This is my 3rd post on dinosaurs, the previous ones being:
According to evolutionists, dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, long before humans came about. However, as covered in previous posts, there is abundants evidence that humans have seen and interacted with dinosaurs, and that they still live today. Today, I’m covering the evidence of human-dinosaur co-existance in the Bible. If evolution is correct, there should be no mention of these creatures in the Bible, as they had supposedly gone extinct LOOOONG beforehand, and no dino fossils had been discovered. And yet, there ARE references.
First of all, you will NOT find the word “dinosaur” in the Bible because that word was invented in the 1800s – and the first English translations of at least part of the Bible appeared in the 600s or 700s (and the famous KJV in the 1600s). What were these creatures called before then, assuming humanity knew they existed? DRAGONS. While there were accounts of the flying fire-breathing creatures that we think of when we hear that name (and I believe they DO exist), it appears to have also been the old name for the reptilian creatures we now call “dinosaurs”.
In fact, if dragons had not been relegated to myth as a direct result of a common Biblical understanding centuries ago (namely, that God would never allow a species to go extinct – which we now know He does), the word “dinosaur” would never have been coined. We’d still be calling the creatures “dragons”. Ponder on that for a minute.
The following is the 15th chapter of Darek Isaacs’ highly recommended book Dragons or Dinosaurs? Creation or Evolution?, titled “The Maligned Dragon”:
The word dragon has literally gone through a metamorphosis perhaps more than any other word in the Bible. The King James Version, published in the year 1611, gave the widest usage and breadth to the dragon, more than any of the most recent English Bibles. It references dragon and dragons thirty-five times. Its verses referred to dragons as types of sea creatures, land creatures, proper names of places and/or things, and symbolic references to evil.
The King James Version is very consistent with other historical references to dragons. Various types of historical accounts use the term dragon to refer to reptilian creatures on the land, in the sea, and in the air. The common element is the dinosaurian size and ferocity.
What we are able to see is that a couple of centuries after the King James Version was in circulation, there was an effort to restrict, and in some cases remove altogether, the word dragon from namely the Old Testament Scriptures (more on the New Testament later). These alterations can be traced.
The first major English translation that labored to modernize the 1611 King James Version was the English Revised Version of the Bible (not to be confused with the English Standard Version). The English Revised Version completed its New Testament revisions in 1881 and the Old Testament in 1885 [and the Apocrypha in 1894]. British biblical scholars led this effort, but some American scholars had influence.
In the Old Testament, the English Revised differed from the King James Version in its usage of dragon by making a distinction between the land creatures and the sea creatures. The English Revised decided that the land creatures could not be called dragons, but water creatures could still carry that designation. It also maintained that proper names and symbolic images could keep the dragon name. Therefore, it was similar to the King James Version, with the one change in the designation of land creatures – land creatures were no longer dragons.
Next in the list of major English translations is the American Standard Version (ASV) published in 1901. Many of these American scholars were associated with the English Revised Version done a few years earlier. The ASV was radical in its approach; it treated the word dragon as if it were the plague. In the Old Testament, the ASV eliminated all references to dragon(s). That is not the case in the New Testament, but in the next chapter, we will discuss the reasoning for all of that.
As an example of this clear bias, which severely injured that translation, we can point to Nehemiah 2:13. Review how the ASV translated the verse:
And I went out by night by the valley gate, even toward the jackal’s well, and to the dung gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire. (Nehemiah 2:13, ASV, emphasis mine)
The key statement is “jackal’s well,” and there is a deeper transgression here than simply a matter of a mere translational error. Most translations of which I am aware renders this passage as either dragon’s well, or dragon’s spring. The prejudice shown by the ASV in 1901 against dragon committed a blatant crime against the inspired Word of God.
The reason why the well was named “dragon’s well,” is not because the biblical writers named it so. Ancient Jewish tradition, apart from the Bible, taught that a dragon was somehow attached to the well in reality or in spirit. More than likely, that story arose from an actual dinosaur living in the region, or even at some point, being found in the well itself. Nevertheless, the well, with the ancient Jews, carried within it a certain mystique and possibly instilled a fear in those who would draw from its depths. So regardless of what the Bible called it, that was the name of the well.
The translators of the 1901 American Standard Version were completely fraudulent. Perhaps the fear that dragons were not real, and therefore could have no place in the Bible, led the ASV translators to do damage to the Word of God and they literally altered the Bible.
If we move forward nearly an entire century, the English Standard Version realized that they could not follow the pattern of the ASV and remove all references to dragons from the Old Testament text. Yet, what we see from the ESV is that the term dragon was used only when no real creature was implied. The ESV translators recognized that the plain reading of the Hebrew text clearly was insinuating dragons in many locations. Therefore, they allowed the term to be used as metaphors, proper names of locations and things, and when designations of evil were implied. However, it was never allowed to be used when a real living breathing creature was being insinuated.
Therefore, in stunning fashion, the dragon was used heavily in the King James Version, then less so in the English Revised, then completely eradicated in the American Standard Version, then resurrected partially in the English Standard Version and other modern texts. Because our more modern English translators have been as certain as a politician, it is time that we go to the original Hebrew and Greek for ourselves.
Now for portions of chapter 16, “Dragon Face-off”:
I believe the original writings of Scripture to be inerrant, divinely inspired, and wholly breathed from God. we must not be lax in understanding that translations are still the work of man. We must be ever vigilant in demanding that the original content and intent is preserved as our modern, increasingly liberal, society relentlessly pushes to remove the core truths of the Bible.
The English Standard Version of the Bible is the one that I personally use the most. I trust it and appreciate the effort that was made by its translators to preserve the intent of the inspired Hebrew and Greek texts. That said, we are about to wade into some rarely navigated waters where fundamental and reformed Bible believers, like myself, do not normally tread. We are going to discuss what I believe is an error in modern English translations, and I will use the ESV as the sample text to demonstrate such. Certainly, after our previous discussion, it is not hard to figure out that someone is in error, and a deep one at that, in how the word dragon is used in the Bible. At this stage of the study, that is not a hard accusation. What is a bit more consuming is finding out who is in error, why they are in error, and what should be done about it.
Do not read into this that I am advocating that there is widespread contamination in our Scriptures, and in particular the ESV. I am not saying that at all. In fact, I think the ESV is a brilliant work. It is the recommendation I offer when suggesting a bible. It is for this very reason that I am using this text.
However, I need to demonstrate how deeply secular reasoning has forced its way into the popular thought of even our most conservative Bible translators and theologians. Unlike the heresy-reaching failures of the ASV that I documented earlier, what we are going to discuss now is not a conspiracy, but a mistake. Born-again, bible-believing theologians of today have been sideswiped by the powers of secular society. We simply need to offer correction and right the ship.
We have all grown up with biases based on our cultures. Bias is intertwined with our works, thoughts, and reason. Biases can be so powerful that sometimes they can remain undercover, even to the people who hold them. Those who never seem to deepen or challenge their scopes and views are usually the people with the largest bias.
As an example from our previous discussions, I believe a titanic-sized bias sunk Adrienne Mayor’s ability to rationally understand the evidence. Due to her bias that no man could have ever seen a living dinosaur, she concluded that Indians had a secret band of expert field paleontologists who must have been far more skilled than the most trained dinosaur reconstruction experts of today.
This is the danger of unchecked bias. It makes the clear rather murky, and the bright fairly dull. It turns the simple into the convoluted.
Unfortunately, some translator bias has seeped into a most trusted translation of the Bible. Our key topic now will materialize as we dive into how the ESV deals with dragons in the Bible and how that team of translators decided to deal with that word and the reference to that creature.
The Old Testament was written primarily in Hebrew. The Hebrew rod from “dragon,” when it is transliterated into English is tanniyn. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, tanniyn can, depending on context, refer to a few different creatures – a dragon, giant sea creature, whale, serpent, or jackal. Another Hebrew word used in very close conjunction with tanniyn is tan. They have very similar, if not identical meanings, with tanniyn being used more frequently in the Bible. In Strong’s Concordance, both words reference each other.
To unpack the definition of tanniyn, we first need to recognize the one creature that is not quite like the others. “Jackal” as a definition of this word is peculiar. For the record, the translators of the King James Version of the Bible never once used “jackal” as a translation possibility when they encountered the Hebrew word tanniyn.
Therefore, when translators encounter tanniyn in the original Hebrew in the Old Testament, they have the task to decipher which animal is the best fit based on their understanding of the context.
Context is the key in translating Hebrew, for it is a highly contextual language. In contrast, this is much different from the Greek language, in which the New Testament was written. Now, that does not mean that Hebrew is a vague and unknowable language – far from it! One just has to be skilled in their translation proclivities. Ancient Hebrew is unique, and it has its own set of rules and mannerisms just like any language, but it is very foreign from English.
So, therein lies the contextual challenge – for translators are often influenced by what is culturally accepted and proper in their own day and age. Sometimes, what they determine to be culturally acceptable by today’s standards, will influence what they believe was the original context thousands of years ago. That, my friend, is the origin of our problem for this study.
In contrast with the Hebrew language is the Greek language. The New Testament was written in a common Greek linguistic. In the previous chapter, we noted that the differences between the KJV, the English Revised, the ASV, and the ESV; how each deals with the word dragon and focuses on their translation of the Old Testament. This is because the Greek word for “dragon” is drakon.
Drakon, unlike its Hebrew counterpart, only has one real translation – “dragon”. It is impossible to interpret it much differently, regardless of contextual issues. The leverage or impace of interpreter bias is thereby fully restricted in the New Testament treatment of the word dragon.
Our goal in this chapter is to then explore the differences in the use of the Hebrew word tanniyn and its most direct English counterpart, dragon, in two of the most powerful English translations of the Bible: the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible of 2001, with the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible of 1611.
The ESV uses the singular word dragon five times in the Old Testament. However, the plural form, dragons, is never used. In the KJV, the singular word dragon is used in translation a total of six times in the Old Testament. However, in stark contrast, the plural form, dragons, is used sixteen times in the Old Testament as opposed to zero times in the ESV.
In the New Testament, the ESV and the KJV are identical in their usage of the translation of “dragon.” As I stated, there is no other candidate for the Greek word. It is worth noting now, that in every reference in the New Testament – all are in the Book of Revelation – and the term dragon is used as a representation of Satan, evil, or a servant of Satan’s.
Old Testament Usage of Dragon According to the ESV
ESV – Dragon (singular): Nehemiah 2:13; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9; Ezekiel 29:3; Ezekiel 32:2
ESV – Dragons (plural): None.
Old Testament Usage of Dragon According to the KJV
KJV – Dragon (singular): Nehemiah 2:13; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 51:9; Jeremiah 51:34; Ezekiel 29:3; Psalm 91:13
KJV – Dragons (plural): Deuteronomy 32:33; Job 30:29; Psalm 44:19; Psalm 74:13; Psalm 148:7; Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:13; Isaiah 35:7; Isaiah 43:20; Jeremiah 9:11; Jeremiah 10:22; Jeremiah 14:6; Jeremiah 49:33; Jeremiah 51:37; Micah 1:8; Malachi 1:3
New Testament Dragon References
Revelation: 12:3, 12:4, 12:7 (twice), 12:9, 12:13, 12:16, 12:17, 13:2, 13:11, 16:13, 20:2
[Note that all dragon references in the New Testament are in the Book of Revelation and both ESV and KJV are identical in usage.]
We have established that there are discrepancies in the use of the word dragon(s) between the English Standard Version (ESV) and the King James Version (KJV). In fact, there is very little agreement in the Old Testament between these two powerfully important translations. That is unacceptable. One of these translations is very wrong in how it deals with the Hebrew word tanniyn.
It is interesting to review Ezekiel 32:2, the only place where the ESV uses dragon and the KJV does not. In reference to the pharaoh, king of Egypt (this verse was using a metaphor, rather than referring to a real animal), the KJV thought it best to translate the Hebrew word tan into the word “whale” rather than “dragon.” This is significant because it demonstrates that the KJV did not just take a carte blanche approach to translating everything that might merely insinuate or vaguely apply directly to the dragon. The translators of the KJV used interpretative judgment, and the ESV certainly exercised interpretative judgment as well.
The widest discrepancy seen between the ESV and the KJV is found in the Old Testament use of the plural word dragons. Therefore, we shall explore some of the discrepancies beginning with the Book of Deuteronomy. We shall show the ESV first, and then the same verse rendered by the KJV.
… their wine is the poison of serpents and the cruel venom of asps. (Deuteronomy 32:33, ESV)
Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. (Deuteronomy 32:33, KJV)
The ESV used “serpents” for the translation of tanniyn, whereas the KJV used “dragons.” Let us look at that difference.
It is the ESV’s position that the Hebrew scribe simply repeated himself – “poison of serpents” is the same thing as “venom of asps.” This is like writing “the bark of a dog” and “the sound of the canine.” That is odd phraseology. In defense of the ESV, the original Hebrew writers did employ parallelism in their writing to stress points from time to time. However, I do not think that was the case in this passage.
Furthermore, if we are going to be a stickler to the original Hebrew, the Hebrew used two different words to name the two creatures. In the first phrase, we know the Hebrew word was tanniyn. In the second phrase, both translations agreed upon “asps” when the Hebrew word pethen was used.
Pethen literally translates to an “asp,” or an “adder.” Therefore, in this verse the Hebrew language provides two distinct creatures – a tanniyn and a pethen. Those two Hebrew words represent a greater contrast than our English words, serpent and asp.
I believe the King James gives us a better overall sentence when they used two different animals, and thus the “and” is justified here with the two separate creatures – “the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.” In this case, the King James offers sound linguistic imagery, with no clear oddities.
The burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. (Isaiah 35:7, ESV)
And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. (Isaiah 35:7, KJV)
This verse in Isaiah is extremely important. It provides a habitat reference to the creature in question, and it also gives us the infamous “jackals” translation. Fourteen times in the Old Testament, “jackals” became the translation of choice by the ESV translation team when they encountered the Hebrew word tanniyn. They used this animal reference when the context implied a real living land creature, but not an ocean dweller. Without question, the jackal, which is a small fox-like animal, is the main creature that replaced the dragon in the Old Testament when we compare the ESV to the KJV.
Taking that into proper consideration, we still must read Isaiah 35:7 in the proper surrounding context. Isaiah made a statement about our creature, and then stated the vegetative nature of the ground upon which that creature would lay. Note that at the beginning of the verse, it is speaking of parched ground, and then the Scripture explains that there will be a change in the ground.
This is where it gets interesting. Both translations have the creature, tanniyn, lying amidst reeds, rushes, and springs of water. Reeds are a slender plant that grows in water and marshy ground. Rushes do the same – they are a swampy, waterside plant. Both translations agree on this choice of habitat for the creature involved.
Also, remember Job’s behemoth in Job 40:21. The behemoth also laid down in the shelter of the reeds and in the marsh, and Job’s account of the behemoth certainly does not sound like a little dog.
Furthermore, it is not the usual habitat for a dog, fox, jackal, or any of its relatives to live and lie down in a swamp. Yes, there are bird dogs that will dive in and retrieve, but the swamp is not a dwelling for any member of the dog family as is implied in this verse. Yet, the consistency of what we know about many reptiles, and pulling from the multiple dragon legends, leave us no choice but to say Isaiah was speaking of a reptile here, not a jackal.
The context begs for the simplest translation of the Hebrew word in which the King James Version arrived at – a dragon.
Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps…. (Psalm 148:7, ESV)
Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps. (Psalm 148:7, KJV)
Yet God my King is from old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. (Psalm 74:12-13, ESV)
For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. (Psalm 74:12-13, KJV)
Here is a dilemma that the ESV ran into, but which the KJV was spared. Tanniyn was used again in the original Hebrew. However, this time, in these verses from Psalms, a dwelling place of the sea was used to describe a creature’s habitat.
Why this is a dilemma for the ESV is because it fell into the habit of using “jackals” as the word of choice for the Hebrew word tanniyn. Due to this, the ESV was forced to reconcile a stark inconsistency – jackals do not live in the ocean.
The ESV could have simply relied on its ancestor, the KJV, to solve the issue and stay with “dragon.” But when faced with the idea that the animal being portrayed is not a metaphor, but a real animal, the ESV opted to translate the Hebrew word tanniyn with an all-encompassing “sea creatures” in Psalm 148, but in Psalm 74 the ESV translated the same tanniyn into “sea monsters.”
The ESV should have used the same term for both, considering the context. This ambiguity reveals the uncertainty that the translation team felt surrounding tanniyn.
The KJV exhibits strength by being steady and firm with their usage of dragon in Psalms, chapters 74 and 148. The dragon creature fits every biblical context we have seen thus far.
Take note that the creatures referenced in Psalms are real creatures – they are not mythological or metaphorical. At this point, a translation philosophy can be seen. We are starting to see a patter in the ESV: if the creature appears to be a reference to a real living animal, then dragon was a word the ESV translation team ruled out.
“I will take up weeping and wailing for the mountains, and a lamentation for the pastures of the wilderness, because they are laid waste so that no one passes through, and the lowing of cattle is not heard; both the birds of the air and the beasts have fled and are gone. I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a lair of jackals, and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.” (Jeremiah 9:10-11, ESV)
“For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none can pass through them; neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone. And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.” (Jeremiah 9:10-11, KJV)
With this, I have to take issue. A jackal is a yelping weakling when measured against other animal life. However, here we see that God will lay waste to Jerusalem and make it a most treacherous and dangerous place. If it became a den of dragons, like the King James records, then this is consistent with the kind of dread, fear, and destruction of which the surrounding passages seem to speak.
Frankly, if I am thrown into a lair of jackals, I like my chances of making it out okay, and it might even be fun if I were armed with but a slingshot. However, if I am thrown into a den of dragons (perhaps raptors or T-rex), then I would not last thirty seconds. It is that kind of dread, fear, and destruction that the context relays.
A voice, a rumor! Behold, it comes! A great commotion out of the north country to make the cities of Judah a desolation a lair of jackals. (Jeremiah 10:22, ESV)
Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons. (Jeremiah 10:22, KJV)
I offer that a pack of jackals does not capture the terror and fear that is being portrayed like a den of dragons.
And Babylon shall become a heap of ruins, the haunt of jackals, a horror and a hissing, without inhabitant. (Jeremiah 51:37, ESV)
And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling place for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant. (Jeremiah 51:37, KJV)
Again, the context is more severe and would warrant dragons and not jackals. Yet something much more commanding is in this verse. An interesting word follows the named animal in both translations – hissing. When describing the sight, emotion, and sound of Babylon, we are to believe that both translations determined it to be in ruin, where the sight of it would conjure either a horror or astonishment, and the sound of hissing shall resonate from it. That reference of hissing is a clear reference to an indwelling of reptiles, not a pack of jackals. Jackals yip, yap, yelp, and cackle. They do not hiss.
There is another piece of evidence that demands notice at this juncture. There are other words that are more appropriate in the Hebrew language that could have been used if a jackal was so inferred by the original scribes.
In Nehemiah 4:3, a curious Hebrew word appears – shu’al. In both the KJV and the ESV it is translated into “fox.” The fox is a closely allied creature to the jackal. In fact, they have been known to interbreed. Strong’s definition of the Hebrew word shu’al found in Nehemiah is “a jackal (as a burrower): fox.”
The mere existance of shu’al in the Hebrew language puts such a vexation on using tanniyn to apply to jackal, that I do not see a place of reconciliation. Obviously, the skilled linguists who produced the King James Bible did not see any reason whatsoever to use “jackal” as a possible translation of tanniyn. It makes sense that the mere existance of the word shu’al may be a reason why.
The ancient Hebrews were well-versed linguistically. I find it nonsensical that the actual Hebrew scribes used tanniyn to mean “jackal” when they had not only a word for “dog,” but specifically a “jackal”! The presence of shu’al in Nehemiah 4:3 also informs us that it was a word that was understood during that era – it was not a later addition to the Hebrew language.
Additionally, often when the ESV used “jackals” in its translation, the creatures were used to portray fear, dread, or destruction. I argued that that context does not fit the jackal as such a creature. We could probably hand feed them with some patience, for I have hand fed a wild fox, and I have seen a rabid fox beaten off with a loaf of bread.
Thankfully, the Nehemiah passage does more than just provide us the Hebrew equivalent for “jackal” – shu’al – it uses the creature as a symbol of utter weakness, as I have been lobbying.
Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Yes, what they are building – if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!” (Nehemiah 4:3, ESV)
Tobiah was mocking the strength of a wall the Jews built, insisting that even a shu’al could trample it. I find it more than just interesting that modern English translators have used to replace the vicious and powerful image of a dragon, not only has its own distinct Hebrew word, but it is a creature that is rather weak. The ESV, unwittingly, has made the jackal a super dog, in wich no man can approach for fear of being disemboweled, while simultaneously recognizing the feebleness of its Hebraic and genetic cousin, the fox.
When we question the simple, we often end up confusing ourselves. The ESV translators made a philosophical decision to exclude dragon as a possibility when referring to an actual animal. Consequently, the inconsistencies and confusion of the word tanniyn commenced.
If the Hebrew writers meant to portray a jackal, they would have used the Hebrew word for “jackal” – shu’al.
This disagreement between the ESV and the KJV over tanniyn is not accidental. There is a very logical reason why these two major Bibles differ. Those who worked on the King James Bible in 1611 believed dragons were real, living creatures. Therefore, none of them has any issue using dragon as the logical animal of choice when translating the Bible. They saw no conflict.
However, those who translated the ESV did not believe dragons could be real. Therefore, the ESV refused to use dragons as a word that would refer to a living, breathing creature. They only used it when it was within a metaphor or being used as a proper name.
We referenced this next verse in a previous chapter as we exposed the ASV fallacy. It is worth hitting again, this time from the ESV perspective.
I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. (Nehemiah 2:13, ESV)
Notice how the ESV considers it acceptable to use the word dragon when they do not believe a real animal is being implied. By using dragon in this sense, there is no threat to Scripture. In the verse below, we see the same mentality in the ESV. Here the dragon is deemed acceptable because it is referring to a great evil. It is a metaphor; it is not a reference to a real animal.
Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lies in the midst of his streams, that says, ‘My Nile is my own; I made it for myself.'” (Ezekiel 29:3, ESV)
As we transition away from the Old Testament, I had previously mentioned that the ESV and the KJV are identical in their implementation of dragon in the New Testament. We cited the reason for this – the Greek word drakon gives absolutely no variance in its translation. Consequently, thirteen times in the Book of Revelation, dragon is used to refer to Satan or to a great evil. Even though this is clearly not referencing an animal, we cannot take these references of dragon lightly.
One of the key attributes to the Bible is its accessibility to all who want to understand it. Even though the Book of Revelation is a book of imagery and symbolism, it still needs images that are recognizable.
The dragon was and is an identifiable creature and that was especially more so to the people of the first century. The dragon summoned images of strength and viciousness, and it was a fear-inducing creature of no equal. The Book of Revelation used this chilling and disturbing creature to visually describe the adversary of the world – Satan.
It makes sense to apply the image of a fierce, lethal, and fiery dragon to Satan, but only if it were a real comparison. Satan warrants the most serious warning. It is he who was a murderer from the beginning and directly tempted Jesus Christ in the wilderness.
If the ESV translators believe that Satan is real, then they have to recognize that God chose to use the image of a dragon repeatedly to describe him. It is wholly impossible that God would have chosen a fairy tale creature to describe the very real threat that wages war against humanity. Doing so would be cruel and dangerous, and that is not the character of God.
When we question the simple, only disaster follows. The translators of the modern English Bibles have made the description of Satan as a vicious dragon, which was meant to warn us and put us on guard, no more than a fairy tale analogy that subsequently becomes useless and impotent.
This is what Satan wanted to accomplish.
The Bible translators in the modern age have been influenced by the evolutionary lie that dinosaurs are millions of years old and have no true relationship whatsoever to dragons. That was a belief that the translators of the King James Bible did not have. In their day, the theory of evolution, an the fictitious prehistoric period that was millions and millions of years old had not yet been invented. All of that was a product of the nineteenth century. Therefore, the translators of the KJV had a clearer reality of the giant, fierce, scaled reptiles and had no problem with the most simple, straightforward Hebrew translation.
However, because our modern scholars could not connect the dots between dragons and dinosaurs, they were philosophically driven to not use dragons in a context that would refer to a real, living, breathing, organic creature. If they did, they thought such mythical creatures would threaten the authority of the Bible. They could not allow the Bible to be speaking about a dragon as if it were real, if in fact it was only mythical.
Such an effort to save the Bible from itself is a lasting memento to the arrogance of man. We have taken it upon ourselves to help God say what He meant. Therefore, most theologians believed the Bible had to be saved from embarrassment, and they removed the word dragon wherever it was seen to be a threat to the inerrancy of the Scripture. However, the evidence is overwhelming, for dragons are not mythological at all. Dragons are most certainly dinosaurs, and the Bible recorded it as such from the very beginning. It is with absolute conviction that I can say that the Bible did not need our protection. It is quite certain that the real situation is the exact opposite. Jesus Christ is our defense; we are not His.
There is an instance where even the KJV translators thought “dragon” too far (despite being the literal reading) – in a description of an extremely well-known event: the staff-turning-into-a-snake. When YEHOVAH commanded Moses to throw the staff on the ground in Exodus 4, it turned into a snake; that is what the Hebrew word nachash basically means. However, in Exodus 7, when Aaron threw Moses’ staff down before Pharaoh, it turned into a tanniyn – a dragon/dinosaur! Same with the magicians’ staffs – they turned into the reptilians as well! This is confirmed by Josephus, who in The Antiquities of the Jews Book 2, Chapter 13, wrote:
And when he had said this, he cast his rod down upon the ground, and commanded it to turn itself into a serpent. It obeyed him, and went all around, and devoured the rods of the Egyptians, which seemed to be dragons, until it had consumed them all.
The scene was apparently a little more colourful than commonly portrayed.
Then there’s Job’s creatures.
“Look at Behemoth,
which I made just as I made you;
it eats grass like an ox.
16 Its strength is in its loins,
and its power in the muscles of its belly.
17 It makes its tail stiff like a cedar;
the sinews of its thighs are knit together.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,
its limbs like bars of iron.
19 “It is the first of the great acts of God—
only its Maker can approach it with the sword.
20 For the mountains yield food for it
where all the wild animals play.
21 Under the lotus plants it lies,
in the covert of the reeds and in the marsh.
22 The lotus trees cover it for shade;
the willows of the wadi surround it.
23 Even if the river is turbulent, it is not frightened;
it is confident though Jordan rushes against its mouth.
24 Can one take it with hooks[c]
or pierce its nose with a snare?
(Job 40:15-24, NRSV)
Many claim it to be an elephant or hippopotamus. What similarity AT ALL exists between a cedar tree, and the tail of an elephant (effectively a knotted rope) or the tail of a hippo (effectively a flap of skin)?! NONE!!!!! The Behemoth sounds a lot like the sauropod dinosaurs.
Then there’s the second creature, which is harder to identify, but definitely not one of the “conventional” animals we commonly see today:
“Can you draw out Leviathan[b] with a fishhook,
or press down its tongue with a cord?
2 Can you put a rope in its nose,
or pierce its jaw with a hook?
3 Will it make many supplications to you?
Will it speak soft words to you?
4 Will it make a covenant with you
to be taken as your servant forever?
5 Will you play with it as with a bird,
or will you put it on leash for your girls?
6 Will traders bargain over it?
Will they divide it up among the merchants?
7 Can you fill its skin with harpoons,
or its head with fishing spears?
8 Lay hands on it;
think of the battle; you will not do it again!
9 [c] Any hope of capturing it[d] will be disappointed;
were not even the gods[e] overwhelmed at the sight of it?
10 No one is so fierce as to dare to stir it up.
Who can stand before it?[f]
11 Who can confront it[g] and be safe?[h]
—under the whole heaven, who?[i]
12 “I will not keep silence concerning its limbs,
or its mighty strength, or its splendid frame.
13 Who can strip off its outer garment?
Who can penetrate its double coat of mail?[j]
14 Who can open the doors of its face?
There is terror all around its teeth.
15 Its back[k] is made of shields in rows,
shut up closely as with a seal.
16 One is so near to another
that no air can come between them.
17 They are joined one to another;
they clasp each other and cannot be separated.
18 Its sneezes flash forth light,
and its eyes are like the eyelids of the dawn.
19 From its mouth go flaming torches;
sparks of fire leap out.
20 Out of its nostrils comes smoke,
as from a boiling pot and burning rushes.
21 Its breath kindles coals,
and a flame comes out of its mouth.
22 In its neck abides strength,
and terror dances before it.
23 The folds of its flesh cling together;
it is firmly cast and immovable.
24 Its heart is as hard as stone,
as hard as the lower millstone.
25 When it raises itself up the gods are afraid;
at the crashing they are beside themselves.
26 Though the sword reaches it, it does not avail,
nor does the spear, the dart, or the javelin.
27 It counts iron as straw,
and bronze as rotten wood.
28 The arrow cannot make it flee;
slingstones, for it, are turned to chaff.
29 Clubs are counted as chaff;
it laughs at the rattle of javelins.
30 Its underparts are like sharp potsherds;
it spreads itself like a threshing sledge on the mire.
31 It makes the deep boil like a pot;
it makes the sea like a pot of ointment.
32 It leaves a shining wake behind it;
one would think the deep to be white-haired.
33 On earth it has no equal,
a creature without fear.
34 It surveys everything that is lofty;
it is king over all that are proud.”
(Job 41, NRSV)
The Leviathan appear elsewhere in Scripture – particularly Psalms and Isaiah – and together with the Behemoth appears in the Book of Enoch and 2 Baruch, both of which indicate both animals will one day be food for humanity. (See The Canon of Scripture, Part 2: Enoch and Jubilees and The Canon of Scripture, Part 4: The Other Books of Baruch for more information on these inspired works.)
And then there’s the reference to fiery flying serpents in Isaiah 30:6…
Not only are dinosaurs still alive, but are mentioned in the Bible, and were once known as dragons – despite many modern translations ludicrously replacing it with “jackal”, or attempting to explain away the Behemoth and Leviathan as an elephant, hippo, or crocodile.