Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Matthew 18:18

While considering Sir Bill's gaffe (see previous post), I read down to Matthew 18:18, which has always left me a little puzzled, especially since it is a pretty common sermon topic. Let's look at the different translations.

NIV - 18 "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be[a]bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[b] loosed in heaven."


This is the way I usually hear the verse quoted. Usage of the terms "bound" and "loosed" conjure images of spiritual warfare in heaven. In this context, it's difficult to see the relationship to the previous "bullish" verses 15-17.

NASB - 18"Truly I say to you, (A)whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

Here we're bound and loosed again, but the tense is different. NIV implies heavenly action will follow earthly action; NASB implies heaven set the precedent.

King James - 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."

Back to the tense and order of the NIV. Earth action first, heavenly action follows.

Amplified - 18"Truly I tell you, whatever you forbid and declare to be improper and unlawful on earth must be [a]what is already forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit and declare proper and lawful on earth must be [b]what is already permitted in heaven."

Amplified version turns binding and loosing into moral and legal action. Even a stronger assertion than the NASB (and ESB, by the way) that the earthly action must be in accordance with the already-established heavenly order.

So, which is it? Does our binding and loosing cause events in heaven, or are they caused by events in heaven? Since Jesus brings this up immediately after his guidance on how to handle sin (and the sinner), is he trying to tell us about the relationship between the behavior of the church and the state of heaven, and that the latter can fluctuate (angels rejoicing and weeping over our actions?) Or is he trying to make clear that the standards we follow in dealing with sin in the body should be the same as those used in heaven? And if that be, how would we know what the heavenly standards for this type of thing are, if Jesus is just now bringing it to our attention?

I must have been daydreaming through the sermons. The angels were weeping.

Sir Chuck, Binding and Loosing



7 comments:

  1. My simple, on-track mind sees binding and loosing, but reads choice and predestination. I'm probably skimming to fast, and apologize for my lack of focus.

    Do we have choice, or does God predestined? Do our choices bind and loose, or are we bound and loosed by Heaven?

    You know my argument.

    sir don.....
    Knight of the Golden Horseshoe

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  2. Laughing here, Sir Don....the ghost of Calvin (not Hobbes' buddy) must haunt you at night.

    OK, so tell me, what does choice and predest have to do with the preceding verses? That's what I've always struggled with, establishing the proper context for this verse...

    Sir Chuck, predestined to spar with Sir Don

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  3. said...

    My simple, on-track mind sees binding and loosing, but reads choice and predestination. I'm probably skimming to fast, and apologize for my lack of focus.

    Do we have choice, or does God predestined? Do our choices bind and loose, or are we bound and loosed by Heaven?
    ____________________
    That is an old question, Sir Don and I don't think we have the wisdom to answer. Clearly we have some free will for sin cannot exist without free will(the fox who raids your henhouse is not a thief but a man doing so is). I like to think of it like a dance-does the boy ask the girl or does the girl encourage the boy to ask her? As both can be true without contradiction there are riddles wrapped in mysteries inside enigmas.
    Predestination in some form also exists-otherwise praying for others souls is meaningless. None of us choose our time, our place, or our physical and psychological makeup. Our inate likes, dislikes, and prejudices are unintended consequences of previous choices if they have any connection to free will-and if we have not such we have nothing to guide our free will(a swamp is less "bound" then a river but a river is more purposeful).
    So to answer free will and predestination do both operate together. But we can only speculate at how.

    Sir Jason

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  4. Knightly brothers,

    This is indeed and interesting question. I think verse 18 goes with the section starting from verse 15, as you have already alluded to.

    Mat 18:15 "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. Mat 18:16 "But if he does not listen {to you,} take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. Mat 18:17 "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Mat 18:18 "Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

    I think that if the church made up of believers who are guided by the Holy Spirit and have no other motive than to do God's will, their judgement will be identical to the judgment of God, so there is no difference. The phase "delegation of authority" come to mind.

    Incidentally Family Worship Center did exactly that a year or so ago with a man who was divorcing his wife, having no biblical grounds for his action. He clearly was disobeying the very words of the Christ he claimed to follow and the church was simply following instructions.

    Sir John, musing over his first cup of coffee

    PS, the second cup may give a completely different view.:)

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  5. Let me struggle some more about the context as I have time (and not much of it). I was just relating what came to mind.

    And by the way, Calvin is named for Calvin, and Hobbes for another philosopher.

    http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/characters.phtml


    I quit loosing sleep over the argument after I read Geisler's Chosen but Free. Maybe not the answer, but I can live with it. Geisler's writing style makes C.S. Lewis' look like a comic book.

    http://www.amazon.com/Chosen-But-Free-Norman-Geisler/dp/0764225219/sr=1-1/qid=1160146739/ref=sr_1_1/102-1121566-6644907?ie=UTF8&s=books

    sir don.....
    Knight of the Golden Horseshoe

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  6. Geisler's writing style makes C.S. Lewis' look like a comic book.

    OK, strike that one off my list...:-)

    Sir Chuck the simple-minded

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  7. Let me struggle some more about the context as I have time (and not much of it). I was just relating what came to mind.

    And by the way, Calvin is named for Calvin, and Hobbes for another philosopher.

    http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/characters.phtml


    I quit loosing sleep over the argument after I read Geisler's Chosen but Free. Maybe not the answer, but I can live with it. Geisler's writing style makes C.S. Lewis' look like a comic book.

    http://www.amazon.com/Chosen-But-Free-Norman-Geisler/dp/0764225219/sr=1-1/qid=1160146739/ref=sr_1_1/102-1121566-6644907?ie=UTF8&s=books

    sir don.....
    Knight of the Golden Horseshoe

    11:15 AM
    Sir Chuck said...
    _____________________________________
    The philosopher Thomas Hobbes was a political philosopher that believed that given man's disposition to evil the only way to have peace is to give unconditional loyalty to the state(it's probably more subtle then that-such works usually are). Right diagnosis partly right perscription but the result would be overdose. To be fair In Hobbe's time there was more to fear from incompetant states then over presumptuous ones-tyranny until recently usually reflected itself at the King's court in the form of whimsical arbitratiness and pompousity and in the provinces by lack of enterprise and declining morale. Breakdown of authority put people in immiediate physical danger. Hobbes could never have forseen a situation in which tyranny could be so efficiant as to touch everyone's life for the means weren't then available.
    In any case it didn't really matter. Hitler and Stalin were unlikly to have been inspired by him. And in any case it is hard to immagine any autocrat needing to be encouraged to extend his power.

    Sir Jason

    Sir Jason

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