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Revelation chapter 13

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New International Version

New American Standard Bible

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King James Version

5And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. 11And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
New King James Version

What does Revelation chapter 13 mean?

This chapter contains four of the most iconic concepts contained in Revelation. The two "beasts" described here are the figures often referred to as the Antichrist and the False Prophet. The symbol mandated for all followers of Antichrist, administered by the False Prophet, is the mark of the beast, which is further related to the number 666.

The first beast is described as coming from the sea. Most interpreters see this as a reference to the Mediterranean, and this person as a political-military leader with roots in that area. The description of this creature is peculiar, but entirely symbolic, with each aspect representing part of that figure's power or character. This figure will be empowered by Satan to exert near-unlimited power over the earth. This includes persecution and murder of Christians, accompanied by overt blasphemy against God, and cult-like worship from the people of earth. In most interpretations, this is the end-times figure popularly referred to as the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1–10).

The second beast arises from the land, which some interpret as a reference to Israel. As with the first beast, the symbolic description suggests his role and characteristics. In this case, those are mostly spiritual and religious. This person is most typically labelled as the False Prophet, though his attempts to mimic Jesus suggest it might be fair to title this figure as "the" Antichrist. This person is also supernaturally empowered by the Devil, performing false miracles and leading people to worship the first beast (Revelation 13:11–15).

The second beast also implements a worldwide identification: the mark of the beast. Earlier passages referred to God placing a "seal" on His people. This used the Greek root word sphragis, which is a signet or signature expressing value and protection. The "mark" of Satan, however, is described using the word charagma, which is what livestock owners use to mark their animals: a brand. Later statements in Revelation make it clear the mark of the beast is not something taken by accident—those who accept this mark do so knowing that it means worshipping the beast and rejecting God. Those who refuse to take this mark—such as Christians—will be unable to buy or sell anything, and many will be executed. This mark is connected, in some unknown way, to the figure 666 (Revelation 13:16–18).
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