Parable of the Divided Kingdom: Verse, Meaning & Lesson

The Parable of the Divided Kingdom is in Matthew 12:24–30, Mark 3:22–30, and Luke 11:15–23. Jesus told this parable to teach the truth about a kingdom being divided against itself with internal conflicts and factions will not be able to stand or prosper.

This guide gives you a complete summary of the Parable of the Divided Kingdom, including the verses in Scripture, the meaning, and lessons that can be applied to the Christian life.

Parable of the Divided Kingdom In Scripture

Matthew 12:24–30 – Parable of the Divided Kingdom

But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “This man does not cast out demons except by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons.”

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then God’s Kingdom has come upon you. Or how can one enter into the house of the strong man and plunder his goods, unless he first bind the strong man? Then he will plunder his house.

“He who is not with me is against me, and he who doesn’t gather with me, scatters.”

Read Matthew 12

Mark 3:22–30 – Parable of the Divided Kingdom

The scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul,” and, “By the prince of the demons he casts out the demons.”

He summoned them and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. If Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he can’t stand, but has an end. But no one can enter into the house of the strong man to plunder unless he first binds the strong man; then he will plunder his house.

“Most certainly I tell you, all sins of the descendants of man will be forgiven, including their blasphemies with which they may blaspheme; but whoever may blaspheme against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.”—because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Read Mark 3

Luke 11:15–23 – Parable of the Divided Kingdom

But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons.” Others, testing him, sought from him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. A house divided against itself falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. But if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if I by God’s finger cast out demons, then God’s Kingdom has come to you.

“When the strong man, fully armed, guards his own dwelling, his goods are safe. But when someone stronger attacks him and overcomes him, he takes from him his whole armour in which he trusted, and divides his plunder.

“He who is not with me is against me. He who doesn’t gather with me scatters.”

Read Luke 11

Parable of the Divided Kingdom Meaning

This parable means every kingdom divided against itself with internal conflicts and factions will not be able to stand or prosper. Jesus is illustrating the fact that the success of any kingdom relies on the unity among its members.

Jesus used this parable to refute the accusation of the Pharisees, who claimed that He was casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul (i.e., Satan or the devil), the prince of demons. Jesus argued that if He was using Satan’s power to fight against the devil, then Satan’s kingdom would be self-destructing and collapsing (i.e., a house divided cannot stand).

On the contrary, Jesus said that He was casting out demons by the Spirit of God, which meant that the Kingdom of God had come upon them. Jesus also warned that whoever is not with Him is against Him, and whoever does not gather with him scatters. This implies that there is no neutral position when it comes to following Jesus. One must either choose to be on His side (in unity) or oppose Him.

Parable of the Divided Kingdom Lessons

You Cannot Serve Two Masters

The major lesson from this parable is that we cannot follow the ways of the world and the teachings of Jesus as Christians. We cannot serve both Satan and Jesus. There can only be one master over your life. As a Christian, you must commit yourself to the Word of God and follow the example of Jesus Christ while rejecting the false teachings of the world. There is no way to serve God and continue to do things that go against His will.

You Should Not Attribute the Work of God to Satan

Another important lesson is to not accuse God of being evil or inflicting harmful acts against people, which is the work of Satan. It also means to not give credit to the devil for the blessings that can only come from God. Attributing the work of God to Satan and vice versa is a very serious sin because it shows a lack of faith and reverence for the Lord. Also, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit risks eternal condemnation. Jesus warned that every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, except for blasphemy against the Spirit (Matthew 12:31-32).

Unity Is Integral to the Church

It is crucial to have unity among other members of the church body. We should not be divided by petty disputes, doctrinal differences, or personal preferences, but be united by the love of Christ and the truth of His Word. As Jesus explained in the parable, a house divided cannot stand. Therefore, all of His followers should work together to maintain the unity of the Spirit to protect themselves from the temptations of Satan to divide God’s Kingdom here on earth.

Do Not Judge Others By Their Appearance

In the parable, the Pharisees were quick to accuse Jesus of being in league with Satan, but they failed to recognize the signs of God’s power and grace in His ministry. Similarly, the outward appearances of the Pharisees looked like they were the most observant and scrupulous keepers of the Mosaic Law. However, their accusatory words revealed the true condition of their hearts.

As Christians, we should not judge others by their appearance but by their words and the fruits of their actions. Taken together, those attributes indicate the condition of their hearts toward God.

After telling the Parable of the Divided Kingdom, Jesus expands on this teaching by saying in Matthew 12:33–37:

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit. You offspring of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure brings out good things, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings out evil things. I tell you that every idle word that men speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgement. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

A Spiritual War Is Going On Around Us

Another obvious lesson from this parable is that there is a spiritual war going on around us. And we should not be ignorant or indifferent to the spiritual warfare between God and Satan. The Apostle Peter, a disciple of Jesus, warns us that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Therefore, we must be alert and vigilant against the temptations of Satan in our lives by studying the Word of God, praying for protection from the Lord, and practicing repentance for our sins.


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Read More Parables In the Bible

The Parable of the Divided Kingdom is just one of many parables in the Bible. Use the links below to explore more of Jesus’ parables, their meanings, and life lessons.

Summary of the Parable of the Divided Kingdom

We hope you enjoyed this summary of the Parable of the Divided Kingdom.

As you discovered, the Parable of the Divided Kingdom appears in three Scriptures: Matthew 12:24–30, Mark 3:22–30, and Luke 11:15–23. And the primary meaning of the parable is that a kingdom divided against itself will not be able to stand or prosper. The life lessons include that you cannot serve two masters, you should not attribute the work of God to Satan, unity among members is integral to the Church body, appearances can be deceiving, and a spiritual war is going on around us that we must be vigilant against as Christians.

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