Know Your Enemy


Know Your Enemy

Pastor Don Carpenter / General

Not From Around Here: The Complicated Life of a Sojourner / Satan; Spiritual Warfare / 1 Peter 5:8

Warren Wiersbe tells this story:

 Since I have no mechanical ability, I admire people who can build and repair things. During a church building program, I was watching an electrician install a complex control panel. I said to the man, “It just amazes me how you fellows can calmly work on those lines with all of that power there. How do you do it?” The electrician smiled and said, “Well, the first thing you have to do is respect it. Then you can handle it.”

Satan is a dangerous enemy. He is a serpent who can bite us when we least expect it. He is a destroyer (Abaddon and Apollyon both mean “destruction”) and an accuser (Zech. 3:1–5; Rev. 12:9–11). He has great power and intelligence, and a host of demons who assist him in his attacks against God’s people (Eph. 6:10ff). He is a formidable enemy; we must never joke about him, ignore him, or underestimate his ability. We must “be sober” and have our minds under control when it comes to our conflict with Satan.1

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 432.

Tonight we are going to look at a familiar and powerful verse. We are going to be reminded that we cannot be lulled into a false sense of safety. Our foe, an evil predator, is lurking in the shadows. It is important that you know your enemy.

Be Sober!

1 Peter 5:8 KJV

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

30.25 ????a: (a figurative extension of meaning of ???? ‘to be sober, to not be drunk,’ probably not occurring in the NT; see 88.86) to be in control of one’s thought processes and thus not be in danger of irrational thinking—‘to be sober-minded, to be well composed in mind.’ ???? ?????????? ??? ??????? ‘but we should be awake and sober-minded’ 1 Th 5:6. It is also possible to understand ???? in 1 Th 5:6 as meaning ‘self-control,’ as a characteristic of moral behavior (see 88.86).1

1 Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 352.

nepho (????, 3525) signifies “to be free from the influence of intoxicants”; in the NT, metaphorically, it does not in itself imply watchfulness, but is used in association with it, 1 Thess. 5:6, 8; 2 Tim. 4:5; 1 Pet. 1:13; 4:7, rv (kjv, “watch”); 5:8.¶ Cf. eknepho and ananepho, under AWAKE, No. 3 and Note.1

1 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 583.

Matthew 24:42–43 KJV

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 

But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

1 Thessalonians 5:6 KJV

Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

Be Vigilant

1 Peter 5:8 KJV

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

27.56 ????????b: (a figurative extension of meaning of ????????a ‘to stay awake,’ 23.72) to be in continuous readiness and alertness to learn—‘to be alert, to be watchful, to be vigilant.’ ??????????, ??????? ?? ?? ?????? ‘be alert, stand fast in the faith’ 1 Cor 16:13.1

1 Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 332.

The words “be vigilant” in the Greek present the idea of “be awake and watchful.”1

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 129.

1 Corinthians 16:13 KJV

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

Be Aware

1 Peter 5:8 KJV

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Of Who Your Enemy Is

Our adversary

Enemy (compare Matt 5:25) is literally “plaintiff” or “opponent in a lawsuit” (compare Prov 18:7), but in an extended sense is used to mean an enemy (compare Est 8:11). Devil also carries the same meaning (that is, “accuser”), but with the implication that the charge is false. It is possible, however, that Devil has already become a title or a name, and the TEV indicates this understanding by capitalizing the word (also Brc).1

1 Daniel C. Arichea and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on the First Letter from Peter, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1980), 167.

39.9 ?????????b, ?? m: one who is actively and continuously hostile toward someone—‘adversary, enemy.’ ? ????????? ???? ???????? ?? ???? ????????? ????????? ‘your adversary, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion’ 1 Pe 5:8.1

1 Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 492.

The Devil

The word “devil” is the word used in the English translation for diabolos (????????) which comes from a word diaballo (????????) which means literally, “to throw over or across, to send over.” It was used in classical Greek with the meanings, “to traduce, calumniate, slander, accuse, defame,” and was used not only of those who bring a false charge against one, but also of those who disseminate the truth concerning a man and do so maliciously, insidiously, with hostility.1

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 129.

 The nt uses both “Satan” and “devil” as terms for the chief figure of evil in the Bible. The Hebrew term satan used in the ot means “adversary” (e.g., Job 1:6, 12; 2:1; Zech 3:1–2).

Satan in the Old Testament and the Serpent of Genesis 3

a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour Peter alerts his audience to the devil’s constant threat to the people of God (compare 2 Cor 2:11).1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), 1 Pe 5:8.

This spiritual adversary, shadowy in the OT, was developed in the Intertestamental period and with that background appears in the NT as a well-known image, either as Satan (i.e., a transliterated form of the Hebrew; e.g., Mark 1:13 and Mark 8:33 and their parallels; 1 Cor. 5:5; 7:5) or as “the devil,” as here (i.e., a translation of the Hebrew term, meaning “slanderer”; e.g., Matt. 4:1, 8, 11; Eph. 4:27; 6:11; cf. 1 Tim. 3:11; 2 Tim. 3:3; Tit. 2:3 for the general use of the word). Our author further describes him as an “adversary,” a term that originally meant “opponent in a lawsuit” (Matt. 5:25; Luke 12:58; 18:3) and may mean that here (should Peter be thinking of the picture in Job or Zechariah, or the scene in Rev. 12:10, in which Satan accuses the righteous before God) but is more likely used in the general sense of “adversary” or “enemy,” which use is also found in the Greek OT (1 Kings 2:10; Isa. 41:11; Sir. 36:6), since no reference to a court scene appears in this passage. 1

1 Peter H. Davids, The First Epistle of Peter, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 189–190.

Roaring Lion

Psalm 22:13 KJV

They gaped upon me with their mouths, As a ravening and a roaring lion.

Lions were viewed as the most ferocious and mighty beasts, and from Psalm 22:13 (probably the background here) they came to be used as figures for enemies of God’s people. In the time of Nero, Christians were fed to some literal lions as well. The small, isolated Christian communities could take heart that their other spiritual siblings—starting with the churches Peter knew in Rome—were experiencing the same trials (1 Pet 5:9), until the end (v. 10).1

1 Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 1 Pe 5:8–11.

In a vivid image Peter warns the church of deadly danger. Our image of a roaring lion may come from visits to the zoo, or from the zoom lens of a television nature series. Some who received Peter’s letter would have a stronger horror. They had seen human blood dripping from the chops of lions in the gory spectacles of a Roman amphitheatre. The time was approaching when Ignatius would anticipate his death in the Roman Colosseum:1

1 Edmund P. Clowney, The Message of 1 Peter: The Way of the Cross, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 213.

Of What Your Enemy Is Up To

Walketh about

Walketh about (?????????). Compare Job 1:7; 2:2. This word gave name to that sect of Greek philosophers known as Peripatetics, because they walked about while teaching or disputing. “St. Peter calls Satan the Peripatetic” (Cox, on Job). The Arabs call him the Busy One. It was to Peter that Christ said, “Satan hath desired to have you,” etc. (Luke 22:31).1

1 Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 669–670.

Job 1:7 KJV

And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

Job 2:2 KJV

And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

Luke 22:31 KJV

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

Seeking whom he may devour.

Looking for someone to devour describes the typical activity of the lion. That the intended victims are the Christians is clear from someone. Devour is literally “swallow” or “drink down,” “eat up”; in the present context, it refers to the activity of the Devil in trying to destroy believers, particularly their faith, and lead them into apostasy, that is, to deny their faith in Jesus Christ. Implied in all these is the thought that the sufferings experienced by Christians are not simply the work of people, but are instigated by the Devil himself.

Rarely can one translate literally looking for someone to devour, since a term which relates to “eating” may not suggest the process of “destroying.” Therefore, one can sometimes better render looking for someone to devour as “looking for someone to destroy” or “… to ruin.”1

1 Daniel C. Arichea and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on the First Letter from Peter, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1980), 168.

__________________

The devil has a plan for your life: Doubt – To make you question God’s word and His goodness; Discouragement – To make you look at your problems rather than at God; Diversion – To make the wrong things seems attractive so that you will want them more than the right things; Defeat – To make you feel like a failure so that you don’t even try; Delay – To make you put off doing something so that it never gets done.

So Be Sober- free from mind distractions

Be vigilant – aware and awake

Be aware – the Devil is like a lurking Lion… and he is furiously hungry… know your enemy.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 1:45 PM November 25, 2020.

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