Matthew 16:21-26

21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?”

The Word of God

Thanks be to God!

OUT OF CURIOSITY

“Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

JESUS

The word “satan” comes from the hebrew שָּׂטָן , which means “adversary” or “one who opposes, obstructs, or acts as an adversary.” Several sources indicate that the term “satan” was used to refer to a role of a particular character in the Old Testament, in other words, there’s no Satan, as the proper name of a unique entity. Instead, we find “a satan” , as a noun

“And God’s anger was kindled because he went; and the angel of the Lord placed himself in the way for an adversary (שָׂטָן) against him.–Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him”

NUMBERS 22:22

For some scholars, much of what we currently understand when we talk about “satan” can not be found in the bible:

“A frequent assumption about Satan is not only that he is as bad as can be, but also that he has always been considered this bad … I have been researching and writing about the devil for over 50 years now, and have been making many of the same points without really being able to get across my main point, that no matter when we have heard about Satan and his nature and history, and activities, most them are not to be found in the Bible, where he is a much different person.”

HENRY ANSGAR KELLY, UCLA Professor – University of California News

In 1 Chronicles 21:21, 2 Samuel 24, the Book of Job, and several other manuscripts, we can read that “satan” and the angel of Yaweh are the same characters. From this perspective, a satan is an entity that tested humans with tragedies and death, following orders commanded by God. But these connotations of the term satan evolved throughout the centuries. According to religious historian Elaine Pagels, it was during the formation of the first Christian communities that the conception of the term — as a proper name describing the opponent of God— takes place and influences the stories and imaginary of the whole world: it would be since then that we start believing that Satan is a unique, distinctive reality, as real as God.

a satan