Matthew 11:12 reads, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.” And reading this verse, we should want to know how is it possible for the kingdom of heaven to suffer violence, if it is to come, and will come down out of heaven? Because if the kingdom of God is not yet here on earth, how are violent men taking hold of the kingdom so that the kingdom of God is suffering violence?
To help us understand the scripture, it is important we understand first and foremost where the kingdom of heaven is and how it is possible for the kingdom to be suffering violence. And what we need to understand is that the kingdom of heaven will not come by observation, but rather the kingdom of God is in us the people of God. And wherever we go, the kingdom of heaven follows.
Let us listen to what Jesus said to his disciples when he sent them out into the cities and towns to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom. Because in the revelation of this message from Jesus, we will come to realize the kingdom of heaven is here and now.
Jesus said in Luke 10:8-12 “Into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God comes nigh unto you.
But into whatsoever city, ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaved on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God came nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.”
The kingdom of God is under physical attack because when the people of the world oppose the people of God through their policies, and when they attack and persecute the servants of God, they are attacking the kingdom of God. And because the kingdom of God is in us, Jesus made the statement “The kingdom of heaven has been overtaken by evil men because as the kingdom of God advanced against the world it is coming under great persecution.
So, how is it possible for the kingdom of God to be suffering violence? It is possible for the kingdom of God to be suffering violence because the kingdom of God is in us, and wherever we go as the people of God the kingdom follows because we are the government of Jesus Christ. Therefore, when the world attack and persecute us, they are attacking the kingdom of God. Acts 9:4 “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”