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. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. 15 He who has ears, let him hear.

Matt 11:12-15 (NIV)

“The kingdom of heaven was never intended to indulge the ease of triflers, but to be the rest of those who labor.” Matthew Henry

Make no mistake about it; Jesus is the Light and the Golden Thread throughout all of Scripture - from Genesis to Revelation. In our verses for today, our Lord shows us the Light of the Old Testament was set up in the Law and the Prophets who spoke, though veiled, of Christ and His Kingdom. On this side of the cross we have the New Testament doctrine to explain the Old Testament prophesies and the Old Testament prophesies to confirm and illustrate the doctrine set forth in the New Testament. The Prophets, the Law and the Baptist all pointed to Jesus. Christ is now our par superior and excellent vehicle for divine revelation – He is, as you know, the Word made flesh. The writer of Hebrews tells us:

1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Heb 1:1-3 (NIV)

Jesus tells us today that the kingdom of heaven was and is forcefully advancing and it is forceful men who lay hold of it. The wording indicating those who seek to enter often do so with tremendous conflict and force – as though resisted by the very forces of this dark world. Entering God’s Kingdom takes courage, unwavering faith and endurance due to the resistance of the evil one. The moment we receive anything from the Lord worth contending for, the Satan seeks to take away. Remember our battle is not against flesh and blood. This is not to make us fearful but to be aware. The Christian is never to give up, never to lose confidence in God ever holding to a firm belief they will experience God’s victory either here or in heaven. Paul tells us in Ephesians:

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:12 (NIV)

The writer of Hebrews also tells us not to throw away our confidence as it will be richly rewarded:

35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay. 38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." Heb 10:35-38 (NIV)

“The future is as bright as the promises of God.” Adoniram Judson

Satan never gives up his prey without a fight yet power is developed by resistance. If he cannot keep us from being saved, he will seek to keep us from being used. Ruining testimonies is his specialty. That is why God’s Word tells us to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand against Satan’s devious schemes. We do not battle against Satan; we stand in God’s armor against him so that he cannot take from us what God has given. We are no match in our own strength for the adversary. Scripture tells us how to prepare:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. Eph 6:10-11 (NIV)

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Eph 6:13-18 (NIV)

“Satan doesn’t surrender his prey without a fight. He comes racing after the converted soul, chariot wheels churning the dust, seeking to discourage you, to defeat you. He pursues you with the intensity of Pharaoh. He may use your old friends, a spot of persecution, or discouraging responses by your family. He may show you a hypocrite in the church or afflict you with a general slacking of zeal. He may launch a missile of temptation right at your heart or fire a volley of trials and troubles into your life.” Robert J. Morgan

Our Lord closes these verses with a solemn declaration for our attention with: “He who has ears, let him hear.” These things are difficult to understand and therefore need our contemplation so that we will not be caught off guard. The consequences are great and therefore our attention is deserved. God requires no more of us than the faculties He has bestowed upon us but He does require us to use these faculties.

What I Glean

  • Satan seeks to destroy what God has given.
  • I am to put on the full armor of God and take my stand against Satan’s schemes.
  • I am to use the faculties God has given me.