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Marilyn Manson, The Third and Final Beast

All Writing & Content © Nick Kushner Unless Noted Otherwise

The Dajjal is what is known as the Islamic equivalent of the Antichrist who will appear before the Day of Judgment and mentioned numerous times in various hadith, or teaching of Mohammed. Like Satan he is a great deceiver who will teach that Heaven is Hell and that Hell is Heaven and have the ability to perform miracles which will deceive the world as such. And also like Satan he esteems Man over God. He is said to be physically misshapen, have the word 'kafir' (Arabic for liar or blasphemer) branded on his forehead and will be blind in one eye. In a hadith written by Hadhrat Huzaifah it is said that the Dajjal will be blind in his left eye; left being the path which the damned travel away from God, and the eye which Manson has perpetually blinded.

As a counterpart to this, throughout the Mechanical Animals era Manson donned red contact lenses as parallel to Christ's "eyes of fire" within the Book of Revelation, becoming the Mechanical Christ:

And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and a girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire.
Revelation 1:13-14
Marilyn Manson, 1997. The Antichrist Svperstar.
Only by taking on the persona of Christ can the magus (or magician) use the [power of Christ] with maximum effect in commanding [the elements].This is a poorly understood secret of magic, but absolutely vital: the magician in him or herself is a fallible human being, and can perform no more than the works of a human, but when he or she takes on the identity of a god, the magician is rendered to perform the works of a god.
The Tetragrammaton by Donald Tyson


The Antichrist & False Prophet

Collaboration between Nick Kushner, Brad Jaeger & Gilles Maurice

"Antéchrist (Page 189)

Opposed to Jesus Christ, enemy of Jesus-Christ. It is said in the holy writing that at the time of the Apostles, there were several Antichrists. It holds the particular meaning of a seductor enemy of the true Religion, which according to the common opinion will come in the last times. The time of the coming of the Antichrist is uncertain. The false miracles of the Antichrist."

Nicot, 1694 (first French dictionary)
First known definition of an Antichrist
Marilyn Manson tearing pages of the Bible while performing
Antichrist Superstar during the Dead to the World tour.

Throughout the Holy Wood era, which represented Manson's retaliation toward the world from being mercilessly scapegoated after Columbine, the imagery he continually likened himself to being The Third & Final Beast, signing his name often as MM3. Besides referring, on a surface level, to the final stage of his transformation within the Triptych formed by the three albums Antichrist Svperstar - Mechanical Animals - Holy Wood, and the three beasts/fuhrers/messiahs he successively incarnated during these three key eras, this 'Third & Final Beast' title finds a deeper meaning when associated with several eschatologic sources. To start with, Nostradamus predicted there to be three great Antichrists, the first two often being identified as Napoleon and Hitler, with the Third to reveal himself circa to our present day.

Little horn is born
Marilyn Manson, Little Horn

One of the more esoteric elements contained in Antichrist Svperstar is the nature and identity of 'little horn'. The origins of little horn, of Manson's later 'Third and Final Beast' title, like much of the Triptych, are rooted in the prophetic visions of Daniel, in the book of Daniel, and St. John in the book of Revelation, more specifically in the incredibly rich satanic bestiary both visions involve.

Unlike the other sixty-five books, Revelation, the final book of the Bible (which Manson had started to reference in the 1994 video for 'Get Your Gunn'), is the most unique book, in the sense that it is written primarily of apocalyptic events which have not yet come to pass. Because of this, it also happens to be the most misunderstood, and often misinterpreted book of the bible.

Little horn is first described in the book of Daniel; Daniel, a captive of the Babylonian army, had been assigned to interpret the dreams of King Nebuchadnezzar. It is not until the later half of the book of Daniel that his own visions are made mention of, revealing the coming of four beasts:

  • The LION
  • represented the empire of Babylon (power)
  • The BEAR
  • was representative of the empire of Persia (stamina)
  • The four-headed LEOPARD
  • was the creature representing Greece's empire (speed)
  • represented the empire of Rome (destructive ability)
    Two interpretations of the fourth beast from the book of Daniel, with its large iron teeth and ten horns. Left; notice the crowned 'little horn' growing from the beast's head).

    Manson would later graphically invoke the fourth beast of Daniel's vision together with the first beast of Revelation at the beginning of the Disposable Teens video, incorporating characteristics of both beasts.

    And I saw a beast coming out of the sea...
    Revelation 13:1
    After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast, terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left...
    Daniel 7:7

    Manson's emergence from the water in the opening of the video is the first moving image we see of Manson in the Holy Wood era; rising from the waters to return and claim retribution against those after being laid blame upon and left to die by the world. Manson's portrayal in Disposable Teens is of the fourth beast of Daniel's vision and the first beast of Revelation (sans animal characteristics - note the iron teeth, and the expression of bloodlust present on the face of the beast) rising to inhuman heights to trample those underfoot. The long hair is symbolic for power, as outlined in the Biblical story of Samson and Delilah, whose unnatural physical strength was rooted in the length and fullness of his hair ("...if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.", Judges 16:17).


    'Final Beast' shirt (2006 reissue of a classic Manson item).
    The three era logos following eachother evoke a triad/succession of beasts in themselves.
  • Now, the first beast of Revelation, or beast of the sea, is more or less an amalgamation of the first three beasts of Daniel's vision, with four additional heads:
  • And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed.
    Revelation 13:1-3

    Left: still from the Cryptorchid video; Sands of a beach by the sea, reminiscent of John's Vision when he witnesses the first beast/antichrist rise out of the water, as he was watching from the shore.

    Right: detail from the Tourniquet single artwork. Though Manson generally takes the role of personifying the Antichrist and the Beast, note the coloured leopard hair, the extended whisker like lion bristle along the mouth-line (which is present in no other location), and the bulge in Pogo's left eye socket, indicating a suggested wound that has been mended. This photo is clearly of the first beast which came from the sea.

    Besides his rising from the water in the Disposable Teens video, Manson made several other allusions to the first beast of Revelation in his work, quoting a passage related to its number in the Get Your Gunn video, referring to its wound on the Tourniquet single artwork, bearing its marks at several occasions, evoking its arrogant mouth on projections while performing You and Me and the Devil makes 3 during the Rape of the World tour, and the bottomless pit where it comes from in the song 'Little Horn', as we'll develop later on in this analyze. Manson's choice to relate to this particular character wasn't made randomly , for it is often interpreted by specialists as being the Antichrist. Moreover, popular belief associates this prophetic beast to Nero Caesar, a figure Manson also impersonated during his Guns, God and Government tour stage entrances.

    Two depictions of the first beast of Revelation. Left; on a Durer woodcut, idolized with the second beast. Right; on a medieval tapestry, receiving power from the Red Dragon/Satan.

    The most evident allusion to the first beast remains a quite evocative nickname, 'The Hydra', Manson entitles himself with in the song Antichrist Superstar, and refers to in a subtler way by quickly showing a water hydra before the worm's empowerment, as well as an evocation of John's sea shore in the video for Cryptorchid.

    "Cut the head off, grows back hard; I am the hydra, now you'll see your star."
    Marilyn Manson, Antichrist Superstar
    Two depictions of Hercules fighting the Lernean Hydra (notice the wounded/cut off heads). Left; antique pottery kept in the Louvre. Right; 1565 engraving by Dutch artist Cornelis Cort.

    "I am the hydra" is a boastful claim which can be connected to the trials of Heracles. Both the Lernean Hydra (the one that Heracles combated), and the first beast, share a number of similarities. Firstly, they are both described as having seven heads. Secondly, both Hydra references tell of the ability to regenerate any wounds, "Cut the head off/grows back hard", which parallels both Heracles battle when the Hydra regained its lobbed off head, and the Hydra (sea beast) in Revelation: "One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed". Besides the subtle allusion in Cryptorchid, Manson would later distillate more obvious references to the Hydra with the inclusion of Typhon and Medusa depictions , in the Love Song flashcard, two beasts bearing similarities with (and actually relatives of) the Lernean Hydra.

    "The Hydra" present for a brief second before the chorus in Cryptorchid.


  • The second beast of Revelation, is not present in Daniel's visions, and surfaces from the earth, as described by the Apostle St. John:
  • 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
    Revelation 13:11

    The fact that it is dubbed 'the false prophet' later in the text, as well as its lamb features, are reminiscent of this passage from the book of Matthew:

    Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    Matthew 7:15
    Left; photograph took during the shooting for 'Disposable Teens', showing Manson dressed in sheep's clothing, and thus taking the guise of a 'false prophet' (also note the Tau cross upon Manson's forehead).
  • The Third and Final Beast (understand 'of Revelation') title, besides referring to Manson's third and last incarnation within the Tryptich, is above all a subtle allusion to the Red Dragon (which Satan took the guise of) who appeared in the preceding chapter of Revelation, and would later team up with the other two beasts, whom he empowered, in their plan to deceive the world.
  • And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
    Revelation 12:3

    Now compare its features with Daniel's Terrible fourth beast:

    After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast, terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
    Daniel 7:7

    All major religious authorities concur that even though Daniel neglected mentioning the seven heads (or that they simply weren't present in his vision), his terrible ten-horned beast is indeed the seven-headed Red Dragon. Of course Daniel's beast shares the same similarity with John's first beast, but the fact that the later is actually a frankenstein of Daniel's three first beasts mixed into one dismisses that possibility.

    Two depictions of the Red Dragon. Left; Albrecht Dürer, "The Woman clothed with the Sun & the seven-headed dragon", 1496. Right; William Blake, "The number of the Beast is 666", 1805.

    Let's get back to Daniel's vision. As he contemplates the significance of the fourth beast's horns, he witnesses the apparition of a 'little horn':

    While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
    Daniel 7:8

    When Manson describes this birth of the little horn in the title track bearing the same name, "Out of the bottomless pit comes the little horn, little horn is born", he instead mimics a segment of Revelation in which one of the seven angels talks to John about the first beast:

    The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition...
    Revelation 17:8

    This clearly shows Manson associates the little horn of Daniel with John's first beast/Antichrist, and thus Daniel's Terrible Beast with the Red Dragon, as one and the same seven-headed beast. A much more direct reference to the Red Dragon and its relation to the Antichrist/little horn can be found in the artwork accompanying the lyrics for the song 'Antichrist Superstar', in the eponymous album booklet, as the first verses of Revelation 12 (including the verse above) are integrated on the page, and assembled with the lyrics in a surprising continuity.

    Vision of a horned beast, impersonated by Manson in the video for Sweet Dreams.

    While numerous debates over the identity of little horn have been publicized, for our sake, we will be working with the context in which Manson uses little horn, which also happens to be the most accepted belief, and that is the Antichrist, as it was dubbed "the false idol", and demanded to be worshiped by the people it struck terror into. Specifically, the little horn (or first beast, depending on the prophecy) served a number of purposes. Firstly, it would "speak words against the most high". It also served to contest the saints, and to do them battle, and eventually to pester and tire those who worshiped God, and not the Red Dragon.

    The second beast aided little horn. Indeed, while the first beast was called "the false idol", the second beast was named "the false prophet". It would often "exercise all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast... " (Rev 13:12)

    Now, with our knowledge of all three beasts, it's time to explain the trinity they form. Just as The Holy Trinity is present, Revelation suggests an Unholy Trinity. This is substantial, as it fits the theme of Marilyn Manson's ever present dichotomy in his work. Just as God and Jesus are one and the same ("I and my father are one", John 10:30), so too are the Satan, and the Antichrist. And just as the Holy Spirit is a force wielded by God, The False Prophet is a force wielded by Satan..

    • The Beast from the Sea: also known as the first beast of Revelation, the False Idol, the Antichrist, Little Horn (and The Hydra).
    • The Beast from the Earth: also known as the second beast of Revelation, and The False Prophet.
    • The Red Dragon: also known as Satan, Lucifer, the coming Prince, and the unofficial name given to him on on behalf of Manson: The Third and Final Beast.
    "Lucifer" (1999 watercolor by Marilyn Manson). A more direct depiction of the most beautiful of God's fallen angels. For more references to Lucifer's fall from grace visit our page on The High End Of Low era.

    Let's get back to the Cryptorchid video and its subtle evocations of the worm's transformation, which stems back from Nietzsche, Darwinism and the Bible itself. Nearly as important as the momentary invocation of the Hydra is where it falls in the context of the song itself. The lyrics which fall immediately after the shot of The Hydra are well known:

    Prick your finger...
    It is done...
    The moon has now eclipsed the sun...
    The angel has spread its wings...
    The time has come for bitter things...
    Marilyn Manson, Cryptorchid & Antichrist Superstar
    Manson as the Angel, holding a Baphometic pose, from the interior of Antichrist Svperstar

    Thus cryptorchid serves as a point of transformation. As Little Horn was the birth of the Antichrist, Cryptorchid is when he first receives his power, and gains his wings (remember, though the Antichrist doesn't have wings, he is one and the same as Satan).

    Proof of this transformation is the end of cryptorchidism, a condition where the testes fail to drop into the scrotum, metaphorical for being a boy, and not a man (unevolved and untransformed, if you will): "when the boy is still a worm"... We know cryptorchidism ends due to this three tenths of a second flash in Cryptorchid which clearly shows a penis, and two white blotches (which are the testicles) in their proper place. Since this has ended, the transformation can now be completed.

    The scrotum resting below the penis, thus signifying the end of the cryptorchidism, and a metaphorical end to the worms inability to transform into an angel

    Further proof of this transformation can be found with the brief few seconds where a shock podium adorned with wings is present above the worm, who is disemboweling himself (and symbolically ridding himself of his present shell):

    Organs being pulled from the body, mimicking the death of God (for more on this concept : The Age of Horus & the Dying God) in the film 'Begotten' which the video for Cryptorchid is partially a recreation of. This allegorical shedding of a previous life fits in thematically with the ever present maturation and transformation of the worm. Note the winged shock symbol above Manson's head, indicating the imminent transformation. Manson also used a more litteral and direct Biblical reference to his concept of the Worm in the ACS artwork, quoting from Isaiah 66.


    Finally, we know that the coming transformation will be one of unspoken evil, as cryptorchid also has a segment with a slithering snake.

    Snake present in Cryptorchid: the snake has long been a symbol of Satan or treachery afoot, since the original story of Genesis. It's also an evocation of transformation it itself as the animal is known to changes its skin several times in a life.

    And in addition to that, our character is already marked for a life of misery:

    A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.
    Revelation 14:9-10

    Forehead marked by the beast, and his right hand additionally tarnished with markings. One becomes identified by the beast by being an undevout follower of Jesus Christ, or a heretic. Typically one would be marked on either the hand or the forehead, not both, so this creates a resounding emphasis on the worm's wickedness.


    All of these elements, everything within this section, though some are more obscure and esoteric it has little relevance how well-known of overt they are. Because the Bible, Christianity and religion have such an overpowering influence over society and the world today, evoking imagery from it, whether or not it's recognized as such by the layman, these elements simply look and therefore are significant just by implication and association. Whether or not a fan, or if the inadvertent viewer, recognizes the metal teeth as being evocative of one of the Beasts of Daniel and Revelation, because of the Bible's overweening influence over society today the imagery resonates as something "evil" and powerful just by the inherent stranglehold Christianity has on the popular psyche. And with that said and all combined truly in a sense makes Manson the Antichrist and the Beast even on a subconscious level to those ignorant or unaware of these connotations.



    For more references pertaining to the book of Revelation through the band's different eras, see the following articles on The NACHTKABARETT:

    Get Your Gunn video
    Antichrist Svperstar art
    Celebritarian emblem
    Personal Jesus video
    The High End of Low