There are many misconceptions about what binding and loosing means. I’d like to share with you briefly about what I’ve learned.
Binding and Loosing Spirits
Some people believe that we have authority to bind and loose spirits. They believe we have the power to command spirits, usually demonic spirits, to do our bidding. This belief is taken from:
- Luke 11:21-22 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.
- Matt 12:29 “Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off is possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.
The context is Yeshua (Jesus) driving out demons. This is an illustration of the strong man (Satan) being disarmed by the “stronger man,” (Yeshua). It demonstrates Yeshua’s power over Satan and is proven by the fact that Yeshua just cast out demons in the previous verses.
The misconception is that “disarming” the strong man is the same as “binding.” Keep in mind that Yeshua is revealing something about Himself and His mission. He has delivered people from the power of Satan and “plundered his stronghold” so to speak. The “possessions” are people previously held in bondage to Satan. Yeshua plundered Satan’s dominion and liberated the souls of people who were subjected to Satan’s slavery. This is confirmed by the following verse in Hebrews:
Heb 2:14-15 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – this is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
This will also been seen on a greater scale when Yeshua conquers death and Hades in the lake of fire. (Rev 20:14, 1 Corin 15:26)
Who Can Bind and Loose Satan and Demonic Spirits?
Only Yahweh or His angels who act on His authority can do this.
- Rev 20:2 He [an angel] seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
- 2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;
- Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home – these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.
- Rev 9:15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very house and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.
- Rev 20:7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison.
Summary – “Disarming” is not the same as “binding.” Using the verses from Matt and Luke to support this notion of binding and loosing does not apply here. There is no evidence in the bible suggesting that we, as sinful beings, have authority to command spirits, good or evil, to do anything including binding and loosing. These verses in Matt and Luke are speaking of Yeshua and His mission and His power over the demonic spirits to free us.
I know what you’re thinking…”What About Peter?”
- Matt 16:19 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.”
- Matt 18:18 I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
“Keys” have the power to lock and unlock; to bind or loose. Peter was given the keys, or the authority of the kingdom of heaven to prohibit (bind) or permit (loose) certain activities within the church with issues of uncertainty. There is no evidence that “keys” were given to anyone else but those in authoritative church leadership like the apostles and elders.
- Acts 15:2 So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.
- Acts 15:6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question.
An example of Peter’s authority to “bind” or “loose” in uncertain matters was regarding whether Gentiles should be circumcised in the same chapter in Acts 15. Torah is clear regarding circumcision and Hebrew men but not so much for Gentiles. Peter shows us the loosing of the Gentiles from bearing the yoke of physical circumcision since both Jew and Gentile are accepted by Him by giving them both the Holy Spirit. (Acts 15:6-11)
Another example of church leadership having the ability to “bind” or “loose” is James, the head of the Jerusalem church. He issued a decree to bind believing Gentiles to abstain from 1) food polluted by idols, 2) sexual immorality 3) meat of strangled animals 4) and from blood. (Acts 15:13-20)
The bible gives us thorough instructions for virtually all situations. But sometimes, there may be instances where guidance from a spiritual authority is needed and this is where the binding and loosing comes into play. However, caution must be taken that the spiritual authority does not nullify the Torah, Prophets, and Writings or the teachings of Yeshua or place a legalistic burden or a heavy yoke on the people. The Pharisees and Sadducees were notorious for this and Yeshua spoke against this.
More examples of authority given to the apostles to bind and loose:
- John 20:21-22 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive then, they are not forgiven.
- Matt 18:15-18 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church [leaders/elders]; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
On a sidenote:
Many people use this verse when petitioning God for something. They gather a few of their friends and quote this verse, thinking that their prayer will be better heard. But in context, this is speaking of two or three gathered as a witness against someone who has sinned. It is not lawful to convict a person of something on the testimony of one witness. (Deut 17:6, Deut 19:15)
When it comes to petitioning God for something, whether we are alone or with many, God is in our midst. He will hear your prayer if you are alone. But that verse in Matt 18:20 is speaking specifically of gathering more than one witness in order to convict someone of a sin or crime.
Other examples of binding and loosing:
1 Corin 7 – anywhere where it says “I, not the Lord.”
I hope this sheds some light on this subject.