In Revelation 13:11 the author appears to be contrasting the lamb-like physical appearance of the animal with the ferocious speech. In fact, he compares the animal to a "lambkin":

[Rev 13:11 ESV] (11) Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.

[Rev 13:11 MGNT] (11) καὶ εἶδον ἄλλο θηρίον ἀναβαῖνον ἐκ τῆς γῆς καὶ εἶχεν κέρατα δύο ὅμοια ἀρνίῳ καὶ ἐλάλει ὡς δράκων

The word translated "lamb" is actually a diminutive of "lamb". IE: A "lambkin" or perhaps a newborn baby sheep.

However, baby sheep don't have horns. They get their horns at adulthood, which is a year.

So what might be intended by this inconsistency?



4 Answers 4


Prophetic imagery is not exact representation. Different elements are envisaged together to convey spiritual truth. The envisioned image has the characteristics of the lamb of God, the sacrificial 'little lamb', but as soon as it opens its mouth it betrays itself with its draconian speech.

This beast that rises out of the earth, out of the dust of the earth, out of human origin, appears - outwardly - to be like the lamb of God. But its speech is a contradiction of its appearance. What comes out of its interior, expressed by its mouth, is of the dragon.

The two beasts, out of sea and out of earth, are clearly a representation of what is in the world of humanity : yet, not born of God, not penitent, not believing. This movement of humanity - the flow of humankind in its motivation - is powered by spiritual force. Thus the Dragon moves in and among humans, seeking his draconian purpose.

Armageddon is the inevitable consequence.


Sheep and goats have horns after a few weeks that are not only visible but quite painful if you get your fingers between them and the fence post.

  • Thanks for clearing that up. Do you have personal experience with sheep or do you have a source you can provide? Thanks again.
    – Ruminator
    May 1, 2019 at 14:09

First, the images in apocalyptic literature do not (and are often very "not") anatomically correct. The descriptions of chimeric beast in Rev 13:1-8 and Dan 7 & 8 demonstrate this well. We should note the following:

  • The animal/beast in Rev 13:11-17 is not described - its only characteristic is the horns like a lamb. This presumably means they were not very prominent. Lambs have very small horns (depending on age which is not defined here.)

HOWEVER - I note that ἀρνίον (arnion), while a diminutive of the word for sheep (aren), was by NT times "a sheep of any age" according to BDAG. See also W E Vine who says the same thing. Thus, it is possible that the horns on this land beast could have been the usual mature size.

  • If you had to draw the image would it be huge and scary or disarming and probably pious? I think we can agree that this is intended to appear harmless while inwardly a ravening wolf, yes?
    – Ruminator
    May 1, 2019 at 23:31
  • 1
    Quite right - that is the contrast intended - appearing harmless while speaking like a dragon as per v11 - as per the "but" that contrasts there two characteristics.
    – user25930
    May 1, 2019 at 23:44
  • I like this picture: pinterest.com/pin/72972456437290838
    – Ruminator
    May 2, 2019 at 0:02
  • 1
    I agree - a very good picture. However, recall that the land beast is NOT described - only its horns are those of a sheep/lamb. Some of the others on the same page are also excellent.
    – user25930
    May 2, 2019 at 0:14
  • The matter of the horns would indicate to me if he is to be understood as having military might or not. And if the lambkin is the little horn of Daniel.
    – Ruminator
    May 2, 2019 at 0:17

Horns are a symbol of power, all the way through the Old Testament. This probably comes originally from the religious respect paid to bulls.

The Lamb in ch5 v6 has horns, for that reason. Seven of them because seven is the number associated with God.

I'm sure that the beast in ch13 v11 has lamb's horns because it is pretending to be the true Lamb. However "speaking like a dragon" gives away its real satanic nature.

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