“Whatever you bind on Earth will be bound in Heaven” (Matt 18:18)
The Greek tense here is actually a future perfect: “It will have been bound in heaven.” In other words we can only “bind and loose” on Earth that which has already been bound or loosed in heaven. When Peter, and through Peter the church, was given the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, these were the terms under which those keys were passed on. Keys are a symbol of authority: with the authority that Jesus has given us in His name, we can unlock Heaven on Earth.
When Jesus taught us to pray, we learnt to pray for God’s will to be done one Earth as it is in Heaven. In other words, for that which is bound or loosed in Heaven to be bound or loosed on Earth. King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus was also the firstborn of all the New Creation. Not only are we His disciples, called to do what He did; but we have His DNA and we have His Spirit within us. He has set the precedent and laid down the pattern for everything he has called His followers to carry on doing in His name. He held those keys Himself before He passed on a set to the Church, and we see that His ministry operated on the same principles that He gave to Peter.
Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. (John 5:19) He didn’t bind or loose anything on Earth that He didn’t see the Father bind or loose in Heaven. Although a few people have been given some partial revelation, none of us really know the dynamics of the relationship between Heaven and Earth; the realm of the Spirit and the realm of the flesh. But we do know one thing, because it is in Scripture: what is here below is a “shadow” of the greater reality above. The original glory of Creation, when it was good, and God walked with King Adam in the garden, was lost at the fall. Sin moved in, Heaven moved out, and reality became a shadow. But when God’s will is done on Earth as it is in Heaven, the doors of Heaven are unlocked on Earth and the shadow takes on something of the substance of its true spiritual nature.
So how do we disciples follow the pattern we were given in order to “bind and loose” on Earth in the name of Jesus? The keys we have been given are the keys of heavenly authority: what we don’t do is see “binding” just as something we might carry out on demonic “strongmen” (Matt 12:29) or principalities (Ps 149:8) and try to use the term as a verbal weapon of spiritual warfare. We do see the power of demons bound in the gospels, and we see people loosed from their grip; but the words describe the results of effective deliverance ministry; they don’t bring it about. I think we make a lot of noise and fire a lot of blanks when we try and “bind” demons, and unless we have seen it done in Heaven first we are surely wasting our time.
Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Lights. This is the key to how we exercise our heavenly authority on Earth: we simply release what we have seen the Father doing. And here again we have to model our ministry on the ministry of the Master. If we want to see what the Father is doing, we need to spend time with Him. We need to ascend into heavenly places in worship and prayer in order to take hold of what the Father has given us for the situations we are bringing to Him. We need to be hungry for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, because it is by these gifts that we receive revelation. Revelation might be the end of the Bible, but it is the beginning of effective ministry. Whether we are dealing with demons, sickness, relationship issues, material provision, or anything else where we are calling on the Lord, it is only by revelation that we can see what the Father is doing in Heaven, and so it’s only by revelation that we can unlock His Kingdom purposes on Earth.