We are students of prophecy, not prophets. The following presents one interpretation of these scriptures. We are not dogmatic as there are other reasonable views. A different interpretation may be posted in the future.
“Saying to them that dwell on the earth (independent companies of Christians) that they should make an Image to the Beast (Papacy), which had the wound by a sword and did live,” Revelation 13:14.
From the year 1800 to 1846, great numbers of new sects arose. Protestants were fast splitting up into fragments. Established Protestant sects wanted to stop this disposition to individual thought. But this was the very thing God desired, viz.: that each individual should be free and independent to establish his faith in the Word of God. Believers need not honor doctrines from councils, the Pope, nor in the head of the English Church, but only the Word of God.
The Church of England and the Protestant churches saw the power of the Papal argument, that it is the Church, and that all others were heretical. The various denominations, therefore, felt it necessary to establish a common standard of doctrine to define orthodoxy. The authority of this standard would give prestige to their teachings, and bring the combined influence of all, against any further advance in knowledge or truth. Thus they would protect themselves by being able to say – “The combined opinion of all Protestants is against you; therefore you are heretics. We will shun you, and not call you brethren, but use all our influence against you.”
This was done by the formation in 1846, of the “Evangelical Alliance.” It was stated to be one of the objects of the Alliance (and we believe the principal one) to “Promote between the different Evangelical denominations, an effective co-operation in the efforts to repel common enemies and dangers.”
The Evangelical Alliance was following Papacy's tactics, and in that Alliance, they made the – Image of the Beast. Thus, it was a copy, or image, of the Papal institution. It has been merely an Image without life or power, for now, more than 170 years.
Very few denominations have sprung up since that Alliance determined doctrine and what was not Evangelical, regardless of whether it was Scriptural. It has tended to make a separation clear and distinct between clergy and laity.
Today, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) globally unites 600 million evangelicals. It is the largest organization of evangelical Christian churches with 7 regional, 129 churches, and over 150 organizations. The Evangelical Alliance of the United Kingdom, its founding member, is part of WEA.
In the close of this Age, the Image will receive life (Revelation 13:15-18), vitality, energy, power. No longer will it stand as a mere Image. It will become as active as the Beast. Moreover, it will not be antagonistic to the Beast, but sympathetic, and cause all to either worship the Beast or the Image – all must be in harmony either with Catholicism or with the Protestant system, of which now, the World Evangelical Alliance is the primary organization. Today the Image is waiting to receive the vitalizing breath.