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 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
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.
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
and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
But 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.
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
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,
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.
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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