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Summary: A look at what the Bible says about effective spiritual warfare

The terms "binding" and "rebuking" have risen to the forefront in spiritual warfare and deliverance ministry teaching. The words are most often used to teach that the devil can be "bound" or that angels can be "loosed." This study today is about what the Bible says.

The verses most often cited for having the authority to bind the enemy are:

"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt 16:19 ESV)

"Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matt 18:18 ESV)

It is important to note that to "rightly" handle God's Word, it must be understood that the written word can only mean grammatically what the original author intended it to mean in the historical context they wrote it (2 Tim 2:15). A verse can never mean what was never meant. Those who try to give words different meanings that what they actually mean in the context of the original language are guilty of committing nescient eisegesis and contextomy, which is defined as 'reading one's own presuppositions and personal theological perspectives into a passage to make it say what they want it to say.' A person can't take a word from the original Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic and try to give it a meaning from a modern dictionary that is in the language it was translated into.

Let's look at the verses in context:

"Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ." (Matt 16:13-20 ESV)

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." (Matt 18:15-20 ESV)

Matthew 16:13-20 is about Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah of God. Matthew 18:15-20 is all about forgiveness and reconciliation.

The words, "binding and loosing" in verses 16:19 and 18:18 are a Jewish idiom translated word for word from the Hebrew into the Greek. Jewish texts show that "binding and loosing" were the terms applied to the work of the Rabbis in interpreting Scripture, allowing some things but denying others based on their interpretation of the meaning of the law. If the Rabbi said that a person was not allowed to walk more than a few hundred yards on the Sabbath, he was "binding" certain behavior. Although Jesus criticized the Pharisees for their hypocrisy, He required His disciples to obey their interpretations.

Jesus came to earth for two purposes. The first was to reconcile people to God. Once they become Born-Again, they are given the ministry of reconciliation.

"All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Cor 5:18 ESV)

The second reason was to destroy the "devil's work" by offering forgiveness and reconciliation to everyone.

“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:8-10 ESV)

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