In Rev. 13:11 it says,

And 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.

There are many interpretations for this passage: in the view of this author, there are 4 main views of Revelation, each with their various interpretations.

So, how can we best understand this passage in light of the different views of interpretation? If you would include your different method (or mixture of methods) that would be helpful.

  • Please see my comments here, here, and here, and finally here.
    – Joseph
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 23:05
  • @Joseph I appreciate your addressing this topic in other questions; what one commentor mentioned was it didn't particularly follow any hermeneutic. While I can relate to that(I have been 'accused' of the same thing), what "helps" others understand our position is having a "framework"(read-hermeneutic) to compare to. Dan wrote an 'exhaustive' list in one of his answers, does it correspond to these? Or is it a 'hybrid'?
    – Tau
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 23:58
  • @user2479 Are you asking for general information regarding Revelation 13.11-12 that works regardless of the four main views, or are you asking for specific information per the four views? I think your question is a bit unclear on what exactly you're looking for.
    – user2910
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 19:38
  • @MarkEdward There are numerous and varied views swirling around these texts; the vast majority of them fall within the guidelines that I mentioned-even the 2 answers that have been given. It helps the rest of us if you state "....from the perspective of Partial Preteristism, this text must be seen to describe..". That way your hermeneutic is recognizable, and if you reach a conclusion that differs in some aspect, the rest of us can 'trace your steps' and examine other sources that may add(or detract) credence to your position.
    – Tau
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 2:58
  • @MarkEdward (cont)I have found that in addressing these "Revelations/Prophecy/Figurative Interpretation Type" questions on this site rely on "presuppositions" that are almost never stated, yet are crucial in understanding the answer provided. If you state your "Presuppositions"(read "hermeneutic") up front, the rest of us can track more clearly what you are suggesting, and avoid the "no recognizable hermeneutic" DV's and summarily dismissing questions such as these.
    – Tau
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 3:12

7 Answers 7


A quick recap of the apocalyptic genre

Sometime between 300-200 BC, the Jewish apocalyptic genre had emerged out of the existing prophetic literature. While these apocalypses differ in shape and subject matter, they do share a common set of features:

  • The main subject matter is a crisis in the author's present time, usually predicting some sort of divine intervention in favor of the people suffering from that crisis.
  • To lend credibility to their revelations about this crisis, the anonymous authors attributed their revelations to revered figures of Israel (Enoch, Jacob, Moses, Ezra, etc.).
  • Because these figures, of course, lived in the ancient past, these apocalypses would have the seer be instructed to seal up his revelations and hide them away. Thus their apocalypses would be 'discovered' only when the time was right, i.e. the time when the anonymous author actually wrote the book.

(For more on the act of 'sealing' an apocalypse, with examples, see this answer.)

The Revelation as a Jewish apocalypse

The Revelation has several features in common with the average apocalypse (see the list in this answer), so it is clear John is writing in the apocalyptic tradition. The book portrays a crisis, has deep symbolism, includes an angelic guide, etc. The only two differences are:

  • The author is not anonymous, and did not attribute his revelations to a revered figure from the past. It is nearly unanimous among critical scholars that the author is exactly who he says he is: a man named John, who believed the resurrected Jesus is the messiah of Israel, living sometime in the second half of the first century AD.
  • Because the author does not attribute his revelation to an ancient seer, he makes no pretense about the book being 'sealed' and hidden away through the ages until the time of his present crisis.

Regarding this latter issue, John makes it a point to open and close his Revelation on the same note: his prophecies 'must soon happen' precisely because 'the time is near'. He says this before describing any of his visions (Revelation 1.1-3) and repeats it after his visions come to their end (Revelation 22.6,10). As a direct consequence of this, John is explicitly forbidden from 'sealing' his prophecy (Revelation 22.10). From a text-critical standpoint, John could not be any clearer in telling his readers that the Revelation's subject matter concerns his own era, not necessarily one in the distant future.

The first beast of the Revelation

Keeping the Revelation in the author's geographical and historical context, we find several of the symbols point to the Roman Empire as the chief enemy of the book. (For a detailed look at these symbols, see this answer and this answer.)

The 'crisis' to which John was writing was that of the Roman Empire oppressing the emerging Christian church. By John's time, there was the recent persecution of Christians under Nero Caesar, as well as Nero's suicide, which rocked the empire into a year of disaster, before Vespasian took the reins and kept the empire from collapsing entirely. (It is generally agreed that Nero and his death, at the very least, are portrayed in Revelation 13.1)

Taking the whole sweep of the Revelation together, John appears to be leveling most of his criticism at the Roman Empire and its emperors, symbolized as the beast of the sea/abyss and its seven heads.

The second beast of the Revelation

Again keeping the Revelation in its geographical and historical, we remind ourselves that John was specifically addressing the Revelation to Christians in western Asia (i.e. modern Turkey). Out of all the empire, the Caesar cult was extremely popular in this region, including the very cities of the seven churches John was writing to.2

Politics and religion were deeply intertwined throughout the ancient world, so the mandatory allegiance to Roman authority included submission to the state religion (with rare exceptions, such as the Jews). The imperial cult also pushed for worship of Rome and the emperor. Around the turn of the century, we find references to localized attempts at stamping out the Christian movement, with the test of a 'true' Christian being someone who refused to participate in the state religion.3

John symbolizes the imperial cult as a second beast that enforces worship of the first beast. The first beast was the Roman Empire and its emperors, so the second beast is the empire's propaganda machine, the imperial cult.

Revelation 13.11-12 specifically

Verse 11: The first beast came from the sea, with one layer of this symbolism being that the Roman Empire came from across the Mediterranean Sea. In contrast, the second beast comes up from the earth; the emperor cult arises locally (in relation to the seven churches of Asia). The conflicting lamb/dragon symbolism indicates the imperial cult's deceptive religious influence.

Verse 12: The imperial cult enforces worship of the empire and its emperors, following the empire's unexpected survival after the Year of the Four Emperors.

Concluding summary

  1. Jewish apocalypses typically portrayed a crisis in the 'distant future' (actually the anonymous author's own time period).
  2. In contrast, the author of the Revelation cuts to the chase and says outright that his prophecies are about his own time period.
  3. The first beast of the Revelation altogether symbolizes the Roman Empire and its emperors, especially in its oppression of the emerging Christian movement.
  4. The second beast symbolizes the Empire's propaganda cult, which was very prominent in the Asia region, where the Revelation's primary recipients were located.


1 A diverse array of scholars take this position. For examples, see:

  • Richard Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation, p.37.
  • Bart Ehrman, The New Testament, p.478-481.
  • Elaine Pagels, Revelations, p.32-33.
  • N.T. Wright, Revelation for Everyone, p.122.

To the point that it's even included in annotated bibles:

  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible, p.437-438 footnotes.
  • The Jewish Annotated New Testament, p.484-485 footnotes.

2 For the prominence of the imperial cult in Asia, see: S.R.F. Price, Rituals and Power: The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor.

3 For example, see Pliny's letter to Trajan. Pliny was writing from the Asia region.

  • Thank you for your response! My guess is your answer is the Preterist view, given because of it's emphasis on fulfillment in the 1st century, along with the "Year of the 4 Emperors", which coincidentally happened in 69AD, a year before the "all things be fulfilled in this generation". Of course, this presumes an earlier date than 95AD for the writing of Revelations, and then of course the "highly allegorized" view of Christ's return to rule, as there can be no possible explanation for Christ's Physical Reign on earth.
    – Tau
    Commented May 18, 2014 at 2:57
  • No, not preterist or allegorical or anything. Just the general approach taken by the majority of 'critical scholarship'.
    – user2910
    Commented May 18, 2014 at 16:01
  • Preterism generally supports the "critical scholarship" view, as they see the fulfillment or "back looking" position which the 'critical scholarship' view takes. However, I find no Preterists agreeing with the "164BCE" date; what is interesting is there is a lot of 'back-pedaling' by critical scholars after the recent discovery and translation of the Cave 4 Qumran scrolls-which afirm the MS texts. Since the date of 1 fragment was arrived at mid 2nd century BCE, it becomes very unlikely that the redactions thought to have occured, actually did.
    – Tau
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 4:52
  • 1
    Preterism presupposes NT prophecy, including most or all of the Revelation, focused on and was fulfilled in the events leading up to 70 AD. Critical scholarship, which is not an explicitly Christian view like preterism is, makes no such presupposition about 70 AD. So, my answer is not from a 'preterist' perspective. It is not accurate to label it as such. (The date of Daniel is also irrelevant to the answer I provided.)
    – user2910
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 5:11

The Revelation provides the reader two hermeneutic guidelines of interpretation.

Revelation 22:18-19 (NASB)
18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

The Greek word for "add" is ἐπιτίθημι, which means to place or overlay something (such as hands, yokes, or clothing on people or animals). The warning therefore is against exaggerating the prophecy of Revelation by "overlaying" superfluous meanings to the text. Those therefore who add to the words of prophecy will have the plagues of Revelation added to them; -- that is, they will suffer temporal consequences.

The Greek word for "take away" is ἀφαιρέω, which means to sever (ears); to take away (opportunity); or to dismiss (sins). The idea therefore is to minimalize the prophecy of Revelation by "cutting away" the meanings of the text. Those therefore who take away from the words of prophecy (minimalists) will have their access to the Tree of Life and the Holy City taken away; -- that is, they will suffer eternal consequences.

With these stern warnings in mind, we approach Revelation 13:11-12 with the hermeneutic that is "plain and normal."

Before the writings of the New Testament appeared, there were three characters in the Hebrew Bible whom the Jews had expected.

  1. The Prophet (Second Moses), described in Deut 18:15-16
  2. The Christ (Son of David), described in 2 Sam 7:10-16
  3. The Voice Announcing Messiah (Elijah), described in Mal 4:5-6

How and where these three characters would appear (from the perspective of the Hebrew Bible) was unknown. When John the Baptist appeared, the priests and Levites asked him if he were one of these three characters:

John 1:19-23 (NASB)
19 This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he *said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”

The two characters referenced in Revelation 13:11-12 are the False Prophet and the False Christ (Antichrist). The False Prophet performs the same miracles that Elijah performed (please compare Rev 13:13 with 1 Ki 18:38). He also administers the False Covenant (Rev 13:16), which stands against the Old Covenant (Deut 6:8). In this context the False Prophet therefore appears to be fulfilling the roles of The Prophet (Second Moses) and the Voice Announcing Messiah (Elijah). He will have a prominent role in the nation of Israel in the future.

In summary, the words of the Book of Revelation in this context are predictive prophecy. By referencing several passages from the Hebrew Bible, the interpretation of the preceding paragraphs neither "adds to" nor "takes away" from the words of the prophecy of this book. In other words, the hermeneutical approach is plain and normal.

  • I would have to say that all 4 of the various interpretation categories would say their viewpoint falls within the admonitions of Rev. 22:18-19, yet they are widely distinct; so I would disagree that they are 'hermeneutics', rather they define the limitations of which a particular hermeneutic can be used. Your answer, as I understand it, seems to fall within the "Futurist/Dispensational" hermeneutic, is that a fair assessment?
    – Tau
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 3:26
  • What intrigues me about your answer is that it uses the "Old Testament" model to describe New Testament realities; in other words examining both OT and NT as One Revelation. This is more in line with the Historicist viewpoint, of which I am more predisposed to. When we say "We can ascertain what will happen in the future but what has happened in the past", we apply a 'historicist' viewpoint that guides our understanding. Do you accept this statement, or do you want to clarify for the sake of understanding your position?
    – Tau
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 3:38
  • @user2479 - The Revelation is the "Union Station" of the Bible. How can one possibly try to interpret the text without some very good familiarization of the Old Testament? Yes, of course, I agree with you. Historicist - but with the bias for "plain and normal" interpretation.
    – Joseph
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 12:04

Presuppositions Identified

Part of the reason for asking this question is to unveil the framework in understanding the various responses. While each answer is unique, and to the credit of each responder, they didn't argue their answer as a 'template' for one of the 4 Hermeneutical Approaches that I mentioned, nevertheless they 'took' one of the 4 approaches. Therefore, in order to "argue" for their interpretation, one has to understand the presuppositions that lead them to their conclusions.


Robert Mounce summarizes the idealist view stating, “Revelation is a theological poem presenting the ageless struggle between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. It is a philosophy of history wherein Christian forces are continuously meeting and conquering the demonic forces of evil.”

A good example of this interpretation can be found from the source referenced by sambolic, Andrew of Caesarea:

Instead of engaging in fear mongering or fanning the fiâmes of anxiety, Andrew uses Révélation for an appropriate spiritual purpose: as a message of encouragement and hope. This may appear paradoxical in the context of the common perception of the Apocalypse and the related adjective "apocalyptic," but in fact, Revelation's original message and purpose (its CKOTCÔÇ)574 was one of hope and persévérance through tribulation. Andrew's commentary promotes and préserves the original purpose of Révélation: to encourage the reader to persévère and remain faithful, and hopefully to live a spiritually improved life. Révélation offers no promise of deliverance from tribulation, but hope always remains because of Christ.(taken from here page 144

Dr. Art Zannoni, a religious education instructor for the Archdioceses of Mpls.-St. Paul says it like this,"(from here)

This book provided hope for Christians who were being persecuted and can help people today to practice their faith in difficult times and live hopefully.

By taking an 'Idealist' view, one can be "absolved" from any definitive answer regarding an interpretation; in fact, all the views at some level acknowledge the struggle between good and evil, with the eventual outcome on the side of good. But why write a mere 'allegory' on a conflict thoroughly examined in previous parts of the Bible? Is God merely telling His followers, 'You're doing a good job, keep it up...'? Or, is there a level of understanding that many of the Early Church Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, were convinced we should have, even though they believed that 'understanding' wasn't available to them in their time?


Preterism is defined as,"

A Christian eschatological view that interprets prophecies of the Bible as events which have already happened. Daniel is interpreted as events that happened in the second century BC while Revelation is interpreted as events that happened in the first century AD. Preterism holds that Ancient Israel finds its continuation or fulfillment in the Christian church at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The term preterism comes from the Latin praeter, which is listed in Webster's 1913 dictionary as a prefix denoting that something is "past" or "beyond," signifying that either all or a majority of Bible prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70. Adherents of preterism are commonly known as preterists"(taken from Wikipedia)

Partial preterists believe that most of the prophecies of Revelation were fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem but that chapters 20-22 point to future events such as a future resurrection of believers and return of Christ to the earth.

What is important to understand about Preterist/Partial Preterism is that they equate the "church" with the "Israel of God", and therefore see no future role for the Nation of Israel; Israel has been "replaced" by the church. This is a subset of Covenant Theology, which basically defines God's dealings through Covenants: one of them is the Covenant of Works(Law), the other is the Covenant of Grace(unmerited favor). Since they consider Israel as "under the Law" vs "under Grace", they say that the "Covenant of Works" ended at the Destruction of the Temple in 70AD. So they define ALL eschatology within this framework; this is why the "Nero Caesar=Antichrist" and the view the Book of Daniel as written between 150-200BC; EVERYTHING must fit(whether it makes sense or not) within this Law v Grace framework. They view the "Modern Nation of Israel" not as fulfilling God's End-Time promise of restoration(see Deut. 30:1-7) but as a "cultural anomaly" to be given no more regard than to Burkina-Faso.

In regards to Preterism, Robert Mounce states,

The major problem with the preterist position is that the decisive victory portrayed in the latter chapters of the Apocalypse was never achieved. It is difficult to believe that John envisioned anything less than the complete overthrow of Satan, the final destruction of evil, and the eternal reign on God. If this is not to be, then either the Seer was essentially wrong in the major thrust of his message or his work was so helplessly ambiguous that its first recipients were all led astray.


The key thing to note is that the Futurist/Dispensational view takes the Revelation scripture Literally, or until, as J.N. Darby-the Father of Dispensationalism states,"To do so would do violence to the text."

Both Futurists and Dispensationalists see a "Future" fulfillment of Revelations, and a return of Christ's physical reign on earth. They both see Christ's return to the Nation of Israel as fulfillment of both Old Testament and New Testament prophecies. Where Dispensationalists differ from Futurists is they see God's dealings as divided up in "Dispensations", and as we are now living in the "Church Age" or Dispensation, culminated in a "Pre-Tribulation Rapture", where Christ comes "in the air" to take the Church away 1st, then returns to rule Israel and any who survive a "7 year Tribulation" period. Therefore, they interpret the "Antichrist/False Prophet" as future individuals who will 'appear' on the scene AFTER the 'church' has left. Futurists, on the other hand, see both Israel and the church joined during the last days, as well as during the Millennial Reign. Christ may come before, during or after the tribulation for them; they view the Letter to the Church at Philadelphia as "protecting" versus "removing" them during this time.

The main criticism leveled against Futurists/Dispensationalists is they "shove everything into the future". Their "normal/Literal" interpretation of the Scripture precludes any understanding that isn't spelled out specifically in the text; just as the Preterist MUST see everything as happening in the 1st century, they MUST see everything happening in the last seven years. Any symbol mentioned must have a Literal(although representational) view, they frequently cite a 'future antichrist' appearing as a world leader who takes up his residence in Israel. They don't acknowledge any interpretation that sees past or present day circumstances as fulfillment of any symbolism-it must be shoved off into the future.


Perhaps the most divergent, and widely misunderstood view is the Historicist. The Historicist view takes the Book of Revelations as being fulfilled throughout history, although there are various 'camps' which identify the symbols as meaning certain things; one of them was the "7 Headed 10 Horned Beast was the Roman Empire, and the Antichrist was the papacy. This view was espoused by the early Protestant reformers, so it is no wonder that little effort has been made to 'reconcile' the division; if you call someone the 'antichrist' you can assure yourself of future discord.

What the Historicist offers is a "continuous" unveiling of the Book of Revelations, versus an "all at the beginning", or "all at the end" view. The challenge is to find a "hermeneutic" to define the Figurative language used, and correlate it to a theme that one can readily identify, rather than the capricious whim of the interpreter.

Answer to Question

It is to this view that I propose an answer to the question of Rev. 13:11-12.

1) The way to understand Revelations is to understand God's dealings with man throughout history; therefore, the figurative language used in the Old Testament is relevant for the New Testament-it is "One Revelation".

The first principle, Scripture Interprets Scripture, is surely especially true for the Book of Revelation since at least half of its content is drawn from Old Testament concepts or text. When understanding what a "beast" is for example, we not only recall that Daniel established this symbolism for a National Ruler, but that Revelation 13 actually cites Daniel 7. To understand what Revelation means by "a Harlot" we recall that the Old Testament prophets repeatedly described Israel and Judah's breach of their covenant with God as "harlotry". The same goes for the use of numbers as symbols. Revelation cannot be understood without being familiar with the language of the Old Testament.(taken from Andrew Corbett here)

So instead of matching a 'theology' with symbols, we take the previously used symbols to understand the truths of Revelations. Therefore, the 10 horns of the "Beast" of Rev. 13:1 correspond to the "10 horns" of the Beast of Daniel 7:7; and we know they are 'kingdoms' because they are interpreted as that in Dan. 7:24. In previous answers that I gave, I defined the 7 Headed 10 Horned Beast as Secular Humanism, in this place and this I spell out why-from the hermeneutic previously described.

What is important is that this "Beast of the Earth"(False Prophet) operates in the AUTHORITY of the "Beast of the Sea"(Antichrist),

And 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.

Since this "authority" is "man-given", and not "God given", what "rises up from the earth", versus the "sea", which we are told in Rev. 17:15 are,"

And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

The "Earth" here means 'earthly' or empirical, versus "sea" which are peoples. One is exercising it's authority over people, the other, over inanimate objects, yet they are BOTH exercising their authority against God.

The name of the "Beast" that represents authority over inanimate objects is Science, or better said, "Science falsely so-called"(I Tim. 6:20) as the Stoics, Epicureans, Pythagoreans opposed Paul and the Gospel, citing "knowledge"(Gnosis) of how they perceived the universe, versus the truth about God's creation. This "beast" has 2 horns like a lamb, meaning that it speaks 'meekly', and has no interest of it's own, it is a 'servant' of mankind, yet it "roars like a dragon" meaning, "If you dare oppose me, watch out!" We see from all the latest studies that predict and contradict, and yet no one asks "What right do you have to speak in the 1st place?" Evolution (without proof) is accepted as dogma, and Christianity is tossed in the cultural dustbin of time.

It performs great miracles, but apart from the auspices of God, as most scientists are avowed atheists. "Fire from Heaven" is seen as "God's approval" for it's actions(think Elijah and the prophets of Baal) and most believe,"...isn't it marvelous that we have all these technological advancements", yet all the while faith is being decreased, as well as abortion, euthanasia, wholesale destruction are advanced as part of it's agenda. The "image" that this "beast" creates is "Modern Man", or Modern Technological Society-free from the 'religious constraints' of an 'antiquated God'. I won't discuss the 'mark of the Beast' as it will consume much more space, but this 'beast' makes possible the idea of "World Dominion".


As you can see, there are a variety of views based on the presuppositions(hermeneutics) held. I believe the Historicist view, although most likely to be misused, provides the best opportunity to obtain the truth, as it does not confine it to one end of the historical spectrum or the other, but makes use of previously defined revelation to bring new insight.


Any sources not included in quotes come from here.

For a further understanding of Covenant Theology, here.



  • I have further references to Futurist/ Dispensationalism: "Dispensationalism" by Charles Ryrie, "Things to Come" by Dwight Pentecost, "Prophecy in the New Millenium" by John Walvoord all describe the Dispensationalist viewpoint. C.M. Scofield of the Scofield Bible includes notes and an outline of Dispensationalism.
    – Tau
    Commented May 18, 2014 at 20:11
  • Factual note: the opinion that Daniel was written c.174 BC was developed by critics. The first known advocate of this view was Poryphyry, writing 'Against Christians' in the third century AD, and the opinion gained popularity after the European Enlightenment. It developed independently from preterism, and in my experience most preterists take the traditional opinion that Daniel was written c.530 BC.
    – user2910
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 5:03
  • Sorry, typo: c.164 BC.
    – user2910
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 14:52
  • I hate to be a nitpicker here, but after rereading this answer, the more unsatisfactory I find it. The descriptions of the idealist, preterist, and futurist approaches are all grossly misrepresentative. I've downvoted for this reason. I considered editing the answer to clean up the misleading generalities and straw mans, but this can't be done without altering the fundamental drive of the answer itself.
    – user2910
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 5:22
  • @MarkEdward As I indicated in my remarks, there are 'nuances' to every position. And there vigorous disagreements in each camp, especially in the Historicist one. My purpose was to identify the "presuppositions" from which each answer is derived, NOT to re-state each answer, which to each author's credit, is unique and different. I'm curious why the 'non-Christian' remark to the "critical scholarship" view; most of the sources I've read at least 'claim' to have some basis in Christianity-albeit from a "textual-critical" view. Non-believers generally dismiss it as fantasy.
    – Tau
    Commented May 20, 2014 at 12:11

The second beast, also called the False Prophet, in Revelation, here in Rev 13. This is of course based upon my interpretational perspective.

Coming from a mild - preterist framework. While some Preterists see all events as fulfilled in or around 70Ad, mild Preterists hold that the majority of events were fulfilled in the first few centuries, through the fall of Rome. I personally see a literal, fulfilled millennium in the 'Middle Ages', as supported by Foxxes Book of Martyrs. Similar to the historicist view, but still Preterist in natire, my views locate a Domitian beast, as Nero back from the dead, with Nero's self inflicted sword to the neck the incurable head wound.

Advantages to this view are that Domitian is the 11th emperor if once counts the three short lived emperors in the year of four emperors (fulfilling Daniels vision), and he is eighth if omitted (these three can be said not to have reigned in Judea, fulfilling Revelation 16). Domitian was Vespasian's son, as was Titus before him. Titus reigned 2 years, 3 mo, thus, remaining for a short time. Domitian also had a 25' or so statue erected in Ephesus.

The case is made that this Second Beast perhaps represents the Imperial Cult, or, perhaps a leader in it (or both). This was the organization for instituting mandatory emperor worship.

In this way, not only do we find fulfillment for the details of Revelation 13, but we also see this group responsible for causing the people to worship the beast, Domitian.


Who is being described in Rev. 13:11-12 and in what context do we understand the verses?"

Revelation 13:11-13 NASB

The Beast from the Earth

11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. 12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who live on it worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of the sky to the earth in the presence of people.

What do all these symbolic expressions represent- (Beast - Beast coming up out of the earth - Two horns - making fire ) in the book of Daniel and Revelation?


Represents, Kingdoms- Empires- Governments. (Dan. 7:23)

Daniel 7:23 NASB

23 “This is what he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth which will be different from all the other kingdoms, and will devour the whole earth and trample it down and crush it.

Two horns: (Dan. 8:20)

Represents two Kingdoms- Go existing and acting together, being in close association and functions as one power. e.g. Media and Persia. (Dan. 8:20)

Daniel 8:20-21 NET

20 The ram that you saw with the two horns stands for the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The male goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between its eyes is the first king.

Coming up out of the earth,not the sea:

Coming up from the already established earthly powers-kingdoms,from the more stable humankind type of governments.

Isaiah 57:20 NASB

20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud.

Daniel also saw a vision that well describes not only the Roman Empire but also the next world power that would grow out of Rome. ( Dan. 7:7-8.)

Daniel 7:7-8 NASB

[Rome] ,[7 th power.] Inserted in the verse by me for clarification

. 7 After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, [Rome] dreadful and terrible, and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 While I was thinking about the horns, behold, another horn,[7 th power.] a little one, came up among them, and three of the previous horns were plucked out before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like human eyes, and a mouth uttering great boasts.[7 th power]


"Vs 12b -13a ) "He makes the earth and those who live on it worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed makes fire come down out of the sky to the earth ." This dual horn power must be economically and militarily very powerful it opposes fiercely other forms of Government not like its own" and makes fire come down from the sky."(Vs13a), this means it uses threats, pressures and even makes wars (fire)against them.

A further description of this 7th power is written by Daniel, he states that it grew out of the Roman Empire. The feet of the image is described as a combination of iron and clay. ( Dan. 2:41-43. 7:23-24)

Daniel 2:41-43 NET

41 In that you were seeing feet and toes partly of wet clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom. Some of the strength of iron will be in it, for you saw iron mixed with wet clay. 42 In that the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, the latter stages of this kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 And in that you saw iron mixed with wet clay, so people will be mixed with one another[f] without adhering to one another, just as[g] iron does not mix with clay.

This beast will be the fourth kingdom, this beast is "Rome" and that ten kindoms will arise from it. I believe that some of these powers are France, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, England and that one of them will humiliate three others. Did they have wars between them. Need Help on history - Thanks.

Daniel 7:23-24 NASB

23 “This is what he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth which will be different from all the other kingdoms, and will devour the whole earth and trample it down and crush it. 24 As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will [a]humble three kings.

John also saw a vision of a two-horned wild beast that spoke like a dragon. What does this strange beast represent? It has two horns, so it is dual power. and describes its special role.​Read Revelation 13:11-15.


The above two horn power will be active during Jesus' Presence -Presence from the Greek word - "pa·rou·siʹa." "End of the age - from the Greek word -syn·teʹlei·a. "End of the age - from the Greek word -syn·teʹlei·a.


In a private conversation with four of his apostles, they raised two interesting expressions "thy presence" and "end of the age"( Mt 24:3 YTL) What do this expressions mean?

Mt 24:3 YTL "And when he is sitting on the mount of the Olives, the disciples came near to him by himself, saying, 'Tell us, when shall these be? and what is the sign of thy presence, and of the full end of the age?'

Empires mentioned in the Books of Daniel and Revelation are 1. Egypt 2. Assyria 3. Babylon 4. Medo- Persia 5. Greece, 6. Rome, 7. Power? Two horn , meaning dual power.


What is one of the ways that we can identify the one being referred to in these passages?

Rev. 13:18 NKJV
18Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

What is one of the ways that we can identify the one being referred to in these passages? John said, "calculate the number of the beast." Is this a literal beast? John clarified, "it is the number of a man". What is the number of this man? John said, "His number is 666". 

What does it mean to calculate the number of the beast? What, when calculated, will equal the number 666?

Rev. 13:18 fn. Douay
"SIX HUNDRED SIXTY-SIX. The numeral letters of his name shall make up this number."
Rev. 13:18 fn. OAB
"… the number of the beast (666) is the sum of the separate letters of his name."

(The Holy Bible, Douay Version. Nihil Obstat: John M. Fearns, S.T.D., Imprimatur: Francis Cardinal Spellman, D.D., New York: C. Wildermann Co. Inc., 1950.)
(The Oxford Annotated Bible: Revised Standard Version, edited by Rev. Dr. Herbert G. May and Dr. Bruce M. Metzger. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press,1962.)

What, when calculated, will equal the number 666? The Douay footnote reads, "The numeral letters of his name." What kind of answer is the number 666? The OAB footnote reads, "the sum." Hence, what mathematical operation must be applied to the letters of his name to equal 666? Addition.

What names have people proposed over the years as the solution to this equation? Neron Caesar, Diocles Augustus, Luther and Lateinos to name a few. How can we solve the identity of this man conclusively? We must consider all of the identifiers provided for us by the Bible.

What are all of the identifiers supplied to us by the Bible in solving the identity of this man? How was this man described in John's vision? 

Rev. 13:11, 16-18 NKJV
11Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.
16He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

How was this man described in John's vision? John said, "I saw another beast coming up out of the earth." What did this man possess? John said, "two horns". What would this man be likened to? John said, "a lamb." How would this man speak? John said, "like a dragon". What kind of sign would this man give? John said, "a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads". What would be done by those with his sign? John said, "buy or sell". Who must fulfill all of these conditions? The man whose number is 666.

In addition to the names previously mentioned, what is another name whose letters add up to 666? Vicarius Filii Dei. What is Vicarius Filii Dei? It's a Latin name.

What does Vicarius Filii Dei mean?

Our Sunday Visitor, April 18, 1915, p. 3
"Vicarius Filii Dei, which is the Latin for Vicar of the Son of God. The institution of the Roman Catholic Church holds that the church which is a visible society must have a visible head. Christ, before His ascension into heaven, appointed St. Peter to act as His representative. Upon the death of Peter the man who succeeded to the office of Peter as Bishop of Rome was recognized as the head of the Church. Hence to the Bishop of Rome, as head of the Church was given the title ‘Vicar of Christ’.”

(Our Sunday Visitor. A National Catholic Weekly. Imprimatur: Pope Pius X; John Bonzano, Apostolic Delegate; J. H. Alerding, Bishop of Fort Wayne. Huntington, Indiana: April 18, 1915.)

What does Vicarius Filii Dei mean? Catholic authorities say, "Vicar of the Son of God." Who was given the title Vicar of Christ? Catholic authorities say, "the Bishop of Rome". Who is called the Bishop of Rome? The Roman Catholic Pope.

What are the numeral letters of the Latin alphabet? 

Webster's New World Dict., p. 1234, 1540 & fn.
"... the Roman letters used as numerals until the 10th cent. A.D.: ..."
"... I = 1, U or V (see fn.) = 5, X = 10, L = 50, C = 100, D = 500, M = 1000"
"fn. 'U, u (yōō) n., pl. U's, u's 1. the twenty-first letter of the English alphabet: formerly a variant of V, v; not until the 18th century was it established as a vowel symbol only.'"

(Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition. Editor-in-chief: David B. Guralnik. New York and Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1970)

What are the numeral letters of the Latin alphabet? "I = 1, U or V (see fn.) = 5, X = 10, L = 50, C = 100, D = 500, M = 1000." When converted into numerals, what sum is reached by adding together the letters of Vicarius Filii Dei? 

V =   5
I =   1
C = 100
A =   0    F =   0
R =   0    I =   1
I =   1    L =  50    D = 500
U =   5    I =   1    E =   0
S =   0    I =   1    I =   1
-------    -------    -------
    112    +    53    +   501  =  666

Does this mean that the Pope is the fulfillment of the man being prophesied in these passages? As mentioned previously, many names can add up to 666.

Thus, what do we need to do? We need to see if the Pope also fulfills the other identifiers that point to the identity of the man whose number is 666. What is one of those identifiers? The man is likened to a beast.

What kind of men are symbolized by beasts? 

Dan. 7:17 NKJV
17'Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth.

What kind of men are symbolized by beasts? The angel said, "kings."

What is one of the titles held by the Roman Catholic Priest? 

F. of Our Fathers, p. 320
“To sum up in a few brief sentences the titles of a Catholic Priest: He is a king, reigning not over unwilling subjects, but over the hearts and affections of his people.”

(The Faith of our Fathers, by James Cardinal Gibbons, New York: P.J. Kennedy & Sons, 1917.)

What is one of the titles held by the Roman Catholic Priest? According to James Cardinal Gibbons, the ninth Archbishop of Baltimore, "He is a king".

Likewise, what is one of the titles held by the Roman Catholic Pope? 

Q. Box, p. 168
"In these wise words the Pope answers those unthinking bigots who keep repeating our Lord's words 'My kingdom is not of this world.' It is true that the Pope is a King of a little strip of territory in Italy, but if he is King in this world, he is not of it, for he demanded his Kingship only as a means for the indispensable exercise of his spiritual office."

(The Question Box: Replies to Questions Received on Missions to Non-Catholics, by Rev. Bertrand L. Conway. Nihil Obstat: Remigius LaFort, S.T.L., Censor deputatus. Imprimatur: Joannes M. Farley, Archiep. Neo Ebor. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1929.)

Likewise, what is one of the titles held by the Roman Catholic Pope? According to Bertrand L. Conway, a Paulist priest, "the Pope is a King". What is one the identifying marks of the man whose number is 666? He is a beast or king.

What is another identifying mark of the man whose number is 666? He would possess two horns.

When used symbolically, what do horns represent? 

Amos 6:13 & fn. Berkeley
13You who rejoice in what is nothing; who say, 'Is it not by our own strength we have taken horns[r] for ourselves?
“r. The symbol of strength or authority.”

(The Berkeley Version in Modern English. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1959.)

When used symbolically, what do horns represent? The footnote reads, "authority". 

What two kinds of authority has the Catholic Pope possessed, historically? 

F. of Our Fathers, p.113
"Unable to obtain assistance from the Emperor in the East, or the Governor at Ravenna, the citizens of Rome looked up to the Popes as their only Governors and protectors, and their only salvation in the dangers which threatened them. The confidence which they reposed in the Pontiffs was not misplaced. The Popes were not only devoted spiritual Fathers, but firm and valiant civil Governors."

(The Faith of our Fathers, by James Cardinal Gibbons, New York: P.J. Kennedy & Sons, 1917.)

What two kinds of authority has the Catholic Pope possessed, historically? Gibbons said, "The Popes were not only devoted spiritual Fathers, but firm valiant civil Governors."

According to historians, what two kinds of authority were possessed by the Roman Catholic Church itself? 

W. History, p. 265
"You will remember that the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was not just one religious denomination among the rest, but that it claimed and enforced the obedience of everyone born or baptized into its fold. It held courts, collected taxes, made laws, rebuked kings and emperors, and punished those who rebelled against its authority just as if it were a political government in addition to having the spiritual claims of a church."

(World History. Arthur E. R. Boak, Preston Slosson, & Howard R. Anderson. Madison: United States Armed Forces Institute, 1942.)

According to historians, what two kinds of authority were possessed by the Roman Catholic Church itself? These historians write, "as if it were a political government in addition to having the spiritual claims of a church." What is one of the identifying marks of the man whose number is 666? He would have two horns or two authorities.

How else can we identify the man whose number is 666? He would be likened to a Lamb.

Who is the Lamb being referred to? 

John 1:29 NKJV
29The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Who is the Lamb being referred to? According to John the Baptist, "Jesus."

Who do the Roman Catholic Priests liken themselves to? 

F.S.I.J., p. 195
"Chris, you’ve told me that you are attending Mass every Sunday, and I can well understand that you’ve become quite puzzled over many things. You see the priest wearing strange vestments. You hear bells. You see the people alternately kneel and stand and sit down. All this may confuse the convert for some time, making him wonder whether he’ll ever be able to learn how to attend Mass intelligently, much less participate in it."
"Yes, I’ve observed these things and have been awaiting your explanation."
"The explanations aren’t difficult to understand once you realize that the priest deals directly with Almighty God and represents Christ. That’s why he’s clothed as he is. He wears vestments known as the amice, alb, cincture, stole, and chasuble. These are the garments of sacrifice."

(Father Smith Instructs Jackson, by Most Rev. John Francis Noll, D.D., LL.D., Nihil Obstat: Rev. Lawrence Gollner, Imprimatur: Leo A. Pursley, D.D., Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Inc., 1975.)

Who do the Roman Catholic Priests liken themselves to? According to John F. Noll, Archbishop of Fort Wayne, "the priest deals directly with Almighty God and represents Christ." How does the priest liken himself to Christ? Noll writes, "That's why he's clothed as he is". 

Who did Christ forewarn would liken themselves to the Lamb by means of their clothing? 

Matt. 7:15 Lamsa
15Be careful of false prophets who come to you in lamb's clothing, but within they are ravening wolves.

Who did Christ forewarn would liken themselves to the Lamb by means of their clothing? Christ said, "false prophets". Likewise, what was one of the identifying marks of the man whose number is 666? He would be likened to a lamb or to our Lord Jesus Christ.

What was another identifying mark of the man whose number is 666? He would speak like a dragon.

Who is the dragon being referred to here? 

Rev. 12:9 NKJV
9So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Who is the dragon being referred to here? John said, "the Devil".

What are two devilish doctrines? 

I Tim. 4:1, 3 KJV
1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
3Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

What are two devilish doctrines? Paul said, "Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from flesh meats."

What are two doctrines taught within the Catholic Church? What are priests prohibited from doing and what cannot be eaten on certain days of the year?

F. of Our Fathers, p. 328
"The discipline of the Church has been exerted from the beginning in prohibiting Priests to marry after their ordination."
M. of Chris. Doc., p. 317
“What does the second commandment of the Church order us to do? It orders us to fast and to abstain from flesh meat on certain days of the year."

(The Faith of our Fathers, by James Cardinal Gibbons, New York: P.J. Kennedy & Sons, 1917.)
(Manual of Christine Doctrine: Comprising Dogma, Moral, and Worship. New York: Lasalle Bureau, 1949.)

What are priests prohibited from doing? Gibbons said, "from the beginning in prohibiting Priests to marry after their ordination." What cannot be eaten on certain days of the year? A seminary professor said, "flesh meat". What was one of the identifying marks of the man whose number is 666? He would speak like a dragon or the Devil. What are two doctrines of the Devil? Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meat.

How else can we identify the man whose number is 666? He would give those under His power a sign of the right hand and forehead.

What sign is made using the right hand and forehead? 

Rel., Doc. & Prac., p. 341
"How do we make the sign of the cross? In making the sign of the cross we place the extended fingers of our right hand on the forehead …"

(Religion: Doctrine and Practice, by Francis B. Cassilly, S.J. Imprimi Potest: Charles H. Cloud, S.J., Imprimatur: George Cardinal Mundelein. Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1934.)

What sign is made using the right hand and forehead? Francis B. Cassilly writes, "the sign of the cross".

What sign is used to symbolize the Catholic faith? 

My Cath. Faith, p. 392
"The sign of the cross is the most common way of confessing our faith. By it we can know Catholics from non-Catholics."

(My Catholic Faith: A Catechism in Pictures, by Most Rev. Louis LaRavoire Morrow, D.D., Nihil Obstat: Henricus A. Coffey, S.J., Censor deputatus, Imprimatur: Michael J. O'Doherty, Archiepiscopus Manilensis. Manila, Philippines: The Catholic Truth Society, 1936, 1937, 1951.)

What sign is used to symbolize the Catholic faith? According to Louis LaRavoire Morrow, Bishop of Krishnagar, "the sign of the cross". What was one of the identifying marks of the man whose number is 666? He would give those under his power a sign of the right hand and forehead, which was fulfilled in the sign of the cross.

How else can we identify the man whose number is 666? Those with his sign would buy and sell.

What was bought and sold within the Roman Catholic Church? 

W. History, p. 266
"On every page of the Church's history we read of zealous monks and friars trying to cure the evils of the time and put an end to simony, which meant the sale of church offices for money, or nepotism, which meant the giving of church offices to relatives as a favor."
Ch. History, p. 265
"Most of the bishops, therefore, bought their office, and in their turn sold the dignities of secondary order; and the lower clergy, to reimburse themselves, sold the sacraments and the sacramentals."

(World History. Arthur E. R. Boak, Preston Slosson, & Howard R. Anderson. Madison: United States Armed Forces Institute, 1942.)
(Church History : A Complete History of the Catholic Church to the Present Day. By Rev. Fr. John Laux, M.A. Nihil Obstat: Arthur J. Scanlan, S.T.D., Censor Librorum. Imprimatur: Patrick Cardinal Hayes, Archbishop of New York. Charlotte, North Carolina: TAN Books, 1989.)

What was bought and sold within the Roman Catholic Church? According to historians, "church offices". What else? According to John Laux, a church historian, "sacraments and the sacramentals". What was one of the identifying marks of the man whose number is 666? Those with his sign would buy and sell. In whom were all of the identifying marks fulfilled? In the Catholic Pope, and by extension, the Catholic Church.

  • It's been a number of years since I've posted this question; and your response would fall under the category of "Historicist", although the presupposition is "The Beast has to be the Pope". There have been a number of Bad Popes, and even a few "Really Bad Popes"; many say the current pope falls in this category. But my question to you is,"How do you distinquish "a" Bad Pope from "Bad Popes". Luther called Leo XIII "The Antichrist". Leo returned the compliment. From your analysis Luther was correct...yet clearly he was wrong. Why?
    – Tau
    Commented Apr 20, 2021 at 4:52
  • @carsonfel Thank you for your recent analysis of the apostasy here and elsewhere, a doctrine clearly taught by the apostles. We want to make this site welcoming to a variety of backgrounds, including Catholics. Could you make a case for the apostasy in a manner that is less condemnatory of Catholics? Some of the examples here are pretty harsh.. Commented Apr 28, 2021 at 23:31
  • @HoldToTheRod As reasonable of a request as that may seem, it's not up to me to decide what the Scripture points to. But in the end, it's up to the reader to make up their own mind about it. If God corrects us, it's because He loves us (Prov. 3:11-12), which is more important than anybody's feelings (Gal. 1:10).
    – carsonfel
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 6:12
  • (+1) This view is controversial, but as carsonfel and Tau have noted, this is a standard biblical viewpoint popularised during the Reformation, and I consider it valuable for readers as one of the viewpoints that should be considered or balanced against. It's less helpful that you conflate the Pope with Catholics in general - this would be improved to lessen the influence on 'catholics' and keep the focus on the Pope, as Luther did.
    – Steve can help
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 8:14
  • @SteveTaylor You're right, I'd meant to refer to the Catholic Church as an institution under the Pope, rather than to the members themselves.
    – carsonfel
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 8:37

The reason why we do not have as many commentaries on the Revelation as other books is because the reading of the Revelation aloud in church was forbidden in the early church (I have here in mind the 59th and 60th canons of the Council of Laodicea, which so many other councils patterned themselves after). Indeed, Revelation barely made it into the canon of scripture. Christians had experienced enough fanaticism by the time the canon was made official (4th century) to know that spending time trying to figure out the coded messages of the work concerning THE END was not only not fruitful, it was a distraction to living a life mindful of ONE'S OWN END. Many ancient lists excluded Revelation from the canon, and most scholars cite it as the last book to be admitted to the canon. In the Eastern Orthodox Churches (and I exclude here Non-Chalcedonians such as the Copts), the effect of these lists and councils is still felt, as the Revelation is still not read in any liturgical setting.

Nevertheless, there are many ancient commentaries written on the Apocalypse. Here is a link to a list (which is not really complete, but mentions many of the most known works): http://www.kerux.com/doc/2302A5.asp

I would like to add, however, that what sits in my mind regarding this great work of the Apocalypse are two quotes. The first is that of Christ himself, who admonishes us that the Father alone knows the hour of these events. The second is that of St. Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd Century Bishop), who says that works of prophecy like the Revelation are best used in a manner that applies to an event that has already occurred a particular prophecy (in other words, to use it as a gauge of what's happening currently), rather than to imagine by reading those prophecies what may happen.

I know this does not answer your question directly, but the commentaries will. Andrew of Caesarea is a particularly interesting read, as it preserves much of the eastern tradition regarding the Apocalypse that was lost in the west. Best wishes.

  • Thank you for your response! I don't know who the other DV's are(they should give an explanation and not just 'random' DV); I didn't. Actually, your answer(or non answer) falls into 1 of the 4 catagories; for a number of "Mainline" denominations, Revelations is a "letter to a church in difficult times" which was to encourage believers to persist to their final reward. They have no specific position on the different 'types and symbologies', other than to say, "it will all pan out....".
    – Tau
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 23:45
  • I'm just sorry I couldn't help more directly. I could quote the theories of those whose links I sent you to, but you will find that there is not an overwhelming consensus among them. And I don't trust my own judgment to presume what the meaning of the passage is. I hope you find what you're looking for.
    – sambolic
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 18:45

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