Jesus, Heaven, my own Bible study.

I have had this saved in my drafts for about a month or so. I just finished it. Hope you’re interested…and that is doesn’t put you to sleep.

My Bible study.

Matthew 11:12: ( KING JAMES VERSION )
12And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Matthew 11:12: ( AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION )
12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and men of violence take it by force.

Matthew 11:12: ( NEW LIVING TRANSLATION )
12 And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing,[a] and violent people are attacking it.

Matthew 11:12: (THE MESSAGE BIBLE )
11 -14″Let me tell you what’s going on here: No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer; but in the kingdom he prepared you for, the lowliest person is ahead of him. For a long time now people have tried to force themselves into God’s kingdom. But if you read the books of the Prophets and God’s Law closely, you will see them culminate in John, teaming up with him in preparing the way for the Messiah of the kingdom. Looked at in this way, John is the ‘Elijah’ you’ve all been expecting to arrive and introduce the Messiah.

Matthew 11:12 ( AMPLIFIED BIBLE )
12And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize–a [a]share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion].

I have always looked at this verse and wondered how one can preach about it. It is never translated to have the same meaning. I never understood why the word violent is in the verse. Violence is a negative form of action.  I have heard people preach about it constantly and tear it apart from what Jesus actually meant.
The truth is you can not practice sin and preach about that verse. One can not also preach about that verse alone. We have to see why Jesus said those words.

I don’t have a bible that tells me what word was used for “violent” in Hebrew. I trust however that my bible is trustworthy and accurate in its translation. I read the Life Application Bible and it’s the New International Version.

My version says;

Matthew 11:12

12From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.

At the bottom portion of my bible there is a study that explains the verse. It says; 11:12 There are three common views about the meaning of this verse. (1) Jesus may have been referring to a vast movement toward God, the momentum that began with John’s preaching. (2) He may have been reflecting the Jewish activists’ expectation that God’s kingdom would come through a violent overthrow of Rome. (3) Or he may have meant that entering God’s kingdom takes courage, unwavering faith, determination, and endurance because of the growing opposition leveled at Jesus’ followers.

I don’t know how you read the bible.  I usually have to find out what’s happening and why Jesus said what he said. Was he telling a parable? Was he talking to a group of people? Was he talking to one person?

If you start reading from the beginning of chapter 11 you will see that this is Jesus teaching about the kingdom. John was in prison and somewhat doubtful. John has his own disciples (till this day even), he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” That’s in verse 2.

Verse 4 reads;

Matthew 11:4-6: ( New American Standard Bible )

4Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see:

5 the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.

6“And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

When John’s disciples go back to tell John, Jesus then speaks to the crowd of people about John.  Verse 7.

Matthew 11:7-10 ( New American Standard Bible )

Jesus’ Tribute to John

7As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?

8“But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces!

9“But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.

10“This is the one about whom it is written,
‘BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU,
WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.’

Verse 10 are the words of God found in the book of Malachi in chapter 3.  (The same chapter that talks about tithing.)

The next verse is another verse that people come up with all kinds of things. I have heard stuff that is like … not right. People just make up their own interpretation about what Jesus says in this one verse.

Verse 11

Matthew 11:11 ( New American Standard Bible )

11“Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

You don’t even want to hear what road some people go with this verse. Jesus didn’t come to the earth to set up a cast system for heaven.  We can’t claim greatness for ourselves in God’s kingdom.  Jesus is the key, if we make it in or not depends on our acceptance of him and our obedience to God.  Point is, John the Baptist made it to heaven for a cause that he died for, even before he could see it accomplished. The story of why he was killed is found in Matthew 14.

John was obedient to God and believed in Jesus and the prophecies even before Jesus was placed on the cross. He prepared the way for Jesus and fulfilled  his God given purpose.

Now we get to verse 12. The one with all the different views. When I first payed attention to this verse… (after I devoted myself to studying the word solely for the purpose of seeking his perfect will and direction in my life. ) I understood the verse the way it was read to me and the way the person who preached it taught it. Then I went back and saw that it was said differently in my bible.

I have heard it being preached  to encourage people to attain salvation.  As if it were something that has to be obtained violently and by force.

However, we have to take into account that this was said by Jesus while John The Baptiste was in jail.  John was currently being persecuted and his purpose for the Kingdom of God was being attacked. We too are attacked when we are working and serving in God’s Kingdom. In  Matthew 11:12  I hear God saying through Jesus that we will be persecuted and the signs and wonders that follow us will be questioned.  This verse is more of what is to come and what happens when heaven opens up.  The fierce opposition we will face in defending God.

It’s not how we should be…”violently” seeking salvation. Remember there is such a thing as Grace and God knows the time when he will makes things clear to you. (The song “Amazing Grace” is  The Truth!) It often happens when you are looking for peace and most importantly truth.  There is nothing more unsettling than living in deception.

It kind of makes sense that salvation comes when  you have faith and believe that something good will happen.  Just know that you will be a threat, when  you believe in something and give your life to defend it.

Belief is something valuable. Some need to see something in order to believe. It takes far more heart, courage and devotion to believe in something that you have never seen. John the Baptist never saw Jesus die for the sins of humanity, yet he was killed believing something he had not yet seen.

If you read further in Chapter 11 you will see Jesus talking about Judgment for unbelievers .  The grace of God was walking and talking among the people.  Yet they did not repent.

Before that Jesus says verse 18;

18 For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”

Many people repented of their sins because of the miracles they saw and the words that were preached. Those who were too busy judging Jesus and John missed the point. Those who didn’t judge, reaped the benefit of salvation.

19 ” …But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”

I got so much from this study and I could tell you all that I learned.  I don’t want to write a book though.

I love Jesus. There is no one wiser than his Father.

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