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