The Kingdom of Heaven Is Not The Kingdom of God
The New Testament mentions both a Kingdom of God and a Kingdom of Heaven. Most pastors today preach that these are two different names for exactly the same thing. I used to believe this, but like most of the teachings of our fallen established church system, it is false! I see these passages describing two very different Kingdoms, different rewards for for different levels of obedience and submission.
The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom that Jesus established with his sacrifice. This is the reward for the few, the chosen, on the narrow road. This is the reward of the prophets. These are the folks who offer their lives as living holy sacrifices.
The Kingdom of heaven is the reward for the righteous[those more righteous than the pharisees]. This kingdom includes the sheep, those who listen to God’s rebukes (Ps 75:8) and repenting without defiance. These are the many coming from the east and west who sit at God’s table. They have not been perfected, not fully living as new creations in Christ not offering their lives as living holy sacrifices, but they are still saved. Some enter this Kingdom after drinking their cup of wrath at the – The Fate Of The Wicked . The Heavens also include a region of outer darkness. This is where the pharisees and others who blaspheme the Holy Spirit end up. These folks enter into this region after their flesh is burrned off during thru their day of wrath – The Fate Of The Ungodly.
Lets look at a key passage that differentiates between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus discussions with the rich young ruler in KJV Matt 19:16-26
16. And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17. And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19. Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21. Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
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.
25. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26. But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
So to get to heaven, to get into the Kingdom of Heaven we need to keep these six commands:
Thou shalt do no murder,
Thou shalt not commit adultery,
Thou shalt not steal,
Thou shalt not bear false witness,
Honour thy father and thy mother: and,
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
This is God’s plumb line of righteousness. I think those who keep these commands are redeemed at the great white throne, they both love their neighbor as themselves and they bear no false witness. Clearly this is not the same thing as salvation, as offering our lives as a living holy sacrifice to Jesus. This is a much lower standard.
After Jesus explains about keeping these commands he tells the rich man, “if you want to be perfect”. This being perfected is being saved by Jesus and entering into the Kingdom of God. These are the criterion for entrance into the Kingdom of God! These are necessary for us to avoid the wrath and judgement of God.
Matt 4:17 & Mark 1:15
Both the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are at hand, but only the folks headed for the Kingdom of God need to believe the Gospel!
KJV Matt 4:16-17
16. The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
17. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
People can still walk in covenant with God, keeping his commands, measuring up to his plumbline of righteousness
KJV Mark 1:14-15
14. Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15. And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
This passage is talking about the people walking in covenant with Jesus, believing and living out the good news, the true gospel of Jesus. These folks have been delivered from sin and now follow Christ.
I used to think that the Kingdom of God was established with Jesus sacrifice on the cross. I now think that the Kingdom of God was established when Jesus quoted Isaiah declaring the day of the lords favor[Luke 4:18-19].
Matt 5:3,10 & Luke 6:20,22
Those who are persecuted for the sake of Righteousness are given the Kingdom of Heaven. Those persecuted for Jesus sake are given the Kingdom of God! The poor in spirit are headed for the Kingdom of heaven, while only the poor are headed for the Kingdom of God!! If we have used our lives on earth to provide comfort and material things for ourselves and those around us we have not “forsaken all things”. This is a materialistic endeavor. However if we have used our lives on earth the seek and follow God, to spread his spiritual truths those around us, perhaps we have “forsaken all things”.
KJV Matt 5:3-10
3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
KJV Luke 6:18-22
18. And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.
19. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.
20. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
21. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
22. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
23. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
24. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
Matt 8:11 & Luke 13:28 Matt 7:13
Seems like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and “the many” have access to the Kingdom of Heaven while the few, find the narrow way, turning from evil and given access to the Kingdom of God
KJV Matt 8:11-12
11. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
12. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
KJV Luke 13:27-29
24Strive to enter in at the strait[narrow] gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
25When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
26Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
27. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
28. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
29. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
The Narrow Way
KJV Matt 7:13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Matt 10:7 & Luke 9:60
Jesus told the Apostles to preach that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand to the lost sheep in Matt 10. The section in Luke 9 tells us that Jesus came to save men. These folks who are saved by Jesus are to preach that the Kingdom of God is at Hand. They are not even permitted to go back home to say goodbye or even bury their parents. They are told to preach the Kingdom of God!
KJV Matt 10:5-8
5These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
7. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
KJV Luke 9:60
56. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
57. And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
58. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
59. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
60. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
61. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
62. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Matt 11:11 & Luke 7:28 & Luke 16:16-17
These passages were written when John the Baptist was still alive, before he received his new body. These passages say that all who have already passed away and been rewarded either with the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Kingdom of God are now “greater” that John, greater than any living breathing man. Both John and The prophets preached the Kingdom of Heaven, but after John, the Kingdom of God is preached and men are eager to come inside.
KJV Matt 11:11Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
KJV Luke 7:28For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
KJV Luke 16:16The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
17And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.
Matt 13:10 & Mark 4:11
The heathen on the Temple porch, the curch-goers, the best worshipers, those not turning from deliberate sin can not see the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God
KJV Matt 13:10. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11. He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
KJV Mark 4:11And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
12. That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
Matt 13:31 & Mark 4:30-31
Knowledge of Both Kingdoms starts out with a tiny mustard seed of faith
KJV Matt 13: 31. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
32. Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
KJV Mark 4:30-31 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?
31. It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:
32. But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it
Matt 13:33 & Luke 13:20-21
A little leaven spoils the whole. An impure heart and the leaven of Hypocrisy will not only spoil your chances to enter either Kingdom, it will spread to those around you! I think this is why Paul warned us not to pray for those sinning unto death [The Sin That Leads to Death: Continuing In Blatant Willful Outward Sin]. If we can not remove the leaven from an assembly of believers, we must separate ourselves from them.
KJV Matt 13:Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
34. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
35. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
KJV Lke 13:20. And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?
21. It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
Matt 19:13 & Mark 10:13
The little children, those younger than the age of accountability, if they were to pass today are given access to the Kingdom of Heaven, they are the ones who make up the Kingdom of Heaven “of such is the Kingdom of Heaven”. Likewise, only folks who receive the Kingdom of God as a little child can enteter that Kingdom.
KJV Matt 19: 13Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
14But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
KJV Mark 10:13And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
14But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
16And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
Matt 19:23 & Matt 19:24
While it is difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, it is virtually impossible for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God – like threading a camel thru the eye of a needle.
KJV Matt 19:23. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
KJV Matt 19:24 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.
Matt 25:14 & Luke 19:11
In Matt 25 the Kingdom of Heaven is like the Parable of the talents, those who have will be given more, to abundance, but those who do nothing with their gifts will lose even what they have. In Luke 19, a very similar parable is related to the Kingdom of God. In Matthew the rewards for the Kingdom of Heaven folks is to rule over many things and enter into the joy of the Lord. In Luke the Kingdom of God folks are given cities to rule over. [ This sounds like the Kingdom of God might be the shepherds that sacrifice their lives for the sheep[forsaking all things] and the Kngdom of Heaven might be the witnesses that are living in response to the Holy Spirit, If we are not using the gifts that God Gives us for his Kingdoms[both Kingdoms] , we will lose our faith and our place in either Kingdom.
KJV Matt 25:14For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: – [next is the separation of the sheep and the goats]
KJV Luke 19:11And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
12He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
14But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
15And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
17And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
18And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
19And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
20And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
21For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
22And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
23Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
24And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
25(And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
26For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
27But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
28And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
The sheep, those who have compassion for the poor and weak, who fear God and love their neighbor as themselves are headed for the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the “lower” parts of heaven. They must still be more righteous than the pharisee’s [not worshiping and taking the mark of the beast of blaspheming the Holy Spirit].
Those saved by Jesus also fear God, but these are the beheaded saints of revelation. They have cast off their fleshly head and now follow Jesus and his Holy Spirit. These folks are new creations in Christ. Jesus paved their way into the Kingdom of God. These are the folks who have “forsaken all that he hath” to be my disciple.” Luke 14:33.
These are Jesus disciples turning from doing evil to following Jesus. THis is our call!
Please forgive our sins, and help us to get a grip, to recognize your power and glory, to allow that fear to grow into trust, into faith, obedience and love. Turn us from our lusts, from our evil selfish desires, from our evil doings. Help us to know your peace, the peace that comes from seeking you, hearing and following you and your will. In Jesus mighty name we pray, Amen.
the Kingdom of Heaven Is Not The Kingdom of God
the Kingdom of Heaven Is Not The Kingdom of God
the Kingdom of Heaven Is Not The Kingdom of God
the Kingdom of Heaven Is Not The Kingdom of God
the Kingdom of Heaven Is Not The Kingdom of God
P.S. Here is a more recent post that develops this idea further. Who Are The Spiritual North, South, East and West? The Bible declares that the folks entering the Kingdom of God come from the East West North and South, while the Kingdom of Heaven folks come from the East and West. This post examines who these folks from the North, South, East and West are so that you can see the distinction.