The Secrets of the Beasts and Dragons of the Apocalypse – Part 4

The two Beasts of the Apocalypse
The two Beasts of the Apocalypse from the Apocalypse Tapestry

Text copyright ©  Jul 20, 2013 Dr. Elizabeth A. Garner, All Rights Reserved


There are two beasts and one dragon in the Book of Revelations, aka the Apocalypse.

Dürer depicts the two beasts of the Apocalypse in the same print.  The first Beast, mentioned in Rev 11:7, comes out of the sea, out of the “abyss.”


Beast with Two Horns Like a Lamb Apocalypse print
Beast with Two Horns Like a Lamb Apocalypse print

In Rev 13:1-10, we find out what the first beast looks like. It has the appearance of a leopard, the mouth of a lion and feet are like bear paws. This description was co-opted from the Hebrew Book of Daniel, where four beasts come out of the sea in the forms of a lion, bear, leopard and a beast with ten horns, so essentially the origin of this dragon beast concept is Jewish.

The first beast has seven heads with blasphemous names written on them and ten horns, each having a crown. One of the heads of the beast appears to have a fatal wound but the wound is healed causing people to wonder and follow the beast.

In Revelation chapter seventeen we learn that the beast is scarlet in color. The seven heads of the Beast represent both seven mountains and seven kings, and the ten horns are ten kings who have not yet received kingdoms. Of the seven kings we are told that five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come. We are also told that the beast itself is an eighth king who belongs to the seven but is going to his destruction. We are also told that this beast “once was, now is not, and yet will come.


The second beast is primarily described in Revelation chapter thirteen. This second beast comes out of the earth, whose overall appearance is not described, other than having two horns like that of a lamb and speaking like a dragon. His purpose is to promote the authority of the first beast with the ability of performing great signs, even making fire come down out of heaven. This second beast is also called the false prophet. He speaks like a dragon commanding the people of the Earth to make an image of the beast from the sea and to worship him. It is declared that anyone who does not worship the Beast or its image would be killed, even beheaded. The lamb-horned beast from the earth also ensures that everyone under this power bears the mark of the Beast on either the right hand or forehead.


The name of the second beast is never revealed, however scholars derived a numerical value for the beast, that being 666, although it can also be derived as 616. This is where the whole myth that the sign of the Beast was 666 derives. If you’d like to know more about  what is really said about the mark of the beast see


Let’s take a really close look at how Dürer depicted this Beast with Two Horns.


Albrecht Durer's Beast with two horns
The Beast With Two Horns

The Beast with Two Horns like a Lamb, The Beast of the Earth, the Beast who had a Mark 

In previous versions of bible that had been printed in Germany, the beast with two horns was depicted as “a sitting ewe,” (Quentelle Bible Apocalypse) or a winged dragon (Bamberg Apocalypse and Gruninger Bible). Dürer’s beast with two horns is clearly a lion with  horns.


But does Dürer’s beastly lion with the horns of a lamb have only two horns? Maybe, maybe not.  If one really studies how Dürer depicted the lamb horns on this lion, what one finds is that Dürer is depicting FOUR HORNS, not two.

What kind of sheep had four horns?  A sheep known as a Jacob sheep.



Jacob Sheep with four horns
A Jacob Sheep


The most distinguishing features of the Jacob sheep are their four horns, although they may have as few as two or as many as six.

The Jacob sheep is indeed a unique breed of antiquity. Slight of build, with the narrow, lean carcass typical of some of the ancient British breeds, they are immediately noticeable due to their black and white fleeces and prominent horns. Both males and females are horned, sporting two, four and occasionally six horns. Most striking to many people are four-horned rams with two vertical center horns as much as two feet long, and two side horns curling down along the side of the head. Two-horned rams develop the more familiar classic double curl. Horns on the ewe are always shorter and more delicate than the rams’ horns.


So why might Dürer be depicting a “beast” with four horns known as a Jacob sheep? Could he be referring to someone by the name of Jacob in this image? And why did he specifically put this two or four horned image on the body of a lion?

If we look very closely we can see that this Beast has a body of a lion emerging from the sea, even though the second beast is the Beast of the earth.  Has anyone spotted the problem yet?  Dürer has depicted the first beast, the one from the sea, as coming from the earth, and the second beast, which comes from the earth as coming from the sea.  In other words, the beasts are BACKWARDS, staring at everyone in plain sight. Why did he depict the story backwards?

The second beast is definitely a sea lion, a lion’s body coming from the sea.

There was one very famous Patrician family in Nuremberg who had a coat of arms of the Sea Lion-the Imhofs. And guess who had a family member named Jacob?

Coat of arms of Imhof
Coat of arms of Imhof


But if we look at the first beast, the beast with 7 heads and 10 horns in the three pictures in which Dürer included the seven headed Beast (The Apocalyptic Woman, the Beast With Two Horns Like a Lamb, and the Whore of Babylon), we find something else remarkable:

Beast with horns, apocalyptic woman and whore of Babylon
The three Beasts

Each one of these depictions of the beasts is different if one studies each print closely but there is a very important connection between them. While it looks like Dürer used as much fantasy and whimsy to construct these creatures to scare his audience, in fact he was very disciplined.  Each one of the parts of each of these beasts is designed according to two very specific parts of the Hebrew bible, Leviticus 11:3-8 and Deuteronomy 14:3-21.

What do these parts of the Hebrew bible describe?  The Jewish Kashrut dietary laws, what is kosher and non-kosher.  Every part of these beasts are made up of non-kosher parts, which were abominations to Jews.

Albrecht Dürer’s messages are very specific.

More to come.




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5 thoughts on “The Secrets of the Beasts and Dragons of the Apocalypse – Part 4

  1. We are so interested in the work you do and are glad to see you continuing the quest. We remember our brief encounter in Minnesota fondly!

    1. Eric! So great to hear from you! I sent you a private email. Pls let me know you got it!

      So many new Durer discoveries! I can’t write fast enough.

    1. David,

      “Worth” of a print has to do with condition and value to a collector. I posted a previous article about auction prices to give people an idea of how crazy the valuations in art and specifically in Durer’s art has become.

      I would never give an actual estimate as to value without speaking about a specific print, in Durer’s case the print has to survive many perils for over 500 years: war, pestilence, water, fire, insects, neglect, mold, etc.

      However, it seems that most Apocalypse prints, excluding the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse which sells at an incredibly high premium, these days is in the $25,000-$60,000 range depending upon condition. Auction prices are usually what is used to determine a baseline value, but there’s much shenanigans going on at auction houses also.

  2. Identification of the apocalyptic beast

    Says the Apocalypse that the beast could say greatness and blasphemies by 42 months, adding that their number was 666. We can take each month as being 30 years, obtaining, a period of 1260 years, precisely the period between 610 and 1870 A.D., when the Papacy was consolidated, after his birth, with the emperor Phocas, in 607, and the decree of papal infallibility with Pius IX, in 1870, which noted the decadence and absence of authority of the Vatican, in face of evolution scientific, philosophical and religious of Humanity.

    The number 666. We must to search to roman numerals, explaining that it is the Supreme Pontiff of the roman church who uses the titles of VICARIVS GENERALIS DEI IN TERRIS, VICARIVS FILII DEI and DVX CLERI meaning Vicar General of God on Earth, Vicar of the Son of God and Prince of the Clergy. It will suffice for the scholar a little game of patience, adding the roman numerals found in each papal title to find the same equation of 666, in each one of them.


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