And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize—a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion].
·Since the time [L From the days] John the Baptist came until now, the kingdom of heaven has been ·going forward in strength [advancing forcefully; or subject to violence; suffering violent attacks], and ·forceful [or violent] people have been trying to ·take it by force [lay hold of it; or attack it].
“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of Heaven has been taken by storm and eager men are forcing their way into it. For the Law and all the prophets foretold it till the time of John and—if you can believe it—John himself is the ‘Elijah’ who must come before the kingdom. The man who has ears to hear must use them.
“Let me tell you what’s going on here: No one in history surpasses John the Baptizer; but in the kingdom he prepared you for, the lowliest person is ahead of him. For a long time now people have tried to force themselves into God’s kingdom. But if you read the books of the Prophets and God’s Law closely, you will see them culminate in John, teaming up with him in preparing the way for the Messiah of the kingdom. Looked at in this way, John is the ‘Elijah’ you’ve all been expecting to arrive and introduce the Messiah.
All of the prophets of old, all of the law—that was all prophecy leading up to the coming of John. Now, that sort of prepares us for this very point, right here and now. When John the Baptist came, the kingdom of heaven began to break in upon us, and those in power are trying to clamp down on it—why do you think John is in jail?
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