Matthew 11:12

I’m reading a book called Wild at Heart by John Eldredge, and he mentions this verse:

“From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force.” -Matt 11:12

Could I get some of your interpretations on this?

This was Flannery O’Connor’s favorite bible verse. I just POSTED on this, it contains my thoughts. I just glossed over this verse when I read it initially.

From the Douay-Rheims:

And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away.

After quoting Matthew 11:12, Elderedge says, “Hopefully by now you see the deep and holy goodness of masculine aggression that will help you understand what Christ is saying… If you are going to live in God’s kingdom, Jesus says, its going to take every ounce of passion and forcefulness you’ve got.” How did O’Conner interpret it?

No one else has a take on this verse?

Wild at Heart is a reckless book. The theology is just plain ignorant of the most basic understanding of Scripture. Violence is not an authentic part of masculinity. Violence is not a Christian virtue. It is a last resort.

The only violence we should be doing is against ourselves, against our passions. That’s what Matthew 11:12 is about, doing violence against our own will, our own passions, and our own desires, about nailing ourselves to the cross. The Cross was violent, and that is where we must put ourselves - on the cross.

Please forget that book.

-Tim-

That is extremely interesting…Ive written this down and will ask the senior priest about it next time I see him, I look forward to hearing an explanation about this one!

Just guessing here, but maybe this is just a small portion of what we are not told? Jesus did make it clear we are only given a small part of what ‘the big picture’ is, so seems to be possible that some things are taking place that we do not know about, or how to explain them…this definitely fits that description, or we are completely wrong about how we think of Heaven (which I guess is possible)

A Commentary on the New Testament prepared by The Catholic Biblical Association in 1942, page 84, offers the following on Matthew 11:12:
12f. Similar words in Luke 16:16, but probably in a difference sense. The exact sense of this difficult passage is disputed. Either: (a) Since the Old Dispensation came to an end with John, the kingdom of heaven, i.e., the New Dispensation,
has been enduring violent assault,
in Greek literally “is being violated,” i.e., is being attacked by those who refuse to accept the change, and the violent, or “the violators,” have been seizing it by force, in Greek literally “are plundering it.” Or, (b) Because the Old Dispensation passed away with John, men are now rushing with violent enthusiasm to get into the kingdom of heaven, the New Dispensation, and they who rush through the crowd with force lay hold of the kingdom of heaven for themselves. The first opinion seems to fit the actual historical circumstances much better than the second. But it is to be noted that the Rabbis interpreted Mich. 2, 12f in the sense that, when the Messias would come, there would be a violent tumult of men jostling one another in an effort to get into His kingdom. The use of the text by ascetical writers in the sense that only they who do violence “to themselves” can enter the kingdom of heaven, would seem to be a mere accommodated sense.

Sorry, what does Dispensation mean in this context?

In this context, I think Old Dispensation refers to Judaism or more specifically to public divine revelation through Jewish prophets and the New Dispensation refers to Christianity or more specifically to public divine revelation through Jesus Christ and his apostles.

Ok, I think Luke 16:16 can begin to help, and in it Jesus says:

“The Law and the prophets lasted until John; but from then on the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone who enters does so with violence.” Lk 16:16

So we have here two historical periods (or dispensations: although I don’t know what exactly is being dispensed) and entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven differs from the Old to the New. How so I wonder?

If we understand that Jesus refers to the Kingdom of God in the present tense several times, and refers to the Church as the Kingdom of God which will grow from a mustard seed to a mustard tree. Then it could be understood that those who are faithful to God, who have been patiently listening to John the Baptist, and repenting, are the Kingdom. They have been waiting for Jesus. And they have been under violent assault.

Were the Old Dispensation Jews allowed entrance into the “kingdom of heaven”?

Moses and Elias appeared with Jesus on mount Sinai in his trasfiguration. So yes, the good were going to that new kingdom. And all those who were living according to God’s will would too.

Then when the new dispensation came with Jesus, the Jews who joined in the church of Jesus would also belong to this new kingdom.

“(a) Since the Old Dispensation came to an end with John, the kingdom of heaven, i.e., the New Dispensation, has been enduring violent assault… is being attacked by those who refuse to accept the change, and the violent, or “the violators,” have been seizing it by force”

So why would these violators be allowed entrance?

"Violence- from Latin violentia “vehemence, impetuosity,” from violentus “vehement, forcible,”-etymoline

Doesnt make sense, I was under the impression that the faithful entered heaven through obedience.

Dispensationalism is not Catholic theology.

The Catholic Church does not teach dispensationalism.

-Tim-

(a) Since the Old Covenant came to an end with John, the kingdom of heaven, i.e., the New Covenant, has been enduring violent assault… is being attacked by those who refuse to accept the change, and the violent, or “the violators,” have been seizing it by force.

So why would these violators be allowed entrance?

Jesus said that it had suffered violence and taken by force “until now” meaning the time that he was speaking, his advent, the coming of the Messiah.

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force. (Matthew 11:12)

Please stop reading Wild at Heart. It is trash and is going to lead you down the road to perdition.

-Tim-

So, all this suddenly stopped in Heaven after the new covenant? Where did all those violent men go, are they still in Heaven, or…?

I dont understand how, at ANY time, would this sort of thing be allowed to take place in Heaven, what were the angels and/or guardians of Heaven doing during this time, were they not fighting against these violent men?

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