SPIRIT OF LEVIATHAN
Job 41 is the key passage on leviathan. Most of the people who have this powerful spirit never get deliverance because one of his chief jobs is to block deliverance. Ministers who refuse to open up to the ministry of deliverance are being controlled by a leviathan spirit. This is their chief problem. Most of the people who fight the deliverance ministry have powerful leviathan demons, and are therefore rarely delivered. Perhaps one of the reasons we know so little about this spirit is because we do not get to tackle him as often as others.
Strong’s Concordance (3882, 3867) defines leviathan as a wreathed animal or a serpent. He is also called the constellation of the dragon, or Orion. Within the constellation Orion there are seven stars, each with a name. These names have been found helpful in dislodging leviathan in deliverance. Pleaides and Articus are two of these seven stars (demons) tied in with leviathan. Often when you manage to force them out, leviathan is also defeated.
Another word for leviathan means to twine, to unite and to remain. Again we are reminded of his serpentine nature and that he is a strongman. A word which occurs six times in the Old Testament comes from a root word which means to bend or twist. It means literally wreathed; like a wreath; to be wreathed; gathering itself in folds. The context suggests some form of aquatic monster which dwells in the sea. In the scriptures the sea represents nations of people. The sea is the voice of many waters, or many people, in the book of Revelation.
In Psalms 74:14, is a reference to Pharaoh and the Exodus, which parallels with another Hebrew word “tannon,” which means a sea or river monster. The word occurs again in Ezekiel 29:3-5 symbolizing Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Oftentimes there is an Egyptian spirit tied in with leviathan, a spirit of the world and worldliness.
In Job 3-8 reference is made to a dragon, which according to ancient mythology, was supposed to cause eclipses by wrapping itself around the sun. Leviathan was considered to be a great mythical monster, identified with the Babylonian mother goddess, Timat. The father of Timat was Apsu, in the Babylonian creation story. This monster fought with Marduk by reciting charms and casting witchcraft spells.
In the Word there is a seven-headed monster, which takes us back to the constellation Orion and its seven stars. The seven heads are the seven stars and the creature is described as a fleeing serpent, the tortuous serpents smitten by Baal.
Isaiah 27:1 declares: “In that day the Lord, with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan, the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent (or tortuous serpent) and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.” There is a dragon in the sea (people or nations) and God is going to slay that dragon.
I believe He is already beginning and we are already there, tribulating now. For example, there are some things which no longer bother me. I have overcome areas in the sex and drug area, yet out in the world some are still falling like flies in those traps. Even some Christians are being snared because they are not getting into deliverance and therefore not being set free.
The noun translated leviathan may also designate serpents such as might be roused by snake charming magicians. These men were also reputed to be able to impose curses, therefore snake charming curses are involved here.
There is another root word, Lawa, in the Hebrew (Strong’s 1087) used once in Ecclesiastes 8:15. It refers to the joining of an item or a person to someone or something else. Significantly, we believe that in the Bible this refers to foreigners who join God’s people as converts, the joining of an alien thing to God’s people.
In general, I think it refers to the way in which hedonistic pleasures stay with a man. In Ecclesiastes 8:15: “Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry; for that shall abide with him of his labor all the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.”
Notice, these pleasures will cling to a man. Again the reference is to clinging, writhing and twisting. They get caught up with a man internally.
Job 41 says: “Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? Or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?” In our congregation there is a man from a hard background, he was a career army officer in Viet Nam. When he came home his brains were scrambled. Officials of the Army had judged him to be a 100% disabled schizophrenic. He appeared on our doorstep one day after hearing our radio program. This began a battle such as I had never seen, and it is not over yet. We have been at it now for about six months.
Being a disabled veteran, he is required to report every month to a psychiatrist in order to maintain his disability. After deliverance, he came to me and said he was so much better that he no longer was schizophrenic. He asked “What am I going to tell them when I go back for my interview?” I said, “Well, what do they want to find out?” He said they just want to know whether or not I am still crazy. I told him to tell them what had happened to him in deliverance. It worked, for after that report they were certain he was crazy.
In his Bible studies he came to the conclusion that Behemoth (Job 4) was the will of man. That big sluggish animal is strong, brassy and very hard to budge. Leviathan represents or burrows into the self of man.
In the book of Job the whole context is an ongoing debate between Job and his friends. Finally, God announces that He has had enough and demands an answer in chapter 38:4: “Where was thou when I laid the foundations of this earth? Declare if thou has understanding.” In verse 31 He asks, “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades or loose the bands of Orion?”
Here at the culmination of an entire revelation, God gives this righteous man of God an entire discourse about leviathan. Some call him a crocodile or something else, but he is an evil spirit. There is revelation here and although we do not have all of it, we can utilize what we do know.
When we get down to that real, true self, we are where leviathan has his stronghold. He’s a writhing serpent, seven heads, etc. Although I’ve never seen him in the Spirit, he must be very ugly. There is a part deep inside where leviathan dwells. Even after ousting him, there’s still self-will which says, “This as far as I’m willing to go,” and sure enough, if you listen; that is as far as you will go.
Job 41:8 says that when we lay our hands on leviathan we will remember the battle and will not do it again. That struggle reminds us of our old self who does not want to reveal things, does not want anyone to know.
Job 41:15 states that the scales of leviathan are his pride and are shut up together with a close seal. One is so near to another that no air can come between them. In the scripture, air, breath and wind are synomymous with the Holy Spirit.
The reason people get so shut in is because of the effects of leviathan’s tight coils around them, inhibiting the moving of the Spirit. They cannot hear or discern the Spirit and they say they never get a word from the Lord or move in the gifts. The reason is that no air of the Spirit is able to get in because this demon has such a strangle hold. The scales are joined one to another and cannot be sundered.
“By his sneezings a light doth shine and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning or the rays of dawn; out of his mouth goes burning lamps and sparks of fire leap out.” This brings to mind James’ references to how the tongue kindles a fire. Tongue problems are rooted in leviathan. When he gets in the church and looses some of that fire, he sets the whole place ablaze.
“Out of his nostrils goeth smoke as out of a seething pot or cauldron; his breath kindleth coals and a flame goeth out of his mouth.” This refers to a cutting, critical tongue rooted in a spirit of pride. I see this smoke going out of leviathan’s nostrils as false praise and worship, like the smoke going up from the incense burning of Nadab. Because the person is so bound up with pride, he cannot really praise God. He is too important, too bound up in himself to give any real praise and worship to God.
In verse 22, “In his neck remaineth strength.” The neck reminds you of the will. Stiffnecked pride and stubborness are with leviathan. Sometimes strength in the neck can be a negative thing, because Jesus spoke of the stiffnecked and uncircumcised heart. The bowing of the neck is rebelliousness, which brings us back to pride and sorrow.
Dismay goes with stubborn people just as the flakes or the folds of leviathan’s flesh are joined together; firm in themselves and unable to be moved. These people cannot be told anything, they know it all. Haughtily they speak: “God showed me that a Christian can’t have a demon. You’re in deception, brother.”
His heart or chest is said to be as firm as a stone, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone (verse 24). Here, hard and cold heartedness are tied to leviathan. “When he raises up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breaking they purify themselves.”
In verse 31, he makes the deep to boil like a pot and there is a verse in Psalms which says “deep calleth unto deep.” This brings us back to self again. The deep is where the real you is located. There is a deep in me and I’m very careful about who I let in there.
God can get in there, deep calls unto deep, but the leviathan spirit will cause that deep to boil. There will be a restlessness and turmoil inside. Sometimes you cannot sleep well because there is something moving around, boiling in there. This could well be a leviathan spirit at work inside. Also note that this boiling is not only in you but that it also stirs up other people.
If you ever have occasion to spend much time around schizophrenics you will find that they just wear you out. They have a problem and you do also. We need to become unmovable, unable to get stirred up about anything except God’s righteousness and the evil that is in the world.
“He maketh a path to shine after him and one would think the deep to be hoary (or have white hair; to have wisdom with old age); upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear, or (who behave without fear). He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride (vs. 32-34).
Another way of stating this is that he looks down on all who are haughty; he is a king over all those who are proud. Pride and leviathan are practically synonymous. It is hard to separate them because pride causes that stony heart to close the scales and folds together blocking the Spirit of God from entering. Some sit listening, but not understanding or hearing the Word of God. Leviathan’s most crucial work is in the area of keeping people from receiving the things of God and of the Spirit.
You may say you have no pride but rebellious pride often hides. Leviathan is sneaky and subtle and can easily hide himself. He can twist, writhe and slip out of the way; causing one to reject dependence on God and subjection to God. he is quick to attribute to self the honor due to God, therefore this pride is the very root and essence of all sin.
Long ago Lucifer said, “I will exalt myself; I will sit on the sides of the north and be king” (Isaiah 14). The very root of his downfall was pride. Me! Me! Me! The awful worship of me, who needs no help. “If I go to a church which is really real, they’ll get revelation by the Spirit, of what I need.” That is just pride, nothing more or less! It is like driving into a gasoline station and telling the attendant, “I have an unspoken request.” To tell the workers, “Just see what the Lord tells you,” is rebellious pride in action.
The fallen devil, as described in Luke 10:18, still has a craving to be like God. As a result of the fall our whole nature has become infected with pride. The temptation to know good and evil, to eat of that forbidden tree was motivated by pride in Adam and Eve.
Just think, the tree of life was also there in the garden and God did not forbid them to eat of it. Yet, they went straight over to eat of the tree of good and evil, not the tree of life. That is pride.
We are descended from Adam and therefore easily affected by pride. This why leviathan is so strong, powerful and deeply rooted in us. The fascination with the forbidden, feeds leviathan who wreaths himslef tightly in the old self.
There is yet another dimension, even after deliverance from leviathan. The crucifixion of self must still take place in many areas. For example, people want to be delivered from cigarettes but they also must have a part. In our church there is a pouting brother right now who refused to come to church last Sunday. He had gotten deliverance from cigarette spirits, nicotine, tobacco, etc., and expected to get up the next morning without any desire for a cigarette.
Although this might happen, many times when you get up the next morning, you want one so bad that you think you are going to die. Is the evil spirit still there: No, he has gone. What is that then? That’s me, that’s me, that’s the old self down there. The only course to pursue is to put on the cross.
Crosses were instruments of death having two dimensions. Frankly, I don’t know where we cross the line from the spirit of pride to just the old self which refuses to humble itself in submission to God. You can resist the devil all day long but there must first be submission to God if you are really going to be free.
You may have to say, “God, I’m going to have to break out of this pride and become submissive to You.” This indeed might be the starting place to overthrow pride. The condemnation of the devil is associated with pride (I Timothy 3:6) and his undoing. Proverbs 8:13 says: God hates pride, therefore there is no place in us for it.
Proverbs 16:18 warns that prides goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. The word for pride used here is one which means swelling excellence. Psalms 10:4 declares it to be the root cause of atheism.
Psalms 10:4: “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” The word here again is haughtiness, which brought about the downfall of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4.
The dictionary defines pride as an over high opinion of oneself; exaggerated self-esteem, conceit; haughty behaviour; arrogance; delight or satisfaction in one’s own or another’s achievements. God hates all of this.
Once when I was meditating and praying about leviathan, I asked God for a revelation. Awakening in the night, God spoke to my heart that leviathan resides in the Holy Place and that he is a counterfeiter.
Any studies on the tabernacle of Moses will show a fenced outer court with a tent-like structure on the inside containing two rooms. One was the Holy Place and the other the Holy of Holies.
The Holy Place was entered dialy by ministering priests and contained three pieces of furniture. A massive golden candlestick or lampstand was lit and provided the only light. There was a golden altar of incense where incense made sweet smelling smoke to go up as a type of worship and prayer to God and as a type of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There was also a table of shewbread to the right with twelve loaves of shewbread, which were replenished weekly.
When you came in through the second veil, you had already been at the Brazen Altar (salvation). The second veil is the place of revelation and illumination by the Spirit of God, symbolized by the oil burning in the lamps. Nourishment is from Jesus, the bread of life, on the shewbread table.
This is where leviathan has his place. He is more interested in Spirit-filled people than anyone else. One of the big problems in the Spirit-filled churches is pride. We are so proud of our revelation! We do have some truth, but God is too wise to give any one of us the whole thing.
We are three part beings; we are soul; we have a spirit, and we live in a body. This is a type of the Holy Place where leviathan works. He is at work in our soul; in our emotions, mind and will.
He attempts to keep us from entering into the Holy of Holies, into the very presence of God. This is the third veil and he does not want us there, for once there, we have got it. This third veil was rent when Jesus died on the cross. This was that veil between the Spirit filled realm and the very presence of God.
No man could go there except Moses and the high priest, and then only once a year. Here leviathan stands to block entrance. He attempts to snuff out the lamps; cut off the bread (the manna); and he tries to keep us from offering up daily incense (prayer in the Spirit). He does not want us to move in the Spirit; to have words of knowledge or any other spiritual gift. He will choke us off with spiritual deafness and blindness, causing us to be tongue-tied. God said leviathan is living in the Holy Place and is a counterfeiter. His seven heads imitate the seven lamps of Revelation (Psalms 74:14; Job 41:19) The smoke from his nostrils is counterfeit prayer (worship at the altar of incense) and he is commissioned to counterfeit the genuine Pentecostal experience.
Leviathan wants us to have the counterfeit and if we get that and are satisfied with it, he has us. Many have had counterfeit experiences. Increasingly, we have had to cast out spirits of false tongues. Many are requiring deliverance from false, error filled ministries.
Malachi 2 speaks of the blessings which have been cursed. While I read that scripture one of the brothers in my church woke up. It was as if he had been asleep for five years. Five years earlier, he had become involved in a ministry led by a man in serious error. Not knowing this, he walked with him for years before finally realizing the truth. God told him to stay there although the man was cursing him from the pulpit. Finally, God told him to leave.
He just realizeed that his blessings had been cursed for those five years. When it lifted off of him with that scripture, he received a massive deliverance. Perhaps you too are asleep. Ephesians says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you life.” Leviathan can come in to strangle your experience in God in such a way that you can slumber for years without notice.
The modern church today is largely asleep because of leviathan’s work. He loves to eclipse things and mythology associates him with the eclipse of the son. He wants to eclipse the S-O-N in your life but you don’t have allow this. You can be free.
Leviathan is the climatic revelation of Job and the climax of the book is chapter 41. God reveals the monster and Job responds in Job 41:5: “I’ve heard but now I see.” He had the revelation. Job’s primary problem was pride and God had to hit him hard to enable him to see it.
In Isaiah 27:1 there is an endtime scene dealing with leviathan. There is a parallel pasaage in Revelation 12:9 in which the devil is called the great dragon. Some believe leviathan to be the devil and no doubt he is a close copy.
Scripture says much about pride; God breaks the pride of power because it refuses to hearken to His Word and to the commandments, despising his statutes (Leviticus 16:19; Job 33:17). God speaks to a man at night to keep him from pride. If God spoke to some of us audibly, we’d form a new denomination!
In Psalms 73:1-6, pride results from prosperity, therefore much of the extreme prosperity preaching can not be of God. Pride comes from prosperity and from the lack of trouble (Psalms 73:1-6). Paul said he had to learn how to be abased then how to abound. It is much easier to learn how to be abased than how to abound. The downfall of many good preachers has been accomplished by prosperity and the lack of trouble. In deliverance at least, we will not lack for either.
Shame follows after pride (Proverbs 11:2); pride brings contention and breeds quarrels (Proverbs 13:10). If you’re a quarreler, contentious, always arguing with people, your problem is pride and leviathan. pride brings a man low (Proverbs 29:23); pride defiles a man (Mark 7:22). We need not worry about the fellow who becomes proud and arrogant, for God will take care of him.
Pride is our biggest area of blindness. It can be right before us and we will fail to see it or to call it pride. It is rooted in rejection and rebellion. We react to rejection with perfectionism and as we become “perfect,” we achieve the carnal goals of having things just as we want them. We begin to puff up with pride. “I want somebody to love me, so I’ll set myself a goal, achieve it and say, look at me; look what I’ve done.” We develop an exaggerated opinion of ourselves, vanity follows, with excessive pride.
Pride may even hide itself under a false humility. “I’m such a mess. Oh, I’m so thankful I got to come.” Ego also rises up when we become hyper-self conscious. Self awareness leads to intolerance of others because they are not as perfect as we are. In comes a critical spirit as satan works to load us with demons. We become frustrated and impatient because everyone is not as we want them to be. It is frustrating for we can not change them to suit ourselves.
Because a perfectionistic person is still aware of his own personal flaws and problems, he is miserable. He sees his problems and cannot solve them, therefore he begins to project them onto other people. He will talk about and accuse others (Proverbs 13:10).
Because other people are so messed up, this justifies his becoming disobedient and anti-submissive or rebellious. That husband just won’t straighten up so she must take over. He will not be the priest of the house or pray, therefore she must take charge because he is not perfected yet.
Create him in your own image instead of letting God create him in His image. Ladies, if you try this you are going to have a monster on your hands. It is better to leave him alone and let God create him in God’s image. Deep inside, the perfectionist believes that nobody can or should be trusted, not even God, because sometimes even he misses the mark.
When God does not seem to answer your prayers, you wonder why He messed up. After all, you had every right to have that prayer answered, the Word says so. “Why didn’t You answer my prayer God?” If you got in your prayer closet and became honest, that is what some of you would have to talk about. This stands between you and everything else and will keep you from getting deliverance. If you cannot even trust God, who can you trust?
“Me, I’m dependable,” and in comes self-will as you become your own source of authority. You will be selfish and stubborn, caught in a proud snare (Psalms 31:20). Self-deception deceives, defrauds and misleads a person about himself. Self-seduction means to tempt, decoy or mislead into something wrong or evil.
When we seduce ourselves, pride reinforces itself and it becomes a vicious circle. The afflicted one becomes unteachable, judgmental and usually seeks to control others with an attitude of possessiveness. It is a downward spiral for when you become unteachable, you have moved to the place where very little help is available.
There is little success with unteachable people. The critical time comes when one’s ultimate confidence in God as the object and source shifts to oneself as the object and source. God must be our source and the object of all we want. When such a shift takes place and I become the source, then I become legalistic: “If I don’t do this or that,” it’s not going to be right.
Pride makes professions such as: “It’s over; I can’t stand it nor I’m only human,” etc. Slogans we often pick up are loaded with pride as are some religious advertisements and ballyhoo such as: famous, renowned, apostolic, dynamic, powerful, international, stupendous, etc.
Some of our do nots and will nots: “I don’t do that and I don’t do this” can be pride. “Why, God?” Who are you to ask God why? “I want some private ministry. Can I talk to you alone?” There is pride cropping up again.
The good news is that Jesus is both the Answer and the Deliverer. We know there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus and we thank the Lord for the spirit of conviction. May we all work diligently to root out all pride for the destruction of leviathan in the name of Jesus.
Based on a sermon preached by Steve Bell