Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles’” … Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:11, 13
… to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron … Psalm 149:8
These two verses being in my daily reading for today got me looking into the idea of binding with fetters. It appears to be a paradox as we are to bind with fetters, but we are also to be bound, or taken captive ourselves.
It was usually only the kings or princes that were bound with fetters in this way.
To bind their kings with chains. Even royal captives were thus treated in the ancient world. Assyrian and Babylonian monarchs always represent their captives, even when kings, as fettered. Nebuchadnezzar “bound Zedekiah with fetters of brass” (2 Kings 25:7). Parthia, and later Persia, and even Rome, followed the same practice. And their nobles with fetters of iron. On the monuments, captives below the rank of kings are not often seen “fettered.” Their arms, however, are frequently tied together with a cord, and they are fastened one to another by a stout rope.Pulpit Commentary
Jesus triumphed over the kings of the earth, the powers and authorities, and fettered them.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:15
Jesus has given us this privilege, to bind on earth.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:19
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
Yet, while we, through Christ, overcome the spiritual kings and princes of this world, Christ also leads us in triumphal procession – he has also captured us. I wrote about being a captive of Christ here Captured
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 2 Corinthians 2:14
This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” Ephesians 4:8
This is the triumphal procession of the victor, of the King. This is our honor and privilege: to bind the “kings of the earth,” the powers and principalities, and to take captive unto Christ many captives. But the paradox is that we can only take captives if we ourselves have been made a captive by his love and mercy.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. Colossians 1:21
… the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Romans 8:7
Just as Jesus was made a captive for us, we are to be captive to Him. He was bound and led away captive by the Romans to die on the cross for us. We are to be taken captive by his love and be crucified with Him.
Lord, I don’t want to be hostile to you anymore. Take me captive as you were taken captive for me. Lead me in your triumphal procession.
[Some interesting Bible trivia. One of the six cities of refuge assigned in Israel for people to run to for mercy was named Golan: captive. I believe that each of the names of these cities represents a facet of Jesus. I wrote about the cities of refuge and their name meanings here City of Refuge ]