The Bible mentions at least 160 different species of animals, from the common cattle and sheep to the more elusive leviathan of Job. Believe it or not, dragons are among the mentioned species. The word dragon is from the Greek drakon, which is a translation of the Hebrew tannim (“terrible lizard”). In fact, tannim is first found on the very first page of the Bible: “And God created great tannim” or dragon (Genesis 1:21). The Hebrew word is found twenty-four more times throughout the Old Testament. Its last appearance, Malachi 1:3, says that God “laid his [Esau's] mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness” (KJV).
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According to other biblical references, dragons apparently had poisonous fangs (Deuteronomy 32:33), “snuffed up the wind” (Jeremiah 14:6; KJV), and made a wailing sound (Micah 1:8; KJV). Moses’ rod miraculously became a snake (nahash); however, the rods belonging to Aaron and the Egyptian magicians became dragons (tannim; Exodus 4:3; 7:15; KJV).
What exactly did these dragons look like? And what happened to them? Their descendants are seen today. For instance, komodo dragons of Indonesia are terrible lizards, though smaller than the dragons of the Old Testament. Of course, gigantic dinosaur remains have been found. The largest dinosaur found today is the argentinosaurus, who was 120 feet long, 50 feet tall, and weighed 220,000 pounds. The seismosaurus was the longest at 140 feet long. And the ultrasaurus was 60 feet tall.
Job, who lived after the Flood, endured grief, hardship, and sickness because of his steadfast trust in God. All his many children were killed, his numerous flocks and herds were stolen, and he became covered with painful boils and sores. In all this, though, Job did not curse God (Job 42:1–6). Despite his steadfastness to holiness, however, Job didn't fully understand God's creative greatness. In Job 38 and 39, God quizzes Job on his knowledge of creation. Job fails to answer the questions; however, these two chapters provide an amazingly accurate understanding of scientific principles.
Following his rhetorical questions, God describes the two greatest animals that he created. In Job 40:15–24, God took Job to the Jordan River Valley, which is the deepest river valley of the world today. Once there, God describes the behemoth, which means “gigantic and powerful beast,” a creature that “ranks first among the works of God” (Job 40:19). In other words, the behemoth is God's greatest land creature (possibly the argentinosaurus). It is described as using the muscles in its stomach to sway its tail “like a cedar” (Job 40:17). Can that possibly mean its tail is over twenty feet long? Absolutely. The behemoth is the dinosaur of dinosaurs.
The Bible makes a distinction between beasts of the field, which are domestic animals, and the beasts of the land, which are the predators. No dinosaur footprints have ever been found within a city's limits. Ancient civilizations knew how to protect themselves from the behemoths and the other beasts of the land. They built thick walls that surrounded their cities.
The second great creature that God describes is his largest sea animal (Job 41). The leviathan has heavy, close-set scales (Job 41:15–17, 23), breathes fire (vss. 18–21), has a chest as “hard as rock” (vs. 24), and makes the sea boil (Job 41:31). It is called “a king over all that are proud” (Job 41:34).
Before scoffing at the notion that the leviathan breathed fire, think back to your childhood. Did you ever catch fireflies on a dark summer night? These little bugs light up. Additionally, eels produce electricity and bombardier beetles produce explosive chemical reactions. There is no scientific evidence ruling out the possibility that the leviathan breathed out certain gaseous fumes that, when combined with oxygen, briefly ignited.
Other Scriptures also refer to this enormous sea creature called leviathan. It is said to be of great size and ferocity in the Psalms (74:13–14; 104:25–26). The prophet Isaiah describes leviathan as “the gliding serpent” and “the coiling serpent” (Isaiah 27:1). Eyewitnesses of these sea beasts supposedly wrote these descriptions.