Leviathan : An Ancient Dragon of the Sea? Part 2
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
July 19, 1997

Last Updated :
September 20, 2012


Satan Is A Lying Deceiver And A Murderer, Spiritual Death Of Humanity Was Satan's Very First Act Of Murder, Lion Serpent And Dragon Are All Symbols Used For Satan, Satan Is A False Angel Of Light, Satan's Physical Form In The Garden Of Eden, Satan Shall Be Trampled Underfoot, "Dragon" In The Bible Is "Tanniyn" And "Drakon", Leviathan May Have Lived Socially In Pods, Leviathan Were Plenteous In Red Sea, Fed To Children Of Israel, Origin Of Word "Leviathan", Personal Doubts About Leviathan Being A Plesiosaurus, A Fire-Breathing Luminescent Sea Monster, Modern Proof: Fireflies And Bombardier Beetles, Leviathan May Have Possessed Multiple Heads, A Seven-Headed Red Dragon In Book Of Revelation, Satan Cast Into Bottomless Pit And Then Lake Of Fire, Greek Mythology Concerning Titans Olympians Hercules Hydra Hydrus And Multi-Headed Water Snake, Examining Job 41 From New Perspective, Satan's Supplications To Eve, Beast's Deceptive Treaty, Scales Of Pride, Enticed By Temptations Of The World, Apostle Paul Healed Of Physical And Spiritual Blindness Resulting From His Pride, Herod Agrippa I Is Smitten With Worms By The Lord And Dies, Flavius Josephus




Continuing our discussion from part one, while Adam and Eve foolishly fell for Satan's deception in the Garden of Eden, in the Gospel of John, while speaking to His unbelieving Jewish enemies, Jesus fully exposed that liar, deceiver and murderer when He stated the following:

"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:44, KJV


While many Christians consider the story of Cain and Abel to be Satan's first murderous act in the Scriptures, the truth of the matter is that he really murdered all of humanity when he convinced Adam and Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit. Thank God that we can now find hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Thus far, we have seen that in the Scriptures, Leviathan is described as both a serpent, as well as a dragon of the sea. Another verse which mentions a dragon and a snake together can be found in Psalm 91, as we see here:

"Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet."
Psalms 91:13, KJV


In the previous verse, the word "adder" is translated from the Hebrew word "pethen" which means a snake or a venomous serpent. While it is possible that a lion, a venomous serpent and a dragon are mentioned in the same verse together because they were animals which were feared, I must wonder if there is possibly a greater significance and meaning to the verse. It should not escape us that in the Scriptures, all three of these animals are used as symbols for Satan. We have already seen how "serpent" and "dragon" are used, but allow me to remind you of what the Apostle Peter writes in his Epistle:

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
1 Peter 5:8, KJV


If we accept the previous verse from Psalm 91 as meaning a real dragon, we run into an obvious problem. There is no way that a person can really trample a dragon underfoot. However, as I noted in part one, if we delve deeper into God's Word by comparing Scripture with Scripture, we arrive at a satisfying -- and Biblical -- answer. You may recall that in the Book of Genesis, after Adam and Eve had disobeyed the Lord by eating of the forbidden fruit, the Lord cursed the serpent by saying the following to him:

". . . 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: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
Genesis 3:14-15, KJV


There are two things I would like to bring to your attention regarding the previous verses. As I mentioned in part one, I have always wondered exactly what appearance and form Satan took in the Garden of Eden prior to the judgment that took place in the previous verses. Did Satan take the form of a serpent from the start, or did he actually appear to Eve in his original true form; that is, as an Angelic Being? If you had been Eve, would you be attracted to an ugly serpent, or to a beautiful Angelic Being who glowed with radiant light? Let's not forget what Paul wrote concerning Satan thousands of years after the event in the Garden:

"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
2 Corinthians 11:14 KJV


If we consider that crawling on his belly was a part of the curse that was pronounced upon Satan after he had deceived Adam and Eve, and induced them to disobey the Lord, it does suggest that he may have possessed some other form prior to the curse. It may interest you to know that some additional support for this possibility likewise exists in some of the Apocryphal Works which were not included in our modern-day Bible. These ancient scrolls -- which include a large number of apocalypses, or revelations, as well as the Book of Enoch -- hint that before being cursed by God, this subtle serpent of Eden possessed arms, legs, ears, etc. He was humanoid.

The second point I would like to bring to your attention in regards to the previous verses that are taken from the Book of Genesis, is the fact that we are told "it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." You will recall that the verse that we examined a moment ago from Psalm 91 states the following:

"Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet."
Psalms 91:13, KJV


It would certainly seem that the Apostle Paul had both the events of Genesis chapter three, as well as the verse from Psalm 91 in mind, when he wrote the following words in his Epistle to the brethren at Rome:

"And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen."
Romans 16:20, KJV


Thus, if we consider that a lion, a dragon and a serpent are all used to symbolize Satan in the Scriptures, it makes it a lot easier to understand how these creatures could indeed be trampled underfoot in a symbolic sense.

The word "dragon" is actually found nineteen times in the KJV Bible. In the Old Testament, in the six times that it is used, it is derived from the Hebrew word "tanniyn". Pronounced as tan-neen', the Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Hebrew Aramaic English Lexicon provides the following definition for this ancient word:

----- Begin Quote -----

1) dragon, serpent, sea monster
   1a) dragon or dinosaur
   1b) sea or river monster
   1c) serpent, venomous snake

----- End Quote -----

In the New Testament, the Hebrew word "tanniyn" finds its Greek equivalent in the word "drakon", which Thayer's Greek English Lexicon defines as "a dragon, a great serpent, and a name for Satan." On a related note, as I mention in a few of my other articles, "Draco" also happens to be the name of a constellation which rotates around the North Pole. While we have already covered a lot of Scriptural territory in our endeavor to decipher the mystery surrounding Leviathan the dragon of the sea, we are not quite finished yet. There are still a number of other interesting verses to discuss. For example, consider the following verses which reveal another fact regarding Leviathan the ancient sea monster:

"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. Thou didst cleave the fountain and the flood: thou driedst up mighty rivers."
Psalms 74:13-15, KJV


The first thing to notice is that these verses are obviously referring to a very real, literal creature. After all, it is not possible to feed people with an imaginary sea monster. It is also interesting to note that there was more than just one Leviathan. Apparently, there were in fact whole herds of them, or perhaps "pods" would be a more correct word to use being as they lived in the seas and oceans of the world, and not on dry land. Furthermore, if we consider that the verses are describing how God divided the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites, it strongly suggests that these Leviathan were rather plenteous in the Red Sea during that time period.

The word "leviathan" finds its origin in the ancient Hebrew word "livyathan". Pronounced as liv-yaw-thawn', the Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Hebrew Aramaic English Lexicon defines it as follows:

----- Begin Quote -----

1) leviathan, sea monster, dragon
   1a) large aquatic animal
   1b) perhaps the extinct dinosaur, plesiosaurus, exact meaning unknown

----- End Quote -----

As you can see, and as I mentioned in part one, it has been suggested that Leviathan may possibly have been related to the plesiosaurus. However, personally, I do have some doubts regarding this possibility. As we saw in part one, the Book of Job describes these sea beasts as great, fire-breathing dragons, and not just as marine reptiles. Recall that we are told that "Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth . . . He maketh the deep to boil like a pot."

There are also several indications that, similar to quite a few deep sea creatures which still exist today, the Leviathan may also have been luminescent to some degree. We are told that "by his neesings a light doth shine", and "he maketh a path to shine after him." The word "neesings" means sneezes. The original Hebrew words indicate that these phrases are referring to actual, physical light.

While some of my incredulous readers may scoff at the idea of fire-breathing dragons, the truth of the matter is that even today, there are some hints in nature which suggest that it may have been possible for certain creatures to breath fire a long ago. There are some insects which possess the ability to store certain chemical compounds in their bodies, which when mixed together can produce luminescence or some other effect. Everyone is familiar with the lightning bug, or firefly. An equally interesting insect is known as the Bombardier Beetle. Similar to the firefly, this unusual beetle possesses special reservoirs in its abdomen where it stores chemical compounds. When combined, the compounds are used as a powerful defensive mechanism. Consider the following excerpt that is taken from the Wikipedia website:

----- Begin Quote -----

"When disturbed, the beetle ejects a noxious chemical spray in a rapid burst of pulses from special glands in its abdomen. The ejection is accompanied with a popping sound. A bombardier beetle produces and stores two reactant chemical compounds, hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide, in separate reservoirs in the rear tip of its abdomen. When threatened, the beetle contracts muscles that force the two reactants through valved tubes into a mixing chamber containing water and a mixture of catalytic enzymes. When combined, the reactants undergo a violent exothermic chemical reaction, raising the temperature to near the boiling point of water."

"The corresponding pressure buildup forces the entrance valves from the reactant storage chambers to close, thus protecting the beetle's internal organs. The boiling, foul-smelling liquid partially becomes a gas (flash evaporation) and is expelled through an outlet valve into the atmosphere with a loud popping sound. The flow of reactants into the reaction chamber and subsequent ejection to the atmosphere occurs cyclically at a rate of about 500 times per second and with the total pulsation period lasting for only a fraction of a second. The gland openings of some African bombardier beetles can swivel through 270* and thrust between the insect's legs, so it can be discharged in a multitude of directions with considerable accuracy."

----- End Quote -----

Notice that when this foul-smelling liquid is released by a Bombardier Beetle, it is almost as hot as boiling water, and yet the insect itself remains unharmed. If a modern beetle is capable of performing this amazing feat, who is to say that an ancient sea monster didn't possess similar chambers in its body, which would allow it to mix certain chemical compounds together, and then shoot fire from its mouth at will? Taking into consideration this modern scientific evidence, the idea of fire-breathing dragons does not seem so far-fetched after all. For those of you who may have an interest in seeing a Bombardier Beetle in action, I'll include a few YouTube links at the end of this series. I cannot guarantee that they will still be available at the time that you access them.

Whatever Leviathan was, the Book of Job makes it very clear that it could not be caught or tamed by man, regardless of the device that was used. This beast was greatly feared by everyone who encountered it. Furthermore, my impression is that this monster of the deep was of a very great size, and considerably larger than a plesiosaurus. It is because men were not able capture these creatures, that we are told that God Himself had to subdue it, in order to feed the children of Israel in the wilderness.

Returning to Psalm 74, there is a small hint that Leviathan may have possibly been a multi-headed sea serpent or dragon. The verses say "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." The first section states "heads" and "dragons" which matches in plurality. However, in the second part, we read "heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him." The words "leviathan" and "him" are singular", which seems to suggest that these heads are on one creature. If the second part is a repetition of the first section, then "him" should really be "them", but it isn't. In other words, it would read "heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest [them]."

If you are a serious student of God's Word, then you will no doubt already know that this latter interpretation regarding Leviathan -- the dragon of the sea -- having multiple heads finds full agreement in the Book of Revelation. Consider the following verses:

"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, KJV


"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 I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast."
Revelation 13:1, 3, KJV


"So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns . . . And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns."
Revelation 17:3, 7, KJV


Exactly what is going to be the fate of this seven-headed, great, red dragon who we now know symbolizes Satan himself? As I explain in articles such as "Satan: His Origin, Purpose and Future", the Book of Revelation clearly informs us that he has an appointment in the Bottomless Pit, and ultimately in the Lake of Fire, as we can determine from the following verses:

"And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born . . . And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels . . . And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
Revelation 12:4, 7, 9, KJV


"And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years . . . And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
Revelation 20:2, 10, KJV


As I discuss in a few of my other articles, there exists the possibility that some of the ancient Greek myths concerning the Titans and the Olympians may have originally had a basis in actual historical fact. However, with the passage of time, these stories were embellished, distorted and exaggerated. It is interesting to note that one such story involves Hercules -- or Heracles as he is actually known -- and a multi-headed monster that was known as Hydra. Each time that a head was cut off, a new one would simply grow in its place. What you may find interesting is the fact that in the Greek language, "Hydra" is actually "Hudra", and it refers to a water snake. In the field of Astronomy, Hydra and Hydrus -- they are two separate constellations, one male, and one female -- are called the Water Snake, or the Sea Monster. Is it possible then that Leviathan and Hydra represented one and the same multi-headed creature, or at least very similar creatures?

With the information I have now provided, we have discovered a correlation between Leviathan, the serpent of Genesis, the dragon of Revelation, and Satan himself. We have learned that since the beginning of time, Satan has been using his powers to deceive and lie to humanity. With this new understanding regarding who Leviathan may represent, we can return to Job chapter forty-one and see the Scriptures in a new light. Let us begin by reconsidering the following two verses:

"Will he make many supplications unto thee? Will he speak soft words unto thee? Will he make a covenant with thee?"
Job 41:3-4, KJV


As we have seen, this is exactly what Lucifer did with Eve in the Garden of Eden. Satan did in fact make supplications to Eve and spoke to her in a soft deceptive voice which resulted in the downfall of humankind. I also find it interesting that in the Book of Revelation, the Satanic leader is referred to as the Beast. In the Book of Daniel we find another Beast -- who may possibly be the same secular leader as the one who is mentioned in the Book of Revelation -- who signs a covenant -- that is, a false peace treaty -- in order to consolidate his power by deceptive means. Consider this verse:

"And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
Daniel 9:27, KJV


In verses fifteen and thirty-four of Job chapter forty-one we find another interesting description of Leviathan, as we see here:

"His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal . . . He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride."
Job 41:15, 34, KJV


Clearly, the scales of this fire-breathing dragon of the sea are used to represent pride. Furthermore, it was also pride which in the end, resulted in the fall of Adam and Eve, as we can determine by the following verse:

"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 3:6, KJV


As the Apostle John reveals in his first Epistle, Satan, who is the false god of this current world, knew exactly what Eve's vulnerabilities were; and that old serpent used them to his advantage. Consider the following interesting verses:

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
1 John 2:15-17, KJV


Of course, Adam and Eve were not the only two people in the Scriptures who have ever yielded to their pride. In the Book of Acts, we find the story of the Christian persecutor Saul of Tarsus, who later became known as the Apostle Paul. You may recall that after having been blinded by the Lord due to his pharisaical pride and persecution of God's children, the Lord sent Ananias to heal Paul. Notice the exact words which are used to describe this particular miracle of healing:

"And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized."
Acts 9:18, KJV


Clearly, after his experience on the road to Damascus, the Apostle Paul became a much more humbler man, and a vessel who was more fit for the Master's use. At the same time, he received new spiritual insight which he had not previously had. I am likewise reminded of the awful fate which befell proud King Herod Agrippa I in the Book of Acts. This is the same Herod who killed James, the brother of John, and then proceeded to imprison the Apostle Peter as well, no doubt with the intention of executing Peter too. However, as we know, God had other plans in store for Peter, as well as for evil Herod Agrippa I. In his foolish pride, Herod made the mistake of allowing his subjects to deify him. Consider what happened to him next, and be warned:

"And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost."
Acts 12:21-23, KJV


In relating his account regarding the painful death of Herod Agrippa I in Book XIX Chapter 8 of his "Antiquities of the Jews", Jewish historian Flavius Josephus writes as follows:

----- Begin Quote -----

"Now when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judea, he came to the city Cesarea, which was formerly called Strato's Tower; and there he exhibited shows in honor of Caesar, upon his being informed that there was a certain festival celebrated to make vows for his safety. At which festival a great multitude was gotten together of the principal persons, and such as were of dignity through his province. On the second day of which shows he put on a garment made wholly of silver, and of a contexture truly wonderful, and came into the theater early in the morning; at which time the silver of his garment being illuminated by the fresh reflection of the sun's rays upon it, shone out after a surprising manner, and was so resplendent as to spread a horror over those that looked intently upon him; and presently his flatterers cried out, one from one place, and another from another, (though not for his good,) that he was a god; and they added, "Be thou merciful to us; for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a man, yet shall we henceforth own thee as superior to mortal nature." Upon this the king did neither rebuke them, nor reject their impious flattery. But as he presently afterward looked up, he saw an owl sitting on a certain rope over his head, and immediately understood that this bird was the messenger of ill tidings, as it had once been the messenger of good tidings to him; and fell into the deepest sorrow. A severe pain also arose in his belly, and began in a most violent manner. He therefore looked upon his friends, and said, "I, whom you call a god, am commanded presently to depart this life; while Providence thus reproves the lying words you just now said to me; and I, who was by you called immortal, am immediately to be hurried away by death. But I am bound to accept of what Providence allots, as it pleases God; for we have by no means lived ill, but in a splendid and happy manner." When he said this, his pain was become violent. Accordingly he was carried into the palace, and the rumor went abroad every where, that he would certainly die in a little time. But the multitude presently sat in sackcloth, with their wives and children, after the law of their country, and besought God for the king's recovery. All places were also full of mourning and lamentation. Now the king rested in a high chamber, and as he saw them below lying prostrate on the ground, he could not himself forbear weeping. And when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, being in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and in the seventh year of his reign; for he reigned four years under Caius Caesar, three of them were over Philip's tetrarchy only, and on the fourth he had that of Herod added to it; and he reigned, besides those, three years under the reign of Claudius Caesar; in which time he reigned over the forementioned countries, and also had Judea added to them, as well as Samaria and Cesarea. The revenues that he received out of them were very great, no less than twelve millions of drachme. Yet did he borrow great sums from others; for he was so very liberal that his expenses exceeded his incomes, and his generosity was boundless."

----- End Quote -----

Clearly, in Herod's particular case, pride was a real killer, and in a very literal sense no less. We would all be wise to consider this wisdom that is found in the Book of Proverbs:

"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 16:18, KJV


Please go to part three for the conclusion of this series.

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