Fact Check: Is There A Statue Of An Apocalypse Monster Outside The UN?

It's not the apocalypse, it's just a statue. Image: UN Photo/Manuel Elías

According to, um, “news”, the end of the world is upon us. Again.

No, not because of the ongoing climate apocalypse. No, not because of vaccine inequity either. This is something far worse. This …………… is a statue.

“Was this the beast John saw in Revelation in his vision of the end times…given power by the dragon (serpent/satan) over all peoples, languages, & nations…the U.N.)?!!” wrote one social media user, quoted in the right-wing evangelist Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).

The statue – a genuine piece that was installed outside of the UN headquarters in New York last year – may be pretty epically eye-catching, but it’s not a biblical beast. It actually represents a “guardian for international peace and security,” according to its creators Jacobo and Maria Angeles. The pair run a workshop producing "tonas" and "nahuales" – traditional Mesoamerican protective figures and spirit guides – decorated with native Zapotec symbols, of which the statue outside the UN is just one.

“Did they really think that they could put this up without anyone noticing?” wrote a blogger who apparently didn’t notice that the UN had announced the new statue on its official Twitter feed and website a few weeks beforehand.

Donated to the UN in December 2021 by the government of Oaxaca, Mexico, the piece shows a “fusion of jaguar and eagle,” the UN explains. Another piece, Águila the eagle, was also sent to New York, per Snopes, where they were tasked with “accompanying and protecting all Latin American, Mexican and Oaxacan migrants who live or are about to arrive in the United States looking for a better future for their families.”

“As their name implies, they keep everything that the tribe considers valuable: its traditions, customs and cultural identity,” the Angeleses’ website explains. “The Jaguar is cautious and strategic, fighting for its pack by day and vigilant at night … While Águila, with his force of flight, keeps his sight on the horizon, towards the future, safeguarding the future of the tribe.”

Although CBN tried pretty hard to equate the statue to the kinds of apocalyptic beasts mentioned in Daniel and Revelation, Snopes points out that there are a few problems with their thesis.

First, the harbingers of doom mentioned in the relevant passages are lions, not jaguars, which seems like a pretty important distinction when it’s the entire world at stake. Secondly, as with so much in the Bible, it’s generally accepted to be a metaphor – not a real half-lion half-eagle, but an allusion to the ancient kingdom of Babylon. And thirdly, if you want to find actual statues of half-lion-half-eagle creatures, you really don’t need to look far – they’ve been mainstays of Western sculpture for centuries.

In short: no, the UN isn’t secretly putting up graven images of apocalyptic omens – they’re very openly unveiling traditional Zapotec-inspired statues of protective guardians on a mission of peace.

And let’s face it: if the UN really was planning on bringing about the apocalypse, why would they telegraph that fact through the medium of statues and prepper blogs, when they could just make the robot birds spell it out in Morse code instead? Checkmate.

All “explainer” articles are confirmed by fact checkers to be correct at time of publishing. Text, images, and links may be edited, removed, or added to at a later date to keep information current.

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