The Devil Is in the Details
The Personality of Evil
Personality is defined as ones set of characteristics; the totality of one's attitudes, interests, behavioral patterns, emotional responses, social roles, and other individual traits that endure over long periods of time. Evil is the quality of being profoundly immoral or wrong. Evil has a personality in that the master of evil, Satan, is a person. He is a person in that he has intellect, emotion, and will. Given that set of criteria, Satan's attitude, behavioral pattern, emotional response, social role, and other individual traits can be observed, documented, and circumvented.
Peter gives this information concerning Satan's attitude, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)." Satan's stated position is to devour the believer. Much like the false teachers that travelled around in the New Testament days teaching, Satan is a nomad whose focus and intent is to destroy. Maiming or hurting is not his goal, total destruction and complete ruin is his objective. In Genesis 4:7 God warned Cain that sin was waiting just ready to pounce on him in order to establish control.
Lions roar when they stalk prey. Amos 3:4 asks two rhetorical questions "Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing?" The expected answer to both questions is no. The lion stalks prey for the purpose of devouring it, to satisfy its appetite. Satan goes about like a roaring lion because he is stalking his prey in order to satisfy the craving he has for the destruction of the believer. Just as the lion will not stop until it has captured its prey, Satan will not stop until he has done as much damage as possible. His appetite is insatiable.
The Lions Research Center states,
Lions usually roar in the hours between dusk and early morning, and they roar for several reasons. The first is to stay in touch with companions from whom they have temporarily separated, and the second is to advertise their location and strength to rivals. Lions are sensitive to numbers, and they are able to discriminate the roars of large groups from those of small groups. They can also distinguish the roars of companions from those of strangers. The Lions Research Center, www.lionresearch.org/behavior_guide/roaring.html. 7/17/09.
Lions roar when it is dark. Satan roars stalking his prey when the light is not apparent. John 13:1-30 tells the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples on the night of the Last Supper. After the foot washing, the supper began. Jesus announced that one of the men present would betray Him. John quietly asked Jesus which one of the disciples would carry out such a deed. Jesus identified Judas as the one. Jesus then spoke to Judas individually saying, "What you do, do quickly (13:27)." The remainder of the disciples was aware of what Jesus told Judas but did not comprehend the meaning. John describes Judas leaving the room this way, "Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night (13:30)." The eerie manner in which John describes that evening when Judas went to betray the Lord was, "And it was night." Under the cover of darkness and secrecy, Satan roared and Judas was devoured.
Lions roar to stay in touch with companions. Luke tells the story of the unclean spirit that went out of a man thinking he could find rest (11:24). Being unsuccessful, he returned to the same man in whom he originally dwelt and found his old lodging place swept and clean whereupon he roars and seven companions more wicked than he came to join him. Satan and his demons work together to make living conditions as difficult as they can.
Lions roar to advertise their location and strength to rivals. In Acts 12:1-10 Luke tells of the decision of Herod Agrippa I to persecute the church by killing the apostle James and subsequently arresting Peter with the same intent. His show of strength earned him favor with the Jews. Wanting to wait until Passover concluded, Herod places Peter in the custody of four squads of soldiers. There were four soldiers in each squad. Peter was shackled to two of the soldiers while the other two stood guard. The squads rotated throughout the course of the day and night. There was no way that Peter was going to escape and the lion was roaring.
Peter's time was about up and Herod intended to carry out his plan the following day. That night the Lord sent an angel to Peter. The chains binding Peter to the guards fell off without the guards awakening. The angel led Peter from the bowels of the prison past two guard posts and to the iron gates that enclosed the penal complex. Upon approaching the gates, they opened as if on automatic impulse. Peter and the angel exited the prison and Peter proceeded to the house of Mary, the mother of John. Peter had escaped and Herod was furious. He questioned the guards and commanded they be executed. Trumpeting his strength, Herod was an unwitting pawn in the hands of the roaring lion who went to bed hungry that night.
Satan, as the lion, roars trying to establish his dominance. He will continue to succeed in deceiving the hearts and minds of people on earth until the Lion from the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5) appears. In this battle of the kings of the beast there will be only one victor. For the One from the lion's whelp (Genesis 49:9) will prevail and vanquish the roar of the one who comes to destroy.