How to Spot a Leviathan

By Vladimir Savchuk | May 30, 2024 | 5 mins

How to Spot a Leviathan

Is the concept of Leviathan something that deliverance ministries come up with, or is it actually in the Bible? What are some characteristics of a Leviathan? Here are a few things that we can find in the Bible as well as ancient texts.

Understanding the Background to Leviathan

Ancient people were afraid of chaos. Their gods battled the force of chaos, kind of like American cartoon superheroes, and these gods brought order to the universe. In ancient Near Eastern cosmology, the sea was often associated with chaos, darkness, and danger. They also believe that Baal fought the god of the sea, Yam, and Baal’s victory symbolized him bringing order to chaos in the universe.

In the Hebrew supernatural worldview, the sea, often referred to as “Yam,” symbolized chaos and the forces of disorder. If we look at Genesis 1:1-2 it says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” And then in Genesis 1:3, God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. In these verses, both water and light are appear before they actually appear in the order of creation.

At the end of the Bible, Revelation 21:1 states there is no more sea, symbolizing the absence of chaotic, destructive waters or their inhabitants in the new creation. Greg Boyd, in his book “God at War,” talks about the Hebrew supernatural worldview, a warfare worldview that presented God as sovereign over the hostile waters.

Now, there was a deeper spiritual meaning in the Hebrew worldview to the hostile waters. To them, “hostile waters” represented cosmic beasts like leviathan, Rahab, behemoth, and rebel gods, and Satan. That’s why there was a strong attraction to paganism in all of those ancient cultures.

Idols are not appealing unless there is power behind them. The kingdom of the demonic uses these idols to draw an attraction to itself so, Leviathan comes into this picture, as being this ancient enemy that the God of the Bible is sovereign over. 

Using the Background Knowledge to Understand Leviathan in the Bible

Leviathan means “twisted one.” The word appears about six times in the Hebrew Bible. In Job 3:8, Leviathan is referred to as something dangerous. In Job 41:1-34, God speaks to Job, asking if he has any power against a great sea creature named Leviathan. Here he is presented as a giant body with scales, terrible teeth, and fire breathing.

In Psalm 74:13-14, Leviathan is shown as having multiple heads, and God’s victory over Leviathan symbolizes God’s salvation of his people from the destructive chaos caused by their wicked enemies. In Psalm 104:26 presents Leviathan as a natural creature glorifying God.

In Isaiah 27:1, Leviathan represents the spiritual powers that are behind the suffering of God’s people. God is going to defeat those spiritual powers permanently. The ultimate Messianic triumph is yet to come. The final feast is still being prepared, but already the Church of Jesus Christ is defeating the spiritual powers of evil–the dark chaos that brings suffering and cruelty to the world.

Pseudepigrapha on Leviathan

The Pseudepigrapha, a collection of ancient books not considered part of the canon, also mention Leviathan. The book of Enoch describes Leviathan and Behemoth as huge monsters. Second Baruch and Fourth Ezra also suggest these creatures will be eaten by God’s people when the Messiah comes, symbolizing the ultimate defeat of chaotic forces.

Common Traits of Leviathan

  • Marine spirit: Leviathan is characterized as a marine spirit.
  • Twists the truth: Leviathan distorts the truth.
  • Destroys communication: Leviathan disrupts communication in relationships.
  • Causes spiritual shipwrecks: Like a sea monster, Leviathan can cause spiritual ruin.
  • Associated with pride: Leviathan is involved in all matters of pride and is considered the king of pride. He can have power over us if we have un-repented pride in our hearts.
  • Too mighty to challenge alone: As a principality, Leviathan is too powerful to be challenged by youself.
  • Must be fought with God’s word: Leviathan, as a marine spirit, should be fought using the word of God.
  • Defeated with humility: Overcoming Leviathan requires us living in humility.

Final Thoughts

In the Bible, Leviathan can be either a real, physical creature that glorifies God or a symbol of evil spiritual powers that harm God’s people. On the day of the Lord, Leviathan will be defeated and become food for God’s people. Jesus, our Messiah, commissions His church to cast out demons and bring the celebration of His victory to the whole world. I encourage you to get filled with Jesus’s new wine and don’t let Leviathan defeat you. Leviathan is meant to be a lunch for Christians.

Read: Don’t Feed on Drama

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