When Did Jesus Bind the Strongman?
Question: In Luke 11:21-22 Jesus said: “When a strong man, with all his weapons ready, guards his own house, all his belongings are safe. But when a stronger man attacks him and defeats him, he carries away all the weapons the owner was depending on and divides up what he stole.” My question is, when did this happen? And if it already happened, why does it seem that Satan continues to have so much power in this world?
Answer: Your question addresses the famous “already/not yet” tension in New Testament eschatology. The New Testament speaks of Christ’s victory over Satan and of our salvation in three tenses: past, present and future. Christ defeated Satan on Calvary, is defeating Satan through the Church, and will defeat Satan when he fully establishes his Kingdom on earth.
The analogy that is often used to describe this “already/ not yet” tension is D-Day. World War II was for all intents and purposes won by the Allied Forces on June 6, 1944 (D-Day). Yet, it took another year to get to V-Day (Victory Day, when Germany surrendered). Meantime, there were still important battles to fight.
So, Jesus accomplished D-Day when he died and rose again. In principle, the “strongman” was bound at this time. Yet, this victory is still in the process of being manifested and will only be fully manifested when Christ returns and fully establishes his Kingdom on the earth. This will be the V-day of the Kingdom and for all creation.