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Kingdom of Heaven - Kingdom of God - Oscene Barrett (September 2009)

The question that many are finding very difficult to answer is whether or not the “Kingdom of Heaven” is the same as the “Kingdom of God”. This is not so difficult if we follow Apostolic hermeneutics and proper Exegesis. I will be presenting the Bible position on this in a pointed format. I do not think much discussion is necessary and that the scriptures cited should be more than enough to prove to any one of a rational mind what the truth is. I will purposely omit the Greek etymological study, but will quickly say that the Greek form which we get Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven is different. This does not mean, however, that the phrases are different, just like in English where you have two or more words or phrases having the same meaning, same is true for the Greek.

One such example is words that describe the coming of the Lord Jesus Messieh. There are three different Greek words used, but are all translated interchangeably within the scriptures. These are: “Apokalypsis – mean “revelation” (1Peter 1:13; Revelation 1:1), but is translated “coming” in 1Corinthians 1:7, “appearing” in 1Peter 1:7; Parousia – coming; and Epiphaneia – appearing (1Timothy 6:14).

What we are trying to do is to compare scriptures with scriptures, and if we are dealing with same subject then there should be no contradiction. The first rule in interpretation of scriptures (apostolic hermeneutics) is that there can be no “Contradiction”. Now let us see how it works:

1. The Kingdom of God or Heaven is liken to grain of mustard seed.

Matthew 13:31-32

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:

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.

Note: According to Dr. Matthew, Jesus is here saying the “Kingdom of Heaven” is liken to a grain of mustard seed, but according to Mark and Luke Jesus said the “Kingdom of God” is like a grain of mustard seed. Here are the Mark and Luke texts.

Mark 4: 30-32

And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?

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:

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.

Luke 13:18-19

Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?

It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

Now if you think that the Kingdom of God is different from the Kingdom of Heaven, then whatever you think they are or represents, we would have two separate and distinct Kingdoms which can be liken to a grain of mustard seed. Is this two kingdom idea true? Answer, absolutely not. We have one Kingdom over which Jesus now reigns as King supreme. This kingdom is called the kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven. This we now know is the Church of the Living God. Again we have two phrases, which mean exactly the same thing.

2. The Kingdom of God or heaven is liken to leaven in three measures of meal

Matthew 13: 33

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.

Luke 13:20-21

And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God?

It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened

By observing the two verses above we see again the author’s of the bible were using the phrases “kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of Heaven” interchangeably. Thus, they are the same or refer to the same thing.

3. Message of Jesus and John concerning the kingdom of Heaven or God is at hand.

Matthew 3:2

And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 4:17

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Mark 1:14-15

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

It is easily received that to the writers of the New Testament the phrases Kingdom of God and Kingdom of heaven were synonymous and were in fact used interchangeably.

4. Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven or God

Matthew 5:3

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 6:20

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

We have here two separate texts dealing with the poor in spirit. One says the kingdom of heaven is theirs while the other says the kingdom of God. Again these texts prove that these phrases are synonymous.

5. Why Jesus taught the people in parables

Matthew 13:10-11, 13

10And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He 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….13therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Luke 8:4, 9-10

4And when much people were gathered together, and were come to Him out of every city, he spake by parable…..9And His disciples asked him saying, What might this parable be? 10And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

Now the question was asked, Why Jesus taught the people in parables? The answer is interesting from the recorders point of view. Jesus said according to Matthew that it was given to the Apostles to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. Luke recorded the same statement, but used the phrase Kingdom of God rather than Kingdom of Heaven. Again, proving that both phrases represents the same thing.

6. The difficulties of the rich entering into the kingdom of God

Mark 10:23-25

23And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25It 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.

Matthew 19:23-24

23Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24And 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.

Notice how the Matthew account uses the phrases Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God interchangeably. Then compare the Matthew account to Mark’s and you will have to admit that the kingdom of Heaven is not different from Kingdom of God.

The Matthew 19 text is very important, since Matthew is the ONLY New Testament author, which uses the phrase “KINGDOM OF HEAVEN”, all the other writers including the Paul and authors of Luke and Acts use the phrase KINGDOM OF GOD. (We also find the phrase “Kingdom of God” in older historical books like the Wisdom of Solomon 10:10.) However, in Matthew 19 verses 23-24 we were able to see unequivocally that both phrases were same, and hence, it is unscriptural to separate these terminologies to teach the dispensational lie that the gospel of the kingdom of heaven is different from the gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Why is there a need for two phrases?

I do not think there is a need for two phrases, but the scriptures have supplied them so we accept and used them as per scriptures. The scriptures cited above prove that both are the same and was used as synonyms in a similar way we see the scriptural use of coming, revelation, and appearing of Jesus which all mean His coming with a bodily presence.

Also, we see the heaven as the headquarters of God per se. It is where His throne is and from where directives are usually given. The Bible actually said that heaven is God’s throne (seat) and earth is his footstool. Jesus taught us to pray to our Father which art in Heaven. We know God is omnipresent, but we are here referring to a place of rule and authority. We are seeking answers to our prayer and where better to send out those directives from – off his seat or throne in heaven. Thus, heaven represents God’s rule and authority. He is the King of kings and he reigns from heaven. Since the heaven represents God’s rule; then both the kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of God represent the rule of God over his subjects.

Now to say the kingdom of Heaven or the kingdom of God whose headquarters (or capital) is in heaven is saying the same thing. The bible also uses phrases such as the kingdom of His Son, the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Is there a distinction between these as well? Answer, No. This is a simple oneness issue and we are Oneness Apostolic (at least, we are supposed to) and not Trinitarians, twinitarians or Unitarians. To us there is one God, and his name is Jesus Messieh, who was manifested in the flesh as the Son of God, born to a virgin named Mary. So the Kingdom of God is the same as the Kingdom of Jesus Messieh. Did you get it? I have, but do you?

We find also in the Old Testament where Kings were referred as the King of Country, King of Capital (of that country) and by name, but were the same individual been referred to. Take for example King Ahab, who was the King of Israel, whose capital was Samaria. Ahad was the King of Israel (1Kings 16:28; 20:43). He was also referred to the King of Samaria (1Kings 21:1). However, Samaria was the capital of the Kingdom of Israel (Northern 10 tribes). We know that the rule and authority of King Ahab was not just in Samaria, but include all of the land of the 10 tribes, which was called Israel or Northern Kingdom of Israel. Same is true for Jesus; He not only reigns in heaven, but His rule also extended to all of His creation including upon the earth. It is not strange or new then for the kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God to then mean/refer to the same thing.

7. Born again to enter into the Kingdom of God

John 3:1-8

1There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

A king has a kingdom. We know God is the king by implication “Kingdom of” and by Scriptures which state He is the King of kings. We also know there is one God and that this one God is Jesus. For reference we can check Deuteronomy 6:4 and Isaiah 43:10-11 to prove that if Jesus is not the One God of both Testaments he CANNOT be a Savior. But John was very clear here 1John 5:20.

Now the question is to which of the Kingdoms are we born again to enter into? The Kingdom is the Church of Jesus Christ for sure. That is whole purpose of salvation – to become members in particular of the one body of Jesus Messieh. The Church/Kingdom is not a Gentile bride as per the false teaching of Covenant Dispensationalism. The fact is Covenant dispensationalism is a false Trinity Doctrine and ALL who believe this error are NOT APOSTOLIC (at least not pure) no matter how much it is claimed. They are Trinitarian, or better yet, they are apostolics who believe a trinity doctrine; an apparent contradiction or oxymoron. The Church/Kingdom is a Jewish Church to which Gentiles who were WILD OLIVES were cut off (from the wild plant) and engrafted into the OLIVE TTREE of Israel to share in the fatness of the ORIGINAL Olive Tree. Clearly, this OLIVE TREE into which the Gentiles are engrafted into MUST BE the CHURCH of JESUS MESSIEH. It started with 120 Jews in the upper room on Mt Zion on Pentecost, a Jewish feast day. To which 3000 Jews were added after the first message by the Apostle Peter. It should be easily received that everything about it IS JEWISH and it REMAINS this way even into the 21st century. In fact for the first 10 years only Jews were added to the body and no Gentiles until Cornelius and his house in Acts 10. The Samaritan were classified as circumcised gentiles.

Since the kingdom is the Church over which Jesus now reigns as king supreme. His subjects now on earth are those person who are in this body by conversion according to Acts 2 verse 38 as per the requirement of been born again as per John 3 verses 1 to 8. Only those who are born again according to Acts 2 verse 38 are in the Kingdom of God. Those are under His rule; and His will now become their will; his laws become their laws; they live to please him and him alone; thus they will follow his dictates. To be a part of the Kingdom of God is by free will choice, so those who choose not to be saved by grace through faith as per Acts 2:38 have elected to be outside of the Kingdom of God. Wow, since God is light, then those who are a part of the Church are in the Kingdom of Light, while all others are in the kingdom of darkness by their free will choice.

Peace

Brother Oscene Barrett

Epilogue: I have purposely elected to not include a comment on the false doctrine among dispensationalist and pre-tribulationalist diehards that Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven is different from Gospel of the Kingdom of God. I am tired of trying to get apostolic to BE ONENESS, something which is so PRIMAL to our faith (Isaias 43:10-11 and John 8:24). This is at the heart of the above issue. But because many of my readers are not as knowledgeable in these theological discussions, and some may never grasp them, I chose to ignore them for this little study. I am convinced that enough truth is presented above to prevent event the most gullible from being deceived. 
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