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Kingdom of Heaven vs Kingdom of God

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

What is “The Kingdom of Heaven?”

What do you believe is “The Kingdom of Heaven” that Jesus often referred to in His teaching?  (This phrase is only found in Matthew’s Gospel Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 5:3; et.al)

Is it the same as “The Kingdom of God”?  Or, does that refer to something different?  (Matthew 6:33; 12:28; 19:24; et.al)

Does “The Kingdom of Heaven” ever refer to the Church?  (A couple commentators I’ve read believe this, but I haven’t found good biblical support for that thinking.)

I’ve heard that “Kingdom of Heaven” refers to the Millennial Kingdom (Matthew was written to a Jewish audience, and they were looking for a King to sit on David’s throne to rule and reign in Jerusalem).

Those who believe "Kingdom of Heaven" refers to the Millennial Kingdom often teach that “Kingdom of God” then refers to eternity.  

I tend to believe that both phrases are interchangeable (see Jesus’ use of both in Matthew 19:23-24), and that the phrase refers to the Everlasting Kingdom of God in eternity.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I believe that the Kingdom of Heaven refers to "Spiritual things as they relate to eternity" (i.e. salvation, the rapture, eternal life, etc.) and the Kingdom of God refers to "Spiritual things as they pertain to the Christian life" (i.e. the church, sanctification, separation, etc.).

There are places where it would seem that they are interchangeable, but remember that there are many, many truths that apply to salvation and its components that also apply to the Christian life and its components. I would almost agree that they are interchangeable, except there are some places that if you say the Kingdom of God is eternity, it teaches you can lose your salvation.

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While I would, on the surface agree with Bro. Scott that "The Kingdom of God" and "The Kingdom of Heaven" are interchangeable, I think I see another application between the two according to context.

To me "The Kingdom of Heaven" would seem to be limited to those who have accepted His grace and salvation, to the exclusion of those who refuse it. I think I see this primarily because of the context of the Scriptures the term is found in.

And to me "The Kingdom of God" would seem to include all peoples, whether saved or unsaved, simply because they are all a part of God's creation. You will notice in the Parables that both classes are included in most of them.

This last example really takes a study on the Parables to be seen clearly. I hope I have not muddied the water here, so-to-speak. But it is early morning here and I am just waking up. I have a lot going on today and my thought processes are not the best.

If there are questions about what I have posted, please feel free to post and ask them, I'll do my best to try to explain why I believe the way I do in regard to this subject.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Matthew 19:23-24 (KJV)
23  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

It would seem our Lord used the terms interchangeably.


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