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Questions and Answers: Does Isaiah 30:6 Refer to Dinosaur-like Flying Reptiles?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Q.

Do you think the reference in Isaiah 30:6 to a “fiery flying serpent” could refer to some kind of extinct dinosaur-like flying reptile? Could this be proof that these creatures once lived alongside mankind?

A.

Although it is impossible to know the exact identity of the “flying serpent” mentioned by Isaiah, we do know that flying reptiles with long tails and slender bodies (e.g., Rhamphorynchus, Dimorphodon, etc.) once lived upon the Earth alongside humans. Aside from learning this fact by reading the Bible and seeing that God created everything in six days (Exodus 20:11; Genesis 1), two well-known ancient historians have documented that flying reptiles and humans were contemporaries. Herodotus, a respected Greek historian who lived in approximately 450 B.C., once wrote:

There is a place in Arabia...to which I went, on hearing of some winged serpents; and when I arrived there, I saw bones and spines of serpents, in such quantities as it would be impossible to describe. The form of the serpent is like that of a water-snake; but he has wings without feathers, and as like as possible to the wings of a bat (1850, pp. 75-76, emp. added).

Herodotus recognized that such creatures were not birds, mammals, or insects—but reptiles with wings.

Notice also what the Jewish historian Josephus wrote 2,000 years ago about Moses and the Israelites having a difficult time passing through a particular region because of the presence of flying serpents.

When the ground was difficult to be passed over, because of the multitude of serpents (which it produces in vast numbers...some of which ascend out of the ground unseen, and also fly in the air, and do come upon men at unawares, and do them a mischief)....
[Moses] made baskets like unto arks, of sedge, and filled them with ibes [i.e., birds], and carried them along with them; which animal is the greatest enemy to serpents imaginable, for they fly from them when they come near them; and as they fly they are caught and devoured by them (n.d., 2:10:2, emp. added).

Although these two historians do not mention the extremely large flying reptiles, they do record that snake-like winged creatures, which could fly, did live in the distant past.

REFERENCES

Herodotus, (1850 reprint), Historiae, trans. Henry Clay (London: Henry G. Bohn).

Josephus, Flavius (no date), Antiquities of the Jews (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, reprint).




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