Doctrinal · Interpretation · Kingdom of God · Questions

Questions I’ve been Asked – What Kingdom – Part 3?

kingdom-of-heaven-1 90.jpegkingdom-of-heaven-90.jpegQuite 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 lang 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 continue with our third (and final) post to see if we can find  any obvious differences.

Teaching of the Kingdom – 7

Matthew 13:33

He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

Luke 13:20, 21

And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God?

It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”

Same measurement of flour, same person doing the mixing ( a woman!) and the same reference to leaven.  Wait – what?

Did you see what I just wrote.  Leaven is used in relation to the growth of the kingdom!  No that can’t be!

Time for a Rant (It’s been a while, eh?)

When I was a little bitty baby believer, I was taught that leaven represented sin in a person’s life.  The verses below were used to justify this teaching.

1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

LeavenCleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Leaven, is used to represent boasting in verse 6.  In verse 8, the leaven is equated with malice and evil.  One characteristic of leaven is that it permeates any lump of dough (it doesn’t discriminate), and once it is introduced, it permeates the entire lump of dough.

The leaven isn’t related to any moral characteristic except contextually, but the purpose of using the leaven metaphor is to describe its ability to permeate any dough and all the dough.

What leaven has been introduced into your life?  Remember, any lump of dough, no matter how poor or rich, how righteous or vile, when the leaven enters, it will perform the work it was sent to do.

May the leaven be right!

End of rant – But now I have no other discussion to offer for the topic of this post in relation tho the set of verses supplied.

But, let’s wait and see before we make up our minds

Teaching of the Kingdom – 8

Matthew 18:3

and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Mark 10:14

Little childBut when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:16

But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.

Okay – maybe here there is something.  Regarding the kingdom of heaven, if the conditions aren’t met (that is to become like a child), one cannot enter it.  Not so with the kingdom of God.  The Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children.

Is this a difference?

Matthew’s verse is describing a restriction to the kingdom.  Mark and Luke describe those to whom the Kingdom belongs.

Matthew speaks of a restriction.

Mark and Luke speak of a permission.

This may be the two sides of the same coin.

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

Teaching of the Kingdom – 9

Matthew 22:2

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,

Luke 13:29

And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.

Dang – I’m not seeing anything of difference in these verse either.  Golly Spenser, I wish you were here to guide me in seeing the differences, and to help me to see.  I suppose I have lived my Christian life so far without knowing the difference, and if the difference is critical, I ask that the Father in heaven would open my understanding.

But for the time being, I think I will no longer wait and see before we make up our minds – No – I think they are the same kingdom!


The kingdom of Heaven is spoken of 32 times in the New Testament.  Thirty two times Matthew uses this term.  No other author uses this term.

Might Matthew have been using “heaven” instead of “God” to placate the sensitivities of the Jewish audience he was writing to?

That may be, but a quick search let me know that is a short sighted solution.

Matthew uses the term “Kingdom of God” five times in his gospel to the Jews.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 12:28

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Matthew 19:24

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

Matthew 21:31

Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.

Matthew 21:43

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.

It is interesting to note that Matthew may have reserved the term “Kingdom of God” to strengthen his message, and possibly shock his readers.   (That consideration may be good fodder for another blog post.)
Of course all of this is conjecture since I won’t get a chance to discuss these thoughts with the apostle tonight.  But maybe some day I will bring it up when I see him.  Come to think of it, I’m thinking I’m gonna be distracted by the Greater Apostle at that point, and if there is a difference, I will rejoice in it!
Hope you enjoyed our little venture into the difference between these two terms.  Leave a comment to start a discussion.  I look forward to your thoughts.

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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.