Do Christians have the ability or the authority to bind Satan?

Do Christians have the ability or the authority to bind Satan?

No. Instead of confronting the Devil with strong language, we need to approach God with our needs and let Him deal with the situation whatever the problem may be.

Despite the frequent claims from some quarters of Christian churches that believers should “bind” Satan through strong prayers or demands against him, there is no basis in Scripture for a believer to be “binding” Satan.

An example of the error

A prayer to “bind” Satan usually takes the form of something like this:

“In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, I come against you, Satan, the Prince of Darkness to bind you, paralyzing your power, forbidding you to come near this person and influencing her thinking.  I demand that you leave her immediately!”

By “binding” Satan, claims are made to be able to paralyze Satan or silence him or forbid him from influencing a person.  As powerful as this commanding prayer may sound, it is unscriptural.  Nobody in the history of the Bible ever spoke to Satan this way, nor are we commanded to speak to him like this.

How to oppose Satan

The believer can oppose Satan by correctly teaching and applying the truth of Scripture to our doctrine and behavior.  Two examples of this command to oppose Satan are found in 1 John 4:1-14 and James 4:7.

In 1 John 4, the way to overcome Satan is to hold to sound teaching in regards to the divinity of Jesus Christ.  He is truly God and truly a man.  Any claim to the contrary is a doctrine of Satan that must be corrected.

1 John 4:1-4  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.  (2)  By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,  (3)  and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.  (4)  Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

In James 4:7, the command to “resist” the Devil does not imply chastise, bind, scold, paralyze or attack Satan.  Rather it is to yield oneself to God for His will.  What is the attack that Satan is utilizing in James 4?  What form of demon is apparent here?  The first few verses of the chapter tell us that the Devil is behind our selfishness, quarreling and intense covetousness. Resisting Satan implies yielding to the work of the Holy Spirit who gives us his character which is seen in the fruit that He produces in us according to Galatians 5:22-26.

James 4:1-10  What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  (2)  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.  (3)  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.  (4)  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  (5)  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"?  (6)  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."  (7)  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  (8)  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  (9)  Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  (10)  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Satan will be bound

Satan indeed will be “bound” by an angel for 1,000 years during the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-3).  This means that Satan is as good as defeated already.  His end is known.  However, the work of binding him is done by the angel who in truth can paralyze his movements, stem his influence and shut his mouth.

Revelation 20:1-3  Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.  (2)  And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,  (3)  and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

Avoid railing

The Scripture stresses that "Michael made not a railing accusation against Satan over Moses’ body" (Jude 1:9).  This shows us the seriousness in dealing with Satan.  It wasn’t for being too frail that Michael refrained from railing against Satan.  Michael the Archangel has power over the Devil. For example, there was a demon in the Book of Daniel who was withstanding an angel. Michael came to remove him without any difficulty (Daniel 10:13).  In Revelation 12:7-9 Michael and the other angels fight and defeat Satan, casting him out.  Satan is just as good as defeated already.

The point that Jude is making that we need to be very careful in dealing with spiritual powers.  Again, looking at Jude 1:9, Michael, the Archangel, did not dare to bind Satan, or even rebuke Satan. He deferred the job of rebuking Satan to the Lord GOD.  It’s awfully presumptuous to think I could exercise such authority. He is telling us to be very careful how you play around with that dimension, even Michael was careful not to get himself involved with Satan in an argument. The point there that is being made is not that Satan is a match for Michael, but that Michael recognized the fearfulness of dealing with the devil, and it’s a warning to the believer to stay away from those things, which are the manifestation of the devil.

Instead of confronting the Devil with strong language, we need to approach God with our needs and let Him deal with the situation.

Shad Sluiter