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The following is an excerpt from "After the Flood" by Bill Cooper regarding dinosaurs. The chapter is entitled "Beowulf and the Creatures of Denmark":

It is too often and mistakenly thought that the name Grendel was merely a personal name by which the Danes knew this particular animal. In much the same way as a horse is nicknamed Dobbin, or a dog Fido, this monster, it is assumed, was called Grendel. But, in fact, Grendel was the name that our forebears gave to a particular species of animal. This is evidenced by the fact that in the year AD 931, King Athelstan of Wessex issued a charter in which a certain lake in Wiltshire (England) is called (as in Denmark) a grendles mere. The Grendel in Beowulf, we note with interest, also lived in a mere. Other place-names mentioned in old charters, Grindles bee and Grendeles pyt, for example, were likewise places that were (or had been) the habitats of this particular species of animal. Grindelwald, lit. Grendelwood, in Switzerland is another such place. But where does the name Grendel itself come from?

There are several Anglo-Saxon words that share the same root as Grendel. The Old English word grindan, for example, and from which we derive our word grind, used to denote a destroyer. But the most likely origin of the name is simply the fact that Grendel is an onomatopoeic term derived from the Old Norse grindill, meaning a storm or grenja, meaning to bellow. The word Grendel is strongly reminiscent of the deep-throated growl that would be emitted by a very large animal and it came into Middle English usage as grindel, meaning angry.

To the hapless Danes who were the victims of his predatory raids, however, Grendel was not just an animal. To them he was demon-like, one who was synnum beswenced (afflicted with sins). He was godes ansaca (God's adversary), the synscatha (evil-doer) who was wonsaeli (damned), a very feond on helle (devil in hell)! He was one of the grund-wyrgen, accursed and murderous monsters who were said by the Danes to be descended from Cain himself. And it is descriptions such as these of Grendel's nature that convey something of the horror with which the men of those times anticipated his raids on their homesteads.

But as for Grendel's far more interesting physical description, his habits and the geography of his haunts, they are as follows:

At one point in the poem, Hrothgar, king of the Danes, relates to Beowulf the following information when describing Grendel and one of the monster's companions:

'Ic thaet londbuend leode mine seleraedende secgan hyde thaet hie gesawon swylce 1-wegen micle mearcsta pan moras healdan ellorgaestas. Thaera other waes thaes the hie gewislicost gewitan meahton idese onlienes, other earmscea pen on weres waeslmum sraeclastas traed naefne he waes mara thonne aenig man other thone on geardagum Grendel nemdon foldbuende...'

... the best translation of which is Alexander's:

'I have heard it said by subjects of mine who live in the country, counselors in this hall, that they have seen such a pair of huge wayfarers haunting the moors, otherworldly ones; and one of them, so far as they might make it out, was in woman's shape; but the shape of a man, though twisted, trod also the tracks of exile - save that he was more huge than any human being. The country people have called him from of old by the name of Grendel.'

The key words from this passage, and from which we gain important information concerning the physical appearance of Grendel, are idese onlicnes when referring to the female monster, and weres waestmum when referring to the male. Those Danes who had seen the monsters thought that the female was the older of the two and supposed that she was Grendel's mother. She may have been. But what exactly do the descriptive terms tell us that is of such importance? Simply this: that the female was in the shape of a woman (idese onlicnes) and the male was in the shape of a man (weres waestmum), 'though twisted'. In other words, they were both bipedal, but larger than any human.

Further important detail is added elsewhere in the poem concerning Grendel's appearance, especially when the monster attacked the Danes for what was to prove the last time. In lines 815-8, we are told, in the most graphic detail, how Beowulf inflicted a fatal injury on the monster by holding the creature in an arm lock, which he then twisted - 'wrythan'. line 964). The poem then goes on to tell us that:

'Licsar gebad atol aeglaeca him on eaxie wearth syndolh sweotol seonowe onsprungon burston banlocan.'

Which may be translated thus:

'Searing pain seized the terrifying ugly one as a gaping wound appeared in his shoulder. The sinews snapped and the (arm) joint burst asunder.' (My translation)

For twelve years the Danes had themselves attempted to kill Grendel with conventional weapons, knives, swords, arrows and the like. Yet his impenetrable hide had defied them all and Grendel was able to attack the Danes with impunity. Beowulf considered all this and decided that the only way to tackle the monster was to get to grips with him at close quarters. The monster's forelimbs, which the Saxons called eorms (arms) and which some translate as claws, were small and comparatively puny. They were the monster's one weak spot, and Beowulf went straight for them. He was already renowned for his prodigious strength of grip, and he used this to literally tear off one of Grendel's weak, small arms.

Grendel, however, is also described, in line 2079 of the poem, as a mutbbona, i.e. one who slays with his mouth or jaws, and the speed with which he was able to devour his human prey tells us something of the size of his jaws and teeth (he swallowed the body of one of his victims in large 'gobbets'). Yet, it is the very size of Grendel's jaws which paradoxically would have aided Beowulf in his carefully thought out strategy of going for the forelimbs, because pushing himself hard into the animal's chest between those forelimbs would have placed Beowulf tightly underneath those jaws and would thus have sheltered him from Grendel's terrible teeth.

We are told that as soon as Beowulf gripped the monsters claws (and we must remember that Grendel was only a youngster, and not by all accounts a fully mature adult male of his species), the startled animal tried to pull away instead of attacking Beowulf. The animal instinctively knew the danger he was now in and he wanted to escape the clutches of the man who now posed such an unexpected threat and who was inflicting such alarming pain. However, it was this action of trying to pull away that left Grendel wide open to Beowulf's strategy. Thus, Beowulf was able in the ensuing struggle eventually to wrench off one of the animal's arms as so graphically described in the poem. As a result of this appalling injury, the young Grendel returned to his lair and simply bled to death.

Genesis 1:20-25 describes six basic groups of animals [definitions from Online Bible]:

20: And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Overview of animals in water and air.

21: And God created great whales (tanniyn-08577), and every living creature (nephesh-05315) that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl ('owph-05775) after his kind (miyn-04327): and God saw that it was good.
Break-down into 3 categories: great whales, every other living thing in the water, birds.

22. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Fifth day, animals in the water and air are created.

24. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
Overview of animals on land.

25. And God made the beast (chay-02416) of the earth after his kind, and cattle (behemah-0929) after their kind, every thing that creepeth (remes-07431) upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Break-down into 3 categories: beasts, cattle, every thing that creepeth.

1. whales/tanniyn 08577 = dragon or dinosaur, serpent, sea or river monster, venomous snake.

2. creature/nephesh 05315 = creature (in this instance, every living creature that moveth which the waters brought forth)

3. fowl/'owph 05775 = flying creatures, fowl, winged insects, birds

kind/miyn 04327 = kind, sometimes a species
Note: groups of living organisms belong in the same created "kind" if they have descended from the same ancestral gene pool. This does not preclude new species because this represents a partitioning of the original gene pool. Information is lost or conserved not gained. A new species could arise when a population is isolated and inbreeding occurs. By this definition of a new species is not a new "kind" but a further partitioning of an existing "kind."

4. beast/chay 02416 = living thing, animal.

5. cattle/behemah 0929 = beast, cattle, animal, livestock

6. every thing that creepeth/remes 07431 = creeping things, moving things, creeping organism.


Kinds of Dinosaurs: Dinosaurs are divided into two large classes according to the arrangement of the pelvic bones of their skeletons: those with a reptilelike pelvis (order Saurischia) and those with a birdlike pelvis (order Ornithischia). In these orders further divisions are based on feeding habits, two- or four-footed posture, and the presence of armor on the body.

Saurischians may be divided into two major groups or suborders, the theropods (beast-footed) and the sauropods (reptile-footed).

Sauropod dinosaurs, perhaps more than any other type, have come to stand as a symbol of gigantism in animals...Sauropods are the true giants among terrestrial reptiles. Their size, however, is greatly exceeded by some of the whales (lengths up to about 100 ft) among the mammals.

Although the skulls of sauropods portray the greatest differences between genera, they did have many features in common. All skulls were very small in proportion to total body size and the brains were very small. The eyes were fairly large and, in some types, the nostrils were on top of the head. These probably were adaptations for life in water; the animal could have remained submerged, except for the top of the head, and breathed without difficulty.

(Collier's Encyclopedia)

reptile: an animal that crawls or moves on its belly (as a snake) or on small short legs (as a lizard); any of a class (Reptilia) of air-breathing vertebrates that include the alligators and crocodiles, lizards, snakes, turtles, and extinct related forms and are characterized by a completely ossified skeleton with a single occipital condyle, a distinct quadrate bone usu. immovably articulated with the skull, ribs attached to the sternum, and a body usu. covered with scales or bony plates.

(Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary)


Dinosauria: [Some] species were so heavy that they could not walk for any distance on dry land and therefore spent most of their lives in swamps and the shallow waters of lakes and seas where mud and water could buoy them up. Some even went into deep water. This hypothesis is strengthened by the fact that a number of the larger species had weak, pencil-like teeth adapted only for browsing on water plants.

(Universal Standard Encyclopedia)


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