Quotes by David Reid
Let’s use the idea of "binding Satan," which is taught in some churches as a norm for Christian living. In Revelation 20:1-10 we read that Satan will be bound for a thousand years, later released for a short time, and finally thrown into the lake of fire (hell) for eternal punishment. In other words, it seems quite clear that until Satan is bound for the thousand years, he is not bound. He will not be bound until Scripture says he will be bound. The 1000 years of Revelation 20, when the Lord returns to this earth to set up His millennial kingdom, is a future event. Therefore the "binding of Satan" today is really unscriptural terminology and unscriptural practice, even though the intent may be for the glory of God. Christians who spiritualize the 1000 years of Revelation 20 to the present "Christian age" (the "amillennial" view of Revelation) are inconsistent if they call for the "binding" of Satan. If Revelation 20 is in the present time, then Satan is already bound by God, and he doesn’t need to be bound again and again by Christians! Any way you look at it, "binding Satan" shouldn’t be part of normal Christian conduct today.
What does the New Testament indicate about normal Christian attitude in reference to Satan? James 4:7 says that we are to "resist the devil and he will flee" from us. How do we resist the devil? The classic passage in the New Testament for resisting the devil is Ephesians 6:10-18. This is the Christian "Standard Operating Procedure" for spiritual warfare today. Notice that there is nothing in either James 4 or Ephesians 6 about binding Satan! We are told to resist Satan –to oppose and combat his efforts and schemes. We are to take on the full armor of God so that we can stand firm and extinguish Satan’s flaming missiles.
If it were possible for us to "bind" Satan today, we would not need instruction about the various pieces of the armor of God. If Satan could be bound, he would not be capable of attacking us and throwing flaming missiles. In fact, the concept of "binding" Satan can actually be quite a dangerous belief. If we believe that we can "bind" Satan, we will (wrongly) think that he has been incapacitated, and we will be completely unprepared for the enemy’s attacks. In addition, if we believe that our prayers can "bind" Satan, we will be far less diligent about "putting on God’s armor," and will be defenseless and vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. Satan is not bound – and cannot be bound at the present time. Our strategy, then, is to be fully armed to repel his attack. Putting on the armor of God and fighting is the kind of resistance that thwarts the enemy’s scheming tactics, and forces Satan to flee.
Consider how our Lord Himself resisted Satan when He was tempted in the wilderness (see Matthew 4 and Luke 4.) Jesus did not "bind" Satan. In all three instances of Satan’s temptations, our Lord quoted Scripture, and the devil was repelled ("he left Him for a season.") We should follow our Lord’s example when attacked or tempted. And let’s not forget that if we are going to quote Scripture, we must know Scripture! Our Lord quoted three times from the book of Deuteronomy. How many of us can quote three verses from the book of Deuteronomy? Knowledge of the Word of God is important for repelling Satan, and is crucial for Christian growth and living as well. As He was growing up, the Lord Jesus must have spent a lot of time memorizing the Word of God (see Luke 2:52). What an example for us to follow!