When God Condones Violence

May 18, 2009 at 9:52 am | Posted in Biblical Violence, Matthew | 12 Comments
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Bible scholars believe that John the Baptist first appeared on the scene approximately two years before Jesus made this exceptional statement about his ministry:

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Matthew 11:12

The word “suffereth” in this verse does not mean that the Kingdom of Heaven “suffers” in the sense of having pain or damage inflicted on it. Rather, “suffer” in the Bible means “to let” or “to allow.” (Matthew 19:14) Christ is saying that the Kingdom of Heaven, although it is ruled over by the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), does make allowances for certain types of violence.

Chiefly, this is the violence of those who suddenly recognize their lost condition, and see their urgent need for a Savior. Under conviction of God’s Holy Spirit, these lost souls may be excused for having an unruly and even desperate desire to get to Jesus – He being the only Way (John 14:6) to get to the Father, and to escape the merited punishment for our sins.

Those who trusted Christ years ago certainly find a peace and a comfort in resting on the promises of God’s Word, and knowing their eternal inheritance is secure. However, it pays to remember the Kingdom of Heaven still suffers violence, and that there are times when we should desire the abiding presence of God on our lives so desperately that we become intensely serious about seeking His will and the filling of His Spirit.

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  1. there are times when we should desire the abiding presence of God on our lives so desperately that we become intensely serious about seeking His will and the filling of His Spirit.

    Wow, that is quite a statement! I’ve been struggling lately with trying to be content and at peace with the relationship God has already given me and then wanting more with Him and not being sure how to get there. Do I be content with what I already have or do I pursue more, thereby frustrating myself? Or somehow do both at the same time? Don’t know if there is an answer. I probably just have to keep following God and be patient! 🙂 Thanks! Jenny

  2. Jenny: I agree. It is a struggle. There is a tendency to think that God should be more considerate of our schedule. Doesn’t He know that I have family and work obligations, and that He should meet with me quickly when I’m ready for Him, and not make me wait? I don’t have to tell you that when I think this way, I am wrong. God’s timing is always better than my timing, and He may be teaching me to be patient, or to be persistent in my desperation. Psalm 34 teaches us that He DOES hear cries of desperation.

  3. […] of the Gospel. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by […]

  4. […] from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by […]

  5. […] Hebrew word translated “to move” in this verse has a connotation of violent persistence. It is almost as if the Holy Spirit had to beat Samson into action, so that he could begin to […]

  6. Terrific post but I was wanting to know if you could write
    a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Kudos!

  7. Thanks. If you click on the category called “Biblical Violence” you will find more posts on this topic, including this one: https://swimthedeepend.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/are-you-struggling/

  8. […] The God-Mastered Man 2. When God Condones Violence 3. Panicked Pressing 4. Frightening Words 5. The Grudge-Match of the Century: The Lion of God vs. […]

  9. […] There is a righteous anger and a holy indignation. The Bible even tells us to be angry (but not to sin, Ephesians 4:26). Some examples of righteous indignation include Jesus chasing the money-changers out of the Temple, and sinners under John the Baptist’s preaching reacting violently to get past the Pharisees in order to get to God (Matthew 11:12). […]

  10. […] School (Matthew 10:27) 22. Jesus Christ: The Greatest Priest, Prophet, and King (Matthew 11-12) 23. When God Condones Violence (Matthew 11:12) * 24. Are You Struggling? (Matthew 11:12) 25. The Power of the King (Matthew […]

  11. […] with great urgency tried to fight through the onlookers and the skeptics and the observers because they truly believed Jesus was their only hope. We have this same type of people with us today. Will we block their way? Or will we usher them to […]

  12. […] of society. They had been told that the Kingdom of God was closed to them, so you can imagine their enthusiasm when they found out it was open to […]


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