Monday, March 3, 2014

Leviathan: The Carnal Mindset

According to most dictionaries, the word “leviathan” denotes something large and powerful; and so it is. But what is large and powerful? And what more can we learn about it? And for what reason? 

In the mid-1600s Thomas Hobbes wrote a book entitled “Leviathan” about human politics. It’s a brilliant book that delves very adroitly into human nature, and promotes the idea that the individual creature must trade off some liberty for a viable sovereign rule, preferably by a single monarch (for coherency), but if not, by a sovereign central body of representatives, either democratic (the whole of representation) or aristocratic (a partial representation).

In sum, Hobbes promoted the idea of humankind needing absolute rule to maintain order and peace, REGARDLESS IF IT IS TYRANNICAL. Perhaps we should not be too hard on him if we believe he is wrong; the backdrop of his writing was against a long and bloody civil war between a monarchy and a representative government. 

But what is particularly interesting to me is why he chose the biblical image of a Leviathan to introduce his book and represent his ideas. Perhaps the biblical record will help us. But before that, let’s look at someone else’s take on it; David Guzik said this: 

"We know that Leviathan is identified with a serpent. We know that Leviathan is resisting God (fleeing . . . twisting; twisting has the idea of coiling, as if it were ready to strike). We know that Leviathan is connected with the sea. And we know that Leviathan’s destiny is to be destroyed by the LORD. Leviathan is referred to…as a mighty, serpent-like creature, connected with the sea, who resists God and will be crushed by the LORD. We are familiar with the reference to Satan as a serpent, but here the picture is of a sea-serpent or a perhaps what we would know as a dragon. This reference may be a literal reference, and at some point in history, either past or present, Satan may manifest himself as a monster connected with the sea. Certainly, Revelation uses this imagery in describing the emergence of the Antichrist (Revelation 13: 1-4). (He will slay the reptile)." (Retrieved September 28, 2013, from

Now directly to Scripture: in Scripture, there is a concept called the rule of first mention; the first time a word or phrase is mentioned in Scripture is often the seedbed of every other time it is used thereafter. In other words, its initial usage says the most about its meaning or significance (within its initial context) and casts the mold for understanding its subsequent usage throughout the rest of Scripture.

Well, Leviathan is used six times throughout Scripture (that fact is significant [in the original Hebrew, not the KJV and others]; I will go into that later), but the first time it is mentioned is in Job 3 verse 8: “May those who curse days curse that day [the day Job was born], those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.” Also, said another way: “Let those who curse days [or the Sea; a symbol of chaos] curse that day [Balaam (Num. 22-24) is an example of a professional curser]. Let them prepare to wake up the sea monster Leviathan [a creature in ancient Near Eastern texts that represents chaos]” (Job 3:8, Expanded Bible).

Thus its first usage is about those who are wont to curse and curse much; so much so that they are also apt to arouse or stimulate/energize Leviathan or chaos. In context, Job uses the word Leviathan after only a few words into his opening complaint after having spent seven straight days in pain, internal darkness, and silence.

It is in the stream of his thoughts after he begins to rail against the day of his birth; he curses the day he was born, and wishes it were blackened and blotted out of existence. He even wants those who curse (as a habit; those expert at cursing) to take up his charge, to use their extraordinary cursing skills to curse his day. 

He characterizes them as those who are apt to arouse Leviathan (chaos), those who promote their fallen nature—that cursed nature; those who curse regularly, those who express the nature of what Leviathan represents: THE DARK AND CHAOTIC REASONING OF THE CARNAL MIND; THE CARNAL MINDSET.

Hobbes was dead right to entitle a book about human government or politics “Leviathan”; it is the giant monstrosity in the halls of injustice; it is the oppressive RULE of the natural mind devoid of the Spirit of God. It is the expression of the first Adam, first individually, then second (and intensified), corporately. 

The second time the word Leviathan is mentioned is found also in Job; chapter 41 verse 1 asks: “Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook?” Later in the same chapter (verse 8) it says: “Lay your hand on him; remember the battle; you will not do it again!”

It is also very interesting that God said to Job “No one is so fierce that he dares to arouse him [Leviathan]; who then is he that can stand before Me?” (Job 41:10). Who can stand before a carnal unity, a meatheaded consensus? Remember the first mention rule? Job said that cursers were ready to rouse Leviathan; God corrected him by saying that no one would be so bold as to actually do it. But Leviathan is roused as he sees fit; he cannot be tamed or ruled by man. Thus the utterly darkened carnal mind, instead of being ruled by men, rules them.

Most biblical symbolists, I imagine, would agree that the sea or seas represent the masses of people which inhabit the earth. And Leviathan lives and twists and winds about within these seas or peoples; it is His domain, the place where he thrives.

The third time Leviathan is used in Scripture occurs in Psalm 74:13; but let’s look at verse 14 first: “You did divide the [Red] Sea by Your might; You broke the heads of the [Egyptian] dragons in the waters” (Amplified Bible). This is of course a remarkable and extraordinary statement and of no small significance that it says “heads” rather than “head.” So what does this mean?

Well just before verse 14, in verse 13, it says: “You crushed the heads of Leviathan (Egypt); You did give him as food for the creatures inhabiting the wilderness.” I would suggest to you that the pluralized head was the corporate accumulation of the heads of the many Egyptian soldiers which God destroyed when He returned the waters of the Red Sea back into bed and gave them to vultures and other animals (creatures) of the wilderness as food.

Leaving Egypt (which represents the world) via the split Red Sea (through the divided or “broken” waters [representing the new birth]) breaks the carnal domination and worldly mindset. Salvation itself destroys (or ought to destroy) Leviathan. Unfortunately, too many of God’s children experience God the way Ephraim did: Ephraim was oblivious to the fact that God lifted their yoke, that He had taken them into His arms and healed them. 

Furthermore, the psalmist who wrote Psalm 74 spoke of how the sanctuary of his day was destroyed by violent adversaries; those who “set up their own standards for signs” in the common meeting places within that sanctuary (Psalm 74:4). Additionally, this psalmist said it seemed like they had lifted up their “axe in a forest of trees” against “all its carved work” and eventually destroyed everything inside the sanctuary and then burned the sanctuary to the ground (Psalm 74:5-6). 

There is entirely too much of man’s standards rather than God’s being lifted up today in the churches. Too many “leadership” positions are filled by hatchet men, bulls in china shops, unable and/or unwilling to nurture saplings into trees of righteousness; instead they hammer away with sharp instruments (the craft and subtlety of their refined but darkened thinking), they reason and cajole, they cause division and chaos by teaching things which originate from out of their Leviathan dominated mindset. But after this evil report, the psalmist reminds himself of His God who worked “deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth,” and more specifically in the midst of the sea.

Then there is Psalm 104: 25-30 (Amplified Bible) which says this about Leviathan:

Yonder is the sea, great and wide, in which are swarms of innumerable creeping things, creatures both small and great. There go the ships of the sea, and Leviathan (the sea monster), which You have formed to sport in it. These all wait and are dependent upon You, that You may give them their food in due season. When You give it to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, and they are filled with good things. When You hide Your face, they are troubled and dismayed; when You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When You send forth Your Spirit and give them breath, they are created, and You replenish the face of the ground.
And also, according to Isaiah 27:1 (Amplified Bible):

In that day [the Lord will deliver Israel from her enemies and also from the rebel powers of evil and darkness] His sharp and unrelenting, great, and strong sword will visit and punish LEVIATHAN THE SWIFTLY FLEEING SERPENT, LEVIATHAN THE TWISTING AND WINDING SERPENT [emphasis added]; and He will slay the monster that is in the sea. 

These excerpts are the extent of the biblical record concerning Leviathan, at least as pertaining to it being mentioned directly. Now note the verses in Psalm 104, how the sea “great and wide,” with manmade conveyances (ships) traversing it, wherein also the Leviathan frolics, are all dependent on God for nourishment.

They all live and move and have their beings by God’s breath, and He alone replenishes the earth with their continued presence via their offspring. Leviathan, the sea serpent, eats dust just like snakes do here on land; not literally, but figuratively. It feeds on the minds of men made of dust, and no craft or craftiness can get them across the sea without being in danger of Leviathan capsizing them, drowning them, and perhaps eating them. Man’s ingenuity aside, he is often meat for lower life forms, and assuredly when he dies, worms devour him.

Now regarding Leviathan’s destruction as mentioned both here in Isaiah 27:1, and previously in Psalm 74: 13-14 (representing the initial salvation experience), let us just say that God is about to destroy the dark and chaotic thinking of the meatheaded monster. Paul complained of carnal Christianity because it is a contradiction in terms; in fact:

But I tell you this, brethren, FLESH AND BLOOD [emphasis added] cannot [become partakers of eternal salvation and] inherit or share in the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable (that which is decaying) inherit or share in the imperishable (the immortal). (1 Corinthians 15:50, Amplified).

Before Leviathan is mentioned in Isaiah 27: 1, Isaiah 26: 20-21 said this:
Come, my people, enter your chambers and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the [Lord’s] wrath is past. For behold, the Lord is coming out of His place [heaven] to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth also will disclose the blood shed upon her and will no longer cover her slain and conceal her guilt.

Carnality can only begin to be removed by a circumcision of heart performed by the sharp sword of the Lord (His Word) wielded by the Holy Spirit; the carnal mind (a soul function) is the problem. God’s Word (Jesus Christ) was sent to set the captives free, to loose mankind from many things, one of which is to be set free from Leviathan.

The division between soul and spirit spoken of in Hebrews 4:12 is a picture of a sacrificed animal upon the altar being divinely dealt with by God; just as God moved between the pieces of Abraham’s sacrifices many years prior, signifying a covenant between God and mankind, so God has made one today with us. But just as Abraham laid there prostrate in darkness while God moved between the pieces, so we too must lay prostrate in darkness while He alone (without our help) gives both our soul (inclusive of our mind) and our spirit, life.

No longer are we to govern ourselves; no longer are we to allow the engine of even our spirits to directly influence our souls (or mind). God alone must govern; only God, who moves between the pieces of our lives and constituent parts, is to marry up our organs and initiate her functions.
A spiritual man cannot be discerned (be figured out) by the carnal mind (no matter how ingenious) because he does not function even like the unity of his parts; he is and remains a dead man, a sacrifice laid out upon an altar before God.

His animation (and thus even his function) no longer originates from within his own person, his own mind. For him, Leviathan is not only dead, but has even become meat or food for spiritual thought.

One last thought: the guilt and/or sin offering in Israelite Law history ended up being about the “fat tail” of the animal, inclusive of the fat that was on the entrails (or intestines) and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and their fat; basically the visceral parts of the animal.

The “sweet smelling savor” which was the fat burning off these visceral parts was not naturally a sweet smelling anything; but spiritually, in obedience to God, it was, indeed, a sweet smelling savor in God’s nostrils (because of what it represented): the final stage of removing all the fat away from the visceral gut, from the Christian’s spirit, from around his “feeler” and “knower” parts (that these spirit parts might function better).
The daily sacrifice we make of our bodies (inclusive of all our inner and outer parts [our whole man]), is to keep us in the flames of purification, to keep the fat from accumulating on our inner man. It requires that we remain fervent in spirit to “feel” or “know” God as we should, that we might better hear God’s still small voice when He whispers to us. Leviathan removal is about removing the carnal mind so as to become more sensitive to His Spirit. 

The spirit of man is at the heart or center of man, and is spiritually visceral, just as the correspondingly naturally visceral parts of man are near his center. And the functions of the natural visceral parts are to purge the body of waste and keep the mortal lifeblood pure; likewise, the functions of the spiritual visceral parts keep the eternal lifeblood pure.

The burning away of the fat off the natural parts seems to represent removing those things which hinder its functionality. Spiritual fat or carnality is removed by placing our visceral man upon the altar, not just once for all time, but daily; the sacrifice of our life burns away the hindrances to hearing His still small voice, first there at the center of our being, and then in echoes outward into our souls and ultimately even into our bodily senses.

For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds [ONE OF WHICH IS LEVIATHAN], [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing [ESPECIALLY LEVIATHAN] that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). (2 Corinthians 10: 3-5, insertions mine, Amplified Bible).