A key 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 Jesus' 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 Satan's 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, Satan's 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 Satan's 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 Jesus' name. He said,

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 it's 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 people's lives. The extension of the gospel's 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 that,

God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:6).

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 thrones.

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 man's 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.

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