I want to share a vision and word that the Lord has been revealing to me over the past couple of weeks. This year is to be a year that we walk in “the greater things”, see unity as Jesus saw it, along with the lost and prodigals coming in droves to Jesus. Read on…..
“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. (Matthew 11:11-13 NKJV)
I have heard this verse taught so many different ways, yet I have not felt settled with it for so long. I have also read a great translation of it from Greek to Hebrew to English, but still had not felt I understood it (at least a little more) until a few days ago. First let’s look at a translation of the verse, taking in the Greek to Hebrew to English from excerpts in the book, Jesus the Jewish Theologian, written by Brad H. Young pgs. 51-55:
As we will see, instead of “suffers violence” [Matthew 11:12] the action words “the kingdom of heaven breaks fourth” are much closer to the real meaning of the text….This translation of biazō is more appropriate than the passive idea from “suffers violence” because the active meaning correctly conveys both the force associated with the verb and also mentions the progressive movement of the divine reign. At times, the Hebrew verb paretz , which means “to break forth” was translated by the Greek verb biazō in the Septuagint. The idea conveyed by the Greek verb certainly includes the action of breaking out with strong force….Unquestionably, the entire saying of Jesus [above scripture] is connected to the words of the prophet Micah:
He who opens the breach (the breaker, haropetz) will go up before them; they will break through (partzu) and pass the gate, going out by it. Their king(malkam) will pass on before them, the Lord at their head. (Micah 2:13)
The Hebrew word radaf is best translated as “to pursue earnestly”…..The text [Matthew 11:12] could be translated into Hebrew, mega me yochanan hamatbil vead atah malchut shamayim poretzet vehaportzim rodfim [mevakshim] otah, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven breaks forth and those breaking forth are pursuing [seeking] it”. This translation brings out the meaning of the Greek text. The concept conveyed by this translation of the verse in Matthew would be similar to the words of Psalm 34:14, “seek peace and pursue it” (bekesh shalom verodfehu)…The essence of Matthew 11:12 dynamically portrays the ones breaking out of the sheepfold. They actively pursue the divine purposes in life…
I wanted to set this up because a long time ago I had read this book and had a little understanding of this verse and the better translation in the fullness of the Hebrew understanding of their richer vocabulary. I believe the Lord has expanded on it for me, just recently. This expansion gives such a rich and beautiful picture of when Jesus answers John’s disciples of Who He is and who John is.
John the Baptist was the “breaker” the Elijah that had been written about that would come before the Messiah. I see him as the opening between the last of the “law prophets” and the new covenant of “Grace prophets”. John the Baptist had believed that Jesus was expected to come to judge at this time because Jesus told him:
And blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is he who takes no offense at Me and finds no cause for stumbling in or through Me and is not hindered from seeing the Truth. (Matthew 11:6 AMP)
John talks of bringing a winnowing fork that would divide the chaff and the wheat at the beginning of his ministry:
His winnowing shovel (fork) is in His hand to thoroughly clear and cleanse His [threshing] floor and to gather the wheat and store it in His granary, but the chaff He will burn with fire that cannot be extinguished. (Luke 3:17 AMP)
Jesus was telling John that He had not come to judge, at this time, that John was stumbling over his own perspective that Jesus had come at this time to judge from the law. This judgment will not happen until the second coming. Jesus was redirecting John to look at the reality of what He was doing right now: healing and restoration; and that this would be a season of Grace. See John doubted Who Jesus was because his perspective was from the LAW. Jesus had to help John see what He was doing was what was expected during this time.
Jesus is known as the door (John 10:2) and He is the only way through to the open grace filled kingdom of heaven: I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture. (John 10:9 AMP)
Here is the picture the Lord showed me, portrayed into words:
Imagine a cave (see picture) and the sheep are following the shepherd into the cave for the night, for safety. The law is like the cave, it keeps you safe and protected from the night (curse). Sheep will not jump over even a low wall. Shepherds would put up a low stone wall or even lie down in front of the cave entrance to keep the sheep safe inside. In the morning when the sun rises (Jesus) the shepherd would get up or kick (break) the wall and let the sheep out into the wide open.
Here is what the Lord told me: we of course are His sheep, He is the gate-the Shepherd that put up the wall to keep His sheep safe in the cave (law). That is why the law is not bad but it can not save you from sin (Romans 7). John the Baptist (watchmen,breaker) broke that wall and the good Shepherd has led the way out of the cave (law) and into wide open spaces (grace) and we are no longer confined to the cave (law). Yet there are times, we as humans, want/desire to go back into the cave or maybe just stand at the entrance of the cave, part in and part out of the cave. A little grace and a lot of law or more grace and a little law. These are what the millstones around the necks (Mark 9:42) are about, when we hang around the cave we can stumble like John the Baptist was told not to by Jesus. Remember Jesus told John not to stumble over Him. Jesus wants us to fully come out and take off the law glasses. Jesus is saying come all the way out, it is safer here, because of My Grace and Mercy and complete forgiveness rests out in the wide open spaces. Do not go back to even a little of the law because when you do (Galatians 4:21-5:6) you come under the fullness of the law. Here is the scripture that goes with this:
The watchman opens the door for this man, and the sheep listen to his voice and heed it; and he calls his own sheep by name and brings (leads) them out. When he has brought his own sheep outside, he walks on before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will never [on any account] follow a stranger, but will run away from him because they do not know the voice of strangers or recognize their call. (John 10:1-5 AMP)
The last “law prophet”, John the Baptist, was the breaker that caused the sheep (all of us) to be able to follow our King-Jesus into the wide open freedom of Grace, Mercy and complete forgiveness. This year will be the year that His Bride comes into greater understanding of this truth and will walk in the “greater things”, see unity in Jesus, and the lost and prodigals coming in droves to Jesus.