The Beast From the Sea
(1) Then I saw a vision of the a beast coming out of the sea (possibly refers to the Roman empire, which was oriented westward toward the Aegean sea. The Roman governor arrived annually in the Roman province of Asia at Ephesus on the Aegean sea.) having 10 horns and seven heads, with a crown on each horn, and on its headstone were written blasphemous names. (2) The beast from the sea I saw looked like a leopard, but had feet like a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The great red dragon gave the beast from the sea his power and a throne and great authority. (3) One of the heads of the beast from the sea appeared to have had a deadly wound, but the deadly (fatal) wound was healed, and the whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast from the sea. (4) People worshiped the dragon because he gave authority to the beast from the sea, and they worshiped the beast from the sea (possibly referring to emperor worship), declaring, “Who is like the beast, and who can make war against it?”
(5) The beast from the sea was given a mouth to speak prideful words and blasphemies and was given authority to act for 42 months (1,260 days). (6) It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to curse his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. (7) Also the beast from the sea was given power to make war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. It was also given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation on the earth. (8) Everyone on the earth worshiped the beast from the sea—all those whose names had not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
(9) Whoever has ears, let them hear! (10) If anyone is to be taken captive, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with a sword, with a sword he will be killed. Be alert! For this requires patient endurance and faithful obedience by God’s holy people.
The Beast From the Earth
(11) Then I saw a a beast coming out of the earth (possibly refers to the chief priest over Roman emperor worship, who was also the president of the league of the Roman province of Asia). It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. (12) It exercised all the authority of the first beast from the sea on its behalf, and forced the people living on the earth to worship the first beast from the sea (possibly refers to emperor worship), whose deadly (fatal) injury had been healed.
(13) And it performed great miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in the full sight of the people. (14) Because of the miraculous signs the beast from the earth was given the power to perform on behalf of the beast from the sea, it deceived the people of the earth. The beast from the earth ordered the people living on the earth to set up a statue (possibly refers to the statue(s) for emperor worship) in honor of the beast of the sea who was wounded by a sword but lived.
(15) The beast from the earth was given power to breathe life into the statue of the first beast from the sea, so that the statue could speak and order all who refused to worship the statue to be killed. (16) It also ordered all people—the least to the greatest, both rich and poor, both free and slave—to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, (17) so that no one could buy or sell unless they had the mark—which is the name of the first beast from the sea and the number of its name.
(18) Be alert! For this requires insight and wisdom! Let the person who has understanding (insight) calculate (do the arithmetic) the number of the beast from the sea, for it is the number of a human (man). That number is six hundred and sixty six—666.