The Bible, Dinosaurs, and Dragons

silhouette of dinosaurs during night time

The world’s fascination with dinosaurs is insatiable. Movies are made about a Jurassic Park where dinosaurs from the past live again in a controlled environment, until they escape. Museums are created to display the alleged size, shape, and terror of dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurs Rex. Books are written with beautiful images of an ancient world when the Terrible Lizards ruled the earth. Toys are made for children to play with, thereby stimulating their imaginations, and giving pleasure, not to mention indoctrination into the idea of evolution.

The evolutionary model says that dinosaurs lived 245 – 66 million years ago in the Mesezoic Era, only to be destroyed by a giant meteorite striking the earth. The Biblical model postulates a much younger earth, based on tracing backwards the genealogies found in Scripture to Adam and Eve.

If the evolutionary model is true, some of the dinosaurs were massive.

The Australian Cooperensis is said to have measured 80 – 100 feet long, and stood 16 – 21 feet tall at its hip height.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex is said to be about 40 feet long, and 12 feet tall.

The emerging practical problem for the evolutionist is that many of the alleged dinosaurs might never have existed, but are the creation of fertile imaginations. For example, we have all seen pictures of the Three-Horned Dinosaur Triceratops.

John B. Scannella, Ph.D., and John (Jack) R. Horner, Curator of Paleontology from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, now say this creature never existed.

Perhaps it is time for Christians, in particular, to reconsider how all the familiar images of the dinosaurs came into existence.

Alongside the world’s evolutionary view of the past, including dinosaurs, is God’s view of the past, and what the Bible has to say about the largest, most ferocious, and most terrifying creatures of His own making. Three animals found in the Bible are of particular interest: the dragon, behemoth, and leviathan. These creatures are subject to the dominion of man, according to Divine design.

            “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:28).

Mankind has found a way to tame, or subdue, every animal. Trained bears are a fascinating attraction, as are lions, and tigers. The elephant can be trained to do tricks, as well as great whales. James 3:7 notes that “every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind.” Men are known to wrestle with alligators, or hunt them, along with rhinoceroses, and cougars.

            “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon         every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. 3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb, have I given you all things” (Gen. 9:2-3).

According to Proverbs 30:30, the lion is the strongest animal among beasts.

            “There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: 30 A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any.

Lions have been known to attack or engage animals larger than themselves, such as a tiger, giraffe, or elephant. This proverb is an accurate reflection of nature. And yet, even the lion is subject to the dominion of man. One man who killed a lion was Benaiah, one of David’s Mighty Warriors.

            “And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow” (2 Sam. 23:20).

David also killed a lion.

            “And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him” (1 Sam. 117:34-35).

Because the Lord has given man dominion over all the animals, even the King of the Jungle is subject to his power. This dominion would be challenged, if not suspended, if dinosaurs were as large, tall, and ferocious as the evolutionary model teaches. With that being noted, there are some terrible creatures in the Bible that are worth a closer look: the Dragon, Behemoth, and Leviathan.

The Dragon

The image of a dragon is mentioned 18 times in the Authorized Version of the Bible. According to Strong’s Concordance, in Nehemiah 2:13, the Hebrew term for dragon is tanniyn (tan-neen’); in Ezekiel 29:3 the Hebrew word is, tanniym (tan-neem’). It refers to a marine or land monster, i.e., sea-serpent or jackal. The Greek term used in the New Testament is drakon (drak’-own); probably from an alternate form of derkomai (to look); a fabulous kind of serpent (perhaps as supposed to fascinate).

When we further examine the Biblical dragon, we discover it is not the familiar mythical fire breathing creature with wings and sharp claws.

The Biblical dragon can be terrifying, but in not such a dramatic way. An archaic word for dragon according to any standard dictionary is, “a huge serpent or snake”.  The word dragon is used in this way in Scripture. Notice the following text, Psalms 91:13, whereby the second part of the verse explains the first.

            “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder:
the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”

The word dragon, in the repetition, explains the word adder. The word adder in the Hebrew is shephiyphon (shef-ee-fone’); a kind of serpent (as snapping), probably the horned adder.

A dragon is a snake. Notice another parallel passage of explanation in Deuteronomy 32:33

            “Their wine is the poison of dragons,
and the cruel venom of asps.”

The cruel venom explains the word poison, and the word asps explains dragon. The Hebrew word for asp is pethen (peh’-then); meaning to twist; an asp (from its contortions). This word is used to translate a dangerous, poisonous snake. “They can be described as deaf (Ps 58:4) either as a natural characteristic or as an unusual case. The deafness makes them immune to the snake charmer and thus even more dangerous with their poison. Riches that become the center of life turn out to be as poisonous as asps (Job 20:14,16). The prophetic vision is God’s restoration of the world order so that small children can play around the holes of poisonous snakes without fear (Isa 11:8). Until that day sin continues to dominate humanity, turning speech into poisonous lies (Rom 3:13). (Holman Bible Dictionary)

A dragon and an asp are both snakes.

There is something else about dragons. They like to live in dens. In Jeremiah 9:11 the Lord forewarns His people saying, “And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.” Snakes find a natural nesting place in dens. See Jeremiah 10:22.

Another place dragons like to be is in the fields.

            “The beast of the field shall honor me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen” (Isaiah 43:20).

The dragon and the owl live together in the field, which is to say the snake and the owl live in the same area.

The conclusion is that Biblically, a dragon is a snake, and, in the Scriptures, a snake is a well-known symbol of evil, personified in Satan.

            “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen. 3:1).

This is significant, because in the Revelation, Satan is called a dragon.

            “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:2).

Satan is called a dragon because he takes on the form of a snake. However, the dragon, that old serpent is not to be feared, for he too is subject to God.

Satan is Subject to God the Father. Satan can do no more harm than what our heavenly Father allows, illustrated in the limitations placed on him when dealing with Job.

            “But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to    thy face. 6 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life” (Job 2:5-6).

Satan is Subject to God the Son.

            “And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him” (Mark 1:27).

Satan is Subject to God the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who is restraining Satan.

            “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:7-8).

Satan is Subject to the Christian.

            “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James    4:7).

Throughout the history of the Church, the Dragon, that Old Serpent Satan, has troubled and terrorized individuals. What the Bible reveals is that every dragon, literal or spiritual, every serpent, including Satan, is under dominion.

            “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

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