The Kingdom of God Versus the World

Introduction

There are two primary kingdoms at work on the earth. There is the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the world. The Kingdom of God is good and the Kingdom of the world is bad or evil. Each person operates in either one or the other and one's citizenship is revealed by the heart. Jesus uses the repsonse of the religious leaders to him healing a demon possessed man along with their response to it to reveal an important message to us..

Lesson

Read Matthew 12:15-37

Matthew 12:25 (NKJV) 25But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.

First we notice that Jesus knew what the Pharisees were thinking. Perhaps this was due to his divine nature or it could be that the Pharisee’s evil nature was so apparent and predictable. It could also have been their posture. In any case, Jesus Christ knew what they were thinking and therefore responded.

Jesus presents a profound principle that applies in all areas of life. Anything that is divided against itself will not stand. A kingdom is a realm over which someone rules or it could also be a land over which someone presides. Any nation, realm, or other such kingdom cannot last unless it remains in unity.

From the negative point of view we see the power of unity. Marriages can withstand attack if unity prevails. A household can withstand the attacks of Satan if unity remains in effect. Division brings about destruction. The phrase "brought to desolation" means to be destroyed and put into ruin.

Matthew 12:26 (NKJV) 26If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?

This verse is extremely interesting because it presents Satan as having a kingdom. Satan has a realm over which he presides. This Kingdom is the Kingdom of darkness (godlessness). Satan will not go against himself because his kingdom is not divided. Evil may appear as light but a discerning eye can see that the light that shines from darkness is indeed darkness.

Matthew 12:27 (NKJV) 27And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.

The term "sons" simply mean members of your own group, i.e. other Pharisees. Pharisees also cast out demons. However, there methods were more "magical" then what Jesus would do. Remember that the Pharisees were sensitive to being recognized for what they did. Jesus warns them about judging him falsely.

Matthew 12:28 (NKJV) 28But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

What if? That is the million-dollar question. What if Jesus cast out demons by the Spirit of God, which he did of course. What if the Pharisees were wrong? If their accusations of Jesus Christ was wrong then they would have found themselves in direct opposition to God’s own will by opposing and slandering His Holy Spirit.

Matthew 12:29 (NKJV) 29Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

This scripture is profound because it illustrates the power of God over the power of Satan. In order for someone to go into a strong man’s realm and take authority, then that person must be stronger than the strong man. This illustrates God’s power over the kingdom of Satan.

Matthew 12:30 (NKJV) 30He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

Now the separation is evident. If you are not with Christ then you are against him. There are no in-betweens. Either you are of the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Satan. This appears to be aimed at the Pharisees. The Pharisees were definitely against Jesus Christ. They constantly badgered him and frequently tried to trap him in his own words.

Matthew 12:31 through Matthew 12:32 (NKJV) 31"Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Judaism believed that only God could forgive sins, but most Jews allowed that some of God’s representatives could speak on God’s behalf. The Old Testament penalty for blaspheming God’s name (reproaching rather than honoring it) was death (See Leviticus 24:10-23). According to later rabbinic law, blasphemy technically involved pronouncing the divine name or perhaps inviting people to follow other gods. According to the more common, less technical usage, it applied to any grievous insult to God’s honor (see Num 15:30).

Jewish teachers commonly taught that one’s sufferings in this life could make up for sins; but certain grave sins would be carried over into the world to come. "Highhanded" sins—deliberate rebellion against God—could not be atoned for under Old Testament law. Blasphemy was punishable by death (Lev 24:10-23).

Jesus thus regards blasphemy against the Spirit (permanently rejecting his identity as attested by the Spirit’s works) as the worst of sins. Jesus was telling them that according to their own law that rejecting his divine identity was a "Highhanded" sin.

Matthew 12:33 through Matthew 12:35 (NKJV) 33"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35A good man out of the good treasure £of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

This is the classical principle of the heart. We are what our heart is. If the heart is good then good things will be produced (good according to God’s WAY). If the heart is evil then evil things will be produced. The Pharisees had evil hearts and therefore that is what came from them. Jesus said that a person speaks from the overflow of his or her heart. See Matthew 6:19-24).

Matthew 12:36 through Matthew 12:37 (NKJV) 36But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

This scripture must be taken in light of the preceding one. One speaks from the heart. Therefore, every idle word that is spoken is only a manifestation or expression of the heart. Judgment is therefore of the heart and not solely the speech. What a person says and does is an indication of what is in their heart.

Summary

This lesson is a lesson of the heart given by Jesus Christ. The Pharisees responded to a man being healed by accusing Jesus Christ of being of the Devil basically. Instead of accepting who Jesus was, they instead rejected him as the Messiah. They were against Jesus and therefore unknowingly against God. Though the Pharisees were a religious sect, they were still operating within the Kingdom of Satan and not the Kingdom of God.

We also noticed that Satan does have a Kingdom and that God has complete authority and power over his Kingdom. Satan does not enjoy autonomy even in his own kingdom.

 


The Contrast of Two Kingdoms
By William R. Cunningham

By: 
William R. Cunningham