Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Much has been written about the difference between "the Kingdom of God," and "the Kingdom of Heaven."  Well known Bible teachers have suggested that "the Kingdom of Heaven" applies to the rule of Christ on Earth, and "the Kingdom of God" applies to all of Creation.  I do not agree for the simple, and most obvious reason:  only Matthew used the phrase "the Kingdom of Heaven."  Of the thirty-one times he used it, on five of the occasions being described, the other Gospel writers wrote "the Kingdom of God" (Mt. 5:3 / Lk. 6:20; Mt. 11:11 / Lk. 7:28; Mt. 13:11 / Mk. 4:11 & Lk. 8:10; Mt. 13:31 / Mk. 4:30 & Lk. 13:18; Mt. 19:14 / Mk. 10:14 & Lk. 18:16). 

Surely the writers of the other sixty-five books spoke of the Messianic Kingdom on Earth, and the Heavenly Kingdom of God on high!   It is also interesting that the only times the Gospel of John mentions a kingdom, is when Jesus was talking to a Jew (Nicodemus), where He calls it the "Kingdom of God" (Jn. 3:3-5), and when he was talking to a Gentile (Pilate), where He call it "My Kingdom" (Jn. 18:35-36)!

In the Old Testament, the concept of "the Kingdom of God" refers to the Nation of Israel.  Perhaps that is true of its New Testament usage as well.  Of the one hundred forty-nine times it appears in the New Testament, one hundred thirteen occur in the Synoptic Gospels (Mt. 50x; Mk. 19x; Lk. 44x).  It only occurs thirty-six times in the rest of the New Testament (Jn. 4x; Acts 8x; Rom. 1x; 1 Cor. 4x; Gal. 1x; Eph. 1x; Col. 2x; 1 Thes. 1x; 2 Thes. 1x; 2 Tim. 2x; Heb. 3x; Jam. 1x; 2 Pet. 1x; and Rev. 6x)!   
CONCLUSION:  By the time John wrote his Gospel, God was focusing upon Christ ascended and returning to “whosoever will;” that is, the Church.  The Synoptic Gospels represent Jesus, as the King of the Jews, offering Himself as the Messiah of Israel.  The Jews believed that their Messiah would be Israel’s King and Liberator, and that He would establish Israel as the dominant nation on earth.  Israel had no understanding of a suffering servant, despite Daniel’s and Isaiah’s prophecies, or that the Lord would come twice:  once to die, and a second to reign.  The period between His two appearings, known as the Church, was and is a mystery to them.
A perfect example of the Gospel of Matthew being written to the Jews, is found in Christ's description of the Jewish focus of the Tribulation Period, which will occur following the Rapture of the Church (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:48-53; 1 Thes. 4:16-17; Rev. 4:1). 

Mt. 24:4      False Christs (Messiahs/Kings of a kingdom)
Mt. 24:6      Hear of, but not experience wars (Israel at peace in first half of tribulation)
Mt. 24:7      Famines and pestilences elsewhere
Mt. 24:9      Messianic Jews persecuted in synagogues
Mt. 24:14    The Gospel is about an earthly Kingdom
Mt. 24:15    Only Jews would be offended by the Abomination of Desolation
Mt. 24:16    Those in Judea are to flee
Mt. 24:20    Only Jews care about the Sabbath
Mt. 24:23    False Christs mentioned after Jews flee
Mt. 24:24    “The Jews require a sign”  (I Cor. 1:22)
Mt. 24:29    The Great Tribulation is the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week
Mt. 24:30    “The Son of Man” refers to the Messiah of Israel

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