But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God - Perhaps the Spirit of God is here mentioned by way of opposition to the magical incantations of the Jews; for it is well known that by fumigations and magical washings, they professed to cast out devils. See a case mentioned by Schoettgen on this verse.
Then the kingdom of God - For the destruction of the kingdom of Satan plainly implies the setting up of the kingdom of God.
Is come unto you - Is come unexpectedly upon you. Εφθασεν, from φθανω, to appear suddenly - unexpectedly.
They pretended to be in expectation of the kingdom of God, and consequently of the destruction of the kingdom of Satan. But, by being not prepared to receive Christ in these proofs of his Divine mission, they showed that their expectation was but pretended. They were too carnal to mind spiritual things.
Is not this the Son of David? - That is, Is not this the promised “descendant” of David, the Messiah? They were acquainted with the prophecy in Isaiah 35:5, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped,” and they inferred that he must be the promised Messiah who was able to do this. This inference was drawn by the common people, and not by the proud and haughty Pharisees. It is not uncommon that people of plain common sense, though unlearned, see the true meaning of the Bible, while those who are filled with pride and science, falsely so called, are blinded.
But when the Pharisees heard it - It was necessary for the Pharisees, who had determined to reject Jesus of Nazareth, to account in “some” way for the miracles he had performed.
Here was a manifest miracle, an exertion of power unquestionably superior to what people could put forth. The common people were fast drawing the proper inference from it, and coming into the belief that this was the Messiah. The authority and power of the Pharisees were declining. Unless, therefore, some way should be devised of accounting for these facts, their influence would be at an end. Whatever way of accounting for them was adopted, it was necessary that they should acknowledge that there was “superhuman power.” The people were fully persuaded of this, and no man could deny it. They therefore ascribed it to the prince of the devils - to Beelzebub. In this they had two objects:
1.To concede to the people that here was a “miracle,” or a work above mere human power.
2.To throw all possible contempt on Jesus. Beelzebub, or Beelzebul, as it is in the Greek, and correctly rendered in the margin, was an opprobrious name given to the leader of the devils as an expression of supreme contempt. See the notes at Matthew 10:25.
Matthew 12:25, Matthew 12:26
Every kingdom - Their subtle and cunning device was completely foiled, and Jesus made their argument recoil on their own heads. A kingdom or a family can prosper only by living in harmony. The different parts and members must unite in promoting the same objects. If divided - if one part undoes what the other does - it must fall. So with the kingdom of Satan. It is your doctrine that Satan has “possessed” these whom I have cured. It is also your doctrine that he has helped me to cure them. If so, then he has helped me to undo what he had done. He has aided me to cast himself out - that is, to oppose and discomfit himself. At this rate, how can there be any stability in his kingdom? It must fall, and Satan must have less than human prudence.
By whom do your children cast them out? - Your disciples; your followers.
See the notes at Matthew 1:1. Christ was not satisfied by showing them the intrinsic absurdity of their argument. He showed them that it might as well be applied to them as to him. your disciples, taught by you and encouraged by you, pretend to cast out devils. If your argument be true that a man who casts out devils must be in league with the devil, then “your disciples” have made a covenant with him also. You must therefore either give up this argument, or admit that the working of miracles is proof of the assistance of God.
Therefore they shall be your judges - They condemn you and your argument. They are conclusive witnesses against the force of your reasoning.
But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God - The Spirit of God, here, means the “power” of God - in Luke, by the “finger” of God.
Compare Exodus 8:19; Psalm 8:3. If this work is not by the aid of Satan, then it is by the aid of God. Then his kingdom, or “reign,” is come, Matthew 3:2. The reign of Satan over people, and the reign of God are in opposition. If God expels Satan from his dominion over people, then his reign has come.
Or else - The Saviour makes use of a new illustration to confute the Pharisees, drawn from breaking into a house.
A man could not break into the house of a strong man and take his property unless he had rendered the man himself helpless. If he had taken his goods, it would therefore be sufficient proof that he had bound the man. So I, says he, have taken this “property - this possessed person” - from the dominion of Satan. It is clear proof that I have subdued “Satan himself,” the “strong” being that had him in possession. The words “or else” mean “or how:” “How, or in what way, can one, etc.”
Spoil his goods - The word “spoil” commonly means, now, to corrupt, injure, or destroy. Here it means “to plunder,” to take with violence, as it commonly does in the Bible. See Colossians 2:8, Colossians 2:15; Exodus 3:22.
He that is not with me - In addition to his other arguments, Jesus urges this general principle, that there can be but two parties in the universe.
If anyone did not act with him, he was against him. If he gathered not with him, he scattered. This is taken from the practice of persons in harvest. He that did not gather with him, or “aid” him, scattered abroad, or opposed him. The application of this was, “As I have not united with Satan, but opposed him, there can be no league between us.” The charge, therefore, is a false one.
The Lord has a controversy with all men who by their unbelief and doubt have been saying that He delays His coming, and who have been smiting their fellow servants, and eating and drinking with (working from the very same principle as) the drunken; they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. Satan has controlled their reason, and they know not at what they stumble. TM 78.1
Just as soon as a man separates from God so that his heart is not under the subduing power of the Holy Spirit, the attributes of Satan will be revealed, and he will begin to oppress his fellowmen. An influence goes forth from him that is contrary to truth and justice and righteousness. This disposition is manifested in our institutions, not only in the relation of the workers to one another, but in the desire shown by one institution to control all others. [See Appendix.] Men who are entrusted with weighty responsibilities, but who have no living connection with God, have been and are doing despite to His Holy Spirit. They are indulging the very same spirit as did Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and as did the Jews in the days of Christ. (See Matthew 12:22-29, 31-37.) Warnings have come from God again and again for these men, but they have cast them aside and ventured on in the same course. TM 78.2Read in context »
The sons of Joseph were far from being in sympathy with Jesus in His work. The reports that reached them in regard to His life and labors filled them with astonishment and dismay. They heard that He devoted entire nights to prayer, that through the day He was thronged by great companies of people, and did not give Himself time so much as to eat. His friends felt that He was wearing Himself out by His incessant labor; they were unable to account for His attitude toward the Pharisees, and there were some who feared that His reason was becoming unsettled. DA 321.1Read in context »
It would be surprising if there were not some, who, not being well-balanced in mind, have spoken and acted indiscreetly; for whenever and wherever the Lord works in giving a genuine blessing, a counterfeit is also revealed, in order to make of none effect the true work of God. Therefore we need to be exceedingly careful, and walk humbly before God, that we may have spiritual eyesalve that we may distinguish the working of the Holy Spirit of God from the working of that spirit that would bring in wild license and fanaticism. “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20). Those who are really beholding Christ will be changed into His image, even by the Spirit of the Lord, and will grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit of God will inspire men with love and purity; and refinement will be manifest in their characters. 1SM 142.1
But because some have misappropriated the rich blessing of heaven, shall others deny that Jesus, the Saviour of the world, has passed through our churches, and that to bless? Let not doubt and unbelief question this; for in so doing, you are treading on dangerous ground. God has given the Holy Spirit to those who have opened the door of their hearts to receive the heavenly gift. But let them not yield to the temptation afterward to believe that they have been deceived. Let them not say, “Because I feel darkness, and am oppressed with doubt, and never saw Satan's power so manifest as now, therefore I was mistaken.” I warn you to be careful. Sow not one expression of doubt. God has wrought for you, bringing sound doctrines of truth into actual contact with the heart. Blessing was given you, that it might produce fruit in sound practices and upright character. 1SM 142.2Read in context »
How to Wear the Yoke—Take hold of the arm of God, and say, “I am nothing, and Thou art everything. Thou hast said, ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’ Now, Lord, I must have Thee abiding in me, that I may abide in Thee.” Then advance step by step, by living faith abiding in Jesus Christ. This is wearing His yoke, the yoke of obedience (Manuscript 85, 1901). 5BC 1092.1
Wearing the yoke with Christ, means to work in His lines, to be a copartner with Him in His sufferings and toils for lost humanity. It means to be a wise instructor of souls. We shall be what we are willing to be made by Christ in these precious hours of probation. We shall be the sort of a vessel that we allow ourselves to be molded into. We must unite with God in the molding and fashioning work, having our wills submitted to the divine will (Letter 71, 1895). 5BC 1092.2
30. Easy Yoke Does Not Give Life of Ease—The Lord calls His yoke easy, and His burden light. Yet that yoke will not give us a life of ease and freedom and selfish indulgence. The life of Christ was one of self-sacrifice and self-denial at every step; and with consistent, Christlike tenderness and love, His true follower will walk in the footsteps of the Master; and as he advances in this life, he will become more and more inspired with the spirit and life of Christ (The Signs of the Times, April 16, 1912, reprinted from The Signs of the Times, July 22, 1897). 5BC 1092.3Read in context »