Chapter 40 - Satan Gets Bruised

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How To Bruise A Satan

Romans 16:16-20
16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18 For they that are such serve not our Master Yeshua the Messiah, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Master Yeshua the Messiah be with you. Amen.

It is wise to view the final reference to “Satan” in the letter to the Romans within the context of its use. Paul closes his letter to the Romans with several greetings and we find a warning to take note of the ones who are teaching things that are not true and causing divisions by propagating heresy. Paul tells the saints in Rome to avoid them. He goes on to tell the hearers that these people are not serving Yeshua but are simply serving themselves. It is the words of those who serve their own desires that deceive the innocent and unsuspecting. The “simple” who are deceived by the false teachers, may be those who will follow the teachings of these men without searching out the truth for themselves. This sounds like many North American Christians who sit in the pew Sunday after Sunday. Sadly, these “innocents” simply regurgitate the teachings they get from the pastors without really studying them for themself. And many of these folk vehemently defend the same teachings without having proven them to be true. They propagate a second-hand belief.

Paul’s message is about men and the false message they spread to the simple. He then lauds the Roman believers again for their obedience that seems to be effective in aiding the Roman saints in detecting many of the lies of these men. Their obedience causes them to be wise to good and to not mingle with the evil. After talking about the evil men who speak evil lies, Paul assures the Roman saints that Yahweh will put an end to the evil men and their lies. He does this by using an idiomatic and metaphorical term. “Bruising Satan under your feet,” means that God’s truth will take care of the men and their evil lies. Satan here is not a cosmic being who will suffer a contusion when someone stomps on him. The term satanasis a reference to the adverse teachers and to the heresies they teach. Soon enough, and in accordance with God’s plan, this evil will cease.

If we persist to take literally that there is a “satan” according to Paul, then we ought to take literally that he will be the recipient of actual contusions as one might get when they bump into a coffee table corner with their knee. Alas, Paul is speaking to them about the eventual elimination of evil men and consequently their heretical teachings and lies.
Aramaic scholars such as George Lamsa testify to the term, “Bruise Satan under your feet,” as meaning to crush evil or error. All-in-all Paul has written to the Romans to encourage them. The people who are trying to stop the movement will not have power to affect them forever. And Paul’s audience has been made aware that sin is an active entity within the human psyche, men cannot separate us from God’s love, and evil will be eventually eliminated. Paul did not leave the Roman believers with any idea that they are to be at war with a supernatural cosmic being. Again, Paul teaches that man has his own inner drive to sin and other men are the satan to be dealt with. For Paul’s audience, there is no question that a supernatural Satan does not exist.



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James R. Brayshaw