TODAY'S FOUNDATIONS DEVOTIONAL: Two opposing kingdoms

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Memory verse:

He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the

Son of Man.38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of

the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.

(Matthew 13:37-38)

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In Matthew 12:25-28 and in Luke 11:17-20 Jesus speaks about two kingdoms which are in opposition to each other: the kingdom of God (or of heaven) and the kingdom of Satan. Until the present age closes, these two kingdoms will continue to coexist. The kingdom of God includes all created beings who are submitted to His righteous government; the kingdom of Satan includes all who are in rebellion against God’s government.

In Ephesians Paul reveals two levels of Satan’s kingdom. He describes a host of wicked angels who had followed Satan in his initial rebellion against God (see Eph. 6:12). Paul also speaks of human beings who are in rebellion against God. He calls these latter “the sons of disobedience” and indicates that they are controlled by Satan as “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2).

The “gospel of the kingdom,” proclaimed by Jesus and His apostles, is an invitation extended by God to rebellious men – but never to rebellious angels – to escape from Satan’s kingdom and to enter into God’s kingdom. All who desire to accept this invitation must fulfil two conditions: They must repent of their rebellion and submit themselves in faith to Christ as God’s appointed ruler.

These two parables – the wheat and the tares, and the dragnet – both reveal that some of those who appear to belong to God’s kingdom have not, in fact, fulfilled these two conditions. They have made an outward pretence of repentance and submission, but it did not come from a sincere heart. Consequently it did not produce the deep, inner reformation of character which alone is appropriate to the kingdom of God. One main purpose of both parables is to reveal the special judgement of God which will come upon these hypocrites at the close of the present age.

The Psalms prophetically refer to this process of separating out the hypocrites and false believers prior to judgement of the true believers.

The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, or sinners in the congregation of the righteous (Ps. 1:4-5).

In this prophecy the ungodly are compared to the chaff, while – by implication – the righteous are compared to the wheat. Before the wheat is gathered into the barn, the chaff is first driven away. Before the righteous enter into their eternal reward, the wicked are first separated out from among them and cast out into a place of punishment.

For this reason the psalmist goes on to say that the ungodly and the sinners will never be allowed to take their place in the judgement of the righteous (before the judgement seat of Christ), nor will they ever be admitted to the congregation of true believers in eternity.

We may state this conclusion as follows: Only true, sincere believers will appear before the judgement seat of Christ. Prior to this, by the intervention of angels, all hypocrites and false Christians will have been purged out and cast into a place of fiery punishment.

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Prayer:

Heavenly Father, protect me, Lord, from ever becoming unfaithful to all

that You have taught me. Whatever situations and events I will go through

in my life, I will remain totally and fully committed to You. Use me to spread

the testimony of You and Your love. Amen.

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