Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Forceful Men Lay Hold of the Kingdom

Jesus has said a lot of things that haven't made sense to me. This has been one of them. What is the deal with violent people taking the kingdom of heaven by force?

Matthew 11:12

(NIV)
"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it."
(YLT)
'And, from the days of John the Baptist till now, the reign of the heavens doth suffer violence, and violent men do take it by force,
Luke 16:16

(NIV)
"The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.
(YLT)
“the law and the prophets are till John; since then the reign of God is proclaimed good news, and every one doth press into it;"

Are some bad guys forcing their way in, and trying to overthrow the kingdom? I don't think this makes sense with the context.

I need some help with the Greek to make sense of these verses

suffer violence - βίαζομαι - biazó (in both verses)
  • properly, to use power to forcibly seize, laying hold of something with positive aggressiveness. 971 /biázō ("to advance forcefully") is only used twice in the NT (both times positively).
  • According to google translate βίαζομαι has a modern definition of 'hurry'
violent men- βιασταὶ - biastai
  • a forceful, violent man; one who is eager in pursuit.
Jesus may have been making a connection with this passage in Michah 2:12-13 (NIV):
“I will surely gather all of you, Jacob;
I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel.
I will bring them together like sheep in a pen,
like a flock in its pasture;
the place will throng with people.
The One who breaks open the way will go up before them;
they will break through the gate and go out.
Their King will pass through before them,
the LORD at their head.”
Imagine a wall that sheep are kept behind. A shepherd will breaks a hole in the wall and lead the sheep to green pastures.

Just imagine a flock of sheep breaking through that narrow opening in the wall.

That may be the picture Jesus is referencing here. Sheep following the Shepherd, breaking through into the kingdom. Starting with the days of John the Baptist sheep have been breaking free from the law in a hurry to enter the kingdom.

What can these verses mean to us?

1 comment:

Frank said...

Jesus said. Matt23v13
"But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."

This clearly shows that man can actually shut heaven!

However Jesus came declaring, "the kingdom of Heaven is nigh unto you....".

Jesus, in the simplest of senses, was declaring that Heaven was not just a place you go to after you are dead, but that access to heaven was always available to those who walked a FAITH walk.
The religious leaders taught that obedience to Law made a person righteous, whereas the truth is that believing and trusting in God makes one righteous and opened the door to heaven.
Therefore, as people rejected the legalistic religious doctrines of the Law, and embraced faith, they violently broke through the wall of false doctrines.