Some Christians practice and teach that we have authority to rebuke the devil and should do so on an ongoing basis. Is this teaching found in the Bible?
Can Christians rebuke the devil? Do Christians have authority to rebuke Satan?
The Bible does not provide support for the practice of rebuking the devil. In fact, the only person who personally rebuked the devil was Jesus. When He was tempted, Jesus said, "Be gone, Satan!" (Matthew 4:10). Even the archangel Michael did not rebuke Satan in dispute, but rather said, "The Lord rebuke you" (Jude 1:9).
How, then, are believers to deal with Satan? First, Scripture is clear that the devil is real. He tempted Eve in the form of a serpent (Genesis 3), tested Job with many struggles (Job 1—2), tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11), and used Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. The Bible repeatedly speaks of the devil as a real, spiritual being who is opposed to God and His people.
Second, realize the devil is less powerful than God. He can only operate as God permits. For example, when the devil sought to test Job, God said, "Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand" (Job 1:12). God placed limits on what the devil could and could not do.
Third, Satan is not omnipresent. In other words, he cannot be in all places at all times like God is. We may face spiritual attack from other evil spirits, but it is unnecessary to repeatedly rebuke the devil. He is certainly not directly involved in every attack against every Christian.
Fourth, God offers a better strategy for making Satan run from us. James 4:7-8 teaches, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." We walk closely with God, resist the devil, and Satan will flee. We don't need to command him or rebuke him.
Fifth, remember the devil's end. While the devil may cause problems in our world today, he will not operate freely forever. Scripture is very clear regarding the future judgment of Satan. Revelation 20:10 teaches, "the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."
Satan is powerful, but his power does not compare with God. When believers are filled with God's Spirit and draw near to the Lord, Satan has no power or authority apart from the permission of God Himself. We need not fear nor seek to rebuke Satan. God already has Satan under His control. Our focus is to draw near to God and rely on His great power.
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