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What is a leviathan spirit?

leviathan spirit
Question: "What is a leviathan spirit?"

The “leviathan spirit,” or the “the spirit of leviathan” is one of many terms associated with a particular view of demonic oppression. By taking scriptural references to leviathan and other creatures badly out of context, some people have invented an entire mythology of unique demonic entities and attributed to them various nefarious deeds. This mythos is the basis of so-called deliverance ministries, which seek to exorcise those evil spirits. In some branches of the Charismatic movement, demons are considered the cause of almost every malady, hindrance, and problem.

Those who believe in a leviathan spirit use references to the creature described in the book of Job and in verses such as Isaiah 27:1. The biblical descriptions are then given an entirely spiritual interpretation, rather than a physical one. Of special emphasis is the relationship of the Hebrew word liw’yā’tān to the concept of “twisting” or “coiling.” Based on this, and little else, believers in the “leviathan spirit” extrapolate the existence of a specific demonic entity—“the leviathan spirit” or “the spirit of leviathan”—that oppresses people. The leviathan spirit is supposedly the cause of twisting the meaning of people’s words, turning people against each other, and instigating unrest.

Others suggest that the “spirit of leviathan” causes stubbornness and rebellion against God. Alternatively, the spirit is blamed for various physical problems, mostly involving stiffness and back problems. Still others blame the leviathan spirit for insomnia, lack of spiritual growth, media deception, pride, reading disabilities, and/or personal bickering. Yet another group suggests that there are many “leviathan spirits,” with or without some combination of those effects.

It’s clear there is enormous variety in beliefs about what a “leviathan spirit” is and what it does. This is not surprising, since the whole concept of a leviathan spirit is based on virtually no biblical information and an outrageous amount of wild speculation. As a result, there is no coherent or consistent teaching to be found on it. The functions of the “spirit of leviathan” as held by one person might entirely overlap with the behavior of other spirits, given names such as Python or Kundalini, or placed in categories such as “water spirits.”

Scripture gives us no reason to believe there is a demonic entity named Leviathan or that Christians have a specific ability to rebuke or exorcise it. Nor does the Bible indicate that we’re meant to diagnose spiritual problems by identifying a particular demon. A demonic entity may be involved in a person’s spiritual struggle, but the Bible gives us no guidelines in “rebuking” it. Remedying the situation requires prayer, discipleship, and obedience to God. Inventing a mythology of demons and turning God’s Word into a sourcebook of wild speculations are counterproductive.

Recommended Resource: Angels: Elect & Evil by C. Fred Dickason

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