The Seventy chosen by the Lord Jesus are only recorded in the Gospel of Luke in chapter ten. Their names are not recorded but they were given a call very similar to that of the twelve. In Luke 10 these Seventy were never referred to as apostles and at the end of Luke 10 where Luke refers to the Seventy as “disciples”. Most likely some or many did not meet the qualifications for apostles, even though they are sent out by Christ. Catholic scholars have lists of who the Seventy might be and you can Google to see them.
The Seventy find they are to go to every city that the Lord would go Himself, while the Twelve were only to go to the Nation of Israel. This means their travels was not limited to just Jews but did include Gentiles, as well. The other significant difference was in the message the two groups were to deliver. The Twelve were to preach “The Kingdom of Heaven was at hand”, (Matt. 10:7) while the Seventy were to deliver in their message, “The Kingdom of God is at hand” (Luke 10:11). This is signifiant because of who they are and who they represent. The Message of the Twelve was to be given to the Nation of Israel only. Therefore the “Kingdom of Heaven” was a message for the Nation of Israel, for The Millennial Kingdom is the fulfillment of the covenants of God to them.
Yes, there are those who say that both statements can be used interchangeably! Even though similar things can be said of both, they are very much different in there nature. The real fact that connect these two Kingdoms together is that King Jesus is the King of both when he is present. The Kingdom of Heaven is a literal, physical, and political kingdom. Something your five senses can appreciate. This literal, physical, and political kingdom was given to Adam when he was created, Gen. 1:27-28 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth”. To have dominion over something is the work of a king.
The Kingdom of Heaven is a literal, physical, and political place noted in Genesis, the firmament (the Universe) is called Heaven. Gen. 1:8 “And God called the firmament Heaven.” Adam was made, the king, of this kingdom by the Trinity. Over the past 6000 years this literal, physical, and political kingdom changed hands from time to time to where Satan is now the god of this world, the being in charge of what goes on here on this planet, (2 Cor. 4:4 “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”).
However, with that being said, one must understand God is sovereign, He ultimately controls all things through the covenants He has made. When Jesus was here during his first advent the phrase “is at hand”, was associated with both “Kingdoms”, was valid. The Israelites rejection of Jesus as their King allowed Satan to keep his seat. When Jesus returns as King of Kings he will take Satan off his throne and through him in the pit, Rev 20:1-3.
When Jesus returns as “King of Kings and Lord of Lords to establish His Kingdom on earth. He will take “The Kingdom of Heaven” from Satan. Sentencing him to thousand year stay in the bottomless pit, Rev. 20:1-11. The theological term for this thousand year reign of Christ is; “The Millennial Kingdom”. This is discussed by Christ in the Book of Matthew in “The Sermon on the Mount”, in chapters 5-7. This is the fulfillment of the covenants given to the Nation of Israel throughout the Old Testament.
The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is the message of the Seventy, is not a literal, physical, and political kingdom, but “The Kingdom God” is of a spiritual nature, John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” This Kingdom of God is only entered by one being “Born Again”, John 3:3-7. “Ye must be born again”. One who is “Born Again” become a son of God, John 1:11-13, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Look for posts on “Eternal Life” for discussions on being “Born Again” and “Sons of God”.
One can see, in these verses, how through the rejection of Jesus, by the Nation of Israel, how Jesus failed to become king and the Nation of Israel missed having “The Kingdom of Heaven”. Jesus is returning as the conquering savior, Rev. 19:11-21. “He will rule the nations with a rod of iron”, Rev. 19:15. Jesus now the King of ‘The Kingdom of Heaven, throwing the Beast and False Prophet in the “Lake of Fire” and Satan into the “Bottomless Pit”, will establish his “Millennial Reign” on this earth.
When Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, Acts 1:8, He left as a Priest in The Kingdom of God only. The kingship of The Kingdom of Heaven was left in Satan’s hands. Jesus now is head of his body, the church, a priest, until He returns as “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”, Rev. 19:11-21. His office He fills now is Priest. He was the “Prophet” in the Old Testament and will be positioned as “King” when he returns.
The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the Nation of Israel, while the Kingdom of God is inhabited by the Church, the “Bride of Christ”. Through the covenants of God the Nation of Israel was promised a Kingdom. When Jesus returns as King he will fulfill this promise to them. A look at Revelation 20, 21, and 22 will give you something to think about when God makes a new heaven and new earth.
Who were the Seventy apostles? It is hard to say they were apostles, but we do know they were disciples, Luke 10. The word apostle is not used for their description. By definition of the word apostle they seem to fit the definition. However, they may not bare the name apostle because they may have not met the qualifications. See blog “Who Were the Apostles of the Lord?”