Mat 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
What does this mean bind and loose?
Who is Yahshua addressing? To whom is He imparting this authority?
How do Christian ministers teach this concept?
In Hebrew, Asar ve hitter – “binding and loosing”
This is a Rabbinical term for “forbidding and permitting.”
In Josephus (Wars of the Jews 1:5:2) he writes: “The power of binding and loosing was always claimed by the Pharisees. Under Queen Alexandra the Pharisees, “became the administrators of all public affairs so as to be empowered to banish and readmit who they pleased, as well as to loose and to bind.” The various schools had the power to bind and to loose;” that is the power to forbid and to permit. (Talmud: Ta’anit 12a). This power and authority, vested in the rabbinical body of each age or in the Sanhedrin, received its ratification and final sanction from the celestial court of justice (Sifra, Emor, ix; Talmud: Makkot 23b).
“In this sense Yahshua, when appointing His disciples to be His successors, used the familiar formula (Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18). By these words He virtually invested them with the same authority as that which He found belonging to the scribes and Pharisees who “bind heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but will not move them with one of their fingers,” that is, “loose them,” as they have the power to do (Matthew 23:2-4)
A non-Jewish interpretation, equating binding and loosing with the remission of sins or retaining sins (John 20:23) was adopted by Tertullian and all the church fathers investing the head of the Church with the power to forgive sins, referred to on the basis of Matthew 16:18 as the “key power of the Church.” This bears no relation to the Jewish context.
Mat 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
The usual Christian view of vv 19-20 is that it defines a “Messianic minyan” not as the quorum of ten established by Halakhah (Talmud, Sanhedrin 2b) for public synagogue prayers, but as two or three assembled in Yahshua’s name, plus Yahshua Himself, who is there with them (v. 20). The problem with this is that the passage is not about prayer although it is not wrong to make a Midrash on it, which does apply, to prayer. Rather it relates to those Yahshua is addressing as having the power to regulate Messianic communal life (vv 15-17, commissioning them to establish refreshed covenant Halakhah, that is, to make authoritative decisions when there is a question about how Messianic life should be lived. In v. 19 Yahshua is teaching that when an issue is brought formally to a panel of two or three Messianic Community leaders, and they render a halakhic decision here on earth, they can be assured that the authority of YHVH in heaven stands behind them.
Compare the Mishna:
“Rabbi Chananyah ben-T’radyon said, ‘If two sit together and words of Torah pass between them, the Sh