issue for Christians is the binding of Satan. The most common
belief is that Satan will be bound in the future after the second
coming of Jesus. This belief has
caused Christians to allow Satan much greater authority on earth
than he deserves.
Revelation 20:1-3 describes the
defeat of Satan by Jesus.
And I saw an angel coming
down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in
his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient
serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a
thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and
sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations any
more until the thousand years were ended.
A chain is a symbol of
restraining power. It stands for the real, sovereign and
restraining power of Jesus. Up until the time of the cross Satan
was able to dominate the nations of the earth, but he was defeated
by the death of Jesus. He has no authority in heaven, and can only
work by deception. He still works, but he is limited in the area
of his activity. He is controlled by God, and cannot dominate the
nations as he did previously. In the Old Testament all the nations
except Israel loved in darkness. Satan will never be able to
exercise that kind of power again.
This is not a description of some
future event. The Bible teaches very clearly that we do not have
to wait for Satan to be bound in the future. He was defeated by
Jesusí victory on the cross. Jesus disarmed Satan and all his
powers, by making a public spectacle of them, when he triumphed on
the cross (Col 2:15). He has already done everything that needs to
be done to secure Satanís downfall.
The impotence of Satan is clearly
demonstrated in Job 1,2. Before Satan could touch anything
belonging to Job, he had to get permission from the Lord. He has
no power over a righteous man, but the unrighteous are in his
power. Because Job was one of the few righteous men in the Old
Testament world, Satan could exercise considerable power. In this
age, all Christians have been made righteous by the blood of
Jesus. Satan cannot touch them unless he gets permission from the
Lord. He is an instrument that God used to fulfil his purposes.
Satan only has power over those who reject the salvation of Jesus.
Once the majority of people are converted, Satanís power will be
gone. He has been bound by Jesus.
The reason Satan still seems to be so
active is that the church has failed to realise the full extent of
what Christ has achieved. In binding Satan, Jesus works through
the church. He has placed the chain that binds Satan in the hands
of his people. They must restrain Satanís power over the
nations. Jesus won a judicial victory on the cross. When a
decision is made in a court of law it does not become a fact until
the police enforce it. The church has the police power to enforce
Jesus judicial victory. Satan will not be fully bound until the
church forces him to recognise the sentence that was passed
against him at the cross.
The church has the power to bind
Satan, but is not using the authority that has been given to it.
Satan will not be bound in some future event. He will be bound
when the church becomes aware of the binding power that it already
has, and begins to exercise that authority in Jesusí name. He
Whatever you bind on earth
will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will
be loosed in heaven. Matt 18:18.
Jesus repeated this statement to
show itís importance (Matt 16:9). Satan is already bound. Jesus
is waiting for the church to tie him tight. The authority that we
inherit through sharing in the ascension will become a reality.
Jesus no longer works directly on the earth. He works through the
Holy Spirit moving in the lives of his people. It is the church
who must bind Satan tight.
Satan is bound through the
proclamation of the gospel. When the seventy disciples returned
from their successful preaching mission, Jesus said,
I saw Satan fall like
lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample
on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the
enemy. Luke 10:18,19.
As the church successfully
proclaims the gospel of the cross, Satan and his angels lose their
power over peopleís lives. The extension of the gospelís
influence limits their sphere of activity. When all the world is
won for Jesus, there will be no place for Satan on the earth.
The church also binds Satan
through spiritual warfare (Eph 6:10-12). When Jesus ascended on
high, all authority was given to him. What many Christians do not
realise is that they share in that authority. The Bible teaches
God raised us up with Christ
and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
Not only was Christ raised to a
position of authority, but those who are in Christ, have also been
raised with him in the Spirit. They share in his authority. The
church can use this spiritual power to bind Satan. He can only act
when sinners give him authority to do so. If the church really
understood the privileged place it has, Satan would be already
bound. And this is why the saints are pictured as sitting on
I saw thrones on which were
seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw
souls of those who had been beheaded because of their
testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had
not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his
mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and
reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Rev 20:4
Those who are faithful to Jesus
have been given authority to reign on his behalf. They are the
ones who bind Satan.
The crucial question is this:
when was Satan bound? The Bible teaches that he was bound at the
cross. One last example is Matthew 12:29. Here, Jesus taught that
Satan is bound. He was able to cast out evil spirits because the
strongman had already been bound.
How can anyone enter a strong
manís house and carry off his possessions unless he first
ties up the strong man?
The fact that the early church
was able to continue this deliverance ministry is proof that Satan
was bound at the cross. We must accept the verdict of the Bible.
We must accept the verdict of the Bible. Jesus does not have
to return to bind Satan. He has already done everything necessary
to restrain him. We just have to do our part.