Binding & Loosing has been such a misunderstood weapon of prayer in the Christian arsenal that Satan and his cronies, both demons and evil men, go about their destruction of nations unabated. Please study my first two newsletters on Binding & Loosing Parts 1 & 2 thoroughly to get a solid foundation on this teaching of Part 3. The church and pastors alike need this most important area of prayer understood!
The context of the second declaration by Jesus is church discipline and specifically dealing with the matter of sin (Matthew 16:15). Jesus gives the procedure for dealing with sin in the church (Matthew 16:15-17). It is immediately following this that He makes the declaration, “Whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18). In what way is “bind” and “loose” to be applied in this context? That which can be directly referred to as “binding” and “loosing” is the authoritative dealing with sin. While they are different words, the basic idea of “forgive” (Greek “aphiemi”) is the same as “loose.” To “forgive” sins is to “loose or release” someone from the debt that they have incurred (Matthew 6:12). The risen Lord Jesus Christ stated to His disciples, “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained” (John 20:23). This is the same principle as “binding” and “loosing.” Another way the authority to “bind” and “loose” is exercised in the church is by forgiving sin and not forgiving sin (!).
Because Jesus applied the general principle of the authority to “bind” and “loose’ to two different areas (teaching and sin) in two different contexts, it is evident that the overall general principle of “binding” and “loosing” can be applied to other areas of life and ministry of the church. Such an area would be one in which Jesus uses the terminology of “binding” and “loosing.” Because of both the example and the teaching of Jesus in “binding” and “loosing” spirits, it can be concluded that the delegation of authority to the church to “bind” and “loose” can and should include the authority to “bind” and “loose” spirits.
C. THIS AUTHORITY IS EXERCISED UNDER AND ACCORDING TO JURISDICTIONAL ASSIGNMENT
When considering the authority that the Lord Jesus Christ has given to every believer in His church to bind and loose spirits, it is vital to understand that this authority is to be exercised under and according to jurisdictional assignment. Jesus understood that His authority was given to Him by the Father and was limited to the assignment the Father had given to Him. In principle, the authority to bind and loose unclean, demonic spirits is that of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God being exercised and, in this age on the earth, binding and loosing spirits is one of the manifestations of the authority and power of the kingdom of God. This was made clear in the context of Matthew 12:22-29 in which Jesus stated, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matthew 12:28). The casting out of demons was a manifestation of the kingdom of God and binding the strong man was a specific act of the casting out of the demon. Binding and loosing then, are a manifestation of the kingdom rule of God and because of this, authority is to be exercised under the rule and according to the will of God and specifically under and according to the assignment of God.
The functional principle that the authority to bind and loose is to be exercised under and according to the assignment of God is directly stated by Jesus in the exact translation of His words in which He delegated this authority to His church. The Greek of Matthew 16:19 literally says, “I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatever is to be (future tense) bound (aorist tense, active voice) on the earth shall have been bound (perfect tense, passive voice) in heaven and whatever is to be (future tense) loosed (aorist tense, active voice) shall have been loosed (perfect tense, passive voice) in heaven.”
The functional principle that authority from God is delegated, limited and to be exercised under and according to the assignment of God is demonstrated throughout the history of God’s people.
D. THIS AUTHORITY IS EXERCISED ACCORDING TO ONE’S JURISDICTION
The authority to bind and loose is a jurisdictional authority. “Jurisdiction” means “the realm, area or sphere in which rightful authority can be exercised.” This means that wherever a believer has jurisdiction, meaning wherever one has rightful authority from God, they can and are to exercise their authority in Christ in and over those realms, areas or sphere of authority and influence. It also means that one cannot exercise authority in realms, areas and spheres of authority where one does not have jurisdiction or rightful authority.
In the account in Matthew 12, Jesus identified different areas or regions of authority as a being “house,” a “city” and a “kingdom.” These are various areas or spheres of influence where one can have jurisdictional authority. Believers in Christ have authority over whatever area or sphere that has been rightfully given to them by God. This includes:
(a) Their own person - their body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23) because they have been redeemed and are Christ’s.
(b) Their “house” - their household and family.
(c) Their assignment from God -This would include such areas of authority as (1) an ordained pastor who has been installed in a church, (2) the governing body of a church, (3) a person authorized to minister in a ministry of the church, (4) a person’s work place and area of employment, and (5) the jurisdiction of civil authority one has been rightfully given, such as a policeman. Most critically, this includes areas in which God has assigned authority to a person so as to engage the kingdom of Satan. This is what God did in his directions to Joshua (Joshua 1-2ff.). This is what Jesus did when He left the territory of Israel and went “to the other side of the sea, into the county of the Gerasenes” (Mark 5:1) with the assignment to cast the legion of demons out of the man. Being under authority (Matthew 8:9) and ministering according to the assignment God had given to Him, Jesus stepped out of the boat on to Gentile territory and initiated a power encounter that brought the kingdom of God into this man’s life. Jesus ministered according to the assignment God had given to Him, as when Jesus healed the man at the pool of Bethesda, there were many sick people at that place, but He only healed this man. The reason He did this was because, as Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). At the conclusion of His earthly ministry, Jesus prayed to the Father saying, “You gave Him (the Son, Jesus) authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him...I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:2, 4). Jesus ministered under the authority and according to the assignment the Father had given to Him, in other words, according to the area of jurisdiction the Father had given to Him.
E. THIS AUTHORITY CAN BE FORFEITED BECAUSE OF SIN
Vital to the principle of the exercise of authority under and according to rightful jurisdiction is that rightful jurisdictional authority may and can be forfeited because of sin. For example, while God had promised to give the people of Israel His power to conquer their enemies and take the promised land, the generation that had come out of Egypt refused to believe God and God judged that unbelieving generation that they would die in the wilderness. The next day, continuing in the disobedience to God, they decided that they would attack their enemies and take the land. They were defeated because “the LORD was not with them” (Numbers chapter 14). Another example is what took place because of the sin of Achan. After the victory over Jericho, Achan sinned by taking objects that were under the ban, meaning they were things devoted exclusively to God. When Israel attacked the city of Ai, they were defeated because, as God said, Israel had sinned (Joshua chapter 7). The principle that the exercise of authority can be forfeited is critical in binding and loosing spirits. It can be that because of sin that has not been confessed and repented, the spirits will have legal ground to remain and to exercise their authority. In such a case, the authority of the kingdom of God will not have rightful jurisdiction. As with Israel, they may have the covenant promise of God and the assignment of God, but because of their sin, they forfeited the power of God because they forfeited rightful jurisdiction. In Ephesians 4:26-27, Paul warns believers that if they sin, they will give “a place” or legal ground to the devil. If one does not have rightful jurisdiction because there is sin, the authority cannot be exercised effectually to bind and loose spirits. Therefore, if the exercise of authority to bind and loose spirits is not effectually working, it may be due to sin that gives legal ground to the spirits to continue to remain. In order to take away the legal ground, the sin must be forgiven and that area cleansed (1 John 1:9).
F. THE EFFECTUAL EXERCISE OF THIS AUTHORITY CAN BE LIMITED BY THE SOVEREIGN PURPOSE OF GOD
While the fundamental functional principle is that Christ has given authority to bind and loose spirits is to be exercised by a believer in the area of rightful jurisdiction, the Scriptures show that God, according to His sovereign purpose and wisdom, may permit Satan and his spirits to act in the life and sphere of authority of believers. This would be classified as an exception to the basic principle that God gives protection and authority to His own.
This exception is seen in the life and house of Job where God, according to His sovereign purpose, gave permission to Satan to act himself or through his agents in the sphere of authority of Job (Job 1:12; 2:6).
G. BINDING AND LOOSING SATAN HIMSELF
Jesus delegated authority to “bind” and “loose” spirits to His church as one of the keys of the kingdom and it is to be exercised according to jurisdictional authority. The exercise of this authority is a power encounter in which the kingdom of God engages and overcomes the kingdom of Satan (Matthew 12:25-28). This kingdom principle is critical in the matter of “binding and loosing Satan.” What does it mean to “bind and/or loose Satan” and what authority has been delegated to the church to “bind and/or loose Satan”?
In understanding the authority given to the church to “bind and/or loose Satan,” the distinction must be made between (a) the personal spirit being “Satan” and (b) the kingdom of Satan which includes all the various kinds of spirits that exercise their power, influence and control in and over individuals, areas and regions under and according to the will of Satan (Mark 9:29; Ephesians 6:12).
In regard to the personal spirit of Satan himself, Scripture reveals that God, according to His sovereign purpose, has permitted and, therefore, willed that authority on the earth in this age be given to Satan and that he have freedom to roam the earth and act as he wills (Job 1:7; 2:2; Luke 4:6; Ephesians 2:2; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 5:19). This means that the authority to bind and/or loose the personal spirit Satan is not an unlimited authority given to believers. A believer has not been given jurisdictional authority so that he or she can at his or her own initiative prevent and prohibit the personal spirit Satan from working anywhere at any time in the realm of the earth. Sometimes, believers attempt to exercise authority over Satan saying “I bind Satan from...” or “...in this area” with the idea and belief that they are exercising authority to prevent and prohibit Satan himself from operating in the earth in that area of realm. Because the authority to bind and loose spirits is a jurisdictional authority, this is a vain statement if (a) God has not given that person the assignment and, therefore, the jurisdictional authority in that area; (b) Satan has legal ground to be there because of sin (Ephesians 4:26-27); (c) One cannot exercise the authority of rightful jurisdiction because God has, in His sovereign purpose permitted Satan to work in that area (Job 1:12; 2:6; 2 Corinthians 12:9).
If a believer were actually dealing with the personal spirit Satan, he or she would only have authority to bind and/or loose him in one’s rightful area of jurisdiction. Jesus spoke to Satan himself and ordered him to leave and he left Him (Matthew 4:10-11). He had jurisdiction over His own person. However, Jesus said in the Parable of the Sower that after sowing the seed of the word of God in the hearts of those identified as “beside the road,” Satan would “snatch away what was sown in their hearts” (Matthew 13:19). Jesus did not have jurisdictional authority to “bind Satan” and prevent him from working in this way in the lives of these people.
Authority to bind and loose Satan himself can only be exercised in the area of one’s rightful jurisdiction. This is evident from the fact, that for years, well intentioned believers who have a partial understanding of binding and loosing spirits have “bound and/or loosed Satan” in virtually every area of life in this world with no effect. With all the verbal commands by these believers “binding” the work of Satan in virtually every realm of influence and authority throughout the earth, Satan would have been totally prevented from acting in any way and, in effect, would have been bound to the degree that Revelation 20:1-2 speaks of. This has not happened. He still roams the earth and, according to God’s purpose and plan, will do so until the end of the age.
H. BINDING AND LOOSING SATAN, MEANING THE SPIRITS WORKING AND MANIFESTING SATAN’S KINGDOM RULE AND AUTHORITY
The distinction is to be made between (a) Satan himself and (b) the kingdom of Satan which includes all the various kinds of spirits that exercise their power, influence and control in and over individuals, areas and regions under and according to the will of Satan (Mark 9:29; Ephesians 6:12). All of these spirits that are under Satan’s authority manifest his kingdom and work in his name. Because these spirits work in the name of Satan, believers can and are to exercise jurisdictional authority to “bind and/or loose Satan” meaning the kingdom of Satan that works and manifests through these spirits in his name.
In the account in Luke 13 about the woman who had the “spirit of weakness,” Jesus speaks of the personal spirit, Satan, saying, “And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?” (Luke 13:16). As the account informs us earlier, the actual personal spirit that was the “bond” in the woman’s life was not Satan himself but a different spirit, identified as a “spirit of weakness” (Luke 13:11). While it was not the actual personal spirit Satan who afflicted this woman, Jesus attributes the working of the individual “spirit of weakness” directly to Satan. This is because the spirit operating in the woman’s life was under the rule and authority of Satan and manifesting the kingdom of Satan in her life. This is the principle that to act “in the name of” an authority is the same as that authority working and acting itself. When Jesus acted in the name of God, it was God and His kingdom that was being manifested. When the “spirit of weakness” was working in the name of Satan and manifesting the kingdom of Satan, it was to be equated with Satan himself as the one manifesting this work. When Jesus engaged and defeated “the spirit of weakness,” this spirit was acting in the name of Satan and, therefore, Jesus spoke of that work being the work of Satan. Thus, for Jesus to “bind and/loose Satan” would mean that he did not literally bind the personal spirit Satan so as to prevent and prohibit him from personally acting. Jesus exercised His authority to “bind and/or loose Satan” by engaging and defeating the “spirit of weakness” that was acting in the name of Satan. When exercised His authority to “bind and/or loose Satan,” this had the direct effect of prohibiting and preventing the work and manifestation of “the spirit of weakness” that was “the bond” in the life of the woman.
The distinction between (a) Satan himself and (b) the spirits working in the name of Satan to manifest his kingdom is important for the effectual exercise of the authority and key of the kingdom to bind and loose spirits. Through the exercise of jurisdictional authority, believers can and are to “bind” and “loose Satan,” meaning the spirits working in the name of Satan, through verbal command. This verbal command can be stated as “In the name of Jesus, I bind Satan from...I loose Satan from...” This would be a general, overall exercise of kingdom authority. However, the more precise that one is able to identify and name the spirit that is directly working in the name of and under the authority of Satan, the more precise and powerful will be the effectual exercise of this kingdom authority. This is illustrated in the power encounter of Jesus with the legion of demons. We are told that Jesus “had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit” (Mark 5:8). The Greek translated “had been saying” is the imperfect tense which means that Jesus did not merely say it one time but was continuing to give the verbal command. However, as is evident from the passage, the general command of “Come out, you unclean spirit” by Jesus was not having the effect He wanted and so He then “was asking him, ‘What is your name?’” to which the response was given, “My name is Legion; for we are many’” (Mark 5:9). Upon gaining more precise identification of the spirit by the knowledge of its name, Jesus gained greater ground to exercise authority over it and over them. Thus, while the general, overall verbal command of “I bind and/or loose Satan” can be effective in the exercise of authority over spirits, the more precise the identification of the name of the individual spirit that is working in an area where one has jurisdictional authority, the greater will be the effectual exercise of the key of the kingdom to bind and/or loose the spirits.
The Church is supposed to be God’s executor of discipline and justice on earth as it is in heaven. Christians have a responsibility to deal with sin in the church amongst believers as well as addressing sin in the nation calling for repentance and accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. The believer filled with the Holy Spirit has the boldness to speak the truth about sin and the consequences of continued sin. He also has the authority to heal the sick, cast out demons and bind the influence of demonic activity in themselves, their home, church and all those who listen to their teachings about resisting the temptations of Satan and keeping the gates shut off their lives through obedience to the word and living a righteous life.
Believers are the salt and preservative of a nation. Satan cannot control the people who accept Jesus and live righteously knowing how to resist the temptations of Satan to sin. Christians cannot protect a nation from the consequences of sin when that nation continues to sin which allows demons to torment and ravish their lives. No amount of binding, loosing and commanding demons to not attack will keep judgment from falling upon people and nations when they continue to engage in sin. Christians have no authority or jurisdiction to stop the will of man from sinning or stopping Satan and hordes of demons from ruling and influencing the nations where the people will not quit sinning. Look at Sodom and Gomorrah where demons continued to influence, tempt, occupy and torment the population because the people would not repent of their sins. Instead, they lived according to the lust of the flesh and to the laws of sins and death where demons had jurisdiction to inhabit them. God had authority, jurisdiction and a responsibility to bring justice, thus judgment, on the people of Sodom and Gomorrah!
Jesus, nor His apostles who walked and lived on earth with him for over three years, had the jurisdiction established by God Himself to stop Satan and his demonic forces from ruling the nations. They did not have the authority from God to stop Satan and his army of demons from ruling the nations and tempting, tormenting, oppressing and possessing individuals who had submitted themselves to them by continuing in sin.
They, nor the first century church and all the others that followed to this day, have been able to bind and loose the powers of Satan when people allow Satan and the principalities and powers of darkness to influence them by their own continued rebellion against God.
Yet today, millions and millions of naïve and ignorant believers are wasting their time trying to bind and loose different powers of darkness they have no authority or jurisdiction given to them by God to do so! They should be focusing their time on praying for themselves and others where God has given them the authority and jurisdiction to do so, usually with the cooperation of the believer, by being an ambassador of Jesus Christ in obedience of the Great Commission.
NOW LET US RISE UP AND FIGHT IN THE ARENA WHERE GOD HAS PLACED US BY CALLING MEN AND NATIONS INTO REPENTANCE SO THE CHAINS OF DARKNESS CAN BE BROKEN OFF THEM. SIN WILL NO LONGER GIVE SATAN AND HIS HORDES OF DEMONS THE AUTHORITY AND JURISDICTION TO TORMENT AND DESTROY THEM!
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