TAKING THE KINGDOM BY VIOLENCE
Let us now proceed to chapter eleven where we see even more principles of the kingdom. One of the principles revealed in this chapter is that we must be violent against all opposition to the kingdom of God (11:12). We should not be so nice or we will be unable to enter the kingdom. We must be violent for the sake of the kingdom. For example, if there is no opposition to my walking through a door, I may walk in nicely as a gentleman. However, if some enemies oppose my entry and attempt to frustrate me, I must be violent and use force in order to enter. This was what the Lord Jesus had in mind when He spoke about the time of John the Baptist’s ministry, which was a transitional period. It was neither the Old Testament age nor the New Testament age. John proclaimed the kingdom saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near." By making this proclamation, he aroused strong opposition. When the Lord Jesus appeared, He proclaimed the same message. This preaching of the kingdom aroused opposition from the religious people. The chief opposition against the kingdom came from Judaism. It was very difficult for anyone to enter into the kingdom at that time because the Pharisees, Sadducees, and priests opposed their entry. By their opposition, they became enemies of the kingdom. Although the entrance was pointed out and even opened by John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus, the Jewish people rose up in opposition. If you wanted to enter into the kingdom at that time, you had to be violent.
The same principle applies today. If you want to get into the proper church life, you need to be at least a little violent because the opposers, criticizers, and enemies are fighting to keep you out. Since they make every attempt to frustrate you, what should you do? You must be violent! Our present environment is much the same as the one which was created after John’s preaching. When John came and proclaimed the kingdom, immediately the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, and priests rose up to oppose. According to the Lord’s word, everyone who entered the kingdom during that time had to be violent. Do you think today’s situation is different? It is the same. Since the local church has been proclaimed in this country, the opposition has been stirred up. I am not trying to be wild, and I am not teaching you to be tough and rough. I do not want you to be rough, but I do expect that you will be violent for the kingdom of God.
NO OUTWARD REGULATIONS
Let us go on to see another principle of the kingdom related to John the Baptist. In speaking about John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus established this principle: in the kingdom, unlike in religion, there are no regulations. In Judaism, there are many regulations about eating and drinking. When John the Baptist came not eating and drinking in a normal way, people said that he was possessed with a demon. When the Lord Jesus came both eating and drinking, they called Him a wine drinker and a gluttonous man (11:19). They said John the Baptist was demon-possessed for not eating and drinking, and they said the Lord Jesus was gluttonous because He did eat and drink. You may ask, Which is right—to eat or not to eat? to drink or not to drink? Judaism has many regulations about these matters, but in the kingdom there are no such regulations. This does not mean, however, that there is looseness. Rather, in the kingdom there are the children of wisdom. Wisdom is justified by her children (11:19). All of the kingdom people are children of wisdom. What is wisdom and who is wisdom? Christ is wisdom and we are His children. Therefore, it is no longer a matter of outward regulation, but of inward life. We are not regulated outwardly; we are controlled and directed inwardly by the life of Christ. The kingdom has no outward regulations, for the kingdom people are the children of wisdom, the children of God, who have the life of Christ.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 22, by Witness Lee)