Session #087 Satan Bound
Scripture Matthew 12:22-30
Summary In Matthew 12:22-30, Jesus heals a demon-possessed man and is accused by the Pharisees of doing it by the power of Beelzebul or Satan. From Jesus’ rebuttal, we get to learn about Satan as well as the victory we have over him and his demons in the name of Jesus. In this teaching, Henson presents four kingdom principles and provides answers to FAQs like ‘When did Jesus bind Satan?’ and ‘Are Christians supposed to bind Satan and demons’
Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”
But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. Matthew 12:22–30
In the passage, Jesus heals a demon-possessed man and is accused by the Pharisees of doing it by the power of Beelzebul or Satan. From Jesus’ rebuttal, we get to learn about Satan as well as the victory we have over him and his demons in the name of Jesus. There are four kingdom principles that can be gleaned from the teaching.
Setting the Scene (Matthew 12:20-24)
Jesus heals a demon-possessed man and the Pharisees accuse Jesus as empowered by Satan. They are focused on Jesus with the intention of taking Him down.
This is the third record of casting out demons by Jesus, with the other two in Matthew 8:28-34 and 9:32-34.
The people reacted by asking if this could be the Son of David? They had not witnessed such deliverance (Matthew 9:33) and were astonished and amazed.
The Pharisees wanted to discredit Jesus and dismiss His authority by calling Him “this fellow” likening Him to just another man, and not a Rabbi. They cast doubt as to where His power comes from when they accuse Him of casting out the demons by Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24).
This is not the first time they had the same accusation in Matthew 10:25.
Baal-zebub is a pagan god of the Philistine city of Ekron, meaning “lord of the flies” with references in 2 Kings 1:2. Excavations at Philistine sites have uncovered golden images of flies.
Beelzebul (lord of dung) may be a corruption of Baal-zebul (Baal the prince), as a deliberate effort to demean the god. It is a common practice to apply the names of gods of enemy nations to the devils of one’s own religion. As such, Beelzebub/Beelzebul is a reference to Satan, the devil, as the prince of demons.
Pharisees were not against demonic deliverance and Jewish exorcism was an accepted practice. But it has to be conducted according to their terms and conditions.
They questioned the source of Jesus’ power and since Jesus did not follow their rules and regulations, Jesus is considered a magician or a sorcerer (as those of other religions and practices); and thus of the devil. That warrants a death sentence,
Jesus did not withdraw this time. He engaged the Pharisees head-on. Through His rebuttal, we will learn more about the enemy as well as our victory over this enemy through Jesus Christ.
Every Kingdom Divided Against Itself Will Not Stand (Matthew 12:25-26)
Which ruler, in his right mind, would divide his own kingdom, city, or house? That would result in a civil war, resulting in destruction. This proposition by the Pharisees is absurd and ridiculous.
Satan’s kingdom is totally united against God’s kingdom. Satan’s main objective is to keep people in bondage. He does not want anyone to be set free at all. As such, he will not cast out his own demons.
That said, Satan is also the Master of deception, distractions, and decoys. There are alternative exorcisms and deliverance by other religions, pagan and cults. It is common for people including believers when in desperation, to look for alternative remedies and cures. They may seem to set free but are still in bondage.
Over time, secularism and intellectualism are growing. Many do not believe in demon possession, attributed to mental and psychological disorders. These are treated by medication and still in bondage.
On the other extreme, there is hyper-spirituality. Behind every issue is a spirit. They take no personal responsibility to live free in Christ, and still in bondage.
Jesus: Satan’s Kingdom is Not Divided
A point to ponder, is God’s kingdom divided on this? There is no clear consensus on how to deal with such issues. On one hand, many attribute everything as “of the devil”, whilst on the other hand, everything is fine.
There is a lot of confusion and suspicion within the Body of Christ. Denomination vs denomination, traditional vs charismatics, cessationism vs continuationism.
Deliverance is important, but it does not end there. It is what happens after deliverance that is even more important. Is the person really set free and growing in maturity in Christ?
If not, then deliverance can become a preoccupation, crutch, and distraction with many who keep going for prayers and deliverance over and over again.
Recognize the Kingdom of God (Matthew 12:27-28)
Although Satan and evil spirits are mentioned in the Old Testament, we do not see many cases of demonic deliverance. Satan is allowed to ‘attack’ Job (not possess), and God supernaturally heals Job. No one prays for Job. In fact, Job prays for his friends.
There is only one account in 1 Samuel 16:14-23 where an evil spirit is upon king Saul. David ministered with music and king Saul is ‘delivered’.
In the New Testament, gospel accounts record open confrontations between Jesus and demons, the disciples and apostles against demons. This is a clear sign of the Messiah and the advancement of the kingdom of God.
Other than Jesus’ reference to the disciples of the Pharisees when He asked them “by whom do your sons cast them out?”, Jewish exorcists were mentioned only once in Acts 19:13-14 about the seven sons of Sceva in Ephesus (occultic centre).
The synonyms are not positive, magician, sorcerer, imposter. Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:9-10, Elymas (Bar-Jesus) the sorcerer in Acts 13:4-12, and Pharaoh’s magicians in Exodus.
Jewish exorcism was probably developed in Old Testament times with possible influence from other Near Eastern practices. They are largely based on magic, formulas, incantations; based on Hebrew Scriptures. The only way to control the demon is obtaining, through magic, power over the ruler of demons.
Through ritualistic and liturgical, they use smoke and sulfur, to “fumigate” and coerce the demon into co-operation, to reveal his name. The name is necessary to know how to overpower him. At times, they sought assistance from benevolent spirits. Rituals of increasing intensity, to “beat” the demon out were common, and many were subjected to mental, emotional, physical abuse during deliverance (even today).
If such exorcisms are considered to be of God, how do you explain the casting out of demons with just one word by Jesus? Jesus is even more powerful. He did not need to conjure up anything, to chant, or to seek the help of any other power or spirit. Jesus is either Beelzebub himself, or He is God, who alone had power over Satan.
Jesus’ conclusion, “If (which really means Since) I cast out by the Spirit of God, it proves that the kingdom of God has arrived”. The Jews looked to the day when Messiah will come, empowered by the Spirit of God, to usher in the Spirit of God. The kingdom of God will be established by the power of the Spirit of God.
Notice that Jesus is recorded as saying “the kingdom of God” and not “the kingdom of heaven”. He did not have to be politically correct. Jews cannot mention God but Jesus can because He is God and it is His kingdom.
Luke 11:20 says “But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.” The Spirit of God is the Finger of God as seen in the third plague in Egypt, dust to lice (Exodus 8:19). Pharaoh’s magicians could not replicate the miracle but Pharaoh’s heart was already hardened. Sadly, the Pharisees also responded in the same way as Pharaoh. Hardened hearts caused by legalism will not accept the kingdom of God
Satan Bound and His House Plundered (Matthew 12:29)
Satan’s kingdom is not divided, but very united. There is no way to penetrate this house unless you take down the boss, “the strong man”. Then, you can rescue those trapped in it.
Jesus can just say a word and demons flee, it means that He already has the upper hand over Satan. The “strong man” has already been ‘bound’, and Jesus is stronger than “the strong man”.
When did Jesus ‘bind’ Satan? When He overcame Satan in the wilderness, refusing to submit to Satan’s offers, refusing to worship Satan. Satan had no power over Jesus and for His obedience to God, He gave Him victory over Satan. The final victory was secured at the Cross, “that through death He might destroy Him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Hebrews 2:14.
Though Satan is still roaming the earth, the eschatological statement and miracle foreshadow the time when Satan will be bound for 1,000 years in Revelation 20:1-6. He will still be released again before being tormented forever and ever (Revelation 20:7-8). Satan has been ‘bound’ but he is not ‘bound’ yet, just as the kingdom is here and not yet.
Should we, can we, bind Satan and demons? In “binding and loosing” found in Matthew 16:19; and 18:18, they refer to church authority and not the binding and loosing of Satan and his demons. If not, Paul would not openly declare that Satan is still “the prince of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) and “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4). No amount of binding will change that. That said, Satan and his demons are already defeated and disarmed. As such, they cannot stand in the way of the advancement of God’s kingdom.
Instead, we are told to be sober and vigilant (1 Peter 5:8) and resist the devil (James 4:7).
Further instructions are to repent, stop sinning, and live holy and humble lives before God and men. We are to put on the armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) and to battle against powers and principalities. We are told – not to bind these powers – but to put on the armour of God. We live a life out of the knowledge and understanding of truth, peace, faith, salvation, the word of God, and prayer with the saints.
We are to leave Jesus and His angels to do the binding at the end of the age. Even Michael the archangel did not dare not do anything against the devil without God’s direction and permission (Jude 9). Our part is to be obedient and faithful in living right by the ways of the kingdom and do not give the enemy a foothold.
Make Sure You Are On The Right Side (Matthew 12:30)
The Pharisees and multitudes have to decide who they are for, God or Satan?
Pharisees thought they were speaking for God but were actually speaking against God. Instead of gathering, they were scattering. Instead of unity, they were sowing discord. Be careful that we are not doing the same thing amongst the Body of Christ. We may not be clear or comfortable with every practice. Live by your convictions and let others live by their convictions. Do not be distracted from fulfilling your own assignment. In the end, every servant will give account to the Master for his words and actions.
Can anyone cast out demons using the name of Jesus? (Mark 9:38–41;Acts 19:13–16)
There is a difference between casting out demons “in His name”, and trying to cast out demons “using His name”. The evil spirit did not know the sons of Sceva in Christ; but Paul, they recognized as someone who was in Christ. The “someone” in Mark’s gospel is someone who believes in Christ and hence was able to cast out demons “in His name”. The name of Jesus is not a magic chant or formula. Everything is by faith according to grace. It is a relationship with Jesus.
Is everyone who casts out demons in Jesus’ name known by Him (Matthew 7:21–23)?
There is nothing wrong with casting out demons but remember that it is not an indication of spiritual maturity or right kingdom living at all. It is definitely not a qualifier of final entrance into the kingdom.
We have to live righteously and beware of increasing lawlessness. Not in legalism but in the Spirit of the Law. Not fleshly freedom but live by the Law of the Spirit
2 Peter 1:5-11 calls us to have fruitful growth in faith, providing the steps to maturity and living a victorious Christian life.
Two kingdoms are at war – and lives are at stake. We have to recognize that Satan’s kingdom is very united. We must learn to be united as God’s house, gather, and not scatter. Live by your convictions and fulfil your assignments.
Deliverance from demons is important and needful – to set captives frees but remember that spiritual growth and maturity in Christ must be the outcome.
The devil is strong and sneaky but does not give him so much credit. Satan has been ‘bound’ and he will finally be ‘bound’. In Christ, we have power and authority over the enemy. We are not called to bind Satan and his demons. When we submit to God, we resist the devil and he has to flee. Through faith and obedience, living holy and righteous lives in Christ, the enemy has no hold on us; we will be victorious in Jesus Christ over the enemy.