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Christian Pilgrim

 

149. Where Two or Three are Gathered



Matthew 18:20 - "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

This verse is nearly always completely misunderstood. Every time I have heard this verse referred to, it is interpreted as where two or three or more believers are gathered in any meeting of any kind, Christ is there in the midst of them. This is NOT the correct interpretation of the passage.

Where two or three believers are gathered together, Christ is indeed in their midst, but He is also just as close to one person on their own praying and communing with Him. Such a false interpretation of this passage makes single Christians feel completely left out, as though Christ is not with them if they pray on their own, whereas this is absolutely not the case at all.

The whole context of the passage is the subject of church discipline. This verse, if you like, is the New Testament equivalent to Old Testament verses which state that in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall all things be established. This is actually what the verse in context says:

Matthew 18:15-20 - "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 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. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."


In the Old Testament, they had to have two or three witnesses before anything could be established:

Numbers 35:30 - "Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die."

Deuteronomy 17:6 - "At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death."

Deuteronomy 19:15 - "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established."

Matthew 26:60 - "But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses"

2 Corinthians 13:1 - "This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."

1 Timothy 5:19 - "Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses."

Hebrews 10:28 - "He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses."

Revelation 11:3 - "And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth."



Also, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." is not the Roman Catholic idea that men can open and close the doors of heaven to people. Of course that cannot be. God is the Judge of all the earth. This again refers to church discipline. In other words, the church is responsible for its own actions:

Matthew 16:18,19 - "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

John 20:21-23 - "Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained."

1 Corinthians 5:4,5 - "
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."



Also, "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven," refers to church discipline as well, and not just anything asked for.