Revelation Chapter 13 (NIV)

This chapter describes two beasts. One is from the sea. The other is from the earth. The sea beast is "the Antichrist" while the earth beast is the "false prophet". The Satanic Godfather is discussed in the previous chapter. These 3 beings are sometimes called the Unholy Trinity, and this discussion concludes with the number of man, 666.



Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 1 (NIV)

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1And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea.

The Beast out of the Sea

    And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.
This sentence according to the best old manuscripts belongs with the last verse of the previous chapter. The devil is contemplating his next move. While this may be a literal sea creature ugly as it is described, the most likely interpretation is that a demonic leader will come up from the "container of evil spirits", the SEA. The description of SEA in Revelation 17:15 would also indicate that the SEA means someone from among the world's nations.  

Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 2 (NIV)

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    2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.
Many scholars equate this imagery to that shown in Daniel 7:1-8. Here, though, John sees the description of the BEAST's attributes in reverse order. This may indicate that John is looking back into the past from the Tribulation time, while Daniel saw the BEAST into the future.

Likewise, these attributes have been equated to great empires: leopard (Greek), bear (Medo-Persian), and lion (Babylonian). This is not a real satisfying equivalence because the BEAST, in fact, as a whole entity comes up out of the Abyss to try to defeat "the Lamb" one more time (Revelation 17:8,14).

If the SEA BEAST is a counterfeit of Christ, as put forth in the previous verse, then the leopard is spotted or blemished (sin - Jeremiah 13:23) versus Christ the spotless One (1 Peter 1:19); the bear is a lumbering destroyer (mocking God's anointed prophet destroyed 42 lads by two bears - 2 Kings 2:23-25) versus Christ the restorer (Mark 1:21-28); and lion's mouth (roaring to strike fear into people turning them into cowards - Revelation 21:8) versus Christ's words so different, so life giving (John 7:37-52).

If you want to look at directional equivalents:

This SEA BEAST is a super-human being with great demonic POWER like Judas Iscariot (Luke 22:1-6) to betray; a THRONE to govern over a following of peoples or nations (Luke 4:1-6-13); and GREAT AUTHORITY -- not ALL AUTHORITY, that was given to Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).

The SEA BEAST will look to Israel as the long awaited Messiah, and they will follow the BEAST because of these three attributes. Oh, that we may pray for our Jewish brothers that they may see it is a GREAT DECEPTION!

Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 3 (NIV)

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    3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.
It is most important to understand that this is a DECEPTION pulled off by the Dragon (verse 2) to make it look like this Sea Beast is the Messiah. Consider that if the believers have been taken up (pre/mid tribulation), that those persons remaining will want to have (wish for) a second chance. So here is my chance, they rationalize.

There are several candidates for this apparent fatally wounded head: 

The deception worked! Compare this verse to Revelation 5:6. This is the best the Dragon can do.

Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 4 (NIV)

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4 Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?"

 This is a continuation of the previous verse.

The devil thinks he finally has succeeded! The people are worshiping him. But verse 15 indicates not all do. However, most people who are left do (believers are gone if you believe in pre or mid tribulation rapture (Revelation 4:1); the two witnesses are gone (Revelation 11:12); and the 144,000 witnesses apparently are gone too (Revelation 14:3)). So there are very few whose names are written in the book of LIFE who are left. For what purpose, one can only ponder. How or why people gravitate to authority and power is an interesting psychological study by itself. This is the sea beast who got his power, throne, and great authority from the devil (verse 2). Why is it that the world thinks that conquering by force means victory? Could it be that when the devil only has the earth as his domain, then he will "defend" it by force?

Apparently, he has discovered (or bought) the ultimate weapon (probably the atomic bomb or some other doomsday weapon) so powerful that no one wants to wage war with him. Interestingly, a similar expression is used about God (Exodus 15:8-11-18 and Micah 7:14-18-20).

Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 5 (NIV)

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    5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.

 This verse begins the fourfold purpose of the "sea" beast. It is to 

  1. Defy the God of heaven (verse 5).
  2. Destroy the saints of God (verse 7).
  3. Dominate the nations of the earth (verse 7).
  4. Delude the masses of mankind (verse 8).
It is not enough that the "sea beast" (Antichrist) exists, but now it is given a mouth. Remember that the devil has been kicked out of heaven (Revelation 12:9), and therefore has no more access to God. So the most that he can do is SPEAK OUT on earth. He will be a slick orator, and people will hang on every arrogant and blasphemous word.

Check out the influence that his word will have (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).

God permits this kind of talk to go on for 42 months (Revelation 11:2). The time period is the same as 3 1/2 years (Revelation 12:14) or 1260 days (Revelation 12:6).

Watchman Nee points out in his book "Come, Lord Jesus" that 42 is 7 times 6. Seven is the perfect number (creation completed, etc.), while six is the Satanic one (verse 18). Hence 42 as a conflict between these two numbers results in wandering (during the Exodus, Israel passed 42 stations as written in Numbers) and judgment (42 lads killed (2 Kings 2:23-25)). This 42 month period during the tribulation is no different.....people deceived (wandering, verse 14), and if not deceived, killed (judgment, verse 15).

Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 6 (NIV)

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    6 He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.
This mouth is the one given to him in the previous verse This was the same accusation which led to Christ's crucifixion (Matthew 9:3, Mark 14:53-65).

Jesus indicated that even blasphemy can be forgiven except for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-30). Since the Holy Spirit is part of the triune God, to BLASPHEME GOD seals the "sea beast's" doom.

  1. HIS NAME and

  2. His NAME encompasses all that is Christ from his humanness to the fulness of Deity (Colossians 2:8-15).
  3. HIS DWELLING PLACE and those who live in heaven.

  4. HIS DWELLING PLACE is the believer's place of worship. It is appropriate to identify "HIS DWELLING PLACE" with those who live in heaven (1 Corinthians 3:16), because believers have been removed from the earth in the GREAT UPTAKING.

Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 7 (NIV)

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7He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.
This is the second reason (see verse 5) for the existence of the "Sea Beast".

The SAINTS referred to in this verse are those people after the rapture event who realize who Christ is and the price Christ paid for their sins. These SAINTS make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. Perhaps they heard the two witnesses (Revelation 11) or someone from the 144,000 sealed Jews talked to them (Revelation 7) or they dug out and read their Bible or they may have pulled up this web site. Some way or other, they make a commitment to Jesus Christ.

While the "Sea Beast" is GIVEN the great power to make war (not necessarily military but perhaps economic, health, or legally with euthanasia laws (Daniel 7:25)) to overcome the SAINTS (Job 1:6-12) and kill them, the SAINTS do "win" in the end as Revelation 7:9,14 points out.

This is the third reason (see verse 5) for the existence of the "Sea Beast".

The devil tried to get AUTHORITY over all the nations before in Luke 4:5-8. He didn't succeed then, but this time he accomplishes it because he is permitted to have this authority (for a short time).

This will be the last attempt to establish a devil-controlled world empire. The first attempt by Nimrod (Genesis 10:6-14; Genesis 11:1-9) resulted in the "languages" referred to in this verse. But, as this verse points out, even the diversity of spoken languages will be overcome by the "Sea Beast".

Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 8 (NIV)

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8All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast -- all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.
This is the fourth purpose (verse 5) for the AntiChrist. The delusion is complete (or is it?). The "sea beast" is a creature and so convincing that what Paul writes about in Romans 1:24-25 takes place. He becomes the object of worship (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12) above all other gods. But not all were deluded, but only This verse really is about CHOICES. God's perfect plan included the Savior and believer's redemption even before the world was created (1 Peter 1:13-21).

Thus everyone has been "saved" or "written" in the Lamb's Book of Life because Christ died for all. Then by a person's own CHOICE, their own name is removed from the Book (Revelation 3:5).

This is not a new concept: Moses understood it (Exodus 32:30-32-35) and Daniel understood it (Daniel 12:1-3). The question becomes What is your CHOICE? Don't wait until the tribulation to choose NOT to worship the AntiChrist! 


Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 9 (NIV)

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9 He who has an ear, let him hear. 
In nature, only living things have ears. Humans have ears to use as one of their senses. It is not the most powerful of senses. In fact, the eyes overpower the ears most of the time. When a person must concentrate on what he is hearing, he usually shuts the eyes to force listening.

An interesting sidelight in the description of the current Jesus, Revelation 1:12-16, the facial features are given spiritual equivalents. But the ears are not discussed, perhaps because they are covered by white hair. Consider that Christ doesn't need the ears, as such, because He goes right to the thoughts, which do not make any sounds (Luke 11:14-17-26).

Hear now because the consequences in the next verse are coming soon. This is the last time we read this expression in the Bible. Previously, Jesus used it to say "PAY ATTENTION" to prophesy (Matthew 11:15 and Matthew 13:16) and about the sowing of seed, the Word of God - Jesus, Himself (Luke 8:8). How appropriate for John to use this expression after discussing the fake Jesus, the Sea Beast! 

Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 10 (NIV)

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10If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.
How interesting that in between two of the most evil beasts this earth will ever see, we get a recap of an everlasting "God TRUTH". This principle is first stated in Genesis 9:6, and was used later by the prophets (Jeremiah 43:8-13; Jeremiah 15:1-4; and Zechariah 11:4-14). Here John points out that the very few believers who make a commitment to Christ during this middle of Tribulation time, will be held captive or killed. These believers already sense that they will be asked to take the mark of the beast (verse 17). At this very point before the "earth beast" appears, the saints must take a passive stand. E.W. Bullinger indicates that there are "three great requisites for those 'times of trouble'". 
At this point in the tribulation, "flight" is not an option; only PATIENT ENDURANCE and FAITHFULNESS remain. But we only need to look at our Example (Hebrews 12:1-2) and the reward (Hebrews 10:32-39). 


Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 11 (NIV)

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11    Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. 
John is saying he has seen something like this before (verse 1) and it isn't any better the second time. This is the last of the satanic trilogy: Satan (devil himself), the sea beast (antichrist), and the earth beast (anti-Holy Spirit).

John the Baptist in discussing Christ makes an interesting statement about what "comes from the earth" (John 3:25-36).

What an odd description because lambs don't have horns. Thus, this must be a representation of something like power and authority. Perhaps one horn is political and the other is religious.

Note the "other Lamb" in Revelation 5:6 has seven horns (complete authority over seven realms not fully known to mankind?).

Lambs were considered unblemished and spotless as fit for sacrifice (1 Peter 1:13-21). However, this one as a lamb ....

Now the dragon, too, is fictitious. So what we have here is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Matthew 7:15-20 is how Jesus described him. Paul says "God will send" this beast to deceive "even the elect" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-11-12). These "elect" must refer to the sealed 144,000 Jewish men (next chapter) because the rest of the elect are gone in the "uptaking" by this time. The remaining people on this earth will buy in to the anti-Holy Ghost completely! 


Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 12 (NIV)

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12He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.

What we see here is the apparent swapping of roles. Remember the "spirit" nature of the sea beast (verse 1)?  Here the earth beast receives all the spiritual qualities of the first beast.

Furthermore, things of this earth are usually tied to money. Watchman Nee points out that "the son of perdition" is used twice in the New Testament. In John 17:12, "the son of perdition" refers to Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples and also the money manager for the group. The second reference in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 points at the antichrist. Thus an argument can be made that the economic and religious systems of the world will combine to totally overwhelm all peoples of the earth except for those whose names are in 'the book' (verse 8).

Note also that this pair may be the devil's way to counterfeit the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3).

The lure of wealth will cause many people to lose their faith (1 Timothy 6:10). Or rather, the fear of losing their earthly means of accumulating wealth may cause people to take the mark (verse 16). Either the lure or fear will cause the WORSHIPPING of the beasts to occur.

Much has been written about the "fatal wound". It is not clear when or how....perhaps it occurred in the war in the heavenlies (Revelation 12:7-9).  If this is true, we, humans, probably wouldn't recognize the "fatal wound" because it is spiritual in nature (Revelation 21:8).

Incidentally, a religious and economic consortium knows no geopolitical boundaries. The WORSHIP is not unlike that demanded by Herod in Acts 12:21-23 until the Lord steps in.


Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 13 (NIV)

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13And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.  

These are no mere tricks; these are supernatural such that humans, individually or collectively, would have a difficult time devising them. Their purpose is to LEAD ASTRAY even the elect (next verse, Matthew 24:24).

Interestingly, when it was demanded of Jesus to show a SIGN (Matthew 12:38-45), he didn't do it but rather pointed the requester to Jonah and the Old Testament prophets. When a person is living an "unbelieving" life, they will constantly ask for SIGNS. That is what keeps fortunetellers and the like busy. The true believer, on the other hand, is trying to please God through FAITH (Hebrews 11:6).

Now this FIRE must be permitted by God. It is not unlike that described in Job 1:16 at least as it was perceived to be. That the earth beast can do this shows the kind of AUTHORITY he has received (previous verse).

This kind of FIRE is well understood by Jewish people. They have heard how Elijah called it down (1 Kings 18:30-40, 2 Kings 1:9-16). They have had, most recently, two witnesses who breathed fire out of their mouths in self defense (Revelation 11:5). So fire has been used as a SIGN and defense before.

But the ultimate use of FIRE is in judgment, and, in particular, judgment associated with authority. The disciples, James and John, after receiving their "authority", wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan village (Luke 9:51-56). Incidentally, the village didn't get burned.

The final judgment for the sea beast and the earth beast (false prophet), as you recall, will be FIRE, Revelation 20:9-10.



Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 14 (NIV)

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14Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
Note the parallel 'in full view of' in the previous verse. This implies that the earth beast couldn't do these SIGNS without the presence of the sea beast. In contrast, Christ didn't need anyone else's presence to do the miracles he did because He always did what was pleasing to the Father (John 8:29). While it was not necessary for the Holy Spirit to be there, I would imagine that He was there as the 'fulness of Deity' dwelt in Him (Colossians 2:9).

If the people in Christ's day didn't accept Him after he performed various miracles, then it follows the earth beast must perform as great or greater SIGNS to deceive the earth-dwellers. As believers, how do we tell the SIGNS apart? 1 John 4:1-6 tells us how.

E. W. Bullinger in "Commentary on Revelation" writes, "Christ's miracles, as miracles, were no evidence of His Divine mission. The real evidence was that the miracles which He wrought were the very miracles which the Prophetic Word had declared He should work, and which were on that account the sign and seal of His ministry, and formed His credentials from on high. This is clear from Matthew 11:1-6."  One wonders what 'prophetic word' will the earth beast use? But, on the other hand, if this is a deception, and it is, then the earth beast won't need any 'prophetic word'. He only needs the beast standing by.

It isn't clear if this image is a likeness of the beast or, more likely, one like Nebuchadnezzar put up in Daniel 3. The critical point is that 'earth-dwellers' have this need to belong and to pay homage to 'a hero'.  This image will do the trick, literally. However, after God's commandment in Exodus 20:3-5, you know this is going to bring judgment. In fact this is the 'abomination that causes desolation' Jesus referred to in Matthew 24:15-28.

Now those who refuse to participate in the image worship will be killed by this very image (next verse). Contrast this with Christ's purpose to come to this earth as He explains in John 3:16-21.

How this will happen is not known at this time. That technology is doing amazing things with genetics is brought to us on television and the Internet everyday. This will be very believable to the 'earth-dwellers'. Be aware that the beast has to remove any doubts of his coming to life from earth-dweller's minds or he won't convince any. However even among Jesus' followers, Thomas has to be shown the nail prints in Jesus' hands before he would believe (John 20:19-25).

A final thought -- the expression 'inhabitants of the earth' is used in this verse. The image of the beast will be restricted to this earth. It will not go into heaven or any other part of the universe. Only the Creator controls all; the devil and his beasts are earthbound as the devil himself explains in Luke 4:1-13.


Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 15 (NIV)

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15He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.  

Who this refers to, sea beast or Satan himself, is not clear. Whomever did have the power to do this; thus, most likely this was Satan himself.

Now this is not an idol in the scriptural sense because Psalms 135:15-18 and Jeremiah 10:1-5 indicate that idols cannot speak. So this is a supernatural image. Some Bible scholars believe this is symbolic of a political entity 'reborn'. Others believe this is another human being especially 'gifted' by Satan not unlike how Judas Iscariot was 'gifted' to betray Christ (John 13:27).

Others say it could be advanced technology in its finest hour.  Even as I put this onto the web site, the multimedia capabilities of this personal computer along with all the other similar personal computers interlinked by Internet could see and hear this image. Yet even this is not sufficient because much of the world doesn't have these personal computers, and they, too, will understand that BREATH was given to an image.

Now the image apparently doesn't do the killing but convinces everyone whose name is not written in the Book of Life (verse 8) to kill on its behalf.

How will they know who is to be killed? See verses 16 and 17. If you haven't accepted Christ as your personal Savior and end up in the tribulation period and still wish to have your name written in the Book of Life, you will give your own life to attain heaven. Wouldn't it be better to accept Christ today (and keep your name in the Book)?

This is the first of seven times that the IMAGE is referred to (Revelation 13:15; Revelation 14:9,11; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 16:2; Revelation 19:20; and Revelation 20:4). The IMAGE always is tied to the earth beast and has a predetermined destination.


Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 16 (NIV)

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16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,

There is no exclusion, and once the MARK is taken, that person's eternal destiny is determined (Revelation 14:9-11).

According to Hebrews 8:11, ALL shall know Me (Jesus), from the least to the greatest of them.  This is Satan's counterfeit of that passage of Scripture.

This is both materially and spiritually (Luke 16:19-31).

This is unknown in Christ's world (Galatians 3:28), so this must be a worldly distinction.

Much has been written about this MARK. There is speculation from ultraviolet tatoos to implantable ID chips to universal credit card, but that doesn't explain primitive peoples in the ALL part of this verse. Thus one should consider this as a symbolic commitment to worshiip the IMAGE (like a gang symbol) or a food voucher program (see next verse).

Moses indicated that it was a reminder of belonging to a special group, those who exited from Egypt, and was to be taught continually (Exodus 13:3-16).

Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 17 (NIV)

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17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

The MARK will be necessary to do trade. Consider that at this time, the world may have very little food. Previously there was drought (Revelation 11:3,6), famine (Revelation 6:5-6), and total disruption of food production (Revelation 6:12). NO SUN, NO FOOD!

So it is likely that the official economies of the world have broken down (see lament in Revelation 18:11), and the only thing left is the "underground market" controlled by the "earth beast". How appropriate that he should come "out of the earth" (verse 11).

Probably the "godfathers" of the Black Market are privileged to carry the "name" of the BEAST.

The rest of the population will just get THE NUMBER of his NAME.

Don't think it is unusal that the population will so readily accept the MARK. When one is hungry, you will do almost anything. Taking the MARK is a matter of survival.

Remember what was said of the tribulation saints, "They shall HUNGER no more," (Revelation 7:16).

Revelation Chapter 13, Verse 18 (NIV)

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18 This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.

This is WISDOM for the reader, and its source is clear (Proverbs 2:1-6).  It is not from the beast or the devil.

This expression is used after Daniel's writings (Daniel 12:10) and again by John in discussing the beast's seven heads and the great harlot (Revelation 17:9). Ironically, the WISDOM in this verse has caused more discussion and speculation than perhaps any other verse in the Revelation. Sad to say, the world (and probably most believers) know very little about the Revelation but almost all have heard about 666.

This is not a parable but more like a puzzle. It will be revealed when necessary just like Jesus explained why he spoke in parables (Matthew 13:11).

This discussion will not go into the many attempts to 'calculate' the NUMBER, or do a gematria to determine whether a leader (past or alive) equates to 666. It is possible that the 666 may not be a calculation but a physical symbol like 3 coiled up spirals used in security tags in stores and libraries. The calculation becomes the unique resonant frequency of the security tag.

The number six, itself, is interesting in that man was created on the 6th day (Genesis 1:24-31); the archenemy of Israel, Goliath, was 6 cubits and a span, and had a spear head weighing 600 shekels, and wore 6 pieces of armour (1 Samuel 17:4); and lastly, the foulness of the devil is demonstrated in the 6th bowl (Revelation 16:12-16).  Perhaps this is what Daniel saw in Daniel 11:21-28 as directly impacting the world leaders.

Finally, if the 666 were some sort of ID chip to be inserted under the skin, Old Testament law forbids the Jewish people from cutting the skin 'for the sake of evil' or to have markings (tattoos). Yet those whose names are not written in the Book (verse 8), will accept the 666 NUMBER.  

Leviticus 19:28 Lifestyle
Leviticus 21:5 Priest's standards
Deuteronomy 14:1-2 Not for sake of dead (idols, images?)