1 I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns, seven heads, and ten crowns on its horns. There were insulting names on its heads. 2 The beast that I saw was like a leopard. Its feet were like bear’s feet. Its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. The serpent gave its power, kingdom, and far-reaching authority to the beast. 3 One of the beast’s heads looked like it had a fatal wound, but its fatal wound was healed.
All the people of the world were amazed and followed the beast. 4 They worshiped the serpent because it had given authority to the beast. They also worshiped the beast and said, “Who is like the beast? Who can fight a war with it?” 5 The beast was allowed to speak arrogant and insulting things. It was given authority to act for 42 months. 6 It opened its mouth to insult God, to insult his name and his tent—those who are living in heaven. 7 It was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. It was also given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. 8 Everyone living on earth will worship it, everyone whose name is not written in the Book of Life. That book belongs to the lamb who was slaughtered before the creation of the world.
9 If anyone has ears, let him listen:
10 If anyone is taken prisoner, he must go to prison.
If anyone is killed with a sword, with a sword he must be killed.
In this situation God’s holy people need endurance and confidence.
11 I saw another beast come from the earth, and it had two horns like a lamb. It talked like a serpent. 12 The second beast uses all the authority of the first beast in its presence. The second beast makes the earth and those living on it worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 The second beast performs spectacular signs. It even makes fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people. 14 It deceives those living on earth with the signs that it is allowed to do in front of the ⸤first⸥ beast. It tells those living on earth to make a statue for the beast who was wounded by a sword and yet lived.
15 The second beast was allowed to put breath into the statue of the ⸤first⸥ beast. Then the statue of the ⸤first⸥ beast could talk and put to death whoever would not worship it. 16 The second beast forces all people—important and unimportant people, rich and poor people, free people and slaves—to be branded on their right hands or on their foreheads. 17 It does this so that no one may buy or sell unless he has the brand, which is the beast’s name or the number of its name.
18 In this situation wisdom is needed. Let the person who has insight figure out the number of the beast, because it is a human number.a The beast’s number is 666.
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