"And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." (Matthew 11:12)
When John the Baptist first began to preach that the kingdom of heaven was at hand (Matthew 3:1), he issued a strong call for repentance and then immediately encountered resistance from the nation's religious leaders, whom he called a "generation of vipers." Jesus came soon afterward, preaching the same message (Matthew 4:17), and although many followed Him, He also quickly encountered opposition.
In fact, it wasn't long before John was beheaded and Christ was crucified. The kingdom of heaven in its early development indeed was suffering violence. And it has continued thus ever since. Most of the apostles suffered martyrdom and untold millions of true followers of Christ have met with similar opposition and persecution right up to this present time, all over the world--sometimes by pagans (imperial Rome), later by the Moslem hordes, by atheists (Communism), and all too often even by institutionalized nominal Christianity.
Yet, in spite of all the powerful forces that Satan has been able to raise against the Lord Jesus and His true church of blood-redeemed sinners, Satan has not prevailed. The real kingdom of heaven (now in the spiritual realm, but destined to cover the earth as well when Christ returns) continues to grow. "Since |John's| time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it" (Luke 16:16). Here the word "presseth" is the same Greek word translated "violence" and "violent" in our text.
That is (amazing as it seems), throughout the ages the more violent the opposition to God's true kingdom has become,the more invincible has been its growth. It does not win "by force," however, but by truth and love. HMM