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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.

The picture looks something like this:

There exists a tension for the Christian. The "Already" is the time of present salvation. The benefits of being a Christian, the relationship with God, the forgiveness of the penalty of sin, and the power to overcome sin through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit are ours to enjoy. The Christian has the fruit of the Spirit. However, as seen in the above referenced verses, there still remains a "Not Yet." The Not Yet is the time of completion of salvation, a time when we have truly overcome all sin and have been removed from the presence of sin. This is the time of our glorification.

The "kingdom" comes with Jesus at His First Advent (Matt 11:12; 12:28; 16:19; Luke 4:21; 11:20; 16:16; 17:21). This is the present kingdom. This arrival of this kingdom (the "Already") is the anticipation and guarantee of the future event (Matt 13:43; 19:28; 25:34; 26:29; Mark 9:47; 1 Cor 6:9; 2 Peter 1:11), the "not yet." This dual view of the kingdom allows one to take into account the usage of other terms for the kingdom, such as John’s use of eternal life and salvation. Indeed, Paul writes in Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." So, the kingdom is righteousness, peace, joy, salvation, eternal life. These are all under the realm of God’s rule and are present or "Already" with Christians. This realm will remain during the millennial rule of Jesus on earth. Indeed, this realm will remain into eternity during the "not yet" or future phase of God’s kingdom rule.

Peter talks in his letters of the hope of the future and the joy of suffering in the present. This is a good picture of the Already/Net Yet tension of Christianity. The goal for the Christian is to understand the teachings of Scripture with this knowledge of our position squarely in mind. We have not yet achieved all of the benefits of salvation, but we have arrived at a salvation point where many of the benefits are available to us so long as we abide in Christ.

We grow, then we slip and fall. Maybe we slip back a little. However, we pick ourselves up and keep going. If we could truly look back on our life as a Christian, we would discover we continually grow as we persevere. The picture, though, probably looks like a cylinder or cyclone. We grow, but in an upward, uneven spiral. This is not the picture Scripture paints for us to follow, but it is probably an accurate picture of the method and manner of most of our Christian growth (Romans 7).

In summary, the kingdom of God is the rule of God’s blessings in the life of the Christian. It is a rule in the Christian’s heart that produces material and spiritual comfort and blessings. It is, however, a kingdom that is incomplete and is being more fully developed. As such, the kingdom is the whole of God’s redemption plan in Christ. The kingdom is God’s absolute rule in the universe in both the physical and spiritual realms. The kingdom is always "of God" and the use of the phrase "of heaven" is but one of many ways that Scripture describes God’s kingdom.

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