The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
What is the mysterious animal called "behemoth" in Job 40:15-24? Could this terrible beast be the hippopotamus we know today, as some commentators assume? Or some other creature?
You'll be shocked when you see the SCIENTIFIC confirmation of what has been in God's Word for over 3500 years! In 1911 a British scientist was astounded when he found a few HUGE bones from what appeared to be an enormous type of rhinoceros. The bones were of such GIANT size they even dwarfed an elephant's bones! He named the animal "Baluchitherium" (ba loo" chithee' ri um). Eleven years later, another scientist this time an American, was elated when he found three partial skeletons of "Baluchitherium". The skeletal remains were hurried to New York where they were assembled. The results were nothing short of amazing! The huge creature was confirmed to be an extinct, gigantic, apparently hornless rhinoceros! — a creature which fits the picture given of the Biblical "behemoth" mentioned in Job! Let us notice the startling comparison between the now—extinct "Baluchitherium" and the enigmatic creature of Job 40:15-24 which has perplexed Biblical scholars for ages. Begin with Job 40:15: "Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee: he eateth grass like an ox." What does this tell us? First, as recent articles in "The Plain Truth" have graphically shown, God made a distinct creation of plants, including grass, and animals for the benefit and pleasure of man. The warm-blooded animals and the grasses and herbs were FIRST made when man was made — about 6000 years ago (Gen. 1:24-25). Evolutionists have always been puzzled at the fact that this kind of vegetation appeared so late in geological history. Now notice again Job 40:15: "Behold now behemoth, WHICH I MADE WITH THEE...." Here is an animal God made when man was made. Behemoth did not exist in the pre-Adamic world which was filled with giant dinosaurs and other types of strange creatures. Behemoth was an UNIQUE animal created WITH MAN — and for a purpose, as we shall see later! Continuing in Job 40:15: "... he [behemoth] eateth GRASS as an ox." Grass, remember, did NOT exist on the earth before the beginning of man's world (Genesis 1:11-12). The Bible therefore makes it clear from the very beginning of its description of behemoth that behemoth could be only an animal God created WITH MAN — an animal which ate grass! This rules out the possibility that behemoth could have been from the pre-Adamic world. Now notice a most important part of the description of this exciting animal: "He is THE CHIEF OF THE WAYS OF GOD: HE [alone] THAT MADE HIM CAN MAKE HIS SWORD TO APPROACH UNTO HIM" (Job 40:19). This plain statement from the Bible rules out the guesses of men that behemoth is the hippopotamus, the elephant, or other creatures men HAVE taken into captivity or killed. God Himself plainly tells us that only HE HIMSELF could conquer this animal! Because behemoth was the "chief of the ways of God," it is obvious that it was the LARGEST and STRONGEST land animal God made for man's world. The scientific discovery of fossil "Baluchitherium" fits all these characteristics, as well as the other characteristics, as well as the other characteristics of this unique animal as described in Job 40:15-24. Notice the amazing confirmation that the giant rhinoceros "Baluchitherium" was "the chief of the ways of God." It's described in a modern book on fossil animals: "In an age when a hippopotamus is big and the elephant a giant, "Baluchitherium" seems ALMOST UNREAL. His head was about 5 FEET LONG, yet it was absurdly small upon his gigantic body, which stood 18 FEET HIGH at the shoulder and was very deep" ("The Fossil Book", Fenton, page 406). Another author reveals the fact that "Baluchitherium" was "at least 25 FEET LONG" ("Historical Geology", Dunbar page 413). "It was the LARGEST OF ALL LAND MAMMALS" ("Time, Life, and Man", Stirton, page 325). Not only was it the largest of all known land mammals, but "very probably, like the huge sauropod dinosaurs among the reptiles, IT REPRESENTS ABOUT THE MAXIMUM SIZE TO WHICH A LAND-LIVING MAMMAL CAN DEVELOP" ("The Illustrated Library of the Natural Sciences", article "Giants of the Past," by Colbert, Vol. II, page 1192). His great legs, longer than those of elephants and living rhinoceroses, also gave him the RECORD FOR SPEED among both of these groups, living or extinct" ("The Wonder Books", Janssen & Cole, page 324). But, there is yet more proof! Notice again the inspired Biblical account of "behemoth." Job 40:18 informs us: "His bones are as strong pieces of BRASS; his bones are like BARS OF IRON." These facts are upheld by the findings of "Baluchitherium": "'Baluchitherium', as it was called, had HUGE POSTLIKE LIMBS..." ("Time, Life, and Man", Stirton, page 325).
Imagine meeting face-to-face the largest and strongest of all land mammals God ever created! This type of animal is called "behemoth," in the Hebrew (Job 40:15-24). Scientists, upon discovering the bones of this animal, named it "Baluchitherium". This awesome creature existed both before and for sometime after Noah's Flood. It is now extinct. — See Pictures in PDF
His truly LARGE tail (notice the picture of "Baluchitherium", as supplied with this article), is aptly described "like a cedar" (Job 40:17). The Biblical description of a large tail would also DISPROVE the erroneous ideas of some Bible scholars that behemoth is an elephant or a hippopotamus (as some modern Bible versions translate the original Hebrew word for "behemoth is an elephant or a hippopotamus" (as some modern Bible versions translate the original Hebrew word for "behemoth" in Job 40:15). The hippopotamus has only a short tail — about a foot long. The elephant has a weak, slender hog-like tail. Neither has a tail to fit the description of behemoth as given in the book of Job. "Baluchitherium", with a thicker tail about eight feet long, is the only known giant animal that approaches the description. Even the habitat of the rhinoceros family — determined by observing the modern rhinoceros — fits the description of behemoth's surroundings. Compare the following description from "The Encyclopaedia Britannica" with the Bible's account in Job 40:15-24. "[Rhinoceroses] feed on HERBAGE, SHRUBS and LEAVES OF TREES, and like so many large animals which inhabit hot countries, SLEEP THE GREATER PART OF THE DAY, and are most active in the cool of the evening or even during the night. Some are found in more or less open plains, while others inhabit swampy districts" (article "Rhinoceros," Vol. 23, p. 243, 11th edition). Check any encyclopaedia for more information about the habits and habitats of modern-day rhinoceroses and you will see how the now-extinct giant kind of rhinoceros known as "Baluchitherium" aptly fits all the characteristics mentioned in Job 40:15-24! Why did God make this unique animal? Why did God use it as a SPECIFIC lesson to learn! In his SELF-righteousness Job had to be brought low (Job 32:1). He had to be shown he was not so great after all! God used this largest of all land mammals to hammer home the fact that Job really wasn't so supreme after all! How do you think weak Job felt when he contemplated this animal? How would YOU feel if suddenly this 18-foot-high monster began to charge at YOU? Wouldn't you feel might small? Of course you would! God had created this monster to humble those like Job who let personal achievements swell their vanity. No wonder Job was forced to admit: "Wherefore I ABHOR MYSELF, and REPENT in dust and ashes" (Job 42:6). God put this account in the Bible FOR A REASON! God wants YOU to realize YOUR INsignificance! That's the REAL lesson for us today!
What does the Bible mean by the words Sin and "iniquity"? Both words are often used in Scripture. Is there a difference in meaning?
Probably every reader has heard the words "sin" and "iniquity" from childhood. Yet how many understand what they mean? Vague meanings, perhaps, we sense, but never real, concrete understanding. The Bible itself gives the definition of sin. It is found in I John 3:4, "Whosoever commineth sin transgresseth also the law: for SIN IS THE TRANSGRESSION (the breaking) OF THE LAW." Another definition is found in I John 5:17, "All unrighteousness is sin.... " Then, if unrighteousness is sin—the breaking of God's law—what is righteousness? David was inspired to say in Psa. 119:172, "for all thy commandments are righteousness." Sin is the breaking of God's Ten Commandments. There are three Greek words used in the New Testament, from which the word iniquity has been translated. They are: anomos, adikial and paranomeo. In Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, you will find anomos means "lawless, not subject to law, without law"; adikia is the "wrongfulness of character"; and paranomeo is "opposition to law." The word "iniquity" (as found in any dictionary) simply means unrighteousness, wickedness, sin. All of these words agree in meaning! There is no difference! Sin and iniquity both mean the breaking of God's Laws — the Ten Commandments.
In Luke 17,20-21, Jesus stated, "...the Kingdom of God is within you." What did He mean?
This verse has long been a point of confusion. Yet it need not be. You can understand what Jesus meant. First, to whom was Jesus talking? Was He telling a group of His disciples of the present blessings of the Kingdom of God' No! He was talking to the hypocritical, unconverted, lying Pharisees. In Matthew 23:33 He described this group of religious leaders as "serpents" and a "generation of vipers." They had just asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come. Do you think He was telling that carnal group they themselves had the Kingdom of God within their own hearts? Of course not! Then what did Jesus mean? In the original Greek language, in which the New Testament was inspired, the words of Jesus ought to be translated "among you," not "within you." See the margin of most Bibles. Jesus was referring to His own presence — He is the King of that Kingdom. He was among the Pharisees as the representative of the coming Kingdom of God. Later He would come, with the power of God, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 17:14) to rule the world! In other places [he Bible makes it clear that "flesh and blood" — mortal man — "cannot inherit the Kingdom of God" (I Cor. 15:50). Jesus told Nicodemus, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:5-6). If mortal flesh cannot enter that Kingdom, then certainly those Pharisees did not have it "within them"! Jesus did not say that the Kingdom of God was within this fleshly group of vile Pharisees. He was referring to the Kingdom of God as present among them in His person. He, Himself, was the representative of that soon-coming Kingdom!