15 October 2010 (Sheshi/Kippur)|
Day #213, 5934 AM
Binding and Loosing
Understand a Disciple's True Authority
There are many 'authoritarian' groups these days, from the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, older Protestant denominations and Catholics, to various extremist evangelical and messianic sects. All of them claim some sort of legalistic authority to be in charge of Christendom (usually by virtue of claimed apostolic succession) or Messianic Israel (such as claiming authentic Jewish blood) to the exlusion of all others. A passage frequently cited by these groups is the one where Yah'shua (Jesus) gives what seems to be a special authority to Peter. One of the typical translations renders it this way:
Most Messianics will correctly tell you that 'binding and loosing' is a Hebrew idiom for exercising authority that can equally well be rendered as 'prohibiting and permitting' though many of them will go further and claim it gives them the right to make up their own Halachah Rule Book based on their claim to be the exclusive leadership of Israel. New Testament translator J.B.Phillips points out in his rendition that in the Greek translation of the original there is a very curious construction, namely, a simple future followed by the perfect participle passive. If Yah'shua had meant to say, as Catholics and others who claim to have special authority by virtue of a line of continuous apostolic succession from Peter, 'Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven', then the simple future passive would have been used. However, the way the sentence is grammatically constructed is telling us that Yah'shua's true disciples will be so led by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), as Peter was in declaring that Yah'shua was the Messiah, that they will be following the heavenly tavnith or pattern and not human tradition which, in the Roman Catholic case, claims equal (and sometimes superior) value to Scripture, much as Talmudic Jews claim their oral tradition is superior to the Torah itself. In other words, what the apostles 'forbid' ot 'permit' on earth will be consonant with the Divine Rules or Tavnith found in the Torah. If a simple future passive had been used it would mean an automatic heavenly endoresement of the Church's own rules and actions, a position which cannot be reconciled overall from Scripture, thus undermining the authoritarian claims of the Papacy and others.
"When Yah'shua (Jesus) came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, 'Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?' So they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living Elohim (God).' Yah'shua (Jesus) answered and said to 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 also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My congregation (church), and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose (bind - KJV) on earth will be loosed in heaven'" (Matt.16:13-19, NKJV).
This passage has been used by the Catholic clergy to justify their claim that their priests have the authority to forgive sin on behalf of Yahweh. However, in the pertinent verses of John's Gospel (in chapters 20, 22 and 23) it is quite evident that the "Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit)", of which Yah'shua is giving His disciples a first breath, so to speak (for the fullness of the Ruach was not given until Shavu'ot or Pentecost), would be the factor by which alone human beings could perform a prophetic function of indicating whether a repentant's sins had, or had not, been forgiven in Heaven. There is nowhere in this passage an automatic heavenly endorsement of ecclesiatical actions, of whatever denomination, however lofty.
One who is operating in tavnith and in the Ruach haQodesh has authority to bind and expell demons though this particular passage is not about this at all. Used as a justification for authority over demons (there are other scriptures that properly give authority), many antinomians have fallen into the error of believing that they can simply cast out demons from people without dealing with demonic legal grounds. The result is that demons simply return again later. In other words, taken in isolation, this scripture can be (and sadily is) used in a way for which it was never intended. Healing (which is frequently a part of deliverance) also involves a forgiveness of sins, and forgiveness of sins is only conferred by Yahweh after proper repentance and (afterwards, where possible) is followed up by resitution and a life of obedience to the commandments. "Sin no more," Yah'shua's instruction to the woman caught in adultery, clearly meant "obey Yahweh's Torah". Throwing out demons without doing the proper pastoral work is like evicting robbers from a bank without disarming them or locking up the bank's vaults.
Every talmid (disciple) has the authority to "bind and loose" provided he is:
This Scripture does not give the believer a James Bond-type 'Licence to Dictate' to the Heavens, as some charismatics believe. There are circumstances, boundaries and obligations before any permission is granted by Heaven to operate on Its behalf. That is what true spiritual authority is all about.
- 1. Operating in scriptural tavnith (pattern);
- 2. Obeying the commandments (Torah);
- 3. Trusting in (clinging to) Yah'shua as Messiah and Elohim (God); and
- 4. Operating with the express permission and empowerment of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit).