As a Roaring Lion

8Be sober, vigilant, because your opponent the devil, as a roaring lion, doth walk about, seeking whom he may swallow up, 9 whom resist, stedfast in the faith, having known the same sufferings to your brotherhood in the world to be accomplished. (1 Pet. 5:8-9, YLT)

Translated more correctly in the Complete Jewish Bible –

8 Stay sober, stay alert! Your enemy, the Adversary, stalks about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand against him, firm in your trust, knowing that your brothers throughout the world are going through the same kinds of suffering. “ (CJB)

The use of Strong’s Gr. 476 “antidikos” – which corresponds to the Hebrew “ha satan” – indicates an enemy or adversary against God, and God’s people. (1) The use of the word “devil” in every other English version is Strong’s Gr. 1228, “diabolos” and is an adjective that is often used as a noun. Again, it is not a name. It means a false accuser, or slanderer.(2)

Diabolos is not a name of a spiritual entity, but rather a description of an enemy of God’s people. That enemy was going around and falsely accusing the brethren in Peter’s day and time. The definite article “the” was grouping all of the enemies and false accusers under one umbrella, describing the entirety of the political and religious opposition and persecution of the saints.

When we speak about a group of people who live in a particular nation we give them a group name. The people who live in the nation of France are called “the” French. The people who live in Russia are called “the” Russians. The people who live in the country of the United States are most often referred to as “the” Americans. The definite article does not mean they are one entity or person, but instead are one nationality – one national group.

The same is done for religious affiliations and beliefs. Today, we describe people who are members of the Catholic church as “the Catholics,” the same way that we say “the Baptists,” or “the Methodists,” or “the Calvanists.”

The definite article “the” in 1 Pet. 5:8 serves the same purpose of grouping a religious, or nationally aligned people into one descriptive adjective – the false accusers. There is a very good reason why Peter was speaking in adjectives rather than naming names. The brethren were being jailed and killed for speaking of Christ and preaching the gospel.

That is why in vs. 13 Peter spoke of the assembly / church at Babylon. Babylon was the code name for Jerusalem (Rev. 11:8; 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 8,:2, 10, 21). See my post “The Whore of Babylon” at the right margin. (3) Contrary to what most people have been taught, Peter was in Jerusalem, not Rome. (4) He could not name the Sanhedrin, or the scribes and Pharisees without calling them down upon him.

The context of 1 Peter ch. 5 is an admonition for the leaders of the assemblies to be good shepherds, to feed the flock with the true words of the Messiah, the chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4). The capitalization was purposely naming Christ as the chief Shepherd, their role model.

The role or job function of the shepherd to the flock was used over and over throughout the OT as the job function of the priests, prophets, and of the kings to lead the people in understanding God’s Law and purpose for them, to keep them from evil ways (Jer. 23:22).

15 And Moses speaketh unto Jehovah, saying, 16 `Jehovah — God of the spirits of all flesh — appoint a man over the company, 17 who goeth out before them, and who cometh in before them, and who taketh them out, and who bringeth them in, and the company of Jehovah is not as sheep which have no shepherd.'” (Num. 27:15-17, YLT)

The word “as” indicated the comparison of the people of God to sheep, and as sheep can be very simple dumb animals who will stand in a puddle of water bleeping until someone will come help them out of it, the comparison is not very complimentary, but is rather apt for the nature of man.

God’s use of animal comparisons and similes indicated the different natures of people. The sheep who were trying to follow God, the Shepherd (Psa. 23:1) were always the exploited of the wicked, greedy, tyrannical people who succumbed to selfish temptations and were repeatedly described as and compared to wild beasts – wolves, bears, lions, leopards, etc. – whose animal nature are to hunt and feed off the domesticated animals.

“And David saith unto Saul, `A shepherd hath thy servant been to his father among the sheep, and the lion hath come — and the bear — and hath taken away a sheep out of the drove,” (1 Sam. 17:34, YLT)

Jer. 23 follows the discussion of the condemnation of the actions of the king of Judah in Jer. 22.

1 Wo to shepherds destroying, And scattering the flock of My pasture, An affirmation of Jehovah. 2 Therefore, thus said Jehovah, God of Israel, Against the shepherds who feed My people, Ye have scattered My flock, and drive them away, And have not inspected them, Lo, I am charging on you the evil of your doings, An affirmation of Jehovah.” (Jer. 23:1-2, YLT)

Jer. 50:6-7:

6 A perishing flock hath My people been, Their shepherds have caused them to err, [To] the mountains causing them to go back, From mountain unto hill they have gone, They have forgotten their crouching-place. 7 All finding them have devoured them, And their adversaries have said: We are not guilty, Because that they sinned against Jehovah, The habitation of righteousness, And the hope of their fathers — Jehovah.” (YLT)

And, their persecutors were the lions.

17 A scattered sheep is Israel, lions have driven away, At first, devour him did the king of Asshur, And now, at last, broken his bone Hath Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon.” (Jer. 50:17, YLT)

This comparison of the evil and wicked priests and kings to wolves and lions that fed off the sheep of the flock of God was used again in Ezek. 34; condemning the “shepherds of Israel” who enriched themselves at the expense of the flock is very clear.

“And they are scattered from want of a shepherd, And are for food to every beast of the field, Yea, they are scattered.” (Ezek. 34:5, YLT)

“…Lo, I [am] against the shepherds, And have required My flock from their hand, And caused them to cease from feeding the flock, And no more do the shepherds feed themselves, And I have delivered My flock from their mouth, And they are not to them for food.” (Ezek. 34:10, YLT)

“And I have made for them a covenant of peace, And caused evil beasts to cease out of the land, And they have dwelt in a wilderness confidently, And they have slept in forests.” (Ezek. 34:25, YLT)

“And they are no more a prey to nations, And the beast of the earth devoureth them not, And they have dwelt confidently, And there is none troubling.” (Ezek. 34:28, YLT)

The wicked leaders of the people were always compared to the wolves and lions and bears that metaphorically fed off the righteous, and devoured them.

“…As the shepherd delivereth from the lion’s mouth Two legs, or a piece of an ear, So delivered are the sons of Israel, … “ (Amos 3:12, YLT)

The pattern is clearly supported for the same comparison in the New Testament, and is the same meaning in 1 Pet. 5:8 of the wicked people who were enriching themselves off of the flock of God. Peter’s admonition to the leaders of the assemblies were to be aware of and avoid the wicked adversaries of that century, and as those wicked, roaming “lions” of old, the comparison was again to the priests who were feeding off the flock of God… the Sanhedrin and all their agents. Ultimately as Peter warned in vs. 10 that they would suffer “a little while”, he was pointing to the soon to come persecution of the Romans under Nero.

The application of the “diabolos” false accusers can be made to every generation to all those wicked, selfish people who kill, and extort the righteous for their own enrichment and pleasure. Today, we are still suffering a like persecution as many Christians around the world are being falsely accused and jailed or killed for our beliefs in Christ Jesus. God considers these false accusers to be as lions feeding off the people.


1) Strong’s Gr. 476, antidikos –

2) Strong’s Gr. 1228, diabolos –

3) The Whore of Babylon –

4) The Apostle Peter in Rome –

4 thoughts on “As a Roaring Lion

  1. Thank you again for helping clarify and simplify these subjects. It is refreshing to be able to look at the word practically and logically, without succumbing to the ‘typical’ interpretations which seem to be so popular today. Thank you for all you do.

    Liked by 1 person

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