A Not-So-Mythical Creature

When the LORD spoke out of the whirlwind to Job, He humbled him by asking a series of questions about creation that demonstrated God’s power and man’s weakness. He spoke about the various ways in which the weather demonstrated His strength and control. Then He began describing powerful animals He created to demonstrate that, despite their power, the One who made them clearly had greater power still. The description of a large dinosaur in chapter forty would seem to reach the pinnacle of these descriptions; however, the LORD saved yet one more creature to bring up to Job that proved even more amazing.

In Job 41 the LORD begins describing an animal He calls Leviathan. As with behemoth, Leviathan is a transliteration of the Hebrew. To appreciate what this great creature was, we must consider the description offered by God. The Leviathan was a large sea creature so powerful that trying to fish for it was out of the question (Job 41:1-2), and men could neither tame it, capture it, nor kill it (Job 41:3-7). In fact, it would be foolish to go near enough to even try (Job 41:8-11). Despite being a sea-creature, it had some sort of limbs, and despite being powerful, it could also move well (Job 41:12). It had an airtight scaly outer coat and rows of teeth that dominated its face (Job 41:13-17). By this point, the reader has realized that the LORD is describing an ocean-going dinosaur, but the next part of the description amazes even further. “His sneezings flash forth light, And his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. Out of his mouth go burning lights; Sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke goes out of his nostrils, As from a boiling pot and burning rushes. His breath kindles coals, And a flame goes out of his mouth” (Job 41:18-21). This was not just any dinosaur. It was a fire-breathing dinosaur! It was muscular and strong (Jo 41:22-24), so much so that it frightened the bravest men (Job 41:25). Despite all of man’s efforts to harpoon it, their weapons bounced off of its scales (Job 41:26-29). Even its underbelly was scaled and sharp, as evidenced by the impressions in the mud when it came ashore to lie down (Job 41:30), a description that shows this was not a fish or whale or even a large crocodile. And yet, despite being able to come on land, it moved so fiercely through the water that it left a tremendous wake in its path (Job 41:31-32). This, the LORD said, had no reason to fear any predator—even man—because there was nothing else made so powerfully (Job 41:33-34).

Given just this description, from the pen of an inspired writer and from the mouth of God Himself, this great creature could only be one thing—a dragon. What else would you call a fire-breathing dinosaur? Granted that this particular description does not specify that its limbs were wings or that it flew. But this was—without a doubt—a dragon. In fact, the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, translates Leviathan as drakon—dragon. Therefore, the biblical testimony thus affirms not only that dragons were real at one time but also that men knew of them, had seen them, had attempted to hunt them, and had been awed by them. There is a reason for the myth of the dragon—especially strong in China, but known throughout the world. And that reason is simple: it is not such a mythical creature after all.

1 Comment

  1. Larry Nuckels on January 13, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    wow….to think that fir breathing dragons may have existed in the past. something to ponder for sure

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