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CHRISTIAN LIVING QUESTION 103
QUESTION 103 How do you understand the difference between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God?
ANSWER: God promised David a kingdom and a king to set on his throne forever. (Read: 2 Sam. 7:10-13.) This is the promise to David and Israel of a literal eternal kingdom on earth, which was confirmed by an everlasting covenant in (Psm 89:35,36)
In Dan 2:44, it is said to be a kingdom from the God of heaven, hence the term, “kingdom of heaven.” It is mentioned only in Matthew, which is the Gospel of the King (Matt 2:2.) This was introduced to Israel by John the Baptist and Jesus also. (Matt 3:2; Mark 1:15.) It was presented as a literal kingdom on earth. Israel refused the king, so the kingdom went into a mystery form in Matt 13: in seven parables. In this form it includes both wheat and tares. The wheat were the saved, so were children of God. They began the formation of what was later called the kingdom of God, which was within the kingdom of heaven. Both aspects of the kingdom have gone on in this form for the past 2000 years. We read much about the kingdom of God in the epistles. There it is the church of God, consisting only of born again believers.
In the Rapture the Church (kingdom of God) will be taken out of the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom will then become apostate, but will be repopulated during the Tribulation by Israel and many from Gentile nations that will be saved. (Rev 7:9)
At the end of the tribulation the tares will all be taken out and the literal kingdom will be established on earth for 1000 years. Only saved people will enter it. Matt 18:3, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. The mysterious kingdom can have tares in it now, but not then to enter. During the 1000 years many will be born, but will not be saved. At the end of that period Satan will be loosed a little season and will deceive many, and they will all be destroyed . (Rev 20:7-9)
Then the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God will be the same for eternity. This is call the Day of God. 2 Pet. 3:12. Christ will deliver it 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