Revelation 13English Standard Version (ESV)
The First Beast
13 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. 2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. 4 And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling,[a] that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.[b] And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
The Second Beast
11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence,[c] and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of[d] the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave,[e] to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.[f]
Revelation 13The Voice (VOICE)
13 I saw a beast with ten horns and seven heads rising out of the blackness of the sea. On its horns hung ten crowns, and on its heads were inscribed blasphemous names. 2 This beast was like a leopard, its feet were like the claws of a bear, and its mouth was like the jaws of a lion. The dragon bestowed it with his power and his throne and his great authority. 3 One of the beast’s heads appeared to have suffered a fatal blow, but its mortal wound had somehow been healed. Amazed at the miracle and its power, all the earth followed the beast. 4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast because of its power.
Earth: Who can match the beast? Who can fight against it?
The beast emerges from the murky waters resembling the dragon; but it has other features, too, that resemble the four beasts as described in Daniel 7. Daniel, in his visions, learns that the beasts represent the empires that terrorized Israel and the rest of the world: the Babylonians, Persians, Medes, and Greeks. Prophetic images are difficult to identify. The beast in John’s vision could be none other than the Roman Empire or another empire to come later. Rome has its own beastly authority, the Caesar, who demands worship. “Caesar is Lord,” they dare to claim. But John knows better. In every generation, powerful people and institutions arise—political predators that demand loyalty, sometimes even worship.
5 And the beast was given a mouth that bellowed arrogant boasts and uttered great blasphemies, and it was permitted to do what it willed for 42 months. 6 Its mouth opened with a stream of insults against God, blaspheming His name, cursing His dwelling and those who live in heaven. 7 Also it received permission to declare war against the saints and conquer them. Not a single nation, people, language, or ethnicity could escape its dominion. 8 The inhabitants of the earth will worship it, that is, all those whose names have not been recorded before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered.
9 Let the person who is able to hear, listen carefully.
10 If someone is destined for captivity,
The endurance and faithfulness of the saints will be tested here.
11 As I watched, I saw a second beast, this one rising up from the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it was speaking with the voice of a dragon.
The second beast, which later becomes “the false prophet,” has horns like the lamb; but its true nature is revealed in its dragon-like voice. Many pretenders and posers exist in the spiritual world. This new beast wants the world to believe it represents the True God, the only King worthy of worship. But it’s a deceiver, a counterfeit of the true King; it steals devotion away from the one true God, producing signs to dazzle the inhabitants of the earth.
12 This earth-beast exercises all of the authority given to it by the first beast, and it forces the earth and all its inhabitants to bow down and worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. 13 And the earth-beast performs fantastic miracles. Like Elijah on Mount Carmel, it even causes fire to blaze down from heaven to earth for all to see. 14 Since it is allowed to perform these miracles in the presence of the first beast, the earth-beast deceives the inhabitants of the earth, commanding them to make an image of the first beast that had survived the mortal wound inflicted by the sword. 15 And the earth-beast was granted permission to breathe into the image and to animate it so that it could even speak. It decreed that those who refuse to worship the image of the first beast must be killed, 16 and the earth-beast mandates that all humans must carry a mark on their right hands or foreheads: both great and small, both rich and poor, both free and slave.
The beast demands worship and requires all to carry its mark. Those who don’t face severe punishment.
17 Those who do not carry this mark, that is, those who do not have the name of the first beast or the number representing its name inscribed on them, are not allowed to sell their wares or buy in the market.
18 Here is divine wisdom: let anyone who understands these mysteries figure out the number of the beast because it is the number of a person. Its number is 666.[b]