The Victory of the Word
The Victory of the Word
It is common today for Christians to pray, “Lord, bind the strong man,” when they want to help someone who is struggling with difficulties or with sin or with the message of salvation in Jesus. The question arises in this context whether this is an appropriate use of the language of Matthew 12:29.
It is a basic tenet of the Reformed hermeneutic that we are to utilize the totality of Scriptural teaching on any subject as the means of arriving at a correct interpretation of any given text. This is called the “analogy of faith.” In the case before us, we first need to examine the context of Matthew 12 and ask the question, to what does Jesus refer when he speaks of “binding the strong man?” Moreover, it is important to see what the rest of divine revelation says on this subject.
Our text today is Revelation 20:1-6. As we proceed, we will discover that the “chaining” of Satan depicted in our text will help us answer the prevailing question. The text reveals that it is Jesus (the One who possesses the keys of hell and death – Rev 1:8) who binds Satan for a long, indeterminate period of time so that he may no longer “deceive the nations.”
In Luke chapter 10, we see the disciples amazed that the demons are subject to them in the name of Jesus. Jesus replies, “I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” The powerful ministry of the Word, authorized to the disciples by Jesus is causing a serious disruption in Satan’s power on earth. This event foreshadows the power of gospel preaching that will follow the resurrection and ascension of Christ. In Hebrews, the second chapter, we are explicitly told that Jesus by his death destroyed the devil and released men from his power (cf. I John 3:8).
It is worthwhile to examine the connection between Rev 20:3 and Matt 28:18-20. Satan is unable to “deceive the nations” and the Church is told to “disciple the nations.” From Matt 16:18 we learn that the “gates of hell” cannot withstand the advance of the Church. In the very next verse, Jesus is seen to empower the church to exercise his own keys through the advancement of the gospel in the world. And St. Paul envisions the crushing of Satan under the feet of the Church (Rom 16:19-20; cf. Lk 10:19).
Meanwhile, the Church is under the protection of heaven. St. Paul says the church is raised together with Christ and seated with him in heavenly places. This is explicitly confirmed in Rev 20:4, 6. We need not fear the spirit of anti-Christ, which is active in the world, because the One who works in us is greater (I John 4:4). Therefore, the Church can and should boldly proclaim the Truth in Jesus without a worry for her own safety. God shall protect her and give prosperity to the work of the gospel.
Jack Phelps has been the Pastor of Covenant Bible Church since April, 1984. Originally licensed to preach the Gospel by Victorville Bible Church in 1973, he was ordained to the Christian ministry in August, 1984. Pastor Phelps undertook his baccalaureate studies in geology at San Diego State College and Portland State University. He received his theological... read more