What is the Kingdom of Heaven?

Is the Kingdom of Heaven different from the Kingdom of God?


"Kingdom of heaven" is a term used exclusively in the Gospel of Matthew. The apostle Matthew used "kingdom of heaven" 32 times in his account about Jesus Christ's life and teachings. However, Matthew uses the terms "kingdom of heaven" and "kingdom of God" interchangeably. In Matthew:19:23-24 he uses the terms together in consecutive verses, clearly implying that they were synonymous. Often he calls it simply "the kingdom" (Matthew:6:13; 8:12; 13:19, 38; 24:14; etc.)

Comparing passages like Matthew:5:3 and Luke:6:20 shows that the terms meant the same thing:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven "(Matthew:5:3).

"Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God " (Luke:6:20).

Why did Matthew use the term "kingdom of heaven"? The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary explains that Matthew "was a Jew writing to his own race and respected their custom of using the name of God as little as possible and therefore spoke of the kingdom of heaven" ("Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven," 1998).

The New Bible Dictionary agrees. "The use of 'kingdom of heaven' in Matthew is certainly due to the tendency in Judaism to avoid the direct use of the name of God. In any case no distinction in sense is to be assumed between the two expressions" (Second Edition, "Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven," 1982).


clovelyme's picture

I completely disagree with the above. Due to the fact that the Kingdom belongs to the children of Israel not Jewish people. And in Judaism they don't even believe in Christ so how would they possibly know what Matthew or Christ was talking about. Plus Christ always said to the jew first which ment any man or woman that was born from the line of JUDAH. in rev. it has the name of ALL the children of Israel on the gates. So I think it is literal when speaking of the Kingdom being a actual place.

Login/Register to post comments

More Information

This post has favorited 1 times

Ask a Question

Ask a Question

Printer-friendly version

Got a question?  If you don't see your question here, ask our team of caring, dedicated ministers for a personal answer. (Please allow a week or so for an e-mail response.)

10 + 0 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

© 1995-2014 United Church of God, an International Association | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. All correspondence and questions should be sent to info@ucg.org. Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to webmaster@ucg.org.

You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.