A Bible verse divided into house, meaning and study

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What does it mean when the Bible says “a house divided cannot stand?” What does this mean for us today?

The house of Israel

At one time, Israel was a kingdom that was not divided. Under King David, the nation of Israel reached its zenith of power, at least at this time. It was only after the death of David’s son Solomon that his sons tore the nation in two. Rehoboam was chosen to be the next king, but after learning of Solomon’s death, Jeroboam returned from Egypt where he had fled for a time and he returned at the head of a group of people to confront Roboam with a request for tax relief. It was only after Rehoboam refused the request that the ten tribes rejected Rehoboam as king and David’s dynasty of Israel began to fall apart. One became the Northern Kingdom and was known as Israel. The southern kingdom was Judah and although they only had 2 of the tribes (Judah and Benjamin as well as the Levites) they were still a formidable nation. Jeroboam became king of Israel (and the ten tribes) while Rehoboam became king of Judah. The nation was divided as Ahijah’s prophecies as God’s judgment on David and the nation, showing that nations can suffer from bad leadership. The house of Israel was now divided and it will not last long.

A divided kingdom

As the Northern Kingdom separated from the Southern Kingdom, growing tensions arose between the two. Israel (the northern kingdom) fell more and more into idolatry and even though Judah did not completely obey the laws of God, they were not as idolatrous as Israel. When Israel finally went to war with Judah, Israel was defeated. These tribes already had a long history of warfare among themselves (2nd Sam 3). As the United States of America fought against the Confederate State of America, it threatened to split the nation in two forever. Fortunately, that did not end the nation, but any nation that divides, as Israel did, cannot hold out for very long.

A divided house

Right after Jesus healed a man, the scribes accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan (Beelzebul) (Mark 3:22) and Jesus replied: “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is coming to an end”(Mark 3: 23-26). His point is that it couldn’t be by demonic power that Jesus cast out a demon because that is contrary to the way kingdoms work, especially Satan’s. If the kingdoms were to divide against themselves they would not stay there very long and then why would Satan work against his own interests? The answer is, he wouldn’t. It was not the miracle they rejected, it was Jesus! The masses were divided against those who believed in Jesus and those who did not. The overwhelming majority of his disciples would abandon him to the cross. In fact, the very ones who earlier in the week cried out “Hosanna in the highest heavens” have now cried out “Crucify him! The nation was deeply divided over Jesus, so this nation collapsed around it in AD 70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem.

Warnings Regarding Blasphemy

Jesus knew that they attributed his miracles to the power of Satan and therefore warned them in a very serious way that “all sins shall be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin ”—for they said, “He has an unclean spirit.””(Mark 3: 28-20). This sin was especially applicable to religious leaders in Jesus’ day because, as Nicodemus said, “we know you are a teacher from God because no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him(John 3: 2). They knew that he had no evil spirit in him and that he did a lot of good by healing so many people. All the miraculous signs confirmed that he was the long awaited Messiah, but they hardened their hearts and attributed his powers to Satan. They also knew the scriptures and understood the signs that Jesus was doing and should know better. They had also heard of John the Baptist, a man they were afraid to deny was not sent from God and how John spoke of Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Knowing all this, they blasphemed God the Holy Spirit because they resisted him, willfully, rejecting the harsh reality of who Jesus was and accusing Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan when they knew absolutely better.

Conclusion

If you kept rejecting Jesus over and over again, you harden your heart. Each time you hear the gospel of the need to repent (forsake and turn away from sins) and trust in Christ and then reject Him, you push the testimony of the Holy Spirit further and further until what finally “God gave them over to a debased spirit to do what shouldn’t be done(Rom 1:28). If that’s you, you’re standing on the thin ice of eternity from which you won’t get a second chance. The author of the Hebrews writes “Today if you hear his voice don’t harden your hearts like in rebellion“(Hey 3,15) and even better”now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation(2nd Cor 6: 2).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is the pastor of Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the senior editor of What Christians Want To Know, whose mission is to equip, encourage and energize Christians and answer questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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