What is the kingdom of God?
What is the difference between the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven?
The reason behind writing this hub is a questing asked in the question section "Where is the Kingdom of God?" by Iamsam.
Before going into the detail let me tell you the difference between Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. If you study bible carefully, it is evident that both the words are used for the same meaning. Read Mathew 11: 11-12 and Luke 7:28 "I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he" Here Mathew uses the phrase "Kingdom of Heaven" Whereas Luke uses the words "Kingdom of God". There are many passages and parables where different writers uses the different phrase for the same meaning. Giving below some references for your study.
Mathew 18:3 with Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16
Mathew 22:2 with Luke 13:29
Mathew 13:11 With Mark 4:11 and Luke 8:10
Mathew 13:24 with Mark 4:26
Mathew 13:31 with Mark 4:30 and Luke 13:18
Mathew 13:33 with Luke 13:20
Mathew uses the phrase "Kingdom of Heaven" but Mark and Luke uses the phrase "Kingdom of God" frequently.
Now it is important to note that often we use the same phrase for three different purposes. They are:
1. Spiritual Kingdom of God/Heaven.
2. Physical Kingdom of God/Heaven. (This will happen when Jesus return to this earth as a ruler for his 1000 year reign)
3. Eternal Life.
Now let us discuss about the spiritual Kingdom of God which is very important to the present world.
Apostle Paul clearly says that "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit"(Roman 14:17) If you read few verse above, it is evident that Paul is addressing the issues related to the eating and dirking at the Church at Rom. The spiritual kingdom of God involves three most important aspects. They are:
- Peace and
- Joy in the Holy Spirit
It means where there is righteousness, where there is peace, where there is joy in the Holy Spirit, there is the Kingdom of God.
We know the Holy Spirit come down from heaven on the day of Pentecost. We can read about it in Act chapter 2. So we can assume that the spiritual Kingdom of God manifested on the day of Pentecost. (I don't forget that when Jesus got baptized, the Holy spirit come down and rest upon him in the form of Dove. "and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." Luke 3:22)
I would like to share with you the words of Jesus where he talk about the kingdom of God. "And he said to them, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power." We can assume that here Jesus talks about the descending of Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Many who ware there seen the Kingdom of God with power on that day and the days followed. They also saw the Holy Spirit working among the Gentiles as well. This is the spiritual Kingdom of God prevailing among the believers. Those who experience the Joy of Holy Spirit even today are in the spiritual Kingdom of God. There is peace and righteousness associated with it.
Also it is important to note the following words of Jesus. "But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."Matthew 12:28. It is evident that the signs of the kingdom of God includes the driving out of demons and healing the sick.
John the baptist preached that "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near". But it is important to note that later when John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
Here Jesus doesn't give a direct answer to the question. He asked the disciples of John the baptist to report to John what you hear and see. The signs of the Kingdom of God. From the signs and wonders, we can understand whether we are in the kingdom of God or not. When you are in the kingdom of of these signs will manifest.
Jesus reveal about his Kingdom in front of Pilate: "Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” Jesus here talk about the spiritual kingdom and clears the doubt of a physical kingdom.
What is not the Kingdom of God and what is Kingdom of God?
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 1 Corinthians 4:20 Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk. It is an experience and it is the power of God.
"For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit"(Roman 14:17)
Who will inherit the Kingdom of God?
The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. Luke 16:16
From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it. Mathew 11:12
Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”Luke 18:24-25
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”John 3:3
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.John 3:5
Who will not inherit the Kingdom of God?
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.1 Corinthians 15:50
If you understand the spiritual kingdom of God, then it will be easy for you to understand the parables about Kingdom of God.
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”Mathew. 13:33 We, who are already in the spiritual kingdom of God are like the yeast. While living in this world, we need to show the righteousness, peace and joy in Holy Spirit to others and spread the good news. That is what happened in the first century. From very few disciples, it grows or spreading in this world very fast.
We can understand the other parables from the above context.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.Mathew 13:31
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Mathew 13:44
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. Mathew 13:45
Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. Mathew 13:47
Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old Mathew 13:52
Now I hope you understand what is the Kingdom of God and what is not.