The more time I spend teaching God’s word, the greater I appreciate the metaphors and symbols in the Bible. Take, for example, the Dragon. The Bible uses it as a metaphor for the Devil but also talks about it as a creature that existed during these times. I find it fascinating that such creatures once walked this earth and cannot help but wonder, how many times is the Dragon mentioned in the Bible?
Biblical scholars estimate that the Dragon appears 35 times in the Bible: 22 in the Old Testament and 13 in the New. This word is popular in the King James Version of the Bible since it is an old English word. Other translations refer to the Dragon as the serpent, the sea monster, a sea creature, and a leviathan.
I cannot overstate the significance of the Dragon in scripture. In this article, I will explore whether Dragons are in the Bible and what the Bible says about them. I’ll look at select passages that mention or allude to the Dragon. I’ll also explore when the Dragon first appears in the Bible and what it represents in the Book of Revelation. Join me as I explore these and more!
Are Dragons in the Bible?
Yes. The Bible, especially the King James version, mentions “Dragon” approximately 35 times: 22 in the Old Testament and 13 in the New. Modern bible translations use the words jackal, whale, serpent, sea monster, sea creature, and Leviathan as alternatives for Dragon. However, they all come from the Hebrew word “Tanniyn,” which most scholars translate as “Dragon.”
What does the Bible say about Dragons?
The Bible speaks about Dragons metaphorically as symbols of chaos (Isaiah 27:1) and Satan (Revelation 12:9). Other passages refer to Dragons as real creatures that coexisted with people in biblical times. They are often called sea monsters or serpents, as in Psalm 74:13-14.
The Bible paints Dragons as creatures with several characteristics. Here are four:
- They are sometimes poisonous (Deuteronomy 32:33).
- They are powerful, as we see in Isaiah 27:1.
- They are usually solitary creatures who choose to live in the wilderness (Job 30:29)
- They make a wailing sound (Micah 1:8)
Bible verses about Dragons
The Bible mentions the Dragon 35 times. Here are 10 instances the Dragon appears in scripture:
- Psalm 74:13-14. says the Dragon, also called Leviathan, divides the sea by its might. We see the Dragon portrayed as a powerful creature.
- Job 41:1-2 declares God’s power over the Dragon. He challenges Job to tame this beast.
- Isaiah 27:1 says that God will punish the Dragon, called a serpent. This alludes to the final battle in revelation.
- Isaiah 51:9 says that God will restore Israel by his great power. God declares that He conquered the Dragon and is powerful enough to save Israel.
- Job 7:12 says that Job didn’t need his friends watching over him like a Dragon. He mocked his friends as they tried to convince him of his sin.
- Jeremiah 51:34 compares Nebuchadnezzar to a Dragon, here called a monster. He is a devouring force that will conquer Israel.
- Psalm 148:7 says that all creatures, including the Dragon, should praise God.
- Revelation 12:3-4 describes the Dragon in revelation, a symbol of Satan. We see him as a powerful and terrifying creature.
- Isaiah 34:13-14 says that God will destroy the nations, leaving them bare that only Dragons and other wild animals will occupy them.
- Psalm 91:13 declares God’s authority and power over the Dragon. We see God Portrayed as more powerful than the enemy.
Where are Dragons first mentioned in the Bible?
It’s unclear when the Bible first mentions Dragons. This is because of the different translations, which don’t even use the word Dragon. We generally accept Deuteronomy 32:33 as the first mention of the Dragons in the Bible. However, Old Testament scholars believe Dragons appear in the Bible much earlier.
In Genesis 1:21-27, we see God create sea creatures. The word used in modern translations is whales. However, the Hebrew word translated as “whale” is the word “Tanniyn,” the same word translated as Dragon elsewhere in the Bible. Because of this “mistranslation,” some scholars believe that Dragons first appeared in the Bible during creation.
Who killed the Dragon in the Bible?
We don’t have an answer for this in the official canon of scripture. However, turning to the deuterocanonical text, we find a fascinating story in the book of Daniel 14:23-30. According to this story, Daniel killed a Dragon.
The Babylonians allegedly worshipped a Dragon called Bel and demanded that everyone in the empire worship him. However, Daniel refused. Instead, he sought to prove Bel was no god by killing him. Daniel got tar, fat, and hair, baked them into cakes, and fed the Dragon. The Dragon burst open and died, thus proving that he was no god.
The Babylonians heard this and were displeased. They demanded the king hand Daniel over to him, or they would kill the king and his family. Fearing for his safety, the king handed Daniel over to the Babylonians, who threw him into a lion’s den.
It is worth noting that as fascinating as these events might be, they are only found in the apocryphal writings, and we cannot prove whether they happened. In regular cannon, we only learn that the Dragon-who represents Satan- will lose to Michael on the last day. He will be cast into the Abyss, where he will remain for 1000 years. God will then release him for that final battle before throwing him into the lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 20:7-10)
What does the Dragon in Revelation represent?
Revelation 12:9 identifies the Dragon as Satan. We see him Portrayed as a relentless and powerful enemy. When he couldn’t kill the messiah, he turned his attention to God’s people. Ultimately, God protects his people and casts the Devil into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7-10).
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.