According to Israel’s teachers, the first instance of the kingdom of God in the Hebrew scriptures can be found in the book of Exodus, in the “Song of Moses” where Israel is celebrating one of the definitive events of their history: The rescue from the harsh bondage of Egypt. The Search OF the Savior: Why Jesus Came, Part 1 (Luke 19:1-10), Bible Storying Series - Teaching The Story Of God Chronologically, Bible Teaching Ideas: The Ten Commandments And Ten Fingers. In support of this distinction, John 3:3-5 states that one cannot enter into the kingdom of God without being born again or born from above. (1088.3) 99:3.2 The King of both of these is Jesus Christ but are t… It is a spiritual kingdom which extends to every heart and life that acknowledges his kingship and obeys his commands. In this passage it is clear that only those who are born again may enter the kingdom of God. Jesus would go on to perform many other acts of redemption and healing to show that the Kingdom had arrived on earth. The passage would obviously have more meaning if kingdom here referred to the sphere of salvation only. In fact, the phrase “the kingdom of heaven” is used over thirty times in Matthew’s Gospel. 4:4-7), 3. The following is an excerpt from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary on Matthew 3. The Hebrews held the Name of God, given by Himself to Moses at Mt. Jesus then went on use the term many times over in this core body of His teaching to teach a way of living for those in His movement. To understand Jesus, we must comprehend the primary motif of His life: The Kingdom of Heaven. "Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship". This statement would be equally true whether “Dallas” meant Dallas County, Dallas City, or Dallas Seminary; but this does not make Dallas Seminary equivalent to the City of Dallas; nor is the City of Dallas equivalent to the County of Dallas. This has led some to the conclusion that at least in some passages the expression should not be taken as completely identical. ~ Jesus, The Urantia Book, (137:8.13) Early in his Gospel account of Christ’s life he stated: “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’” (Matthew 3:1-2, emphasis added throughout). For instance, the statement might be made that Mosher Library is located at Dallas. Among conservative scholars there is general agreement that God is sovereign over the universe. The New Testament usage of the kingdom of God indicates at least seventeen descriptive facts related to this expression. The parallel usage found in these instances does not require any change in definition of terms. Why did Matthew use the term “kingdom of heaven”? It was difficult for a Jew even to make an outward profession of faith because it would mean loss of friends, family, and wealth. To understand Jesus, we must comprehend the primary motif of His life: The Kingdom of Heaven. The kingdom of heaven is a central theme running all the way through the Gospel of Matthew. This again could not refer to those who are merely professing faith, but only to those genuinely saved. It could just have correctly been translated, "heaven's kingdom" just as we often use "God's Kingdom" rather than "Kingdom of God. Many would answer “the gospel.” It’s become something of a cliché word. The logical fallacy of assuming that two terms mean exactly the same because they are used in parallel passages is illustrated in the fact that the same term may often be used in more than one sense. Mark 4:11 and Luke 8:10), Matthew 13:31 (cp. What then, really is the gospel? This raises a whole new set of questions for those desiring to follow Jesus. The most dramatic communication of the Kingdom comes through Jesus acts of healing, rescuing from demonic oppression, etc. Could the reason some many self-identified “Christians” live poorly is because their gospel has more to do with going to heaven someday than becoming part of Jesus movement now? In 1 Corinthians 15:50 additional confirmation is given in the statement, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” The context goes on to speak of the translation and the resurrection of the righteous. From these Old Testament prophecies it can be demonstrated that the millennial form of the kingdom will be outwardly a sphere of profession and, therefore, conformed to Matthew’s concept of the kingdom of heaven. • and several others…. The precise character of the kingdom in the present age as well as the precise character of the kingdom in the millennial period, however, is still subject to various definitions. The experience of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit could never be true of one who merely professed salvation. On the basis of the contextual study of the terms as found in the New Testament, it may be concluded that there is some evidence that while the kingdom of heaven is similar in many respects to the kingdom of God and in some contexts they seem to be used synonymously, in others the kingdom of heaven is contrasted to the sphere of God’s actual spiritual rule. The precise character of the kingdom and its place in the unfolding of the divine plan of God remains, however, in controversy. To perform his duties, a melek would palak. Jesus operated fully within the Hebrew matrix, language and people of His day. Heaven is beyond our ability to grasp. Is it a defining priority of your life? The problem is, you don’t really see Jesus say this anywhere in any of the gospel accounts. “Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The same basic concept is also brought out in the parable of the dragnet in Matthew 13:47-50; where the net, which is compared to the kingdom of heaven, gathers of every kind. The kingdom of heaven is in the small and seemingly insignificant—but it is in the here and now, in the present, and God is inviting us to join him. Within the universal kingdom of God, however, various subdivisions exist. Some considered the kingdom as future, illustrated in the view of Albert Schweitzer, who anticipated a future intrusion of God into history. Generally speaking, most liberal theologians as well as conservative amillenarians have found the kingdom of heaven to be equivalent to the concept of the kingdom of God and fulfilled in a spiritual rule of God in the hearts of those who put their trust in Christ. It is of interest that, while Matthew normally uses the expression kingdom of heaven, there are six possible cases where the use of the word kingdom in Matthew refers to the kingdom of God rather than to the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven would thus be so entitled because it is already realized there, and is, through prayer and effort, to be transferred thence to this earth. He dressed, ate, drank, worshipped, and lived as a Jew. Our relationships can be mended and restored. • leaven (Matthew 13:33) Mark 1:15), Matthew 11:11 (cp. Much of the confusion in the argument concerning the meaning of the kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God has arisen, from the mistaken judgment that the distinction between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God is a dispensational one. At the same time it will also be the sphere of the kingdom of God because it will include many who are saved. The kingdom of heaven is not a matter of meat and drink but rather a life of progressive righteousness and increasing joy in the perfecting service of my Father who is in heaven. Neo-orthodox theologians also contemplate a future time when the social order will be brought to perfection, when human history is caught up in divine history. I find that the “gospel” can be consistently and coherently explained by the Kingdom of Heaven. It was this sphere of the kingdoms of this world which Satan offered to Christ (Matt 4:8). But Jesus didn’t just proclaim the kingdom’s arrival…. By contrast to this, the kingdom of heaven is compared to the sowing of seed in the field which produces both wheat and tares, with the separation coming only at the time of harvest. In a similar way, while in many parallel passages the same affirmation can be made of the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God, it is in passages where distinctions may be observed that the contrasts are indicated. Jesus went on to use “the kingdom of God” in his teaching about prayer (Matthew 6:10), persecution (Matthew 5:10) and obedience to God’s word (Matthew 5:19). also Luke 13:23 with Luke 13:28-29; Luke 18:24-26; John 3:3, 5); (4) kingdom of God subject to rapid growth (Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18-19); (5) kingdom of God to come with power (Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27); (6) kingdom of God likened unto children and childlikeness is a condition for entrance (Mark 10:14-15; Luke 18:16-17); (7) kingdom of God difficult to enter (Mark 10:23-25; Luke 18:24-25; John 3:5; Acts 14:22); (8) Christ to drink fruit of the vine with disciples in kingdom of God (Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18); (9) kingdom of God promised to righteous (Luke 6:20; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:21; Eph 5:5; 2 Thess 1:5); (10) “birds,” representing Satan, lodge in its branches (Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:19 [note that Satan is not a branch, however]); (11) kingdom of God contains leaven, that is, evil in doctrine, externalism, unbelief, and worldliness (Luke 13:20-21); (12) kingdom of God inward and unseen rather than outward and seen (Luke 17:20-21), but the coming of the Son of man will be seen, however (cp. The LORD will reign forever and ever.” (vss. It is probable that the reference is to the kingdom of God, for the passage states: “But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33 ASV). At least five passages in Matthew referring to the kingdom of heaven seem to be precisely parallel to passages in the other gospels in which the expression kingdom of God is used. In fact, it was to be their very first priority: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Many variations exist such as the theory of Albert Ritschl, who regarded the kingdom as the unification of the human race, prompted by universal love. The subject of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven will continue to confuse expositors of the Bible, if for no other reason, because its interpretation must necessarily be contextual with the word kingdom which does not always mean the same thing in different passages. In the opening of that passage we call “The Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”. This essay may appear controversial; it seems failure to… The Psalmist for instance wrote: “Jehovah hath established his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all” (Ps 103:19, ASV). It should pique our attention that the one who prepared the way for Jesus public ministry proclaimed the message, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2). These passages are Matthew 4:17 (cp. Matthew 12:26 refers to Satan’s kingdom, i.e., the sphere of rule which God has permitted Satan. Plenteous Redemption What is the gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus preached: The gospel of the kingdom of heaven is the good and joyful news the Lord will establish a kingdom on earth. Daniel also makes the statement that the “God of heaven” will “set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed” (Dan 2:44; confirmed in the prophecy of Dan 7:13-14, 27.) For all practical purposes, however, Matthew’s use of the term kingdom of heaven is the only important use of this expression. Their doctrine may not be accurate; and they may be guilty of externalism, a measure of unbelief and worldliness, as symbolized in the leaven. How should it change your priorities and the priorities of our churches? This is supported by Romans 14:17, which states “the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (ASV). It is like the statement that Mosher Library is in Dallas Seminary and the statement that Mosher Library is in the City of Dallas. Those who distinguish the kingdom of heaven from the kingdom of God do so on the principle that the kingdom of heaven seems to include not only those who are saved, but some unsaved men who profess salvation. In other words, Jesus would use the phrase to refer to: The very centrality of the kingdom of heaven to Jesus raises a whole set of questions: Have you heard the kingdom of heaven talked about often in your church, Bible study, or gathering of other followers? The “kingdom of heaven” is a term used frequently by Jesus, though never defined by him. Knowing that kingdom of Heaven and kingdom of God are simply two ways of saying the same thing, what is the kingdom of Heaven, anyway? Interestingly, Matthew is … In contrast to the kingdom of heaven, however, the kingdom of God, when used in a spiritual sense, is entered only by new birth. Matthew, the former tax collector turned disciple of Jesus of Nazareth, often wrote about the Kingdom of Heaven. The apostle Paul even contended that all of creation, in fact, all things would be healed through the work of Jesus. The Kingdom of Jerusalem had been under near constant attack from the Arabs and Muslims, for whom the city is of great religious significance. If the statement were made that Richardson is located in Dallas, it would mean Dallas County not Dallas City or Dallas Seminary. Suppose someone asked you that question: What is the kingdom of God? The fact is that Christ probably spoke in Aramaic, and this would require translation as well as condensation. Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” In fact, he is more explicit than that in Luke 11:20: “If it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” In every case, however, what is said in Matthew of the kingdom of heaven in these particular verses happens to be equally true of the kingdom of God and vice versa, that is, there is no real contradiction. In a word, it is the issue as to whether the present form of the kingdom, whether it be kingdom of God or kingdom of heaven, is the predicted millennial form. If you use a concordance to find the phrase “kingdom of heaven” (or kingdom of God) anywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), we find a surprising number of results:  Zero. By means of His death on the cross and victorious resurrection he would provide the ultimate means of healing, redemption and restoration for those wishing to become a part of the Kingdom of Heaven. The verb “to reign” malak is at its root verb form of the noun used for “king,” melek. In Matthew 13:38 another reference is found to kingdom in the statement:”The good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one” (ASV). Broadly speaking, the kingdom of God is the rule of an eternal, sovereign God over all the universe. The sphere of profession today, especially in the United States of America, is comparatively an easy state. Many would answer that the gospel is that Jesus died on the cross for your sins so that you can go to heaven someday. The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him…” (vss. The exegetical decision, however, involved in this case does not affect premillennialism as a whole nor dispensationalism; and the system of theology of those who make the terms identical can be almost precisely the same as that of those who distinguish the term. Heaven is a very common term in the Bible, used for the sky; for the space beyond our atmosphere; and for God’s dwelling place. Luke 17:24); (13) kingdom of God not to appear immediately to the world (Luke 19:11-27); (14) kingdom of God characterized by righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17); (15) kingdom of God to be delivered to the Father (1 Cor 15:24); (16) kingdom of God inherited only by incorruptible beings (1 Cor 15:50); (17) Gentiles will be in the kingdom of God (Luke 13:29). King Baldwin's vision of peace--a kingdom of heaven--is shared by a handful of knights, including Godfrey of Ibelin, who swear to uphold it with their lives and honor. Jesus frequently talks about the Kingdom of Heaven as a present reality with a future final fulfillment. To illustrate the nature of His movement, he compared it to: • a mustard seed (Matthew 13:31) Within the universal kingdom of God, however, there are other concepts referred to as kingdoms. For this reason, from man’s point of view the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are very similar, but God who sees the heart can distinguish the wheat from the tares even now. The concept of the universe as a divine kingdom over which God as King rules sovereignly is a familiar theme in the Scriptures (cp. Those thus gathered are not separated until the final judgment or the harvest, but are distinguished from all fishes in the sea by the fact that they are in the net. Jesus promised, that He would give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. We enter into a lifelong process of growing into that aim. (In fact, the gospel has more to do with God coming down than us going up. (Matthew 6:33). Much that is obscure in the present age will be open for all to see in the millennium. Have we been missing out on the true message of Jesus? Principal among these are the kingdom of God, found seventy-two times in the New Testament, and the kingdom of heaven, found thirty-two times, all in the Gospel of Matthew. Mark 4:30-31), and Matthew 10:7 (cp. And Jesus proclaimed, explained, illustrated, and demonstrated this very good news. Jesus himself was that Son of David who had come to take up the Reign of God once more and restore the Kingdom to Israel. The message of the gospel is much fuller and deeper. 17-18). The kingdom of God is not going to appear immediately, and yet repeatedly, Jesus says, “The kingdom is at hand. Concisely then, for the sages of Israel, the “kingdom of heaven” became of a way of saying that God had broken into the world with a redemptive, restorative, saving act. When one is a loyal subject of the King, he or she will desire to please this King in everything he or she says and does. This article was taken from the Theological Journal Library CD and posted with permission of Galaxie Software. The phrase “kingdom of God” occurs 68 times in 10 different New Testament books, while “kingdom of heaven” occurs only 32 times, and only in the Gospel of Matthew. It is obvious that many quotations in the Bible are not precise, that is, the Holy Spirit quotes with freedom, and quotations may be general when based on a particular statement or particular when based on a general statement. How would you respond? "Kingdom of heaven" is a term used exclusively in the Gospel of Matthew. “At hand” was just a way of saying, it’s here, now. (See for example Ephesians 1:10 and Romans 8:20-21). Here again the reference seems to be to the kingdom of God rather than the kingdom of heaven. Yet we do know that Jesus himself did not make this term up. Both statements are true though the City of Dallas is not the same as Dallas Seminary. The kingdom of heaven consists all of the following; joy, peace, patience, happiness, love, fear of God, righteousness, wisdom, understanding, purity, holiness, hate of evil, etc. Narrowing the field of investigation to premillennialism, one is still beset by a bewildering lack of uniformity in interpretation. Hence, if it were stated that Neiman Marcus is located in Dallas, it would refer to Dallas County or Dallas City but not to Dallas Seminary. It is clear from the outline of major features of the kingdom of heaven that it parallels many of the major features of the kingdom of God. If we understood the gospel as the arrival of Jesus’ kingdom, where we have covenanted with Jesus to…, …learn His teachings, walk in obedience to the King, to love God by loving our neighbor, and proclaim the healing of the cross and resurrection starting now, for “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”…. We become more like God intended us to be now. The kingdom of heaven might be the aisle of the grocery store, a cup of coffee with a new friend, or even our table over a meal. Why Does Matthew Use “Kingdom of Heaven” Instead of “Kingdom of God”? 1 Chron 29:11-12). Obviously casting out demons would not necessarily prove the coming of a professing kingdom, but indicates the reality of the power of the true kingdom of God. In the case of the Exodus, their King, the LORD, had broken in, and corrected a situation and set right something that he found to be against His will. Jesus used another unique literary device, (found only in Jewish literature and the Bible) Parables, to illustrate the core message of His ministry. It is also sometimes called the “Kingdom of God” or “Reign of God.” Ancient peoples have passed on the mythology of heaven being a place above this created world, with its opposite, hell, being located in the underworld. 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