Be sober - While you cast your cares Upon God, and have no anxiety on that score, let your solicitude be directed to another point. Do not doubt that he is able and willing to support and befriend you, but be watchful against your foes. See the word used here fully explained in the notes at 1 Thessalonians 5:6.
Be vigilant - This word ( γρηγορέω grēgoreō) is everywhere else in the New Testament rendered “watch.” See Matthew 24:42-43; Matthew 25:13; Matthew 26:38, Matthew 26:40-41. It means that we should exercise careful circumspection, as one does when he is in danger. In reference to the matter here referred to, it means that we are to be on our guard against the wiles and the power of the evil one. Your adversary the devil - Your enemy; he who is opposed to you. Satan opposes man in his best interests. He resists his efforts to do good; his purposes to return to God; his attempts to secure his own salvation. There is no more appropriate appellation that can be given to him than to say that he resists all our efforts to obey God and to secure the salvation of our own souls. As a roaring lion - Compare Revelation 12:12. Sometimes Satan is represented as transforming himself into an angel of light, (see the notes at 2 Corinthians 11:14); and sometimes, as here, as a roaring lion: denoting the efforts which he makes to alarm and overpower us. The lion here is not the crouching lion - the lion stealthfully creeping toward his foe - but it is the raging monarch of the woods, who by his terrible roar would intimidate all so that they might become an easy prey. The particular thing referred to here, doubtless, is persecution, resembling in its terrors a roaring lion. When error comes in; when seductive arts abound; when the world allures and charms the representation of the character of the foe is not of the roaring lion, but of the silent influence of an enemy that has clothed himself in the garb of an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14. Walketh about, seeking whom he may devour - “Naturalists have observed that a lion roars when he is roused with hunger, for then he is most fierce, and most eagerly seeks his prey. See Judges 14:5; Psalm 22:13; Jeremiah 2:15; Ezekiel 22:25; Hosea 11:10; Zephaniah 3:3; Zechariah 11:3“ - Benson.
Your adversary the devil - Your enemy; he who is opposed to you. Satan opposes man in his best interests. He resists his efforts to do good; his purposes to return to God; his attempts to secure his own salvation. There is no more appropriate appellation that can be given to him than to say that he resists all our efforts to obey God and to secure the salvation of our own souls.
As a roaring lion - Compare Revelation 12:12. Sometimes Satan is represented as transforming himself into an angel of light, (see the notes at 2 Corinthians 11:14); and sometimes, as here, as a roaring lion: denoting the efforts which he makes to alarm and overpower us. The lion here is not the crouching lion - the lion stealthfully creeping toward his foe - but it is the raging monarch of the woods, who by his terrible roar would intimidate all so that they might become an easy prey. The particular thing referred to here, doubtless, is persecution, resembling in its terrors a roaring lion. When error comes in; when seductive arts abound; when the world allures and charms the representation of the character of the foe is not of the roaring lion, but of the silent influence of an enemy that has clothed himself in the garb of an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14.
Walketh about, seeking whom he may devour - “Naturalists have observed that a lion roars when he is roused with hunger, for then he is most fierce, and most eagerly seeks his prey. See Judges 14:5; Psalm 22:13; Jeremiah 2:15; Ezekiel 22:25; Hosea 11:10; Zephaniah 3:3; Zechariah 11:3“ - Benson.
Be sober - Avoid drunkenness of your senses, and drunkenness in your souls; be not overcharged with the concerns of the world.
Be vigilant - Awake, and keep awake; be always watchful; never be off your guard; your enemies are alert, they are never off theirs.
Your adversary the devil - This is the reason why ye should be sober and vigilant; ye have an ever active, implacable, subtle enemy to contend with. He walketh about - he has access to you everywhere; he knows your feelings and your propensities, and informs himself of all your circumstances; only God can know more and do more than he, therefore your care must be cast upon God.
As a roaring lion - Satan tempts under three forms:
Traversing the earth; a plain reference to Job 2:2, which see.
Seeking whom he may devour - Τινα καταπιῃ· Whom he may gulp down. It is not every one that he can swallow down: those who are sober and vigilant are proof against him, these he May Not swallow down; those who are drunken with the cares of this world, etc., and are unwatchful, these he May swallow down. There is a beauty in this verse, and a striking apposition between the first and last words, which I think have not been noticed: Be sober, νηψατε from νη, not, and πιειν to drink; do not drink, do not swallow down: and the word καταπιῃ, from κατα, down, and πιειν, to drink. If you swallow strong drink down, the devil will swallow you down. Hear this, ye drunkards, topers, tipplers, or by whatsoever name you are known in society, or among your fellow sinners. Strong drink is not only the way to the devil, but the devil's way into you; and Ye are such as the devil particularly May swallow down.
The enemy is preparing for his last campaign against the church. He has so concealed himself from view that many can hardly believe that he exists, much less can they be convinced of his amazing activity and power. They have to a great extent forgotten his past record; and when he makes another advance move, they will not recognize him as their enemy, that old serpent, but they will consider him a friend, one who is doing a good work. Boasting of their independence they will, under his specious, bewitching influence, obey the worst impulses of the human heart and yet believe that God is leading them. Could their eyes be opened to distinguish their captain, they would see that they are not serving God, but the enemy of all righteousness. They would see that their boasted independence is one of the heaviest fetters Satan can rivet on unbalanced minds. 5T 294.1
Man is Satan's captive and is naturally inclined to follow his suggestions and do his bidding. He has in himself no power to oppose effectual resistance to evil. It is only as Christ abides in him by living faith, influencing his desires and strengthening him with strength from above, that man may venture to face so terrible a foe. Every other means of defense is utterly vain. It is only through Christ that Satan's power is limited. This is a momentous truth that all should understand. Satan is busy every moment, going to and fro, walking up and down in the earth, seeking whom he may devour. But the earnest prayer of faith will baffle his strongest efforts. Then take “the shield of faith,” brethren, “wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” 5T 294.2
The worst enemies we have are those who are trying to destroy the influence of the watchmen upon the walls of Zion. Satan works through agents. He is making an earnest effort here. He works according to a definite plan, and his agents act in concert. A line of unbelief stretches across the continent and is in communication with the church of God. Its influence has been exerted to undermine confidence in the work of the Spirit of God. This element is here and is silently working. Be careful lest you be found aiding the enemy of God and man by spreading false reports and by criticisms and decided opposition. 5T 294.3Read in context »
While Satan is constantly seeking to blind their minds to the fact, let Christians never forget that they “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in high places.” Ephesians 6:12, margin. The inspired warning is sounding down the centuries to our time: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11. GC 510.1
From the days of Adam to our own time, our great enemy has been exercising his power to oppress and destroy. He is now preparing for his last campaign against the church. All who seek to follow Jesus will be brought into conflict with this relentless foe. The more nearly the Christian imitates the divine Pattern, the more surely will he make himself a mark for the attacks of Satan. All who are actively engaged in the cause of God, seeking to unveil the deceptions of the evil one and to present Christ before the people, will be able to join in the testimony of Paul, in which he speaks of serving the Lord with all humility of mind, with many tears and temptations. GC 510.2
Satan assailed Christ with his fiercest and most subtle temptations, but he was repulsed in every conflict. Those battles were fought in our behalf; those victories make it possible for us to conquer. Christ will give strength to all who seek it. No man without his own consent can be overcome by Satan. The tempter has no power to control the will or to force the soul to sin. He may distress, but he cannot contaminate. He can cause agony, but not defilement. The fact that Christ has conquered should inspire His followers with courage to fight manfully the battle against sin and Satan. GC 510.3Read in context »
Those who have bitterly opposed the truth of God, Satan uses as his mediums. To such he will appear in the assumed person and garb of another, it may be a friend of the medium. He will increase their faith by using the words of this friend and relating circumstances which are about to take place or which really have taken place and of which the medium knew nothing. Sometimes previous to a death or an accident he gives a dream or, personating another, converses with the medium, even imparting knowledge by means of his suggestions. But it is wisdom from beneath and not from above. The wisdom taught by Satan is opposed to the truth, unless, to serve his purpose, he apparently clothes himself with the light which enshrouds angels. To a certain class of minds he will come sanctioning a part of what Christ's followers believe to be truth, while he warns them to reject the other part as dangerous and fatal error. 2T 172.1
Satan is a master workman. His infernal wisdom he employs with good success. He is ready and able to teach those who reject the counsel of God against their own souls. The bait which he has found will avail in bringing souls into his net, that he may fasten his hellish grasp upon them, he will clothe with every possible good and make as attractive as possible. All who are thus ensnared will learn at a dreadful expense the folly of selling heaven and immortality for a deception that is fatal in its consequences. Our adversary, the devil, is not void of wisdom or strength. He goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He will work “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” Because they rejected the truth, “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” We have a powerful, deceptive foe with whom to contend, and our only safety is in Him who is to come, who will consume this archdeceiver with the spirit of His mouth, and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 2T 172.2
I commend this to you in the fear of God, and implore you to arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you life. 2T 173.1Read in context »
Let not the days pass by and precious opportunities be lost of seeking the Lord with all the heart and mind and soul. If we accept not the truth in the love of it, we may be among the number who will see the miracles wrought by Satan in these last days, and believe them. Many strange things will appear as wonderful miracles, which should be regarded as deceptions manufactured by the father of lies.—Letter 136, 1906. 2SM 53.1Read in context »