Is Rebuking and Binding the Devil Scriptural?

Rebuking Satan while praying to God is not Scriptural

If I've heard it once, I've heard it a thousand times, in the middle of a prayer at church, Bible study, or a prayer meeting, someone will insert a rebuke to the devil to keep him from harassing and/or deceiving anyone. It usually sounds something like this:

"Father, we come to you to pray for this sister who is suffering with cancer (or insert other issue). And Satan, we bind (or rebuke or both) you now, in Jesus name. We take authority over you and command you now to take your hands off sister (insert name), she is not your's, she is the Lord's. We command you to leave now, in Jesus name. Lord, we ask now that you heal our sister and we claim it now and thank you in Jesus name."

At his Strange Fire conference, John MacArthur related a story about just such a practices:

I remember being at a pastor's conference years ago - I mean there were like 2,000 pastors there - it was in a great church, great pastor as well, who was leading the conference, and he stood up and called all the men to stand and he said, 'Let us pray." And the first word out of his mouth was 'Satan!' I almost fell out of the balcony. Satan? "

— John McArthur

Learn the Scriptures, don't take people's word for it

For years I assumed this was one type of correct practice of spiritual warfare, mostly because I was not as good of a Berean as I should have been. Plus, I looked up to many older Christians and assumed they must know the Bible better than I. I would hear them quote a passage and interpret it and just accept it. In recent years, my spirit recoils every time I hear this. We will not see in the Bible where saints are praying and suddenly interrupt the prayer to rebuke Satan. Nor do we see them rebuke or bind Satan when they are going through trials and temptations that the enemy may have thrown them.

The Scriptures are very clear about how to engage in Spiritual warfare. The Scriptures do not teach the practice of rebuking and binding the enemy as the means of spiritual warfare.

* I want to make it clear that I am not in full agreement with John MacArthur's teachings on the Holy Spirit. But in some instances like this, I do.


Clothed to Conquer - Danny Bond

Clothed to Conquer: Putting on the Whole Armor of GOD
Clothed to Conquer: Putting on the Whole Armor of GOD

A simple and easy to read book on the armor we are to wear as Christians. Bond describes each piece of armor and how to wear it to fight the spiritual battle.

 

All authority has been given to us

In Matthew 10:1 we read: "And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease."

Mark 3:14-15 says, "Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons.

The Luke 9:1-2 says, "Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick."

This is pretty straightforward. Jesus gave them power and authority to cast out demons and heal the sick. No argument there. Later, He sends out seventy to do likewise (Luke10:1-12). In verses 17-20 we see the seventy return jubilant, "Lord, even the demons are subject in Your name." Jesus tells them He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven, then gave them authority to trample serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will hurt them.

What we read here is that Christians are given authority and power to cast out demons from unbelievers who are possessed (they must be unbelievers because Christians cannot be possessed, only oppressed).

Casting out demons is not the focus of this article. To clarify, I am speaking of rebuking the devil as a means of spiritual warfare in the life of the Christian during trial, oppression, temptation, or as a preemptive warning not to mess with God's people. While we retain that authority, we do not anywhere in Scripture find Christian's rebuking and binding the devil during these kinds of trials. The Apostle Paul certainly didn't. Peter certainly didn't. We don't see it anywhere. Only when coming in contact with a demon possessed person who is a nonbeliever.

For spiritual warfare, the Scriptures instruct the Christian to exercise His authority differently.

Some of our armor of God

The shield of faith will help you stand against Satan.
The shield of faith will help you stand against Satan. | Source
The Bible is your offensive weapon. Read it and use it to stand against the wiles of the devil.
The Bible is your offensive weapon. Read it and use it to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Submit, resist, draw near

James gave us good instruction about how to fight the devil. "Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you" (4:7).

Prior to these instructions, James is speaking about pride in the life of believers which cause sinful behaviors, indicating friendship with the world. James then quotes Proverbs 3:34 - "God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble" - as a way to call us to lay down our pride and become humble. This is when he says "Submit to God." Step one in spiritual warfare is to submit to God. This is humility. If we are full of pride, we are unable to resist the devil because pride is from him, it is sinful.

Humbling ourselves and submitting to God is the way we resist the devil, and he will flee from us. The word resist means to stand against. We will refer to Ephesians 6 to further explain this. But after we have resisted, James also tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. In other words, don't wander away after you've resisted, or withstood the devil. Stay close to the Lord. The devil knows your weakness. It's easy after overcoming someone or something, for pride to enter once again. So we must draw near to God. He will meet us and guide us.

Rather put on the whole armor of God

Source

Don't take on Satan without the whole armor of God

You are no match for the devil without your armor.
You are no match for the devil without your armor.

The whole armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us how to withstand the devil:

Paul says, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." Then he tells us how to do that. "Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes) of the devil." He goes on to remind us that our battle is not against human enemy, but of principalities of evil. Then he goes on, "Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— " The way to resist, or withstand the devil, and to be strong in the Lord is to put on the armor - all of it. To summarize the armor -

  • Belt of Truth
  • Breast plate of Righteousness
  • Shoes of Peace
  • Shield of Faith (which quenches the fiery darts of the evil one)
  • Helmet of Salvation
  • Sword of the Spirit, he Word of God (our offensive weapon)
  • Praying always

God calls these armor. They protect from and deflect an assault. We often hear people say, "Every morning I put my armor on." I'm not sure what that looks like for them, but to put on the whole armor of God does not mean the exercise of imagining putting on armor, but simply applying these things to our lives daily. The main vehicle is through the Sword (Bible) and prayer - " praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints." We are to get on our knees if we recognize Satan or his cohorts are tempting, harassing, or oppressing us, cling to and stand for God's truth; remember we have Christ's imputed righteousness (His righteousness has been put on your account); we have the peace of God which passes all understanding; exercise our faith to deflect those darts. If we stand firm in our faith, and stay close to God and His word, the devil's darts will deflect off of it. We need to remember our salvation and continue to work it out with fear and trembling. Be in the Word of God, have it in our minds and hearts. The devil's lies and temptations are rendered ineffective if we have the word of God in our hearts and our knees are calloused from prayer. The psalmist said "Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You." And "How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word." Read it, meditate on it, and obey it. And finally, pray always in the Spirit (not in our own flesh).

Watch and pray

Jesus told Peter, James and John to watch and pray so they would not fall into temptation. But they went to sleep and did end up falling into and submitting to temptation. Here in Ephesians we are told to "pray always,...being watchful, with all perseverance and supplication for the saints. Perseverance is important. The devil is patient. He wants to wear us down. Keep your armor on and persevere.

...praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Eph. 6:18).
...praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Eph. 6:18). | Source

What does the Bible say about Binding and losing?

I began my research by finding Bible passages that spoke about binding, losing and rebuking. Here I will start with binding and losing.

In Matthew 16:13-20 we read about a discussion between Jesus and his disciples in Caesarea Philippi.

Jesus: "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"

Various disciples: "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

Jesus: "But who do you say that I am?"

Simon Peter: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus: "Blessed are you Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

The passage ends with "Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ" (vs. 20).

In the next chapter we hear Jesus use this same phrasing in verse 18. For context we'll start at verse 15, Jesus is speaking:

"Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. Assuredly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."

In this passage, Jesus is speaking about church discipline of an erring saint, not binding or losing the evil one. If the erring saint does not repent he is bound (forbidden) according to God's already settled mandate to be in the fellowship. If they do repent, they are loosed (permitting) to return. There is no mention of demons or Satan.

God delivers us from the evil one

When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, Jesus offered a model prayer, known as The Lord's Prayer," although it should be more aptly called "The disciples prayer." It's a prayer that Christian's are to pray for themselves, not non-believers. At one place in that prayer, Christ told the disciples to pray "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (some versions say evil)." This is asking God the Father to deliver us from the enemy. Jesus did not tell the disciples to rebuke or bind the devil when praying, or any other time. The ending of that prayer which immediately follows is "For Thine is the kingdom the power and the glory forever, amen." It's not man's kingdom, power and glory that keeps the devil away, it's God's.

Jesus told Peter that the devil was seeking to sift him as wheat. But Jesus promised He would pray for him. He did not tell Peter to rebuke or bind the enemy.

Binding and loosing means forbidding and permitting.

The Christian in Complete Armour - William Gurnall

The Lord rebuke you

In Jude 9 we read about the archangel Michael's battle with the devil over the body of Moses:

"But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Note Michael did not himself, condemn the devil but cried out "The LORD rebuke you." He did not say, "I rebuke you, I bind you Satan." He knew he was no match for the evil one. It was the Lord's power he called on.

Call on God

Call on God when the evil one comes calling. Exercise your faith, stand on and live grounded in the truth of God's word, and be diligent and watchful in prayer. God is fighting for you.

© Lori Colbo 2014. All rights reserved.

© 2014 Lori Colbo

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14 comments

lifegate profile image

lifegate 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

Excellent Sister,

I'd like your thoughts on this - There was woman in our church years ago. We believe her to have been saved. She was active, had a good testimony, and had fruit. At one point she suffered a nervous breakdown and began to manifest several demons. They were very real. No doubt about it. If one is saved, I believe God gives a new nature to that person, but in this life He does not remove the old nature. That's where the battle lies - between the two natures. Is it possible for this one to have been possessed before salvation, but as a new creature in Christ it became necessary to cast them out after salvation? Not sure I explained it right so I hope you follow what I'm saying. It was always kind of a puzzling situation to me. I never encountered it before and I haven't encountered it since. And although I cannot know the heart, I believe this person was saved at the time of her deliverance. By the way, there was no "binding" or "rebuking" going on. Let me know what you think.

As to your hub, you're right on!


Kathy Carr profile image

Kathy Carr 2 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

I enjoyed your Hub. I will read it again as it makes for a good and insightful read. Thanks. If I may respond to Lifegate, I had a friend whose life was similar to the person he described with the nervous breakdown and all but with her I noticed that she was not working out her soul salvation like she should have and then to mental illness ran in her family so she really needed to be mindful about how she lived and really draw close to God. She ended up on meds which helped her come back to reality and through the power of God in prayer for her. I lost touch but heard that she was doing okay. Just interesting how one's mind can disconnect after putting her hand to the plow.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Bill, I don’t believe it's about the old or new nature. Here is a sound answer from GotQuestions.org:

'While the Bible does not explicitly state whether a Christian can be possessed by a demon, related biblical truths make it abundantly clear that Christians cannot be demon possessed. There is a distinct difference between being possessed by a demon and being oppressed or influenced by a demon. Demon possession involves a demon having direct/complete control over the thoughts and/or actions of a person (Matthew 17:14-18; Luke 4:33-35; 8:27-33). Demon oppression or influence involves a demon or demons attacking a person spiritually and/or encouraging him/her into sinful behavior. Notice that in all the New Testament passages dealing with spiritual warfare, there are no instructions to cast a demon out of a believer (Ephesians 6:10-18). Believers are told to resist the devil (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9), not to cast him out.

Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). Surely the Holy Spirit would not allow a demon to possess the same person He is indwelling. It is unthinkable that God would allow one of His children, whom He purchased with the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19) and made into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), to be possessed and controlled by a demon. Yes, as believers, we wage war with Satan and his demons, but not from within ourselves. The apostle John declares, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Who is the One in us? The Holy Spirit. Who is the one in the world? Satan and his demons. Therefore, the believer has overcome the world of demons, and the case for demon possession of a believer cannot be made scripturally.

With the strong biblical evidence that a Christian cannot be demon possessed in view, some Bible teachers use the term “demonization” to refer to a demon having control over a Christian. Some argue that while a Christian cannot be demon possessed, a Christian can be demonized. Typically, the description of demonization is virtually identical to the description of demon possession. So, the same issue results. Changing the terminology does not change the fact that a demon cannot inhabit or take full control of a Christian. Demonic influence and oppression are realities for Christians, no doubt, but it is simply not biblical to say that a Christian can be possessed by a demon or demonized.

Much of the reasoning behind the demonization concept is the personal experience of seeing someone who was “definitely” a Christian exhibiting evidence of being controlled by a demon. It is crucially important, though, that we do not allow personal experience to influence our interpretation of Scripture. Rather, we must filter our personal experiences through the truth of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Seeing someone whom we thought to be a Christian exhibiting the behavior of being demonized should cause us to question the genuineness of his/her faith. It should not cause us alter our viewpoint on whether a Christian can be demon possessed / demonized. Perhaps the person truly is a Christian but is severely demon oppressed and/or suffering from severe psychological problems. But again, our experiences must meet the test of Scripture, not the other way around.'


lifegate profile image

lifegate 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

Thanks Lori. Separating the issue from demon possession, would you agree that the old nature is not removed at the time of salvation?


lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Yes.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Oh, yes, dear sister, putting on that full armor of God each and every day is so important and His Word will cut through those lies of satan real quick! We can stand firm as we have been dipped in the blood of Jesus. I know I have been in spiritual warfare before and had to cast out demons. Yes, "The Lord rebuke you satan."

Great hub. Up and more and sharing.

God bless you,

Faith Reaper


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Lori, it bothers me too when people address God, then proceed to talk to Satan. "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7. Our first obligation is submission to God. Thank you for this powerful presentation.


Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 2 years ago

Hello lambservant.

Great read, can anything be added to it ? Yes, my zeal to memorize and know if possible word by word. This is what I believe and live all my life, and first time have it read in beautiful English language. Glory be to the Lamb…

Even your lengthy respond to a commentator brings to perfection truthful confirmation how a child of God ought to behave traveling on the narrow road. Thank you, and may the Lord continue blessing you richly.

Perhaps my experience to share: Once the "Full armor " is "on" I am not taking it down religiously… Often facing a situation / brief moment when isn't time or opportunity to go on my knees and pray; it works a loud cry the name JESUS, sounds weird to some people around, however works efficiently …HalleluYAH.

Voted up and useful.

Peace be with us.


skye2day profile image

skye2day 2 years ago from Rocky Mountains

lambservant Hello precious sister. You have written a powerful testimony and truth in your hub of love. We do have dominion over the enemy because Christ abides in us and we in Him. Jesus has defeated the enemy for us on the cross at calvary. Children of God have the armor of God. We need to suit up in it by seeking God first place. Matthew 6:31-32. I love you lambservant. I am honored to know you. Thank you for a timely reminder of who we are in Christ Jesus. Sending hugs, skye


lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Skye your love and encouragement bless my soul. I will say ditto to you, young lady. Shalom.


believer 2 years ago

this is what I'm studying and reading this is confirming things. Being taught wrong in the past has caused me to live in fear of not pleasing our lord. This time of my life is an adventure. Thank you for the info. I'm still collecting more info so I can share with my family and friends. Pray I cover every crack and corner, leaving no space for confussion. Blessing to you!


lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest Author

Greetings believer, and thank you for stopping by. Scriptural integrity is important; by that I mean to rightly discern and interpret it and teach it in order to glorify God. The opposite would be to not rightly discern and interpret it, to teach it from that view, and seek to glorify one's self whether knowingly or not. We can all do that if we're not careful, but there are certain issues such as this one that becomes almost a movement. Pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance as you study the Scriptures and continue to ask, knock, and seek His will. Blessings my friend.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 10 months ago from The Beautiful South

What an enjoyable and thought provoking read; am sorry I missed it up to now. It makes sense that God and satan cannot live in the same house (that is the body) but without wanting to sound like a Pharisee we all surely know that today many who claim to be Christs don't even care to know His word (truth).

So easily many may not be saved and could become possessed and sometimes they almost seem to be against Christians who will not go along with the world's (and their) lies that allow them to live in the world that says everything is OK, not a sin and we will all be in Heaven no matter how we live or what we do.

It is always so great to know a real Christian when you read them.

Sharing.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 10 months ago from Pacific Northwest Author

That so many claim to be Christians dont care about his word is sad indeed Jackie.

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