Two Kingdoms - A study in Matthew 12
Sam Taufeek, Toronto, Ontario, Canada [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
We read in Matthew chapter 12 about a miracle performed by the Lord Jesus Christ – a blind and dumb man possessed by a demon; a picture of the sinner. Only the Lord Jesus could heal him. He could not see the truth, nor could he hear it; ‘faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’, Rom. 10. 17. The Lord in His grace made him free of the demon and healed him.
In the text, we can identify three types of witnesses to this miracle; the worshippers – who marvelled and praised God; the doubters – who asked for another miracle from above; the accusers – the Pharisees who said that the Lord Jesus cast out the demon by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of the demons. There is no greater rejection of the grace of God than witnessing a miracle performed by the power of the Holy Spirit and crediting Satan with such power and glory. No wonder the Lord called this the unforgivable sin!
The Lord addressed the third group by expounding solemn truth. We might summarize it as follows:
- Satan has a kingdom on this earth and he will never fight against his own, vv. 25-27;
- God is establishing His kingdom through the Lord Jesus Christ, v. 28;
- The Lord Jesus described this world as a house/palace of the devil, v. 29;
- People are the goods (belongings) of the devil, v. 29;
- The devil has complete armour; he is stronger than all who are in his kingdom and even stronger than many heavenly creatures, Luke 11. 21; Matt. 12. 29;
- No one can enter the devil’s house except one who is stronger than him, Luke 11. 22;
- Before the goods (belongings) could be freed (recovered), the strong man of the house must be bound first and his armour removed, v. 22.
So, we learn about two kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Everyone is born in the kingdom of Satan and on the broad way leading to destruction. Whilst God wants everybody to know the reality of both kingdoms and willingly choose God’s, Satan will do everything in his power to keep his ‘goods’ in denial of both kingdoms.
Prior to the Lord’s redemptive sacrifice, Satan believed his goods were secure, v. 21. Through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, such claims were refuted. The price was paid. 1
What do the scriptures tell us about the kingdom of God?
- At this point in time, it is spiritual. One day, it will include all the kingdoms of the earth; 2
- The kingdom of God is characterized by the attributes of God; 3
- There is true freedom in the kingdom of God; 4
Conversely, let us examine what the word of God says about Satan’s kingdom, which is characterized by:
- False liberty, corruption and immorality, 2 Pet. 2. 19;
- False peace, Luke 11. 21; John 14. 27;
- Darkness and blindness, 2 Cor. 4. 4;
- Love of earthly knowledge, Gen. 3. 5.
From the beginning, Satan has been tempting humankind with knowledge that feeds their proud nature. Today, science and the knowledge that it brings are what people depend on for answers. It has been said that the world’s knowledge is doubling every day. Though such knowledge and technology do offer help to many suffering people, we can’t imagine what the world will become when such knowledge falls under the full control of Satan.
Like any evil king, Satan seeks full control. The Bible tells us that his total control will be followed by his complete destruction. God’s judgement fell in the days of Noah and Lot and the day when He will pour out his final judgement on the kingdom of Satan is rapidly approaching. 5
Though we are brought into the spiritual kingdom of God by the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, we should never forget that we are still surrounded by the dominion of Satan. We have all seen how damaging sin can be. Let us not go after what the world is offering, as it is all the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. As we were purchased by the precious blood of our blessed Redeemer, how can we walk back into the dominion of darkness?
Almost every man-made religion teaches that life is a probation period. This teaching, though quite popular in Christendom, is not biblical. In the corporate world, probation is a period for the applicant to prove himself. If life is a probation period given to us from God, then it is up to us to qualify ourselves for heaven or hell. The Bible does not impart such a teaching but rather warns us against it. Probation is a denial of our fallen nature and the depravity of mankind. Life is not a test, where some will pass and some will fail, but evidences that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
1 Col. 2. 14; Heb. 2. 14.
2 Matt. 12. 28; John 18. 36; Rev. 11. 15.
3 Rom. 14. 17; 1 Pet. 2. 9.
4 Gal. 5. 1; John 8. 32, 36.
5 Gen. 6. 5; 13. 13; Matt. 24. 37; Rev. 13. 17; 16. 10; 2 Thess. 2. 10-12.