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The Two Beasts

13 Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea [C the sea was a symbol of chaos in the ancient world; Dan. 7:1–8]. It [or He] had ten horns [C symbols of power and strength] and seven heads [12:3], and there was a ·crown [diadem; royal crown; C indicating a king of evil] on each horn. A ·name against God [L blasphemous name; some manuscripts read the plural “names”] was written on each head. This beast looked like a leopard, with feet like a bear’s feet and a mouth like a lion’s mouth. And the dragon gave the beast all of his ·power [authority] and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast looked as if it ·had been killed by a wound [had a fatal/mortal wound; L was slain to death; C an evil imitation of the Lamb that was slain; 5:6], but this ·death wound [fatal/mortal wound; L wound of its death] was healed [C a false imitation of the resurrection]. Then the whole world was amazed and followed the beast. People worshiped the dragon because he had given his ·power [authority] to the beast. And they also worshiped the beast, asking, “Who is like the beast [Ex. 15:11]? Who can make war against ·it [or him]?”

The beast was ·allowed [L given a mouth] to say ·proud words [L great things; Dan. 7:8, 11, 20] and ·words against God [L blasphemies; Dan. 11:36], and it was allowed to ·use [exercise] its ·power [authority] for forty-two months [11:2]. It ·used [opened] its mouth ·to speak [blaspheme] against God, against God’s name, against ·the place where God lives [his dwelling/tabernacle], and against all those who ·live [dwell] in heaven. It was given ·power [authority] to make war against ·God’s holy people [T the saints] and to ·defeat [conquer] them. It was given ·power [authority] over every tribe, people, language, and nation [Dan. 7:21]. And all who live on earth will worship ·the beast [L it; or him]—all the people since the ·beginning [foundation] of the world whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book [scroll] of life [3:5; 17:8; Ex. 32:32–33]. ·The Lamb is the One who was killed [or The Lamb who was killed/slaughtered before the creation/foundation of the earth]. [C Some commentators link the phrase “since the beginning/foundation of the world” with “all who live on the earth”; others link it with “written in the Lamb’s book of life”; and still others with “the Lamb who was slain.”]

Anyone who has ears should ·listen [hear; obey]:

10 If you are to be ·a prisoner [L taken into captivity],
    then you will ·be a prisoner [L go into captivity].
If you are to be killed with the sword,
    then you will be killed with the sword [Jer. 15:2; 43:11].

This means that ·God’s holy people [T the saints] must have ·patience [perseverance; endurance] and faith.

11 Then I saw another beast ·coming up [rising] out of the earth [Dan. 7:17]. It [or He] had two horns like a ·lamb [or ram; Dan. 8:3], but it spoke like a dragon [C acting like a prophetic spokesperson for the dragon (see 16:13); along with the dragon and the first beast, this second beast forms an evil trinity]. 12 This beast ·stands before the first beast and uses the same power the first beast has [or uses all the authority of the first beast on its behalf]. By this ·power [authority] it makes ·everyone living on earth [L the earth and its inhabitants] worship the first beast, who had the ·death wound [fatal/mortal wound; L wound of its death] that was healed. 13 And the second beast ·does great miracles [performs great signs] so that it even makes fire come down from heaven to earth [1 Kin. 18:38; 2 Kin. 1:10, 12] ·while people are watching [L before people]. 14 It ·fools [deceives; tricks] those who live on earth by the ·miracles [signs; C these are counterfeit miracles] it has been given the power to do. It does these ·miracles [signs] ·to serve the first beast [L before/in the presence of the first beast]. The second beast orders [tells] people to make an ·idol [image] to honor the first beast, the one that ·was wounded by the deadly [L has the wound of the] sword but ·sprang to life again [lives]. 15 The second beast was ·given power [or allowed] to give ·life [breath; a spirit] to the idol of the first one so that the idol could speak. And the second beast was ·given power [allowed] to ·command [cause; make] all who will not worship the ·image [idol] of the beast to be killed. 16 The second beast also ·forced [caused; made] all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a ·mark [brand; stamp; C to show allegiance to the first beast] on their right hand or on their forehead [compare 7:2–4; 14:1]. 17 [L So that] No one could buy or sell without this mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name [C Greek and Hebrew letters had a numerical equivalent, and so could represent names—a practice known as gematria]. 18 This ·takes [calls for; L is] wisdom [Dan. 12:10]. Let the one who has understanding ·find the meaning of [calculate; figure out] the number [L of the beast], which is the number of a ·person [or man]. Its number is 666[a] [C a symbolic number signifying imperfection and sin; some speculate it represents the name of a Roman emperor, perhaps Nero or Domitian].


  1. Revelation 13:18 666 Some Greek copies read “616.”