Matthew 11:12 says -"From R388 the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers F243 violence, and violent men take F244 it by force" NASB
"From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force" ESV
"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it." NIV
Perplexing and staggering words of Jesus. I have read several commentaries on this passage and they all disagree with each other!
As is often the case with our Lord however I think He meant it to be mysterious. He follows this enigmatic statement with the words, "He who has an ear let him hear". Oh God I want to hear! GIVE ME AN EAR!
These are the three ideas which all make sense to me. Then I will tell you what I think He is saying.
Meaning One: He is painting the picture of the Kingdom as a walled city with enemies all around it. There are men who would take the city by force ahead of the appointed time, such as those who were trying to make Jesus a literal earthly king in the Gospels, and Jesus is saying either John or the disciples of John who had come to Him were trying to force the coming of the Kingdom.
Meaning Two: The Kingdom of God is under attack, therefore only those who are violently searching for it can lay hold of it.
Meaning Three: The Kingdom of God is under attack, but it is moving forward with violent force against its attackers.

Here is where I have landed. The Kingdom of Heaven is attacked from every side. The Kingdom of Heaven is hated by the world and those who stand against the King. When one steps forward to serve this King, He sends them into the attack. He shows them the worth of His kingdom by showing them the anger of evil men against it. The King says, "those who would love this kingdom must fight more than those that hate it." This should not be a surprise to us. Look at what He did to take the throne!

Oh God. I long to take hold of your kingdom. I desire in my deepest places to grasp its value and its worth. Give me the endurance and the strength to survive the fight! To run the race so I might get the prize.

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