Mark 3:27, Binding the Strong Man

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.

//I’ve heard this saying numerous times, by many people making different points, and quite often it’s quoted out of context. Who is the strong man, what is his house, and who is going to spoil his house?

In Mark chapter 3 (a story repeated by both Matthew and Luke), Jesus exorcised a devil from a man, but the scribes who watched this were unimpressed. Jesus, they claimed, was tapping into the power of Beelzebub; he was using the power of Satan to cast out devils.

Jesus points out what nonsense this is:

And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. –Mark 3:23-25

Then Jesus launches into the saying about spoiling a strong man’s house. We are to understand that Jesus sees his purpose as destroying the “house” of Satan; his hold over the earth. Satan is the strong man, and Jesus is binding him and stealing away his prisoners … like the man he freed from the devil.

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