If you were to pick up a fork, how much soup do you think you will be able to eat with it? Not too much. You could try–but it wouldn’t work! Put down the fork, pick up a spoon by using the right utensil and you will be able to eat the soup. It sounds simple, but because of stubbornness, and that someone has told us it will work, we keep trying…and trying…and trying.
“BINDING” AND “LOOSING” –“TRYING TO EAT SOUP WITH A FORK”
“But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you (before you expected it). Or how can a person go into a strong man’s house and carry off his goods without first binding the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house” (Matthew 12:28, 29–Amplified Bible).
“Whatever you bind on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).
“Truly I tell you, whatever you forbid and declare to be improper and unlawful on earth must be what is already forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit and declare proper and lawful on earth must be what is already permitted in heaven” (Matthew 18:18–Amplified Bible).
Until a few days ago, my understanding–or misunderstanding–of “binding” and loosing” was entirely based on how I heard others pray in the church: “Lord, we bind Satan and his demons from interfering with our performances in the play tonight.”
My spiritual mentor over the last five or six years says, “binding” and “loosing” is the authority we have in Christ Jesus; we have been given authority in Jesus’ Name, with no doubt! And then two days ago, I was praying to the Lord, regarding what I should be looking for in the truths of Scripture next. This is how I begin searching as a WORD Detective for His next teaching. Then it happened! Holy Spirit spoke to my spirit in saying, “The church has a misunderstanding about bonding and loosing in the Bible. This is to be the subject matter in the next blog.” Where did that come from? I knew the Lord was speaking to me, but why on this subject matter? My thought process in return went something like this: “I never had an opinion about this topic; whether it was right or wrong do so.” And immediately came His answer back: “That is a good reason for wanting you to write about it–no prejudices built up, and no stronghold to bring down.” I have learned over the years, if God’s Spirit asks you to do something, you better do it or there will not be peace in your thoughts.
TO “BIND” OR “LOOSE” DEFINITIONS
To “bind” is to obligate; to “loose” is to remove obligation. In the verses in Matthew, the future perfect tense in the Greek is used (“Shall having been “bound” or “loose“). This shows the authority is only valid when used in submission to Christ’s word or teaching.
It doesn’t give the church the authority to make up new teaching later in church history. Binding in this context has nothing to do with speaking words to Satan or demons. Christians who practice this form of “spiritual warfare“; the verbal “binding” of Satan himself, demons, principalities and authorities have been given wrong information from other believers, as I have in the past. Christians who practice this form of spiritual warfare hope to forestall calamities, sickness, convert loved ones, turn cities, states and even nations to righteousness. If binding Satan will do all of this, we should put this new spiritual technology into practice today.
However, if this practice is not Biblical, it might be more harmful than helpful; taking Matthew 16:19 combined with the Matthew 12 passage, the conclusion is drawn that we as Christians have the authority to bind Satan. The church supposedly, therefore, has the opportunity to take world power away from the devil and deliver it to ourselves. When studying and meditating in your Bible, the number one rule to unveiling the truth is always context. Always read the verses in context!
SPIRITUAL WARFARE EMPHASIS
The Lord has given us lots of weapons, strategies, battle tactics and the right utensils to achieve things we are called to do. Today you will find people using wrong weapons to deal with the subjects of the flesh, the devil, and the world. You would think after a few minutes of eating soup with a fork, people would have the sense to realize something is wrong; this is not working, something must be wrong!
Many areas of the church, we are trying to use biblical teaching of “binding” and “loosing” as an instrument to deal with something that could never possibly be achieved in what we are thinking or hoping for. Principalities? Powers in the heaven’s? Sin? Wickedness in high places and in the world? “Binding” and “loosing” was never designed to deal with those things. We’ve been “trying to eat soup with a fork!” The wrong utensils.
BINDING and LOOSING -CONTEXT!
As always, let’s go to Rule #1 and look at the context of the passages in Matthew. When Jesus spoke about binding and loosing in context, He wasn’t talking about demons at all. Think about it. Did Jesus really mean that we have the power to loose demons as well as to bind them?
The Bible consistently ties the conquest of Satan’s kingdom of darkness and the liberation of its subjects to the Incarnation which leads ultimately to the cross. When the author of Hebrews says that it was “through death” that Jesus would render the devil powerless to hold his captives, He can only be referring to the cross, where Jesus paid for our sins.
Colossians 2:13-15 sheds further light on this:
“And you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions, Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross. [God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].”
Christ triumphed over the forces of the darkness through the cross. Back in Matthew 12:29, it talks about the “goods“. If the “goods” are people held in bondage, then the “binding” of the strong man that accomplished their release was through the cross. The way christ was ultimately to “bind” the strong man [human bondage–the “Fear of death”–Hebrews 2], was to plunder his goods. It was to die a substitutionary death on the cross, paying the penalty for us.
Now liberated by faith from spiritual death, we walk in victory because of the power of God. Christ’s victorious encounters with demons before the cross were demonstrations of His Messianic mission and His power over evil. However, they were not an end in themselves. Had Jesus not gone on to die on the cross for our sins, the “houses” (Matthew 12:43-45) “swept” clean would have remained empty; inviting places for evil spirits to return. Those delivered from particular spirits during the public ministry of Jesus were still spiritually dead like everyone else. They still needed to have their penalty of sins paid for on the cross and by no other way.
BINDING and LOOSING -CHURCH DISCIPLINE?
What was Jesus really talking about in Matthew 18:18? What He did not mean here was we could “loose” wealth and health, or “bind” poverty and sickness. Jesus was clearly talking about church discipline. Those members of the church who sin and repent to be “loosed“; restored to fellowship. To those members who are unrepentant to be “bound“; removed from fellowship (Matt. 18:15-17). Sickness, poverty, and demons are foreign to the context.
BINDING and LOOSING – NO AUTHORITY TO BIND DEMONS
But you might ask, is there perhaps some other biblical basis for binding sickness, poverty or demons? As The Word Detective, I asked myself the same question before coming to any conclusions. The answer is, a resounding no. There are clearly biblical principles that promote good health, material success, with finding many examples in The Book of Proverbs. There are things we can do to protect ourselves and others from things of demonic interference and oppression. For example, we can get back to the basics:
1. PRAY and MEDITATE on God’s Word.
2. RESIST the Temptations of the evil one.
But clearly, we as human beings, are NOT authorized anywhere in scripture to bind demons. Nor do we have the power, conversely, to control our health and wealth by mere confession. As always, when interpreting the Bible remember Rule #1 –CONTEXT–CONTEXT–CONTEXT.
PASSING IT ON!
Passing on an issue of doctrine or ethics doesn’t equal shooting a verbal barrage at Satan. It is also quite different from “loosing” the money needed for the job wanted as some are now prone to pray. Did the apostles ever say “I bind you satan?” Not once is such an utterance recorded in the New Testament. It is not credible to assume they understood Jesus’ teaching as an instruction to “bind Satan” through prayers and verbal declarations, then never followed the instructions personally.
The church in the 21st century should not understand and practice the teachings of Jesus differently than the church of the 1st century. If it does, the authority of Scripture is depreciated.
The authority to bind and loose is the authority to declare what is on God’s mind on a matter, doctrine or practice. This is what the early church did in Acts 15.
Bob DeWaay calls it “Star Wars” Theology. The popular ‘spiritual warfare’ teachers urge us to fly by “revelation“. Into the heavenly realm to “duke it out” with the forces of darkness!
In the attempts to do this sometimes, Christians unwittingly find themselves spending more time speaking (although negatively) to Satan and his henchmen than to God.
“For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition, but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18–Amplified Bible).
This TRUTH needs no embellishment with extra-Biblical theories; the “Star Wars Theology“. Modern binding and loosing theories are binding and “losing” because they mislead the saints. The time spent verbally “binding” Satan could have been spent praying to God and preaching the Good News, the gospel.
Perhaps you have been of my belief, thinking about binding and loosing in Scripture. Before my obedience to the Holy Spirit took place on the subject, I had NO opinion. I found myself guilty of praying like others; thinking if I “bound the enemy” and “loose” God’s angels, it would give more impact to the prayer. Was I trying to impress God or the people around me in that kind of prayer language? Why did I do so? “Wrong words lead to wrong thinking” as Creflo Dollar says. My prayer before writing today, “Father, forgive me for my selfishness and my misunderstanding. I repent and thank You in Your forgiveness. Amen.”