“From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.”
Explanation and Commentary of Matthew 11:12
This enigmatic statement is at first hard to comprehend, but in context, it seems likely that Christ is saying that in the short time between John’s ministry and the present moment when Jesus spoke this, there has been a rush of people coming into the Kingdom violently.
John himself was a severe man, beyond austere, he seemed to live for nothing else but to fulfill his role as the herald of the one who was coming, the Messiah. He cared nothing for his life or for any earthly gain. His passion was to do the will of his Father in heaven. Jesus commended him as the greatest that ever lived (Mt 11:11) but said that the least in the Kingdom of Heaven was even greater.
How does one enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Violently! It is no small thing, but rather it requires a life-altering commitment. To enter one only needs to believe. But belief is defined and shown by radical repentance of sin and renouncing of the kingdom of darkness (whether in those words or not). To gain the spoils of the good life in the Kingdom of God, one must be vigorous, forceful, intentional, violent about entry. This is total commitment.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Matthew 11:12
#1 “From the days of John the Baptist until now,”
Not much time had passed at this point since John first began his ministry, which was to declare that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand at that the King was coming. Once the announcement was made, the signs of the Kingdom began to break in, especially when Jesus started to preach.
#2 “The kingdom of heaven…”
The Kingdom of Heaven or The Kingdom of God was Jesus’ main message. The world belongs to God, but Adam gave the right to be the ruler of it to satan. Now the world is mainly the kingdom of darkness, of the world, of satan. The economy of the kingdom of Satan is hate, lust, pride, envy, greed, and these are what makes his world go around. Along with that are sorrow, pain, sickness, and death. The Kingdom of God breaks in from heaven and from the future at the Last Judgement. Jesus announced, demonstrated, and taught how to live in this new reality.
#3 “has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.”
This is the most confusing part, but it seems to mean this Kingdom must be forcefully laid hold of. We enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with vigor and total commitment. We take authority over the darkness and drive it out before us when we command spirits, and sickness, and even death. Turning the dominion of darkness upside down is an act of violence. When we pray, “Let your kingdom come,” we strike a violent blow to satan’s kingdom.
Expert Overview of Matthew Ch. 1-13
Biblical Translations of Matthew 11:12
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.
And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it.
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
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