Part three in our Job series is coming, but in the meantime I thought it would be fun posting something on that greatly misunderstood and majestic creature, leviathan. Comprehending what this Biblical icon represents will help us on our quest to understand our own existence and purpose. This symbol also fits perfectly in our Job series because it is meant to be a symbol explaining base energies that serve to help evolve consciousness.
Leviathan is introduced in the Biblical book of Job, chapter 41. In this scene, God is in the process of humbling Job. He brings up one of his most powerful creations: leviathan.
“Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook…? (Job 41:1).
God then proceeds to describe leviathan as a creature of terrible strength and fury:
“…Shall not one be cast down even at the site of him [leviathan]…None is so fierce that they can stir him up…Who can open the doors of his face? His teeth are terrible round about. His scales are his pride, shut up together with a closed seal… Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goes smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron…” (Job 41:20).
Furthermore, we learn that leviathan cannot be tamed nor bridled by natural man:
“The sword that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the breastplate. The arrow cannot make him flee: sling stones are turned with him into stubble. Darts are counted as stubble; he laughs at the shaking of a spear” (Job 41:26-29).
We also learn leviathan is a sea creature; not only does the Lord ask Job if he can catch leviathan with a hook, but we later read:
“He makes the deep to boil like a pot: he makes the sea like a pot of ointment” (Job 41:31).
In Biblical circles, leviathan has been described as a crocodile. This is ridiculous; leviathan was never meant to be a literal creature. He is a mythical symbol that stands for a powerful force within our astral natures: our desires and emotions. This is why he is a serpent of the sea. The sea in ancient literature is always symbolic of the desires and passions of the astral body, which is responsible for our emotions. The astral body is the great primordial sea that the serpent (lower desire-minded ego) arises from. Thus the purpose of God’s discourse here is to speak to Job about the desires and passions of the lower mind in the midst of his own ascension.
The lower emotional desires are very much like the description of leviathan: they refuse to be bridled, controlled, and used for positive influence, unless they are purified and properly come under the control of the higher mind.
Imagine a perfectly nice person who seems like they have it together in a pleasant social setting; they are calm, peaceable, pleasant, funny, and outgoing. Now imagine that same person at the scene of an increasingly stressful situation. Let’s say he’s late for work because he is stuck in traffic. Maybe he even has a presentation to deliver but he’s got a few loose ends to tie up at his computer before delivering the final product. At first, the traffic seems to be improving. Cars began to move. But just as everyone gathers momentum, all the brake lights come on and everything comes to a complete stop again. Our example can’t stand his irritation any longer. This once calm, peaceable, fun-loving person becomes a total raging maniac. He begins beeping his horn, banging on the steering wheel, or cursing the guy out who tries to get into his lane because they think it might move faster. Maybe he says something he shouldn’t and it leads to a physical altercation. A lot of energy was tied up in those emotion, emotions can cause man to do all sorts of crazy things. This explosive, latent, potent energy is part of leviathan, and it can be difficult to transmute into some positive action.
Consider this further description of leviathan:
He beholds all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride” (41:34).
We must understand that this raw emotional energy is not bad. It is an immense reservoir of energy we utilize during our evolutionary process. But in order to ascend, to proceed and keep growing spiritually, these raw emotions must not manifest in the form of negative actions. The lower desires need to be conquered and then subsequently purified, so that we fulfill the higher emotions such as love over fear.
So how is this accomplished? It seems impossible to the natural man. God indicates this truth:
“None is so fierce that they dare stir him up…” (Job 41: 10).
Indeed it is impossible to the natural man. But in apocalyptic literature, there is a day when Leviathan is slain to be eaten by the righteous at the advent of the messiah. This is hinted at in Psalms 74:14:
“Thou breakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gave him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.”
Why does this scripture say that leviathan’s flesh will be fed to people in the wilderness?
You may remember from earlier posts how the wilderness in scripture always refers to the energy field of lower man that is devoid of spiritual life. That’s why the Israelites had to go the long way through the wilderness in order to reach the Promised Land. There is no shortcut to conquering the lower desires of the mind, and God knew the Israelites would be drawn back to Egypt (the ego) had they not made the trip through the wilderness to kill off all the Canaanites (lower desires of the mind).
The scripture from the Psalm above explains what happens when God gives the broken heads of Leviathan to the people of the wilderness. It is taking the raw energy emotion and transmuting it into something finer (broken head of the beast) so that the subsequent actions are positive, not negative.
The people that once were in the wilderness of life can now see the fruit of their travels from the perspective of the Promised Land.
And how does the LORD do this?
“In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent…and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea” (Isa. 27:1).
The scripture above tells us that the LORD does this with his strong sword. Is this scriptural really referring to a bearded man coming that comes out of the sky wielding a sword against a dragon-like creature of the sea? Of course not. The strong sword mentioned in scripture here is none other than the spirit, which you can channel from the core of your being. The light of consciousness that is brought up through deep meditation always shines on your lower egoic desires. This does not happen through resisting or denying desires latent in the lower man. You cannot overcome something with resistance. In meditation, you just let them be as they are, and observe them. Their energetic charges will eventually lose strength. Through this process, we then purify leviathan within us.
In the middle of God’s description of leviathan to Job, we find an awkward description. Everything thus far about Leviathan seemed negative, but then this imagery turns the tide for a brief moment:
“In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him” (41:22).
The neck, located between the heart and the mind, symbolizes our purified emotions. This is the true strength of leviathan, and at the end of a cycle of suffering, the sorrow we experienced can be turned to joy.
This entire process is also presented in apocalyptic literature. Taken from the Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906, I quote:
“…at the time of the resurrection a banquet will be given by God to the righteous, at which the flesh of the leviathan will be served.”
What exactly does this mean? In that same source, it is stated that Maimonides suggested “…the banquet is an allusion to the spiritual enjoyment of the intellect…”
Interesting. Maimonides also taught that leviathan is a name that is derived from a Hebrew word meaning “to unite.” The unification of leviathan is based on many animals (beasts) that produce a monster. To the ancients, “beasts,” are symbolic of the many passions and desires of the lower nature. You combine all these beasts together and you truly get a monster inside man!
Final thoughts on leviathan…
To sum up, we can actually say the leviathan represents something much bigger than our lower nature desires and passions. Leviathan is also a symbol of the spiritual evolutionary process in our lives. Leviathan itself, the mythical creature created by God, is not evil, just as the serpent was not meant to be a symbol of evil. Leviathan, like the symbol of the serpent, is an inherent part of our natures, and, in the grander scheme of things, represents a necessary process we all must cycle through in order to progress in our evolution of consciousness.
Consider this last description of leviathan to Job by God:
“By his sneezing a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning” (Job 41:18).
Could ever such a beautiful description be of a literal evil creature, which God supposedly created, but then will allow joy in its slaying? No. I don’t think so.
Just for fun, I may also decide to do a post on the other popular mythical creature of Job, Behemoth, before moving on to part three of our Job series, where we will be discussing the higher mind.