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Binding and Loosing

Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 18:18)

Jesus taught his disciples in regard to "binding and loosing," giving them the authority to both "bind" and "loose." However, this passage has been grossly misunderstood over the course of Christian history. How should we fulfill our obligation as disciples to properly understand our Master's teachings and apply them? Here is a brief teaching to help us better understand the words of our Master and cut through centuries of misunderstanding and misapplication of his teachings.

Vows & Oaths

Moses spoke to the heads of the tribes of the people of Israel, saying, “This is what the LORD has commanded. If a man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. (Numbers 30:1–2)

The above passage comes from Numbers 30:2-32:42, and contains a key by which we can better understand a teaching of the Master found in the Apostolic Scriptures. In this passage we find the Scriptural rule for vows, oaths and self-induced prohibitions.

The first thing we note in this passage is that whatever proceeds from our lips is binding. In fact, it becomes as binding as Scripture. In a sense, when we make a vow or pledge an oath, we have created a new restriction upon ourselves that is above and beyond the obligations of the Scriptures. We have, in a sense, “added to Scripture.” This is one reason why both the sages, and our Master are so critical of vows and pledges.

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