Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven

I have occasionally had people ask me if there is a difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven.  We had a big discussion a time or two in our Wednesday night Bible study and I wanted to share some information with the readers of this blog.

There are a number of parallel verses in the gospels.  In the following list, the verses are basically identical except that Mathew uses Kingdom of Heaven, while Luke and Mark use Kingdom of God.  Although Mathew will occasionally use the term Kingdom of God, the term Kingdom of Heaven is only used in Mathew.

Math 5:3                             Luke 6:20

Math 8:11-13                    Luke  13:28-29

Math 10:7                          Luke 9:2

Math 11:11                          Luke 7:28

Math  13:11                        Luke 8:10                  Mark 4:11

Math 13:31                         Luke 13:18&19        Mark 4:30-31

Math 19:23                        Luke 18:24                 Mark 10:23

Math 22:2                           Luke 14:15

I believe that in reading these verses in comparison with each other it will become obvious that Mathew has substituted the term “Kingdom of Heaven” for “Kingdom of God”.  Is there a reasonable explanation?

Mathew was written primarily to the Jewish people.  They had a historical belief in the Kingdom of God as expressed in the theocracy of the nation of Israel.  I believe that Mathew substituted “Heaven” so that his readers would understand that he was talking about something that was not of this world, something other than a reestablishment of the sovereignty of Israel under God’s rule.

With all due respect to the various televangelists and others who might disagree, there is no difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven as expressed in the gospels.  The terms are synonymous.

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3 Responses to “Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven”

  1. JohnO Says:

    Hey Curt,

    You’ve seen something there in the gospels that not many can! I like your blog topics, very down to earth. What do you make of the “already/not-yet” way in which the Kingdom is sometimes understood. I’m having a hard time describing what I see in the gospels, and am curious if that language is right. What do you think?

  2. Gloria Says:

    very well written

  3. Pastor Curt Says:

    JohnO, thank you for your comments. I will respond to your question of already/not-yet, in my blog today; 1/14/09.

    Gloria, thank you.

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