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In this section we will explain the differences between expressions “The Kingdom of Heaven” and “The kingdom of God”. Often, we read of writers expressing their own opinion about these Scriptural expressions but not under the context when these expressions were original written. Religions like “The Jehovah witlessness” had given a used to these Scriptural terms that are not supported by the Scriptures itself. I felt the need for explaining both expressions exactly under the context where both expressions were written. So, here are both expressions explained:
Before we define each expression, we must understand one thing: “The context of any text, word or expression, must be define before we make any attend to use it and it must be in complete harmony with itself. If by any reason there some discrepancy in the context of the text, we must review it again until the context finds his own rhythm. The reason why we have so many doctrines, fallacies and theories, is because we force the text to express something that isn’t there, but we do this to support our own ideas and beliefs, which are outside of what the Scriptures possess.
Let’s define the meaning of the word “Kingdom”.
The Hebrew word used in the Old Testament is “malkûth”, which mean: “royalty, empire, royal power, reign, kingdom, sovereign power, dominion and realm”. The word kingdom has the same meaning in the New Testament as well. The use of the word “kingdom” must be use according to the subject matter express in the context of the text in question. In the Old Testament is used 90 times and in the New Testament is used 164 times the Greek word “basileia”.
Definition of the expression “The Kingdom of Heaven”:
This is an expression connected with “The ruling on earth of the Messiah”, which is the introduction of “The kingdom of God”. In other words, the kingdom of heaven will be the beginning of “God’s ruling the complete universe as it was before Lucifer and Adam rebelled. Allow me to expand both scenes under the Scriptural text:
According to Isaiah 14:12-15 Lucifer plotted an invasion of God’s Heaven. Please observe “the language” expressed on the passages and “the timing” expressed in them:
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ASCEND into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ASCEND above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
In verse 12 Lucifer already executed verses 13-14, in which he conspired an invasion to remove God from His throne. But God was waiting for him and the angels that followed him, which according to Rev. 12:4 were one third of the angels of God, who were in a “probationary period”, which will determine their eternal future and responsibilities. As we well know, they failed this period and were condemned with their leader, Lucifer. The “timing” expressed in Isa. 14:13-14 is future, when Lucifer plotted the invasion of the Heaven of God, in which God has His own throne. Psalm 2:4; 11:4; Mat. 18:12-14, 19; Luke 11:2; etc.
Another passages that expanded Lucifer’s creation, probationary period or state and fall, is Ezequiel 28:11-19. Lucifer was the first ruler of planet earth and not Adam as many had suggested.
Adam allowed Satan to regained control of planet by disobeyed God’s command of not eating of the tree, which was in the midst of the garden. Gen. 2:16-17; 3:3.
God is the ruler of the universe and always will be, but God’s eternal purpose and plan was interrupted by the rebellion of Lucifer and Adam. What exactly does this mean? It means that God will resume his eternal plan once these two events are corrected. God didn’t destroy immediately Lucifer and the angels that rebelled with him. Why? Because God needed to remove the angelic rebellion according to his justice. Psalm 92:15. In Gen. 3:15 we find the prophecy that will resume God’s ruling on all the creation as it was in Gen. 1:1. This prophecy expressed the redemption of mankind and the defeat of Satan.
The kingdom of Heaven is an expression that covers “a thousand years period”, in which God The Father will crush all his enemies through the ruling of the Messiah. This is expressed in 1 Cor. 15:24-28:
“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he (Christ) must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he (The Father) hath put all things under his (Christ) feet. But when he (The Father) saith all things are put under him (Christ), it is manifest that he (The Father) is excepted, which did put all things under him (Christ). And when all things shall be subdued unto him (Christ), then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him (The Father) that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
These passages expressed the general purpose of the Kingdom of heaven, in which Christ will rule the earth. Once the kingdom of heaven is established on earth, it will be follow by the kingdom of God, which is the eternal kingdom of God. The context of 1 Cor. 15:24-28 is found in Psalm 2
Definition of the expression “The Kingdom of God”:
It’s an expression that expressed the ruling of God over every creature and His creation. The kingdom of God declares the “Absolute” control of God and where His will is obey voluntarily. Satan, the fallen angels and demons does not obey God willingly but they obey the boundaries and laws established by God, which are different in each creation. The same principles apply to men, where the limitations are restricted by the purpose of their creation.
Had the kingdom of heaven already being established on earth? No, it will be establish on earth at the second literal advent of Christ, which will take place at the end of the great tribulation period, also known as “Daniel’s 70th week”. Daniel 9:27; Mat. 24:29-30; Luke 21:25-28; Rev. 19:11-21; Zech. 14. Any doctrine or teaching that express that the either kingdom is in effect is just a fallacy. By the way, Daniel’s 70th week have no connection with the church as many are teaching but instead, all the events relate to such period are connected with the nation of Israel and not with the church.
Is the church supposed to announce the kingdom of heaven? No, but rather the church is supposed to preach the “Gospel”, which involved the grace of God to save anyone through Jesus sacrifice. When Jesus spoke of either kingdom in his teachings, he spoke to “Jews”, which according to God’s purpose, were offered a kingdom. The church is not expressed in the language expressed by Jesus teachings relate to the kingdom that God will establish on earth. Why the church is not included at the moment when Jesus spoke to the Jews? Because the church isn’t reveal in God’s plan until many years later after Jesus resurrection. The church as the body of Christ was a mystery hidden in God’s heart and revealed to us through the writings of Paul. All the literal promises of God were made to the nation of Israel and not to the gentiles. But through God’s grace the gentile’s nations can find salvation and have place in God’s purpose. Many people have corrupted the biblical concept of the kingdom of God, as many only focus their teachings to financial and material possessions, which are deviated from the truth. In fact, these teachings are very dangerous, since their purpose reach the material and not the spiritual essence expressed in the Scriptures. God had promised to provide and blessed our possession, as long as we don’t become slaves of them as many had fallen into. Here are some warnings expressed in the Scriptures:
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Tim. 6:6-10
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.” Mat. 6:19
“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. 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. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.” Luke 6:22-24
“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:15-21
“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Luke 16:13
“Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.” James 1:9-11
“Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.” James 5:1-3
“Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” Psalm 62:10
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Mat. 6:33
Compare also Dt. 6:10-17; Psalm 52:1-7; 73:1-22; Prov. 23:4-5; 28:20-22; 30:8-9; Jer. 9:23; Ezeq. 28:5.
What about the line of teaching that promotes “The gospel of the kingdom”? For a moment, please allow me to proof what the Scriptures say about this subject and what Jesus meant when He mentioned it in Mat. 24:1.
This line of teaching is based on “The financial possession” through what they called “Living according to the kingdom” and their goal is to accumulate as much money as is possible. This line of thought is not based on the Scriptures but instead its foundation is pagan in essence. The passage of Mat. 24:14 says:
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
First, what is the context in which Jesus spoke of “The gospel of the kingdom”? The context of Mat. 24-25 speaks of literal events involving “The nation of Israel”, NOT the church; for the church was already rapture by the time this event take place. So, when and who will preach the “Gospel”? It will be preach in the great tribulation period by different groups: 1) – An angel will preach the gospel, which will warn the people about the consequences of being seal with the mark of the beast. Rev. 14:6-7. 2) – The two witness will bring a divine message to Israel, who fled previously from Judea when the antichrist invade Jerusalem at the first half of Daniel’s 70th week. Mat. 24:16-20; Rev. 11:7.
Second, one of the purposes involved in the announcement of the gospel of the kingdom is to bring Israel back to God and to return to Jerusalem. We must not forget that one the purpose of Daniel’s 70th week is to purge Israel from the Jews rebels, which is detailed in Isa. 66:3-6, 15-17; Ezeq. 20:38; Zach. 13:8-9.
Third, the preaching of the gospel will bring salvation to many in the great tribulation period, as it is stated in Acts 2:16-21
“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come (second literal advent of Christ): And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Noticed: The expression “And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood” Acts 2:19-20 is a reference to the events of Mat. 24, which involved the judgements of God upon the earth, Rev. 6:1-19:21
Many people will be saved in the great tribulation period, thanks to the message of salvation expressed in the gospel.
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” Rev. 6:9-11
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Rev. 20:4
“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 2:21
By the way, this passage of acts 2:21 is under the context of acts 2:16-20. Some are teaching that salvation will end with the rapture, which is NOT supported by the Scriptures. The rapture DOES NOT changes the salvation program.
What Jesus meant in Mat. 6:33 when He said “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
The expression “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness”, involves a priority order, which is above the material things that is expressed in verses 25-32. Also the expression is related to seek “God’s purpose and plan for us”. The passage IS VERY CLEAR.
What is the purpose and motivation that strive us today? If we using the gospel as a way to gain personal recognition or financial gain, we have certainly lost our purpose of servants of God. Sadly, many have lost their way by following “Positions, possessions and Power” inside the body of Christ. Because the world are getting more corrupted as times pass by, that corruption have sucked in many Christians, which had compromised their own values. The increase of these false teachings will reach a point, where only those who really had believed from the heart in Christ will remain.
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:16-17
Any teaching that promotes and encourage material gain above spiritual gain are NOT based in the Scriptures.
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 1:2