According to the Word of God, there are three heavens (2 Cor. 12:2): God's location (Deut. 4:39; Dan. 2:28; etc.); the place we know as "Outer Space" (cp. Gen. 1:1-5 w/ 1:14-19); and Earth's atmosphere (cp. Gen. 1:6-8 w/ 1:20-23). Matthew's "Kingdom of Heaven" is "the third heaven."
Here is what we do learn about "the Kingdom of Heaven" from Matthew:
* Heaven is the location of the Father - (5:16, 34, 45, 48; 6:9; 7:11; etc.).
* Heaven is God's kingdom - (6:10; 11:25; etc. - it is declared such 32 times).
* Heaven is the location of God's angels - (18:10; 22:30; 24:31, 36; etc.).
* God's will is done in heaven - (6:10; etc.).
* Jesus prayed to heaven - (14:19; etc.).
* Jesus offered access to heaven to all - (8:11; etc.).
- Those accepting Jesus' offer, are described as:
- Being child-like - (19:14; etc.).
- Being righteous - (7:21; etc.).
- Being obedient - (18:18; etc.).
All who put their faith in Jesus, are born again and adopted into the family of God (Mt. 12:50; Jn. 1:11-12; 3:3-19; Rom. 8:15; etc.). According to Matthew, as children of God, we will be:
* Rewarded in God's Kingdom - (5:12; 6:1, 20; 19:21; etc.).
* Rewarded according to faithfulness - (5:19; 11:11; 18:1-4; etc.).
Jesus made it quite clear that many would not be going to heaven; He said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Mt. 7:13-14). He said that our righteousness had to exceed that of the Pharisees, if we hoped to be accepted (Mt. 5:20). He also said that it was HIS righteousness that we needed, and not our own (Mt. 6:33)!
"And be found in (Christ), not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Phil. 3:9)!