Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Kingdom Series: Kingdom of God v/s Kingdom of Heaven.

Friends,


I think all of us have a different story about our Christian walk. For nearly a decade I was part of a Christian group which used to insist that the terms "the Kingdom of God" and "the Kingdom of Heaven" refer to different realities. They insist that the Kingdom of Heaven is the heavenly phase (up there in the sky) of the Kingdom, whereas the Kingdom of God is the earthly phase thereof. So, they have a divided kingdom, which Jesus said would perish. (Mat 12:25)

The fact that only Matthew has used the expression the Kingdom of Heaven has intrigued many. They claim that the gospel of Matthew was addressed to Jewish readers who prefer not to utter the name of God, and hence the author preferred to write the Kingdom of Heaven, rather than the Kingdom of God. The fact that Matthew has used the word God 57 times in his gospel proves that this Jewish sentiments theory makes no sense at all. Moreover, Matthew's usage of the expression the Kingdom of God 4 times in his gospel (Mat 12:28; 19:24; 21:31, 43) proves that these "scholars" have not studied the scriptures thoroughly.

If we compare the Kingdom parables from the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, it becomes abundantly clear that the expressions the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven are exactly the same. Wherever Matthew uses the expression the Kingdom of Heaven, Luke and Mark use the Kingdom of God.


Parable of the sower.
Mat 13:24 ... The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Mar 4:26 ... So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
Parable of the mustard seed:

Mat 13:31 ...The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
Mar 4:30...With what can we compare the kingdom of God,...
Mar 4:31 It is like a grain of mustard seed,...
Luk 13:18 ...What is the kingdom of God like?...
Luk 13:19 It is like a grain of mustard seed ...
We can go on and on listing such parallels.

There are even other passages where these terms are used interchangeably, for instance:

Mat 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
Luk 16:16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
Probably, you are not in one of those groups which teach that the Kingdom of God is not the same as the Kingdom of Heaven, if you are and if you have doubted such teachings, this is to reassure you that your doubts are not misplaced.
In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal