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Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of God?

Mark 1:15
And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Are the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God the same throughout Scripture? Is one concept taught in one place and another place? Research and discuss at length your conclusions.

Based upon these points, the conclusion is reached that the kingdom of God is the exercise of God’s sovereign rule in the universe and in the hearts of His people (Psalm 103:19), while the kingdom of heaven is Christ’s earthly rule at His Second Return. In other words, some premillennialists use the "kingdom of heaven" as an earthly concept referring to the 1000-year reign of Christ following His Second Coming prior to the final revolt of Satan (Rev 20:7-10). The "kingdom of God" refers to the rule of God in the hearts of men.

However, the above verses cited by proponents of two different kingdoms do not support such a conclusion. For example, the kingdom "preceding" the kingdom of God is not identified as the kingdom of heaven. Rather, the title "kingdom of heaven" is read into the text. Matthew 5:20 does not address the issue of salvation explicitly. Implicitly this verse supports the requirement of a new birth, for the discussion in this verse requires a righteousness sufficient to enter into God’s kingdom. Based upon the accumulated weight of the New Testament, this righteousness is only found in those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior (the new birth). Likewise, he who does the will of the Father is he who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior (Matthew 7:21). 

Lastly, the issue of the Matthew 13 parables is resolved not by the existence of two different kingdoms but rather by recognizing the existing of progressive benefits of God’s kingdom (the "present" and the "future"). Some benefits are bestowed upon the believer during this present age or the period wherein Jesus is in heaven. Other benefits are bestowed upon the believer upon or after the Second Coming of Christ. This progressive sequence is referred to in interpretative circles as the already or now time, also called this present age, compared to the future or the "not yet" time, also called the age to come.

The present age of Christianity is not the age to come (2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:21; 1 Tim 4:8; Titus 2:12). Yet, Romans and other Scripture passages present a picture that effectively states the Christian should be living as though the future were an accomplished fact. The future is guaranteed by God, but it is not yet here (Romans 8:29-30). How then should this view of the future affect the present for a Christian? The problem, mentioned above, is that time is not linear in the plan of salvation. A tension exists in God’s plan between the manner in which the Cross dealt with sin and the manner in which sin will be dealt with at the end of the book of Revelation. The picture is that, as with all spiritual things, there are only two views. The old view is being "in Adam" where sin reigns. The new view is being "in Christ" where sin is not present, does not reign and has no part.

But, as we all know, we live in an "age" where both elements are true. God has chosen not to immediately deal with Satan. Rather, Satan runs loose on earth with his demons. Many unsaved sinful men rule the planet. In the midst of this sits the Christian. Salvation time is, thus, not linear. With regard to our life here and now, there is no "line" where "in Adam" ends for all time and "in Christ" begins for all time. This line is in the future. Therefore, salvation time is an overlap.

The Christian lives in a period where both sin and salvation exist. This creates the tension of the moment discussed by Paul in Romans 7.

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December 5, 2020

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