Part 4: Where Is The Kingdom Of Darkness?
Coming Out Of Darkness Into The Light
Jesus came for a specific purpose, to destroy the works of the devil and to save sinners. His finished work accomplished that, and Paul describes the result of His coming and finishing the work the Father had given Him to do:
Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 WHO HATH DELIVERED US FROM THE POWER OF DARKNESS, AND HATH TRANSLATED US INTO THE KINGDOM OF HIS DEAR SON: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
Paul is here speaking specifically of Christians, but being translated from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God "through his blood" is technically available to every man. The word for "translated" in these verses (Strong's: 3179) means "to transfer, i.e. carry away, . . . remove."
The Breaking Of The Powers That Be
There are basically two things which block man's way into God's Kingdom: sin and death. Adam brought these into the world, but through Jesus' finished work, our sin and spiritual death were washed away, and we have a promise that the death of the body will be overcome as well at His coming. His resurrection assures of us of that, having broken the devil's power of death over us for all eternity:
Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Jesus died for all men and that work was enough to translate all men into His kingdom. But the reality of that removal depends on one thing: the faith of man in what Jesus did in His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and glorification at the right hand of God, at which time He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all who believe. All of these together are called the finished work of Christ, which destroyed the works of the adversary in man. The result of Christ's work is justification and righteousness before God to those who believe. If a man does not believe on Him, that man has no faith in Him and remains under the authority of the darkness of this world, meaning sin and death, and the devil and his demons:
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Where Is The Darkness Of This World?
Satan and his demons rule "the DARKNESS of this world." And where is that darkness? True, it is in the world because Christ has not come back yet, but ultimately it is in the hearts of men because the heart of man is evil:
Rom 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Rom 3:10-11 "as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God."
All men have sinned and therefore all men have need of Christ's righteousness to come out of the jurisdiction of the enemy of our souls, that realm that legally belongs to the devil who rules wherever there is darkness in this world. All depends on how a man chooses to walk through this world:
John 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
Why don't all men believe on Jesus Christ? John answers that for us. In his gospel, we read:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, THAT LIGHT IS COME INTO THE WORLD, and MEN LOVED DARKNESS RATHER THAN LIGHT, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
In verse 19, John wrote, "and men loved darkness rather than light." Loving the darkness is not an outward thing, it is an inward thing. The Apostle Paul said very clearly,
Eph 4:18 Having the UNDERSTANDING DARKENED, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, BECAUSE OF THE BLINDNESS OF THEIR HEART.
A darkened understanding blinds the heart to a knowledge of God, who is Light. Men refuse Christ because they refuse to come into the light, as their deeds are evil, but also because
2 Cor 4:4 the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
It doesn't take long for darkness to descend from a darkened mind into a heart that refuses to believe on Jesus as God's answer to the darkness of this world. In the book of Romans, Paul said the same thing, even of some that knew God:
Romans 1:21 "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. . ."
"Their foolish heart was darkened." Darkness is in the heart of man, and it is there that Satan rules over him through lies and deceptions. When men choose to live in spiritual darkness because they won't let the light of God's word into their hearts and minds, there is nothing God can do for them. That doesn't necessarily mean God gives up on them; only God knows the heart. But for those who hate the darkness and yet are helpless in their darkened selves, Jesus is their answer and the answer for every man.
The Strong Man Bound And Plundered
Jesus said in Luke 11:
21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. 23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.
Matthew Henry explains these verses well:
"Verses 14-26. Christ's thus casting out the devils, was really the destroying of their power. The heart of every unconverted sinner is the devil's palace, where he dwells, and where he rules. There is a kind of peace in the heart of an unconverted soul, while the devil, as a strong man armed, keeps it. The sinner is secure, has no doubt concerning the goodness of his state, nor any dread of the judgment to come. But observe the wonderful change made in conversion. The conversion of a soul to God, is Christ's victory over the devil and his power in that soul, restoring the soul to its liberty, and recovering his own interest in it and power over it. All the endowments of mind [and] body are now employed for Christ. . . ."
Jesus doesn't want any man to remain in spiritual darkness and that's why He came. He said in John 12:
John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
In all of this, Jesus was and is saying, "I came and I spoke with you that you would believe in me, because I am the light of the world to all people that sit in great darkness, but you received me not." Therefore, the men of his time "abode in darkness" (John 12:9), and men still do today. There are dangers even to those who have come out of the darkness if they continue in fellowship with the practitioners of darkness:
Eph 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
What do we have through today's apostasy but darkness being passed off as light, the words of men and of devils being passed off as the word of God? Paul said, "Be not ye therefore partakers with them."
The Devil Is A Father
Men's HEARTS are darkened and it is because the devil is the father of these sons of disobedience, for they love the darkness rather than the light of God and His word:
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Man's problem is that he lets his heart remain in darkness, exalting the thoughts of his mind over God's thoughts, which was the devil's sin:
Is 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 FOR THOU HAST SAID IN THINE HEART, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
This one is eternally wounded. This one is lost to the fellowship of God forever, as he continues to rage against Him with a wishful eye towards being as sovereign as He. Scripture says he was perfect until sin was found IN him, and from WITHIN HIS HEART came his five "I wills." In the garden, he came to God's creatures and through his tempting, got man to fall for his subtleties, just as men do today:
Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
The Problem With Man's Heart: DARKNESS
Darkness fell on the first men's hearts, and they had only themselves to blame. The devil had tempted them, but they gave him entrance, and God allowed it. The condition of sin and death and darkness within the evil one had now tempted man into a life of sin and death and darkness. Man would live in this condition until God intervened:
1 Cor 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the HIDDEN THINGS OF DARKNESS, AND WILL MAKE MANIFEST THE COUNSELS OF THE HEARTS: and then shall every man have praise of God.
Hidden things, counsels, darkness - all of the heart. Strong's says the "hidden things" spoken of here are things "concealed, i.e. private:--hid (-den), inward [-ly], secret (G2927)", and these hidden things are inward in the heart where darkness dwells.
But the time came when the Lamb, too, would come to man as a man:
Matt 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
People sat in the darkness of sin and death, but God would not allow them to do so forever:
2 Cor 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
The treasure that Paul spoke of was the word of God, the light that would shine in the hearts of all men who believe in the Lamb who had now come, that He was indeed God come in the flesh. Some responded, but some did not:
John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Some men love the darkness. Some do not want the strong man bound. Some do not want the kingdom of God within them, and in their rebellion, keep the door open for the evil one to continue to lead them by his temptations to carry out his wishes. What are those wishes? To take the darkness he'd deceived man into accepting and bring it to an open manifestation for all the world to see, bringing upon this earth a time of deep darkness.
Does The Devil Have A Kingdom?
In Romans 14, Paul said,
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
What is the Kingdom of God, then? It is the Holy Spirit in us who brings us out of darkness into the light of Christ through the word of God. God has His Kingdom within us, a Kingdom that will be visibly manifested when Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, returns. Then, what is the kingdom of Satan? Is it plausible to say too, then, that it is in the hearts of men who refuse entrance into the Kingdom of God? That it, too, will be visibly manifested when their "king" shows up in the person of antichrist? Is it plausible to say that as we are children of light (John 12:36), they are children of darkness (see Acts 13:10)? Jesus said men either have light in them or darkness, but to watch that their light is not darkness.
God has an everlasting Kingdom for us to inherit, and the children of the darkness have theirs, which is temporary. Both lie in our future, and it appears that some of us will see both of them be manifested.
[End of Series]