Question:

"No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house" (Mark 3:27).

From this verse we learn that Satan is currently bound by Christ and that his power is limited.My question is: Was Satan bound before Jesus came to earth as fully God and fully man or was he bound only after Christ came?


Answer:

In the context, Jesus was accused of being able to cast out demons by the power of Satan (Mark 3:22). Jesus' first reply is that the accusation does not make sense. If Satan was doing battle against Satan, then Satan would not survive. Satan would not be supplying power to undo the very damage he has done.

Jesus' second point is the statement given above which is paralleled in Matthew 12:29 and Luke 11:21-23. The strong man is Satan, the strong man's house is the world, and the strong man's goods are the people Satan has captive. In order to bring freedom to the world, Jesus has to bind Satan. This is the explanation of what he was doing by freeing people from the power of demons -- he was limiting Satan (Luke 10:17-20). This preparatory work was necessary in order to accomplish the true task of spoiling Satan's house, which was accomplished by Jesus' death on the cross (Hebrews 2:14; I John 3:8).

So in this statement, Jesus is not only explaining what he is doing, but he also is stating that he did not come into this world just to heal people of demon possession. He is also pointing out that this was a task that only someone mightier than Satan could do. The fact that Jesus is able to cast out demons against Satan's will proves that he is not merely a man since no man is stronger than Satan (I John 4:4). It is one more evidence that Jesus is the Messiah and God in the flesh.

"And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it" (Colossians 2:13-15).

James Burton Coffman, in his commentary, seems to think that Colossian 2:13-15 is referring to the Jewish religious hierarchy. I tend to think it could and should refer to both. What are your thoughts?

Paul tends to use principalities and powers to refer to spiritual and not physical forces:

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).

"And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:1-2).

"Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power" (I Corinthians 15:24).

"For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power" (Colossians 2:9-10).

"which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come" (Ephesians 1:20-21).

"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).

Governments are ruled by humans who don't live long. But these passages talk about Jesus' greatness over longlasting powers both now and in the future. A triumph over a government or series of governments is not significant; after all, the world has had many emperors in its history. However, since Daniel does explain that there are spirits operating behind the governments (Daniel 10:20-21; 12:1), I guess it is only a slight separation.

Once again I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. Thank you. Your answers have been very helpful.