As of late, many conversations I have had are about the future of our nation and Christianity. I know that bad times are coming, rapture followed by tribulation, nevertheless I still worry, as I have friends and acquaintances that may or may not be making the trip. We know what is coming, and as ignorance is bliss, others are blissfully unaware of the travail that is coming upon us. I think a spirit of apathy has descended on this nation and it has done so very slyly. I am afraid that this very spirit has taken over our churches as well. We have denominations turning their backs on biblical principles and truths and giving totally bogus reasons as to why. We as the body of Christ are putting up with it. The warning of Revelation is becoming all too clear:
Revelation 3:15-17 (NASB)
15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,
I see our nation and our churches sliding down into this pool of lukewarmness, and it repulses me.
The Following Verse ~ My mind has been dwelling on the following passage of scripture. I have included 3 translations to show that the meaning is quite clear no matter what the version you are reading.
NIV – Matthew 11:12 • “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.”
NASB – Matthew 11:12 • “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”
KJV – Matthew 11:12 • “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
Note: In Hebrews 11:34, KJV, dunamis, “power” (RSV), is rendered “violence.”
biazo in the Passive Voice, is rendered “suffereth violence” in Matthew 11:12;
harpazo “to snatch away, carry off by force,” is used in the next sentence in Matthew 11:12, to that referred to under bebaios, “men of violence (KJV ‘the violent’) take it by force,” the meaning being, as determined by the preceding clause, that those who are possessed of eagerness and zeal, instead of yielding to the opposition of religious foes, such as the scribes and Pharisees, press their way into the kingdom, so as to possess themselves of it.
(1) Biazo, “to force” (from bia, “force”), is used in the Passive Voice in Matthew 11:12, of the kingdom of heaven as ‘suffering violence;’ so in Luke 16:16, “entereth violently into it,” here in the Middle Voice, expressive of the special interest which the doer of the act has in what he is doing. This meaning is abundantly confirmed by the similar use in the papyri. Moulton and Milligan (Vocab.) remark that Luke’s statement can be naturally rendered “everyone is entering it violently.” See VIOLENCE.
I thought this would be helpful in seeing what this passage is actually talking about. This doesn’t mean that we, Christians, are to go out and start doing violent acts as some militant Christian groups have done and are doing. What it is saying is that we need some zealous people to stand up and affect some change. Not just change in isolation, but all over. As it said above, I wish we were “those who are possessed of eagerness and zeal, instead of yielding to the opposition of religious foes, such as the scribes and Pharisees, press their way into the kingdom, so as to possess themselves of it.” Like one article I read put it … “When is the last time we violently and with zeal prayed for something, be it guidance or actual change, and prayed with some type of urgency.” Have we really taken the time to get our heads into what needs changed and earnestly pray that God fix it, or use us as instruments to affect some change?
I just want to yell, “Stand up and be counted. Let’s quit sitting and remaining silent. It’s time to pray and march.” While I agree that there is time to be silent and wait upon the Lord, there is also a time to take your marching orders and get busy. If you’ve read this, please pray, pray violently, with some earnestness and urgency for God to speak to us and give us some direction for the problems facing all of us right now. We need to pray for guidance for our churches, our country and our lives. And I am asking for prayer for myself. I am needing some strength, knowledge and guidance right now in several different areas.
I just want to close with the following verse. I was looking for something totally different and this verse popped up when I did my first search. It’s much better than what I was looking for and captures what I am wanting to say and what I am feeling.
Isaiah 42:5-7 (NASB)
5 Thus says God the LORD,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread out the earth and its offspring,
Who gives breath to the people on it
And spirit to those who walk in it,
6 “I am the LORD, I have called You in righteousness,
I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,
And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations,
7 To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.
God let this seep into the hearts and minds of Your people on Your earth. Amen!
Grace and Peace to you all,