What is the difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
While some believe that the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are referring to different things, it is clear that both phrases are referring to the same thing. The phrase "kingdom of God" occurs...

July 01 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Vincent Mercado Supporter Skeptic turned believer, Catholic, father of 3
Daniel 2 describes the God of Heaven establishing a Kingdom - so we can call it "Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of Heaven" at the same time. He describes this kingdom that starts from a tiny rock of divine origin "not by human hands", and from this tiny rock, it grew into a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

Jesus picks up on this theme in Matthew 13, where he describes the same kingdom as a mustard seed, and by divine power, grows into a huge tree. Without divine power, it would be impossible, as mustard seeds do not grow into trees.

2000 years later, we can see what happened to the Catholic Church - started out small with a group of disciples, and by divine power grew in number, and covered the whole earth.

October 10 2013 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven are often seen as the same, but there are differences that show they are not interchangeable. 

Matthew is the only New Testament writer using ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ 33 times. Some suggest he did not want to offend the Jews by using God’s name, but this is not a good explanation since in his gospel, he uses ‘Kingdom of God’ five times. In fact, both terms are back-to-back in Matthew 19:23, 24. 

In his book, ‘Systematic Theology,’ Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote, “Broadly speaking, the Kingdom of God is universal authority of God from everlasting to everlasting, while the term Kingdom of Heaven is fittingly applied to God’s rule on the earth. When the vast distinctions between these two spheres of divine authority are observed, there is a solving of many problems in the interpretation of the Bible which otherwise exist.”

The ‘Kingdom of God’ passages shed light on it. It is a kingdom entered in by being born again, John 3:3, 5. It is not involved with the physical priorities but spiritual needs, Romans 14:17. It is not for the unrighteous ones to inherit, nor can flesh and blood inherit it, I Corinthians 6:9, 15:50.

The ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ has some characteristics unlike the Kingdom of God. The parable of the tares, Matthew 13:24-30 describes the presence of the false seed within it. The Kingdom of Heaven was presented to Israel but rejected by them and a different form of the kingdom was revealed. 

The Kingdom of God is the sphere of only true believers whereas the Kingdom of Heaven includes both the professing as well as the true believer. They have been pictured as a circle within a circle. The Kingdom of Heaven is the larger circle, and the Kingdom of God is the smaller circle within it. Only the ones in the smaller circle are the saved. 

The difference of the two kingdoms can be seen here:

John 3:3
Except a man – refers to individual
Be born again – salvation
Become an infant
He cannot see the Kingdom of God

Matthew 18:3
Except you (plural) – refers to Israel
Be converted – national repentance
Become as or like little children
You shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven

Some things will be in both. The parables of the mustard seed and leaven in the meal are in both kingdoms showing that error will make their home in both. 

The distinction of the two kingdoms is seen in Matthew 19:23, 24. It is hard for a rich man to enter the ‘Kingdom of Heaven.’ It does not mean it is impossible. But it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the ‘Kingdom of God,’ which means it is impossible. 

Someone pointed out that there are very few synonymous terms in the Bible. When the Spirit of God uses two distinct words there must be some good reason for it.

January 05 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Profile pic Mark Vestal Proud of nothing of myself. Freed by Christ who did it all!
The below is a very good summarization of the two terms by Shawn Brasseaux of forwhatsaiththescriptures.org:

The term “the kingdom of God” includes all of God’s workings. It is divided into two realms: “the kingdom of heaven” (redeemed nation Israel) and the Church the Body of Christ (Christians from our Dispensation of Grace). The context of the verse determines which of the two spheres is being referenced.

In “the kingdom of God,” the God of the Bible is worshiped and served as King. This would immediately rule out lost people (unbelievers) and Satan and his angels. Satan is called “a king over all the children of pride” (Job 41:34).

The phrase “the kingdom of heaven” refers strictly to the literal, physical, visible, earthly kingdom of Israel’s program, when heaven is brought down to Earth. Paul never uses the term “kingdom of heaven” to apply to us, the Church the Body of Christ. We have no inheritance in Israel’s earthly kingdom. We are God’s heavenly people, with an inheritance in the heavenly places. The Church the Body of Christ has a role in the government of heaven, as Israel has a role in the government of earth.

Paul applies the term “the kingdom of God” to us, the Church the Body of Christ. Remember, opposite to redeemed Israel, the Church the Body of Christ is the other half of “the kingdom of God.” As the God of the Bible is glorified in redeemed Israel (Earth), so He is glorified in the Body of Christ (Heaven). He works in and through both of them. He is King (Ruler) in respect to both.

In Israel’s program only, “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven” are sometimes used interchangeably. Remember, for Israel, “the kingdom of heaven” is the literal, physical, visible representation of “the kingdom of God.” In the form of the Messiah/Christ Jesus, Father God will be with Israel, physically, literally, and visibly.

The only aspect of “the kingdom of God” operating today is the Church the Body of Christ. There is no redeemed Israel today (yet future). Israel is currently fallen, and she will be restored after our dispensation. Today, there is no “kingdom of heaven” being preached, no earthly kingdom about to be established, et cetera. Hence, Paul never used “kingdom of heaven” with reference to us in his epistles.

July 21 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Doktor D W Supporter
In context, both are the same, both referring to the Kingdom of God / Heaven on earth after the Tribulation and after Armageddon. One must approach these two examples with caution, carefully, Spiritually, examining context, context, context, since the Apostle Paul identifies a "Heavenly Heaven" which is, indeed, "not of this world!" THAT is the Heaven we Christians occupy at normal death or in the Rapture.

August 10 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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