About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Rebuking And Binding


I often hear Christians rebuking and binding satan, demons, sickness, and a multitude of other things.  Can you believe that some people have even rebuked me?  Rebuking me is no big deal, but rebuking and binding satan, demons, and sickness, has always disturbed me. 


I know Jesus and some of His followers did cast demons out of people, but casting out demons isn't rebuking and binding them.  Delivering people of demons is a serious matter and should not be undertaken lightly.  It's interesting to me that on one occasion the Apostle Paul was being hassled by a demon possessed girl on a daily basis.  He didn't rebuke or bind the demon.  As a matter of fact, it took him several days before he finally did cast the demon out of her as seen in Acts 16:16 and following.  Paul's decision in this matter wasn't a quick, off the cuff, decision.         


Let's look at the word "rebuke" in the KJV and the NIV.  It's usually used in respect to rebuking those who taught false doctrine, not satan, demons, or sickness.  Now you know why I'm rebuked on the odd occasion.  The one exception to this is found in Jude 9 where the word "rebuke" is in reference to satan.  The text states that Michael the archangel dared not rebuke the devil.  He left that up to the Lord by saying "the Lord rebuke you".  I suggest that if this powerful angel didn't rebuke satan, neither should we.


Now let's look at the word "bind".  There are three passages where the supporters of binding the devil often use in their defense of this practice.  The first passage is found in Matthew 16:18 and following in the KJV.   Jesus told Peter that the gates of Hades would not prevail against those He chooses to represent the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.  Jesus then told Peter that He would give him the keys to this kingdom and that whatever he bound on earth would be bound in heaven, and, whatever he loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven.  Jesus didn't clarify what things could be bound and loosed in this passage.  However, the context suggests that it has something to do with those He chooses to represent the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. 


The Matthew 16 passage may not have conclusively clarified what things can be loosed or bound, but the second passage supporters of binding satan does clarify this issue for us.  In Matthew 18:18 Jesus told His disciples that if a brother sins against any of them the offended brother should confront the offender with his sin in the hope he would repent.  If he doesn't repent, the offended brother should treat him as if he was a pagan.  If the offender does repent, then the offended one is to forgive him.  Jesus then said that whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and, whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.  In other words, the context states that which is either bound or loosed is sin, not satan, demons, sickness, or anything else.  This confirms what Jesus said in John 20:23 when He told these same disciples that "if they forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if they do not forgive them, they are not forgiven".  I conclude that the word "bind" in these passages is in reference to binding or loosing sin through the process genuine repentance and forgiveness.  If sin is forgiven or loosed on earth, it's loosed from God's records in heaven.  If sin is not forgiven but remains bound on earth, it remains bound within the pages of God's records in heaven.  


I now refer you to 1 Thessalonians 2:18 where Paul told the believers in Thessalonica that satan prevented him from visiting them.  If Paul was like some of us, he would have rebuked and bound satan on the spot, but he didn't.  Even though Paul was fearfully anxious over the fate of these believers he waited for Jesus to solve this problem.  1 Thessalonians 3:11 tells us God the Father and the Lord Jesus cleared the way for Paul to visit these new believers.  Like Michael the archangel, Paul let the Lord clear the roadblock.  Even then, God nor Jesus didn't rebuke or bind satan.  Satan was simply kicked out of the way so Paul could pass him by on his way to Thessalonica.    


Mathew 12 is the third passage that those who rebuke and bind satan, demons, and sickness, use in their defense.  In this passage the Jews accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of satan.  Jesus responded in verse 26 by saying that if He delivered people from demons by satan's authority, satan would be fighting himself.  If that is so, how could satan's kingdom survive?  His argument is completely logical.  It makes no sense that satan would use Jesus to cast his servants out of people. 


There's something here that is routinely overlooked when Jesus asked, "How can satan's kingdom survive"?  His question presupposes that satan and his kingdom was surviving and would continue to survive into the foreseeable future.  Jesus wasn't prepared to bind satan any time soon.  I think that's obvious.  That being said, the day will come when Jesus will bind satan.   


In Revelation 20:1 to 3 Jesus tells an angel to bind satan for a thousand years.  The simple Biblical fact is that we cannot, not now, not ever, bind satan.  That's the responsibility of an angel, and then, only at the command of Jesus.  In the meantime we resist satan as stated in James 4:7, 5:6 and 1 Peter 5:9.  The Greek word "anthistemi" is translated as "resist".  It means "to stand firm against", as in "stand firm and don't give into satan".  Resisting satan isn't rebuking or binding him.  It's being confident that Jesus will deal with him in His own way.  It's being unmovable in your conviction; unwilling to retreat.  Then, while standing firm in the authority of Jesus, we employ our spiritual weapons as seen in Ephesians 6:10 and following, which by the way, doesn't include rebuking or binding satan.       



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