Matthew 16:19 “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.”
This passage has caused a lot of confusion and misinterpretation of the meaning of binding and loosing. Some use this verse to bind satan or loose a person from demonic bondage. Others tend to use this verse to say that you can make things happen according to God’s power entrusted to us through prayers. Yet others use this verse to say that Peter was the first pope. But what is the correct interpretation?
Jesus did give the apostles the authority to cast out demons (Matthew 10:1, Mark 3:14-15, Acts 16:16-18), but this is not what this verse is about. Binding and loosing is a Jewish phrase giving authority to someone to determine whether something is allowed or forbidden. That is to say “to bind” is to tie, be in bondage, or be forbidden. While “to loose” means to set free, break up, or allow.
When Jesus speaks in Matthew 16:19, Jesus is not allowing Peter or the disciples to bind or loose whatever they wish freely. Instead, whatever Peter binds, or loosens on earth has already been bound or loosened in heaven. You see, preaching the gospel message would be the way to open the kingdom of heaven to all believers as ordained by God, and in like manner shutting it against unbelievers. Amen!
Binding and loosing is the authority to declare what God’s mind is on a matter of doctrine or practice. We can see an example of this in Acts 15. In this instance, Peter and James practice binding and setting free. The Gentile believers were being demanded to get circumcised by the Judaizers. But Peter, James, and Paul use God’s word and the teaching of Jesus Christ to explain why it is unnecessary to get circumcised for salvation.
In this instance, the gentiles were set free from circumcision, not because the apostles had the power to bind and loose freely. But because the gentiles were already set free by God’s word and the setting free on earth was something that had already been set free in heaven. Praise God!
In conclusion, when Jesus spoke to the disciples regarding binding and loosing, it was a commonly understood phrase by the Jews at that time. Binding was a declaration for anything unlawful not to be done, and loosing was a declaration for anything that may be lawfully done.
I pray that you may carefully consider the meaning of binding and loosing before loosely using these terms in spiritual warfare and overstep the bounds of the authority of God and His word given to us.