Saturday, February 27, 2021

Which Lion?

Photo by Clement Bardot 2014

In this dream, I am lying in the fetal position on a stone floor and realize I’m in the grasp of a lion, encircled by its front legs. It gazes at me intently, then gently extends its paw and touches each of my fingers.

Oddly, I’m not afraid, but I’m not sure whether it is about to devour me or is just protecting me. I get up very cautiously and back away.

When I awaken, I find the dream troubling but not frightening. The paternalistic, intimate, and loving gestures of the gentle giant reminded me of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Jesus Christ Himself (Revelation 5:5). His tender touch with His paw to each of my fingers reminded me of the touch of life as God created Adam and made him a living soul (Genesis 2:7), portrayed on the Sistine Chapel ceiling by the great artist Michelangelo as God, in human form, reaching out His finger to touch Adam’s outstretched finger.

In the allegorical novel the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Christian author C.S. Lewis used a lion, the noble Aslan, to symbolize Lord Jesus, Christ and King. Aslan portrays not only a just and victorious ruler, but one who sacrifices his own life for a traitor, just as Jesus died to save us while we were still His enemies (Romans 5:10). Yet Aslan arose from the dead by a supernatural force, symbolizing Jesus Christ rising from the dead through the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11). Aslan then kills the White Witch, a representation of Satan, whom Jesus Christ will defeat (Hebrews 2:14-15) at the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:7).

If the lion I dreamt of represented Jesus Christ, why, in the dream, did my doubt and reluctance outweigh my desire to remain in the lion’s loving embrace? Why did I back away from the One Who gave His life for me? Which lion was this – the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, or the evil predator wanting to consume me?

The morning after the dream, one of our daily devotional readings was by Charles Stanley, warning that Satan is a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Indeed, Satan is not only the father of all lies (John 8:44), but the great deceiver. He lacks originality and has no creative power from himself, so he imitates Jesus Christ, the Holy Trinity, His miracles and His teachings.

The devil has his ministers at the helm of governments, universities, corporations, and even churches (Ephesians 6:12), where they can appear as ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). This is not surprising, for Satan, whom God created as Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12-15), the most beautiful and eloquent light-bearer and covering angel, can also transform himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:4).

In contrast to the loving yet omnipotent Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Satan is a roaring lion on the prowl to destroy anyone susceptible to his traps (Revelation 9:11). Thankfully, once we are saved by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way (John 14:6) to Heaven, we have His Holy Spirit living in our heart (2 Corinthians 1:22, 3:3; Galatians 4:6), to guide us away from Satan’s lies and deception, and a band of angels to protect us (Matthew 4:6; Hebrews 1:14). He Who is within us, namely the Spirit, is greater than he who is the ruler of the world, namely the devil (1 John 4:4).

The Spirit protected Samson from a lion, which was likely sent by Satan in an attempt to destroy Samson’s potential ministry, by empowering him with supernatural strength that allowed him to kill the lion as easily as he might have killed a baby goat. Yet Satan then used the lion to tempt Samson into a downward spiral of sin, beginning with defiling himself and his parents by eating honey from the lion’s carcass  (Judges 14:5-9).

Similarly, God empowered the young shepherd David with the strength to kill a lion and bear that threatened a lamb in his flock, in a foreshadowing of Jesus, the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4), laying down His life for His sheep (John 10:11). In a way, this defeat of Satan’s messengers prepared David for the battle to come against Goliath, chief of the Philistine warriors, whom David slew, giving a great victory to the Israelites (1 Samuel 17:32-58).

Lying on the stone floor in the dream reminds me of Daniel in the lions’ den. When Daniel was imprisoned for praying to his God, he was sentenced to a savage and cruel death by being thrown into a den of hungry lions. Yet God subdued the lions by His angel, who restrained and calmed the would-be predators, shutting their mouths, so that Daniel emerged unscathed. Then God permitted the same lions to be used to destroy Daniel’s enemies (Daniel 6:7-28).

The lion, King of the Jungle, may represent deadly forces at work sent by Satan to torment and destroy us. Yet we must remember that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, rules over all and has infinite power to subdue our enemies (Isaiah 41:10).

May the Spirit give us wisdom to discern the good from the evil and the faith to trust Him completely and to remember that He will not allow any evil or harm into our lives unless it is for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28) and His ultimate glory!

© 2021 Laurie Collett



Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
yes we have to recognize which 'lion' is speaking to us, and I think your dream was to confirm this. I have a picture of a lion on my mobile phone cover, and for me it represents the lion of Judah, our Lord Jesus. As we grow in the Lord and go through trials we will come to recognise who is speaking to us. The liar and the thief (satan) speaks through the carnal mind, trying to get us to question God's Word spoken to us through the mind of Christ, which we have access to once we become born again of God's Holy Spirit after becoming a child of God. The spiritual enemy still says 'Did God really say' and as we mature in Christ we come to recognise which 'lion' is speaking to us. God bless you Laurie, thankyou for sharing this informative post. I think it will help a lot of people who read it.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
Thank you as always for your Scripturally-based comment and for your encouragement. I pray that the post would help anyone who might read it.
Praise God for the Spirit giving us discernment and leading us to the mind of Christ. May we trust Him alone and not be deceived by the lies of the devil.
God bless you, your family and ministry,

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
I too have watched the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in both film and animated versions.
An excellent Story by C.S.Lewis.
Amazingly, Jesus Christ is portrayed as both a meek lamb and a lion. When Peter wrote that Satan prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, he likened the Enemy to a lion, but he still isn't one himself.
His way to deceive is old and unoriginal, as you say, but it's still very effective: that salvation has to be earned, or more subtly, the grace of God has to be retained by works.
I believe that this form of deception is so effective, that he has no need to formulate any new ideas.
Wishing you every blessing for you and Richard.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
I agree -- Satan's deceptive strategy has worked for him since Adam and Eve, so he has no need to change. Nevertheless, despite this warning and so many others in the Bible, many Christians fall for his lies.
Praise God that we are saved by grace through faith, and not by works, no matter what Satan says. But as God's workmanship, may we continue in good works, not to achieve or maintain salvation, but to serve God and one another and to glorify Him.
May God bless you and Alex,

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post, Laurie.

The same lion that destroys other animals may well lay down its life for its cubs. Christ is both the lion who destroys the wicked and the lion that protects his cub.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald, for your encouragement and for making the great point that Jesus Christ has infinite power that He will use to defeat His enemies, yet that He used to sacrifice His life to safe us and then to rise from the dead, giving all who trust Him eternal life.
God bless,