The Judgment of Leviathan
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

We are going to look at a paragraph in the book of Isaiah that is found in the last part of chapter 26 and the first part of chapter 27. As a matter of fact, if the chapter divisions had been designed more accurately according to subject matter, this would have been a chapter all by itself. I trust that you understand that when I make that statement, I am not saying anything detrimental to the inspiration of the Word of God. I trust that you understand that the Bible, in the original manuscript, was not divided into verses or chapters. It was all one long piece of prose.

We do thank God for those Christians of times past who have spent laborious hours dividing the Bible up into chapters and verses. They were human, and sometimes their choice of divisions was not always as accurate as it might have been. I have mentioned to you before that we were told in homiletic classes that the Bishop of Canterbury had the privilege of dividing most of the Bible into chapters when the King James Version was translated, and he was a very busy man and he did a great deal of his work as he rode along horseback and sometimes when his horse stumbled, he put down a chapter division by accident. Now, I don't know if that is true or not, but I do think that in relation to subject matter, sometimes it might be considered true.

Notice with me, please, chapter 26, verse 20:

Isaiah 26

20Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

Isaiah 27

1In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

We are going to stop our reading right there. You might wonder why I say to you that this is a particular section that should have been included all in one chapter by itself. I think you will understand if you will call to mind that for the last two lessons we have been thinking about a song that is recorded in chapter 26, beginning with verse 1 and concluding with verse 19. The paragraph that we have just read is followed by another song that begins with verse 2 of chapter 27 and continues on through the end of the chapter.

An Intermission Between Two Songs

The verses that we have just read we might recognize as sort of an intermission between the two songs. You will recall that we are studying the book of Isaiah on the basis of the natural divisions of the book itself. That means that we are in the third section of the book, a division of the book that is called the Little Apocalypse. You will remember that it began with chapter 24, and we told you that it was going to conclude with chapter 27. It is called the Little Apocalypse because the word apocalypse means “revelation,” and, of course, that is the name of the last book in the New Testament.

We pointed out to you that contained in these few, brief chapters in the book of Isaiah, chapters 23-27, are all the basic facts that you will find in the book of Revelation, beginning with chapter 6 and concluding with chapter 19, representing that period of time that begins when the Lord Jesus Christ comes and takes His Church out of the earth and concludes with that period of time that is introduced when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the earth in power and in glory to establish the millennial reign of Christ. This, then, is the Little Apocalypse .

Some of you may wonder why we are interpreting the book of Isaiah from a futuristic standpoint as we are when many of the books that you read delegate everything that is in the book of Isaiah to the remote past. We would suggest to you that the only way that you can possibly understand the book of Isaiah is to recognize that when Isaiah wrote it, it was future; as we read it, some of it is history and some of it is yet related to the future.

One of the characteristics of the futuristic content of the book is found in the phrase in that day , which you find in the very first verse of chapter 26 and which you find in the very first verse of chapter 27. That phrase refers to that period of time that is yet to come upon the earth to which we have just referred.

You will recall that in the last lesson we studied in chapter 26 of the book of Isaiah a wonderful song that the nation of Israel will be able to sing when at last all of their tribulations and trials will be over, and they will be gathered in the land that God had promised them in victory. God told them that before that time came, tribulation would be an absolute necessity; and so in the paragraph which begins with verse 20, He invites them to enter into their chamber, so to speak, and shut the door and hide themselves, as it were, for a little moment until the indignation would be over.

If Isaiah had been living in West Texas, he would have said, “A tornado is blowing up. It won't last very long, but it is going to do a lot of damage while it is blowing, so everybody who has a storm-cellar get into the storm-cellar and stay there until the tornado is over.” That is exactly what God says to the nation of Israel.

During the time of tribulation that is to come upon the earth, which is going to last for a period of seven years, the earth is going to be shaken by the judgment of God as it has never been shaken in all the history it has known. During that time, the Devil is going to vent his special wrath and rage against the nation of Israel, because he realizes that he has but a short time.

You may say, “Why pick out the nation of Israel to vent his wrath upon?” The answer is that the nation of Israel gave birth to the Lord Jesus Christ, and this is the Devil's last final attempt to get back at God in the war that began back yonder in chapter 14 of the book of Isaiah, when the Devil was cast out of Heaven because he said that he was going to ascend up to the throne of God and be on an equality with God.

The Future of Nations

We say reverently that God is not going to take this lying down. The Devil will make his last final attempt in this period of time known as the Tribulation , when the nations of the world are gathered around the city of Jerusalem in what is to be called the Battle of Armageddon . Notice in verse 21:

Isaiah 26

21For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity…

Somebody says, “This is figurative language. This was fulfilled at the day of Pentecost.” Actually, commentators write this down: “This was fulfilled at the day of Pentecost.” It is difficult for me to know where their mind was when they would write down a statement such as this. This is a literal statement: “The LORD is going to come out from His place, and He is going to punish the inhabitants of the whole earth.” How do we know that that is literal? Because the Bible says in other places that the LORD is going to do that very thing.

Turn with me to the book of Psalms and notice Psalm 2:

Psalm 2

1Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

Let's pause and look at the word heathen . It refers to the nations of the earth. Today, when we use the word heathen , we are inclined to think about some unenlightened continent, as some of the continents were at one time, such as Africa. Africa was called the dark continent , not because of the color of the skin of the people, but because the Gospel had not penetrated it to any great extent. It may not only be in ignorance of the Gospel, but in illiteracy as well. We can't use the word heathen that way any more. We have to recognize that nations are coming to the foreground, and it is difficult to designate any one nation as a heathen nation in the sense that I have been speaking. The Jews called everybody that wasn't a Jew a heathen. So when we read this passage of Scripture, we substitute the word nations , and we find the Psalmist saying, “Why do the nations rage?” That is, “Why are they milling about like a great mob without any control of any kind? Why do they imagine a vain thing?”

Nations Make War Against God

What is this vain thing that they imagine? It is described in verse 2:

Psalm 2

2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed [that is, against Jehovah and against His anointed, His Son, the Messiah] ,

The word anointed here could be translated “Messiah.” They set themselves together. They have a conference, and they decide to make war against God Almighty and His Son. Then in verse 3 they say:

Psalm 2

3Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

“We're tired of God's ruling over us. Let's cut away His cords. Let's break His bands.” All of the nations of the world will gather together someday with that intent and purpose in mind. Surely, I do not need to remind you that the stage is being set for it. All of the movements that you are familiar with are but conditioning the minds of people to respond to such an appeal as this.

It was no accident that the Supreme Court took the stand it did in relation to praying in our public schools and reading our Bibles. Whether anybody has to or not is one thing; whether we can if we want to is another. I believe we are living close enough to the end of the age that the minds of men are being conditioned to such a suggestion as this.

When I make a statement like that, somebody says, “Well, what are we supposed to do? Throw up our hands, quit, not try to do anything about it?” No, do all that you can to stem the tide of wickedness. Leave no stone unturned, but don't be disappointed to the point of despair if your efforts aren't as successful as you would like for them to be, because the stage is being set; and it won't be long until all of the nations of the world will say, “Let's get rid of God.” Not only Russia, but all of the nations of the world.

God's Reaction to Man's Rebellion

How is that going to affect the folk in Heaven? Are they going to get all excited about it? Are they going to get worried? Look at verse 4:

Psalm 2

4He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.

The first thing that is going to happen is that the LORD God is going to laugh. Now, that may be a little bit contrary to the ordinary picture that you have of God, but that is what the Bible says. God is going to laugh. He is going to say, “Look at that ridiculous thing that is happening down there. Look at it.” He is going to hold them in derision; that is, He is going to be amused by the silly, futile efforts of man to throw the bands of God off them.

Then notice what happens in verse 5:

Psalm 2

5Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

He is going to speak to them, not in love—He did that when He sent His Son to die on Calvary—He is going to speak to them in wrath. He is going to vex them in His anger. Then He is going to say to them in verse 6:

Psalm 2

6Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

“You want to throw My bands asunder,” God says. “You want to throw off My control. I want to tell you that a long time ago I planned that My King should sit on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem, and He will, and I will tell you how it will come about.” In verse 7, He said:

Psalm 2

7I will declare the decree: [Jesus Christ said] the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Notice the phrase, “this day have I begotten thee.” He wasn't referring to the day of His birth. He was referring to the day of His resurrection, for when the Lord Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, He was the First Begotten from the dead, and God said unto Him, in verse 8:

Psalm 2

8Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

What was it God said to Jesus Christ? He said to Jesus Christ, “You have done what I wanted you to do. Now, I will tell you what I am going to do for you. I'm going to give you the nations of the world for your possession. I am going to give you the uttermost parts of the earth.”

Nations Are Christ's Inheritance

He had that proposition made to Him before. You remember, don't you? You remember that during the days of temptation the Devil took Him up on a high mountain and he said, “Look at all of the kingdoms of the world. If you will bow down to me on this mountain—no one needs to know about it but you and me—I will give you all the kingdoms of the earth.” But the Lord Jesus Christ refused. He answered him with the Word of God, and He waited until God's appointed time when He had died on the Cross and had been raised from the dead, and God said, “I will give you the nations of the earth for an inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession.”

Some misguided souls say, “That's right. That's why we are preaching the Gospel. We are preaching the Gospel because God promised the world to His Son, and one of these days we're going to saturate the world with the Gospel, and the world will be converted, and the Lord Jesus Christ will have what is promised Him.”

Beloved, I say this kindly: that is ridiculous. We're not going to convert the world. God never intended that we should. More people are being born into the world while I am talking than this generation could possibly convert. “What are we supposed to do? Preach the Gospel?” Yes. “Well then, convert the world.” No. Preach the Gospel, and as we preach the Gospel around the world, let the Holy Spirit take out from all the peoples of the world a people for His name, because God did not intend that Jesus Christ would rule the world through the preaching of the Gospel. How is He going to take control of the world that has been promised Him? We read in verse 9:

Psalm 2

9Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

That is how He is going to take control of the world. He isn't going to take control of the world by depending on a few people to tell the whole world that Christ died for them. He is going to come out from His place someday, as we read in the book of Isaiah, when the nations of the world are gathered against them, He is going to break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

The Holy Spirit gives some advice to the people that will be gathered against them in that day. In verse 10, He said:

Psalm 2

10Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

This passage of Scripture is talking about the nations of the world. “Blessed are the nations of the world that put their trust in Him.” Thank God, there will be some nations of the world that will put their trust in Him. They will not line up with those who are going to cast His bands asunder. They are described in Matthew, chapter 25, as sheep nations . They will take their stand with the Anointed, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.

God back to Isaiah, chapter 26, and read with me verse 21 again:

Isaiah 26

21For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

Where is His place? His place is at the right hand of the throne of God. He is coming out of His place. What is He coming for? He is coming to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. So great will be the destruction when the Lord Jesus Christ comes out from His place to do battle against those nations who have gathered themselves against Him that so many people will be slain, they cannot bury them and the earth will disclose her blood with the earth running in blood as high as the halter of a horse all over that particular area where the battle will be fought.

The Destruction of Three Wicked Forces

Look at verse 1 of chapter 27, forgetting for the moment the chapter division, and realize that we are talking about the same thing. We read: “In that day…” What day? The day when the nations of the earth try to cast asunder the bands of Almighty God. What day? The day when the Lord Jesus Christ shall leave His place in Heaven and come back to the earth. In that day with His sore and great and strong sword, He is going to do something else. Glance back at verse 21, of chapter 26, and notice one of the reasons that He is coming is to punish the inhabitants of the earth, but in verse 1, of chapter 27, He is going to come with His sore and great and strong sword, and He is going to do three things. Number 1: He is going to punish leviathan the piercing serpent. Number 2: He is going to punish leviathan that crooked serpent, and Number 3: He is going to slay the dragon that is in the sea.

When the Lord Jesus Christ returns, He is not only going to visit the inhabitants of the earth with judgment, He is going to visit three characters who are described here in Isaiah, chapter 27, under the terms leviathan the piercing serpent , leviathan the crooked serpent, and the dragon.

What is leviathan ? It is a transliterated Hebrew word that refers to a great monster of the sea. The word is not translated; it is transliterated. Job spoke of leviathans literally, and he said that God created them, but everywhere else they are used in the Bible, they are used in a typical fashion to refer to wicked forces. What do we read here in verse 1? We read that God is going to destroy three wicked forces that have their abode in the sea.

If we already know that the word leviathan is used in a typical sense, then we know that the word sea in this verse is used in a typical sense. When the word sea is used in a typical sense in the Scripture, what does it typify? Let's let the Word of God tell us, and we won't have to go out of the book of Isaiah to do it. Turn in Isaiah to chapter 57 and notice the statement that is made concerning the sea used in a typical sense. We read in verse 19:

Isaiah 57

19I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.
20But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
21There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

When you see the sea used symbolically or typically in the Scripture, you will find that it always refers to that which is wicked, to that which is evil. When you go to the book of Revelation, you will find that when God creates the the New Heaven and the New Earth, one of the things that John notices particularly about the New Heaven and the New Earth is that there is no more sea. There is no more sea because there cannot be anything in the New Heaven and the New Earth that will remind men of wickedness or sin.

Look again at Isaiah, chapter 27, verse 1, and recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ, when He returns from His place, is going to return with His sword; and He is going to destroy a wicked trinity known as leviathan the piercing serpent, leviathan the crooked serpent, and the dragon .

The Antichrist and the False Prophet

Who are they? Turn in your Bibles to Revelation, chapter 19. Remember the word Apocalypse ? That is another name for the book of Revelation. Notice the paragraph that begins with verse 11:

Revelation 19

11And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

This is John's way of saying what Isaiah said in Isaiah, chapters 26 and 27, that the Lord is going to leave His place someday and come back to this earth for the purposes of judgment. Notice how John describes it in verse 12:

Revelation 19

12His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15[Notice this verse] And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword…

That is what Isaiah said: “It was a sore and a great and a sharp sword.” What is He going to do with that sharp sword? Look at verse 15:

Revelation 19

15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations…

Isn't that what Isaiah said He was going to do when He came out from His place? What else is He going to do? He is going to rule them with a rod of iron, but only after He has tread the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.

Do you remember reading in Isaiah, chapter 26, that there would be so much bloodshed and so many people killed that there would not even be time to bury the dead? John describes it this way in verses 17 and 18:

Revelation 19

17And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
18That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

If Isaiah and John had been living in West Texas, they would have described it in the terms of buzzards circling over dead bodies or circling over bodies that were about to die, so that when death had come, they might swoop down upon them and rest upon them as they feasted upon them until they were frightened away by some unusual noise or sound. So many will be the dead on this day that all the fowls of the heavens who are used to feeding upon dead flesh will be called to feed upon the bodies of those who will die in that day.

You will notice what he said in verse 20:

Revelation 19

20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

What did we read over there in Isaiah, chapter 27? That when the Lord Jesus Christ had come out of His place He was going to take His sore and great and strong sword and punish leviathan, the piercing serpent. Leviathan the piercing serpent is the individual who is called the beast here in Revelation, better known as the Antichrist . We are told in Isaiah, chapter 27, that He is going to take His great and strong sword and He is going to punish leviathan, the crooked serpent. That is the false prophet in the paragraph that we are looking at in Revelation, chapter 19.

The Binding of Satan

We read in Isaiah, chapter 27, that He was going to do something to the dragon that is in the sea. What is He going to do to him? In chapter 20 of the book of Revelation, we read:

Revelation 20

1And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan [there is no question about who he is] and bound him a thousand years,
3And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more…

Many people read this verse of Scripture, forgetting to relate Scripture with Scripture, as we have done in this lesson, and tell you that the Devil was bound on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended and the Gospel was preached to representatives from all the nations of the world, and they say that he is bound now.

I have said it before and I say it again: If the Devil is bound, he must have a way of slipping out of his chains when nobody is looking and stirring up a lot of trouble, then slip back down to the bottomless pit and put the chains on and act like everything is all right, because somebody is doing something.

This passage of Scripture doesn't refer to something that is past. It refers to something that is going to happen when the Lord Jesus Christ is going to leave His place at the right hand of the throne of God. It refers to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is going to take the Devil, bind him, and cast him into a bottomless pit, and He is going to keep him there for 1000 years.

He is going to give all the people of the earth the opportunity of singing the song that was described in Isaiah, chapter 26, and the song that is sung in the last part of Isaiah, chapter 27. They will be able to sing it only because the Devil isn't there to interfere with them.

Then at the end of that period of time, you are going to find, if you glance down at verse 7 of this chapter, that Satan is going to be loosed out of his prison, and he will go out and deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog. He will gather them together to battle, the number of whom is the sands of the sea, and they are once again going to try to throw off the yoke of Almighty God, but they will fail. Notice in verse 10:

Revelation 20

10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

You see, Isaiah and John knew the same thing. They wrote about it. How could they when Isaiah lived before John was heard of? The answer is found in that Isaiah and John were but the human instruments. The Holy Spirit is the author, and He knows the beginning from the end.

Conclusion

Jesus is coming, Beloved, and the more I see the efforts of the nations of the world to throw off the yoke of the Almighty God in all of the various movements that a lot of Christians are being hoodwinked with, I am reminded that His coming is not too far off. I lift up my head and know that my redemption draweth nigh.


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