Doctrinal · Interpretation · Kingdom of God · Questions

Questions I’ve been Asked – What Kingdom – Part 1?

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Quite a while back we were enjoying a Bible study in our home, and a good brother came up with a teaching that I had never considered.
In a nut shell, he stated that the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven were two different kingdoms. Initially I considered this to be hair splitting, and not worth chasing, but he was adamant about the difference, stating that the message had to be understood with this difference.

Okay, since I welcome a topic to discuss, and to consider what the Bible is trying to teach me, I resolved to look into it for my brothers sake. – Spenser – if you are out there, give me a call – it has been too long since we spoke and I miss you brother.

For the next few posts, I will provide verses where the Master, in teaching of the Kingdom, sometimes uses God and sometimes uses Heaven as the modifier (in the same teaching).

Let’s see if there are any obvious differences.

Teaching of the Kingdom – 1

Matthew 4:12, 17

Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee.

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Mark 1:14-15

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Both of these instances, where Jesus declares the nearness of the kingdom, occur directly after John is thrown into prison. Jesus message at that time was that a kingdom was near and that repentance was necessary. Of course, if the kingdom of heaven is different than the kingdom of God, there may need to be some additional repentance for some of these folks who heard the wrong message.

I don’t see anything obviously different in these two passages other than the modifier being used. Might they be the same kingdom?

Let’s wait and see before we make up our minds

Matt 5 3Teaching of the Kingdom – 2

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 are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

The sermon on the plain (Luke’s version) is typically considered having the same basic teaching as the sermon on the mount. Did Jesus teach this message twice? If He did, is there an obvious difference in the message, other than the use of the modifier?

Matthew uses poor in spirit, where Luke simply describes the recipient as being poor. Maybe there is a difference!

Yet the term Luke uses refers to a person who is reduced to beggary, powerless, lowly, destitute of position and honor.

It seems the message is the same. Could the kingdoms be the same?

Let’s wait and see before we make up our minds

Teaching of the Kingdom – 3

Matthew 11:11–12
Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Luke 7:28

I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

Dang – the only word revised in this message, describing John the Baptist is the term we are trying find differences in. Every word in the Matthew account is identical to the Luke account except heaven / God.

This passage is not helping with the case for two different kingdoms. But we have more passages so……

Let’s wait and see before we make up our minds

Hope to visit with you next time we are Considering the Bible.

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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.