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The number of the beast (666) is revealed – the mark of the beast is forced on all people who do not follow God (Revelation 13:1 - 13:18)

In John’s vision, the dragon was enraged at the woman who gave birth to the male child and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring. The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. From the sea rose a great beast with ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns. On each head was written a blasphemous name. The beast 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, his throne, and great authority.

One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound but the fatal head wound had healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. People worshipped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast. They asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”

The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, to slander his name, his dwelling place, and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s people – and to conquer them. It was given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. All inhabitants of earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world.

Whoever has ears, let him hear: “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patience, endurance, and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.

Then I saw a second beast coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.

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And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. Because of the signs it was given to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword yet lived. The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast so the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.

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 so 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 calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

What the story means to us today

Two beasts, controlled by the dragon, are released on the world

Potential represenation of the beastJohn introduces the dragon’s final attempt to wage war against the offspring of the woman (i.e. God’s people). Through deception (a common trait of the beast) people are induced to worship the first beast (the beast from the sea) and God’s people suffer a temporary defeat. But their defeat is a mere setback. Unable to defeat God’s people, a second more Christ-like beast is introduced to the world.

The deception of the second beast is more subtle – and more dangerous for God’s people – as they marvel while the second beast (the beast from the earth) performs miraculous, god-like feats. Who but a god could perform such miracles they ask? But Christians are given a clear sign to help see past the remarkable feats the second beast brandishes before the people – a mark is introduced to citizens. And without the mark of the beast (666), people will be unable to buy or sell goods. The pressure to comply will be great – and refusal to comply could be deadly.

The most important chapter in Revelation

I consider this the most important chapter in Revelation, especially verses 9 and 10. Verse 9 begins, “Whoever has ears, let him hear.” This means what follows applies to everyone and emphasizes the importance of the next instruction, a morbid and dreary proclamation. Verse 10 reveals:

“If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with he sword they will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.”

In other words, Christians will be held captive and will die.

The only recourse during the horrific times will be to patiently endure the trauma while remaining faithful to God. This is not an easy statement to hear for modern people who are accustomed to relatively simple, pain-free lives. However, there may be some consolation – various interpretations tell of the event called the Rapture. Depending on the interpretation, the Rapture could occur before, during, or after the Great Tribulation. In other words, some interpretations believe the Rapture will spare Christians from the agony that is to come. Regardless, the importance of verses 9 and 10 must be understood.

Times will be bad, bad things will happen, horrible things will happen – and they will test the faith and resolve of Christians. Those living during these times must maintain iron-will strength and remain faithful to their belief system no matter how horrible the suffering. If you find this difficult to accept, consider that at the time, the signs presented in Revelation will be apparent to those who study and understand the Word of God. The visions presented in Revelation will make clear that all truths have already been revealed by God – including the ultimate outcome for those who endure and remain faithful.

The remainder of Revelation will explain what awaits those who retain their faith throughout this period of immense suffering. This becomes especially important considering how humans perceive – or fear – death. It is much easier for elders to face death than youth who have more time left to “live”. It’s easy to surmise that the world’s youth will have a particularly difficult time fighting off their fear of death, which the referenced verses clearly point out is required to maintain faith in God. Thus, it is critical that our youth have a deep understanding of Christian religious doctrine and prophecy as presented in the book of Revelation.

In Philippians 1:27, Paul offers encouraging words:

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed but that you will be saved.”

Additional thoughts and considerations

What we know about the first beast in Revelation (the Antichrist)

Potential represenation of the beastOften referred to as the Antichrist, the first beast bears a similar (more consolidated) description to the four beasts described in Daniel 7:1. The Bible tells us that the Antichrist rose from the sea and had what appeared to be a healed head wound. This beast is described with animal features (leopard, bear, lion) and was given power by the dragon (Satan). He blasphemes God and his people for forth-two months and battles against them (and in some manner, temporarily conquers them). The Antichrist is given authority over the entire world.

From other verses in Revelation, we know that the Antichrist attacks and kills the Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:7), forms a coalition with the leaders of the world (Revelation 19:19), and is ultimately conquered (Revelation 15:2).

What we know about the second beast in Revelation (the False Prophet)

Although popularly presented as a single companion to the Antichrist, it is uncertain whether the second beast represents a person, a group (e.g. country or religious sect), or a symbolism of the persistent threat to Christians throughout time. However, most believe the verses seem to indicate the beast is a singular human being.

Called the False Prophet in Revelation 16:13, the second beast acts as a promoter for the first beast – a sort of right-hand man that will exuberantly sing praises for the Antichrist. The verses offer many clues and tell us that the second beast will rise from the earth, exercise authority on behalf of the first beast, has horns like a lamb, can perform great signs and miracles, will deceive many people, and will set up an image of the first beast and force people to worship it. Famously, the second beast forces those who follow Antichrist to take a “mark” that is his name (or number representing his name).

From other verses in Revelation, we know that ultimately, the second beast is also conquered (Revelation 15:2).

The fatal head wound

Revelation 13:3 tells us “one of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed.” It is one of the most intriguing visuals regarding the first beast – the beast has a severe scar indicative of a critical wound on his head. Given that John calls the wound “fatal”, we can presume the recovery from the wound seemed miraculous to the people.

Not being told the nature of the wound, we do not know why the people would see the wound as “fatal”. Possibly the incident that caused the beast’s wound was witnessed by the people. Possibly the beast suffered a severe wound to the head and was then resurrected by the dragon or healed by the False Prophet (the second beast). These potential explanations are intriguing and would certainly suppress the faith-inspiring impact the resurrection of the Two Witnesses must have had on the public.

Possibly the beast merely recovered via a routine medical procedure. Or possibly the beast lied about the wound, telling the people an outlandish tale of how the wound was sustained to make them believe he should have died from the wound. We simply do not know and thus must leave all potential explanations open.

Finally, it’s important to consider the possibility that the Antichrist could represent an entity, not a singular person. If this is the case, the fatal head wound would appear to apply to only one component (e.g. country, person, place) of the entity.

The image, mark, and number of the beast

Potential represenation of the beastThe second part of Revelation 13:14 tells us:

“[The second beast] ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 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.”

This image is mentioned several more times in Revelation, often tied closely to the “mark of the beast” (discussed below). In some instances, it is hinted that the image and the mark of the beast may be closely linked, potentially a forced worship of the image coincides with the receipt of the beast’s mark.

The image of the beast

John’s recall of the image of the beast appears to be a description of a photo, statue, or possibly electronically generated replica of the first beast. Whatever the form, the image will appear to speak to the people. Most will naturally envision a statue speaking via tricks of ventriloquism but given modern-day technological advances, the image could be driven by artificial intelligence and truly converse with the people in a one-on-one manner. Imagine an army of AI generated beasts scattered throughout the world, each able to speak and act on the beast’s authority when conversing with the people. Given this scenario, masses of people “worshipping” the images appears perfectly feasible.

Another alternative explanation plays on the alternate meaning of the word “breath”. Possibly John’s statement is not literal, but a figurative “breath” of life embodied in the image. In other words, John may be telling us that the second beast merely gave merit to the first beast and encouraged others to worship him. The worship of the people gave “breath” or life to the beast, allowing him to continue his endeavor to rule over mankind.

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The mark of the beast

Potential represenation of the beastFrom the verses and others that follow, clearly the mark of the beast applied to the right hand or forehead of citizen’s is a representation of the beast’s name. We are told that those who do not accept the mark of the beast will be unable to trade or conduct commerce with others.

Although it is likely the mark is imposed as a condition of commerce between people, we must remember to keep all options open for interpretation. For instance, the inability to trade without the mark could be a result of social inequality too. In the early days of Christianity, Christians were not necessarily persecuted by government officials but rather, by people in their communities. There was a stigma surrounding Christians and as a result, they were often discriminated against. The mark of the beast and its impact on the people’s ability to trade could follow the same reasoning. It may be that those without the mark are looked down upon and the refusal to trade with them is not necessarily a condition of official trade but rather, because the seller simply has no desire to do business with a Christian. This would be similar to a business that refuses to accept cash and will only accept credit cards.

The number of the beast

When John tells us, “let the person who has wisdom calculate the number of the beast”, it is strongly hinted that the number bears some sort of equivalency to the beast’s name. This has led to innumerable attempts to equate “666” with a variety of names. The practice of equating names to numbers derives from a Hebrew method called gematria (isopsephia in Greek).

Gematria began as a Babylon system of alphanumeric code or cipher and later was adopted by Jewish culture to assign numerical values to a word, name, or phrase. Each letter in their alphabet had an equivalent numeric representation similar to our letter “A” representing “alpha”, “B” representing “beta”, and so on).

A popular method of gematria was Mispa Gadol but dozens of methods existed. Ancient Hebrews would attempt to calculate numbers for various words and either try to guess the word that fit the calculation or look for numerical values that matched and seek relationships between the words behind them.

The art of GematriaEvidence of this has been found in several archaeological digs including one line of graffiti that reads, “I love her whose number is 545”, a sort of modern-day “John+Julie” carved into a tree.

Ancient views famously used the method to equate the word “messiah” with “serpent” which according to them, both calculate to the value 358.

Another alternative suggests 666 is a triangular number of 36. In other words, the sum of the numbers 1 through 36 equals 666.

One proposed alternative meaning to John’s equivalence of the number 666 with the beast, attributes the calculation as a sign of imperfection. Given the ancient’s belief that the number 7 represented perfection or completeness, John could be stating the obvious – that although the beast appears invincible, in truth, he is short of perfection. Even more likely, John could be stating that the unholy trinity of Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet, although powerful and capable of great miracles, are short of the perfectness of the holy trinity which would be calculated as 777.

As if the complexity and possibilities of gematria seem hopelessly endless, the matter is further complicated by a few older manuscripts. Some manuscripts have been found that translated the number as 616. This is rare and believed to have been an attempt to ascribe the number of the beast to Nero Caesar, Regardless, we should keep this anomaly in the backs of our mind.

Why the name “Antichrist”?

It’s a common belief that the first beast (sea beast) is the Antichrist while the second beast (earth beast) is the False Prophet. The term “anti-Christ” implies someone against Christ but there are many parallels between the two characters. Both had followers identified by marks on their heads. Both were slain (in fact, the same Greek word is used to describe the death of both). Both arose after death with new authority over the people of earth. The parallels are many and thus the phrase “Antichrist” truly describes the antithetical counterpart to Jesus Christ.

The “Sea” and the “Abyss”

Revelation 11:7 describes the “beast that comes from the Abyss”. We see similar events in the Old Testament and are told of beasts rising from the waters including the dragon (Tannin), Leviathan, and Rehab. It is possible that the Sea referenced in Revelation symbolizes the same Abyss mentioned in the Old Testament.

The heads and horns of the dragon and the first beast

Potential represenation of the beastIn Revelation 12:3, the dragon is described as having “seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.” Here, the first beast (sea beast) is described as having “seven heads and ten horns with ten crowns on its horns.” The number of heads and horns is the same but the number of crowns differs by three. The dragon has seven crowns on seven heads while the beast has ten crowns on ten horns. Later (Revelation 17:9) we are told that the seven heads are seven hills and seven kings while the ten horns are ten kings who have “not yet received a kingdom but who will give their authority to the beast”. Since crowns represent authority, there seems to be a slight difference in the authority of the dragon and the first beast.

The blasphemous names written on the seven heads of the first beast

Johns sees each of the ten heads of the first beast has written on them a blasphemous name. We see a similar instance in Revelation 17:3 where John describes a “woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and has seven heads and ten horns”. The significance of the blasphemous names is not necessarily clear but may signify the vile nature of the characters and/or their disregard of God.

The second beast’s “two horns like a lamb”

The vision of the second beast having two horns like a lamb (but who speaks like a dragon) is often taken to mean the second beast is somewhat an imitation of Jesus (the true Lamb). His appearance as a gentle lamb could promote his ability as the master of deception. Jesus said as much during his Sermon on the Mount when he warned others to “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

The Lamb’s book of life

Revelation 13:8 says,

“All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life – the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.”

The Lamb’s book of life refers to those who have accepted Jesus, his message from God, and vow to live according to his principles. In other words, Christians. But the last words, “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world” seems out of place. The original Greek words rendered as “from the creation of the world” could also be written as “from the foundation of the world”. This makes the verse much clearer and tells us that the Lamb, Jesus, was a part of the foundation of the world. In other words, his purpose, to offer salvation for the world, has been a part of God’s plan since the beginning of time.

Was Rome’s Nero the beast? The Nero-Redivivus legend.

No discussion of the Antichrist/Beast would be complete without considering an little-known belief that John was describing Rome’s Nero as the Antichrist. This theory began during the early days of Christianity and was based on a theme called the Redivivus Legend.

Rome's NeroThe Nero Redivivus Legend took root during the last part of the 1st century, just after his death by suicide in 68 AD. Several variations of the legend exist but all played on the hope, or fear, that the evil ruler would return to power. Most read like modern-day legends akin to “Elvis didn’t really die and moved to a remote island to avoid fandom”.

One legend claimed that Nero did not commit suicide but fled to Parthia where he would assemble a large army and return to Rome to regain control. During Christianity’s early days, this led to the suggestion that Nero was the Antichrist that John wrote of in Revelation. Its most prominent attribute was the reference to the beast’s head wound that had healed. Nero committed suicide – by cutting his throat with his dagger. However, John specifically states the beast has a head wound, not a neck wound. And the original Greek word that we translate as “wound” typically means a wound by beating or plague, not a wound by a sharp cut from a knife.

Detractors will point out a later verse (Revelation 13:14) that mentions the beast’s wound by sword bit others will counter by pointing out that “sword” in Revelation always refers to divine judgment by a higher power (e.g. Revelation 19:14), not a physical slice from a sword.

The argument over Nero as the beast grew when historians found a method to calculate Nero Caesar as “666” using gematria (discussed above). However, to make Nero’s name calculate to “666”, they had to misspell his name! Given the dozens of formulas available for the various gematria methods, it may be possible to equate any name with “666”, especially when given the flexibility to slightly alter or misspell the word. This of course, entirely defeats the purpose of gematria and John’s hint to the beast’s true identity.

All attempts to point to Nero as the beast that John refers to have proven impractical. John 2:18 tells us that “many antichrists have already come”, hinting that history will reveal many anti-Christian figures. Nero could be considered at most, nothing more than one of the pre-antichrists, as could Hitler, Atilla the Hun, Caligula, and countless other evil rulers.

Ultimately, the calculation of the Beast’s name will be made clear when the events John describes in Revelation begin to unfold.

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How could anyone succumb and worship the beast – especially Christians?

How could anyone succumb, especially Christians, and worship an evil entity such as the beast? Look around you. It is not uncommon for “wonder” to turn to worship. After all, we see all around us, adulation for celebrities, politicians, and elite athletes approach the level of “worship” for many fans. It is likely that “wonder” surrounding the Antichrist will be the trigger for acknowledgement and worship of the beast and his partner, the False Prophet.

We must not forget that the beast will be deceptive – and Christians will not be immune to his deceit. I’ve written long ago, long before my stance became commonly accepted by most Christians, about the blind right-wing support of Donald Trump, a man who represents the antithesis of Christian ideals, and how his acceptance happened right under our noses. The rise of the Antichrist could occur in the same manner. The Bible tells us that the Antichrist will appear to be invincible. He will perform great miracles, possibly attributing those miracles to God. It is easy to imagine a multitude of ways mankind will succumb to the Beast’s will.

Potential represenation of the beastTo further muddy the situation, we are told that Christians will suffer death and defeat by the hand of the beast. Revelation 13:15 explains how the beast will “cause all who refuse to worship [the image of the beast] to be killed.” Christians will die – and that may be hard for some to accept. But it is also clear that the time that the beast rules will be short (42 months) and ultimately, he will be defeated. Revelation 2:10 tells us,

“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”

It will rest on the shoulders of Christians to recognize Revelation’s prophecy – and warn others when it is fulfilled.

A final word

We naturally assume the beast and the false prophet are human beings, and indeed, at this time it seems likely this is the case. It is important however, to note that John consistently refers to the figures as “beast”, a gender-neutral word. Nowhere are we clearly told that the Beast will be human leaving open the possibility that the beast could be alien to this world, supernatural, or even something totally lifeless such as Artificial Intelligence.

Notes on Biblical translation

Who stood on the shore of the sea?

A variant of the Greek translation exists for the first line in this chapter. This variant is why the first sentence in Chapter 13 is sometimes included at the end of Revelation 12. The translation, “the dragon stood on the shore of the sea”, calls into question – who stood on the shore?

The King James Version wrote, “I stood on the shore of the sea” implying John was standing at the shore and witnessing a new vision of a beast rising from the sea. The Greek variant however, uses the phrase, “he stood on the shore of the sea” portraying the dragon standing at the shore, ready to summon his beasts.

The difference in interpretations is important and could notably impact the prophecy when it becomes known. Thus, it’s important to understand that who stood at the shore of the sea is unclear and questionable.

The Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world

Revelation 13:8 tells us:

“All inhabitants of earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.”

The ending of the sentence, “from the creation of the world”, seems out of place and unusual in this context. In the original Greek text however, the sentence is grammatically correct.

In modern English, the sentence could be interpreted in two ways. Does “creation of the world” apply to the Lamb (Jesus) or to the people whose names have not been written in the book of life? Parenthesizing the phrase makes this point clearer. It could read: All inhabitants of earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain (from the creation of the world) or like this: All inhabitants of earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life (from the creation of the world), the Lamb who was slain.

It’s a minor contention but one that the reader should we aware of.

The second beast acts “in behalf of” the first beast

Revelation tells us that the second beast “exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf.” Several bible versions, including the popular NIV, notoriously render a questionable translation of the phrase. The original Greek word enopion is mentioned several times in Revelation. In each instance, the translation is rendered “in the presence of” or “before”. Some versions however, render this phrase as “on its behalf”. Thus, “the second beast exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf” could also be read as “the second beast exercised all the authority of the first beast in its presence.” The difference in the two renderings is stark and could potentially impact the true meaning of the prophecy.

The “mark” of the beast

The Greek word for mark is “charagma”. It may refer to artworks. In this sense, John may be saying that anyone who worships the beast is marked by him, figuratively, not literally. However, charagma also refers to written inscriptions, official seals, and brands, such as those worn by ancient slaves to mark their ownership. Given this interpretation, the mark referred to in Revelation 13:16 is a physical mark placed on the victim’s hand or head.

Given the wide variety of interpretations for “mark”, it is possible the mark is something altogether indescribable by John, not necessarily a visible impression on the skin. For example, an electronic device embedded under the skin of the person accepting it as a means to participate in commerce.

“He who kills with the sword” or “if anyone is to be killed with the sword”

Translations vary on this verse. In fact, there are more than a dozen variations found in ancient manuscripts hinting that the scribes found the passage difficult to interpret. Most translations, including the NIV, read:

“If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.”

The New King James version reads,

“He who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.”

The New King James Version can be read in two ways – (1) a warning to Christians that they must not retaliate or face death (i.e. live by the sword, die by the sword) or (2) a promise that Christian persecutors will face judgement and death. The NIV (and most other translations) point out that mankind must accept that God’s right to dictate death over all – including Christians.

Bible Text

NIV

13 The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 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. 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 filled with wonder and followed the beast. 4 People 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 wage war against it?”

5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.

10 “If anyone is to go into captivity,

into captivity they will go.

If anyone is to be killed with the sword,

with the sword they will be killed.”

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.

11 Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 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.

18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

The NET Bible

13:1 Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, and on its horns were ten diadem crowns, and on its heads a blasphemous name. 13:2 Now the beast that I saw was like a leopard, but its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. The dragon gave the beast his power, his throne, and great authority to rule. 13:3 One of the beast’s heads appeared to have been killed, but the lethal wound had been healed. And the whole world followed the beast in amazement; 13:4 they worshiped the dragon because he had given ruling authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast too, saying: “Who is like the beast?” and “Who is able to make war against him?” 13:5 The beast was given a mouth speaking proud words and blasphemies, and he was permitted to exercise ruling authority for forty-two months. 13:6 So the beast opened his mouth to blaspheme against God—to blaspheme both his name and his dwelling place, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 13:7 The beast was permitted to go to war against the saints and conquer them. He was given ruling authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation, 13:8 and all those who live on the earth will worship the beast, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life belonging to the Lamb who was killed. 13:9 If anyone has an ear, he had better listen!

13:10 If anyone is meant for captivity,

into captivity he will go.

If anyone is to be killed by the sword,

then by the sword he must be killed.

This requires steadfast endurance and faith from the saints.

13:11 Then I saw another beast coming up from the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but was speaking like a dragon. 13:12 He exercised all the ruling authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and those who inhabit it worship the first beast, the one whose lethal wound had been healed. 13:13 He performed momentous signs, even making fire come down from heaven in front of people 13:14 and, by the signs he was permitted to perform on behalf of the beast, he deceived those who live on the earth. He told those who live on the earth to make an image to the beast who had been wounded by the sword, but still lived. 13:15 The second beast was empowered to give life to the image of the first beast so that it could speak, and could cause all those who did not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 13:16 He also caused everyone (small and great, rich and poor, free and slave) to obtain a mark on their right hand or on their forehead. 13:17 Thus no one was allowed to buy or sell things unless he bore the mark of the beast—that is, his name or his number. 13:18 This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has insight calculate the beast’s number, for it is man’s number, and his number is 666.

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

New King James Version

13 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. 2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. 4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”

5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. 6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth—by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

Thew New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

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The Message

13 And the Dragon stood on the shore of the sea. I saw a Beast rising from the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads—on each horn a crown, and each head inscribed with a blasphemous name. The Beast I saw looked like a leopard with bear paws and a lion’s mouth. The Dragon turned over its power to it, its throne and great authority.

3–4 One of the Beast’s heads looked as if it had been struck a deathblow, and then healed. The whole earth was agog, gaping at the Beast. They worshiped the Dragon who gave the Beast authority, and they worshiped the Beast, exclaiming, “There’s never been anything like the Beast! No one would dare go to war with the Beast!”

5–8 The Beast had a loud mouth, boastful and blasphemous. It could do anything it wanted for forty-two months. It yelled blasphemies against God, blasphemed his Name, blasphemed his Church, especially those already dwelling with God in Heaven. It was permitted to make war on God’s holy people and conquer them. It held absolute sway over all tribes and peoples, tongues and races. Everyone on earth whose name was not written from the world’s foundation in the slaughtered Lamb’s Book of Life will worship the Beast.

9–10 Are you listening to this? They’ve made their bed; now they must lie in it. Anyone marked for prison goes straight to prison; anyone pulling a sword goes down by the sword. Meanwhile, God’s holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground.

11–12 I saw another Beast rising out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb but sounded like a dragon when it spoke. It was a puppet of the first Beast, made earth and everyone in it worship the first Beast, which had been healed of its deathblow.

13–17 This second Beast worked magical signs, dazzling people by making fire come down from Heaven. It used the magic it got from the Beast to dupe earth dwellers, getting them to make an image of the Beast that received the deathblow and lived. It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed. It forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead. Without the mark of the name of the Beast or the number of its name, it was impossible to buy or sell anything.

18 Solve a riddle: Put your heads together and figure out the meaning of the number of the Beast. It’s a human number: 666.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

King James Version

13 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9 If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And kdeceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive qa mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database
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