Summary: A discussion on the issue of binding and loosing and the affect on earth and heaven relationship.
Last week, we began our look at the issue of binding and loosing as found in Matthew 16:19 and again in 18:18.
Before we pick up where we left off, I’ll read the email that came on this:
Good morning Pastor Shane!
I have been slowly....... reading thru the book of Matthew.
1. The one thing that I’ve intended to ask you about is Mt 16:19. To what is Jesus referring?
*I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven ; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.*
Early on I was taught a certain thing about these verses, and then a while back on a message board, some ladies were discussing it and it blew me away that their explanation of the verse was WAY different than what I had been taught. Truely, when i reread it in context, I dont see what I would have expected to see, so I thought this would be a good one to ask you about. To me it is one of those verses that , as you’re reading along with understanding, and then come upon this verse, you sort of say to yourself.... *okay....*, meaning, what exactly does this mean?
This question has come up from three different individuals, so it obviously is one that is on people’s minds. This tells me there has been some difference in teaching and understanding of this passage.
I know of abuse of this scripture both intentional and unintentional.
I myself have been guilty of misapplying this scripture out of ignorance and not understanding the full context of what is being said here.
Like all scriptures, we must be sure we have a full grasp of what the actual meaning is and not what we want it to be to make a point or support what we are comfortable with.
With an open mind, let’s try to let go or “loose,” if you will, our preconceived ideas and even hopes for this text.
I hope no one is sitting there praying that I side with them in some debate over the meaning of Jesus’ words.
My intent as always is to get to the truth and show forth the reality of what has been recorded for us regardless of where that leads.
Like the other subjects we have delved into, this one is quite controversial, in fact, it is extremely controversial. It is very hard to get at the full meaning because there are so many variables within the translations we have. So hard in fact that many have tried to not only explain it, but to explain it away.
Let’s read the full passage in question: Matthew 16:13-20
Last week we backed up a bit and looked at two other things that are essential to making sure we take this passage in context:
Is Peter the rock on which the church is built?
What are the keys of heavn and who holds them?
Let me summarize these two with quick general answers as we spent extensive time on them last week.
First, Peter is the small rock placed as the first stone on Jesus the foundation rock upon which the church is built. This was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost as Peter preached the first salvation message and 3000 were saved.
Second the keys of heaven were not given to Peter exclusively at the moment of this conversation. The keys do not give authority, they give the right of access and the ability to show others the way. In fact, I maintain that Peter already had the key when it was revealed to Him by the Father who Jesus was/is and Jesus was acknowledging that and pointing out that the keys of heaven is really just the understanding and proclomation of Jesus as Son of God.
And now the part that all this has been leading up to:
19 ”and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
The surface reader will automatically assume it speaks of binding the works of spiritual forces, but a deeper study indicates otherwise.
Let’s look to the original words in question here:
First is “bind” or “deo” is used literally to bind or restrain only twice in Acts. Everywhere else it is used figuratively in various ways. There is not enough consitency from its use to declare with any certainty one meaning over another outside of the context around it as being figurative.
The second word is “luo” for loose. It’s use in scripture is broad being used literally, figuratively, even metaphorically and also gives no clear evidence of anything literal meant here.
There are not any literal keys to heaven. So it makes sense that Jesus is not speaking of literal binding and loosing, but of figurative binding and loosing.