I’m not clear about the concept of binding and loosing can you help me?
Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to answering the issues you have raised.
You state you are struggling with the concept of “binding and loosing.” I do not know if you read my papers on this subject, but if not, they may be found on the web site. Go to studies and in that category, you will find two papers:
Binding and Loosing
Binding and Loosing another Perspective
Please read these if you haven’t already.
Now to address your concerns. I agree with you that Torah is the Standard for all true believers. We are admonished not to add to, nor subtract from G-d’s standards as set forth in the Torah. However, the mechanism of “binding and losing” as Yahshua set forth is not addressing the Torah. Unfortunately, like in His day, as in this age, men frequently impose their own will above that of YHVH and misuse Scripture to justify overriding YHVH’s Torah. “Binding and loosing” is only intended to regulate the communal life of assemblies, and not to supplant the Torah.
Primarily, it is a “bet din,” a court of the synagogue leadership comprised of true believers to deal with any issues brought before it that pertains to communal life. A G-d appointed leadership would deal with such issues based upon what is taught in Torah. Of course, there is always the possibility that a corrupt individual or leadership will use this mechanism to promote private or self-promoting agendas.
You cited, 1 Cor 5 and Mathew 18:15-20. When both of these letters were written, the NT was not yet complied nor canonized. The Corinthian letter was addressed to Gentiles in the mid 50’s CE. There was one problem in the community that was doctrinal but most of the problems addressed concerned attitudes and behavior, some of the problems raised by the Corinthinians were: celibacy, marriage, divorce, food sacrificed to idols, veiling of women in public worship, disorder at the L-rd’s Supper, charismatic gifts and their use in public and the resurrection of the dead. If you look at this list, you can see the ones that might need a ruling to maintain good order and unity in a congregation. This would be addressed by the concept of “binding and loosing.” Those directly addressed by Torah need not be and Sha’ul addresses them in a different way.
In 1 Cor, 1:11 Sha’ul declares that in the house of Chloe he is aware of contentions among them and to this he will address his halacha (ruling). Now he starts with a long colloquy stating his position and credentials. In 3:3, he identifies their problem as being carnal resulting in envying, strife and divisions. He then prefaces his Halacha with doctrinal statements to lend credibility to his halachic position. In 5:1, he addresses the problem of fornication and the belief that a man may have his stepmother for a wife. He goes on to relate other problems. Notice that his decisions and therefore rulings are directly from the Torah in most cases.
In 1 Cor 6: 1 Sha’ul tells the Corinthians not to go to a secular court of law, but to submit themselves to the ruling of a “bet din” to settle disputes. This is in accordance with Yahshua’s concept of “binding and loosing.” In 1 Cor 7:6, notice how Sha’ul phrases this verse, I speak from permission and not commandment referring to the preceding verses concerning avoidance of fornication. The phrase infers that some of his halacha is binding, yet some like that of fasting and prayer in relation to physical union of married couples is suggested without the stricture of being a halachic ruling.
Space does not allow a complete analysis, but perhaps some of the example above will help you in your struggle with the concept.
Matthew 18:15-20. The first verse uttered by Yahshua here refers to Lev. 19:17 where we are commanded not to hate our brother, but to correct or plead with him. In Verse 17, Yahshua tells us if we are unsuccessful in reconciling the brother to us in the steps outlined then the last resort is to submit the issue to the “bet din,” and whatever shall be bound on earth will be bound in heaven, etc. This passage does not necessarily mean to bring the issue before the whole assembly for in some respects that might violate Torah. However, it certainly requires the issue be examined by a “bet din,” a panel appointed from the spiritual leadership of an assembly and whatever ruling they render under the covering of Torah will be upheld in the courts of heaven.
Next reference is to “stoning.” Throughout Torah, sin is judged on the principle of justice equal to the sin. Stoning was the means of Jewish execution of the time, today the powers ordained by G-d carried out capital punishment by any number of means. The result is the same. Stoning is a concept. The concept included that every one participate in the stoning therefore, it was less likely that that someone would pervert justice if he himself had to cast the “first” stone. The teaching in “the woman caught in adultery.” Hebrew is a block language, and a language of concepts. Greek is about the opposite. We have to learn to think with a Jewish mind conceptually, to fully realize the import of the individual words. For instance, the Sh’ma. Hear, Oh Israel, does not merely mean to audibly hear, but to hear, internalize and act upon the Word of G-d. The same concept is expressed in Greek when we are told, to call upon the name of Yahshua, and you shall be saved. This does not mean that all those that calls or even shouts out the name Yahshua will be saved that is ridiculous. The concept, even as the Greek word implies is that those that call on Him, believe Him and obey Him acting on His teaching will be saved.
How do we who believe G-d’s word never changes reconcile what appears to be a turning from some of G-d’s clear directives? That is to stone children who dishonor their parents, kill idol worshippers, and many other injunctions found in the Torah that would result in a prison sentence or death to anyone who carried them our today. The Torah is made up of 613 laws, statutes, and ordinances. The Temple cult is invalid today for we are a priest hood of our Messiah after the Order of Melchisdek. The Levitical priesthood is now invalidated (Hebrews). Traditional Judaism does not follow any of these commandments because the Temple is destroyed and we cannot fulfill the mitzvot. Traditional Judaism has therefore enacted Halacha (legal decisions) that approaches Christian doctrine. And that is former animal and grain sacrifices in the Temple have now been replaced by the lives of Jews, prayers and good deeds. The table has become the altar and the father the priest. We also have to consider that statues and ordinances are subject to Halacha because of changing conditions in society and environments. Many of the Old Testament Laws cannot be applied to today’s social environment without undergoing review and analysis therefore applying the foundational concept of the law and not the actual terminology applied. The phraseology “Eye for and eye, and tooth for a tooth,” is understood by all Judaism as not meaning literally and eye for and eye, but the applicable concept is “equitable justice to redress a wrong committed.” This could entail monetary damages or the loss of someone’s life. The US Civil Tort law is based on this concept. Yet, we agree G-d’s Torah itself is not subject to change. That leaves us in the position of having to be able to determine the difference between statutes, ordinances, and His Unchangeable Law. Some Jewish Sages have said that the Ten Commandments are G-d’s direct standards (laws_ for us and that all the rest of Torah is commentary upon them. Furthermore, G-d gave some laws and did not tell us how to carry out the commission of these mitzvot, and therefore we are left to our own devices on how to implement them. Like the Sabbath laws, men have perverted G-d’s law of the Sabbath that we are to set it aside and occupy ourselves with Torah into a very burdensome day that annuls His intent for us. In traditional Judaism, the rabbis built hedges around G-d’s Torah in order to assure that the law would not be broken and this led to legalism. Sorry for the long effort above but it is a concept hard to understand for most people, especially if they are not Jewish.
Now specifically “stoning.” How do we reconcile that with Paul’s injuction to “just don’t have anything to do with them? When Torah clearly tells us to “stone” certain individual’s for specific sins the end result is death. The NT is given as Torah as reported in Hebrews so we are told to excommunicate them. Furthermore, we are admonished to follow the rule of the land of the civil government. Of course, if it conflicts with G-d’s Torah we must follow Torah. In the OT Torah there is a reference to being “cut off,” excommunicated. The result of being “cut off” is equated with being a “living dead.” In our society, we are prohibited from carrying out capital execution for many of the offenses listed in the Torah and we must follow the law of the land. Yet, if we follow NT advice and we act in accordance or we are reconciled to OT Torah we are instructed when all else fails to “cut off” the individual. This leads to “spiritual death or the state of being as the “living dead.” The concept is the same and the results are the same in the spiritual realm. They are dead to us and likewise to YHVH if we have acted in a prudent manner.
New rulings or rather interpretations are made to address the age in which we live. This does not mean we abrogate YHVH’s Torah, but adhere to it by applying the concept in a manner that is consistent with our time.
I hope this helps.