You Will Have Peace Shortly

Bill Henness


Paul was in Corinth when he wrote the epistle to the Romans. The year was the winter of 57 A.D. Among other things, he said,

"And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." (Rom. 16:20b)

This statement (written 57 A.D.), assures the Roman Christians that the persecutions they were enduring would stop shortly, and they would enjoy peace. However, let me quote at length from "World Religions from Ancient History to the Present," edited by Geoffrey Parrinder, pp. 429,430, under Relations between Church and State.

"There were constant outbreaks of mob violence against Christians in Asia Minor and in Rome, because they refused to attend the games (owing to their religious associations) or to worship the Roman gods. They met secretly for worship at night--men and women, behind closed doors -- hence charges of immorality and incest. It was rumoured that they partook of the blood of newborn babies -- hence charges of cannibalism -- and they were militant proselytizers. The Roman historian Tacitus accused them of 'hatred of the human race', and, when the mad Emperor Nero set fire to Rome in A.D. 64, he diverted attention by making the Christians into the scapegoats.

There was severe persecution in Rome and the vicinity, in the course of which Peter and Paul are said to have perished. Domitian (A.D. 96) also persecuted the Christians. So did Marcus Aurelius (161 - 180) and other Emperors, but these were sporadic persecutions and in the intervals of peace the Church grew in strength and numbers, penetrating all strata of society, including the imperial household, until it became 'an empire within the empire.'

In 249 Decius became Emperor. The one-thousandth anniversary of the founding of Rome stirred him to re-establish the ancient worship of the Roman gods, to reunify the empire and so to instigate the first empire--wide systematic persecution of the Christians. Bishop Fabian of Rome was executed in Jan. 250 and the see of Rome was vacant for fifteen months. Bishop Cyprian of Carthage and Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria went into voluntary exile, directing their diocese from secret headquarters. Many Christians stood fast (the confessors); many conformed to the state religion by taking part in sacrifices or burning incense before the statue of the emperor (the lapsed.) There were many martyrs. When the persecution ended in June 251 with the death of Decius, the Church had to deal with the problem of the read mission of the lapsed, and a serious split occurred between Pope Stephen of Rome and Cyprian and the North African Church. Renewed Persecution. During the renewed persecution under the Emperor Valerian in 258, Cyprian was beheaded. Thereafter the Church endured peace for nearly sixty years, during which many half-converts joined the Church, until the final and most severe persecution under the Emperor Diocletian (284-305), who issued a series of edicts designed to stamp out the Christian scriptures, the clergy, and finally the leity as well. Terrible suffering was endured by the Christians, especially in the eastern part of the empire, until Constantine the great defeated the Roman usurper Maxentius at the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312."

So, it seems that Paul made a false prophecy in 57 A.D., when he told the Roman Christians that, "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." Unless 'shortly' means about 255 years (from 57 A.D. to 312.)


Brian Worley     July 1, 2009     All rights reserved!


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