This part of Revelation 13 contains one of the clearest allusions to the Old Testament in the entire book of Revelation. There are multiple parallels in the latter part of this chapter to the story of the three Hebrew worthies and Nebuchadnezzar’s worship test on the plain of Dura. First of all, in both Revelation 13 and Daniel 3, people from all over the world are compelled to worship. In Daniel, the worship demonstration is required of representatives from all the provinces. The demonstration in Revelation 13 seems to be truly worldwide. The entire world is required to worship.
Second, in both chapters there is a death decree attached to the command to worship. In Daniel 3, those who refuse to worship the image are cast into a fiery furnace. Revelation 13 simply says that the non-compliant will be killed, there is no mention of the specific method. Third, in both chapters the center of focus for the worship is an image. The image of Daniel 3 is probably modeled on the image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2. The image of Revelation 13 is modeled on the sea beast that was introduced earlier in the chapter.
Finally, both the worship demand on the plain of Dura and the end-time worship decree are associated with the number six. The number of the beast in Revelation 13:18 is six hundred sixty six. This seems an intentional allusion to the dimensions of the image in Daniel 3. That image is 60 cubits tall and six cubits wide. Since there is no reference to depth, it is possible that the image was a wall relief rather than a free-standing statue. The important element that connects this aspect of each passage is the multiple use of the number six.
The allusion to Daniel 3 in Revelation 13 indicates that, in the final crisis of earth’s history, the scenario of the plain of Dura will be repeated, but in a spiritual and worldwide sense. The literal and local description of a specific event in the history of ancient Babylon becomes the model of a spiritual and worldwide attempt to compel worship at the end of earth’s history. The Babylon of the End is a spiritual, worldwide entity in opposition to the gospel and those who proclaim it. The experience of Daniel 3 will be re-visited upon earth’s final generation, but not in the literal way that it occurred in the original context. There will be a worldwide attempt to compel worship in the final crisis of earth’s history.