Saturday, January 24, 2015

Job, chapter 41: a description of Satan's appearance

1 ¶  Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? 2  Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? 3  Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee? 4  Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? 5  Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? 6  Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? 7  Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears? 8  Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more. 9  Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? 10  None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?

The word, leviathan, is found elsewhere in the Bible. First, in what appears to be a mysterious reference to the Hebrews crossing the Red Sea and possibly spiritual events that accompanied the physical.

Psalm 74:12 ¶  For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. 13  Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.14  Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.

A reference to a large sea creature, great fish, or whale.

Psalm 104:26  There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.

And a connection to the Devil in Revelation, chapter 12, by cross reference.

Isaiah 27:1  In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

Revelation 12:9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

The leviathan in chapter 41 of Job here is huge, untamable, and unconquerable, at least by man. On one level this, too, as behemoth, appears to be a reference to a dinosaur, a dragon. If this creature is so great and fearful and God created him, then who can stand before God? In the next verses we can see how this is the example, the beginning, of all of the great legends over the earth, from China to Europe of the dragon. The dragon is a common memory of man celebrated in folklore and mythology, almost universally. The Greek, drakon, refers to a huge serpent.

But, as this next passage moves forward the description travels from the view of a fearsome creature to something more. At no time has God revealed to Job who has initiated the awful terrors that have visited him, but here we have, perhaps, a description of Job’s true adversary, Satan.

First, a picture of Satan, or Lucifer, is painted in the Bible. Beginning in the Garden of Eden. Keep in mind that serpent is also an historical name for a dragon.

Genesis 3:1  Now the serpent was more subtil 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?

It is confirmed later that this was indeed Satan in the Garden of Eden as God pronounces judgment on him as he likens the King of Tyre to him.

Ezekiel 28:11 ¶  Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 12  Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13  Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14  Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

What iniquity was it that was found in Satan? He questioned God’s words. Why? We have our clue as to that here as God has the prophet, Isaiah, cast a prophecy against the king of Babylon which includes a reference likening him to Satan. Lucifer is a title which means light-bearer.

Isaiah 14:12  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Satan, as we saw in Ezekiel is a cherub, the anointed cherub. Cherubs are creatures that have the appearance of animals in Ezekiel, chapters 1 and 10, and appear around the throne in Revelation, chapter 4. Satan can appear as an angel of light to deceive, as in 2Corinthians 11:14, but is not one of that number. He leads or led fallen sons of God, angels, in rebellion but is not one of them.

Satan is the fire-breathing dragon of human mythology and literature. Mankind remembers Satan physically but has marginalized him as simply a force of evil and not having an individual identity. Satan appears to be preoccupied in history with keeping himself out of sight and making human beings think they are serving God by serving him. Such is most of the history of Christianity, particularly state-church combinations, the list of wrongs and egregious sins committed in the service of Satan, but in the name of God. It is no coincidence why the dragon featured prominently in medieval heraldry and symbol and as a cultural icon as a link to mankind’s true motivations and with whom his heart really lies.

    11 ¶  Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine. 12  I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion. 13  Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle? 14  Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about. 15  His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. 16  One is so near to another, that no air can come between them. 17  They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered. 18  By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. 19  Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. 20  Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. 21  His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. 22  In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him. 23  The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved. 24  His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone. 25  When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves. 26  The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon. 27  He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. 28  The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble. 29  Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear. 30  Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire. 31  He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment. 32  He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary. 33  Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. 34  He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.

God has described the appearance of the individual who came before God along with the sons of God in the beginning of this book. He capped off his physical description with the statement that shows that this is more than just an ordinary dinosaur. “He is a king over all the children of pride.”

Satan tempts us with questioning God’s word and with the same three things with which he tempted Eve.

Genesis 3:6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

1John 2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Paul showed us to whom we belonged before we came to Christ.

Ephesians 2:1 ¶  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

As Jesus noted a fact about the paternity of the men of His time on earth.

John 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Perhaps a reference to Cain’s true paternity, whether the reference is spiritually, physically, or both.

1John 3:12  Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

And so, chapter 41 ends with a physical description of man’s great adversary, who usually goes unnamed, but works behind the scenes, anonymously, to ruin everything we would try to accomplish for ourselves or for God, working through our flesh, but who can do nothing to us without God’s permission. This is a being who works through natural events and wicked people to achieve his ends as well as craft and subterfuge. There is no one more subtle and clever.

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