"KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"
THE "KINGDOM OF GOD". This Is Appendix 114 From The Companion Bible.
We have seen in
that the word "kingdom",
like the Greek basileia,
has regard to sovereignty
rather than territory,
and to the sphere of its
exercise rather than to its extent.
Using the word "kingdom" in this sense, and in that which is conveyed in its English termination "dom", which is short for dominion, we note that the former expression, "the Kingdom of heaven", occurs only in Matthew, where we find it thirty-two times.¹
But in the parallel passages in the other Gospels we find, instead, the expression "the Kingdom of God" (for example, compare Matthew 11:11 with Luke 7:28).
The explanation of this seeming difference is that the Lord spoke in Aramaic; certainly not in the Greek of the Gospel documents. See Appendix 94. III.
Now "heaven" is frequently used by the Figure Metonymy (of the Subject), Appendix 6, for God Himself, Whose dwelling is there. See Psalm 73:9. Daniel 4:26, 29. 2Chronicles 32:20. Matthew 21:25. Luke 15:21 ("I have sinned against heaven" is thus contrasted with the words "and in thy sight"). John 3:27.
Our suggestion is that in all the passages where the respective expressions occur, identical words were spoken by the Lord, "the Kingdom of heaven"; but when it came to putting them into Greek, Matthew was Divinely guided to retain the figure of speech literally ("heaven"), so as to be in keeping with the special character, design, and scope of his Gospel (see Appendix 96);
¹ The Kingdom of God occurs only five times in Matthew (6:33; 12:28; 19:24; 21:31, 43).
while, in the other Gospels,
the figure was translated
as being what it also meant,
"the Kingdom of God".
Thus, while the same in a general sense, the two expressions are to be distinguished in their meaning and in their interpretation, as follows:— I. The Kingdom (or Sovereignty) of HEAVEN 1. Has Messiah for its King;
2. It is from heaven; and under the heavens upon the earth;
3. It is limited in its scope;
4. It is political in its sphere;
5. It is Jewish and exclusive in its character;
6. It is national in its aspect;
7. It is the special subject of Old Testament prophecy;
8. And it is dispensational in its duration. II. The Kingdom (or Sovereignty) of GOD 1. Has God for its Ruler;
2. It is in heaven, over the earth;
3. It is unlimited in its scope;
4. It is moral and spiritual in its sphere;
5. It is inclusive in its character (embracing the natural and spiritual seeds of Abraham, "the heavenly calling", and the "Church" of the Mystery). Hence,
6. It is universal in its aspect;
7. It is (in its wider aspect) the subject of New Testament revelation;
8. And will be eternal in its duration.