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Question:
One of your answers is critical of the idea of “binding Satan” but it wasn’t the actual topic of that question. Can you explain your answer in more detail?

Answer:

Dear readers:
I have received so many critical responses and questions about my answer concerning “binding Satan”, I felt it necessary to follow up. The orginal answer can be found here: http://www.seriousfaith.com/question_detail.asp?questionid=807
I realize that sometimes people use the phrase to generically mean “God, protect us from the evil spiritual forces”…. which I don’t propose is wrong in essence, but still kind of “sloppy” Biblically. However, there is a large segment of Christianity who do not use this phrase in a generic sense but literally believe in the idea of “binding Satan”.
Satan is not omnipresent or omniscient… most likely, very few of us will ever be directly oppressed by Satan himself because he has bigger fish to fry. So even for those who specifically believe in this idea.. what they really mean is “bind demonic forces”.
So even if we could specifically “bind” Satan himself, it still leaves legions of his demon followers to oppress us or attack us or frustrate our efforts for God. Do we bind all the demons? If we can bind Satan with a word, why not bind all the less powerful demons as well? And if it is really doing something, why aren’t we methodically scheduling Christians every minute of every day to bind Satan? Why let him loose for even one second?
If we can “bind Satan” then why doesn’t the Bible indicate how long a “binding lasts”? Where is the idea of binding over and over again? That is what must happen because obviously one “binding’ isn’t keeping Satan bound for very long. How long is he bound? Bound from what? How does he get loose? Why would God give us such a “power” that evidently is not very effective because despite the fact that millions of Christians a day, a minute, all over the world “bind Satan”… he and his demons are still wreaking havoc on the world.
A lot of Christians use the phrase when what they really mean is “God, please protect us from demonic attempts to keep us from doing Your will” which of course is perfectly acceptable… why don’t we just pray that?
I received the following verses over and over and over yesterday from those who disagree with me and support this idea of “binding Satan”. Unfortunately, all the verses are taken grossly out of context which is a common mistake when addressing one of these questionable Christian practices.
  • Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (NKJV)

    This verse is specifically speaking of future events concerning those who endure during the Tribulation. However, even if is WAS directed to us, it simply says nothing about “binding Satan”. It says that Christians overcame the persecution of the devil by the blood of the Lamb. To use this to support “binding Satan” is very plainly adding meaning to the verse that does not exist.

  • James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (NKJV)

    A verse definitely directly applicable to us. So what does it say? “Bind Satan”? No. It says “resist him” which means to oppose, stand against or set yourself against him. “Devil” here is a reference to all things evil, all things of Satan, all the demons who serve him, not just Satan proper. James is in the midst of instructions on how to live a holy life and quite naturally and appropriately says, “stand against everything evil, whether demons or sin or Satan himself and God will cause the devil to flee”.

    The verse says, “resist” and the devil will what? Flee. Nothing about “binding” anyone or anything.

  • 1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (NKJV)

    Again, resist the devil and all that he represents. Nothing about “binding”. Do not read into Bible verses meanings that simply aren’t there.

  • Matthew 18:18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (NKJV)

    Satan is not the context of this verse unless you REALLY stretch “whatever” to specifically support this idea of “binding Satan”. The context of this verse is PLAIN: it is speaking of Church discipline and how to deal with a Brother who is in obvious sin. The verse is saying in essence, “follow my commands about how to discipline a sinning Christian, and whatever decision or action you take on earth, will be honored in heaven”.

  • Matthew 16:19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (NKJV)

    In context, this verse is specifically and plainly speaking of the establishment of the Church on earth spoken directly to Peter and the disciples. In response to this I hear:

    • “But aren’t we Christians too? Wasn’t Jesus speaking to us too?” No. He was speaking to Peter and the original disciples about the Church that was yet to be established on earth. The church is established today. We have the full revelation of God’s Word. It is a common error of Bible interpretation to take Scripture and act as if WE are the original audience. We aren’t. When God spoke to the Jews, He was speaking to the Jews. When Jesus spoke to the disciples, He was speaking to the disciples, When Paul wrote to the early Church, he was writing to a specific people, who lived in a specific time, in a specific place.

      PROPER BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION IS THE PROCESS OF FINDING OUT THE EXACT TRUE ORIGINAL MEANING OF THE ORIGINAL SPEAKER TO THE ORIGINAL HEARER IN THE ORIGINAL CONTEXT – AND ONLY THEN MAKING APPLICATION TO US TODAY.

    • “But isn’t God the same yesterday, today and tomorrow?” Yes. But understand the implications of trying to apply that logic. Do you follow every command, every law, every regulation that God has ever put forth because “God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow”? No. (Read Leviticus just in case you’re unclear on this point). So you cannot apply this logic selectively to certain things you WANT follow. Just because God gave the keys of the kingdom to Peter and the disciples and proclaimed on them the power to “bind and loose” doesn’t NECESSARILY extend to ALL CHRISTIANS based on the notion of “God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow”. You cannot use this logic to haphazardly claim random verses as applicable. There must be clear Biblical reason to say “this applies to us today”.

    • “Isn’t God still establishing His church?” No. The Church is established. The Word of God is complete. Yes, we are striving to spread the Gospel and bring people into the Kingdom… but the Kingdom is established on earth exactly as Jesus directed the original disciples. The mission and purpose of the original Apostles (and their accompanying supernatural powers) has been complete for a couple of thousand years. We now have OUR mission and purpose and that is to spread the Gospel and do God’s Will.

I received responses from readers directing me to “read Ken Hagin”, “read Benny Hinn”, “read Ken Copeland”… with all due respect to both those who suggested this reading, and those men themselves…. I don’t need to read MEN when I have GOD’s Word sitting right in front of me. All of these men are from same vein of Christianity and frequently parrot the teachings of each other. So it’s not as if each of them are Bible teachers who came to their conclusions independent of each other.

Not that it matters. Even if they did, the conclusion is simply wrong and just because a handful of men come to same conclusion does not mean that we are to accept it without question. The verses used to support this notion of “binding Satan” are either simply missing from Scripture, or samples of gross prooftexting.

In the sense that sincere Christians use the phrase “bind Satan” to mean “Lord, protect us from demonic influence and activity” or “Lord, please frustrate Satan’s attempts to spread his lies and evil in this world” – then I most certainly accept that and bathe it in Christian liberty and grace, taking the sentiment for what it is.

But in the direct sense of the common practice and teaching that Christians can literally “bind Satan” or demons, I must stand on God’s Word with conviction and honestly proclaim it to be wholly unBiblical – both from the aspect of proper Bible interpretation and from common sense given the fact that after millions of “bindings”, Satan and his demons are still running free.

Yes, we should invoke “Jesus Name” to protect us from Satan, asking God to thwart demonic activity and influence. We should pray that God will protect us from Satan and keep his army from hindering our work for the Lord. We should set ourselves against evil and resist it with all our might AND GOD will cause the demons to flee.

It is GOD who controls Satan, not some notion of us “binding” him with our words or commands. In closing, the Bible is clear about when and how Satan WILL be bound:

Revelation 20:1-3 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. (NKJV)

Revelation 20:7-10 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (NKJV)

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