Kingdom Of Heaven Vs. Kingdom Of God
Written by Robert Reynolds on February 9, 2019
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN VS. KINGDOM OF GOD
(17) From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
(33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
When studying the Bible, it is essential to know the difference between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God. This is the key to:
- understanding the complete time line of Biblical history (Past, present, future)
- Understanding the proper place of the church, (Body of Christ)
- Understanding prophetic Israel in the future
The theme of the Bible is not the salvation of man but “The King and his kingdom”. Throughout the Bible you will see a struggle for a kingdom (kingdom of heaven). There is a battle going on.
Christ came to earth and offered himself as King of the Jews. He offered his kingdom to the Jews, but the Jews rejected him and his kingdom, because they were looking for a political king. This political king they were looking for, would make Israel the ruling kingdom of the earth. (Jeremiah 23:5) (Psalms 48:2)
Israel was blind to a spiritual deliverance. This is why they asked Christ this question. (Luke 17:20-21)
So here we see a spiritual truth. The kingdom of God cometh not by observation. It can not be seen. Why is that? It is because the kingdom of God is within you. It is inside every saved person. It is a spiritual kingdom.
Notice what Christ answers Pontius Pilate, when he was asked about his kingdom. (John 18:36)
Notice here, also, the word “NOW”. This is not speaking of the kingdom of God, which is spiritual, but speaking of a literal, political, Davidic kingdom, that will come in the future on earth.
The literal 2nd coming of Christ is rejected by many in Christianity. A lot believe that Christ will not return physically, but will rule in the hearts of people. But we see that the disciples knew what Christ was talking about. They knew that a literal kingdom would come. (Acts 1:6-8)
Christ tells them that it is not for them to know the time when that kingdom would come. He then gives them power to preach the kingdom of God, which is righteousness, through faith in Christ, and his death, burial, and resurrection.
So, it is very important that we separate church age doctrine from tribulation doctrine. Even so, it is one of the most hated doctrines of the Bible. Why? It is the belief of a lot of denominations (including some Baptists) that the church (Body Of Christ) has REPLACED Israel.
The whole world hates that a nation that is hated will become the head of all kingdoms. Satan, who is god of this world and has spiritual control of it, hates Israel.
The world and Satan are the enemies of Christ. But look at what Christ says about this. (Luke 19:27)
So, at Christ’s 1st coming, he came as a lamb without blemish or spot. He was meek and lowly.
(1 Peter 1:18-19)
At Christ’s 2nd coming, which is not the rapture, he will come to earth, physically as a lion, and will destroy his enemies. (Revelation 19:11-13)
When Christ came to earth, he came unto his own (Jews), and his own received him not. (John 1:11)
He preached to the Jews, the kingdom of heaven gospel. He gave them commandments to his apostles to heal the sick, cleanse lepers and so forth. He preached to them about a kingdom to come (kingdom of heaven), but they rejected him. (Matthew 4:17) (Daniel 2:44)
Remember the 3 heavens.
1st heaven- Where the birds fly
2nd heaven- Space, where the planets, stars, & sun are at.
3rd heaven- Where God dwells
Now, to the Jews and Gentiles alike, Christ preached the coming of the kingdom of God (spiritual kingdom). Christ did not preach to Gentiles, the Kingdom of heaven. (Mark 1:14) (Romans 14:17)
Many think that since Christ taught both kingdoms, that they are one and the same. At this point in time, they are not, but in the future, they will be, when at Christ’s 2nd coming, he will bring both the kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God with him.
When Stephen was preaching to the Jews, he was:
- giving a history of the Jews (Acts 7:1-50)
- applying his preaching to Christ (Acts 7:51-53)
- the first martyr for Christ (Acts 7:54-60)
While he was being stoned to death by the Jews, Christ (Notice this), was STANDING at the right hand of God. Why? The Kingdom of heaven and their Messiah were being offered again, to the Jews, and if the Jews would accept them, then Christ was ready to return back to earth and set up the kingdom of heaven and bring also the kingdom of God. (Acts 7:55-56)
Lets take a look at this. Notice how the Holy Spirit put in a little “nugget” of truth, to show that the kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God are different. (Matthew 11:12)
So now, lets ask ourselves a question:
If the kingdom of God is within you and the kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven are one and the same, how could anyone take the kingdom of God out of a person by violence?
Ok. So what we have here now, is that the Jews rejected their King and his kingdom, so the kingdom of heaven has been put on hold, and the Jews have been put to the side by God. God is now, dealing with a parenthetical church age, which is in MYSTERY form, and at this point in time, Christ is dwelling and ruling in the hearts of every saved person, while at the same time, he is seated at the right hand of God. Now, fathem that for awhile!
At the same time, Satan still holds the physical throne (Luke 4:6-7)
We must realize that even though, Christ has put Israel to the side, he is not done with them. After the rapture of the church, he will deal again with the Jews, starting in the tribulation period. (Romans 11:26)
The Kingdom gospel will be preached again.
Salvation by faith + works ( Revelation 13:10 ; 14:12)
But as of now, the Jews are the enemies of the gospel of the grace of God. (Romans 11:28-30)
Now, lets see what Dr. Peter S. Ruckman says about the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God being different.
Birds fly in heaven. They don’t fly in God.
There are clouds in heaven. There are no clouds in God.
God created the heavens. They did not create God.
God was in the beginning. The heavens were not.
The heavens are material. You can see them.
God is a Spirit. You can not see him.
God has a moral nature. The universe is amoral (no morals).
God controls the heavens. They don’t control him.
The heavens declare the glory of God, not the other way around.
The heavens contain darkness. In God, there is no darkness.
The heavens can be populated. God can not.
The words “God” and “heaven” are spelled with different letters.
What we have here, is this:
Kingdom of heaven- A literal, physical, Davidic kingdom that Christ will set up at his 2nd coming. This kingdom is only mentioned in the book of Matthew, which is written to the Jews.
Kingdom of God- A literal, spiritual kingdom that is within every believer.