If you read Derek’s blog below, I have a l’il addition. It struck me while reading it, especially the part about us being willing to ‘suffer the downloading of his kingdom’, that that is what Jesus meant when he said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven is violently advancing and violent men lay hold of it”.
I had an image of the kingdom pressing in, and being bruised on its entry. The ‘matrix’ of the world is too tiny, can’t handle the huge reality that the kingdom is. But as it enters our reality, it bruises, catches, and violently shakes on its way in. The “real” reality is actually much more dynamic, powerful and multi-colored than the gritty underworld reality portrayed in The Matrix. It’s our worldly reality that’s the gritty one, even if we are deluded by it. The beautiful kingdom has to bruise on its way through the door our suffering and myopic reality.
This is how Jesus broke in, too. The king first had to bump into our dingy, crusty and delusional reality of paupers. John the Baptist was the first to herald him as king–which is why John was visually and symbolically a rough man, hairy, unattractive and emaciated. He represented the heralding from the rough world of the kingdom that is coming. And this is why Jesus taught that the kingdom began becoming “forceful” since the days of John the Baptist.
It has to FORCE its way in. Our reality won’t accept it. It comes through suffering.
Usually when I have heard interpretations of that verse, it is always looking from the ground up, as if it’s us the ones being violent first to press into the kingdom. And this is also why so many have watered down the translation of the word “violent” to just “forceful” or some other less offensive adjective. But the kingdom is the one being violent. It has a violent “re-entry”. And if we want it badly enough, to hold on to all its shaky, violent shatterings of our reality we will have to be violent to hold on to it because it’s going to make an earthquake. It’s like holding on to the outside of a rocket ship on re-entry. How far will we go to be a part of His kingdom coming into our reality? Men were willing to die for it. And to be sure, it is going to be more violent, and not just metaphorically violent. Many, many will be killed for being in His name.
One of the lies of the New Age movement is that transcendence and the “new age” that is coming will be signaled by more peace and less violence. But the coming of the kingdom, which is the REAL new age, will be violent. It is not about less suffering but more in order to allow the peaceful age to truly come. Obviously I’m not talking about inflicting violence but being willing to suffer it.
Take sex slavery, and you press the kingdom on that worldly reality, and suffering will occur. People still die, sexual diseases are exposed, people are held accountable, other people are killed for speaking justice and truth. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was living from the kingdom reality where “there is no Greek nor Jew, slave nor free” suffered violence and death on his way into incarnating that reality on earth in helping to change a nation politically.
The king is coming again, and this time WITH the kingdom and with a whole reality behind him and a whole host of angels, weapons, songs, judgements, beauty, glory and even people that were once dead (yes, human beings will be with him–read Revelation). That’s why we pray, not just “come Lord Jesus by yourself”, but LET your KINGDOM come.
And, one other little spirit thought, regarding people coming back from the dead: The ONE thing that the New Age movement and any occultic power will never be able to counterfeit is bodily resurrection. No amount of witchcraft, wizardry, ritual, meditation, Buddhist or Hindi priest has ever historically been able to resurrect someone bodily. None of the Baal priests of old could do it, try as they might. This is because human soul power can move and manipulate things in the soul and material realms (yes, even make objects move and sometimes talk with spirits or spirits of people, perhaps), but the origin of life is in the spirit, and bodily resurrection is breathing life into death, and only the kingdom has that power. I think many many in the New Age movement, when they see this true miracle, along with the miracle of true deliverance and healing, will be drawn like crazy people to the beloved kingdom. And when the kingdom starts being preached, we will see resurrections.