Binding and Loosing- Mike Riches


Matthew 16:18, 19 and 18:18 -20 and the context of Matthew 16:13- 17

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus says that upon the rock of Peter’s confession of who he is, The Messiah, The Son Of the Living God……. in that authority Jesus was and is going to build His Church.

As the Church is built, grown, and advances, the Gates of Hades will not be able to overpower it, withstand it, and prevail against it.

GATES – Government, Authority and Device of Defense.

The authority and power found in the kingdom of death (Hades) will not be able to withstand the authority and power of Jesus Christ in His Church as it is built and advances.

Remember, the Church, you and me, are redeemed people, if we are “in Christ” through salvation by grace.

Satan’s kingdom can not withstand us when we are corporately and in unity advancing God’s kingdom through the Church.


This world is a confrontation of powers. Jesus designed the Church to be offensive. To attack and advance. Too many Christians are defensive and passive, backpedaling, trying to stop the devil from overpowering them.

Jesus makes it very clear in Matthew 16 that it is hell, and not the Church, that is to be on the defensive. Instead of looking at what Satan is doing and being overwhelmed, we need to look at what Christ is doing and what He has authorized and designed for us to do. We are not to be fearful. It is Satan who is disadvantaged. Ours is a place of triumph and authority, not defeat and impotence.

KEYS – Authority

Keys Are a Symbol of Authority. They were used in Isaiah and spoken of as symbolic of the steward’s (in this case, on Eliakim, the palace administrator) authority on behalf of the King.

Isaiah 22:22 – I will place on his (Eliakim) shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

The authority to manage the dynasty of David’s royal household was illustrated with the concept of a key. The one who has keys, translates into the one who has authority.

Revelation 3 describes Jesus as holding the keys to the house of David. However, in Matthew 16 Jesus grants keys to Peter. These keys are practically extended to the Church in this chapter and in the form of binding and loosing in Matthew 18. This is seen in;

Acts 2 when 3,000 are admitted to the Church,
Acts 3 when the crippled man was healed in the name of Jesus.
Acts 5 when Ananias and Sapphira were judged
Acts 8 when Peter announced judgment upon Simon the sorcerer
Acts 10 when Gentiles are let into the kingdom through the Church.

Peter, the rest of the apostles, men like Philip and Stephen, and the early Church corporately moved in the authority of keys of Jesus Christ.

THE KEYS (ie – a ring of Keys)

The statement is, keys, plural. Why plural? Because the gates of Hades are plural.

We know Satan’s schemes are plural. The realms of his activity are plural. The realms of authority that he exercises against people are plural. Jesus is saying we have the authority over every hellish gate. There is a corresponding key for every hellish gate. For everything Satan throws at us, his Church, there is a divine weapon that can be wielded in the authority of Jesus Christ that will shatter that hellish gate.

THE AUTHORITY – to Bind and to Loose

THE SCOPE OF AUTHORITY – the word, “whatever”

1) The Definition (from the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament)

Deo: To bind, to bind together, to wrap up, to chain. It is used to mean imprisonment, supernatural binding, declaring forbidden or permitted.

Luo: to free, to loose, to release, to break down, to dismiss. It is used in reference to freeing those in prison, the opening of things that are closed, the tearing down of walls,

Luo is used of being loosed from sin, Satan and his works, illness and disease, debt, prison, sickness etc

2) The Limitations:

The grammatical structure in these verses, does not communicate that God is bound to what Christians bind or loose, but that our binding and loosing on earth comes from, and is a sign of, the binding and loosing that is in force in heaven.

Matthew 16.19 (Amplified Bible): “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind (that is, declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must already be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth (declare lawful) must already be loosed in heaven.

One commentator states: “You can only bind on earth what has already been bound in heaven. But it still places the responsibility upon us because until we pray, the binding is not effective.”

McCandlish Phillips: “The limitation of Satan’s power on earth is based on a joining together of the will of God and the will of man. When the sovereignty of God is linked to the obedience of man, the will of God is put into effect, and when that happens Satan is checked.”

3. The Liberties:

The correct rendering is “whatever” not “whoever”. It is NOT limited to only persons, but also to “things” such as values and actions.

Whatever……… means whatever. If you know that it is the will of heaven, then the authority resident in Peter, the apostles and the saints of the Church through all generations has the capacity to prohibit and allow, or to bind and to loose, the Will of God.

The use of this authority to bind and to loose is then our responsibility. YOU AND I MUST DO IT. We are to live and minister in such authority, as outrageous as it might sound.

This is Staggering!

We stagger at the thought that God would put in our hands the authority and power of His great omnipotence. However, that is exactly what Jesus is saying. Paul prayed we as Christians would have our eyes opened up to understand the surpassing greatness of His power that works toward us.

It is not something we ask God to do. Rather, we do it, based on the authority extended to us by and through Jesus Christ.

This is what is controversial, that Christians actually and directly are to exercise this authority!

J. A. MacMillan said, “Men are slow to believe that the Almighty really means what He says. They think it an incredible thing that He would share with human hands the throttle of divine power. Nor have they the spiritual understanding to comprehend the purpose of the Father to bring those who have been redeemed with the precious blood of His dear Son into living and practical cooperation with the Son in the administration of His kingdom.”

This is a staggering consideration. However, this is not the only thing about God’s dealing with mankind that is staggering. Consider these other staggering thoughts:

To think that Jesus became sin, so that we could become His righteousness is staggering!

Think that we are joint heirs with Jesus Christ is staggering!

To think that we are seated with Jesus in the heavenlies at the Father’s right hand of authority is staggering!

On and on it could go!!

To think that you and I have the power and authority to bind and to loose, on earth as it is in heaven!

There is coming a day when Jesus will permanently bind Satan. However, until then, He has authorized us to do it, like a sheriff would deputize an associate.

If we pray, “Lord Jesus, bind Satan’s activities”, we have missed the point of what Jesus said and what Peter and the early Church modeled for us.

We must speak, and say exactly what we mean, and also mean what we say.

ILLUSTRATION – It is like a parent authoritatively directing a child. As parents, we don’t ask God to direct or discipline our child for us, we do it in the authority He has given us over our children.

ILLUSTRATION – consider a deputy police officer standing on a street corner saying, “Sheriff, in the name of the city statutes, stop the south and north bound traffic so the east and west bound traffic can proceed.” That deputy police officer needs to step out in traffic and exercise the authority that has been extended to him and direct the traffic himself.

D. A. Carson comments on Matthew 18.18 regarding the relationship to heaven and earth in the role of binding and loosing by the Church; “How is the contrast between “heaven” and “earth” to be understood? Our exegesis determines the answer. . . . heaven’s rule has thereby broken in. Thus, Jesus’ disciples, in accordance with his gospel of the kingdom, take up the ministry of the keys and bind and loose in earth what has with the coming of the kingdom been bound and loosed in heaven.”

D. A. Carson is saying that through binding and loosing by God’s people, the kingdom of heaven has penetrated earth’s interests.

Jesus prayed, “Thy kingdom come, and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is why prayer is so important.

Tony Evans said, “If you are doing kingdom business, as a kingdom Christian, living a kingdom life, you have kingdom authority.”


God has given us the keys, but He won’t use them for us. We must live in obedience to God, and then leverage God’s authority in and through our lives.

The Christian’s Authority exercised Is NOT novel or new to the Church. It was also the Jewish mind set as early as the time of Christ. It was used by earliest Rabbis to indicate their authority to set forth binding and loosing rules for living life. This included the managing and controlling of supernatural and spiritual forces.

Therefore, when Jesus talked and taught in the language of binding and loosing, it was consistent with that of Jewish thought and practice of His day, and consistent with Jewish theology. Not only was it regarded as something God did, but it was regarded as something the Rabbis did also.

Early Church Fathers such as Irenaeus, Methodius, Tertullian, Augustine and Chrysostom spoke of binding and loosing.

Augustine clearly connected the binding of Satan with the authority of binding and loosing, and notes that the Church has that authority.

Chrysostom believed that binding and loosing was an authority to be exercised by the believer by virtue of the authority of the believer in Christ.

He said, “For they who inhabit the earth and make their abode there are entrusted with the administration of things which are in heaven, and have received an authority which God has not given to angels or to archangels. For it has not been said to the angels, ‘Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ They who rule on earth have indeed authority to bind”.

Again Chrysostom said, “Let us loose them that are bound by poverty, by affliction. There is no comparison between opening the doors of a prison, and releasing an enthralled soul.”

Early Reformers, men such as Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, spoke of binding and loosing. They mostly exercised their authority in Christ, and binding and loosing, through prayer.

Martin Luther said, responding to a pastor’s inquiry about experiencing supernatural disturbances with pots and pans being hurled in his house by a demonic spirit, “Let Satan play with the pots. Meanwhile, pray to God with your wife and children and say, ‘Be off, Satan! I am lord in this house, not you. By divine authority I am head of this household’.”

Another time, Luther said, “About ten years ago we had an experience of a very wicked demon, but we succeeded in subduing him by perseverance and by unceasing prayer and unquestioning faith. . . . By this means I have restrained many other similar spirits in different places”

More Recent Church Leaders speak of binding and loosing.

Henry Ward Beecher said “every man and every woman . . . has this power of the keys. And every man that has that Spirit has God’s keys in his hands, and has authority to bind and loose–to bind lies and all iniquity, and to set loose all those that suffer oppression by reason of spiritual despotism.”

Dick Hillis, writing for Moody Press, said, “We learned further that it is not enough to pray or sing, though I believe Satan hates both prayer and song. We must resist the devil and command that he depart.”

Gordon Conwell Seminary professor J. Ramsay Michaels asserted, “The work of binding and loosing–binding the strong man and loosing his captives–the work that dominated Jesus’ ministry and filled his vision, will be the work of his disciples during the period of his absence.”


Matthew 12:28 -29 “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or again, how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? Then he will plunder his house”.

Mark 3:27 “But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.

Luke 11:21- 22 “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own homestead, his possessions are undisturbed;22 but when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied, and distributes his plunder.

The word “overpower” in the Greek is Nikao, which means “to conquer, prevail, get the victory, overcome”. Nikao is associated with binding and loosing. Due to one’s authority in Christ, one has the capacity to overcome the enemy, and therefore to bind and loose.

In this text Jesus is emphasizing the Stronger Man (Jesus). The Stronger Man (Jesus) attacks and overpowers the strong man (Satan). The strong man’s armor is stripped from him (Satan).

Please note that the strong man is powerful, has weapons, and has goods that he jealously protects. He is standing guard over his possessions. But Jesus is the One who is stronger, omnipotent.

Furthermore, note that the goods are people. Jesus was delivering people from Satan’s “house” (and from Satan’s control).

Some of the enemy’s weapons are; unbelief, fear, intimidation, idolatry (a religious spirit – has a form of godliness and denies the power of God, materialism, rebellion, lies and deception, condemnation (the thought that we are not loved by God), disobedience to God’s truth, immorality (sexual, including pornography), disunity, unforgiveness, pride, addictions, occultic activity (overt and covert).


Bind and loose in the name or authority of Jesus Christ by virtue of His shed blood and resurrection!! You will discover that the Head of the Church is very interested in what happens in such contexts. The difference in the spiritual climate can be profound!

Where does all of this leave Satan and his kingdom in regards to the Christian?

Hebrews 2:14 Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Satan is left defeated, disarmed, and powerless against us when we exercise the authority and power that has been given to us.

Satan is defeated, yet he still roams the earth doing his vile, sinister deeds. However, one day Satan will be permanently bound in Revelation, cast into the Lake of Fire. Game will then be over.

ILLUSTRATION – this is likened to a football game. We are in the final 5 minutes of the game. Our team is ahead by 35 points. The game in reality is “over”. However, there is still time on the clock, and the teams are still out on the field. We must continue to play. The game is not officially over, though the outcome fundamentally has been decided.

May we exercise the authority that Christ has given us to advance His
kingdom and righteousness on earth.

Further Quotes:

Carrie Judd Montgomery said, writing about the missionary enterprise of Christian and Missionary Alliance missionaries: “Years ago we did not know how to loose people that were bound by the devil. . . . Often our prayers cannot be answered until we are able to speak with authority and loose the one whom Satan has bound. . . . The Lord shows us Matthew 12.29 that we must first bind the strong man before we can spoil his goods. I can never tell you what this power has meant in our ministry the last few years”.

G. Campbell Morgan commenting on Matthew 12 stated, “God’s children, those who have entered into His victory by the cross, also know something of what it is to bind the strong one. His cross is the force that sets us free to spoil the house of the strong one, and rescue souls”.

K. Neill Foster commented, “There are reasons, I think, that the Holy Spirit has placed this pivotal passage in all three of the synoptic gospels. Each in its own way reinforces the missiological and evangelistic intent in binding the strong man and loosing the evangelistic impulse”.

He continued, “All to often attempts are made to brush by the strong man to get to the work of the Lord. No Christian workers are more vulnerable to this error than the materialistic, secularistic, technological and spiritually insensitive missionaries from the Western world. If this study of relationship of binding and loosing to evangelism and missions draws any conclusion at all, it is that such “brushing by” procedure is a grave, grave error in kingdom work–and that binding the strong man is a ‘first’ work”.

This is why Satan must do his work by deception and intimidation. This is why we need to call Satan’s bluff. He deceives many Christians to believe they have no authority, and are helpless prisoners of our circumstances, our past and our besetting sin.

ILLUSTRATION – An elephant kept in place by a short peg in the ground and a chain.

We have been raised with Christ, and therefore we should be demanding our territory back from Satan. For some of us, he has stolen from us, as the Amalekites stole from David and the people of Ziklag (I Samuel chapter 30). It is time we go and recover what Satan has stolen from us.

ILLUSTRATION – The song, “Going To the Enemy’s Camp To Take Back What Was Stolen From Me!”

Andrew Murray prayed, “Grant especially, blessed Lord, that your Church may believe that it is by the power of united prayer that she can bind and loose in heaven, cast out Satan, save souls, remove mountains…”

Theodore Epp, founder of “Back to the Bible Broadcast” wrote; “If Satan has blinded and bound men and women, how can we ever see souls saved? This is where you and I enter the picture. Spoiling the goods of the strong man has to do with liberating those whom Satan has blinded and is keeping bound.”

Mark Bubeck wrote; “As believers, united with Christ in His authority, we are able to so war against Satan that we can bind him, and tie him up and rob or take away what he wants to claim as his own. . . . We are to see ourselves as invincible soldiers of Christ who can advance against this ‘strong man’ Satan, invade his domain, and take away from him those people and spiritual fortifications he claims.”