In this short sermon, we are going to look at how the kingdom of heaven suffers violence as the bible verse Mathew 11:12 says:
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.(Mathew 11:12)
How the kingdom of heaven suffers violence.
Over the years, Christians have been trying to interpret and understand the above scriptural passage in its literal form.
But before we go further in trying to interpret this scripture, let us quickly check the dictionary to see the definition of the word ‘violence’.
Violence may be defined as the following:
- Extreme force.
- Action intended to cause destruction, pain, or suffering.
- Widespread fighting.
- (Figuratively) injustice, wrong.
Based on these definitions, therefore, so many people have misunderstood how the kingdom of heaven suffers violence to be a kind of strife or war that has been going on in Christendom.
Maybe, it was this passage that gave rise to the ‘Spanish inquisition’, ‘Crusaders’ etc. where Christians took it upon themselves to force people into the faith by means of torture and death.
Today, this passage continues to give rise to internal strife among so many Christians; who refuse to accept letting go of any little quarrel or misunderstanding go without fighting for their right.
In short, this passage keeps pushing lots of believers to apply violence in diverse ways in their treatment of both their fellow believers and unbelievers.
But knowing that it is erroneous to study the synoptic gospels i.e. Mathew, Mark, and Luke independently, because of their similarities and differences
Let us now go to the book of Luke where we have the only known version of this same text to see how it relays its own account.
“The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. (Luke 16:16)
From the above passage, the understanding we can gather about the law and the prophets which were until John is that people were readily and physically punished once they broke the laws that were given to them by God through the prophets.
You can read a full sermon of this bible verse here if you want to know more about what the bible says about violent takes it by force.