1And the dragon stood on the sea shore. Then I saw a beast rising out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten small crowns on his horns, and had blasphemous names on his heads. 2The beast I saw looked like a leopard, but his feet looked like those of a bear, and his mouth looked like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power, his throne, and great authority. 3One of his heads seemed to have suffered a death-blow, but this fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder at the beast, 4and they worshiped the dragon because he had given his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, asking “Who is like the beast? Who could defeat him?” 5He was given the ability#13:5. Literally, “given a mouth.” to make great boasts and speak blasphemies, and he was also given the authority to do this for forty-two months. 6As soon as he opened his mouth he spoke blasphemies against God, insulting his character,#13:6. Literally, “name.” his sanctuary,#13:6. Sanctuary: or “dwelling place.” and those who live in heaven. 7The beast was given power to attack believers and defeat them, and he was also given authority over every people, tribe, language, and nation. 8Everybody living on earth will worship him, those whose names had not been written in the book of life—the book of life that belongs to the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world. 9If you have ears, listen! 10Anyone who has to go into captivity will go into captivity; anyone who has to die by the sword will die by the sword.#13:10. There are two textual variants here. The text could also say that those who kill with the sword will themselves be killed with the sword, paralleling Matthew 26:52. However in view of the next verse that encourages the believers to endure persecution, rather than expecting retribution, the text as translated is the one preferred here. This demonstrates the patient endurance and confidence in God of the believers.
11Then I saw another beast, rising up from the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. 12He imposed the same authority as the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and those who live there worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13He performed great miracles, even bringing fire down from heaven to earth while people watched. 14He deceived those who live on the earth by the miracles he performed on behalf of the beast, ordering the people that they should make an image for the beast who had received the fatal sword wound but came back to life.
15He was permitted to breathe life into the image of the beast so that it could speak, ordering anyone who did not worship it put to death. 16He made everyone, whether weak or powerful, rich or poor, free or slave, receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads. 17Nobody was permitted to buy or sell except those who had the mark, which was the name of the beast or the number of his name.
18Wisdom is needed here. Whoever has understanding should calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.