Sacrographic Friday – Two Kingdom Confusion

When I came across the painting above I had to chuckle at the notion that Kingdom of Darkness prevails. Sadly, there seems to be a lot Christians who operate as if this painting were an accurate reflection of the conflict.

(Please note that the graphic to the left is in high resolution so be sure to click on it to get a closer view.)

In the scriptures we are taught that there are two kingdoms that are presently in conflict – the Kingdom of Darkness and the Kingdom of Christ.  Unfortunately, at best, we often see this conflict as a cosmic, “dualistic” battle between good and evil – like we see in Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Dante’s Inferno.  At worst, we view the Kingdom of Christ as puny in comparison to the Kingdom of Darkness, which we imagine as the preeminent imposing power on the earth, while satan, along with his demonic cronies, is seen as the supreme ruler of our present age.  Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.

Christ’s Kingdom is the prevailing power.
Not in the future, but now.
Christ is sovereign.
This is our Father’s world.

When I came across the painting above I had to chuckle at the notion that Kingdom of Darkness prevails.  Sadly, there seems to be a lot Christians who operate as if this painting were an accurate reflection of the conflict.  In response to that notion I only reaffirm the words of Daniel as he stood before the mightiest King in the world, “In the time of kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44).  With the work of Christ, that Kingdom has already been established and is now reigning victorious.  And one day soon all menial competing kingdoms will be vanquished.  The last trumpet will sound and the angel will say, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).

How does this painting strike you?  I’d like to hear your comments!

5 thoughts on “Sacrographic Friday – Two Kingdom Confusion

  1. Perhaps it is an accurate portrayal of this world where Satan is indeed the ruler and prince. (1st John 5:19; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2)
    And yet despite his pervasive influence and sinister intentions, the church (the body of Christ – not the institution necessarily) stands firm. Though the size of the dark castle seems to dwarf the “kingdom of Christ,” the light of the church penetrates the darkness and our eyes are drawn to it rather than to the darkness. As the storm clouds gather, they seem to be embracing the evil while the rays of sun continue to shine on the righteous.

    Not sure what the artist intended, but this is what I saw.

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    • Rod, great passages…and obviously true. Yet, satan’s work is not a “free-lance” activity. He always operates within the permissive will of Christ. He cannot lift one finger unless God allows it so. In the book of Job, satan must ask God’s permission before he can so much as whisper to Job (Job 1:8-12). And even that activity that satan means for evil, God orchestrates for good – just as we see at the end of the book of Job, and at the end of the Bible in Revelation. Ultimately, satan is nothing more than a puppet/buffoon that God uses to work his Sovereign Will. Now this does not mean that we should not respect the power of satan. He is an incredible liar and our flesh is predisposed to believe his lies. But we should not attribute to him more power than this. He is a powerful liar. That’s pretty much the extent of it. And we should pray that Christ would give us the ability to resist his powerful lies. In fact, this is at the heart of the battle against the enemy – detecting and resisting his lies. However, we should not propose or embrace a grandiose vision of satan and the kingdom of darkness as it is portrayed above. This is Dante’s satan, the satan of Romanticism and Milton, it is not the Biblical view of the enemy. The Biblical view of Satan as the evil/buffoon/liar/manipulator may best portrayed in C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. A great little book that gives us a pretty accurate picture of how the enemy operates. In the end, the Christian should never ‘fear’ satan. He simply is not worth fearing.

      There is a little anecdote that has been handed down through the years that illustrates this point. It tells the story of Martin Luther and his interaction with Satan. It goes like this: One night Martin Luther heard noises in his room. He lit a candle and checked to see if the doors were locked. As he turned, he saw the devil himself seated in a chair with a wicked smile on his face…

      “Oh, it’s only you,” said Luther. He then blew out the candle and returned to bed. 🙂

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  2. But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades… See More will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16:15-19)

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