Wednesday, May 27th, 2009
"From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of the heavens is the goal toward which men press, and those pressing forward are seizing it." (Matthew 11:12)
Jesus spent three and a half years preaching the good news of the Kingdom to the Jewish nation. After the arrest of John the Baptist, Jesus showed that others could hope to share in that Kingdom when he said the words of today’s text. Interestingly, immediately before speaking of those who would ‘seize’ the Kingdom of the heavens, Jesus said: “Truly I say to you people, Among those born of women there has not been raised up a greater than John the Baptist; but a person that is a lesser one in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he is.” (Matt. 11:11) Why was that? Because the hope of being part of the Kingdom arrangement was not fully opened up to faithful ones until holy spirit was poured out at Pentecost 33 C.E. By that time, John the Baptist had died.—Acts 2:1-4.
(Watchtower issue: 01/15/08, 4:4, 5)
*in regards to John having the hope of an 'earthly' resurrection, the latest WA study edition online brought out a totally obvious point that didn't even hit me until just now ... How the Israelites (prior to Jesus' ministry) always believed their resurrection to be an earthly one. Which is why the apostles didn't understand what Jesus was talking about when he first explained they would be with him in Heaven, because it was like a foreign concept to them... since they were so used to thinking of the resurrection hope being on earth vs heaven up till that time.