New English Translation
The Two Beasts
13 Then[a] I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It[b] had ten horns and seven heads, and on its horns were ten diadem crowns,[c] and on its heads a blasphemous name.[d] 2 Now[e] the beast that I saw was like a leopard, but its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. The[f] dragon gave the beast[g] his power, his throne, and great authority to rule.[h] 3 One of the beast’s[i] heads appeared to have been killed,[j] but the lethal wound had been healed.[k] And the whole world followed[l] the beast in amazement; 4 they worshiped the dragon because he had given ruling authority[m] to the beast, and they worshiped the beast too, saying: “Who is like the beast?” and “Who is able to make war against him?”[n] 5 The beast[o] was given a mouth speaking proud words[p] and blasphemies, and he was permitted[q] to exercise ruling authority[r] for forty-two months. 6 So[s] the beast[t] opened his mouth to blaspheme against God—to blaspheme both his name and his dwelling place,[u] that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 The beast[v] was permitted to go to war against the saints and conquer them.[w] He was given ruling authority[x] over every tribe, people,[y] language, and nation, 8 and all those who live on the earth will worship the beast,[z] everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world[aa] in the book of life belonging to the Lamb who was killed.[ab] 9 If anyone has an ear, he had better listen!
10 If anyone is meant for captivity,
into captivity he will go.
If anyone is to be killed by the sword,[ac]
then by the sword he must be killed.
11 Then[af] I saw another beast[ag] coming up from the earth. He[ah] had two horns like a lamb,[ai] but[aj] was speaking like a dragon. 12 He[ak] exercised all the ruling authority[al] of the first beast on his behalf,[am] and made the earth and those who inhabit it worship the first beast, the one whose lethal wound had been healed. 13 He[an] performed momentous signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people[ao] 14 and, by the signs he was permitted to perform on behalf of the beast, he deceived those who live on the earth. He told[ap] those who live on the earth to make an image to the beast who had been wounded by the sword, but still lived. 15 The second beast[aq] was empowered[ar] to give life[as] to the image of the first beast[at] so that it could speak, and could cause all those who did not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He also caused[au] everyone (small and great, rich and poor, free and slave[av]) to obtain a mark on their right hand or on their forehead. 17 Thus no one was allowed to buy[aw] or sell things[ax] unless he bore[ay] the mark of the beast—that is, his name or his number.[az] 18 This calls for wisdom:[ba] Let the one who has insight calculate the beast’s number, for it is man’s number,[bb] and his number is 666.[bc]
- Revelation 13:1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.
- Revelation 13:1 tn Grk “having” (a continuation of the previous sentence). All of the pronouns referring to this beast (along with the second beast appearing in 13:11) could be translated as “it” because the word for beast (θηρίον, thērion) is neuter gender in Greek and all the pronouns related to it are parsed as neuter in the Gramcord/Accordance database. Nevertheless, most interpreters would agree that the beast ultimately represents a human ruler, so beginning at the end of v. 4 the masculine pronouns (“he,” “him,” etc.) are used to refer to the first beast as well as the second beast appearing in 13:11.
- Revelation 13:1 tn For the translation of διάδημα (diadēma) as “diadem crown” see L&N 6.196.sn Diadem crowns were a type of crown used as a symbol of the highest ruling authority in a given area, and thus often associated with kingship.
- Revelation 13:1 tc ‡ Several mss (A 051 1611 1854 2053 2344 2351 MK) read the plural ὀνόματα (onomata, “[blasphemous] names”), while the singular ὄνομα (onoma, “name”) has somewhat better support (P47 א C 1006 1841 2329 MA). The plural reading seems motivated by the fact that what is written is written “on its heads.” In the least, it is a clarifying reading. NA28 puts the plural in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.sn Whether this means a single name on all seven heads or seven names, one on each head, is not clear.
- Revelation 13:2 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the parenthetical nature of the following description of the beast.
- Revelation 13:2 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Revelation 13:2 tn Grk “gave it”; the referent (the beast) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Revelation 13:2 tn For the translation “authority to rule” for ἐξουσία (exousia) see L&N 37.35.
- Revelation 13:3 tn Grk “one of its heads”; the referent (the beast) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Revelation 13:3 tn Grk “killed to death,” an expression emphatic in its redundancy. The phrase behind this translation is ὡς ἐσφαγμένον (hōs esphagmenon). The particle ὡς is used in Greek generally for comparison, and in Revelation it is used often to describe the appearance of what the author saw. In this instance, the appearance of the beast’s head did not match reality, because the next phrase shows that in fact it did not die. This text does not affirm that the beast died and was resurrected, but some draw this conclusion because of the only other use of the phrase, which refers to Jesus in 5:6.
- Revelation 13:3 tn The phrase τοῦ θανάτου (tou thanatou) can be translated as an attributive genitive (“deathly wound”) or an objective genitive (the wound which caused death) and the final αὐτοῦ (autou) is either possessive or reference/respect.
- Revelation 13:3 tn On the phrase “the whole world followed the beast in amazement,” BDAG 445 s.v. θαυμάζω 2 states, “wonder, be amazed…Rv 17:8. In pregnant constr. ἐθαυμάσθη ὅλη ἡ γῆ ὀπίσω τ. θηρίου the whole world followed the beast, full of wonder 13:3 (here wonder becomes worship: cp. Ael. Aristid. 13 p. 290 D.; 39 p. 747 of Dionysus and Heracles, οἳ ὑφ᾿ ἡμῶν ἐθαυμάσθησαν. Sir 7:29; Jos., Ant. 3, 65.—The act. is also found in this sense: Cebes 2, 3 θ. τινά = ‘admire’ or ‘venerate’ someone; Epict. 1, 17, 19 θ. τὸν θεόν).”
- Revelation 13:4 tn For the translation “ruling authority” for ἐξουσία (exousia) see L&N 37.35.
- Revelation 13:4 tn On the use of the masculine pronoun to refer to the beast, see the note on the word “It” in 13:1.
- Revelation 13:5 tn Grk “and there was given to him.” Here the passive construction has been simplified, the referent (the beast) has been specified for clarity, and καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Revelation 13:5 tn For the translation “proud words” (Grk “great things” or “important things”) see BDAG 624 s.v. μέγας 4.b.
- Revelation 13:5 tn Grk “to it was granted.”
- Revelation 13:5 tn For the translation “ruling authority” for ἐξουσία (exousia) see L&N 37.35.
- Revelation 13:6 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the permission granted to the beast.
- Revelation 13:6 tn Grk “he” (or “it”); the referent (the beast) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Revelation 13:6 tc The reading “and his dwelling place” does not occur in codex C, but its omission is probably due to scribal oversight since the phrase has the same ending as the phrase before it, i.e., they both end in “his” (αὐτοῦ, autou). This is similar to the mistake this scribe made in 12:14 with the omission of the reading “and half a time” (καὶ ἥμισυ καιροῦ, kai hēmisu kairou).
- Revelation 13:7 tn Grk “and it was given to him to go to war.” Here the passive construction has been simplified, the referent (the beast) has been specified for clarity, and καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Revelation 13:7 tc Many mss omit the phrase “it was given to make war with the saints and to overcome them” (P47 A C 2053 MA sa). It is, however, found in P115vid א 051 1006 (1611) 1841 (1854) 2329 2344 2351 (MK) lat syph,(h) bo. Although the ms evidence is somewhat in favor of the shorter reading, the support of P115 (a recently-discovered ms) for the longer reading balances things out. Normally, the shorter reading should be given preference. However, in an instance in which homoioteleuton could play a role, caution must be exercised. In this passage, accidental omission is quite likely. That this could have happened seems apparent from the two occurrences of the identical phrase “and it was given to him” (καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ, kai edothē autō) in v. 7. The scribe’s eye skipped over the first καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ and went to the second, hence creating an accidental omission of eleven words.
- Revelation 13:7 tn For the translation “ruling authority” for ἐξουσία (exousia) see L&N 37.35.
- Revelation 13:7 tn Grk “and people,” but καί (kai) has not been translated here or before the following term since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.
- Revelation 13:8 tn Grk “it”; the referent (the beast) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Revelation 13:8 tn The prepositional phrase “since the foundation of the world” is traditionally translated as a modifier of the immediately preceding phrase in the Greek text, “the Lamb who was killed” (so also G. B. Caird, Revelation [HNTC], 168), but it is more likely that the phrase “since the foundation of the world” modifies the verb “written” (as translated above). Confirmation of this can be found in Rev 17:8 where the phrase “written in the book of life since the foundation of the world” occurs with no ambiguity.
- Revelation 13:8 tn Or “slaughtered”; traditionally, “slain.”
- Revelation 13:10 tc Many mss (C 051* 2351 MA) read “if anyone will kill with the sword, it is necessary for him to be killed with the sword” (εἴ τις ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀποκτενεῖ, δεῖ αὐτὸν ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀποκτανθῆναι). Other mss (א 1006 1611* 1854 al) are similar except that they read a present tense “kills” (ἀποκτείνει, apokteinei) in this sentence. Both of these variants may be regarded as essentially saying the same thing. On the other hand, codex A reads “if anyone is to be killed by the sword, he is to be killed by the sword” (εἴ τις ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀποκτανθῆναι αὐτὸν ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀποκτανθῆναι). Thus the first two variants convey the idea of retribution, while the last variant, supported by codex A, does not. (There are actually a dozen variants here, evidence that scribes found the original text quite difficult. Only the most important variants are discussed in this note.) The first two variants seem to be in line with Jesus’ comments in Matt 26:52: “everyone who takes up the sword will die by the sword.” The last variant, however, seems to be taking up an idea found in Jer 15:2: “Those destined for death, to death; those for the sword, to the sword; those for starvation, to starvation; those for captivity, to captivity.” Though G. B. Caird, Revelation (HNTC), 169-70, gives four arguments in favor of the first reading (i.e., “whoever kills with the sword must with the sword be killed”), the arguments he puts forward can be read equally as well to support the latter alternative. In the end, the reading in codex A seems to be that of the initial text. The fact that this sentence seems to be in parallel with 10a (which simply focuses on God’s will and suffering passively and is therefore akin to the reading in codex A), and that it most likely gave rise to the others as the most difficult reading, argues for its authenticity.
- Revelation 13:10 tn On ὧδε (hōde) here, BDAG 1101 s.v. 2 states: “a ref. to a present event, object, or circumstance, in this case, at this point, on this occasion, under these circumstances…in this case moreover 1 Cor 4:2. ὧδε ἡ σοφία ἐστίν…Rv 13:18; cf. 17:9. ὧδέ ἐστιν ἡ ὑπομονή…13:10; 14:12.”
- Revelation 13:10 tn Or “perseverance.”
- Revelation 13:11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence within the narrative.
- Revelation 13:11 sn This second beast is identified in Rev 16:13 as “the false prophet.”
- Revelation 13:11 tn Grk “and it had,” a continuation of the preceding sentence. On the use of the pronoun “he” to refer to the second beast, see the note on the word “It” in 13:1.
- Revelation 13:11 tn Or perhaps, “like a ram.” Here L&N 4.25 states, “In the one context in the NT, namely, Re 13:11, in which ἀρνίον refers literally to a sheep, it is used in a phrase referring to the horns of an ἀρνίον. In such a context the reference is undoubtedly to a ‘ram,’ that is to say, the adult male of sheep.” In spite of this most translations render the word “lamb” here to maintain the connection between this false lamb and the true Lamb of the Book of Revelation, Jesus Christ.
- Revelation 13:11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
- Revelation 13:12 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Revelation 13:12 tn For the translation “ruling authority” for ἐξουσία (exousia) see L&N 37.35.
- Revelation 13:12 tn For this meaning see BDAG 342 s.v. ἐνώπιον 4.b, “by the authority of, on behalf of Rv 13:12, 14; 19:20.”
- Revelation 13:13 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
- Revelation 13:13 tn This is a generic use of ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos), referring to both men and women.
- Revelation 13:14 tn Grk “earth, telling.” This is a continuation of the previous sentence in Greek.sn He told followed by an infinitive (“to make an image…”) is sufficiently ambiguous in Greek that it could be taken as “he ordered” (so NIV) or “he persuaded” (so REB).
- Revelation 13:15 tn Grk “it”; the referent (the second beast) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Revelation 13:15 tn Grk “it was given [permitted] to it [the second beast].”
- Revelation 13:15 tn Grk “breath,” but in context the point is that the image of the first beast is made to come to life and speak.
- Revelation 13:15 tn Grk “of the beast”; the word “first” has been supplied to specify the referent.
- Revelation 13:16 tn Or “forced”; Grk “makes” (ποιεῖ, poiei).
- Revelation 13:16 tn See the note on the word “servants” in 1:1.
- Revelation 13:17 tn Grk “and that no one be able to buy or sell.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation. Although the ἵνα (hina) is left untranslated, the English conjunction “thus” is used to indicate that this is a result clause.
- Revelation 13:17 tn The word “things” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context. In the context of buying and selling, food could be primarily in view, but the more general “things” was used in the translation because the context is not specific.
- Revelation 13:17 tn Grk “except the one who had.”
- Revelation 13:17 tn Grk “his name or the number of his name.”
- Revelation 13:18 tn Grk “Here is wisdom.”
- Revelation 13:18 tn Grk “it is man’s number.” ExSyn 254 states “if ἀνθρώπου is generic, then the sense is, ‘It is [the] number of humankind.’ It is significant that this construction fits Apollonius’ Canon (i.e., both the head noun and the genitive are anarthrous), suggesting that if one of these nouns is definite, then the other is, too. Grammatically, those who contend that the sense is ‘it is [the] number of a man’ have the burden of proof on them (for they treat the head noun, ἀριθμός, as definite and the genitive, ἀνθρώπου, as indefinite—the rarest of all possibilities). In light of Johannine usage, we might also add Rev 16:18, where the Seer clearly uses the anarthrous ἄνθρωπος in a generic sense, meaning ‘humankind.’ The implications of this grammatical possibility, exegetically speaking, are simply that the number ‘666’ is the number that represents humankind. Of course, an individual is in view, but his number may be the number representing all of humankind. Thus the Seer might be suggesting here that the antichrist, who is the best representative of humanity without Christ (and the best counterfeit of a perfect man that his master, that old serpent, could muster), is still less than perfection (which would have been represented by the number seven).” See G. K. Beale, Revelation, [NIGTC], 723-24, who argues for the “generic” understanding of the noun; for an indefinite translation, see the ASV and ESV which both translate the clause as “it is the number of a man.” sn The translation man’s number suggests that the beast’s number is symbolic of humanity in general, while the translation a man’s number suggests that it represents an individual.
- Revelation 13:18 tc A few mss (P115 C, along with a few mss known to Irenaeus and two minuscule mss, 5 and 11, no longer extant), read 616 here, and several other witnesses have other variations. Irenaeus’ mention of mss that have 616 is balanced by his rejection of such witnesses in this case. As intriguing as the reading 616 is (since the conversion of Nero Caesar’s name in Latin by way of gematria would come out to 616), it must remain suspect because such a reading seems motivated in that it conforms more neatly to Nero’s gematria.