Are you listening to this?
They've made their bed; now they must lie in it. Anyone marked for prison goes straight to prison; anyone pulling a sword goes down by the sword. Meanwhile, God's holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground.
I saw another Beast rising out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb but sounded like a dragon when it spoke.
It was a puppet of the first Beast, made earth and everyone in it worship the first Beast, which had been healed of its deathblow.
This second Beast worked magical signs, dazzling people by making fire come down from Heaven.
It used the magic it got from the Beast to dupe earth dwellers, getting them to make an image of the Beast that received the deathblow and lived.
It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed.
It forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead.
Without the mark of the name of the Beast or the number of its name, it was impossible to buy or sell anything.
Solve a riddle: Put your heads together and figure out the meaning of the number of the Beast. It's a human number: six hundred sixty-six.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)