“What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in delicate raiment? Behold those who wear delicate things are in the houses of kings. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.” …
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Mathew 11:12
You and I both know that the word of God is alive, active, doesn’t expire and is as fresh now as the moment it was written. So let’s highlight ‘NOW’ in the scriptures above. Until NOW, the kingdom of heaven still suffers violence and up until NOW, only the violent seize it.
Jesus spoke the above to the multitude and in verse 7, He tells us it was concerning John. But what drove Him to say this? In the previous verses, we see John in a state that I would like to call – the low place in the high place. Here is the description that Jesus gives of John, Mathew 11:11, “…Among them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist…” Sure, he was a prophet. He prepared the way for the coming of the Messiah. He baptized Him. He was a mighty man of God and right from his birth, he was an ordained nazirite. He lived in the wilderness feeding on locust and wild honey and preaching the gospel of repentance to all and even to those he termed the offsprings of vipers. Yet rebuking king Herod, Mathew 14:1-4 only led to his imprisonment. The kingdom of heaven under violent assault! And the same man who preached Jesus, who believed in Him long before others did, from the dark, unpleasant, demoralizing and devaluing dungeons of prison sends two of his disciples to Jesus to confirm if He truly was the Messiah or if there was need to look/ wait for another – quite the low place in the high place!
What is a kingdom? How different is it from other forms of government, say: constitutional government, democracy, dictatorship or federal systems? How does one receive kingdom citizenship? Can the kingdom citizenship title be revoked? But why kingdom assault/ violence? And why take it by force? And How?
From the Lord’s prayer, ‘your kingdom come’, clearly shows that His kingdom is right here with us and in us.
Let’s first talk a little bit about this kingdom stuff:
The concept of kingdom is introduced by God Himself when He made heaven and earth, and for earth to be a place that He would colonize to become an expression of His kingdom to a physical planet. Gen 1:26, “…Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over…”
Dominion is always in reference to the kingdom.
Mamlakak (Hebrew) means sovereign power/ royal power/ sovereignty or kingdom dominion which was given to Adam when God made him king over the earth and therefore all his offsprings are kings that are supposed to rule the territory called earth on behalf of God.
King of the universe/ King of glory is in reference to heavens – Jesus.
The concept of kings is therefore critical to kingdoms.
The Kingdom principle of kings.
Jesus came to earth to bring a kingdom, not a religion.
God’s redemptive program and plan was a means to an end – re-establishment of His kingdom on earth.
Christ came to the earth to restore the kingdom that Adam was given, the kingdom of heaven back to earth. Because Adam lost the kingdom, every human heart is searching for what is lost.
The number one hunger for every human spirit is for the kingdom. When you get it, you stop searching.
John 3:1-3 “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
A kingdom is not a religion but a country. Countries don’t have members. You don’t become a member of: Canada, Brazil, Kenya, France or Russia. You can only become a citizen of a country. That’s why Christ never talked about membership but citizenship – being born into a country.
When you become a citizen, you gain constitutional rights to the promises of a country. Citizenship gives you access to privileges, promises, protection and wealth etc. That’s why countries guard their citizenship so much.
John 17:14 “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Although we live here on earth, our citizenship is in heaven.
Therefore: A kingdom is the sovereign rulership and governing influence of a king over his territory (his domain) – impacting it with his will, intent and purpose, producing a citizenry expressing a culture, reflecting the nature and lifestyle of a king.
Hence we talk of kingdom citizens and kingdom citizenship.
Luke 22:29 “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;”
-The king is the ultimate and only source of authority in the kingdom.
-The sovereignty of the king is inherent in his royal authority. The people don’t make the king king. He is born sovereign, and that’s why Christ doesn’t need your vote to be king. You don’t vote him into power. You acknowledge Him as King.
-The king is the beginning and the end of the kingdom: The Alpha and the Omega.
-A king chooses who will be citizen.
The Kingdom of God come to earth under violent assault! And the violent take it by force!
When you are born citizen of a country or have been conferred citizenship of another country, with full rights and privileges associated with that country, then you don’t plead for what is already yours.
We also do know that to continuously guard this citizenship, then we got to acknowledge our sonship/ heirship in the kingdom and be in constant communion with the King.
Well, whereas there could be other forms of taking it by force, my focus weighs heavily on three factors:
Philippians 4:6-7 “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 4:2 “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;”
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
1Thess 5:16-18 “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
I remember this evening precisely slightly more than 2 years ago while pacing in my house and heading to draw the window curtains, hearing this voice tell me so audibly, “I want you to stop what you are doing and PRAY!” I left everything as it was and proceeded to my altar to pray, from where I had a great encounter, got healed in the process even emerging with a solid promise from God.
Of late, I have been replaying this quite often in my mind. Why would this all so Sovereign, Omniscient being: who knows everything I need before I even say a word, who has the power to grant my petition even without me asking, who owns the earth and everything in it, who has the power to rain down provision just at the tap of two fingers, who was capable to heal my hand and entire arm without me necessarily praying for healing, command me to PRAY??
This purely shows that prayer as a spiritual activity plays an indisputably core role in the life of a believer, in his relationship with the Creator, and no doubt in taking it by force!
Well, I have moments when it’s all lovey-dovey – kinda like in some sort of honeymoon with the Father, some moments when it’s a calm whisper – almost some kind of surreptitious struggle, some when I can worship in tongues – yes, He does give me a new song every once, plus its tune in tongues I don’t comprehend. Then there are those moments I’m all so done and tired to even talk, so I write Him a note and ask Him to read – it happened once to me. And other moments when it’s plain warfare – my personal favorite. This is where real warriors are made – right in the heart of the battle ground. Where we neither plead, smile nor negotiate with the enemy; where we get to: command, set on fire, cancel, reverse, render powerless and defeated, quench, nullify/ declare null and void, claim, detach from, scatter the agenda, unseat by fire, release thunder fire and brimstone, uproot, simply set the empire of darkness in total disarray. It is beyond KDF style – only, no physical force employed.
So whether you go: lovey-dovey, whisper, meditate, talk in tears: tears of joy or agony, write to Him a note, break into uncontrollable laughter, speak through your heart – in silence, break into heavenly tongues or plunge right into the heart of the warfare zone, causing irreparable havoc to the kingdom of darkness, well, yes, it’s all communication to and with the Father.
The plain reality is that most people, even some who profess Christianity have been taken captive of: their lives, their goods, their benefits, their inheritance and even their purposes. These are well guarded under heavy surveillance behind the gates of brass. And we can’t in any way take back what is ours in a gentle manner. We do it crude, forcefully, ruthlessly and of course with strategy.
Gates! Gates! Gates!
What is a gate? It is a point of entry or exit as well as a point through which transfers take place.
There are varying types of gates: different sizes, with different types of soldiers guarding them, with different levels of power/ security accorded them, with different categories of weapons used by the soldiers on guard. Whatever the case, whatever the size and capacity of power enforced, one thing I know for sure is that gates are normally heavily guarded. Let’s take an example of 3 (three) different gates here: the gate of your school/ work place, the gate of your residential estate/ home and the gate(s) of the USA or Israeli embassies. You’ll agree with me that they are all different.
And different bandits in different hierarchies of banditry know what it takes to get in in order to steal, kill or destroy depending on the type of gate. Bandits can be patient, strategic and somewhat humble before they get in, but once they occupy the territory, they claim it, control it, jealously guard it and will not leave that easily. It takes violence beyond what I can describe in writing. Bandits are always on a constant look out, persistently for the next territory to possess. No, they don’t sleep like we sometimes do.
You’ll equally agree with me that no bandit can get into a territory to possess it, to claim it without the permission of the owner of the territory, save for a few cases like through the gate of birth. And I’m talking spiritual bandits here. There must have been an entry point – a gate, and unfortunately some entry points come as a result of sin e.g. the gate of idolatry, the gate of immorality or the gate of bloodshed.
Thanks to the blood of the lamb on Calvary. As Jesus cried, “It is finished! / Tetelestai! / Entièrement Payé!”, so was it. And in like manner, we achieved freedom. But what of him who believes neither in the finished work of the cross at Calvary, nor in this blood?
Let’s have a look at what the Lord, Jesus Christ says about dealing with the soldier at the gate: Mathew 12:29 “Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.”
Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Isaiah 45:2-3 “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, That thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.”
When we get to deeply comprehend the magnitude of warfare at the gate, then we’ll know that violence is an indispensable tool that must be employed, and a lethal one at that.
2. Violent Faith
Violent faith glorifies God and advances the Gospel.
Among the myriads of examples of such faith, let’s single out the experiences of Peter and Paul behind bars, of Daniel in the lion’s den, of Shadrack Meshack and Abednego in the fiery furnace.
Daniel 3:16-18 “Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”
Holy violence: possessing kingdom possessions require kingdom violence. If you know your rights and privileges in Christ and in the kingdom, then you got to become assertive to enforce them. Boldness is essential for faith to operate.
3. Active Faith
Prayer, thanksgiving and praise are some of the examples of components of active faith. It is what we DO, beyond believing which demonstrates that there’s an integration between that which we believe and that which we ACT upon.
Meditation and applying the word are equally pillars of faith in action.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Reading through the whole of this chapter, we’re practically led into seeing that active faith requires sacrifice.
James 2:17- 23 “Even so faith, if it hath no works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”
To drive the point further home, here is an excerpt on Acting on Faith by Benny Hinn.
“Exodus 14:15-16a “And the Lord said unto Moses, wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it:”
Deuteronomy 2:31 “And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land.”
“I have begun to give.” He doesn’t give until people start moving and acting upon faith. He will take care of the enemy in your way, but once He gives you the land, you must go and possess it. He often leaves it up to you to overcome the obstacles. Most importantly, you cannot inherit until you take ownership, until you receive what God has promised to you.
Acts 2:4 Believers prayed and then began to speak; acting upon the revelation and infilling that God had given them. As with the early church, we must not wait and then react, but rather act first in faith and then see God move. You see, pursuit is faith in action.
Pursuit, active faith, brings victory! The more you come to know the Lord, the more you find out that He has so much more waiting for you to receive, yet nothing miraculous happens without faith. Until Moses stretched the rod over the Red sea, the water stayed intact. Until the children of Israel were ready to possess the promised land, they wandered 40 years in the wilderness. Until David unleashed the small stone from his sling, Goliath towered over him, sneering the young man’s God. Until Bartimaeus and the woman with the issue of blood acted in faith, their miracles remained unfulfilled.”
I’d love to share a quote that to me has been a pillar over the years especially on those occasions when I’m just at the helm of giving up. “Nothing happens without prayer.” – Elisha Goodman
All these go out to encourage:
-Someone into holy violence.
-Someone on the verge of giving up on prayer.
-That person who is yet to begin and the other one who has slackened on prayer.
-Someone who is constantly mocked by that satanic laughter. It’s only a matter of time as you pray persistently that that laughter will be replaced by the laughter of Him that dwelleth in the heavens, Psalms 2:4.
-Someone who has walked the longest in the rain and it seems like the night isn’t breaking forth into day.
-That person patiently awaiting the fulfillment of a promise by God.
-That person who is mad at God for not answering his/ her prayers.
-That person whose goods are well guarded in the storehouse of the enemy.
-That person who has lavishly given an entry point to the enemy to come in and pick whatever he wants.
-That person who is rejoicing ‘cos he/ she has beautifully mastered the art of making the gates sway to the rhythm of his/ her music.
Please don’t stop praying. Keep pressing on! There’s always something to offer to the Lord in prayer, be it through: Adoration, like Moses Deborah & David after victory, or Petition as in Luke 18, or Intercession – standing in the gap just as queen Esther, or simply Thanksgiving just as the one leper among the ten. It could also basically be accompaniments like: communion, sacrifice/ offering, adorning a grateful heart or just simply erecting everlasting altars in form of our hearts to Him. There has to be something we can give unto God, anytime.
Well, as I conclude, I’ve had uncountable number of moments/ seasons when I’ve had to just simply put, Take It By Force: when my prayer life has come under raging and scathing attack, in my previous work places, in my family and in many other different areas.
As a believer, all the power you need is right inside of you, to claim back the kingdom, be it: in the market place, in the corporate world, in governance and leadership, in your marriage, in Ministry and the body of Christ and in all the domains as much as we have been given to subdue and to take dominion!
Wishing you sufficient grace in taking it by force as you step out in holy violence.
The Violent Overcomer.
-UNDERSTANDING THE KINGDOM. Kingdom Principles, Preparing for kingdom experience and expansion, (DVD) – Dr. Myles Munroe
-Acting on Faith, (online) – Benny Hinn Ministries