Loading...

The Book of Job - Lesson 35

Combating Leviathan (Ch 41)

Leviathan is a ferocious creature that no human can subdue. God is saying that he is willing to oppose Leviathan and  is not frightened of Leviathan or intimidated by his boasting. God is the one who will defeat this enemy who seems unbeatable to humans. God tells Job that he will deal with Leviathan but God doesn’t tell him how he will do it. Job embraced God’s answer even though Job didn’t know how God would deal with evil.

Duane Garrett
The Book of Job
Lesson 35
Watching Now
Combating Leviathan (Ch 41)

I. God Makes Similar Comments About Leviathan as He Did About Behemoth

II. Translation Differences 41:9-12

A. Verse 9

Leviathan’s expectation of victory is false and will fail

B. Verse 10

He is not so deadly should someone ritually summon him. God is not fearful of Leviathan

C. Verse 11

Boasting by Leviathan

D. Verse 12

I will not be silent at his blathering words of boasting [Hebrew word badz means boast]

III. God's Attitude Toward Leviathan is Different From How He Regards the Beasts of the Field

A. God doesn't consider animals to be evil

B. Humans have tamed or killed a variety of beasts

C. The chaos of the animal kingdom does not threaten the human race

IV. Leviathan is Satan

V. God Can Only Destroy Evil By Destroying Creation

VI. God Leaves a Great Deal Unsaid

VII. The Significance of Level 3 Wisdom [1st level hochma, 2nd level, Level 3 wisdom is God’s secret wisdom that is counter-intuitive. You can’t find it in the world.

VIII. In Revelation 12, God Deals With the Dragon

IX. Conclusion


All Lessons
About
Class Resources
Transcript
  • When you see what you would describe as evil and injustice in the world, how does that affect your view of God? When someone is suffering, do you assume that it’s because they are getting what they deserve? This lecture gives you an overview of book of Job by describing his situation, how he interacts with his friends and God, and what we can learn about how God is managing the world.

  • Because there is nothing specific in the text that tells you when the book of Job was written, the sections in Job that allude to other passages of scripture give you some helpful clues. The structure of the book of Job focuses your attention on the main subject of the book which is God’s wisdom.

  • Other cultures in the ancient near east created literature with themes that are similar to the book of Job. The book of Job is unique because of his character and the answer that the book provides for the situation he is in.

  • Job is one of the wisdom books of the Old Testament. It covers more “advanced” topics than Proverbs and uses a variety of literary genres and allusions to other Biblical passages to explain and illustrate profound truths about God’s nature and his involvement in the world.

  • There is limited information in the book of Job about its geographical and historical background. However, it can be helpful to understand general information about the geography and history of the area to give you a context for reading and studying the book of Job. The author of the book of Job was a Hebrew poet who had an extensive vocabulary. Being uncertain about history and geography is good because the message is timeless.

  • Job contains literary elements that are similar to what you find in other Biblical books that are Apocalyptic. These elements include depictions of events in heaven and on earth, the emphasis on specific numbers and persevering in your faith in God, the references to mythological animals and God’s supernatural control of all events. 

  • Satan appears before God with an accusation against Job. Even though Job is described as, “upright and blameless,” Satan accuses Job of serving God only because Job is prosperous. God allows Satan to take away Job’s possessions, children and health. The remainder of the book is the dialogue of Job and his friends attempting to determine why this is happening.

  • Job curses the day he was born. When you carefully examine what he is saying, you realize that it is more intense than just saying that he wished he had never lived.

  • Eliphaz begins tactfully in his remarks to Job. He did not intend to do harm. However, he thinks God is causing Job to suffer because of a sin Job committed. He speaks accurately of the justice of God, but in Job’s case he misapplies it. He also gives a message he received from the, “night spirit.”

  • Eliphaz considers the message of the, “night spirit” a revelation from God. However, at it’s core, this message is inconsistent with God’s attitude toward Job, and creation in general.

  • Job’s theological worldview has fallen apart because he knows he doesn’t deserve to suffer. Eliphaz calls Job to repent. Job responds questioning why he is suffering, because according to his worldview, he hasn’t done anything to deserve it.   

  • Bildad is direct is his rebuke and admonition of Job. He uses metaphors to get his point across.

  • When Job’s friends describe God as all powerful in an attempt to comfort Job, he becomes terrified because he sees God as causing his suffering and there is nothing that can stop it.

  • Zophar assumes that Job is being punished because he sinned and accuses him of mocking God. Job's three friends move from tactful suggestions to open hostility. As Job is searching for answers, he becomes disappointed in his friends.

  • Job agrees with his friends that God is causing his suffering, but disagrees with them about why it’s happening. Job believes that God will eventually vindicate him.

  • Eliphaz appeals to the night spirit and the tradition of the elders to tell Job that he is a babbling and blaspheming fool.

  • Job begins by criticizing what his friends are saying to him and then professes his faith in God. Bildad responds harshly to Job.

  • Even though Job’s friends have criticized him, he has grown in his faith in God. Job is worn out and begs for compassion. When he gets nothing but contempt and hostility instead, he confesses his faith and hope in God. The messianic theology of Job is different from any other book of the Bible.  

  • Zophar uses metaphors that are found in other passages of scripture as well as Job’s own words to accuse Job of being wicked. However, Zophar made a serious error, which we need to avoid in our lives.

  • Job continues to wrestle with the presence of evil in the world and the apparent injustice of God. 

  • Eliphaz attacks Job as being wicked by twisting the meaning of what Job has said previously. The irony is that Job will be reconciled to God and will pray for Eliphaz.

  • Job wants to lay out his case before God by claiming his innocence. Job says that God is hidden and does as he chooses, but that God neither judges the guilty nor helps the righteous. Bildad responds by contrasting God’s holiness and human lowliness.

  • Job sarcastically thanks the friends for their wise words, which he doesn’t think were wise at all.

  • This is a poem about wisdom that divides the content of the book and points to a deep truth. It is inserted by the author of the book and is not attributed to Job or the friends.

  • The crisis that Job is experiencing is not just the material losses and physical suffering, but also his crisis of faith. He thought he understood what his relationship with God is all about but he feels that God has abandoned him for no apparent reason. Job laments the pain he feels from being disgraced and humiliated.

  • This is the last major statement that Job makes, other than his responses to God that come later. Job is taking a series of oaths that he has not committed any of the sins he mentions. The Bible is distinctive in declaring that all people are created equally, in the image of God. In ancient cultures, some people intrinsically have more value than others because of heritage, wealth, gender, race, etc. God looks on everyone impartially.  

  • Elihu is not mentioned either before or after his speech. He claims to be perfect in knowledge. Elihu thinks that the other three did not convince Job because they did not give a satisfactory answer, but Elihu ends up repeating what they have already said. He thinks that the doctrine of retribution is the answer to Job’s situation. Elihu is a warning to us that we don’t have all the answers.

  • The questions of the book of Job are, “How does God address the problem of evil and why do we serve God? God created a world that is stable and not chaotic. Where there was chaos, God brought in light, shape and beauty. Chaotic forces are necessary for life and God controls them.

  • People in ancient Mesopotamia lived in constant fear of the chaos, danger, ferocity of nature and they valued subduing, controlling and pushing back nature. Wilderness was something to be tamed and pushed back by civilization. In the Gilgamesh epic poem, Enkidu is transformed into a civilized man who protects the domestic animals from the wild animals. In Egypt, there were gods of the Black Land and gods of the Red Land. God sees everything in the world as entirely under his control.

  • God’s care for the animals and how this relates to the problem of Job. All of the things that we see as chaos, and out of control depend on God and thrive because he provides for them and things that he manages and glories in. God describes nature as good, unlike the night spirit that describes it with contempt and loathing. God knows how to manage the chaotic elements of creation.

  • The societies of the Ancient Near East had a high concept of justice. It was the duty of the rulers to uphold justice and protect the powerless. If you are a man who leads, you need to make sure that evil is held in check. Listen to people who come to you with a grievance. God is asking Job if he comprehends what it means to bring justice to the world. It involves both power and wisdom.

  • Behemoth is the plural form of a Hebrew word that refers to animals in general also specifically to wild animals. In Job, it’s also used as a metaphor representing the composite forces of the powers of the earth that are against God.

  • Behemoth is a dangerous power that God must reckon with. Some people think this is an allusion to animals that God created in Genesis 1:24. “Lady Wisdom” is the wisdom that God built into creation. Behemoth is dangerous and a force to be reckoned with, not the embodiment of good behavior. One aspect of principalities and powers is forces outside of the world we can see. In Revelation, God protects people from the fury and wrath of the beast, which is an oppressive power that seeks to take the place of God.  

  • Job 41 describes Leviathan. Leviathan is not a natural animal like a crocodile. Sometimes Leviathan refers to a large sea creature, and sometimes death, chaos and the embodiment of evil. Satan is present at the first of the book but he is never mentioned again. In order for God to deal with evil in the world, he must defeat Leviathan.

  • Leviathan is a ferocious creature that no human can subdue. God is saying that he is willing to oppose Leviathan and  is not frightened of Leviathan or intimidated by his boasting. God is the one who will defeat this enemy who seems unbeatable to humans. God tells Job that he will deal with Leviathan but God doesn’t tell him how he will do it. Job embraced God’s answer even though Job didn’t know how God would deal with evil.

  • Job announces that he has changed his outlook on evil, God’s governance of the world and his own suffering. Job knew that God is all-powerful. Now Job knows something more about how God uses his power. Should God be merciful to people who will still be evil? Eschatological is an event that can only happen by a work of God. Emergence of divine power within the historical context. Job admits that he didn’t understand the complexity that is involved in God conquering evil. God forgives Job’s three friends because Job interceded for them. God is showing his approval with job by publicly restoring him.

  • Job’s suffering brought him to a new understanding of who God is and what God is doing in the world. Job’s hope, and our hope, is in a heavenly redeemer that rose from the dead. Legalism comes about often when people hold to essential teachings but they don’t know God. They substitute the rules for relationship.

  • Job mentions composite animals similar to those described in other apocalyptic passages. Job had faith that God would do a work of salvation but didn’t understand everything that Jesus would do. There is a hidden plan of God to redeem people and conquer evil that is a major theme in apocryphal books and also in Job.

  • Job tells us about the heavenly mediator. Prior to his afflictions, Job’s life was almost god-like because he was relatively free of suffering. Job through his affliction, faces the problem of evil and the enormity of suffering in the human race. Even though some people commit evil and violent acts, Job describes them in pitiful terms.

  • Should virtue, or piety, be disinterested? If it’s not done for it’s own sake, is it real? Job’s love for God is not disinterested, but it is real.

If God is good and powerful, why do you see suffering in the world? Why do you serve God even when you experience suffering? How do you respond to others when they ask these questions? How have you answered them for yourself? These are such important questions that the entire book of Job is devoted discussing only these issues in the context of the perspective of the experiences of one person. 

The theme of the book of Job is timeless and singular. There are clues about its geographical and historical setting but nothing in the book itself that identifies the place or time of its writing. However, the setting is irrelevant because the questions that are addressed in the Book of Job are ones that people have asked in all cultures, throughout time. It would be distracting and even limiting to frame the dialogue in a specific time or culture. There are enough clues in the text to give you a general idea of the culture and time it was written in to help you understand the logic and metaphors used by the main characters in their dialogue. 

The complete book of Job is composed of the dialogue of Job, his friends and God regarding the issues of God's goodness, his power, and evil in the world. No historical events. No other personal, corporate or theological issues. Since these questions are central to your understanding of God's character and how he works in the world around us throughout history, the book of Job compels you to consider this question deeply and exhaustively. The point is that by the end of the book, you can understand and articulate who God is and how he works in your life and in the world. 

The value of this class is that Dr. Garrett helps you understand what the text means, the historical and theological implications, and how you apply it to your life. Dr. Garrett's knowledge of the Bible, understanding of the Hebrew language and background in Ancient Near Eastern history and culture inform his insights into the message of the book and what it means to you. He is skilled at explaining technical linguistic and theological issues in a way that helps you comprehend them and see how they apply to your life. Whether you are just beginning in your study of the Bible or you have had training at an advanced academic level, studying the Book of Job with Dr. Garrett has the potential change the way you understand God and also how you live each day. 

Recommended Books

The Book of Job: A Biblical Answer to Pain - Student Guide

The Book of Job: A Biblical Answer to Pain - Student Guide

The Book of Job: A Biblical Answer to Pain - Student Guide

Course: The Book of Job

Lecture: Combating Leviathan

 

In our last lecture we introduced Leviathan and we spoke of how Leviathan was understood in The Ancient Near East and in the Bible. We made the point that Leviathan is portrayed as though he were a sea dragon or something to that effect, a terrible, ferocious beast; but that he typically represents death and destruction and oblivion.

Now we come to how God fights Leviathan. This will be one of the more difficult lectures of this course because part of the passage I believe as generally
translated, needs to be re-translated. That is to say, I think the common translations of part of the text are not correct, so I have my own translation. Of
course, this is not a Hebrew class, so I’m not going to go through the Hebrew with you. But I believe that if you translate the text more literally, that it has in many respects a very different meaning from what you see in some of the standard English translations. That is going to require some careful reading on our part.

I. God Makes Similar Comments About Leviathan as He Did About Behemoth

In his discussion of Leviathan in verses 1-8 God kind of echoes what he says about behemoth, that behemoth is a ferocious creature and is a creature that no human can defeat. He says it much more emphatically, though, with regard to Leviathan in verses 7 and 8: “Can you fill his hide with harpoons or his head with fishing gigs. Set your hand upon him, remember that battle, you will not do it again.”

II. Translation Differences 41:9-12

Leviathan is thought of as something that no human can subdue. But the description of him in verses 9-12 is quite striking and here is where my translation will be quite different from many English translations.

Here is how it reads again in a standard translation: “Any hope of subduing it is false; the mere sight of it is overpowering. No one is fierce enough to rouse it. Who then is able to stand against me? Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me. I will not fail to speak of
Leviathan’s limbs, its strength and its graceful form.” That is kind of a standard translation that you will see very frequently of Leviathan.

In this interpretation, first of all verse 9 is a simple statement that no one is able to defeat Leviathan. That is true, that is clear elsewhere in the passage; but I do not think that is the point here, as you will see in my translation.

At the beginning of verse 10: “No one is fierce enough to rouse it.” People generally take that to mean that no one should provoke Leviathan, no one should make him mad so that he fights with you. I think there is much more to it than that. In the remainder of 10 and in 11: “Who is able to stand against me? Who has a claim against me that I must pay?” In the standard translation that appears to be God speaking of Himself, that God is saying that no one can stand against me, I am powerful, etc. I do not think that is correct. I think that is a little strange for God suddenly in this discourse to talk about Himself in this way; so I don’t think that is a proper translation.

Verse 12: “I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs, his strength and graceful form.” All I can say is, I believe this is a complete mistranslation. So I will give you my own rendition.

Here as a whole is how I would translate verses 9-12: “Behold, Leviathan’s expectation is false. Should one be overthrown at the very sight of him? He is not
so deadly, should someone magically invoke him.” Now I understand these to be the words of Leviathan. He says, “And who is he that would stand before me? Who will approach me, that I should give satisfaction? Whatever exists under all of heaven is mine.” Then God says, “I will not be silent at his blathering words of boasting, at his claims of power and at his high evaluation of himself.”

You can see that my translation is quite different from what you see in the standard versions. Elsewhere in a forthcoming book I intend to defend my
translation; but for now I will just give it to you and we will talk about what I think it means.

A. Verse 9

First of all verse 9. Once again, that is normally taken to mean simply, “No person can stand before Leviathan” but I don’t think that is what the text means. Rather, it means Leviathan’s own expectation of victory is false and will fail. To put it another way, God is not dismayed by Leviathan’s power or his boasting. So I take verse 9 to be God saying of Leviathan, again, his expectation, his hope is false. “Should someone be overthrown at the sight of him?” This is God saying, “I’m not going to wither when Leviathan appears. I ‘m not going to shake and tremble. I am willing to take him on.”

V. Verse 10

Then we come to verse 10. Verse 10 again in my translation is, the first part of verse 10: “He is not so deadly should someone magically invoke him.” The
traditional translations say “rouse,” should someone rouse him. Again, the idea is provoke him, make him mad, get him irritated so that he wants to fight, or something like that. That is not what the word means. The word does not mean to arouse someone in the sense of provoking them or making them mad. It means to ritually summon them. In fact, we have the same concept in Job chapter 3, verse 8. When Job is cursing the day of his birth, Job says: “Let those who curse a day speak a spell against it, those who are prepared to magically invoke Leviathan.” This is the work of a sorcerer, a sorcerer who will call up evil spirits, who invokes the spirits to do some evil work in behalf of the sorcerer.

I think what God is saying in this passage when he says “He is not so deadly should someone magically invoke him,” it is not that Leviathan -- or as I
understand him, Satan -- is not a dangerous figure. It is that when God looks at Satan, or Leviathan, God is not impressed. Sorcerers can invoke him, they can invoke demonic power, they can invoke all the forces of evil; and to humans that may be really impressive; but to God it is not all that impressive.

Verse 11

That is what I think we have going on in the first part of verse 10. Then in the second part of verse 10 and in verse 11 you have what really seems like words of boasting, and that is what it is in my opinion.

Again, in my translation from 10b through 11, I would take it to mean: “He says” that is, Leviathan says, “And who is he that would stand before me? Who will approach me that I should give satisfaction? Whatever exists under all of heaven is mine.” I think this is Leviathan saying that “I am almighty, I am powerful. Nobody can stand up to me. I am unbeatable.”

A lot of interpreters will take verse 11 when it says, “Who will approach me that I should give satisfaction?” to be God’s rebuke of Job, as though God were saying to Job, “Job, you are not in a position to approach me and make any demands of me.” But that is really contrary to everything else we see in the text. Whenever God speaks directly to Job in this way, saying, “Okay, Job, let’ go ahead and talk,” he doesn’t rebuke Job for calling on him. He doesn’t rebuke Job for wanting to have a discussion with him. He does say things like, “Do you really want to discredit my justice?” He challenges Job, but not in these terms. And he always challenges Job at the very beginning of one of his speeches, not right in the middle of one of his speeches. So I don’t think these words are directed at Job and I don’t think they are spoken by God. That is to say, God is in this passage, quoting Leviathan. This is not God speaking in his own behalf.

Again, the tone of these statements: “Who is he that would stand before me? Who will approach me, that I should give satisfaction? Whatever exists under all of heaven is mine.” That is just not what you see in the words of God. God is aware of his power. God is aware he is the Almighty, that he is Creator, that he is Ruler of heaven and earth, etc. But he doesn’t feel the need to protest it in this way. To put it simply, he doesn’t feel the need to boast about it. So I think these really are words of boasting. To some extent, these words are hollow; but there is an element of truth in them. When he says, “Whatever exists under all of heaven is mine” there is an element of truth in this, that Satan is the prince and power of the air. And of course we know that when Jesus was being tempted, he offered everything under heaven. He offered the whole of the world to Jesus, if Jesus would just fall down and worship him. So the idea that this figure thinks that he is lord over everything under heaven is in keeping with what we see elsewhere of Satan.

Again, I think the second half of verse 10 and all of verse 11 are not to be taken as God speaking for himself, boasting of his power or something like that; nor do I think that it is God challenging Job and telling Job, “You don’t have any right to come up to me and to challenge me.” I think this is God quoting Leviathan, the boasting and the arrogance of Leviathan.

D. Verse 12

Then we come to verse 12, which in my opinion just needs to be radically re-translated. Again, this class is not a Hebrew class, so I’m not going to work
through all the Hebrew with you. But I think it has been badly mistranslated in many versions.

I think it should be translated: “I will not be silent at his blathering words of boasting.” The word that is used here, the specific word, is a word in Hebrew, the word is “badz.” The word “badz” clearly means “boast.” It is used that way in Job 11:3. It is also used that way in Isaiah 16:6 and Jeremiah 48:30. It does not mean “a limb” as in translations that say, “I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs.” It is not speaking of his body, it is not speaking of his arms or whatever. It is speaking of his bragging. The word means “boasting” but it also is similar to the English word, “babble” or the English, “blah, blah, blah.” When we think about the sound of the word, it is “badz.” It is like “badz, badz, badz.” It is just empty words that are meaningless, that are full of boasting and are full of nothing. Also, this word is used for pagan chants of divination as in Isaiah 44:25 and Jeremiah 50:36.

Again, I am arguing that God does not say, “I’m not going to be silent about his limbs” as in many translations. I think it means, “I will not be silent about his
boasting.” Where do we encounter Leviathan’s boastings? In the previous two verses where Leviathan says, “No one can stand before me. No one can demand satisfaction of me. Everything under heaven is mine.”

What God is doing here is basically saying, “I am not that impressed by Leviathan. I am not frightened of him. I don’t feel any need to restrain myself before him or pull away from him. I am not at all concerned by Leviathan.” The end of verse 12, I think should be translated, “I will not be silent at his blathering words of boasting, at his claims of power and at his high evaluation of himself.” What I translate as “claims of power” it literally says, “and the word of his strength” which means his powerful words or his words claiming to power. It is a claim that he possesses power, that God is here opposing.

So what we have in this passage I believe is God saying in a straightforward way, “I am willing to oppose Leviathan. I am not impressed by Leviathan. I am not frightened by Leviathan. I am fully prepared to deal with Leviathan and he can brag and boast all he wants, it doesn’t mean anything to me.” Why is that so important? Because God is claiming in very emphatic terms that he is the One to subdue and defeat this incredible enemy. He is an enemy who has been described in this chapter as before humans utterly unbeatable. No one can challenge him. No one can defeat him. No one can get past all of his armor and his fiery breath, etc. Only God can do this.

III. God’s Attitude Toward Leviathan is Different From How He regards the Beasts of the Field

Thus we should note that God’s attitude toward Leviathan is very different from how he regards the beasts of the field, what we saw previously.

A. God doesn’t consider animals to be evil

He does not consider animals to be evil. He doesn’t think of lions as evil, or eagles or any other animals that prey on others. He sustains them, he feeds them and he manages them. By contrast, he regards Leviathan as boastful and hostile. He does nothing to sustain Leviathan. Leviathan is the king of the arrogant and is himself completely arrogant and boastful.

B. Humans have tamed or killed a variety of beasts

Secondly, when we read about Leviathan and read about how no one can subdue him, no one can put a hook in his nose or anything like that, we know that in fact, humans have slain or tamed all kinds of beasts. In The Ancient Near East kings and rich people would routinely go on lion hunts. People have of course tamed falcons and turned falcons into domestic animals. And of course, humans have tamed and domesticated very powerful animals like donkeys and oxen, horses and every other great beast. This is how it works in the animal kingdom. By contrast, any hope of a human assault on Leviathan is fruitless. It will never happen. It will never work.

C. The chaos of the animal kingdom does not threaten the human race

The chaos of the animal kingdom, while dangerous, poses no threat to the human race or the whole of creation. God describes how powerful the animals are, how dangerous they are. God describes how they thrive in the midst of hardship. But there is no sense there that they represent any kind of danger to the human race.

By contrast, Leviathan is. He not only is the king of the sons of pride. He has a heart like stone and he instills terror in anyone who would restrain him, according to verse 13: “Who can strip off his outer coat? Who can penetrate his armor, his double coat of armor?” He is innately evil. He is a threat to the cosmos and only God can deal with him.

IV. Leviathan is Satan

Last time, in my last lecture, as we finished up our general introduction to Leviathan, and trying to identify Leviathan, I suggested to you that Leviathan is
Satan; and I would say that what we have seen today further reinforces that.

Satan is of course the king of the arrogant, the king of the boasters and as we looked at the account of him in my translation and my interpretation, I believe it is Leviathan who is saying, “Everything under heaven belongs to me. Everything under heaven is in my control.” Of course, that is the claim that Satan does actually make, again as we saw when he offered it to Jesus.

V. God Can Only Destroy Evil By Destroying Creation

Where does this bring us as we try to understand Leviathan and how God responds to Leviathan and how it relates to the book of Job? Job has challenged
the justice of God and God has responded. Only he is able to control and destroy the evil powers. Of course, God does not eliminate every moment of wrongful suffering, for this would require nothing less than eliminating creation itself. To put it in modern terms, that would be the nuclear option.

God could put an end to all injustice in the world by just destroying the world. That would be the end of all the injustice and all the evil; but of course, where would we be? Instead of simply God stepping in and attacking every single instance of injustice in the world, he deals with the one who is the agent and the source of all evil, and that is Leviathan, or Satan.

We are reminded of Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares where a man sowed a field with good wheat, but an enemy came and sowed tares, or weeds.
The man’s servants said, “You want us to go out there and pull up all those weeds?” And the owner said, “No, if you do that, you’re going to pull up the good
seed as well; so let them both grow until the time of judgment, then we will separate the wheat from the tares. The wheat will be gathered into the barn, the tares will be thrown into the furnace.” Here again, God is going to deal with evil and the source of evil. But he is not going to do it immediately, in Job’s own lifetime, invoking the nuclear option and judging the whole world. He is going to deal with it first and foremost by dealing with the source of evil, and that is Leviathan.

VI. God Leaves a Great Deal Unsaid

We have to say then, God leaves a great deal unsaid. The only thing he really tells Job is that “I am able to deal with Leviathan. I’m not afraid of him. I’ll take him on. I will subdue him.” I think that is the point of that whole text that I re-translated for you.

But he doesn’t say how. He doesn’t say, “Okay, Job, now you want to know the whole answer? Here it is. Here are all the steps I’m going to take to subdue
Leviathan.” He just assures Job that he is going to do it. When he subdues Leviathan, that will in great measure, or we might say at the very heart of it, deal
with the problem of evil.

VII. The Significance of Level 3 Wisdom

Now we need to go back to what we’ve talked about in Job 28 where we spoke of the three levels of wisdom and the significance of the third level. Just to remind you one more time: The first level of wisdom is basically technical skill. If you are a good weaver, if you are a good musician, if you know languages, in modern terms if you are a great computer technician, whatever it is, that is wisdom or Hebrew “hochma” on the first level. The second level of wisdom again is what we see in Proverbs. That is moral wisdom, that is knowing right from wrong, that is knowing that people ought to fear God, that is knowing how to deal with other people and knowing how to be responsible.

The third level of wisdom, however, is the secret wisdom of God. That is the wisdom no one can find. You can dig into the heart of the earth. You can search from one end of the earth to the other, you will never find this wisdom in the world because it belongs to God and to God alone.

We spoke of the counterintuitive secret wisdom of God in Jesus Christ, as illustrated from 1 Corinthians 1; and as illustrated from the fact that when Jesus
would speak of his mission to die for sin and then rise again from the grave, no one could understand it.

Where are we at this point? God has told Job, “I will deal with Leviathan,” but he doesn’t tell him how. That is still the secret wisdom of God. It is still hidden in his mind and Job doesn’t understand it, he doesn’t know how to figure it out. But God has given him assurance. God has told him that he will do this.

VIII. In Revelation 12, God Deals With the Dragon

Putting it all together as Christian readers, for whom Christ has already been revealed, here is what we can say: God did deal with Leviathan. He did deal with the source of all evil, Satan; and of course he dealt with it at the cross. What happened at the cross? Not only was our sin taken away; and at the resurrection, not only were we given victory over death, whereby we too can rise from the grave. Something else happened. For this, we need to recall one more time something we have been talking about in this context, Revelation chapter 12.

Revelation chapter 12. Remember one more time, that is where you have the great dragon. The great dragon, of course, makes us think of the traditional image of Leviathan, a dragon-like figure. We read in Revelation chapter 12 where the dragon hates the woman and hates the child she will bear; and how the dragon does a great deal of damage and evil. We will pick up at chapter12, verse 5, Revelation: “She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.” We have mentioned this already. I think this self-evidently is Jesus after his crucifixion and resurrection, his ascension into heaven where he is seated at the right hand of the Father. Verse 6: “The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down, that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah, For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows his time Is short.’”

Here we have in Revelation 12 the dragon; and after the male child is taken up to heaven, the dragon is cast down. Why is he cast down and why is that so
significant? Because he had been the accuser of our brothers and sisters day and night, and now he can no longer accuse them. The power of sin is broken.

Once again we are taken not only to the figure of Leviathan in Job 41, we are taken all the way back to Job 1 where Satan stands before God and accuses Job, saying, “Does Job fear God for nothing?”

I believe that the answer of how God will defeat Leviathan is not revealed in Job. Only the fact that God will defeat Leviathan is revealed. The means by which he will do it is the secret, hidden, counterintuitive wisdom of God. It is something Job could have never imagined; that God Himself would come to earth in the form of the Son, the second person; that God would be incarnate; that God would take on the complete power of Satan; would suffer and die under the weight of sin; and that God Himself would remove it and would also remove the sting of death.

I think that is where the book of Job finally takes us, to God’s defeat of Satan in the power of the cross, as we see revealed in the New Testament and as I think we see an echo of Job in Revelation chapter 12.

IX. Conclusion

In summary, God in chapters 38 and 39 told Job that God maintains the stability in the world despite all the appearance of chaos. Under God’s rule, the earth is stable, the earth continues and the animals thrive. They all live, everything does well, even though to Job’s eyes it all appears to be chaotic and to be forces of death and destruction.

Then in chapters 40 and 41 God tells Job more specifically that he will deal with the problem of evil. He tells him in the figure of behemoth that he will deal with all the powers, principalities, both human and demonic, the power structures that control the world. And he tells him under the figure of Leviathan that he will destroy Satan, the source of all evil and the one who accuses us of sin.

Remember the night spirit with his nihilistic wisdom, that there is no virtue with his saying that there is nothing but darkness and evil and corruption.

This is the third level of wisdom, the wisdom that is God’s alone and the wisdom that comes about in the cross. Job embraced God’s answer, even though he did not know the specifics of how God would fulfill it. Because remember the ending of Job 28, the poem of God’s wisdom: “To fear the Lord – that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil, that is understanding.”

Job realizes he simply has to maintain his faith in God and his confidence that God will deal with evil.