In The Beginning, Part 10
The Prehistoric Age
People weren’t the only giants in the land. We read in Scripture that there were sea monsters. Genesis 1:21 tells us, “God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.”
When the Jewish midrashim (explanations of the Tanakh) were being composed, it was held that God originally produced a male and a female Leviathan, but lest in multiplying the species should destroy the world, He slew the female, reserving her flesh for the banquet that will be given to the righteous on the advent of the Messiah. This part, about eating Leviathan, is based on Psalm 74:14, “You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.”
As Rashi says in his commentary on this verse:
the…sea monsters: The great fish in the sea, and in the words of the Aggadah (B.B. 74b), this refers to the Leviathan and its mate, for He created them male and female, and He slew the female and salted her away for the righteous in the future, for if they would propagate, the world could not exist because of them. הַתַּנִינִם (hattaninim) is written. [I.e., the final “yud”, which denotes the plural, is missing, hence the implication that the Leviathan did not remain two, but that its number was reduced to one.] – [from Gen. Rabbah 7:4, Midrash Chaseroth V’Yetheroth, Batei Midrashot, vol 2, p. 225].
Psalm 104:26 says this: “There go the ships of the sea, and Leviathan (the sea monster), which You have formed to sport in it.”
But as we continue to look closer, we may see something different.
As Jeremiah 51:34 tells us, “Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured me and sucked me dry; he has made me an empty vessel; he has swallowed me like the sea monster; he has filled his belly with my delicacies; he has rinsed me.”
And Ezekiel 29:3,
Speak, and you must say, “Thus says the Lord Yahweh: ‘Look! I am against you, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great sea monster, the one lying down in the midst of his Nile streams, who says to Me, “It is my Nile, and I made it for myself.”’”
And again in Ezekiel 32:2
Son of man, raise a lament over Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and you must say to him, “With a fierce, strong lion among nations you compared yourself, and you are like the sea monster in the seas, and you thrash about in your rivers, and you make water turbid with your feet, and you make your rivers muddy.”
According to Wikipedia,
Leviathan (/lɪˈvaɪ.əθən/; Hebrew: לִוְיָתָן, Livyatan) is a creature with the form of a sea serpent from Jewish belief, referenced in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Job, Psalms, the Book of Isaiah, and the Book of Amos. The Leviathan of the Book of Job is a reflection of the older Canaanite Lotan, a primeval monster defeated by the god Baal Hadad. Parallels to the role of Mesopotamian Tiamat defeated by Marduk have long been drawn in comparative mythology, as have been wider comparisons to dragon and world serpent narratives such as Indra slaying Vrtra or Thor slaying Jörmungandr, but Leviathan already figures in the Hebrew Bible as a metaphor for a powerful enemy, notably Babylon (Isaiah 27:1), and some 19th century scholars have pragmatically interpreted it as referring to large aquatic creatures, such as the crocodile. The word later came to be used as a term for “great whale”, as well as for sea monsters in general
Yes, Leviathan may have been a code name for Babylon or Pharoah, as we have seen in these Scriptures, but Leviathan was also symbolic of Satan.
Isaiah 27:1 tells us, “On that day, Yahweh will punish with His cruel, great and strong sword Leviathan, the fleeing serpent, and Leviathan, the twisting serpent, and He will kill the sea monster that is in the sea.”
Job 26:5-14 speaks of this fleeing serpent and God’s power at creation.
The ghosts of the dead tremble beneath the water, with its creatures. Sheol is naked before Him; Abaddon lies uncovered. He stretches the north over chaos and suspends the earth on nothing. He binds up the water in His thick clouds, yet no cloud is torn apart by it. He shuts off the view of His throne by spreading His cloud across it. He fixed a circle on the surface of the water, defining the boundary between light and dark. The pillars of heaven tremble, aghast at His rebuke. He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His skill He strikes down Rahav. With His Spirit He spreads the heavens; His hand pierces the fleeing serpent. And these are but the fringes of His ways; how faint the echo we hear of Him! But who is able to grasp the meaning of His thundering power?
Revelation 12:1-4 says,
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth.
And again, Revelation 13:1-2 tells us this:
The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.
So we see the dragon at the sea to receive the Antichrist.
Sea monsters were not the only giant animals. What about Behemoth in the Old Testament, a powerful, grass-eating animal whose “bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron”?
Job 40:15-24 says,
Look at Behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. What strength it has in its loins, what power in the muscles of its belly! Its tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are close-knit. Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like rods of iron. It ranks first among the works of God, yet its Maker can approach it with his sword. The hills bring it their produce, and all the wild animals play nearby. Under the lotus plants it lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh. The lotuses conceal it in their shadow; the poplars by the stream surround it. A raging river does not alarm it; it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth. Can anyone capture it by the eyes, or trap it and pierce its nose?
Among various Jewish legends, one relates that the righteous will witness a spectacular battle between Behemoth and Leviathan in the Messianic Era and later feast upon their flesh. Again according to Wikipedia,
Later Jewish sources describe Leviathan as a dragon who lives over the Sources of the Deep and who, along with the male land-monster Behemoth, will be served up to the righteous at the end of time. The Book of Enoch (60:7–9) describes Leviathan as a female monster dwelling in the watery abyss (as Tiamat), while Behemoth is a male monster living in the desert of Dunaydin (“east of Eden”).
We see Behemoth sometimes identified as a hippopotamus and Leviathan as a crocodile, whale, or a snake; but were these creatures dinosaurs? And if they were, why did these giant animals exist? The word “dinosaur” comes from the Greek word which means “terrible lizard.” The current names for dinosaurs have only been since the 1800’s. So we want to briefly look into these giant animals and ask, “Why did God make them, and why did they become extinct?”
If you ever went to Jurassic theme park, you know that there are not many types of dinosaurs. There are Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus, Allosaurus, Spinosaurus, and Stegosaurus and even a three-horned one called Triceratops. But that’s not all! We also have the Pterodactyls, which were giant flying reptiles, and Plesiosaurs, which were water reptiles, and bird-type dinosaurs known as theropods. There were also Woolly Mammoths (and their cousin Steppe Mammoth) who stood 13-15 feet tall and had giant tusks.
So you have to ask yourself, “Was all of mankind taller then what we are today?” There is the theory out there that says these huge creatures lived before the creation of man. Well, that is partly true for the animals were created before man, but it is not true that they became extinct before man was created because they were these terrible, violent animals that could not co-exist with man. God created a world that, in His own words, was good. Everything lived in harmony. We see this in the Messianic Age when all things will be restored. We know before the flood that man and animal were plant eaters, vegetarians, as we read in Job 40. We also read in Job about Behemoth, that it ranks first among the works of God. So we know that God created these mammoth creatures and it was not just folklore. But the question still remains, “Why?”
We also know that they co-existed with man because Adam named all the animals, and even though we first named the dinosaurs in the 1800’s, Adam gave them a name in the garden. We also know that the animals were grass or plant eaters and they were not violent against man based on what we see in the restored Eden. The end will be like the beginning, and the beginning like the end. Before the flood, man was not a threat to the animals because animals and man only ate grass and plants. But after the flood, God told Noah that they could eat the meat from animals, and at that time man would have been a threat to them, for they became prey. Animals also turned from eating grass to eating each other, though not all. After the flood, the harmony of life ended.
Genesis 9:2-4 tells us,
The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.
Well, one thought regarding the reason that man and animal could have been taller or larger than they are today is this: before the flood, all of creation was pristine—pure air, pure water, and what we would call organic food. Because of this, life’s duration was longer. We know that before the flood Methusalah lived to be 1,000 years old. But as Genesis 6:3 tells us “Then the Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’” Life drastically changed after the flood, and with the changes we see that throughout history all kinds of animals have become extinct, mainly due to environment and man. There are many reptiles and other species of animals they believe lived during the prehistoric age, but you would not know it because their size is so considerably smaller—like Horseshoe crabs and turtles, Komodo dragons, Shoebill storks, Bactrian camels, Echidnas (which are a cross between a badger, porcupine and an anteater. It lays eggs instead of giving birth), Musk oxen, Chambered Nautilus, White Rhinoceros, and even white polar bears and sturgeons, and so many more. It makes the prehistoric age not so prehistoric.
As we move on, we see a very low point in history. Of course, there have been many low points in history, but not even a thousand years after Eden we hear God expressing regrets. Genesis 6:5-8 tells us,
The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that He had made human beings on the earth, and His heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Genesis 6:9 tells us that God found one righteous man: “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.”
All throughout history, God always had a remnant reserved for Him. Here are just a few Scriptures:
“God sent me (Joseph) before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:7).
“Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).
“Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, ‘Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved’” (Romans 9:27).
“In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice” (Romans 11:5).
We see that the Scripture repeats itself in telling us about the corruption on earth. Genesis 6:11-13 says,
Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.
The corruption multiplied after the sin of Eden. Paul tells us this about sin in Romans 5:19-21,
For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Messiah Yeshua our Lord.
But as we saw, sin also came by way of the fallen angels. God needs to save His remnant, and to do that He needs to make a way for their salvation.
The Story of the Two Arks: An Open and Shut Case
So we know the story, that God has Noah build an ark. In Genesis 6:14-16, God tells Noah how to make a boat—not just a little boat, but a huge boat called an ark:
Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.
We see later in history that God tells another man how to build an ark. God tells Moses how to build the Ark of the Covenant. Exodus 25:10-16 says,
They shall construct an ark of acacia wood two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high. You shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and you shall make a gold molding around it. You shall cast four gold rings for it and fasten them on its four feet, and two rings shall be on one side of it and two rings on the other side of it. You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them. The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it. You shall put into the ark the testimony which I shall give you.
The Ark of the Covenant held the Ten Commandments. We forget that the keeping of the commandments is the keeping of the covenant agreement between us and God. But the purpose of the ark was to protect the commandments, just like the archangels protected the Tree of Life and the ark that Noah was building was to protect him and his family and all the animals.
So why call it an ark? That is because an ark is a place of refuge, a shelter, a place of protection. You see, the Torah (commandments) is the Word of God. Yeshua is the Word of God. Yeshua means salvation. Inside the Ark of the Covenant was salvation. Noah’s ark was also salvation. “Preservation and deliverance from harm and ruin and loss” is the meaning of salvation. The ark protected them from the flood. It was salvation.
Hebrews 11:7 tells us, “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” The ark represents Yeshua the Messiah who is salvation, and the door into the ark also represents Yeshua, for He tells us in John 10:9, “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
It took Noah one-hundred years to build the ark, and at any given moment any person could have repented and would have been able to enter the ark with Noah and his family—but not a single one did. As Psalm 32:6 says, “Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.”
1 Peter 3:20 stresses that God patiently waited while Noah built the ark, in case any would repent: “because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.”
2 Peter 2:5, 9 tell us that Noah was a preacher of righteousness:
If He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly . . . then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.
In Genesis 7:1-4, God tells Noah that he is now to enter the ark, for in seven days the flood waters will come. In the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, we are told that these seven days functioned as one last chance for the people to repent:
For, behold, I give you space of seven days; if they will be converted, it shall be forgiven them; but if they will not be converted, after a time of days yet seven, I will cause rain to come down upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and will destroy all bodies of man and of beast upon the earth.
Similarly, the Pirkei de Rabbi Eliezer says that the purpose of the building of the ark (a lengthy project) was to increase the possibility for repentance: “Rabbi Tachanah said: Noah made the ark during fifty-two years, so that they should repent of their ways. But they did not repent.” The people didn’t listen, and only Noah’s immediate family was saved. As Yeshua says,
In the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark. And they were oblivious, until the flood came and swept them all away. So will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:38-39)
Genesis 7:16 tells us, “Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the Lord closed it behind him.”
It is interesting that God shut the door and not Noah, but when we see the parables of Yeshua, who is the door, you may understand why.
Luke 13:23-24 says, “And someone said to Him, ‘Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?’ And He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.’”
Matthew 25:7-13 tells us this:
Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.”
“No,” they replied, “there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.” But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. “Lord, Lord,” they said, “open the door for us!” But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.” Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Matthew 24:37-39 says,
But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
Genesis 6:17-18 goes on to tell us,
Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark.
So you have to ask yourself, “Why did God totally destroy His creation?” We know that all He had to do was strike down those who were corrupt. But to destroy all the animals and the birds and even the trees? Why? Well, the answer is simple: mikvah!
What is a mikvah? For one, the mikvah must be a natural flow of water. The flood certainly fits that description. In order to conform to Jewish law, a mikvah must contain 40 seahs of water. This parallels the 40 days/nights that the rain fell.
We may better know the term as “baptism.” A person would immerse himself in a mikvah for several different reasons. The mikvah was symbolic of a spiritual cleansing. 1 Peter 3:18-22 tells us this:
For Messiah also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Messiah Yeshua, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
Romans 6:1-4 tells us this:
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Messiah Yeshua have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
So we see that with spiritual cleansing comes a clear conscience and newness of life, spiritually being born again. Of course, the mikvah is only a symbol of this, only because it represents the womb and the grave.
So that brings us to the next reason for the mikvah.
Symbolically, when Moses and the people went into the water, even though they crossed on dry ground, it was like a dying experience. But when they came out of the waters, it was like rising from the dead.
So what does this have to do with anything? Well, death is considered unclean because death brings about decay, and decay is unclean. When God directed Moses about the Passover, He told him not to keep any till morning, as Exodus 12:10 tells us, “And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.”
The people were to be in a state of holiness, for God Himself was leading Israel out of Egypt. Even in the Haggadah (the Passover service) the people acknowledge that it was God and not an angel who brought Israel out of Egypt. There are too many Torah laws about clean and unclean to get into them now, regarding the sanctuary and God ‘s presence, but death is a big one. According to the Torah, anyone who touches a corpse or is near a corpse is considered ritually unclean. One had to perform a mikvah to be considered clean. Once again, this was symbolic.
Here are a few Scriptures which explain the association between uncleanness and touching the dead.
Numbers 19:11 says, “If you touch a dead body, you will be unclean for seven days.”
Numbers 19:14 tells us, “If someone dies in a tent while you are there, you will be unclean for seven days. And anyone who later enters the tent will also be unclean.”
Also in Numbers 19:16, “If you touch the body of someone who was killed or who died of old age, or if you touch a human bone or a grave, you will be unclean for seven days.”
And Leviticus 21:11-12 says of the High Priest,
He must not enter a place where there is a dead body. He must not make himself unclean, even for his father or mother, nor leave the sanctuary of his God or desecrate it, because he has been dedicated by the anointing oil of his God. I am the Lord.
We know that the garden became unclean after the sin of Adam and Eve because sin brings death. God could no longer walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening. The garden was a place were they ministered to God, just like in the sanctuary (the Holy of Holies) within the Tent of Meeting the priests ministered to God. How important it is for our sanctuary, the place where we meet with God, to remain holy. The bottom line is that the world needed to be cleansed, and the flood was the way God was going to bring about that cleansing. God created life. That life died spiritually through sin. God needed to bring about a renewal. Creation brought about life and sin brought about death, and so going through a mikvah would bring about cleansing, a spiritual rebirth. Like Moses and the people who went into the water and were symbolically dead, now after the flood they would reemerge as clean and new and alive. God wanted once again to have a people that He could walk with.