This article on Defeating Leviathan was written by Pastor Dave Williams© of Mount Hope Church in Lansing, Michigan, USA and comprises Chapter 9, pages 60-71 of his book entitled, “The Miracle Results of Fasting – Discover the Amazing Benefits in Your Spirit, Soul and body.”
“This is a special chapter that applies to every Christian who has ever faced troubles. This chapter can save you months, even years of heartache. It can help you through the most severe types of torment when you feel like you have become the special target of hell.
The subject of this chapter is how to Fast, to drive off Leviathan.
Do such creatures exist? Paul said they did. He wrote:Who is Leviathan? He is a spiritual creature who ranks high in Satan’s order of fallen angels.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rules of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12
Some of our most stubborn problems can be motivated by these evil powers: insanity, persistent sin, depression, suicidal thoughts, drug use, and divisions in families and churches. Jesus cast a demon out of a boy who was rendered speechless and insane, and the boy returned to normal. Jesus cast demons out of the Gadarenes man who lived among the tombs, cut himself with stones, and was incredibly violent. Jesus didn’t just treat symptoms; He saw to the root of the problem, which was demonic power.
Some years ago I stood in our church narthex talking with a Church of God minister who has been involved with some of the major ministries in America. He told me about a demonic being that is sometimes loosed against the children of God and the ministries of God. The Bible calls him Leviathan. He knew a pastor in a major city who had gone through a horrible time of turmoil in his ministry, feeling as if he were in the jaws of a monster. The monster would flip him one way, and before he could get out of its grip it would flip him another way. Back and forth he was flung until he was worn out an ready to give out.
I didn’t understand what the minister was talking about until a year and a half later. It was then that I had my own encounter with Leviathan. I came to see that this demon was behind the avalanche of turmoil and confusion that had come upon my congregation and me.
I’m a preacher with fairly conservative beliefs. I didn’t go looking for exotic theories about the spirit world. But during this time of spiritual warfare, when our church was divided, I learned much about the dark, evil powers that work against the believer. Leviathan is in the Bible, but I didn’t really pay any attention until the bad circumstances rose over my head like a rushing river. During that time, I locked myself away in a Sunday school room for several hours a day and fought in the spirit.
One day God gave me a vision. As I prayer I kept seeing a white, thick-skinned crocodile-like creature. Finally I said, “Lord, what is that?”
That is when the Lord first spoke to my heart and said, “Leviathan has been loosed against you.” I remembered the name ‘Leviathan” from the Bible, so I looked it up and found it first in the book of Psalms.
“But you, oh God, are my king from old; you bring salvation upon the earth. It was you who split open the sea by your power, you broke the heads of the monster in the waters. It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan and gave him as food to the creatures of the desert.” Psalms 74:12-14
God began to reveal things about this creature that I had never considered. I had always thought it meant a sea-creature or alligator of some kind, maybe one that had become extinct. I realised that the Psalm was not talking about a natural creature. The closest word we have in English is crocodile or reptile, but God would never give reptile meat to Israel to eat because that creature was considered unclean. There had to be a spiritual meaning.
I also realised that “creatures of the desert” are believers who are in a wilderness time, seeking God for direction and sometimes confused in the midst of doing what He’s called them to do. In other words, they are on track and doing God’s business, so Leviathan comes to try to take them out.
“In that day Jehovah with His great and fierce and strong sword shall punish the sea-monster, the darting serpent, the sea-monster, that twisting serpent; and He shall kill the monster in the sea.” Isaiah 27:1
When prophets talk about the sea, it usually means masses of people. In the book of Revelation, for example, it says the beast came out of the sea, meaning it came out of a group of people. The verse in Isaiah reveals that Leviathan is a spiritual creature important enough to mention in the Bible and important enough to prophesy that one day the Lord will finish him off.
The prophet called Leviathan a serpent, a term usually reserved for Satan himself. I concluded that Leviathan must be a powerful, hideous demonic creature who is apparently under the direct leadership of Satan himself and is assigned to bring down ministries, men and women of God, churches, families – people who are seeking God and doing His will.
I went to the encyclopaedia to study crocodiles, since that is the closest word-picture we get from the Hebrew translation for Leviathan. I learned that crocodiles always hand around water, which is symbolic of God’s Spirit. Jesus said:
“He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” (But He spoke this about the Spirit, which they who believed on Him should receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.)” John 7:38-39
Whenever the Holy spirit is moving, you can be sure that Leviathan is going to come. Crocodiles put their eyes just above the water and look for a little duck, a baby deer, or even a human being who comes up to the river to get a drink. We are supposed to be safe where the river of God is flowing, so Leviathan tries to make it unsafe. He wants us to close our spirits off because of fear. In one lightning leap, he will open his mouth and grab a victim in his jaws. His jaws are powerful enough to crush the victim, but the crocodile doesn’t do that. He applies enough pressure to hold the victims in his mouth while he throws him back and forth until the victim becomes weary. Just when he thinks he might get free, the crocodile starts shaking him again until the victim looses all hope, and then the crocodile crushes and eats him.
Have you ever felt light being tossed back and forth with only moments of relief? That’s the way Leviathan, the spiritual creatures works. He will try to whip you this way and that until you get so tired you get cynical and say, “What’s the use?” and give up.
But we don’t need to succumb to Leviathan. We can recognise his character and defeat him. How do we recognise Leviathan? What are his character traits? Here are five that I have identified.
1 Leviathan has many Heads.
The Psalmist spoke in plural about the heads of the dragon. When there are many heads, there is confusion. When Jesus was arrested, the witnesses couldn’t get their stories straight. I believe Leviathan was loosed against Jesus, causing confusion among the so-called witnesses. One head says one thing, another head something else, and each head tries to speak with authority. Families become this way when everyone thinks they are in charge. The result is confusion and distrust.
Churches are also often afflicted by this multi-headed problems. During my Leviathan encounter I heard so many ridiculous things, but I couldn’t pinpoint where they were coming from. I heard rumours about me and about my staff. I heard rumours that were committing every sin that I had preached against. It seemed like everybody in the world knew more about my church and me than I knew. It was the most awful experience of my life. I was fighting a multi-headed monster and didn’t know it.
Not only does he have many heads, but also each claims to be right. When the Lord gave me a vision of Leviathan, I asked, “Why does he not look like a white alligator?”
The Lord reminded me of His Word. In Isaiah He cleanses us from our sins and makes our sins as white as snow. In the book of Revelation, when the righteous are standing before the throne, they are clothed in robes of white, which is symbolic of righteousness. Then He said, “Leviathan has come at you in the form or right-ness or righteousness. He is declaring to be right, claiming to be righteous, asserting to stand up for what’s right, not caring who he puts in his jaws to ruin.”
Each head of Leviathan speaks to a different person, whispering in ears, convincing each other they are right. Through rumour, gossip, and even doctrinal error and disputing, he convinces believers that they are right and their leadership is wrong. In this way he incites a very subtle rebellion and works against our unity in the faith. When unity starts to break down in relationships around you, you may be experiencing an attack from Leviathan.
2 Leviathan is Piercing
In Isaiah 27:7 (JKV) he is called the “piercing serpent.” The word “piercing” in Hebrew means roaming, shifting, focusing only on the temporary. Leviathan tried to get people to focus on the temporary rather than on the eternal. I have know people who roam from church to church in the same city. Their families are always unstable, and the children have trouble trusting Christians and finding their place in the Church. Leviathan makes some believers wanderers, and they carry him everywhere they go. They reap no harvest except transience and confusion. A sense of restlessness or an inability to connect at church can be a sign that you’re under attack.
3 Leviathan seems bigger than he is
Do you know the feeling when your problems appears fat too beg for God to handle and prayer can’t send them away? It’s an interesting fact that most people see crocodiles report them being thirty feet (6m) long, but the average crocodile only grows twelve to fifteen feet long. In other words, people think Leviathan is twice as big as he really is. Part of the devil’s plan is to intimidate you into giving in so he won’t have to fight. Nothing – not even Leviathan’s attack – is ever as bad as it seems.
4 Leviathan is crooked
Crooked means deceitful. A person who is affected by Leviathan will not give you a straight answer. You feel that you’re dealing with something you can’t nail down. The worst kinds of problems are those you can’t identify. They are nebulous, like “the Blob” in the old horror movie, Leviathan doesn’t walk in the front door and introduce himself. He is crooked, shifty and deceitful.
So how do we get rid of this horrible creature? There’s only one way, and I know this from experience: prayer and fasting. Nothing else will do – not good motives, not bright ideas, not friendly smiles, not emotional conversations, not meetings, not strategy, not quoting the Bible – nothing but the atomic bomb of prayer and fasting.
5 Leviathan is King of the Children of Pride
“Can you draw out the leviathan with a hook, or hold down his tongue with a cord?
He beholds all high things; he is a king over all the sons of pride.” Job 41:1,34
The entire chapter of Job 41 is about Leviathan. It would take an entire book to discuss this demonic entity, but I believe the bottom line with this demon is Pride. He personifies and incites people to be proud, haughty, arrogant, and superior in their own eyes. Those who come under Leviathan’s influence believe they are right. They know more about God’s Word than anyone else, and their ideas and their agendas are far more important than anyone else’s.
With “pure motives” and a view toward “speaking the truth in love,” these saints wreck havoc in fellowships of believers, thinking they are doing the right thing. They are blinded by pride, which is why only prayer and fasting will break the Leviathan grip on their minds and hearts. As we have discussed before, fasting humbles and cleanses the soul, releasing the toxic ideas and deceptions of the enemy. Fasting and prayer is the only weapon that can pierce the thick, proud skin of Leviathan and send him packing.
When God gave me the vision of Leviathan, I also saw it has a thick skin. I asked the Lord why, and He said, “Because you can throw rocks at him. You can hammer him. You can shoot at him with BB guns and pellet guns. You can yell at him. You can scream at him, but his skin is thick. It doesn’t bother him at all.”
I said, “What do we do about him?”
Immediately the scripture came to me, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 127:10)
I began fasting for a few days, and some who were closest to me joined in. Right before our eyes, Leviathan started walking away. Pride was being broken in our hearts and the hearts of those who had been deceived by it.
I studied revival in my city of Lansing, and I discovered that no move of God had lasted more than four years. There have been sparks of revival in certain churches and ministries, but they haven’t lasted long. Leviathan was trying to do to us what he had done for decades in Lansing, but we found the weapon he couldn’t resist. As soon as we started fasting, church attendances went up. Our Church income began to soar. More people got saved than ever before.
Leviathan had one more trick before he disappeared, however. Remember that crocodiles have tails. When Leviathan is walking away from your family, home, church, ministry or business, he will take one last swipe at you with his tail. When he left our church he swept one hundred people with him, and not partially committed people, but good workers, board members, worship leaders, ushers, usher captains, teachers, children’s ministers and secretaries. When he couldn’t get you in his mouth, he swishes his tail in one final effort to bring you down, but with prayer and fasting, you can avoid the swishing tail of Leviathan.
I learned a lot about this demonic monster when I attended a national conference for ministers. I heard many renowned men of God share their experiences with Leviathan. I thought, They faced exactly the same thing I faced. This is the same spirit that cam against me. Later I found that almost every major ministry in the United States of America has faced Leviathan, and t hose who don’t discover or learn the secret of fasting don’t make it out of his jaws. They are defeated and quit.
At the conference Pastor Jack Hayford said that when you get out of the jaws of Leviathan, things are going to be good for a while because Leviathan is moving away and you are no longer caught in his teeth. “But then,” Jack continued, “there’s something you have to watch out for as Leviathan moves away – his tail. Because as Leviathan in defeat walks away from you, he’s going to try to get one final blow with his powerful tail.” I believe Jack’s word was a word from the Lord, a word of warning. Satan tries to stop us by frightening us with threats. God does not threaten us, He warns us. There is a big difference.
You may recall in the book of Revelation how the tail of the dragon knocked the starts out of heaven. He dragged down a third of them with his tail. “If I can’t get them with my mouth, I’ll get them with my tail,” Leviathan says. I believe through fasting and prayer you can avoid the swishing tail of Leviathan. You may feel a little draft go over your head, but that is as close as he is going to get!
When you fast, you are entering into dynamic spiritual warfare. In fasting and prayer, you will gain a concentrated, intensified power from God and protection all around you as well as revelation about the enemy and his plans against you. Whenever our church sends our ministers to plant new churches in other communities, we ask that they fast for at least ten days. Fasting helps fine-tune our spiritual senses, making it easy to identify Satan’s strongholds in that city including Leviathan. Fasting seems to heighten our discernment, helping us to understand the evil principalities and territorial spirits in the area (Ephesians 6:12).
Once recognized, these usurping, evil beings can be dealt with by the authority we have through the blood and the name of Jesus Christ. Again, we cannot beat against them or defeat them in the physical realm. They must be defeated through spiritual warfare. And prayer and fasting reveals demonic strategy and presence in our lives, our families, our churches and every other corporate body in which we participate.
You can’t deal with an enemy you don’t recognise. Satan’s work is undercover work; it is secretive, deceptive, and hidden. That’s why fasting is critical to beginning a new work in a city or community. We have learned that ministers who have fasted first become successful and fruitful quickly. Those who bypass this step seem to struggle with the same problems year after year because they are fighting in the flesh and not in the spirit. Prayer and fasting are tremendous spiritual weapons and are vital to defeating Leviathan.
Through prayer and fasting Leviathan left our church. As we entered the new year we found it to be the greatest year in our history. Everything skyrocketed. Attendance went up over 62%. The income went up. Everything in the church grew abundantly. It was almost like there was a release of God’s presence, power and favour. There were hardly any people hospitalised, And I didn’t have one nasty “sniper” letter in the whole year. Unity, harmony, peace, and success had returned like a dove.
I hope Leviathan is never loosed against you, but if he is, you know how to recognise him and drive him away, through fasting and prayer!”