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Relevant Biblical Passages: Gen. 3; Job 1-2; Zech. 3; Matt. 4:5-6

Two Lions: The lion is a tantalizing symbol in Scripture. On the one hand, it can symbolize the Devil who stalks the earth “seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8), but on the other, it can symbolize the Redeemer, the “lion of the tribe of Judah” (Rev. 5:5). When the Old Testament describes the restored earth, it either tames the lions (“the lion shall eat straw like the ox,” Isa. 11:7; 65:25), or banishes them completely (“No lion shall be there,” Isa. 35:9). The moral of the story is: if a lion is on the loose, you want it on your side. But even that can be unsettling. In C. S. Lewis’s Narnia tales, a gentle but terrifying lion, Aslan, is the symbol for God. But a recurring refrain haunts those who contemplate coming into Aslan’s presence: “He’s not a tame lion, you know.” Several biblical contexts help illuminate the character of the two great lions who confront each other in the cosmic conflict:

Contexts which define primarily the character of the “evil” (Satan):

Genesis 3: the serpent
Isaiah 14:12-15: the “King of Babylon” (Lucifer)
Ezekiel 28:11-19: the “Prince of Tyre”

Contexts which define primarily the character of the “good”(Christ):

John 10:11-18: the good shepherd
Philippians 2:5-11: the “emptying” (kenosis) of Christ

Contexts where the two are in open conflict:

Job 1-2: God and Satan contend over Job
Zechariah 3:1-5: God and Satan contend over Joshua
Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13: Satan tempts Christ in the wilderness
Revelation 12:7-12: the Dragon contends with the Seed of Woman

The Crucial Question:

How can one know which one of these “lions” is “better” than the other?

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