20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (NIV).
ESV - 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
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Satan will be "crushed" or "bruised" (KJV) under their feet when they walk obediently to God. The focus is on the "crushing" rather than the time it will happen. This statement by Paul here in Romans echoes Genesis 3:15 - "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; it will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel." The offspring of Eve will "bruise" or "crush" the head of the serpent. Paul uses this metaphor to say - when you walk obediently with God you - in effect - "crush" Satans head. Put another way, when you "obey" Christ, you become his foot that crushes the enemy just like in Genesis 3. In the previous verse (Rom. 16:19), Paul is bragging about their obedience. In this verse, he indicates that obedience is not empty. It is the way you do battle with Satan. "So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord" (Col. 1:10, ESV). This is a great example of the partnership that God has with his people to expand the kingdom of God. God will "crush," but with your feet. Paul's metaphor in Ephesians 6 also helps us: "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace" (Eph. 6:13-15). The greatest threat to the adversary is an "obedient" Christian.
In my opinion, Paul's reference to God crushing Satan "soon" was not with regard to his final defeat that will occur at the close of the age. Instead, it was speaking of the short time frame that would be involved in His resolution of the dissensions and difficulties that were dividing the Christians at Rome at that time, as noted by Paul three verses earlier (Romans 16:17), and that Satan would have been seeking to promote and encourage as part of his opposition to Christ.
Genesis 3:15 represents the first promise of the coming of Messiah through whom the serpent, or Satan (Rev 12:9), was to be destroyed. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent defeated Adam and Eve and thus gained authority over the Earth (John 12:31; 14:30). The Genesis 3:15 prophesy details how the serpent will "strike" the heel of the woman's offspring, but the woman's offspring will "crush" the head of the serpent. The attack against the woman's offspring, although painful, is only temporary, but the crushing of serpent’s head indicates Satan's permanent defeat. Romans 16:20 is a direct reference to the promise made in the Garden (Gen 3:15). In Revelation 12 we find similar language describing the conflict between the woman (God’s Church), woman's offspring (Christ) and the dragon. The dragon is identified as the "ancient serpent" direct reference to Genesis 3. The "offspring" of the woman defeats the serpent, assuring Satan's future extinction (Rev 20). According to Revelation 12, what was promised in Genesis 3:15 is being fulfilled in the flow of history. Very soon Christ will return to take His children home (Mark 13:26, 27) and crush the head of the serpent (Rev 20:2, 10).
I agree mostly with Scott Broberg in that the timing is not the most important issue here. It's a question of obedience to the Lord and public testimony to others. It's about pleasing the Lord and keeping a consistent public testimony. I believe it is of utmost importance to obey: Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." Romans 16:20 suggests that these false teachers really come from Satan, and one day even Satan will be completely defeated.
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