Behemoth and Leviathan are beasts that are often used by “young earth” creationists (those who reject the Gap and believe that the universe and all that is in it were created about 6,000 years ago) to argue that there are dinosaurs in the Bible. By showing that dinosaurs existed alongside man, they attempt to refute the notion that the “terrible lizards” existed prior to and were destroyed by the Genesis flood as explained by the Gap.
Behemoth, unlike Leviathan, is difficult to define as anything other than some sort of giant animal. However, just like Leviathan, this beast is not a dinosaur or hippopotamus.
This creature is supernatural. He is the Antichrist or possibly Satan.
The description for this monster can be found in Job 40:15-24. The first half of the chapter shows God reminding Job of His great power. He discusses His thunderous voice, His beauty, glory, grace, and power. Immediately following this grandiose display of greatness, God compares Himself to Behemoth and Leviathan.
The disagreement over Behemoth’s identity begins with verse 15, “Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.”
This sounds a lot like it could be an herbivorous dinosaur like a Brachiosaurus.
The Antichrist does not eat grass like an ox, does he? Of course not. That is, of course, unless you know about the transformation of Nebuchadnezzar (a “type” of Antichrist) in Daniel 4.
Daniel 4:33 says, “The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.”
Nebuchadnezzar – a type of Antichrist – ate “grass as oxen” and Behemoth “eateth grass as an ox.”
The next two verses, in fairness, do sound like a dinosaur. Behemoth has “strength. . .in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly (v. 16).” Furthermore, “He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.” In other words, Behemoth has a tail like a cedar and is very strong.
However, we move back to a more satanic description beginning with verse 18.
“His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.” Verse 19b says, “he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.”
“He that made him” is Jesus Christ, the Creator. The “sword to approach unto him” is the word of God.
The prooftext is Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The Bible is a sword that can pierce the “joints and marrow.” Jesus uses a sword when approaching Behemoth who has brass bones.
Jesus Christ uses this same method when dealing with Satan in Matthew 4. Each time the Devil attacked Christ, the Son of God used His “sword” to parry and eventually defeat Satan.
Behemoth is also described as “the chief of the ways of God” in Job 40:19a. This is not a dinosaur. This is the Antichrist powered by the “anointed cherub (Ezekiel 28)” we know as Satan who was “upon the holy mountain of God (Ez. 28).
Behemoth gets food from the mountains (Job 20:20), and Satan was at one point situated “upon the holy mountain.”
Behemoth is covered by “shady trees” as well as “the reed, and fens (Job 40:21-22),” while Satan is “the anointed cherub that covereth” (Ez. 28).
Behemoth “drinketh up a river” and can “draw up Jordan into his mouth.” Satan will “cast out of his mouth water as a flood” according to Revelation 12:15.
Is Behemoth a Dinosaur?
- The word “dinosaur” does not appear even one time in the Bible.
- Leviathan is not a dinosaur, so it makes little sense to partner a Brachiosaurus with Satan.
- There are several cross references linking the attributes of Behemoth to Antichrist.
- If God wanted to compare His power to any other creature in all creation, why would He choose a pair of dinosaurs over his chief rivals of Satan and Antichrist?
- The description of “chief of the ways of God” is highly problematic if we are to believe Behemoth is a dinosaur (or a hippopotamus, as some Bibles translate it).
I am sure this debate will rage on. For some, it is impossible to believe that Behemoth could be anything other than a dino or hippo. However, we know that there are two massive creatures in the book of Revelation – Satan is a dragon (just like leviathan) and the other beast is Antichrist. The two are paired in Rev. 13 and I believe they are paired in Job 40 and 41 as well.