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CHURCH TRUTHS QUESTION 15
What do you understand the difference to be between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God?
God promised David a kingdom and a king to set on his throne forever (cf. 2 Samuel. 7:10-13). This promise to David and Israel (confirmed by an everlasting covenant in Psalm 89:35-36) is for a literal eternal kingdom on earth. In Daniel 2:44 it is said to be a kingdom from the God of heaven, hence the term “kingdom of heaven” which is found only in Matthew, the gospel of the King (cf. Matthew 2:2). Introduced to Israel by John the Baptist, and Jesus as well (cf. Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:15), it was presented as a literal kingdom on earth. However, Israel refused the king, so the kingdom went into a mystery form presented in the seven parables of Matthew 13. In this form it includes both wheat and tares. The wheat represents those who were saved, the children of God, who formed the beginning of what was later called the ‘kingdom of God’, which was within the ‘kingdom of heaven’. Both of these aspects of the kingdom have gone on in this manner for the past 2000 years. We read much about the kingdom of God in the Epistles of the New Testament, where it is the ‘church of God’, consisting only of born again believers. At the Rapture the Church (kingdom of God) will be taken out of the kingdom of heaven. This kingdom will then become apostate on earth, but during the Tribulation it will be repopulated by those that will be saved both from Israel and many from Gentile nations (cf. Revelation 7:9).
At the end of the tribulation the tares will all be taken out of the kingdom as it exists now in mystery form and the literal kingdom, into which only saved people will enter, will be established on earth for 1000 years; “...Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”(Matthew 18:3). During the 1000 year millennial kingdom many will be born who will not be saved. At the end of that period Satan will be loosed for a little season and deceive many, and they will all be destroyed (cf. Revelation 20:7-9).Then the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God will become one for all eternity. This is call the Day of God in 2 Peter 3:12, when Christ gives all up to God (1 Cor 15:23-28).
Where will you be then? “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated January 23rd, 2014 by Sandra Felix