I thought I was done with my musings on the nature of Satan for the moment, but some of the comments on previous posts, plus my discovery of this last bit of excerpt from Chafer’s book Satan, has convinced me there’s at least one more post to do on this subject.
Maybe I’m misreading things, but people seem very reluctant to admit that Satan could possibly want to build and order and do “good” things. Several commenters keep coming back to him as ruiner, render, devourer.
I have no argument with that. In the end that’s exactly what he is. Right now that’s exactly how he feels toward God, God’s plan and ways and God’s people.
He’s the roaring lion walking about seeking someone (in context, some believer in Christ) to devour …
But what exactly does “devour” mean. After all, he’s not a literal lion. So how might he go about devouring?
In the context of the verse where this appears (1 Pe 5:8), the believer has just been told to humble himself, to cast all his anxiety on the Lord, to be of sober spirit (not letting emotions get the best of him) and to be on the alert because his enemy the devil is on the prowl seeking to devour him.
Since Rev 12:10 says that Satan is in heaven accusing the brethren day and night before the throne, and since he is a creature who can only be in one place at a time, clearly this roaring lion is not Satan himself, at least in the vast majority of cases.
Instead it would be his minions and the world system he has devised. The word for “devour” — katapino — means to drink down, swallow down, devour.
When you drink or swallow or devour something, it becomes a part of you. Its original form is broken down, changed to other things and assimilated into the body. That is, it becomes part of the body. So the believer’s thinking — because the spiritual battle we’re in is all about thought, the source of action — and motivation and way of living — is drunk down, swallowed up, changed to something else.
Changed to the system of thought the world advances, one that exalts self and opposes God, though it may not always be obvious that’s what it’s doing. Because very often it includes God, the Bible and even Jesus Christ in its subtle methods of exalting self and opposing God. That’s the nature of a counterfeit, to include as much truth as possible into the lie, because the more it looks and sounds like the real thing, the more people will be deceived.
Consider Chafer’s observations regarding Satan:
“His own terrible sin before God would not be condemned in the eyes of the world, for it is that which they most idealize and praise.
In his sin he aspired to that which is highest, and proposed to realize his ideal by his own self-sufficiency and strength.
Are those not worthy goals in our world today? Aren’t we forever being told, even as Christians, that we must strive for excellence and offered myriad ways of doing so in our own strength? Don’t we have and venerate all sorts of competitions to determine who is most excellent? (Especially now that Olympics Season has begun!)
“True, he has lowered his Creator, in his own mind, to a level where he supposes himself to be in legitimate competition with Him, both for authority over other beings and for their worship.
“Yet this unholy ambition and disregard for the Creator is a most commendable thing according to the standards of the Satanic order (ie, the present world system).
“In the language of the world, Satan is simply “self made” and every element of his attitude toward his Creator is, as a principle of life, both commended and practiced by the world.
“Though hiding himself, Satan has had the satisfaction, under limitations, of governing the affairs of men; and the delight, to a large extent, of receiving their worship.
If people — including Believers in Christ — are admiring and living by his ideas and his values, then they are essentially worshipping him even if they don’t realize it. And in that regard they have been “devoured”.