God vs. the Chaos Monsters
2 Samuel 7:18–29; Psalm 89:5–10
Samuel Lesson #173
June 5, 2019
“Father, we are so thankful we can come together this evening, thankful for Your grace and goodness. We are thankful that we live in a free country and for the thinking, the foresight, and the wisdom, of our founding fathers to establish a nation on the basis of genuine freedom.
“We are thankful for impact of biblical thinking on their thinking. And Father, we pray that this might continue. There are so many forces in the world, and in this nation, that seek to destroy freedom.
“Father, we know that this is all part of the angelic rebellion, and that Satan wishes to destroy freedom, especially freedom of truth, freedom to study Your Word, and freedom to proclaim the gospel. He wishes to shut this down.
“But Father, we know that You are in control, and we pray that You might continue to restrain these forces of evil so that we might continue to live our lives in peace and carry out our biblical responsibilities as You have described them in Scripture.
“We pray these things in Christ’s name, amen.”
We have some fun stuff to get into tonight, and it’s only the beginning. I’ve titled this “God vs. the Chaos Monsters.”
This is an area of study, as I said last time, which we are getting into because of the language in Psalm 89 that introduces us to something that’s not taught a lot. When it is taught, it is often taught in a wrong way. We will get into that tonight.
We have been studying what the Bible teaches about God’s covenant with David.
We are reminded that this covenant that God made with David is an eternal covenant. God promised an eternal house to David and that term means an eternal dynasty—king, after king, after king. And that it would end with an eternal King which, of course, can only be divine.
He promised an eternal kingdom, that He would establish a kingdom that would be eternal, and that His dominion, His ruler ship would be eternal, indicated by the phrase “an eternal throne.”
One of the longest psalms, not the longest by any means, but one of the longest, is Psalm 89, which is a prayer. It is a prayer that God would fulfill His promises to David, to fulfill the Davidic Covenant.
It is fifty-two verses and we began to work our way through this verse by verse.
We realize very early on, starting in Psalm 89:5, that the author moves from talking about God and His mercy and faithfulness to David—that is the backdrop to this covenant, making it a certainty that God would fulfill the covenant—to introducing an element related to the angels, related to the heavens.
We see that he is bringing in a dimension to God’s covenant with David that connects it to what we usually refer to as the angelic conflict, or the satanic rebellion. So, it’s not just a matter of a human dimension, but the covenant God has made with David has a dimension that impacts the angelic conflict. It is related to the angelic majesties and powers.
It is also related to what God is doing in working that out in history and His eventual destruction of Satan. We see this in the language of Psalm 89:5, for example, where we saw in the first line, “And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD;” It’s not talking about the physical heaven as stars and space, but is talking about those who inhabit it. That is seen in the parallel line, “… in the assembly of the saints.” Literally, in the Hebrew, that is “the holy ones.” That is the angels.
This is, as we saw, a figure of speech called a metonymy, in which one noun is substituted for another. So, Heaven stands for those who inhabit it.
This happens in a number of places in Scripture where the heavens and the earth are called upon to be witnesses. What that means is those who inhabit the heavens, that is the angels on the one hand, and those who inhabit the earth, that’s mankind, they are the two witnesses—mankind and the angels.
The Law says that anything should be confirmed by two witnesses, so those are the two witnesses.
Slides 8 and 9
We went through and we saw that phrase “a holy one” in Daniel 4:13 relates to angels.
Then we went on to look at Psalm 89:6–7 where those in the heavens are compared to the ben elim, “the sons of the mighty.” Again, we are talking about angels.
What is the role of angels in relation to this? We have the angels mentioned in verse six and again in verse seven: “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the holy ones.” It goes back to using the language that we saw in Psalm 89:5.
It’s clearly talking about the angels.
Then, there is what appears to be a shift that occurs in Psalm 89:9–10. “You rule the raging of the sea;”
This is the term for the salt sea and is mentioned often in Scripture. Remember, there will not be a salt sea in the Millennial Kingdom, in the future age, because the salt sea is considered to be a source of chaos.
It’s referred to in Genesis 1, tehom, the deep. This is viewed as the source of chaos and evil.
We will see the development of this, but this is one of those keywords that we need to notice as we go through Scripture. This isn’t just talking about the oceans. There is something more pernicious about this word, there something more devilish about this word.
Psalm 89:10 goes on to say that, “God has broken …”
We read this in English, Rahab. But in Hebrew it is a different word. So, I asked the question, who is this Rahab?
I have a number of points we’re going to work through here today. The first point is that this is not Rahab the prostitute in Joshua 2.
It’s spelled differently, this is Ra-hav. It’s just the difference between the Hebrew hey (הַ) and chet (חָ).
Rachav is the name of the person in Joshua 2, Rahav is the name of the creature cut into pieces. This is exceptionally violent, we see that Rahav is cut into pieces, and Rahav is parallel to “your enemy.”
“You have scattered your enemies with Your mighty arm.”
“Mighty arm” is always an anthropomorphism for God’s power, God’s omnipotence.
These are things we covered last time, and what I want to do here is to step back in this class before we dig down into this and broaden our study a little bit, so that we’re picking up a number of other elements that seem to be often related.
We have the use of this term rahav about four times in the Old Testament. We have it in Job 9:13, Job 26:12, our passage in Psalm 89:10, and in Psalm 51:9.
The root meaning of this word has to do with arrogance. The verb occurs only four times and it signifies storming at, or storming against something. It pictures someone who is arrogant. Someone who is in an attack mode—storming against. We know this is storming against God.
When it comes to the noun, I have put up these four verses that are important. What I want to do tonight is survey of all these issues, and then drill down on them. This is complicated and the waters have been muddied by poor scholarship.
There are a few people who seem to really take the Word of God as inerrant, infallible, true, and the basis for everything else. And so, we have to look at that.
We will start off in Job.
Remember, Job, 'Iyowb in the Hebrew, is the earliest Book, I believe, and many believe, is the first Book written.
It doesn’t mention anything about Israel, doesn’t mention anything about Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. It doesn’t mention anything about Jerusalem. It doesn’t mention these things that are so prominent when you get into the Pentateuch, the five Books of Moses.
So, many conservatives believe that Job was not only the first Book that was written, but it could have been written one hundred or two hundred years before Moses wrote the Pentateuch.
We don’t know exactly when it was written, but Job lived in the land of Uz and a man by the name of Uz was stated as something of a contemporary of Isaac.
It’s in the patriarchal period, but Job is not Jewish. He is not a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is a Gentile believer in that general time period.
There are a lot of things that are said here. I’m going to quote these more from the NASB because the NASB translated the name Rahav consistently, whereas in the King James some other phrase is used that hides the issue.
Job 9:13, “God will not turn back His anger; Beneath Him crouch the helpers of Rahav.”
The New King James calls it “the allies of the proud.”
Rahav is a name that is applied to a person or personage, not human, but is applied to a personage. Remember, it is Rahav who is cut to pieces by God as stated in Psalm 89:9–10.
Here, in Job 9:13 it is a reference to the allies or the helpers of Rahav, the arrogant one. That’s the core meaning of the word. So I asked the question last time, who in all of history is the arrogant one?
That is Satan, because this word Rahav always has the article with it, indicating a specific person.
Job 26:12. “He—God—quieted the sea with His power.”
This is an interesting verb because it can mean He quieted or calmed, and I believe that is the way it should be translated.
Or, it can mean that He made something turbulent. This word has two different meanings that are opposites of each other. You really have to look at the context and have a theological framework. I believe that this is saying God brings order to chaos. He is the One Who brings order and controls the sea.
The sea here is that word yam. It is the word for the salt sea. What we will learn is that in Canaanite religion Yam is the god of the sea. They have a myth about how the sea god is conquered.
We will get into that and why it’s significant a little later. But I want you to notice these terms that keep being used, yam, and Rahav.
Job 26:12, the second line says, “and by His understanding He shattered Rahav.”
God shatters Rahav. What is that all about? What is going on here? When does this happen? These are questions we have to address.
Psalm 89:10, the one we are looking at, “You Yourself crushed Rahav like one who is slain.”
That seems parallel with Job 26:12, the shattering of Rahav. When did this happen?
In Isaiah 51:9, “Awake, awake, put on strength O arm of the LORD;”
The first line is talking about God’s power, using the anthropomorphism of God’s arm relating to His power, His strength, His omnipotence.
Then the second line, “Awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago.”
This puts a time factor on here that takes us back, maybe into eternity past.
“Was it not You who cut Rahav in pieces?”
Is this talking about some conflict between God and this Rahav that goes back to a more ancient time?
The parallel is, “Was it not You who cut Rahav in pieces, Who pierced the dragon?”
In the NKJV Rahav and dragon, which is the Hebrew word tannin, are parallel.
What we have seen is that you’ve got this entity—often the sea simply refers to the sea, the yam simply refers to the salt sea—but other times it is an allusion to this power that is represented by the chaos of the salt sea.
We saw the words sea, Rahav, yam, and now we have tannin, and this is translated dragon. This is a word we see in other passages.
Sometimes it’s just translated sea creatures, or sea monsters. But according to, I believe it’s a Robert Gordis commentary—he’s a Jewish rabbi, a very famous scholar who wrote an excellent commentary on the Hebrew text of Job—he states that the old Greek translation of the Hebrew text translated this as DRAKON, which is the Greek word for dragon.
All of these kinds of things are taking place here in this overview of these four passages. This is all we have on this and that shows up a little bit later on.
The third point is that several of these key words are used in similar passages. The word tannin, which is often translated, as I just pointed out, in the ancient Greek versions as DRAKON, the dragon.
Sometimes it’s translated sea creature or serpent. Sometimes tannin is translated as a beast or dragon.
The word Leviathan shows up several times in the Old Testament. These entities, these words related to these entities, are usually classified as sea monsters, or these ancient monsters who fought against the gods who wanted to bring order and stability.
There is this conflict in the mythology of the ancient world between these forces of chaos versus the forces of order.
We will look at the significance of that in just a minute.
These key ideas play out throughout Scripture. What I want to do in the next few slides is go to the end of history, which is Revelation, and look at how these terms show up over and over again when we get into the endgame in Revelation.
Turn with me in your Bible to Revelation 12.
Revelation 12 and 13 use these terms again and again as you go through the description.
Remember, Revelation 12 and Revelation 13 are sort of a pause that we get into when we get to Revelation chapters 10 and 11.
Revelation 10 talks about this mighty angel with the little book. We have the seal judgments, and then the trumpet judgments. And then this interlude that talks about different things that are going on during the first half of the Tribulation.
This mighty angel with a little book is talked about. Then the two witnesses who are prominent in the first half and then they are executed by the Antichrist halfway through at the midpoint, then they are miraculously resurrected.
After these things we come to the seventh trumpet which opens up, and it is seven bowls.
In Revelation 12 and 13 we are going to get another overview of what has been happening.
Revelation 12 introduces us to what is happening within the framework of biblical history and tells us what’s happening with the angels.
In Revelation 12:1 we read, “Now a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.”
This is a direct allusion. All those symbols come from is from the dream Joseph had back in Genesis 37:9.
This is talking about the sun is Jacob, the mother [moon] is Leah, the twelve stars are the twelve tribes of Israel.
The woman who is clothed with them actually represents Israel. The woman is Israel. She is going to give birth. She cries out in labor and gives birth and then you switch to a second sign.
The second sign appears in Heaven. And this is the verse I have up on the screen, Revelation 12:3, “… a great fiery red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his head.”
To understand that you have to go back to Daniel 7–8 to understand about the ten kingdoms that are organized under the Antichrist. In Daniel 7 he rips three of the ten horns out by the roots so he has to violently conquer them.
Then he puts together this ten-nation confederacy that’s the Revived Roman Empire. It is seven heads, ten horns, and seven diadems because he conquers the other three.
In Revelation 12:4 we still don’t know who the dragon is, he’s the power behind all of this. “His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven …”
Where do we find out who the stars of Heaven are? We go back to Job 38:4–7, where they are referred to as the morning stars. These are the angels.
The dragon’s tail takes one third of the stars of Heaven. This is Satan and he induces one third of the angels to follow him in his rebellion.
“And the dragon stands before the woman …” The dragon is hostile to Israel. All anti-Semitism derives from Satan. Satan seeks to destroy Israel.
“And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.”
He wanted to stop the Messiah, stop the Cross.
Revelation 12:7, “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought.”
Revelation 12:9. The dragon is identified, “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and Satan …”
This verse is so critical. This thought is repeated again in Revelation 13. It identifies Satan as the great dragon, as the serpent of old. So, you get this combination.
A dragon is a reptile, a serpent is a reptile, and there is a train of thought that might have some accuracy to it. We think of a snake in the garden, but that reptile in the garden may have been much more glorious than what we think of as just a python, or a rattlesnake, or something of that nature.
That this is the dragon, the reptile, that is the enemy of God.
So we have these four titles connected together: dragon, serpent of old, the ancient serpent, the devil and Satan. That defines things.
Then, in Revelation 13:1 John is standing on the sand of the sea. Now remember that because you have two ideas here. There is the sand and the sea. This is the yam, this is the salt sea that is chaotic.
It is the salt sea that is associated with the demonic powers. It has more of a corporate identity to it when it’s used in this way.
God says He establishes the borders, or the limitations, on the yam with the sand of the sea. It’s a picture that God ultimately controls chaos and controls evil.
We see this picture in Revelation 13:1, “Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns …”
We just saw that picture, that’s the dragon. These are the empires that are energized by the dragon, by Satan.
Then we have the phrase “the beast” again in Revelation 13:2.
So, what we’re seeing here is the dragon, beast, and the sea. These are the same images that we find in Job, in the Psalms, in Isaiah, in Jeremiah, and in Habakkuk.
Daniel has a similar vision so you can’t interpret Revelation 13 without understanding Daniel 7.
In Daniel 7:2, “Daniel spoke, saying, ‘I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea”—the yam.
And out of the yam come these four great beasts. These are the evil empires.
The salt sea is a picture of the source of evil and it’s not just the ocean. It represented, in Hebrew thinking, chaos, and evil, and unpredictability, and destructive force. So, it is chaos.
Revelation 13:4. “So they worshipped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshipped the beast saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ ”
Skip ahead to Revelation 19 where we have Jesus the Messiah, the King of kings and LORD of lords coming to the earth to end the absolute chaos that has erupted as a result of these kingdoms and these beasts.
Revelation 19:15, “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword …”
I want you to remember those passages where we talked about God slicing up Rahav. We have to make sense of all these images, these things are all related.
“Out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
This is Messiah Who is coming to execute the plan of God in bringing judgment on the earth, to end the rule of evil.
Revelation 19:16, “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Revelation 19:19, John says, “I saw the beast,”—then he explains who the beast is—the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat in the horse and against His armies.”
Revelation 19:20, “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast …” We see all these images of the beast and chaos.
Revelation 19:21, “And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse …”
Then we come to Revelation 20:1, Satan, the dragon, is consigned to the bottomless pit.
Revelation 20:2 says, “He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”
It makes it really clear that the dragon is one of the images God uses for Satan.
Then, at the end in Revelation 20:10, “The devil, who deceived them, was cast down into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are.”
Revelation 20:13. I’m not going to stake anything on this, I’m going to make an observation here. In light of the use of the sea as the source of evil, and that which controls the domain of Satan, now we see, “the sea gave up the dead who were in it.”
I don’t think this is what the Navy thinks about when those who have died at sea, that this now giving up those who have drowned in the ocean. The sea has this negative evil connotation. These are those who have been controlled by the forces of evil.
If the sea fits within this pattern of imagery that we have throughout Scripture, “the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.”
So death, Hades, and the sea are all these negative areas that are associated with the curse of sin.
Now, having looked at all of that, everybody’s thinking, “Wow, we’ve not quite gone through all of this before.” No, we haven’t.
The next thing I want to do is go back and start taking us through the Scripture. I haven’t thought of a better way to do this than just go chronologically because I’m about three steps ahead of all of you, but you’re catching up real fast.
So, I haven’t figure how to put this together in a different way. I think it’s better to just take it chronologically as God revealed it progressively through the Scripture.
I want to go back to the first Book that’s written which is Job, and I want to point out what Job says using the same language and images.
In Job 1:6–7 and Job 2:1–3, we have the mention of the mention of Satan, the accuser of God.
Job 1:6, “Now there was a day when the sons God …” That is not the same phrase that we have for the sons of the mighty in Psalm 89, that is ben ha ’elim, which is not a term for God. Here it is bene ha Elohim. Both terms do talk about the angels.
“… the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.”
Job 1:7, “And the LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.’ ”
So we see this courtroom scenario that’s an adversarial relationship between Satan, the adversary—Sa-tan’, that’s the meaning of the word—and the Lord.
That’s one terminology that we use. We find it here in Job, the very first book of the Bible, talks about Sa-tan’, and the very last book talks about the defeat and destruction of Sa-tan’.
Job 3:8, Job says, “May those curse it who curse the day, those who are ready to arouse Leviathan.”
Who is Leviathan? How many of you have read through Job, and you read Leviathan and you think, “What’s that?”
If you read many of the commentaries, including books like the Bible Knowledge Commentary, they will say that it’s a crocodile, or a large reptile.
But I’ll show you why that’s wrong as we go through this. There is something else going on here.
Leviathan is also mentioned in Job 41:1, so we will look at that. “Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?”
We’ll talk about each of these things as we go through this.
Job 7:12, he says, “Am I a sea [yam], or a sea serpent [tannin], that You set a guard over me?”
He saying to God, am I like the uncontrollable chaotic sea that You’re going to hedge me in, and give me a boundary, or a sea serpent.
That’s how the word tannin is translated. We are going to see this is translated as sea creatures, as sea monsters, and various other things. We have to look at each context to see that which is being described. You can’t just say, “Well, the tannin equals this.”
I think in some cases the tannin in some cases the tannin equals the forces of Satan, the demons.
In other cases it is almost the same as Rahav. So we will have to work our way through those.
Job 9:8, “He alone spreads out the heavens, And treads on the waves of the sea.”
Think about the imagery here. It’s talking about the power of God and it’s clearly Creation language. It says He spreads out the heavens and then He treads. This is the language of conquest, control, and power.
“He treads on the waves of the sea;” Does that remind you of anything in Scripture? You ought to think a little bit about Jesus walking on the water when it’s a stormy night, showing God’s power over creation.
But if this sea, the yam, is the source of chaos and evil in the world, it is showing that ultimately, God controls the chaos and He controls the demons.
Job 9:13, in the New King James Version, “God will not withdraw His anger, the allies of the proud lie prostrate beneath Him.” That translation ignores the fact that the word for proud is rahav.
The New English Translation gets it right. Job 9:13, “God does not restrain His anger—it is talking about God’s justice—under Him the helpers of Rahav lie crushed.”
So, we are going to guess that maybe Rahav as an entity, because it has the definite article, is another way of talking about Satan, the arrogant one. “… under Him the helpers of the arrogant one lie crushed.”
That seems to make a little more sense.
We’ll skip ahead to Isaiah. Isaiah is written eight or nine hundred years or so after Job. In Isaiah 27, we are going to have to look through the first five verses.
Isaiah 27:1, “In that day …”
Whenever you read in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, “in that day”, what is it referring to about 95% of the time? The day of the Lord, the end of the Tribulation.
“In that day the LORD with His severe sword …”
What sword is that? Did we read about that in Revelation 19? The Word of the LORD, it comes out of the mouth of the King of kings and LORD of lords.
“The LORD with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent.”
It looks like in that verse Leviathan is another name for Satan. It is used with a definite article.
“… Leviathan that twisted serpent. And He—the Lord—will slay the reptile that is in the sea.” We have tannin here, the sea monster, but this is not the same as the Leviathan. This is talking about the corporate entity of evil that resides in the yam, in that source of chaos.
That is all by way of illustration, because what I’ve done is I want you to see that all these terms related to the beast, Leviathan, the sea, the dragon, and Satan all are used extensively throughout the Book of Revelation, talking about the end times in helping us to understand how God is bringing an end to the rule of evil.
That’s what happens during the Tribulation period. And that those terms that are used throughout Revelation didn’t originate there, they don’t derive their meaning from that text. They derive their meaning from the fact that going back to the very first book that’s ever recorded in the Bible uses those same images. Now where did they get those images?
That’s sort of the $60,000 question here when it comes to biblical hermeneutics. So, before we go forward, we have to talk a little bit about what happens in biblical hermeneutics and how it has really impacted interpretation. Not only liberal interpretation, but it impacts conservative evangelical hermeneutics.
This is why when you get into some passages like the one I mentioned a few minutes ago when we were talking about The Bible Knowledge Commentary and talking about Leviathan as a crocodile, is that’s what’s really going on here?
I want to give you a whole bunch of points now talking about liberal, or what I will call human viewpoint, theology.
It’s not just liberalism. It is man’s attempt to explain reality apart from God. That affects any kind of paganism, whether you are talking about the animism of some Stone Age tribe, about ancestor worship of Buddhism and the Chinese, Hinduism, Mohammedanism, any of these other world religions to secular humanism or atheism, whatever—they all have to explain these questions.
- Where did I come from?
- Why am I here?
- Where am I going?
Everybody has to explain that. Human viewpoint comes up with sort of simplistic explanations that are classified as myth and legend, for more primitive societies and cultures, and even more sophisticated cultures, to the sophisticated explanations of modern evolution.
Modern evolution is just a myth to explain how we got here, why we are here, and where we are going on the basis of the rejection of God. On the basis that there is no God and there is no purpose or meaning in life. Everything just happened by chance and so who you are is just a cosmic accident of protoplasm. You are really nothing. You are no different in your significance than a rock or a mud ball.
You’re just nothing more than slime. Something accidentally happened a few million years ago and ended up with you. But you’re just the son of slime. That’s it, nothing more.
If that’s who you are, then life has no meaning, because there’s no meaning to something that is purely material.
In human viewpoint thinking and evolution, and what controls modern science is that psychology doesn’t deal with an immaterial soul. There’s no such thing as that which is immaterial.
Everything is controlled by your DNA. Everything is controlled by certain chemical reactions in your body. There’s no soul. There’s really no volition. All of this is just how we phenomenologically explain things.
So, if we are nothing more than slime, and we have no meaning and purpose to what we’re doing now, then there’s no real basis for anybody to talk about right or wrong because it just is.
Everything must be okay. And so is the total destruction of morality and the total destruction of law. It just will lead to anarchy and chaos. And then what’s the end result?
The end result is when you die, that’s it. It’s over with. You’re just nothingness again and it just goes on.
So you have these two competing views, the human viewpoint systems that that mankind has developed to explain the answers to those questions, and the Divine viewpoint which is what’s expressed in the Scripture.
We only have two options: to completely deny the Bible to be true or to completely accept what the Bible says is true. There’s no middle ground. You can’t say, “Well, I’m going to believe most of the Bible.”
Well, what most of the Bible? Who is going to make the decision as to what is true and what might not be true. Who is going to make that decision? Who is knowledgeable enough, wise enough, to decide this is part of the Bible and that’s not?
Because all of the so-called experts and intellectuals in the last two or three hundred years can’t agree on any of that. Everybody has a different opinion.
We even had an early president, Thomas Jefferson who came up with his own Bible. He took his razor blade out and he removed every reference to anything supernatural or miraculous in the Bible to come up with his version of the Bible. [Note: Dr. Dean has done additional research on this topic. Please visit this study on Thomas Jefferson for further explanation to these statements.]
But the next guy that comes along may have other verses that he leaves in, and other verses he takes out. Who is to make that ultimate decision?
Let’s break it down very systematically. Human viewpoint is a thought system that’s based on the rejection of the biblical God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
I could expand that and that make it the biblical God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Who created the heavens and the earth and the seas and all that is in them. That’s what distinguishes the God of the Bible.
He is the Creator of everything and He stands outside of creation. There is that Creator/creature distinction. So, human viewpoint is a thought system that rejects that God. There is no such entity, and we have to therefore make it up on our own.
Second point: thus, human viewpoint, by definition, must reconstruct reality. It has to redefine reality and once you redefine reality, you are divorced from reality. You are no longer living in a real world. By some definitions that’s psychosis.
Psychosis is the idea that you can construct your own reality and then live as if that is true. Those people go into an institution when they get that far.
But the human race, almost as a whole, is that way. They have rejected God, and have created their own reality, and they live as if it is actually true. This is called suppressing the truth of God in unrighteousness in Romans 1:18. They reject God and then they suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness.
Third point: thus, human viewpoint must challenge the authority and truth of the Bible at every step. Every component of their thought system must be a counterpoint to every point that is in the Bible.
It is a complete remake of reality. So that’s the idea here, at every step, at every point. This is what your children are taught in school. This is what all of you were taught to some degree. Not one person here was not taught this framework. You might not have identified it. It might not have been as extreme, thirty, forty, or fifty years ago, but it certainly was there. I mean I caught this when I was in college.
I can even remember some English teachers teaching elements of this, or at least explaining it, as part of some of the things we read in literature as far back as seventh or eighth grade. It was all there. Where do you think the hippie generation came from if people weren’t teaching them these ideas when they were in elementary and junior high school? They were the beat generation. They were rejecting all authority.
So we have to understand this if we are to going to strengthen our own families, and our children, and our grandchildren.
Fourth point: in human viewpoint, the ancient stories created by ancient peoples to explain their origin and the meaning of life, created legends and myths. In their legends and myths they have heroes, they have those who are fighting for order, and those that are fighting against order. And they’re trying to explain all of life through these and usually the forces of nature.
They reject God and in His place they created nature deities. There is Zeus or Jupiter, and Baal, the god of storms, the god of thunder, and the god of lightning.
In agrarian societies, the god of storms and lightning brings rain, the crops grow, and you get more income because you have more crops, so it leads to prosperity.
If you don’t have rain it brings chaos. It brings economic depression and chaos because your crops don’t grow.
Basically, it’s all about prosperity versus poverty. It precedes Marxism as an economic explanation of reality. Marx was just the latest twist on this age-old myth of prosperity versus poverty.
Romans 1:21 says, “Because although they knew God—and this is historical, relating back to what happened after the Flood, “they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile—or empty—in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
They may have what we call vast intellectual capabilities, but it’s empty because it’s not true.
Romans 1:22, “Professing to by wise, they became fools.”
They have two or three PhDs. They have great awards for things that they have accomplished, but because they are living in a fake view of the world, they are fools. They are living as though God does not exist. That’s why the psalmist said, Psalm 14:1, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ ” When you deny the existence of God, then you become a fool.
Romans 1:23, “and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
What are they doing? They are rejecting the God Who created everything, and in His place they are worshiping the things He created.
They are worshiping nature. They are worshiping the creatures, the animals, and the forces of nature.
The fifth thing is that human viewpoint claims that the Bible, which was first written down, let’s say roughly 1600 BC, so I would assign a date for Job of around anywhere from 1600 back to about 1800 or 1900 BC. We know the Pentateuch, the Torah, was written in 1406 BC by Moses while they were forty years in the wilderness and the conquest takes place about 1406 BC. So during that period, the earliest books of the Bible are written—Job and the five books of Moses.
Their view is that because that’s written so late in human history it really has its source not in God, but in all of these previous myths and legends. So, the Bible is just a book like all of the other stories.
You go to the store and get books on Roman mythology, you get books on Greek mythology, all of these kinds of things.
The Bible is no different, it’s just a book just like those. It’s not about God revealing Himself to mankind. It is about man’s experiences with something mystical that he identifies as God.
Their claim is that the Bible simply reshapes and retells the ancient myths rather than receiving any outside input from God or any divine being.
The sixth point is about the presupposition of human viewpoint. A presupposition is an assumption you bring to the evidence, and it is deeply held. You may not even think it through in your mind, you just hold it with a sincerity, and a passion, and conviction that cannot be shaken by evidence.
One my seminary professors used this example all the time and I’ve stolen it from him because that’s what pastors are, basically plagiarists.
Say you have a man who is deeply, deeply convinced that he is dead. He is really psychotic. He believes he is dead, he is living like he is dead. He goes to psychologists and psychiatrists and the psychiatrist begins to work with him.
The psychiatrist wants to convince him that living things bleed, dead things do not bleed. And so for months they talk about this.
They have little videos, YouTube videos, and little experiments where they go to the laboratory. There are dead animals and he pricks the dead animals and they don’t bleed. He pricks the live animals and they bleed. They go down to the morgue and he pricks dead bodies in the morgue and they don’t bleed. He pricks a couple of workers that are there who are alive and they bleed.
Then he turns around very quickly and he pricks this guy who thinks he’s dead. And he bleeds. And the man looks down at his hand and he is bleeding and he says, “How about that, dead people bleed after all.” He’s got a controlling presupposition and evidence doesn’t change it unless there’s an outside force at work.
The presupposition of human viewpoint is anti-supernaturalism. God does not actually speak or act in human history. There’s no evidence anywhere that there is a God. We don’t believe there’s a God, and you can’t prove there’s a God, so God doesn’t exist.
For them, the Bible isn’t a communication from God to man. It is just man’s record of his experiences with what he thinks is God.
As a result of that, the Bible didn’t originate these Creation stories and the stories of the Flood and other things. The Bible just borrowed that from these other myths.
You look at mythology. They all have similar stories, they have creation stories, they have origin of evil stories like Pandora’s Box. There are somewhat similar in Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, and Roman myths. They say Moses just borrowed from these myths.
He borrowed these ideas. Liberals come out and when they see phrases like Leviathan, and Rahav, and the sea, and everything, they just look at that and say, “See they just borrowed that from all this other mythology. You have all these themes in that mythology. See, the Bible’s no different from anything else.”
The sad point is that when you read some conservatives, they modify those views, but they will say, “See, Moses is borrowing from a Canaanite myth here.”
When I was a student at Dallas Seminary, preceding me was a professor named Bruce Waltke. I believe it was at the same time, he two teacher aides, one was Charlie Clough. Charlie wrote his Master’s thesis on the Genesis Flood as a worldwide historical event. It wasn’t a local flood. Waltke didn’t like that at all.
His other student at the time was Allen Ross. Allen Ross will be our speaker at the 2020 Chafer Conference.
Neither one of these guys followed Waltke in these views. Ross did a little bit in his view of Creation, but not to the degree that Waltke did. You find this throughout the evangelical world, it’s gotten worse. Waltke basically argues that some of the language in Genesis 1 is borrowed from Canaanite myth and Mesopotamian myth.
Now you have wackos at Dallas Seminary who are teaching under the guise of intellectual scholarship that they borrowed from Egyptian [mythology], they just came out of Egypt, so they borrowed it from Egyptian mythology.
This is a problem, because when you try to do research on these terms like the deep, which is tehom, which is a cognate of the name of the chaos goddess, the goddess of the sea in the Babylonian religion, Tiamat. Tehom, Tiamat, you see a relationship there.
Almost always you have scholars, even conservatives, who are saying some of this is borrowed from Canaanite, or Babylonian, or Egyptian mythology.
Eighth point, Divine viewpoint states that even though the Bible is not written until around 1500 BC, there were earlier records going back to Creation. You read through Genesis, this is the record of the generation of Adam. The first one is the Creation, and then Adam, and then Noah, and all the way through.
There were records that Moses had. You have an actual history that is written down in Genesis that has been known since the Garden of Eden.
The biblical view, point nine, is that the myths of the pagans were corruptions of an original historical event and record that was known.
It’s what came first, the chicken or the egg? God created and everything was accurately recorded in the Bible. And then those who rejected God corrupted those stories and created the myths and legends. But the truth of the Bible was first and it was the myths and legends who are borrowing and distorting from the Bible.
Human viewpoint claims the Bible borrowed from Egyptian, Canaanite, and Babylonian myth rather than that these myths distorted and corrupted what actually happened as recorded in the Bible.
In human viewpoint the stories of the Bible are the result of an evolution of mythology, an evolution of religion.
Point ten, the ancient myth texts are equal in all areas to the Bible.
- Their assumption is that God does not speak, so ancient myths are just as valid as the Bible. Why should we prefer the Bible? They believe God does not speak, never has spoken, never will speak, because there is no God.
- Therefore, there is no objective truth. Truth is whatever you make it out to be, whatever you want it to be.
- Human reason and empiricism are absolute, not God, not the Bible. That is the bedrock of the culture war that we are in the middle of. Right there.
Until there is a cultural shift where the culture does not believe these three things, it will only get worse. The only thing that will change it is not the election of a completely Republican Congress, or a completely Republican Senate, or a completely conservative judiciary, or a completely conservative whoever your ideal politician is, he is still a sinner.
Because the people are of the sea. Their thinking is chaotic and corrupt, and until that changes, this culture will not change.
Point eleven, in Divine viewpoint the Bible gives us the actual history. For example, the heroes, the men of renown they are called in Genesis 6.
There are a group of fallen angels, the sons of God, who are able to transform their immaterial bodies to material bodies and assume physical capabilities like procreation.
They intermarry and have sexual relations with the daughters of men, and the result is that they have these half-breed offspring that are called the men of renown, the Nephilim, the giants in Genesis 6.
That becomes the background for these great men of renown, these great heroes in the myth stories.
You have Hercules, Prometheus, Pandora, and Pandora’s Box. All of these, and many, many others are half god, half man. They really are half demon, half man. This changes the makeup. it was a genetic attack on the human race. We studied all this before.
Last point: These myths developed combat myths to explain the evil in the world.
In the Babylonian system you had Marduk versus Tiamat. Marduk is the god who would bring fertility and order. Tiamat brings chaos and sterility or famine. The deep, it’s the chaotic ocean.
In the Canaanite religion it’s Ba’al, the storm god versus the sea, the yam, the source of chaos and destruction.
In Egypt there was Horus versus Seth. In Greece it’s Apollo versus the Puthonos.
Sometimes you’ll read that written Py because when you translate the upsilon in Greek it’s often transliterated as a y. So it’s spelled Pythonos, but it’s Puthonos, with an upsilon. It’s a python.
What is a Python? It’s a serpent. And we run into the serpent in the Bible.
Apollo’s going to bring order against the chaos that’s brought by the serpent. Fertility brings what? Prosperity. It’s prosperity versus chaos and sterility, which brings poverty.
All of this helps us understand that this is the human viewpoint liberal theological explanation. What they’re going to do is read these terms—Leviathan, tannin, and rahav, and say, “See, these are mythological terms, and the writers of the Bible are just borrowing and adapting from mythology.”
That is said rather than saying that these terms and concepts represent creatures that were designed by God, created by God.
Nothing exists that God didn’t create, and they become the metaphor to describe the evil of Satan, the person of Satan, the fall of Satan, and God’s destruction of Satan.
We don’t learn about them by referring to mythology. We learn about them by working our way carefully through these passages of Scripture because they will help us understand what is going on in all of history.
That is what is loaded in that phrase, “God just cuts to pieces Rahav” in Psalm 89:9–10. That’s related to the Davidic Covenant.
It is the One who fulfills the Davidic Covenant Who is going to bring about that destruction of evil. All of that is loaded into this imagery that we are seeing in these verses that relate to the angels, and the sons of the elim, and Rahav right here in this section of Psalm 89.
That is not something anybody usually catches when reading that in the English. We will get into it in a lot more detail next week, tracing through all these things.
“Father, thank You for this time together. Thank You that we can dig into Your Word and that we have many scholars who have done the spade work before. Sadly, today that is often rejected.
“Father, we know that we must understand Your Word as what You have revealed to us. We know that through these images You are teaching us many things about the nature of evil, the origin of evil, and the ultimate destruction of evil.
“We are thankful that evil is under Your control and is not just out there randomly doing whatever it can do, even though it may seem that way to us at times.
“And Father, we are thankful that we can have confidence in You and that You are working out Your plan. And even though we may not understand it or perceive it, and we may see the chaos around us and feel threatened by it, we know that we are under Your protection. And so we should always have confidence and relax and trust in You. And we pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”