Kingdom – BT3
The Kingdom is aggressively seized but NOT by violence
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Jesus said that as great as John the Baptist was in his role within the old covenant to usher in the Messiah of the completely-different-in-kind New Covenant, “The one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has actually, ongoingly biazo been (passive voice) positively-aggressively-seized/crowded-into (a), and/coupled the biastes positively-assertive-people actually, actively, ongoingly harpazo claim-seize it” (b). <Notes> a) Strong’s: “a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought for with the most ardent zeal and the intensest exertion,” b) Matthew 11:12, Luke 16:16.
It just irks me to see Christians taking bad translations of these verses such as the KJV: “the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence and the violent take it by force” to espouse any kind of personal violence or aggressive political activism to advance Christianity or “righteous rule in the land.” Jesus was simply saying that the kingdom of God was exploding in front of their eyes because of the massive crowds that were being (passive voice) crowded into it aggressively by God (a) as a result of His ministry of healing and preaching (b), and that those entering the kingdom of God were those who were actively repenting (c) instead of being passive spectators or scoffers like the religious leaders who ridiculed John’s asceticism or Jesus’ indulgence and association with sinners (d). You have to be aware of the change of Greek voice from the passive to active. God is the one doing the aggressive crowding, not people pushing each other over to get to the front of the line. Their part is to actively what is being offered! The idea of personal violence just isn’t there and so translations like this (e) are so misleading! I only found a few that even came close (f), with the TLB, NMB, TPT, and VOICE much closer to the actual meaning. <Notes> a) Matthew 11:7, b) Matthew 11:4, c) changing their attitudes about Jesus: Matthew 11:20-24, d) Matthew 11:16-19, e) KJV, KJ21, ASV, AMP, AMPC, BRG, CSB, CJB, DARBY, DRA, ESV, ESVUK, EXB, GNV, HCSB, AKJV, MOUNCE, NABRE, NASB1995, NCB, NET, NIV, NIVUK, NKJV, NRSV, NRSVA, NRSVACE, NRSVCE, RGT, RSV, RSVCE, TLV, WEB, WYC, YLT, f) ERV, EHV, GW, ICB, PHILLIPS, JUB, MSG, MEV, NOG, NCV, NTE, WE.
Those who were BEING “positively-aggressively-seized/crowded-into the kingdom” by God were absolutely not violent men as the Jewish Zealots were and the reason Pontius Pilate had 3000 crucified, but like “the least” even “little children,” for Jesus goes on to say, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have kept hidden these things from the wise and understanding (a) but un-hidden them to little children (b); yes, Father, for such was Your gracious will. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one actually experientially, relationally ginosko knows the Son except the Father, and no one actually experientially, relationally ginosko knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to un-hide Him” (c) – see The Least Among You page. <Notes> a) as the Jewish lawyers and leaders were, b) cf. Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10, c) Matthew 11:25-27.
Jesus told Peter to put the sword away and said “My kingdom is absolutely in fact not of this world. If it were, My servants would have been fighting” (a). Neither the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, or Zealots – nor any lackadaisical spectator – would ever experientially, relationally ginosko know God the Father unless they were not only were “biastes positively-assertive-people” but also “actually, actively, ongoingly harpazo claim-seize” the offer of the kingdom. This is not a passive “receiving” but an active lambano “grabbing for oneself” (b), or dechomai “warmly receptive, welcoming” that Jesus calls for (c), or choreo “make available space or an open heart for” (d). <Notes> a) John 18:36, b) Matthew 13:20, 19:11-12; Mark 4:16; Luke 8:13, 18:17, 19:12, 15; John 1:11-12, 5:43, 12:48, 13:20, 14:17, c) Matthew 10:14, 40, 18:5; Mark 9:37, 6:11, 10:15; Luke 9:48, 53, 18:17; Acts 11:1, 17:11; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 11:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:6, 2:13; James 1:21, d) Matthew 19:11-12; John 8:37; 2 Peter 3:9.
Repentance is really an all or nothing surrender of self and embrace of Jesus Christ as the Lord or Master of your life. Remember that Jesus had repetitively commanded: “You all ongoingly metanoeo repent for the kingdom of heaven is already [with ongoing results] here/at hand” (a). Now metanoeo means to change your mind concerning the course of your entire life, not necessarily regarding particulars or with great emotion as the synonym metamellamai does. In fact, Jesus says it’s better to enter the kingdom with one eye (b) than to go to hell with both eyes (c). This is deadly serious! Jesus warns would-be workers of God’s kingdom that they aren’t fit if they put their hand to the plow and then look back – possibly an allusion to Lot’s wife who left decedent Sodom but then [regretfully] looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt (d). <Notes> a) Matthew 3:2, 4:17, b) to make that sacrifice to turn away from one’s sinful life, c) Matthew 5:29, 18:9; Mark 9:47-48, d) Luke 9:62.
There is a big cost to following Jesus! Some will have to leave wives, brothers, parents or children to follow Jesus (a). He says to sit down and count the cost to see if you have enough to complete the task (b). He says those who follow Him must take up their own cross and thus deny themselves of the world’s pursuits (c). Jesus told a religious leader that he had to be “born again of the Spirit (d) and of water (e), born from heaven above in order to see the kingdom of God” (f). Paul said “flesh and blood can’t inherit the kingdom of God, just as the perishable can’t inherit the imperishable” (g). <Notes> a) Luke 18:29, b) Luke 14:28, c) Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23, d) see Spirit-baptism, e) see water-baptism: 1 Peter 3:21; Romans 6:3-5, f) John 3:3-6, g) 1 Corinthians 15:50.
Paul made it clear that “the unrighteous will absolutely in fact not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not in possibility be deceived, absolutely in fact neither pornos sexually immoral [persons], nor absolutely in fact idolaters, nor absolutely in fact adulterers, nor absolutely in fact homosexuals, nor absolutely in fact thieves, nor absolutely in fact greedy, absolutely in fact not drunkards, absolutely in fact not verbal-abusers, nor absolutely in fact swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (a). A lot of so-called “Christians” are in big trouble and a lot of churches actually teaching some of this is okay! Actually, you can guarantee that “reviling” persecution will come against those who are actually “born of the Spirit” – you won’t blend in well with the world (b)! Jesus preaches in Mark 1:15 that “You all ongoingly repent and have trusting-relying-faith in the euaggelion ‘Great News’ gospel (c).” From some many verses (d) we know that it was “the euaggelion ‘Great News’ gospel of the kingdom” that Jesus was proclaiming and what the Church should be also (e)! But you’ll hear just about everything else preached in many churches today! That’s probably the reason so many are powerless! They don’t have Mark 16:20 working: “The Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs!” <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, b) Galatians 4:29, c) see Logos Word of God, d) e.g., Matthew 4:23, 9:35, 24:14, Luke 4:43, 8:1, 16:16, and Acts 8:12 , e) Acts 19:8, 20:25, 28:23, 31.
As Christian musicians, we need to become like little children and the other “least among you” in order to actively, ongoingly warmly welcome, claim, seize, grab hold of, and make room in your heart for the kingdom of God when it is presented to us, and then we can join the crowds that God is positively, aggressively, crowding into His kingdom. God presents the gift but we have to take it! This takes great humility because “God opposes the proud but gives unconditional-favor-of-grace to the humble.” But to such as these He “un-hides the secrets of the kingdom, but keeps them hidden from the so-called wise and understanding ones.” Total surrender through repentance, trusting-relaying-faith and confession of “Jesus as Lord” and water-baptism to receive Spirit-baptism to “obey the gospel” is the only way to enter the kingdom – nothing the flesh can offer through works of commandments will do. If we stay the way we are, we will die in our sins! Jesus has to make us righteous by His blood to take us away from living unrighteously.
Lord, praise Your name that you are “the Holy and Righteous One” and that we can totally surrender our lives to You and You will then transfer our unrighteousness to You and Your righteousness to us in the divine atonement or propitiation, by Your precious blood on the cross and then resurrection from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. Like little children, we “warmly welcome, claim, seize, grab hold of, and make room in your heart” the kingdom that You offer. Every day, we take up our own cross and die to our own selfish desires and say “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done here on earth as it already is in heaven.” Fill us with Your powerful Holy Spirit so that we may indeed be holy, sanctified, and godly for You.