Listen:  118.2

This is a difficult portion with differing thoughts from scholarly men.  Let’s read that in the Bible.  In Matthew 11:7-15 we have the Lord Jesus speaking to a multitude of people concerning John the Baptist.  That says, “And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.  For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

The term ‘Kingdom of Heaven’, is rightly understood to mean the ‘Kingdom under Heaven.’  The violent ones who would take the Kingdom of Heaven by force and try to capture it for themselves are the scribes and Pharisees standing in the presence of the Lord there.  John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, spoke of the kingdom being offered to the Israelites.  We read in Matthew 3:1-2, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  John and his message had been violently rejected by the scribes and Pharisees.  This foreshadowed their rejection of the King, the Lord Jesus Christ.  By seizing upon the Kingdom in rejection of the King, the Kingdom of Heaven suffered violence.  The Kingdom was rejected as offered by the Lord and so is now postponed until the Lord Jesus returns in power to rule the earth.

It is in that day that the prophesy of Isaiah will be fulfilled as we read in Isaiah 11:6-9, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”  (118.2)