Death is ugly and is represented by a horrid skeleton wrapped in a sheet, with an hourglass in one hand and a sickle in the other, to reap lives. Death is linked to sin, and the devil sins from the beginning. John says: “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). The word sheol in Hebrew is translated sepulcher, hell, grave. Sheol is the place of the dead, and sheol is also hell, a place of condemnation for sinners. Jesus declares that whoever calls the brother fool is guilty of the fire of hell (from Greek geena). Well, in the letter to the Hebrew we read concerning the great redemptive work of Jesus Christ: “Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). The empire of death belongs to the devil, the king of hell.
Surprisingly, however, he who condemns to death is Jehovah; for he said to Adam: “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17). And Adam ate and formed the empire of Satan, or the devil, that are the same person (Rev. 12:9). Was the author of death Adam, or Jehovah? That is the question. So let us explain.
- Who gave the law? It was Jehovah (Deut. 4:10-14). What does the law create in men? Paul answers: “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? May it never be! However, I wouldn’t have known sin, except through the law. For I wouldn’t have known coveting, unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, finding occasion through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of coveting. For apart from the law, sin is dead” (Rom. 7:7-8). James completes the thought: “Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death” (James 1:15). Since the law is the mother of the desire of the flesh, in the long run it produces sinful passions. Again Paul reveals something fatal: “For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were through the law, worked in our members to bring forth fruit to death” (Rom. 7:5). And Paul says something more: “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law” (1 Cor. 15:56). What is our conclusion? We conclude that the law of Jehovah feeds the empire of the devil, for the knowledge of sin comes though the Law, and whoever sins is of the devil (Rom. 3:20; 1 John 3:8). And Paul closes the argument, saying: “Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could make alive, most certainly righteousness would have been of the law” (Gal. 3:21). The law only makes Satan and the empire richer. And it is against the grace of Christ, as Paul says: “Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don’t be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. Yes, I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. You are alienated from Christ, you who desire to be justified by the law. You have fallen away from grace” (Gal. 5:1-4). And Jehovah feeds the empire of the devil with abundance. Jeremiah declares: “Thus says Jehovah of Armies, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great storm shall be raised up from the uttermost parts of the earth. The slain of Jehovah shall be at that day from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung on the surface of the ground” (Jer. 25:32-33). Through the Flood alone Jehovah killed billions of people. This is why Solomon said: “Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied; and a man’s eyes are never satisfied” (Prov. 27:20).
- The lion, in the New Testament, is a figure of Satan. Why? That is because the lion is the king of the animals, and Satan is the king of the sinners, for whoever commits sin is of the devil (1 John 3:8). Second, when a lion catches a prey, it does not escape from his jaws. In the same way, when a Christian falls in any sin, he becomes a servant of that sin, more exactly, a slave of sin (Rom. 6:16-17). Third, the lion devours his prey, and Satan, through sinful passions, devours the souls. Let us explain how Satan devours: For example, a teenager, or even a child, knows how to surf the Internet. A schoolmate comments that he sees pornography on the Internet. The teenager is tempted to look. Even if he resists, with time he ends up connecting a clandestine site. He feels guilty and frightened. He decides he will not do it again. But now the desire feeds the temptation, and he looks a second time. Well, nobody knows about it. It is a secret, and the monitor does not speak. After he looks a third time at the obscene images that are corruptive of respect for himself and his neighbor, and at the diabolic poison that corrodes moral principles, everything becomes normal. The lion has already devoured the one that watches pornographic movies. Peter says: “Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Paul said: “But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me, that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion” (2 Tim. 4:17).
Jehovah is also a devouring lion, and this matter puzzles and amazes the meticulous reader of the Bible. Hosea, the prophet declares it: “They will walk after Jehovah, who will roar like a lion; for he will roar, and the children will come trembling from the west” (Hos. 11:10). “For I will be to Ephraim like a lion, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I myself will tear in pieces and go away. I will carry off, and there will be no one to deliver” (Hos. 5:14). “The lion has roared. Who will not fear? The Lord Jehovah has spoken. Who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8). “If my head is held high, you hunt me like a lion. Again you show yourself powerful to me” (Job 10:16). “I will meet them like a bear that is bereaved of her cubs, and will tear the covering of their heart. There I will devour them like a lioness” (Hos. 13:8).
We draw the only logical conclusion: that Jehovah is the great devourer of souls, and that the devil is the devourer of the family.
Beware of the devouring lions!
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira