is being fulfilled in the modern-day in the same way it has since Islam came into existence in 610 A.D. Perhaps the same statement that Jesus gave to Judas might well serve Muhammad:

Matthew 26:24 (NASB) “The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

Jesus come quickly.