Other Names For the Kingdom

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Other Names For the Kingdom

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Although most often called the “Kingdom of God,” occasionally other terms are used in describing the Kingdom. Three of the writers of the Gospels—Mark, Luke and John—use the term “Kingdom of God” to refer to the Kingdom by name.

“Kingdom of heaven” is a term used exclusively by Matthew, with 32 references in his account of Jesus Christ. However, he uses the terms “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” interchangeably. In Matthew 19:23-24 Matthew 19:23-24 23 Then said Jesus to his disciples, Truly I say to you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×
, he uses the terms in consecutive verses, clearly implying that they were synonymous. Often he calls it simply “the Kingdom.”

Why did Matthew call it “the kingdom of heaven”? Because heaven is where God is, as Jesus Christ made plain (Matthew 5:34-48 Matthew 5:34-48 34 But I say to you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36 Neither shall you swear by your head, because you can not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no: for whatever is more than these comes of evil. 38 You have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say to you, That you resist not evil: but whoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue you at the law, and take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever shall compel you to go a mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him that asks you, and from him that would borrow of you turn not you away. 43 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if you salute your brothers only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
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). Matthew makes it clear that the Kingdom was not, at that time, an earthly monarchy like the kingdoms around them. However, he understood that it was a kingdom to come, for which Christ’s followers are to pray (Matthew 6:10 Matthew 6:10Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
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).

The apostle Paul usually refers to it as “the kingdom of God.” However, acknowledging the role of Jesus Christ as the Ruler of that Kingdom and the way by which we enter that Kingdom, he also calls it “the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:5 Ephesians 5:5For this you know, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
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). He also expresses the deep, loving relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ by calling it “the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13 Colossians 1:13 Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
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).

The apostle Peter, also acknowledging the centrality of Christ’s role in the Kingdom, refers to it as “the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11 2 Peter 1:11For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
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). Jesus Christ is our Lord and Master now, and He will reign supreme in the coming Kingdom (Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
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; Revelation 19:16 Revelation 19:16And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
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). As Savior of mankind, He is “the door” and “the way” by which we have access to God the Father and salvation in God’s Kingdom (John 10:9 John 10:9I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
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; John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
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).