Rev. Jaerock Lee
[Matthew 11:12, 13:31-32]
[Matthew 11: 12]
“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”
[Matthew 13: 31-32] “He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all [other] seeds; but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants, and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the third session on the measure of faith.
The reason why we believe and lead a Christian life is to receive salvation and enter into heavenly kingdom.
And the reason why we learn about the measure of faith is to gain greater faith and enter into better heavenly dwelling place.
But today’s passage Matthew 11:12 says, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” Heaven is God’s kingdom belonging to light. The enemy devil and Satan cannot dare come near to it.
Then, who dares use violence and take it by force?
This does not mean there is somebody who stands against God or there is a war in the kingdom of heaven. It explains to us about the process of God’s children entering heaven with faith and reaching the complete measure of faith.
All men were destined to fall into hell due to sin, but whoever believes in Jesus Christ can be saved and go to heavenly kingdom.
But the enemy devil and Satan try to disturb people from believing the gospel. They always tempt even those who already accepted the Lord to sin.
We believers have to struggle against this enemy devil and Satan and take heavenly kingdom by force.
Today, I am going to talk to you about how you can take the kingdom of heaven by force and what kind of place heavenly kingdom is that you have to take it by force.
I pray in the name of the Lord that, through this message, you will be able to take heavenly kingdom by force and especially the best dwelling place in heaven.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when you fight against the evil spirits, overcome them and advance to heavenly kingdom with faith, you can get into better heavenly dwelling place.
But it is said, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence “from the days of John the Baptist until now.” John the Baptist is a person who prepared the way of Jesus. He testified to Jesus so that Jesus would accomplish His duty.
So, ‘from the days of John the Baptist until now’ symbolizes the days of Jesus Christ and the New Testament era where we receive salvation with faith. Then, how can we take the kingdom of heaven by force in these New Testament days?
Before explaining this, let us quickly review the conditions of salvation in the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Before John the Baptist, namely the Old Testament, was the era of the Law. They were saved through the deeds of the Law. They had to keep all the law, and if they committed sins by violating the law, they had to offer sin offering to be forgiven of their sins.
On the contrary, the New Testament is the time of the Holy Spirit and of grace.
It’s because we receive salvation just by believing in the Lord Jesus, not having to offer sin offerings. We are forgiven of our sins through the blood of Jesus and power of the Holy Spirit.
But when we say that Old Testament was time of Law and today is the time of the Holy Spirit, many people misunderstand this. They think people were saved by keeping the Law with action during the Old Testament days, but now in New Testament days, it is OK to commit sins.
They think they will be forgiven of their sins and receive salvation just by confessing with their lips, “I believe.” But this is a wrong idea.
The salvation through action in the Old Testament means even if they had evil in their heart, as long as they didn’t show it as action, they were not condemned.
However, in the New Testament, even if we do not commit sins in action, only if we have evil in heart, it is already sin.
If we hate a brother, we are same as murderers. If we have greed, we are same as thieves. If we commit sins in action, it is such a great sin.
Galatians 5:19-21 says, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Those who practice the deeds of the flesh or works of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Other than this part, there are many parts in the Bible that warn us those who commit sins have nothing to do with God.
The will of God for us who are living today is that we have to get rid of not only the sins in action but also evil in our heart.
Then, is it more difficult for people living in the New Testament days to be saved than those who lived in Old Testament days? It is not so.
In the Old Testament days, they had to keep the law with their own ability and effort, but in the New Testament days, we can throw away sins not by with our own strength but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Roman 10:10 says, “for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Those who truly believe in their heart will certainly practice the Law.
If we believe that God is our Father and Jesus took the cross for my sins, we will naturally try to throw away sins.
If you don’t just keep it as knowledge by hearing but truly believe the love contained in the cross, you will practice the Law and become a righteous man as God pleases.
Those who used to do evil will do good and those who used to cheat and steal will become honest.
Those who used to get angry will become meek and patient. It is not just the level of refraining from committing sins with education and etiquettes, but they will cast off the sinful nature itself in their heart and become righteous.
Men cannot change themselves by their own ability. It is possible only through the precious blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit who helps us.
For example, the worldly people find it very difficult even to quit smoking. They make up their minds again and again but start smoking again.
But when you listen to the testimonies of our members, even those who used to be addicted to alcohol or smoking came to hate liquor and cigarettes when they received the works of the Holy Spirit after accepting the Lord. They say they could quit so easily.
When we accept the Lord with faith and try to cast off our sins, the power of the Holy Spirit will come upon us so that we will be able to throw away not only sins in action but also the sinful nature in our heart.
So, our heart will become clean and pure like the Lord. Because we can receive the help from God, it is never difficult to receive salvation with faith and cast off sins during the New Testament days.
During the Old Testament days before Jesus Christ, they did not receive the Holy Spirit, so they could not cast off sins in their heart, and therefore, they could not take the kingdom of heaven by force.
Of course, people like Abraham and Moses could advance to better heavenly dwelling place believing the Lord who was to come, but it is a rare case to find this kind of people with such good inner heart.
Therefore, we are more blessed to live during the New Testament days because we can cast off sins from our heart by the Holy Spirit and can advance to better heavenly dwelling place according to our measure of faith.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, about 2,000 years ago, since Jesus Christ came, the era of grace, where people receive salvation with faith, began.
But taking the heavenly kingdom by force is not just going into heaven escaping the punishment of hell.
The heavenly kingdom is divided into many levels and there are relatively better places than others, so it means we are longing for and taking better heavenly dwelling places by force.
Of course, even the lowest dwelling place in heaven will be so happy and beautiful beyond your imagination. There is no sin, sorrow, pain, or death.
It is never changing and never perishing, and is filled only with love, peace, and joy.
Even the most beautiful scenery of this earth cannot be compared to the environment of the heavenly kingdom. Even the most magnificent palaces on this earth cannot be compared to houses in heaven.
What you should first remember is that the heavenly kingdom is above the sky that is visible to our eyes.
If men take a spacecraft and keep going up above, will they see heavenly kingdom at one moment? Of course, they won’t.
Heavenly kingdom belongs to spiritual heaven, and this spiritual heaven belongs to another dimension from this physical sky.
Even the spiritual heaven is divided into many heavens. Nehemiah 9:6 says, “Thou alone art the LORD. Thou hast made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them. Thou dost give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before Thee.”
Also, 1 Kings 8:27 says, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee, how much less this house which I have built!”
Many places in the Bible mention that heaven is not only one by saying, “the heavens, the heaven of heavens.”
Especially, 2 Corinthians 12:2 talks about the spirit of the apostle Paul going up to the ‘third heaven’. If there is the third heaven, there must be the first and second heaven, and there can also be heaven above third heaven.
I already explained about these heavens in detail in the Genesis lecture.
Among many heavens in spiritual realm, the third heaven that the apostle Paul mentioned is the heaven where there is the heavenly kingdom is. 2 Corinthians 12:4 says, “(He, namely the apostle Paul,) was caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.”
So, the place the apostle Paul saw in the third heaven was Paradise. Then, what kind of place is the paradise?
In Luke 23:43, Jesus said to one criminal, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
This criminal was crucified together at the same place when Jesus was crucified.
Just before he died on the cross, he accepted the Lord at the last moment. He barely had faith to receive salvation but because he died immediately, he could not live according to the word of God. Also, he did not work for the kingdom of God, so he had no heavenly rewards.
And paradise is the place for those who just accepted the Lord and gained faith just to receive salvation like this criminal. It is the lowest level of kingdom of heaven.
Jesus said, “you shall be with Me in Paradise.” But this does not mean the dwelling place for Jesus is located in paradise.
Jesus is the master for not only paradise but the whole heavenly kingdom. So, it means the criminal who would go to paradise will be in the heavenly kingdom with the Lord.
Also, in Revelation chapter 21, we see a record about the city of New Jerusalem that the John the apostle saw. It is a holy and glorious city with 12 foundations of 12 jewels.
This is the most glorious dwelling place in heaven.
It houses the throne of God and those who have great faith by keeping God’s word completely and cultivating it in their heart. Between this New Jerusalem and paradise, there are many other levels of dwelling places.
For example, even in one country called the United States, there are many big cities including the capital city where the president works.
Also, there are medium or small sized cities and mountain village or islands that are far away from urban area.
Heavenly kingdom also is divided centering New Jerusalem, which houses God’s throne. When God explained it to me, He divided it into five levels.
Of course, we can divide it into more than five levels or make it simpler, but God explained it in five levels so that we can understand it easily.
The lowest dwelling place is paradise, and the highest is New Jerusalem. In between these two, there are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd kingdoms of heaven. Your measure of faith will decide which dwelling place you will enter.
To the extent that you overcome the enemy devil and Satan trying to tempt you, struggle and cast off sins to the point of shedding blood, and change your heart to be truthful, you gain the qualification to enter into better dwelling place.
To the extent that your faith grows like this, you will have qualifications to enter into better heavenly dwelling place, and this is the meaning of taking the heavenly kingdom by force.
In today’s passage Matthew 13:31-32, Jesus gave us a parable about heavenly kingdom taken by force.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all [other] seeds; but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants, and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.”
A mustard seed is one of the smallest among seeds, and it is as big as a point of a pen.
The faith of those who are just saved is as big as a mustard seed. But if they sow the seed in the field of their heart and take care of it and grow it, their faith will grow as big as a tree that has grown thick and has no problem in storms.
Just as many birds nest and rest in big trees, those with great faith can embrace many souls. They can plant life in those with weak faith and give spiritual rest to them.
If you can embrace many souls in your heart, it means you have broad heart, and in heavenly kingdom, you will dwell in bigger and more beautiful place in heavenly kingdom.
That is why Matthew 5:5 says, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, since I was a new believer, I was longing for the heavenly kingdom and imagined many things.
But when God explained to me about heavenly kingdom as an answer to my countless prayers, I realized all my imaginations were meaningless. Even though we imagine the best and most beautiful and splendid things of this earth, they are not comparable to the heavenly kingdom.
Sometimes, people say it is paradise on earth referring to very beautiful things.
But even the lowest dwelling place of heaven, the paradise, is much more beautiful than the most beautiful place on this earth.
God has made so beautifully even this physical world where we will stay only for a short time. Then, how much more would God have made the heavenly kingdom where He will live with His children forever?
Furthermore, the 1st kingdom of heaven cannot be compared to the paradise, and the 2nd kingdom is not comparable with the 1st kingdom. And we can say the 3rd kingdom is completely different from the 2nd kingdom.
So, how can we explain with words of men the glory of the city of New Jerusalem that houses God’s throne?
In heaven, even the road is made of pure gold and there is golden and silver sand around the river of the water of life that originates from the throne of God.
In the clear water that shines like jewels, fish with many beautiful colors swim. The beauty and aroma of even one flower and one leaf cannot be compared to anything on this earth.
There is no pollution, aging, perishing, or death. Angels serve you as masters and wait on you. Sometimes they play beautiful music for you.
You will dwell forever in inexpressible happiness with God the Trinity and your dear ones.
Especially God’s children who enter New Jerusalem will enjoy the glory and honor that even the greatest emperor on this earth cannot enjoy.
The apostle Paul gained such great hope just by seeing the paradise, and he could take his way with joy although he faced so many sufferings for the Lord.
If you clearly come to know about heavenly kingdom, you will realize things on this earth are meaningless.
You will cast away all worldly desires and meaningless lust, and change yourself according to the word of God and try to take the heavenly kingdom by force.
The content that God let me know about the kingdom of heaven is published in the book ‘heaven’.
‘Heaven I’ and ‘Heaven II’ are translated and published into Spanish, English, Chinese and many other languages. Many people send their thanks after reading these books that they gained more hope for heaven.
I urge those of you who are longing for the kingdom of heaven to read these books so that you will have greater hope for heaven.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, which heavenly dwelling place will you be able to enter if you go to heaven right now?
When I explain to you in detail starting from the 1st level of faith to go into paradise to the fifth level of faith to go into New Jerusalem, you will be able to check our level of faith. But even if your faith is little now, you don’t have to be discouraged.
The heavenly dwelling place will be decided at the end of human cultivation. Even those with little faith can even go into New Jerusalem if they keep on advancing toward heavenly kingdom diligently from now.
On the contrary, even if you have faith to enter the 1st or the 2nd kingdoms of heaven, you may even go backward in your faith and go to the paradise or even fall away from salvation, if you are lazy in circumcising your heart.
So, Philippians 2:12 second half says, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling;” and 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
I hope you will earnestly long for the heavenly kingdom and accomplish greater faith quickly. I pray in the name of the Lord that you will save time and diligently advance toward heavenly kingdom and take the best dwelling place by force.#Measure of faith