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Particulars of Christianity:
311 Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare Part 2d
The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer

Spiritual Warfare Part 1a: A Study of Demonic Activity
Spiritual Warfare Part 1b: A Study of Demonic Activity
Spiritual Warfare Part 2a: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Spiritual Warfare Part 2b: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Spiritual Warfare Part 2c: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Spiritual Warfare Part 2d: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Spiritual Warfare P. 3a: Biblical/Historic View of Angels & Demons
Spiritual Warfare P. 3b: Biblical/Historic View of Angels & Demons
Spiritual Warfare P. 3c: Biblical/Historic View of Angels & Demons
Spiritual Warfare Study Conclusions
Spiritual Warfare Additional Quotes and Definitions

Binding and Loosing

Point No. 6
Binding and loosing deals with forgiveness and excommunication within the church and NOT with taking authority over angels. Christians are NOT given authority over angels anywhere in the scripture (at least during this present age).

In the New Testament we see in Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18 that Jesus tells his disciples "and whatsoever thou shalt bind (1210) on earth (1093) shall be bound (1210) in heaven (3772): and whatsoever thou shalt loose (3089) on earth (1093) shall be loosed (3089) in heaven (3772)."

Looking at the context of Matthew 18 we can see that Jesus' remarks here are a reference to forgiveness and excommunication within the church, and NOT to taking authority over angels. This is clear from the preceding verses (v.15-17).

But we must also note that the Greek words that are employed in these passages are not meant to be taken as technical terms regarding any specific topic, let alone binding and loosing angels through prayer. This can be demonstrated from Matthew 18:27 where a derivative word for "loosed" occurs.

Matthew 18:27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed (630) him, and forgave him the debt.

The word loosed in Matthew 18:27 is apoluo (630), a compound word from apo (575) meaning separation and luo (3089), which occurs in verse 18 as well, and is translated as "loosed." These words are used to describe the release of someone from some circumstance, and in chapter 18 are meant to instruct Christians on forgiving others.

Likewise, we must address Luke 13:16, where we see Jesus loosing a woman from an infirmity that satan had bound her in for eighteen years.

Luke 13:16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan (4567) hath bound (1210), lo, these eighteen years, be loosed (3089) from this bond (1199) on the sabbath day?

There are four things to note from this passage that prevent us from concluding that Christians bind angels in spiritual warfare. First, we see the same terms that Matthew 18 used to refer to forgiveness and excommunication are in this passage used to refer to physical disability (as is the case also in Mark 7:35). This show that these Greek words for binding and loosing were generic terms that were applied in different manners at different times to different subjects. They were not used as technical references to Christians taking authority over angels.

This conclusion is further supported by our second point, which is that binding in this passage has to do with causing physical infirmity. Therefore, if one wants to conclude that Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 are speaking of the same subject that is being discussed here in Luke 13, then they must conclude that Jesus was giving the disciples the authority to physically disable people or to make them sick. This is clearly incorrect.

Third, in Luke 13 we do not see Jesus bind the devil, instead, he merely looses the woman from the Devil's bond of infirmity. So, while this may be an example of loosing from physical affliction it is not an example of binding an angel. And therefore, our fourth point is that Matthew 16:19, 18:18, and Luke 13:16 do not make any statements whatsoever about Christians binding angels or that the binding that is discussed has anything to do with spiritual warfare as many modern Christians conclude.

Furthermore, there is no place in the New Testament where Christians are given such authority over angels (at least not in this age) or where such activity is connected to the spiritual warfare of the believer. Instead, we see that the New Testament repeatedly confirms that the devil won't be bound until the millennial reign of Christ and that as yet he has not been put in subjection to Jesus' authority.

Revelation 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Hebrews 2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing [that is] not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

Romans 16:20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with you. Amen.

What must be understood from these passages is that it is God and not the church who binds and subdues the enemy. Christians who suppose that we do have authority over the angelic adversaries should also consider Jude 1:8-10 and 2 Peter 2:10-12.

Jude 1:8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion (2963), and speak evil of dignities (1391). 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, darest not bring against him a railing (988) accusation (2920), but said, The Lord rebuke (5659) thee. 10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

2 Peter 2:10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government (2963). Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities (1391). 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing (989) accusation (2920) against them before the Lord. 12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

In these passages we see that both Peter and Jude disapprove of speaking evil of and rebuking angels and heavenly powers. They rebuke those who do such things for doing that which is not even done by angels. And they inform us that these men do not understand these things, which they presume to rebuke. Jude tells us that even Michael the archangel did not rebuke the devil nor does he bind him, but simply leaves this task to God. The clear teaching of these nearly identical passages is that no one except God can or should take authority over, rebuke, or bind the devil or the angelic adversaries, not Michael the archangel, not other angels, and not Christians. If the angels who are greater in authority than we are do not do such things, we, too, should leave these tasks to the Lord. Similarly, James does not instruct us to rebuke the devil, bind him, or to take authority over him, but simply to resist (or withstand) him.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist (436) the devil (1228), and he will flee from you.

James is reminding us here of what Jesus did when he was tempted by the devil in Matthew 4 and Luke 4. He withstood his attempts to deceive him about God's will by speaking back to the devil a sound understanding of the Word of God. The result was that after being resisted by Jesus the devil left him.

Having shown that binding and loosing of angels is not something the New Testament has Christians doing and that such activities are not related in any way to the spiritual warfare of the believer, we can also make a brief, but similar claim regarding casting out demons.

Point No. 7
While Jesus does give his disciples authority to cast our demons, casting out demons is NOT associated or connected with spiritual warfare anywhere in the New Testament.

First, let us say that the New Testament is clear that Jesus gave his disciples authority over demons and the ability to cast them out (Matthew 7:22, Matthew 10:1, Mark 3:15, Mark 6:13, Mark 16:17, Luke 9:1, Luke 10:17). However, this authority and these actions are nowhere connected to the spiritual warfare of the believer anywhere in the New Testament. To conclude, therefore as many in the modern church do, that spiritual warfare involves casting out demons, is an entirely unscriptural belief.

Conclusions about Spiritual Warfare

In this section of our study we have addressed the nature of spiritual warfare. We sought to answer the following questions, which we stated at the beginning of our study.

2. How does the Bible portray spiritual warfare? What does it entail? How do Christians engage in it, etc.?

We answered this question by examining the modern church belief on this matter, which we defined as follows:

4. Spiritual warfare is the prayer life of a believer, which involves our engaging in combat, binding and loosing, and casting out fallen angels and demons in heavenly realms.

We further specified this view into the following three points.
1. Angels fight in heavenly realms in attempt to affect the minor, daily activities our lives.
2. The success or failure of angelic activity to accomplish or hinder God's will is dependent upon the prayer of the believer.
3. That the prayer life or praise and worship of a Christian is our spiritual act of warfare.

Consequently, as we looked at this subject within the scripture we rejected these modern church views and instead showed the following to be true regarding spiritual warfare:

4. Spiritual warfare is a personal and worldwide struggle between the truth of God and the deceit of the Devil and those under him. This struggle is largely concerned with our minds and understanding, and while it involves prayer, it not exclusively the prayer life of the believer.

Within this conclusion we can make several more specific points based on our study.

1. The New Testament DOES NOT bear out that angelic behavior affects the minor, day to day activity of our lives.
2. The New Testament DOES NOT support the idea that the success or failure of the angels to accomplish or thwart God's will is in any way dependent upon anything we, as believers, do including prayer. The only area of exception is that we do determine how successful the enemy is to lead us astray from God's truth.
3. Prayer life and praise and worship ARE NOT given a large role in the spiritual warfare of the believer.
4. Our spiritual battle is with angelic adversaries.
5. Spiritual warfare is a mental struggle to reject the carnal mind and become mature in Christ, through studying and applying the Word of God.
6. The carnal mind is at enmity with God and is a product of man's sinful nature and the worldly wisdom of the angelic rulers of this age.
7. Spiritual warfare involves being able to discern sound doctrine from heresy.
8. Spiritual warfare involves ridding ourselves of ungodly thoughts, philosophies, beliefs, and behaviors that do not align with Jesus' teaching preserved for us in God's Word.
9. The armor of God is not actual spiritual battle gear, but refers to specific instructions toward godly living, preparedness for the coming tribulation, and being in sound faith and doctrine, etc.
10. In the last days, some in the church will lose the spiritual war that we are to fight, fail to become mature, prepared believers who understand the truth of God's Word, and instead will depart from the faith.
11. Spiritual warfare involves being able to contend for the faith and refuting, correcting and rebuking those who oppose it.
12. Binding and loosing angels IS NOT a part of spiritual warfare and the New Testament DOES NOT give this authority to Christians.
13. Casting out demons IS NOT connected to spiritual warfare in the New Testament.