KINGDOM OF GOD AND KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
The Kingdom of God (KOG) and the Kingdom of Heaven (KOH) are not the same. (As we discuss this topic you may wish to refer to the illustrations in chapter D4, The Gap.) If the two kingdoms are not the same why does Scripture often say the same things about both the KOG and the KOH? The answer, while not short, is straightforward.
In the beginning God was the only King. That meant there was only one kingdom, His kingdom, the KOG. All of His spirit children were part of His kingdom. When Lucifer decided he was equal to God he became another king (Is 14:13,14; Ezek 28:2,6). That which he coveted, physical wealth, was all given to him, and he became king of the entire physical creation, called the KOH.
God put humans on earth, which is part of the Devilís KOH. Christians therefore are part of both the KOG (the new man) and the KOH (the old man). Dogs, who have only the old man, are part of the KOH only and cannot see or enter the KOG.
Because this earth and this universe (the KOH) are leavened with sin, the KOH will always be the Devilís habitation because this KOH will become the lake of fire (I havenít put any Scripture together supporting this idea that the lake of fire will be everything inside the great Deep, but two references come to mind: Jona 2:2,3; Ps 69:15). Thatís why God is now preparing the new heavens and the new earth for us to inherit, which comprise the new, future Kingdom of Heaven, which is also called Zion (KOH/Z). The KOH/Z is the physical real estate God promised to Abraham and his descendants (saints) forever; the land of Canaan was just a type of the KOH/Z.
You and I were born in the Devilís physical KOH. We were then born again into Godís spiritual KOG. If we are judged to be faithful, if we overcome the corrupting influence of this KOH and focus on the KOG, we shall inherit the Promise, the KOH/Z. Always remember: The KOG is spiritual and there are two physical KOHs Ė the present KOH and the future KOH/Z.
BOTH KOG AND KOH
The following are said about both the KOG and the KOH: Repent, the KO_ is at hand; blessed are the poor for theirs is the KO_; whosoever is least in the KO_ shall be greatest; except ye receive the KO_ as little children you canít enter; some Gentiles shall enter the KO_, and some Christians shall be cast out; it is given to you to know the mysteries of the KO_; the KO_ has both good seed and tares in it; the KO_ is like a grain of mustard seed; the KO_ is like leaven; the KO_ is like a sower who sowed seed in a field; the KO_ is like a king who invited guests to his sonís marriage supper; the KO_ is like servants who were all given talents to use while the master was away.
Letís pick out some examples from the above to see how they can be said about both kingdoms:
When it says, Repent, the KOG is at hand, it refers to Re 11:15 when everything goes back under God again while the Devil is locked up for a thousand years. And when it says, Repent, the KOH is at hand, it is also a reference to Re 11:15 when we rule with Christ over this KOH, and/or it refers to the KOH/Z in Re 21:1 as our inheritance. That is how to read these verses that apply to both the KOG and KOH Ė just find an application consistent with Scripture. The seed in the sowerís field being choked by worldly weeds, for example, applies to saints going bad in both kingdoms because we live in the physical KOH and are members of the spiritual KOG. There is nothing difficult about that. But it doesnít necessarily demonstrate the difference between the two kingdoms. In order to do that we need to examine the places in Scripture that say something about one kingdom or the other, but never say that thing about both kingdoms.
Mt 7:21: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the KOH; but he that doeth the will of my Father. This verse is never said about the KOG. Why? Because Matt Seven, like all Christians, was born again into the spiritual KOG; heís in it, he doesnít have to enter it. And since we live in our old man in the Devilís physical KOH also, this verse is referring to our inheritance, the KOH/Z.
Mt 11:12: The KOH suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. Christians and dogs have long fought for dominion over this physical KOH in which we live because it represents power and material wealth. (Dominion is covered in chapter D23.)
Mt 13:44,45: The KOH is like treasure or a pearl of great price, which when a man hath found, he selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. This is similar to 2 Co 4:18; Co 3:2; Ph 3:19; Mt 19:21. It means we must value not this KOH, but our future KOH/Z.
Mt 18:21-35: The KOH is like a bad servant who needed to learn a lesson about forgiving the brethren. This is similar to 1 Co 5:5; He 12:5-11.
Mt 16:19: The keys to the future KOH/Z consist of forgiveness in this KOH. See Mt 6:14,15; 18:15-18.
Mt 23:13-15: Woe will befall you hypocrites! For ye shut up the KOH against men: Because ye neither go to heaven yourselves nor allow other Christians to go there. Woe will be unto you hypocrites! Youíve turned Christianity into a pious pretense; therefore ye shall receive greater damnation than your pewsters. Woe unto you hypocrites! For ye circle the globe to get converts, and ye make them twofold more the children of hell than yourselves. This is talking about false doctrine taking Christians to hell and keeping them from inheriting the Promised Land, the KOH/Z. Notice this doesnít say these preachers and their converts canít enter the KOG. All children of God enter the KOG, like Satan, David, Judas, and Gabriel, but only doers of correct doctrine inherit the KOH/Z.
Mt 6:33: Seek ye first the KOG, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. The context starts back in verse 19. This says the same thing as Co 3:2: If we concern ourselves with spiritual matters, God will take care of us, and He will give us the KOH/Z.
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Mt 12:24-28: Satan will never cast out his own devils because his kingdom, thus divided against itself, could not stand. Therefore, if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, Iím obviously not representing Satanís kingdom. That means Iím representing the other kingdom, the KOG. This clearly shows that Satan and Christ have different kingdoms. Christís kingdom is the KOG (which includes the KOH/Z), which means Satanís kingdom is this physical KOH. See also Mt 4:8,9; Jn 18:36; 12:31; 2 Co 4:4.
Lk 17:20,21: Humans cannot observe the spiritual KOG. This is never said about the KOH because the physical creation is easily seen.
Jn 3:3-8; Lk 13:28: Except a man be born again, he cannot see or enter the spiritual KOG. The Bible never says this about the physical KOH, which even the unregenerate see and live in. The ability of the Old Testament saints to see the spiritual KOG in Lk 13:28 means Ė according to the see in Jn 3:3 Ė these OT saints were born again, born of the Spirit into the spiritual KOG.
1 Co 15:44-50: The first body is natural, is of the earth, and came from Adam. This flesh-and-blood body is a living soul but it is not spiritual. The second body comes from the Lord from heaven and is spiritual. The flesh-and-blood physical body cannot inherit the spiritual KOG. This shows that our physical body is connected with the physical KOH, while the spirit body is connected with the spiritual KOG. In fact, as we saw above, the mortal flesh-and-blood KOH body canít even see Ė much less enter Ė the immortal KOG.
Iíve not mentioned every verse that contains the KOG or KOH, but I have given you enough so youíll be able to see if my approach is consistent with Scripture when you do your own study of this topic. You may find some verses whose meanings are obscure, but you wonít find anything that is contradicted by anything Iíve said here, and you wonít find any verses that so clearly define the KOG and the KOH as those Iíve discussed.
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