114. THE "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"
THE "KINGDOM OF GOD".
We have seen in Ap. 112 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" (e.g. cp. Matt. 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
Ap. 94. III.
Now "heaven" is frequently used by the Figure Metonymy (of the
Subject), Ap. 6 for God Himself, Whose dwelling is there. See Ps.
73:9. Dan. 4:26, 29. 2Chron. 32:20. Matt. 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 Ap. 96); 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
- The Kingdom (or Sovereignty) of HEAVEN
- Has Messiah for its King;
- It is from heaven; and under the heavens
upon the earth;
- It is limited in its scope;
- It is political in its sphere;
- It is Jewish and exclusive in its character;
- It is national in its aspect;
- It is the special subject of Old Testament
- And it is dispensational in its duration.
- The Kingdom (or Sovereignty) of GOD
- Has God for its Ruler;
- It is in heaven, over the earth;
- It is unlimited in its scope;
- It is moral and spiritual in its sphere;
- It is inclusive in its character (embracing
the natural and spiritual seeds of Abraham, "the heavenly calling",
and the "Church" of the Mystery). Hence,
- It is universal in its aspect;
- It is (in its wider aspect) the subject of New
- And will be eternal in its duration.
(*1) The Kingdom of God occurs only five times in Matt. (6:33;
12:28; 19:24; 21:31, 43).
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