From the Pastor’s Pen

Final Thoughts on Isaiah 27:1

In that day, the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong, Will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.            NKJV

Leviathan is surely being used in this verse as a metaphor for Satan, who will be punished by the Lord Jesus Christ at His second coming.  The LORD’s sword in view refers to the word of God (see Eph. 6:17, Heb. 4:12, Rev. 19:15) with which Christ will destroy our adversary, The Devil.

The Leviathan was a very large, powerful, and ferocious creature that once lived on the earth.  It is referred to a number of times in the Old Testament, with the most complete description being found in Job 41.  Some commentators who have bought into the uniformitarian teaching of long geological ages in which the dinosaurs died off 65 million years before man appeared on the earth have attempted to assign the identity of the Leviathan to a crocodile or a whale.  But clearly the description of the Leviathan does not fit either of these animals.  Instead it much better fits the description of one of the dinosaur-like sea dragons known as Mosasaurs.  Mosasaurs were giant marine reptiles with scaled, serpentine bodies that reached lengths of 60 feet and had skulls over six feet long filled with large, sharp teeth.  They also had the hinged jaws of a snake and swam with a serpentine motion. In Job 41:18-21, the leviathan is said to be able to breathe fire out of its nostrils. Because of this, some commentators have tried to pass the leviathan off as a mythological creature or a fairy tale, yet there is an insect living today, which possesses this amazing ability.  The bombardier beetle uses special glands in its body to mix hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide in an aqueous base, along with an inhibitor in an abdominal chamber.  When threatened by a predator, the flow of inhibitor is stopped, causing the mix to explode from an opening in the beetle’s abdomen, spraying the threatening predator with a gas that is 212 degrees Fahrenheit.  Some dinosaurs had hollow chambers in their skulls, connected to their nostrils, which may have served a similar function.   Job 41:33-34 declares the leviathan to be the most powerful of all God’s creatures.

The same descriptive terms are used of both the Leviathan and Satan.  Twice the Leviathan is referred to as a serpent in our text as is Satan in a number passages (see Gen. 3:14-15 and Rev. 12:9,14-15, 20:2).  Also the term “reptile” in the NKJV is the common Hebrew word for “dragon” and is commonly translated as such in the Septuagint, the King James Version, and a number of other translations.  The same term “dragon” is used 13 times in Revelation, chapters 12, 13, 16, and 20 to describe Satan.

In our text God promises to “punish” and “slay” the Leviathan.  Just as the Mosasaurs became extinct, so Satan will be punished and ultimately destroyed as well.  He will be bound in the Abyss during Jesus’ millennial reign (Rev. 20:2-3) and afterward cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:10, Mat. 25:41).  Thus will the serpent’s head be finally crushed by our Lord and Savior and the wicked designs of our accuser will be brought to an end forever.

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