A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

January 30, 2020

John the Baptist, the Spirit of Elijah, and the Kingdom of Heaven

     I'm going to attempt to share a deeper understanding I just gained about Matthew 11:11-15. It is a passage that is quite often quoted and mentioned in Biblical exegesis, but never adequately explained for my understanding. And in my conversations with fellow Christians, I find that many of them are struggling with its relevance, too. So, not that I see myself as a Scriptural expert, but after spending a bit of time diving in, I'd like to give it a shot, because it is vitally important to our understanding of the Kingdom of God. Here is the passage:

11 Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

     Let's unravel this verse-by-verse, shall we? First of all, the Bible is establishing that John the Baptist is a human being, just like you and me; born of a woman. Secondly, we need to understand that John is the last prophet who came with a message that the Messiah would one day come. He is great because he is the prophet that was allowed to see that prophecy fulfilled. But he dies before Jesus's crucifixion and resurrection [which pays for our sins and makes way for us receive eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven]. 
   So, then how could one who is least in the Kingdom be greater than John? We, who are the recipients of Christ's sacrifice are greater because we get to receive the benefits of His Coming, which are Salvation, which in turn grants us the right to enter the Kingdom of Heaven [see John 3:1-5]. We are more privileged than even John the Baptist!
     What does it mean that the Kingdom of Heaven "suffers violence from the days of John, and that violent men take it by force"? To suffer violence means the Kingdom of Heaven was being pressed into by men forcing their way in; because up to now, Satan has been the dark ruler of this world and the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and men did not have access to, or a way, to enter into the Kingdom. And remember, Jesus castigates the Pharisees for not entering, nor allowing others to enter. (Matthew 23:13). 
     But from the moment John stepped onto the world scene until now, the realm of Heaven's kingdom is bursting forth and passionate people are taking hold of its power. The prophets and the Old Testament prophesied about the coming Messiah and His authority and power to deliver men and the world, and now here is John in the New Testament seeing those prophecies come to fruition.
     Then, here is the real stickler for most Christians: And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. Here's my take on this verse ... Got created us all as spirits, and each spirit is eventually assigned to a host body to live out its appointed days, after which the spirit returns to its "home" with the Father. Think "one spirit to one body; one life resulting in one death". But Elijah did not die a human death! He was taken up to Heaven before his body could die, so God receives his spirit back and can send it to John to help him carry out God's purpose for that spirit. [NOTE: spirits can't reside in bodies that die and then come back in another body -- that would constitute reincarnation]. 
     So, think of it like this: The "spirit of Elijah" is an anointing of the Spirit of God that works in a person in the same manner it did in the first Elijah. It is a spirit that is against worshiping false gods  (as Elijah came against Ahab and Jezebel). It is a spirit that brings about the restoration of God's Truth and turns the hearts of God's people back to Him and a true faith. 
     This is a word [for us] as spoken by the prophet Malachi: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.  In the Last Days, there must be a prophet anointed, just as John the Baptist was, with the spirit of Elijah to turn the hearts of believers (both Christians and Jews) to welcome the returning Christ. The traditions of men must be rejected! 
     The Word must be restored to its purity: Those who worship God must worship Him in Spirit and Truth (John 4:24). In the past, God revealed Himself through a prophet. Now, He reveals Himself through Spirit, and His Spirit will be revealed through the spirit of Elijah in the Last Days. The last anointing of the Elijah spirit will be the final witness to both Jew and Christian (Revelation 11?). Jews must receive the message of the Jewish Apostles in the Early Church, recognize Jesus as their Messiah, recognize the final Elijah's message and be sealed into the Kingdom of God. Likewise, the Modern Church must turn away from their rituals, traditions, and denominational doctrines and turn to the living God of the Bible! I pray that all those with ears to hear, will hear loud and clear!

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