KINGDOM OF GOD vs KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

The Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are they one in the same thing or two different kingdoms. Biblical Author, Matthew, is the only apostle to use the phrase KOH.  Why is that?  Why is it that all apostles use KOG, including Matthew?  What makes these two phrases unique? 

This phrase “Kingdom of Heaven”, further known as “KOH” is used by Matthew only 32 times.  I’m not going to exegete all 32 verses but I will show were they are alike with the “Kingdom of God” known further as “KOG”.

Will an examination of Synoptic parallels will demonstrate that the two phrases refer to the same idea?

  • “the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17) || “the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15)
  • “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 5:3) || “Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20)
  • “Among those born of women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist, notwithstanding he who is least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than him.” (Matt. 11:11) || “Among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist, but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than him.” (Luke 7:28)
  • “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 13:11) || “the mysteries of the kingdom of God” (Mark 4:11 cp. Luke 8:10)
  • “the kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed” (Matt 13:31) || “the kingdom of God…is like a grain of mustard seed” (Mark 4:30-31 cp. Luke 13:18-19)
  • “The kingdom of Heaven is like leaven” (Matt. 13:33) || “the kingdom of God…is like leaven” (Luke 13:20)
  • “Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 18:3-4) || “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein” (Mark 10:15)
  • “Allow little children, and do not forbid them to come to me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt. 19:14) || “Allow the little children to come to me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14 cp. Luke 18:16)
  • “a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 19:23) || “How hardly shall they who have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” (Luke 18:24).                                                                                                               2018 Bible.org

 There are two verses in Matthew I would like to discuss Matthew 19:23, 24.  

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.

Moody dissertation on KOG vs KOH.    Question: “What is the difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Answer: While some believe that the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are referring to different things, it is clear that both phrases are referring to the same thing.   (IT is not clear clear that both phrases are referring to the same thing, although, Moody says they are and even though, the following phrases contain facts.) (EMPHASIS MINE)        The phrase “kingdom of God” occurs 68 times in 10 different New Testament books, while “kingdom of heaven” occurs only 32 times, and only in the Gospel of Matthew. Based on Matthew’s exclusive use of the phrase and the Jewish nature of his Gospel, some interpreters have concluded that Matthew was writing concerning the millennial kingdom while the other New Testament authors were referring to the universal kingdom. However, a closer study of the use of the phrase reveals that this interpretation is in error.  (2 Tim 2:15,   A Rightly dividing of the word of truth, over these verses will reveal that the KOG and KOH are very different.)(EMPHASIS MINE).

For example, speaking to the rich young ruler, Christ uses “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” interchangeably. (Matthew 19:23) Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven’” . In the very next verse, (Matthew 19:24) proclaims, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”.    Jesus makes no distinction between the two terms but seems to consider them synonymous.    (2 Tim 2:15,   A Rightly dividing of the word of truth, over these verses will reveal that the KOG and KOH are very different.)(EMPHASIS MINE)

Mark and Luke used “kingdom of God” where Matthew used “kingdom of heaven” frequently in parallel accounts of the same parable Compare Matthew 11:11-12 with Luke 7:28; Matthew 13:11with Mark 4:11 and Luke 8:10; Matthew 13:24 with Mark 4:26; Matthew 13:31 with Mark 4:30 and Luke 13:18; Matthew 13:33 with Luke 13:20; Matthew 18:3 with Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16; and Matthew 22:2 with Luke 13:29. In each instance, Matthew used the phrase “kingdom of heaven” while Mark and/or Luke used “kingdom of God.” Clearly, the two phrases refer to the same thing.   (IT is not clearly that both phrases are referring to the same thing, although, Moody says they are.) (EMPHASIS MINE)

It is easy to say that because one biblical writer said similar things in a few comparative verses only, or clearly, means they are the same.  However, just the opposite is the truth, they are similar in those few places, but very different and speak of 2 very different Kingdoms.  They are different for these reasons:

1A,  Definition of the word “Kingdom”

Here is where some light will shine forth with the definition “Kingdom”.   Kingdom, basileia, and βασιλεία, (Greek Word), means reign of a realm, a kingdom reign .  Jesus would be the king that rules both kingdoms.  While both kingdoms are similar at times it is because each kingdom is ruled by Jesus.  Thus, answering the phrase “the Kingdom of God/Heaven is at hand “.   Each biblical author could say that when they wrote was because Jesus was there when they wrote about the situation.  

1B,  The word “heaven” has a variety of uses as well and is defined as;

noun. 1 a place regarded in various religions as the abode of God (or the gods) and the angels, and of the good after death, often traditionally depicted as being above the sky. God (or the gods): Constantine was persuaded that disunity in the Church was displeasing to heaven. Theology a state of being eternally in the presence of God after death. used in various exclamations as a substitute for “God”: heaven knows! | good heavens! 2 (often heavens) literary the sky, especially perceived as a vault in which the sun, moon, stars, and planets are situated: Galileo used a telescope to observe the heavens. 3 informal a place, state, or experience of supreme bliss: lying by the pool with a good book is my idea of heaven.

According to any good real-estate agent the best place to live is determined by 3  things, Location, Location, and Location, therefore, in which location do you find the KOG and the KOH?   Each has a different location for they were both Created at different times!

1C,  The Kingdom of God existed before the Kingdom of Heaven, Job 38:3-7,

 God questioning Job,   “Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.    Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.  Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest?  or who hath stretched the line upon it?  Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened?   or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together,  and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

These sons of God noted in the passage are spiritual beings, (JOB 1:6, 2:1) angels, watching the Lord create the Heavens and the Earth.  Emphasis being that God already had a kingdom that he was in control of called (Kingdom of God), while in the process of creating another Realm (The Kingdom of Heaven), that is entirely Physical in nature, contingent on space, time, and dimensional aspects. Although, no matter how similar they are or may appear, they are in no way, shape, or form, the same.  For the KOG is Spiritual and the KOH is Physical! (Emphasis Mine).  The subjects of each kingdom are different!  Subjects of the KOH cannot enter the KOG upon their own volition!   They are physical, I Cor. 15:50, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption”,  The subjects of the KOG upon its creation were all direct creations of God, all Spiritual.  The same was true for the KOH, for Adam was a direct creation of God, however, physical, Genesis 1:26-27, in that he was called “son of God”, Luke 3:38.  Satan was member of this KOG as the anointed Cherub that covereth the throne,       Ezekiel 28:14, Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.”  God created hosts and hosts and thousands of thousands of angels, for there was no procreation among angels, Matthew 26:53,  Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?  

Adam and Eve were Direct creations of God and yet were both made of the dust of the ground, (Physical).  Every one else were born physical, of flesh and blood and cannot inherit the KOG, but must be born again John 3:5-7, ” Jesus 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. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

Therefore the KOG is a spiritual kingdom and the KOH is a physical kingdom made at two specific different times and are as different as night and day.  They are different in where, when, and who, they were made, and who they were made for.   Who the subjects that lived in each are very different in substance, form, and purpose!

These parallel verses while looking like the phrases are used interchangeable, they are showing they  both have problems with the rich      Matthew 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.     Matthew 19:24, 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.

The problem with the rich is that they have no need for God.  They are increased with goods and have need of nothing.  That attitude with the church of Laodicean, Rev 3:17, “ Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”, shows the problem with someone who has no need of God in any realm or kingdom they dwell in.  These verses are only interchangeable in relation to the rich who think they do not need God, but does not mean the two kingdoms are the same.

The facts that each kingdom were, 1. constructed at different times, (KOG existed before KOH), 2.  in different ways, (KOG Spiritual Realm, KOH Physical Realm and 3.  having different types of beings to live in each of them, (KOG Angels, KOH Humans), shows that they are not the same on so many different levels, it is foolish to think they are the same, no matter how many verses show their similarities or who say they are the same.