Leviathan by Abidan Shah, PhD

LEVIATHAN by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC

Introduction: Kids love dinosaurs, especially boys. In fact, even big kids, adults, get excited about them. I remember, back in 1993, when the first Jurassic Park movie, based on Michael Crichton’s sci-fi novel, came out; I was blown away! Since then, five more movies have come out in the series. Also, back in the summer, BBC Studios, under the direction of Jon Favreau, released “Prehistoric Planet.” It is a mind-blowing production, to say the least! Dinomania has been going on for the past two centuries. Unfortunately, the premises that have been assumed and the conclusions that have been drawn regarding dinosaurs are contrary to what the Bible says about them. In today’s message titled Leviathan, we’ll see what God’s Word has to say about them. Main point: Dinosaurs have been used to justify evolution, when, in reality, they testify to God’s marvelous creation. Learning about the power and might of dinosaurs should lead us to bow before our sovereign God and fall on our faces in repentance. They are God’s answer to our doubts in suffering.

Job 40      15 “Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; He eats grass like an ox. 16 See now, his strength is in his hips, and his power is in his stomach muscles. 17He moves his tail like a cedar; The sinews of his thighs are tightly knit. 

Job 41       1 “Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, or snare his tongue with a line whichyou lower? 2 Can you put a reed through his nose, or pierce his jaw with a hook? 19 Out of his mouth go burning lights; sparks of fire shoot out.

Context: The Book of Job may seem like an unusual book to turn to regarding dinosaurs, but it has the most vivid description of them. As you may know, Job was “blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). He had a wonderful family, seven sons and three daughters, and plenty of possessions. Then, one day, Satan got permission from God to test Job. In one day, his world was turned upside down; he lost everything – the Sabeans raided his farm and stole his oxen and donkeys and killed the servants; fire fell from heaven on his sheep and the servants keeping them; then, the Chaldeans stole all his camels and killed the servants; finally, a great wind destroyed his house, killing all his children. If that weren’t enough, Satan even got permission from God to attack him with boils all over his body. Now, he was sitting in ashes, scratching himself with a potsherd. His wife advised him to curse God and die, and his friends accused him of some unconfessed sin in his life. Job was at a low point in his life. His faith was running low. He was discouraged and doubtful of God’s character. He said things in his low moments regarding the justice of God and about putting God on trial. Finally, God spoke up in Job 38       1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: 2 “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” Then, God listed all the wonders of his creation, starting with the natural world (sea, clouds, snow, hail, lightning) to the wild animals (bears, lions, mountain goats, wild ox) and domestic animals (horse). Then, in chapters 40 and 41, he mentioned creatures that are now extinct to us but very real to Job – the Behemoth and Leviathan. I find that very fascinating! God used dinosaurs and the great sea creatures to pull Job out of his misery and doubt!

Application: Are you in a situation like Job? Have you begun to doubt God’s justice and care? This message is for you. Having doubts is not sin, staying in doubt is.

God brought up dinosaurs as his chief exhibits in the trial, but for the past two hundred years, dinosaurs have been hijacked by those who deny the biblical account of creation. In fact, the very term “Jurassic,” where does it come from? It comes from the Geologic Column, which was standardized by the Geologic Society of America in 2009. As you can see, there are 4 ages: Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic. These rock layers were identified based on the fossils found in them. By using what is called “index fossil,” which is animals or plants that are found in the rock layers, these rock layers are then so labelled. The index fossils must be easily identified, plenty of it, and should be spread as far wide as possible in a short range of time. So, using evolution as the premise, the smaller the size, the earlier the fossil in the evolutionary chain. It is also assumed that any variation is simply the creature evolving into a bigger and more sophisticated stage. Just remember, I’m being very simplistic here. If you are wondering where these names have come from, “Cambria” is the name for Wales in Latin, where the rocks coming from this period were first studied. Paleozoic = palaios (old) + zoe (life); Mesozoic = Meso (middle) + zoe (life); Triassic = Triad (three) from the 3 rock layers in Germany (lower sandstone, shell limestone, and clay); Jurassic = Jura mountains on the France-Switzerland border that has carbonate rocks; Cretaceous (Latin for chalk); Cenozoic = kainos (new) + Zoic (life); Tertiary = assigned in the 18th century based on the mountains in Italy; Quarternery = four orders (Italian) based on sediments in the Seine River basin in Northern France. I’m giving you the meaning of these designations because people tend to get intimated by them, but we don’t have to. When it comes to the time of each age – Precambrian = 4.6 billion to 540 million years ago; Paleozoic Era = 540 to 250 million years ago; Mesozoic Era = 250 to 65 million years ago; Cenozoic Era = 65 to present; Quarternery = 2.6 million or more.

How does this compare to the biblical account of creation and Noah’s Flood? Rodinia, Rodinia breaks apart, Pangaea, Warm wet world, Ice age, Present World. Rodinia is up to the Cambrian stage when fossils are being found. This is only 1500 years, from creation to the flood; Rodinia breaking apart to Pangaea is from the Paleozoic to the Mesozoic Stage (this is the time of the Great Flood, only one year, 370 days; and Warm wet world to Ice Age to Present is the Cenozoic Era. 

When were the great sea creatures and the dinosaurs made? Genesis 1       21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day. Also, Genesis 1       25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Secular history and geology, influenced by evolution, tries to separate dinosaurs from human beings. To the contrary, they existed side by side in the pre-flood world. 

How about after the Great Flood? I believe the fossils we find of the dinosaurs are evidence that they perished in the flood. I also believe that since the book of Job talks about them – the book of Job is post-flood as it mentions the Great Flood (Job 22:15-16) – then, there were dinosaurs on the ark. Don’t immediately think of full-size dinosaurs. In fact, the animals that were on the ark were probably young, so they could live a while in the post-flood world. Also, dinosaur eggs have been no bigger than a football. Furthermore, there were not hundreds of these species. According to some estimates, as few as 50 kinds of dinosaurs have been confidently identified. By the way, the evidence in recent years has really challenged the view that dinosaurs are millions of years old – blood cells, soft and pliable tissues have been found in fossils. According to Mary Schweitzer, a paleontologist from NC State who came across finds that shocked everyone, “Finding these tissues in dinosaurs changes the way we think about fossilization, because our theories of how fossils are preserved don’t allow for this.” 

So much more we can talk about dinosaurs, but let’s return to Job. God used dinosaurs and the great sea creatures to pull Job out of his misery and doubt.

Behemoth – Job 40        15 “Look now at the behemoth (behema – beast), which I made along with you; he eats grass like an ox. 16 See now, his strength is in his hips, and his power is in his stomach muscles. 17 He moves (chapets – to place emphasis on size, cedar tree is about 30-40 meters tall) his tail like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are tightly knit. 18His bones are like beams of bronze, His ribs like bars of iron. 19 He is the first (reshit – first or beginning) of the ways of God; Only He who made him can bring near His sword. 20Surely the mountains yield food for him, and all the beasts of the field play there. 21 He lies under the lotus trees, in a covert of reeds and marsh. 22 The lotus trees cover him with their shade; The willows by the brook surround him. 23 Indeed the river may rage, yet he is not disturbed; he is confident, though the Jordan gushes into his mouth, 24 Though he takes it in his eyes, or one pierces his nose with a snare. This was probably a sauropod dinosaur.

Leviathan – Job 41      1 “Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, or snare his tongue with a line which you lower? 2 Can you put a reed through his nose, or pierce his jaw with a hook? 3 Will he make many supplications to you? Will he speak softly to you? 4 Will he make a covenant with you? Will you take him as a servant forever? 5 Will you play with him as witha bird, or will you leash him for your maidens? 7 Can you fill his skin with harpoons, or his head with fishing spears? 8 Lay your hand on him; Remember the battle—Never do it again! 9 Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false; Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him? 10 No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up. Who then is able to stand against Me? 11 Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine. 12“I will not conceal his limbs, His mighty power, or his graceful proportions. 13 Who can remove his outer coat? Who can approach him with a double bridle? 14 Who can open the doors of his face, With his terrible teeth all around? 15 His rows of scales are his pride, shut up tightly as with a seal; 16 One is so near another That no air can come between them; 17They are joined one to another, they stick together and cannot be parted. 18 His sneezings flash forth light, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. 19 Out of his mouth go burning lights; Sparks of fire shoot out. 20 Smoke goes out of his nostrils, as from a boiling pot and burning rushes. 21 His breath kindles coals, and a flame goes out of his mouth. Dragons are none other than Dinosaurs. There are legends in almost all ancient cultures and civilizations – China, Egypt, Africa, Native Americans, Europe (Beowulf, St. George and the Dragon), etc.

22 Strength dwells in his neck, And sorrow dances before him…24 His heart is as hard as stone, even as hard as the lower millstone. 25 When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid; Because of his crashings they are beside themselves. 26 Though the sword reaches him, it cannot avail; Nor does spear, dart, or javelin. 27 He regards iron as straw, And bronze as rotten wood. 28 The arrow cannot make him flee; Slingstones become like stubble to him. 29 Darts are regarded as straw; He laughs at the threat of javelins. 30 His undersides are like sharp potsherds; He spreads pointed marks in the mire. 31 He makes the deep boil like a pot; He makes the sea like a pot of ointment. 32 He leaves a shining wake behind him; Onewould think the deep had white hair. 33 On earth there is nothing like him, which is made without fear. 34 He beholds every high thing; He is king over all the children of pride.” This is probably a Plesiosaurus. 

Listen carefully to Job’s response – Job 42       1 Then Job answered the LORD and said: 2 “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. 3 You asked, “Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, “I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ 5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. 6 Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

Same Jesus who made these creatures cares for you.

Invitation: How about you? Do you see the sovereignty of God? Can you see your problems in a whole new light? Are you ready to repent before him? Are you saved?

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