The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence

Have you ever read the verse about the kingdom of heaven suffering violence and the violent taking it by force, and wondered what it meant?

"And from the days of John the Baptist 
until now the kingdom of heaven suffers 
violence,  
and the violent take it by force."  
Matthew 11:12

John the BaptistThe context for the verse is “the days of John the Baptist.”

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord. Make His paths straight.’ ” 
Matthew 3:1-3

After hearing him preach, what do you think the Jews were looking forward to?

They wondered if John was the Messiah, or Elijah – who Malachi prophesied would be sent before the day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5.)

The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem asked who he was: “Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was.  He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”

They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

He said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

He answered, “No.””  John 1:19-21

Jesus indicated John was a type for Elijah when He said, “And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.” Matthew 11:14 

The Day of the Lord is yet to come and so is Elijah.  He may be one of the two witnesses described in Revelation 11.

Elijah will explain both Testaments and unite Jews and Christians, as he shows how Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.

And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Malachi 4:6

Elijah will probably also heal a generational divide which I fear will happen as our children are being taught a different version of end-times after receiving an Agenda 2030 based green gospel at school.  Imagine being a climate skeptic with a child like Greta Thunberg.

Hitler said, “He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.”  It doesn’t bear thinking about.  If it’s uncomfortable now – what will it be like in the future?

But getting back to Jesus’ day, the Jews believed John the Baptist when he announced the Kingdom of God was at hand.  When Jesus fed the crowd of 5000 bread, they intended to make Jesus king by force. (John 6:14-15)

Were these people violent or enthusiastic and desperate?  I don’t know, but Jesus separated Himself from the the crowd.  Their idea of the kingdom of God was not His or His Father’s.

Before the Kingdom of Heaven can come, a false messiah and a false kingdom headed by ten kings will come first.  Jesus warned us not to be deceived.

Will we have to go against the crowd at a time when truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey?
(Isaiah 59:14-15)

Matthew-11-12-How-to-Enter-the-Kingdom-of-Heaven


I’ve written about the Kingdom to come in my second book “The Wayfarer’s Guide to the Apocalypse.”  It’s a unique peek at the happenings in Heaven and on earth as the world lurches through the apocalypse.   Book link: https://books2read.com/u/3RaOvG

Seeking 1 out of 99 readers

God plays an active and unapologetic role in my book.  He appears as ‘The King’ in various roles.  Sometimes he refers to Himself as the Shepherd.  Why?  Well, we are all like sheep who have gone astray. 

Sheep can get into a lot of trouble.  Growing up on a New Zealand sheep farm I’ve rescued them from creeks, mud, and barbed wire.

I loved finding the lost lambs, and so does Jesus.  Here’s me back from the lambing beat, with a lamb in my arms, about a hundred years ago …

Lambing Beat Aug 197452

Ever heard the parable of the lost sheep?

Jesus told the Pharisees and teachers of the law this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7

My book will appeal to those who understand the wilderness.  The reader I am looking for may not know the Bible, or God – but will love redemptive romance and a great good versus evil story.  I’m not writing for 99 people – I’m writing for one.  Come into the pages of my book.  The path will begin in a field.  Follow the butterfly.

book_by_fantasyart0102-dabdbjlSource of image: Deviant Art, Book by FantasyArt0102

The light shines in the darkness

Mangaehuehu, Mt RuapehuPanting harshly, we hurriedly left the river to scramble up the steep bank to gain the top of the ridge near the Mangaehuehu hut on Mt Ruapehu. 

Fog rolled down the mountain’s slopes just as we’d finished washing the last of the dishes in the clear mountain river, touching us with its damp fingers.  It conquered the evening sun that lit the folds and ridges of the land, leaving us disoriented and lost.  Dropping down to our hands and knees, we crawled down the ridge hoping to find the hut.  No landmark was visible, nor could we discern the track. We were caught out.

When we reached the ridge we stood to our feet in the grey void, unnerved and too afraid to move.  The feeling of fear was clammier than the air.  Our packs and sleeping bags were in the hut.  The majestic volcano that crowned the hills near the land I lived was my friend, a great playground for skiing and tramping, but it was complex and had rules.  Confident of the mountain’s good mood, we’d gone out clad only in our shorts and T-shirts.  Even though it was mid-summer, we knew the peril from exposure if we were forced to spend the night in the open.  How were we going to get back to safety?

Just as we were debating what to do, a light appeared, beckoning us to safety.  That light that someone, recognising our peril, had put in the hut window, was our salvation.

That is what Jesus, the Light of the World, is for me.  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Isaiah 9:2

He promises that “whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12.

The King, the great ‘I AM’, is mightier than the light in the hut, mightier than the cyborg robot played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2, who reached out his hand saying “Come with me if you want to live.”