Did you know that the Bible mentions the animals that we call dragons and dinosaurs? That's right . . . before archeologists found bones of these extinct creatures, Scripture recorded their existence. Job chapter 40 gives us their description.
Dragons & Dinosaurs
God has finally spoken to Job.
And His speech has startled us all.
While we thought His appearance would bring some form of answer or Divine explanation, God has instead appeared to Job – not to answer questions, but to ask them. Seventy-seven questions in all.
Questions that effectively took Job on a tour of the universe; as high as the constellations and then down to the smallest raindrop.
Then God took Job to the zoo where He showed him a dozen animals; the strong, the shy, the sturdy and the strange and more.
And in so doing He revealed to Job that just as He was in control of the animal’s habitat, He was in control of Job’s.
If a bird hadn’t escaped the notice of God – from the eagle to raven, Job had not slipped off the Divine radar and out of sight.
God may be asking questions, but His questions are providing deep answers . . . rich assurances.
The Creator, who spoke the first words of human history, is deserving of the last word in our own hearts.
And not surprisingly, Job is left at the end of God’s first series of questions with his hand over his mouth in muted awe and humility and submission . . . and reassurance!
Until studying this Book with you, I had no idea how the creation of God could bring such comfort from God.
I now understand a little better why Peter would connect God’s creative power to assurance and hope in suffering when he wrote, “Those who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” (1 Peter 4:19)
Our hope in suffering is literally bound up in the truth that God is the creator of heaven and earth and everything and everyone in them.
This is what God is doing with Job. “Job, you can trust me in the midst of your suffering because I, the Creator God will do what is right.”
Frankly, if you’re having trouble with the ways of God, take some time and notice the ways of God through His creation.
Simply put, for some of you today, one of the best things you could do for your spiritual refreshment is to take a drive through the countryside – drive south down to Fuquay Varina then over on 42. Beautiful countryside. On the way back you can stop at the new Dairy Queen in Fuquay . . . that’ll enrich your spirit too.
Sit out on the deck at sunset – take a bike ride or a hike in the woods . . . go camping overnight. My version of camping is a Holiday Inn in the mountains. But that works for me.
Sit out on your porch or walk around a nearby lake or pond.
And don’t just walk . . . look around . . . observe . . . listen and wonder . . . you just might be led to worship God with fresh perspective and gratitude.
David Atkinson challenged the believer when he wrote in his commentary on Job, “Sometimes it is by enjoying the Creator’s handiwork that we often begin to feel again the touch of the Creator’s hand.”
David Atkinson, The Message of Job (IV Press, 1991), p. 147
This is God’s panoramic challenge to Job. “Have you really thought about snowflakes and raindrops and dew and wind. Have you considered the currents of oceans and the clouds passing overhead? Do you know who rules the planets and directs the lightning and the thunder? What about the lion crouching in his lair or the ostrich with her head in the sand.
Can you figure out all the ways and wonders of My creation?
I made all of that.
And I made you! Down to the last detail. If I would take so much creative energy in thinking up snowflake design what do you imagine I took in thinking up you?
If I care about the sparrows, imagine how I care about the saints;
- you, sons and daughters of my own grace and glory; (John 1:12; Galatians 4:7)
- you, new creations by my Spirit’s power (2 Cor. 5:17)
I wish I could deliver to you half of what I have learned about the universe and the animal kingdom over the course of this study.
It’s proof to me all over again that I wasn’t really listening in High School Science class; I really did deserve those bad grades.
As we come to a close of this section when God speaks comfort to Job, God will focus his final words on two additional animals.
These are magnificent illustrations of God’s power and providence.
The final animals described to Job are the Behemoth and the Leviathan.
Turn to Job chapter 40 and verse 15. God says to Job, “Behold now, Behemoth which I made as well as you.”
Now, if you’re like me you immediately think – alright, from the last trip to the zoo I knew a little bit about horses and ostriches and donkeys and ravens.
But what in the world is a Behemoth.
The word Behemoth is really just a transliteration of the Hebrew word Behemoth.
In fact, it’s actually a plural form of a word we would normally translate “beasts”. Because of the plural form, some believe that God is only talking in general for these next two chapters about large animals.
However, he specifically describes one particular animal in view in this chapter and in chapter 41 He will specifically describe another animal we’ll look at in a moment.
Scholars debate long and loud about what animal this is. In fact many evangelical authors have suggested the hippopotamus or the elephant or the water buffalo.
The trouble is, the description doesn’t quite fit these animals entirely. Notice verse 16. Behold now, his strength in his loins and his power in the muscles of his belly. He bends his tail like a cedar. (Hippos and Elephants have tails that do not resemble a cedar tree). The sinews of his thighs are knit together. His bones are tubes of bronze; His limbs are like bars of iron. 19. He is the first of the ways of God.
In other words, this land animal, which also enjoys the water, is first in rank – not according to chronology, but size and strength.
Roy Zuck, Job (Moody, 1978), p. 179
In fact, if the Jordon were rage toward him he wouldn’t be moved at all, verse 23. No one can catch him verse 24.
I would agree with scholars who believe that this animal was a kind of dinosaur.
There you get the tail like a tree and yet he eats grass like an ox. Here you get the picture of the greatest land animal known to mankind.
You say, “But I’ve never seen the word “dinosaur” in the Bible. That’s true.
The King James Bible was first translated in 1611 and several revisions have followed since, along with a number of newer English translations that are also committed to translating from the original languages.
It wasn’t until 1841 that the word “dinosaur” was first coined by Sir Richard Owen, a famous British anatomist who directed the British museum. He originated the word for these huge creatures that were being excavated. The word ‘dino’ means terrible and the word ‘sauros’ means lizard. So he coined a word for these terrible lizards.
After viewing the bones of Iguanodon and Magalosaurus, he realized that he was examining the remains of a unique group of reptiles that had not yet been classified before.
You could easily translate Behemoth – great beast – dinosaur.
We’re not sure which dinosaur God was referring to: one author suggests it could be the Brachiosaurus which weighed 90,000 pounds and was 75 feet long and over 40 feet tall. (he’s have to duck his head to be in this audorium).
The problem for the average person today is that after a century of evolutionary conditioning, we’ve all been taught to believe that dinosaurs existed at least 10 million years before mankind.
They date these bones using indirect dating methods that have been proven to be unstable and inconsistent.
Not to mention believer that according to the creation account we have Adam and Eve created on the same day as the beasts of the earth, right?
Well, we need to do away with 6 literal 24 hour cycles and get millions of years in between each day so that they aren’t literal days, but eras. Then we have time for the universe to be as old as it seems to be.
We have time for the fossils to age millions of years.
According to Genesis chapter 1, the world and the universe were created with all the appearances of age, for our benefit.
Trees bearing fruit immediately upon creation. Light from sun moon and stars immediately cascading to earth. A man and a woman immediately walking and talking . . . not eggs first, but the chicken.
Even bones that seem to be millions of years old were fossilized quickly by the right amounts of pressure, sediment and water – explainable only in terms of a universal flood.
Which explains how sea creatures fossilized have been discovered on mountain tops and in deserts.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I do not interpret the scriptures through the lens of the universe; I interpret the universe through the lens of scripture.
Let me read from one account that will not be in your child’s science text book any time soon. It clearly indicates that dinosaur bones are not as old as we’re being told by the evolutionists. 17 years ago, scientists from the University of Montana found T-Rex bones that were not entirely fossilized. The sections of the bones were considered fresh bone. If these bones were really millions of years old, then the blood cells would have already totally disintegrated. A report by one of these scientists recorded, “The lab was filled with murmurs of excitement for I had focused on something inside the vessels that none of us had ever noticed before: tiny round objects, translucent red with a dark center . . . red blood cells. Blood cells are mostly water and couldn’t possibly have stayed preserved in the 65-million-old- tyrannosaur. They were indeed hemoglobin fragments.
Ken Ham, The Great Dinosaur Mystery Solved (Master Books, 2000), p. 18
That discovery never made it to the local PTA meetings.
Still many have suggested that Behemoth in chapter 40 and Leviathan in chapter 41 are simply poetic creations to speak of the power of God. They aren’t to be taken literally.
For one thing: all the animals thus far, presented to Job as proof of God’s providence are real. The only one we’ve never seen is the Auroch – the wild ox which is now extinct.
Secondly, the detailed description of the anatomy of these two animals suggests real animals.
Third, both animals are mentioned elsewhere in Scripture apart from any mythological context: Psalm 104:26 speaks of the Leviathan playing in the ocean and Joel 1 speaks of the Behemoth panting in need of God’s provision.
Fourth and most importantly, God said in Job 40, I created the behemoth just as I created you.
That’s good enough for me.
The problem is that God implies that Job already knows about the Behemoth. Verse 15 again – “Look now . . .” This huge animal was already apparent in the life of Job.
Job was probably grateful that God created the Behemoth to eat grass.
This massive animal that is extinct in our generation evidently was not extinct in Job’s generation.
I found it interesting that stone carvings and drawing of people several thousand years ago that show them hunting mammoths and antelope – even drawings by American native Indians – those drawings ended up in textbooks, but not their drawings of huge animals that look very much like dinosaurs.
And I need to warn you, if you have trouble believing that God could create the huge dinosaur to roam the earth at the same time of mankind, then you’re really gonna have trouble with the final animal God mentions to Job.
God will describe a water creature that is nothing short of a fire breathing dragon.
It’s called, the Leviathan
Notice verse 1 of chapter 41. Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook? Or press down his tongue with a cord?
By the way, this is the longest, most detailed description of an animal anywhere in the Bible.
2. Can you put a rope in his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook? Verse 7. Can you fill his skin with harpoons, or his head with fishing spears? Lay your hand on him; remember the battle; you will not do it again!
Verse 10. No one is so fierce that he dares to arouse him; who then is he that can stand before Me? Here’s the point Job. vs. 11. Who has given to Me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heave is Mine.”
In other words, I, the creator of Leviathan, am the controller of Leviathan. You can’t control him, but I can.
The Lord goes on in verse 13. Who can strip off his outer armor? Who can come within his double mail? Who can open the doors of his face? Around his teeth there is terror. 15. His strong scales are his pride, shut up as with a tight seal. 16. One is so near to another that no air can come between them. (Now get ready for this) 18. His sneezes flash forth light, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. 19. Out of his mouth go burning torches; sparks of fire leap forth. 20. Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
This is nothing less than a fire breathing creature.
No way! Well, explain the bombardier beetle, which fires bombs at their enemies, made up of powerful chemicals stored and mixed inside their bodies.
Adapted from Wikipedia.com/bombardier beetle
Explain to me how a firefly can have a chemical reaction and convert chemical energy to light energy without burning a hole in his abdomen. With 90% efficiency, where an ordinary light bulb only gets around 10% efficiency.
What we do know is that dinosaur bones have been excavated that show a strange protrusion with an internal cavity on the top of the head where some speculate that it served as the mixing chamber for combustible gases that would ignite when exhaled into the outside oxygen.
Henry Morris, The Remarkable Record of Job (Master Books, 1988), p. 118
Notice verse 21. His breath kindles coals, and a flame goes forth from his mouth.
Isaiah called this animal the “dragon that lives in the sea.” (Isa. 27:1)
The Leviathan was a real animal, more than likely now extinct. But undoubtedly to Job’s world it was the largest and fiercest of all the beasts that lived in the water.
I think it’s an interesting thought that God has concluded his tour of the animal world by ending with the dragon. The fire-breathing unstoppable, untamable fierce and fearful dragon.
Could it be . . . we don’t know for sure . . . but could it be that God ends with this animal because it is this animal throughout scripture that is used to represent that old serpent – the dragon – Satan.
In Revelation he’s referred to as the red dragon for his lust after blood and killing.
John writes in Revelation 12 of the tribulation period, “Michael and his angels waged war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth and his angels were thrown down with him.
Follow this, “The accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.”
The dragon is the accuser of the brethren.
One day he will be defeated by the power of God.
But now he accuses the brethren. It was this same dragon who accused Job. That’s how the book started.
And now the book is coming to an end with a reference to God’s victory and power over the Dragon. “He is under my heaven” v. 11.
I don’t know if Job caught this or if he lacked the revelation that we have to show the end of the dragon, but I do know the great dragon who accused Job would have been listening to this conversation between God and Job. He would not have missed it.
Adapted from Morris, p. 123
He knows his end . . . he knows his doom is sure.
Why would God choose to talk about these giant and fierce animals?
They are intimidating
They are uncontrollable
They are untamable
They seem to rule over everything they encounter
No, no . . . all the powers and forces and creatures of heaven and hell are under His control.
This trip around the universe and a field trip to the zoo changed Job’s attitude and spirit.
One hour or two in the presence of God and God became everything and Job found his security and peace, not in the storm, but in the Sovereign who rides the winds of the storm.
Sarah Edwards was the faithful wife of Jonathan Edwards, one of the key architects of the great spiritual awakening of the 1700’s. Just after assuming the role of president of Princeton College, he died unexpectedly from smallpox. Actually a reaction to a smallpox inoculation he had received one month earlier. His wife Sarah wrote their daughter Esther a note. Esther was still grieving the loss of her husband six months earlier. Sarah wrote, “My dear child. What shall I say? A holy and good God has covered us with a dark cloud. O that we may kiss the rod, and lay our hands upon our mouths – a reference to Job chapter 40. The Lord has done this. He has made me adore His goodness that we had your father so long. But my God lives; and he has my heart.
Quoted by John Piper in desiringgod.org/Job_Wrestling
- God created everything.
- God controls everything He has created.
- Everything God created, He controls to bring about His ultimate and perfect cause.
Our response is to be like Job’s: it was five-fold,
- First there is affirmation (ch. 42:2) – I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Lord, when You start something, no one can stop it.
Lord, when You plan something, no one hold it back.
- Secondly there is awe (v. 3) – Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
- Third there is attention (v. 4) – Hear now, and I will speak; I will ask You (the questions), and You instruct me.”
- Affirmation, awe, attention, now fourth there is adoration (v. 5) – I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You.
- Finally there is genuine apology (v. 6) Therefore, I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.
Job has finally come back into fellowship with God. He’s come home.
I read recently in one of my commentaries on this Book of Job about a family of 5; personal friends with the commentator; Mom, Dad and 3 sons. The oldest son was greatly gifted intellectually and musically. Along with being a fine young scholar, he was also a splendid violinist. Earlier in his high school years, the father – a medical doctor – had some trouble with the boy’s spirit of submission. But you know how you’ll do with your gifted children, you’ll give them room, you cut them a little too much slack. A proud streak soon accompanied this boy’s independent spirit.
Upon graduation from high school he was accepted into a prestigious school on the West Coast – very expensive but an excellent university known for its academics. The physician father paid the full tuition that year, and the boy began his first year many miles from home; wasn’t long before he started running around with a tough crowd. HE continued his musicianship, played violin in the school’s orchestra and did well, academically. But while he was out there, he cultivated even further a rebellious spirit.
After completing his freshman year he returned home, bringing his proud spirit of selfishness home with him. It wasn’t long into the summer before his mom and dad and the two younger brothers realized they had a real problem getting along. The conflicts intensified. His arrogant, stubborn, and mean-spirited attitude disrupted the family harmony. Late one afternoon the father had had enough.
He called the young man into his study, closed the door, pointed to the large leather chair, and said firmly, “sit down.” He then delivered a speech the boy would never forget. “Everything you own I mine. I bought every stitch of clothing you wear and everything that hangs in your closet. Your car out there in the driveway is mine; I paid for it. The money in your pocket came from my account.
Now, I want you to empty your pockets and your wallet on my desk. Leave everything that is mine in this house, and I want you to leave. Leave all your clothing, give me the car keys, and ho, by the way, also leave your violin – I bought that too. Leave everything behind that you’ve been using, which I am now claiming as rightfully mine. You can keep the clothes on your back and the shoes on your feet. But that’s it. There’s the door, you can leave now.
By the way, if you decide to change your attitude and come back into this home with a cooperative, submissive spirit, you need to know that we will accept you and we’ll welcome you back as a part of this family, but not until. I love you and always will, but you’re not the son we raised and I’m not putting up with it any longer.
The father told this author I was reading that the boy stood defiantly to his feet, put all his money on the desk, walked to the door, and left everything without saying one word – not even goodbye.
He proudly walked to the sidewalk out front, took a left and got about three blocks down the street and then stood there motionless with his hands in his empty pockets. He began to think it through as night was falling. He thought about all he’d be facing, the street life he knew nothing about, and everything he was leaving behind. (No money, no prospects, no car, no job, no food and no college Sophomore year ahead of him . . . after his Dad had taken everything he owned that was rightfully his, this young man realized he had nothing left.
When it was almost dark, he turned around, walked back home with his proud head now hanging down and a heart that was truly repentant. He knocked on his own front door. Dad opened the door with Mom standing next to his two younger brothers. They had already been thinking, “Who’s gonna get his room?” Then came the words, “I am sorry . . . I realize I really need you all and love you all . . . I’ve been wrong and I want you all to forgive my attitude and spirit.” They reached out and embraced him and welcomed him home.
Adapted from Charles Swindoll, Job: A Man of Heroic Endurance (W Publishing, 2004), p. 293
Here’s Job, knocking on the door as it were, with his proud head hanging low and repentant heart now submissive to the unchangeable, unknowable, unspeakable, unsearchable heart and mind of God.
I hear him saying, “Lord, I was wrong to demand my way . . . to command you to answer me . . . in spite of all my suffering, I had no right to challenge you or condemn you as unjust. Everything I have, and everything I am, you gave me . . . you made me.
Friends, we, like Job, believe our solution is an answer;
God’s answer is our surrender to His sovereignty; submission to His word . . . His ways, and His Spirit.
The hymn writer put it this way:
Have Thine own way Lord,
Have Thine own way,
Thou art the potter,
I am the clay,
Mold me and make me,
After Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
Have Thine own way Lord . . .