Secrets of the Apocalypse-The Sounds of the Seven Trumpets, Part 3 of the Apocalypse is Coming!

Text copyright © July 16, 2013 Dr. Elizabeth A. Garner, All Rights Reserved

The Apocalypse grips everyone’s mind and the sounding of the Seven Trumpets is one of the most action packed parts of the story of Revelations. Let’s look at Dürer’s depiction of the Seven Trumpets.


Apocalypse pilgrims Albrecht Durer Renaissance michelangelo da vinci sistine dragons
The Seven Trumpets of the Apocalypse


The actual type of trumpet that would have been blown in ancient Israel and in the story of Revelations would have been the ram’s horn, what is known in Hebrew as the shofar.  It was blown since Moses’ day (Ex. 19:13) as a way to signal, get the Israelite’s attention or warn of a message coming from God


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The original shofar trumpet Joshua had sounded to bring down the walls of Jericho. Jews still use the shofar at Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish new year and on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement

Joshua used the shofar trumpet to bring the walls of Jericho tumbling down.

What Dürer  depicts in his composition of the Seven Trumpets is actually the French buisine, or Herald’s trumpet, which was 1-2 meters long.


Apocalypse Albrecht Durer Renaissance, Renaissance painters, pilgrims Michelangelo, da vinci, Sistine dragons
The buisine Herald Trumpet, usually 1-2 meters in length

To hear what this Herald’s trumpet sounded like, please listen at this link:

The sounding of the Seven Trumpets is described in Revelation 8:6-13.


But we have to remember that the bible we read today is vastly different than the bible versions available in medieval times. Altogether there are 13 medieval German translations before the Luther bible.  In 1466, Johannes Mentelin published the first printed bible in the German language, the Mentelin Bible, one of the first printed books in the German language and also the first printed vernacular Bible. The Mentelin Bible was reprinted in the southern German region a further thirteen times by various printers up until the Luther bible. About 1475 Günther Zainer of Augsburg printed an illustrated German edition of the Bible, with a second edition in 1477. Dürer ’s godfather, Anton Koberger,, made his fortune printing bibles.


The first trumpet causes hail and fire that destroys much of the plant life in the world (Revelation 8:7). The second trumpet brings about what seems to be a meteor hitting the oceans and causing the death of much of the world’s sea life (Revelation 8:8-9). The third trumpet is similar to the second, except it affects the world’s lakes and rivers instead of the oceans (Revelation 8:10-11). The fourth of the seven trumpets causes the sun and moon to be darkened (Revelation 8:12).

Before the fifth trumpet sounds, an eagle appears, flying upwards in mid-heaven, and warns, “Woe, woe, woe, to those who dwell on the earth,” because  the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound. Martin Luther changed the eagle to angel in his bible. The flying eagle introducing these trumpets reminds us of Hosea’s warnings to Israel: “Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law” (Hosea 8:1; Deuteronomy 28:49). We can assume that by  1496 or 1497, when Dürer  made this famous image, his bible version indicated an eagle and not an angel.

The fifth trumpet results in a plague of “demonic locusts” that attack and torture humanity (Revelation 9:1-11). The sixth trumpet releases a demonic army that kills a third of humanity (Revelation 9:12-21). The seventh trumpet calls forth the seven angels with the seven bowls of God’s wrath (Revelation 11:15-19, 15:1-8).


 Apocalypse pilgrims Albrecht Durer Renaissance michelangelo da vinci sistine dragons

It is amazing to see Dürer ’s genius in how he managed to combine so much action into one print.  It is the most crowded composition of all the Apocalypse prints and thought to be one of the earliest woodblocks made (circa 1496).  Most of the details derive from the Quentell bible woodblock representation known as the Trumpet Vision, printed in Cologne in 1480, so Dürer  would have had to have access to this Quentell image, probably from his godfather, Anton Koberger.


Dürer  hid a number of secrets in plain sight.  There are three compositional elements added to Dürer ’s version that had never been there before: the sun, the moon, and the hands, which hold the rock being thrown into the sea.  All of these elements are secret codes hidden in plain sight.  The actual positioning of the moon is one key clue, about Jewish timekeeping, especially lunar timekeeping.  However this is such a complicated subject, I will point you in the right direction if you chose to investigate this in more depth, starting at

I have yet to decipher all that is going on with the hands of God throwing the mountain into the sea and what is depicted is a very strangely shaped mountain, which in some ways resembles a medieval money pouch.  I invite all of you to try and figure out what this symbol is really telling us.

Closeups of the two clues hidden in plain sight

We also have a very strange clue in the hair of God in the upper center of the print.  Cleverly hidden in the hair but to the side is an “I5” or an “IJ” or a “J5” or a “JS” yet to be deciphered as to its meaning.  Here’s your chance to make a mark in art history: decode what the symbols in the hair of God means.


But the clearest clue hidden in plain sight is the eagle-which is NOT an eagle.  First of all, the eagle, according to the storyline, is supposed to be swooping upwards in the sky, Dürer  has the bird swoop down.

Secondly, it’s not an eagle, and we know this by the shape of the tail feathers.  Bird tail feathers are used for giving signals or messages to other birds and Dürer ’s bird gives us a message.  An eagle’s tail is not forked like the bird Dürer  depicts as we can see in this picture.×800.jpg

So what kind of bird is this with a forked tail?  It’s what’s known as a European kite or goshawk.  And in Hungary, the land of Dürer ’s ancestry, the goshawk was known as the Turul, a very important mythic image. It was the great bird resembling a falcon that was sent forth by Isten to guide the creation and destiny of the Magyar people. The first Hungarian kings after St Stephen I were the hereditary of the Turul (“Turul nemzetség”)

For more on the Hungarian Turul, please see


So why was Dürer  putting a Turul in the middle of Seven Trumpets?  He was giving us some sort of Hungarian message and some sort of Jewish message.  Feel free to leave your answers as comments.

More to come.









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4 thoughts on “Secrets of the Apocalypse-The Sounds of the Seven Trumpets, Part 3 of the Apocalypse is Coming!

  1. Hi Elizabeth,

    Have you considered the possibility that he has written in Rashi script. The S or 5 shape could be a lamed and perhaps the second letter has a vav hidden. Thus suggesting the 36 righteous or the lamed vavnicks.

      1. Lamed Vav
        According to a Statement of Abbaye in the Talmud (Sanh. 97b), “the world must contain not less than 36 (in Hebrew Lamed Vav) righteous men who are vouchsafed the sight of the Divine Presence”. The Talmud also says that these 36 differ from other righteous persons in that they behold the Divine Presence with special clarity. On this basis arose the legend of the Lamed Vav, men of usually humble vocation whose special spiritual gifts are not generally recognized or appreciated but by whose merit the world exists. In times of crisis and danger they reveal themselves and bring salvation to the people. According to the Tikkunei Zohar (Chapter 21) there are two such groups of 36 secret saints, one for the Land of Israel and one for elsewhere. The legend formed a basis for many Jewish folk tales.
        “The Encyclopaedia of the Jewish Religion” ADAMA

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