(35) Jesus said, “It is not possible for anyone to enter the house of a strong man and take it by force unless he binds his hands; then he will be able to ransack his house.


Isaiah 49:24-25 “Can spoil be snatched from the strong man…? Yes, says the Lord,”


Mark 3:27  “On the other hand, no one can break into a strong man’s house and make off with his goods unless he has first tied up the strong man; then he can ransack the house.”


Matthew 11:12 “Since the time of John the Baptist the kingdom of Heaven has been subjected to violence and violent men are taking it by force.”


Luke 11:21 “When a strong man fully armed is on guard over his palace, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he carries off the arms and armour on which the man had relied and distributes the spoil.”


Thomas (21) … Therefore I say, if the owner of a house knows that the thief is coming, he will begin his vigil before he comes and will not let him dig through into his house of his domain to carry away his goods. You then, be on your guard against the world. Arm yourselves with great strength lest the robbers find a way to come to you,  …”


The phrase “unless he binds his hands” always seemed ambiguous to me. Although I always assumed it meant to bind the hands of the “strong man”, it might also mean,  “bind your own hands”, even though you are

the same one entering the house by force!

   Matthew 11:12 claims violent men are taking the kingdom by force; I believe we are to identify with these violent men. I read (35) as being related to (98), “Slayer of the powerful man”, in that it promotes violence, ransacking and killing when necessary. I also believe the “house” to be ransacked and the “person” to be killed reside within us.


Built from lies and fear,

we fabricate a false illusion of ourselves,

piling them up like a house of cards.

This false self must die

and the house (soul) it resides in must be ransacked in order to free our true Spirit.


Note that Luke has softened this Saying.  We are

not to identify with the attacker, but should be defending ourselves with armor against attack. 

This makes it less violent and brings it in line with Saying (21)’s  “thief” who is trying to rob us. 

Luke’s idea of armor may have been influenced by

Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:8

“but we, who belong to the daylight, must keep sober, armed with the breastplate of faith and love, and the hope of salvation for a helmet.”