After Job was afflicted with horrible suffering, he was accused by his friends of being sinful. In asserting his blamelessness, he got a little too bold in his assertions about standing before God and questioning the reason for his situation.
God showed up at the beginning of chapter 38 and said, "Job, if you think you have the right to question Me, let Me go ahead and question you about some things first." He then launched a barrage of questions - asking Job many things to which only God knew the answers, and things only God had seen.
Job's response was,
Job 40:4 "Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth..."
But God is not through making His point. He not only wants Job to realize that his understanding is limited, but to show Job how brazen his boldness was, to think of questioning the Lord.
The Lord says, "Job, are you big enough to contend with Me? Are you as powerful as I? If you pour out your anger on Me, would it have the same effect as if I poured out My anger on you? If you had that much power, you could have saved yourself!"
God's logic, as always, is flawless. Those who curse and condemn God about their circumstances are really testifying that they are powerful enough to save themselves from their circumstances. If you have enough power and strength to confront God, then they should have enough to heal themselves.
But God is about to show Job that he does not have the strength or power to do so.
There is a load to learn from this, but I want us to first keep the context in mind. God is pointing to an amazingly powerful creature and saying, "Job, look at this thing's strength, which is so far above yours. Can you even catch him? I am his Creator." God is using this creature to show Job that he isn't strong enough to stand up to the creature, much less His Creator.
Now, this is where we stop and begin to investigate what this creature is. The Hebrew word "Be-hay-MOHTH" is the plural of "be-hay-MAW," which means "beast." But although plural, it is used in a singular form. This is lingusitically called an intensive or majestic plural, making it a beast which is grandiose, huge, and awe-inspiring.
Many commentaries say that the Behemoth is a hippopotamus. One early commentator (Jablonski), even made up a non-existant Egyptian word ("p-ehe-mu") which supposedly means "water-ox" to justify that position.
But as we read the description God gives Behemoth, it is clear this is no hippopotamus. Look at verse 17:
Job 40:17 "He bends his tail like a cedar..."
The hippopotamus' tail is hardly a cedar tree. It's more like a twig!
Then, verse 24 says that he is not able to be captured. This clearly does not apply to the hippopotamus, who today can be seen in zoos all around the world.
I believe the clearest clue as to the beast's identity is found when we read in verse 19,
Job 40:19 "He is the first of the ways of God"
The word "first" here is the Hebrew word "ray-SHEETH." This comes from "roshe," which means, "head, top, summit, upper part, chief, total, sum, or height." A better translation might be, "He is the tallest beast God ever made."
What is the tallest creature God ever made? While some might say the Brontosaurus at 25 feet tall, he's not even close. Brachiosaurus was 40 feet tall. But at this point in our discoveries, the largest creature thought ever to walk the earth was Sauroposeidon, whose fossils were found in Southeastern Oklahoma in 1994. Scientists estimate that Sauroposeidon had a 40-foot long neck, was 98 feet long, weighed about 60 or 70 tons, and stood 60 feet tall! Whichever dinosaur the largest beast turns out to be, could this be what Behemoth is - a dinosaur?
Certainly all of the details given in Job seem to fit. An herbivore (40:15), with strength focused in the abdominal area (40:16), a tree-like tail (40:17), huge bones that are strong as metal (40:18), and able to stand in the midst of a rushing river and not be moved (40:23-24).
Next, God points out another creature also far more powerful than Job...
Another beast, this one called "Leviathan." The Hebrew word "Liv-yaw-THAWN" comes from a root meaning "to coil and twist."
Many commentators claim that Leviathan is an alligator or crocodile. Again, I have two major problems with the conventional interpretation - one philosophical, and one physical.
First of all, read verse ten:
Job 41:10 "No one is so fierce that he dares to arouse him; Who then is he that can stand before Me?
God's main point here is that the Leviathan is unconquerable by man. Crocodile hunters and alligator wrestlers have, throughout the centuries, conquered these beasts. If Job could wrestle an alligator or kill a crocodile, then he would nullify the Lord's argument and enable himself to stand before God.
But even from the physical description, we can see that this isn't an alligator or crocodile. A beast that no one will challenge, skin covered with double-armored scales that cannot be pierced by swords, spears, arrows, or javelins. His teeth are terrifying, his belly is covered with sharp edges. When he swims, the water is churned up to white frothing, and when he stands up, he looks down on everything.
And most controversial of all, verses 18-21 clearly describe a creature who breathes fire.
How can I believe in an actual living creature breathing fire from it's mouth? Well, I believe in a lot of strange things!
I also believe in fireflies with bioluminescence, the ability to transform chemical energy into light.
I believe in eels that shock their prey to death using organs in their tails which can generate up to 650 volts - five times the voltage that comes out of a wall socket.
I believe in beetles whose bodies squirt a chemical from one chamber into another, causing an explosive reaction that shoots boiling-hot noxious gases into the face of their enemies.
Is it so strange to believe that, with animals like this in existence today, an extinct species of dinosaurs could breathe fire?
Scientists have questioned why several dinosaur species have certain hollow areas in their skulls. These may have been reaction chambers for combustive chemical reactions. Unfortunately, since the chemicals that would fuel such a reaction - as well as any glands that would produce them - can't be preserved through fossilization, we can only use the ducts and chambers in the skulls to theorize how this may have happened.
Now, have you ever stopped to wonder about why so many civilizations from all over the world have legends of fire-breathing dragons? And it's always dragons, never fire-breathing bears or wolves. Why is that?
I believe these are remnants of man's history with these beasts. "Wait a minute, Ron. Are you talking about dragons or dinosaurs?" Both. You see, I believe that they are one and the same. You see, the Bible never mentions dinosaurs, because the word didn't even exist until 1841, when Sir Richard Owen created it by combining the latin words for "terrible" and "lizard."
Although the word dinosaur is not in the Bible, the word "tan-NEEN," which means "dragon," is used frequently. And Leviathan is called "the dragon who lives in the sea" in Isaiah 27:1.
I believe that man's legends of dragons come from his history with dinosaurs.
"Now wait a second!" some protest. "Everybody knows that dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago, a full 60 million years before man's ancestors appeared." Yes, that's what we've been told, but it's far from the truth.
You see, the Bible says that God created all of the animals on the earth on the fifth and sixth days:
Gen. 1:20-25 Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens." God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Verse 21 mentions that God created "the great sea monsters" on the fifth day. Many people believe these to be whales, as the KJV translates, or the "great creatures of the sea" as the NIV renders it. But the Hebrew is "gaw-DOLE tan-NEEN," literally meaning, "huge dragons."
God created man on the sixth day, a day after the sea and sky dinosaurs, and the same day as the land dinosaurs. Contrary to what the evolutionists teach, they coexisted, alive at the same time in history.
At least two of them were still around in Job's day, because God was able to use them as examples to him.
But some Christians don't want to go there. "That flies in the face of science! It's a proven fact that the dinosaurs died out long before man got here!"
I'm going to make a statement that will challenge you greatly: You can't believe that and think that you're a Christian. Why not? Because the Bible says,
Rom. 5:12 ...through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men
Rom. 5:17-18 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
In other words, the Bible teaches that death came because of Adam's sin, and Jesus paid for sin with His death.
1Cor. 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
But if you believe that the dinosaurs died before man sinned, then the entire foundation of sin, the cross, and all of Christianity is destroyed. If you believe in the pre-man death of dinosaurs, then you don't believe you're under the curse of original sin, and therefore have absolutely no need for a Savior.
The Scriptural, archaeological, and historical facts prove that man and dinosaurs co-existed.
But the most important point of Job is not that dinosaurs were still alive in his day. It is that God created them. These beasts that could stand in the middle of raging rivers, breathe fire from their mouths, and be so much more powerful than any human being, were created by God. Job couldn't contend with these creatures, so he certainly couldn't contend with their Creator.
But that same all-powerful God who can't be fought against can be fellowshipped with, through the forgiveness offered to us in Jesus Christ, Who died to pay the price of our sins