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It is commonly recognized that the "strong man" in the following verse is Satan:

Mk. 3:27: “But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house" (cf. Matt. 12:29, emphasis added).

How, then, is the following passage in the Book of Revelation regarding Satan also being bound not essentially equivalent to Mark 3:27 / Matthew 12:29?

Revelation 20:2: "And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years" (emphasis added).

Since Satan still has authority over death (of the lost), might these passages refer to the binding of his authority over the death of the saints?

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  • @NigelJ Well, it seems to me that is what is being said here: Hebrews 2:14: "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil" I'm assuming that "power" and "authority" are two sides of the same coin.
    – Xeno
    Jun 17, 2021 at 23:39
  • Yes, indeed, Diabolos did have such power. But he is now rendered powerless, as per your reference to Heb 2:14. But you have stated 'since Satan still has authority over death'. With which I disagree.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 18, 2021 at 9:10

3 Answers 3

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O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? 1 Cor 15:55

Therefore I believe that Satan simply lost the power that he once had over death - Christ nullified that sting by his atonement on the cross once and for all. However, while his atonement is sufficient for the whole world (which includes the lost), it's God's will that it effectively redeems only those who were chosen from eternity and given to Christ.

In other words, Christ pulls the elects out of the grave by imputing His righteousness (making them deemed righteous), while leaving the lost to their own demise under the sting of death.

Also, 'satan having power over death' simply means that he accused everyone as sinful and condemned for death, but Christ defeated him by taking everyone's sin on Himself, rendering satan's claim powerless; hypothetically Christ could redeem everyone (both the lost and the elect) by this act, so in that sense, Satan has no power over death at all, anymore.

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ESV Mark 3:

26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.

Satan is mentioned specifically in the context of the strong man.

Satan is also mentioned in Revelation 20:

2And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,

How to apply "plunder his house" to Revelation 20?

3and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer,

First, without Satan, deception has to go.

4b Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Then, the martyrs came to life. That's it as far as the text goes.

might these passages refer to the binding of his authority over the death of the saints?

Yes, to the extent that it applies to the martyrs.

Could Mark 3:27 (“binding the strong man [Satan]”) and Revelation 20:2 (“Satan bound”) be equivalent?

Yes, in some sense. However, Revelation 20:2 is more like an application of Mark 3:27.

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  • Good answer (+1). Just a couple of points: 1) We should see "binding" as abrogating the authority of Satan over the death of the saints. 2) My view of "those beheaded for the testimony of Jesus" is persecution of all saints throughout history -- including us. Finally, "Coming to life and reigning with [Christ] for a thousand years is '[just] as Christ was raised from the dead... so we too might walk in newness of life' (Rom. 6:4) at baptism, where 'our sins are washed away' (Acts 22:16). Prior to this moment, we are all dead to God: baptism is resurrection from spiritual death.
    – Xeno
    Jul 29, 2021 at 21:13
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It is true that the Greek uses the same verb, δέω, (bind) in both Mark 3:27 and Rev 20:2. However, I would be reticent to make a direct connection between these two because the same verb is used in so many other places such as:

  • Matt 13:30 - binding bundles of tares to be burned
  • Matt 14:3, Mark 6:17 - binding John when he was arrested
  • Matt 16:19, 18:18, binding on earth what is bound in heaven
  • Matt 21:2, Mark 11:2, Luke 19:30 - binding (tying) up a donkey
  • Matt 22:13 - binding wicked servants to be thrown into outer darkness
  • Matt 27:2, Mark 15:1, John 18:12, 24, 19:40 - binding Jesus to be executed
  • Mark 5:3 - people unable to bind the demon possessed man
  • Luke 13:16 - Satan binds a woman for 18 long years
  • Luke 11:44 - Lazarus bound (ie, bandaged) while in the grave
  • Acts 9:2 - Christians bound by Saul/Paul

... and so forth. Thus, I do not see a formal connection between Mark 3:27 and Rev 20:2. Mark 3:27 is discussing the Jews' claim that Jesus was driving out demons using the power of Satan and Jesus' replies that that would be impossible because it is against the self interest of Satan.

By contrast, Rev 20 is discussing the final victory of Jesus over the great enemy of Satan.

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