By Gary Stearman (excerpted from the bestselling book God’s Ghostbusters)
In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. (Isaiah 27:1)
Virtually every culture on Earth has some sort of belief in dragons. The dragon of the Far East flies the skies of the Earth in search of his lost wisdom. The gods of the Aztecs and Incas took the form of a flying serpent. Some scaly monsters are even said to live in the waters of our planet. They are often referred to as dragons.
The so-called “Loch Ness Monster” of Scotland is perhaps the best-known of them all, but there are many, many more. They are commonly reported from all parts of the globe. From Lake Champlain in New York, to Lake Okanagan in British Columbia and the lakes at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan, occasional sightings are reported. These monsters seem, in some ways, to be related both to the biblical descriptions of the dragon, and the numerous, historical, pagan objects of worship that have survived the fall of nations. When seen on land, they appear to scuffle along on their bellies like giant snakes, but without the usual reptilian grace. Their clumsiness is quite well-documented. In the water, their fierce heads are borne aloft upon a train of sinewy and scaly humps. Witnesses are frozen with fear.
At this point, you may object, saying that sea monsters are merely the product of excited imaginations. After all, their existence is hardly well-documented. Or, you may be of the opinion that if monsters such as Nessie really do exist, they are holdovers from a prehistoric era, trapped in inland lakes. Naturalists usually depict them as the offspring of ancient plesiosaurs—marine lizards—which somehow survived to the present day. Those who admit their existence say that their skill at hiding is the chief attribute of their survival. In Europe, they are often called “water horses,” because their heads closely resemble the head of a horse, with a coarse “mane” and long snout.
Legions of eyewitnesses say that they give the impression of having an extraordinary level of intelligence. Furthermore, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of recorded sightings in every ocean of the world. What are these modern sea monsters, and what does the Bible say about them?
The Lord’s Revelation to Job
Let us begin by examining a chapter in the Bible that is wholly devoted to a certain “Leviathan.” Chapter 41 of the Book of Job gives mind-boggling detail and intriguing life to this bizarre creature that, in every way, seems to fit the description of the classic sea monster. The Lord gives Job a detailed picture of the “undocumented” (he doesn’t appear in zoology textbooks) monster that is reported again and again by sea captains, vacationers, and fishermen the world over.
The Lord’s revelation to Job comes at the conclusion of His first-person declaration concerning the glories of His creation. Every one of this chapter’s 34 verses reveals remarkable aspects about a creature that mankind regards as merely a fabulous tale, or myth. Clearly, however, the Lord presents Leviathan as a tangible, physical creature; an animal that He considers to be the king of the waters.
After Job’s severe suffering, during which he attempted to understand the cause and effect of his plight, the Lord appears to him in a whirlwind. A sort of divine debriefing follows, in which Job is given a running narration of the glories of creation. The purpose of the Lord’s divine monologue is to restore Job’s lost perspective. In the end, he is made acutely aware of his diminutive place in the universe. He is filled with wonder at God’s creation and unfathomable grace.
Concerning Leviathan, the Lord gently chides Job. He asks whether Job can fish for the great sea-monster with a hook or string him up with a hook through his nose. (Of course not!) He asks whether Job can tame the beast, or talk sweet words with him. (In no way!) He inquires of Job about the possibility of making an agreement that the monster may serve him…or that he might toy with Leviathan as he would a little bird. These verbal images present a powerful case; Job must have gotten the point immediately. His perspective about his place in the universe achieves a new clarity.
As the Lord continues to paint the ludicrous picture of mere man vanquishing the great sea monster, it becomes clear that His intent is to educate Job about his position in this universe, including aspects of the amazing physical creation that includes such animals as Leviathan.
The Lord’s description of Leviathan reveals an appearance so fierce that men are plunged to defeat even at the sight of him. They drop to their knees in fear. He reminds Job that if men can’t stand before one of His creatures, they surely will not be able to stand before God, Himself.
On the other hand, the Lord regards Leviathan as being beautiful in his own way, even though he has a fierce array of frightening teeth, purposefully set in a jaw with ferocious power.
He has scales so tightly sealed against each other that they are completely airtight. Apparently, he is capable of deep diving. Furthermore, they are so strong that they resist barbed harpoons made of iron. The Lord shows the amazed Job that Leviathan’s scales are so tightly joined that nothing can pry them apart. Truly, they are a living armor.
When Leviathan sneezes and snorts, light shines from his nostrils! Is this some sort of self-contained combustion? In conjunction with this revelation, the Lord says that even his eyes glow like the sunrise. Sparks and fire blaze from his mouth and his nose belches forth smoke and vapor, like steam from a boiling cauldron. His very breath can start a fire!
Leviathan’s internal conformation is the picture of strength. His musculature is of a peculiar sort that forms an immovable structure. His heart is stout as stone.
When Leviathan rouses, strong men become weak and seek the Lord’s mercy. Assorted swords, spears, and blades are useless against him. He breaks iron and brass as easily as rotted wood. Slings and arrows are nothing; he laughs at darts and stones. As a matter of fact, the Lord says his very nest is made up of sharp stones.
When he moves, the deep waters boil and churn. He leaves a long, foaming wake that gleams mysteriously. He invokes fear in all who see him. Verse 34, the concluding verse of Job, Chapter 41, says: “He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.”
What is Leviathan?
Biblically speaking, Leviathan is certainly presented as a real and living animal. In Job’s day—probably around the time of Abraham—Leviathan seems to have been a thriving reality, generally known by the people of that time.
Traditional expositors have attempted to explain away Leviathan as the ancient crocodile of Middle-Eastern waters. But this common explanation quickly folds in the face of the text, itself. First of all, no crocodile ever breathed fire and smoke. Secondly, the crocodile can easily be harpooned. Thirdly, crocodiles don’t leave a foaming wake, nor are they covered with interlocking scales.
Though their toothy aspects bring great respect, men do not fall to the ground in fear at the sight of the mighty crocodile. In fact, crocodile skins were bought and sold by men in the ancient world.
So what is this amazing animal in Job 41? If we didn’t know better, it would appear to be the classic, fire-breathing dragon. Does this mean that dragons really exist? And if so, what is their relation to “the great dragon,” called in Revelation 12:9, “That old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…”?
Scripture makes it plain that the Lord created the original serpent, who was once called “the anointed cherub that covereth,” as noted in Ezekiel 28:14. In fact, there is no evidence that Lucifer was ever anything other than a serpent being of some sort. Thus he appeared before Eve in the garden. But once, he was glorious. Since then, he and his kind have been placed under a curse. Their glory has been replaced by a hideous and repulsive appearance.
From Job 41, it is obvious that the Lord created Leviathan as a fierce, fire-breathing serpent armored with scales. It cannot be overemphasized that he is presented as a living, physical creature.
But wait; there is another clue to Leviathan’s identity. It is found near the beginning of the book of Job, in chapter 3, as the afflicted Job sits on an ash heap, accompanied by his three friends. In this, his first discourse, he eloquently curses the day of his birth, saying that it would have been better if he had never been born in the first place. His language is a malediction of day, of light, and of blessing.
After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.
And Job spake, and said,
Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.
Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.
Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.
As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.
Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein.
Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.
Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day:
Because it shut not up the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.
Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? (Job 3:1–11).
In this passage, Job rues the day of his birth. Judging himself to be accursed, he calls for a darkness that he deems suitable for his condition. He begs for God to leave him alone.
But, in the eighth verse, he makes a special (and quite revealing) imprecation. He calls for those who “curse the day” to go ahead and curse it. Then, he calls for them to raise the power of Leviathan!
The English phrase, “who are ready to raise up their mourning,” actually states in the Hebrew text, “who are skilled in stirring up Leviathan”!
According to the Old Testament Commentary of Keil and Delitzsch:
Those who curse days are magicians who know how to change days into dies infausti (a day accursed) by their incantations. According to vulgar superstition, from which the imagery of v. 8 is borrowed, there was a special art of exciting the dragon, which is the enemy of sun and moon, against them both, so that, by its devouring them, total darkness prevails. The dragon is called in Hindu rahu; the Chinese, and also the natives of Algeria, even at the present day make a wild tumult with drums and copper vessels when an eclipse of the sun or moon occurs, until the dragon will release his prey. Job wishes that this monster may swallow up the sun of his birthday.[i]
Thus, at the very beginning of his torments, Job foolishly cries out of his anguish for a dark and evil curse, involving the appearance of the dragon…Leviathan. Thirty-eight chapters later—in chapter 41—the Lord shows Job what he had been wishing for. The Lord tells him that indeed, there is a real Leviathan.
It is only through His grace that Leviathan remains at a safe distance. Once Job realized this truth, he must have been filled with enormous gratitude, even to his dying day.
The Beast That Isn’t There
Today, reports of dragonlike lake and sea monsters come from the British Isles, Sweden, Russia, Siberia, Argentina, Tasmania, Canada, and the U.S., to name but a few locations.
The late naturalist, Dr. Ivan T. Sanderson, wrote in 1968:
Today, there are three basic schools of thought about these creatures; I should here emphasize that we now have absolute proof that they exist and that they are animals. There need no longer be—nor, in fact, should there ever have been—any argument about this; and for one very simple reason. This is a straightforward question: “What can roar about the surface of any body of water at ten knots, without a sail, leaving a clear V-shaped bow-wave but no prop-wash?” Yet this is just what these things have not only been reputed to do, but have been filmed doing. And once you have but one film of a “Something” so propelling itself across one lake without leaving a prop-wash, there can be but one inference—to wit, that it was an animal.[ii]
Sanderson goes on to cite many examples of sightings, including the famous one by Captain Rostron of the Cunard Lines. He and dozens of others once tracked just such a monster for many hours in mid-ocean. It was said to be about a block long!
In the Middle Ages, when knights went about slaying dragons (the lake and river monsters), these were collectively termed, “worms.” The Anglo-Saxon word, wyrm, was a collective term, meaning “dragon,” “serpent,” or “worm.” These evil worms (in English, the term is shortened to “orm”), were thought to be the spawn of the devil, and were said to bring curses to nearby towns and villages, accompanied by a great appetite for livestock.
Marine Orms of two hundred to three hundred feet are occasionally spotted. The Loch Ness Orm is usually reported at about eighty feet in length. Medieval Orms—today called “dragons”—are referred to in literally hundreds of local chronicles that molder away in dank libraries, ignored by practically everybody. But if one is interested, there are many books on the subject.
One famous account of a dragon encounter is quoted by naturalist F.W. Holiday, writing in The Great Orm of Loch Ness.[iii] In about 1420, one John Lambton, a noble knight, defended his property in County Durham beside the River Wear. The site is still well-known, near the modern village of Fatfield, England.
It seems that as a youth, John had snagged a young Orm while fishing. It resembled, “a worm, of most unseemly and disgusting appearance.”[iv] He threw it into a nearby well, where it was said to have quickly grown large enough to escape and crawl back into the river, where it was seen for many years thereafter. Eventually, it “had grown prodigiously and was now grew to enormous size and was fond of making periodic forays into the countryside,”[v] where it made a pest of itself, by raiding the livestock of nearby farms. The farmers were frightened nearly to death by its appearance.
Meanwhile, John, now a man, had taken Christian vows and become a crusading knight in the King’s service. He decided to defeat the beast, and was advised to stud his armor with spear points, so that the pestilent worm would cut itself as it tried to eat him. According to history, the stratagem worked and he finally hacked the dragon to pieces. An old ballad commemorating the event is preserved to this day:
The Worm shot down the middle stream
Like a flash of living light,
And the waters kindled around his path
In rainbow colors bright.
And when he saw the armed Knight
He gathered all his pride
And coil’d in many a radiant spire,
Rode buoyant on the tide.
And when he darted at length his Dragon strength,
An earthquake shook the rock;
And the fire-flakes bright fell around the Knight
As unmov’d he met the shock.
Tho’ his heart was stout, it quiver’d no doubt,
His very life-blood ran cold,
As around and around the wild worm wound
In many a grappling fold.[vi]
In those days, men were often reported killed by these medium- to small-sized dragons. As in this ballad, many of the attributes of Leviathan are repeatedly mentioned. What animal flashes light, or leaves a shining path in the water, or belches fiery sparks? Only Leviathan fits this description.
Such accounts are legion. And they are presented not as myths, but as absolutely true. One Lord Conyers is said to have slain a “fiery, flying serpent which destroyed man, woman and child.”[vii] His reward from King Edward III was the Manor of Sockburn, held by his family to this day. Then there was the Worm of Linton, and the dragon of Ruardean.
St. George may be the most popular figure in the long line of dragon slayers, but others who came later are much better documented. As Holiday writes:
These slayings of the Worm cannot be doubted. We know the names of the men concerned and where the encounters took place. These details are supported by documentary as well as monumental evidence. In England, various tympana [carved reliefs, usually at the top of arches] survive showing Worms being killed. Typical of these are the ones in churches at Ruardean, Gloucestershire; at Moreton Valence, in the same country; and at Brinsop near Hereford.
It seems significant that these tympana occur on the banks of rivers. The Lambton worm was slain on the river Wear; the Worm of Sockburn on the River Tees and the Worm of Linton on a tributary of the Tweed. The Ruardeen, Moreton and Brinsop tympana are on the banks of the River Wye. The Worm or dragon, like the Orm in the River Ness, was clearly a denizen of the water.[viii]
Denizen, yes, but is the Orm merely a historical phenomenon…a myth, born out of tales around the family fires of a thousand evenings? Hardly, since history of the dragon goes back over four thousand years, through the cultures of Europe, Sythia, Mongolia, and China. Archaeologists have discovered beautifully-executed dragon sculptures on the walls of ancient Babylon.
And of course, anyone who has ever eaten in a Chinese restaurant knows that the peoples of the Far East revere the divine creature that they call the “fortunate dragon.” This flying creature is regarded by them as the keeper of wisdom and blessing. He is always preceded by a fiery disc or ball, which he is trying to catch and swallow. Their homes and businesses are profusely decorated with dragons in various settings.
Those who allow for dragons in ancient history are merely giving surface consent to the Bible’s clear teaching about the “old dragon.” While believing that such a creature exists on the spiritual level, they hesitate to give credence to a whole family of such creatures, some of which are seen in the present day.
Writing in Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century, Janet and Colin Bord note:
In the Northern hemisphere, a line joining Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the northern USSR indicates where lake monsters are most likely to be seen, all these countries having an abundance of sizable lakes. Canada’s best-known monster is Ogopogo, who lives in Lake Okanagan in British Columbia… The Indians who lived in British Columbia before the white settlers arrived included a giant serpent in their legends about the lake, and Arlene Gaal, who has been investigating Ogopogo since 1968, has on record over 200 sightings. A recent one was made by Lionel Edmond, who was fishing on the lake on 20 July 1986 when he heard a loud rushing of water behind him. “It looked like a submarine surfacing, coming up toward my boat. As it came up perpendicular to the boat we could see six humps out of the water, each hump about 10 inches out of the water and each one creating a wake.” He estimated it at about 50 or 60 feet long.[ix]
In County Galway, Ireland, there is a lake called Lough Nahooin. It is a small lake, measuring only eighty by one hundred yards. Yet, on February 22, 1968, Stephen Coyne watched a small Orm, or water horse, for several hours as it frolicked around the lake. He saw it from as close as twenty-five feet, estimating its length at twelve feet. It revealed two humps, a flat tail, and a long neck. Its head was about a foot in diameter, with horn-like projections and an open mouth.
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At different times, several other witnesses saw the Orm. They commonly reacted to it with revulsion, as witnessed in 1954 by one young woman (identified as Georgina Carberry) who said it had, “two humps, a long neck, and a big open mouth. She remembered that ‘the whole body had movement in it’—it was ‘wormy,’ ‘creepy,’ and made a vivid impression on Miss Carberry, so much so that it was six or seven years before she went back to the lake, and she never returned alone.”[x]
In the U.S., many have labored long and hard to document the monster of Lake Champlain, on the border between New York and Vermont. This huge beast is known as “Champ.” Hundreds of reports reveal Champ to be a classic Orm, or dragon. He is well over a hundred feet long, with many humps, a horned head and bristling mane. Furthermore, witnesses have reported huge, glowing eyes and fearsome teeth.
In Africa, a river creature called “Mokèlé-mbèmbé” has been reported many times in the twentieth century. Natives in the Congo region say that the long-necked, small-headed animal swims the waters of Likouala swamp and nearby Lake Tele. Locals say that the creature looks very much like the picture of a Brontosaurus they were shown. But he disappears underwater when spotted.
Their reports go back at least two hundred years. Farmers and hunters regard the creature with awe and outright terror, saying that to merely see it is to bring a curse upon yourself. If you venture into his territory, they say, you will die. Efforts by naturalists to document the creature have all failed.
This brings us to the crux of the matter. Countless thousands of dollars and observational hours have been devoted to the study of suspected waters. But nothing has been sighted that can be documented as evidentiary or even unusual.
Those who have devoted entire careers to studying these obscure creatures have come up empty-handed. They have labeled themselves “cryptozoologists,” or those who study secretive animal forms. Theirs is a frustrating life, indeed.
For example, in 1987, a highly technical assault was launched on Loch Ness in Scotland. Called “Operation Deep Scan,” it was comprised of a literal armada of boats, cruising in line abreast down the loch. Millions of dollars were spent in the process. They were equipped with amazing arrays of the latest in sonar equipment, some of which was capable of literally visualizing an underwater scene. Had the Loch Ness Monster swum past, he would have been seen and recorded on television screens from many angles.
As one might imagine, cryptozoologists, sonar analysts, and biologists from all over the world went home disappointed. Only once during the entire operation were they were tantalized by a large, fast-swimming underwater “something” that quickly evaded their gaze.
Ironically, Japanese scientists had come to Scotland to participate in the exercise. While they were there, a group of amazing sightings of water horses were reported in Japan, around Mt. Fuji. Again and again, the phenomenon makes fools of serious men. Occasionally, however, it is caught on film.
In 1976, off Falmouth, Cornwall in England, a long-necked sea monster was repeatedly sighted. A photo of it reveals a shape that dragon-hunters have come to expect. The unidentified photographer wrote, “It looked like an elephant waving its trunk, but the trunk was a long neck with a small head on the end, like a snake’s head. It had humps on the back which moved in a funny way. The colour was black or very dark brown, and the skin seemed to be like a sealion’s… the animal frightened me. I would not like to see it any closer. I do not like the way it moved when swimming.”[xi]
This dragon was given the name “Morgawr.” For a while, he became something of a local celebrity in the area.[xii]
What Are We Dealing With?
Certainly, Leviathan is a real creature—a marine reptile of some sort. But let’s be honest, in this age of exotic observational equipment and low-light cameras, it seems highly unlikely that any animal of this size could escape detection and cataloging.
Furthermore, biologists can estimate the kind of food supply necessary to sustain a creature whose weight is measured in tons. Most of the lakes where sightings are made simply do not have enough food to support even a breeding pair of such huge animals. Don’t forget, down through the ages, Orms, dragons, and water-horses have been known for their voracious appetites—stealing chickens, sheep, and cattle. For such misdeeds, they have earned the wrath of generations of common folk.
Yet they live on in secret, leaving no traces. No boney remains of their meals, excrement, or even tracks are seen. Perhaps—and this seems most likely—in this age, they are a kind of spiritual creature, capable of becoming visible for brief periods, then slipping back into their mysterious lairs.
One thing more needs to be said. In the rare event that an Orm is seen on shore, witnesses agree that it is most repulsively ugly. It scuttles along on stumps that suggest feet where there are no feet. Yet it can still wriggle along with remarkable speed.
In ancient narratives, where myth blends with real observation, dragon sightings are recounted in which the huge creatures not only had feet, but wings. And rather than being reported as hideously ugly, dragons were said to be the most beautiful and intelligent of creatures.
One is reminded of the Bible’s early reference to this creature, seen throughout Scripture as the hissing serpent, the old dragon, or Satan:
Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Genesis 3:1–6)
If you read Scripture as divinely-inspired, you must believe this account of an intelligent, talking serpent, which deceived Eve into the forbidden act that resulted in man’s downfall.
Traditionally, this serpent is identified as the devil, himself, called the dragon. His form was once attractive, and his approach was said to be clever beyond human resistance.
But you must also believe that the serpent was cursed.
“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life” (Genesis 3:14).
The nature of this curse implies that the serpent and all his kind were sentenced to an ignominious defeat. The clear implication is that once, they could walk, perhaps even fly, but now would have to crawl. Or perhaps, we should say that, like the modern dragons, the serpent would be reduced to scuffling awkwardly along on his belly. “Eating dust” suggests skulking along the ground without arms or legs, being forced to muck along in dirt and mire.
Some have suggested that this is simply a reference to common snakes. And it surely applies to them. But at the moment, we’re considering the dragon of history and culture. As we have suggested in the past, the “serpent class” of creatures—the saurians or lizards—seem to have been led by their own overseer, called in Ezekiel 28:14, “the anointed cherub that covereth.”
His downfall marked the progressive downfall of all his kind, so that all serpents have become furtive creatures who live in seclusion…in the “dragon’s lair,” so to speak.
It must be concluded that Leviathan, the fearsome original form of the dragon, is now merely a shabby, broken-down, and decaying shadow of his former self. But Leviathan as an accursed animal is one thing; Leviathan, the symbol of Satan’s behind-the-scenes spiritual manipulation, is quite another.
The Leviathan of prophecy evokes a picture of global power in the kingdom of darkness. In Psalm 74, for example, Leviathan is mentioned by name. The context of this Psalm is a Maschil, or “lesson” of Asaph.
Here, the evil world system is pictured as vicious and despotic. In verses 10 and 11, the psalmist asks a rhetorical question: “O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever? Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? pluck it out of thy bosom.”
This question states the obvious; namely, that the enemy seems to be advancing without restraint. The psalmist asks why God, given His great power, would allow this. This question having been put forward, the psalmist gives the answer: “For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness” (Psalm 74:12–14).
Here, the dragons are the Hebrew tanninim. They are the monsters of the sea. In this context, Leviathan seems to be their leader, with many heads. In retrospect, this action addresses God’s defeat of Satan’s world kingdom. It is also a prophecy of His future victory.
But Leviathan, the spiritual beast, is the symbol of that system. As the dragon of reality, he is the degenerate monster of global power and control. The lesson of this Psalm is that the Lord, having vanquished the old dragon, will one day entirely eliminate his realm of control.
There is also another mention of Leviathan in the Psalms. It, too, speaks prophetically of Leviathan. This time, he is shown frolicking with the great ships of the merchant trade.
“There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein” (Psalm 104:26).
As we have pointed out in many past studies, these sea traders are the merchants of Tarshish. They are the global wholesalers, upon whose international traffic is based the Law Merchant. It is the all-powerful law of the sea. It ignores the needs of those who produce its multitudinous quantities of trade goods.
It enslaves men, and is pictured as a huge sea monster that rises in the latter days. Of course, it will be destroyed at the beginning of the Kingdom Age. The death of commercial Babylon is seen in Revelation 18:10, where it is seen as “that great city Babylon, that mighty city!” Of course, it is global in scope.
Before that, in Revelation 13:1–2, John witnesses the rise of Leviathan from the sea, a symbol of the final world power: “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
Revelation 13:4 adds, “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast.”
Here is the ultimate blasphemy! Those alive on Earth during the Great Tribulation will actually come to worship the ancient dragon—Leviathan will at last come to realize his ancient desire: to be worshipped as God.
No wonder his destruction is prophesied so often and so firmly. As Isaiah writes, “In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea” (Isaiah 27:1).
According to Michael Strassfeld, writing in The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary, the feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) is concluded with a powerful ritual that commemorates the destruction of Leviathan’s power.
“The afternoon of Hoshana Rabbah is the winding down of Sukkot. Some people visit the sukkah [booth] one last time and recite the following prayer: ‘May it be that we merit to dwell in the sukkah made of leviathan.’”[xiii]
He adds, “According to legend, God will make a sukkah [tentlike shelter] out of the body of the leviathan at the end of days and will place the righteous there. The leviathan is a mythical beast of enormous dimension who will be killed by God at the end of days.”[xiv]
Mythical? Hardly. Even now, he swims the seas and lakes of the world, accursed and isolated from humanity. He is real to be sure; he is also the symbol of utmost evil…a model for the world government of the great dragon.
Yes, I believe in dragons. Even more, I believe in the great Dragon Slayer, the Lord Jesus Christ.
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[i] C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 1986), Vol. 4, p. 78.
[ii] Ivan T. Sanderson, in the foreword to: F. W. Holiday, The Great Orm of Loch Ness (New York, NY: Avon Books, 1968), xii.
[iii] F. W. Holiday, The Great Orm of Loch Ness: A Practical Inquiry into the Nature and Habits of Water-Monsters (New York, NY: Avon Books, 1968).
[iv] Ibid., 132.
[v] Ibid., 133.
[vi] Ibid., 133–134.
[vii] Ibid., 136.
[viii] Ibid., 137–138.
[ix] Janet and Colin Bord, Unexplained Mysteries of the 20th Century (Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books, 1989), 112–113.
[x] Ibid., 114.
[xi] Ibid., 118–119.
[xii] See the photos on the UFO Digest website: http://www.ufodigest.com/news/1007/images/morgawr.jpg.
[xiii] Michael Strassfeld, Betsy Platkin Teutsch, and Arnold M. Eisen, Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary, (New York, NY: Harper & Row Publishers, 1985), 137.