What is the difference between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven?
The Kingdom of God is “God’s rule.” It has two aspects there is a Spiritual Kingdom which are made up of those who have experienced the new birth by the Holy Spirit, and there is a literal physical kingdom that will come to earth. God’s rule is seen through his TheocraticKingdom over the nation Israel. This Theocratic Kingdom will one day rule over all the earth known as the Messianic Kingdom- the Millennial reign of Christ.
John the Baptist proclaimed the kingdom of God to be at hand before Jesus was revealed, Jesus offered the same kingdom to the Jewish people throughout His ministry, which they rejected in Matthew 12.
Jesus taught to pray for the kingdom: Mt. 6:10: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s will is always present in heaven and we are to pray that his authority will be exercised on earth in the same manner. One day when Jesus returns the kingdom will be established and this will be commonplace.
The terms kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven are synonymous. It is seen in the parallel accounts of Mark 4 and Luke 8. John uses the term only twice to describe hpw one is to enter it. John 3:3, 5 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."V.5Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
Both Mark and Luke use the term “kingdom of God,” not the “kingdom of heaven.” Matthew used the term the kingdom of heaven when writing his Gospel to the Jews. He uses the term the kingdom of God 6 times). These are not two different kingdoms, the terms “kingdom of God” and “kingdom of heaven” are used interchangeably in the gospel accounts. The “kingdom of God” is used over 60 times throughout the New Testament.
Matthew avoids using the term “God,” which was reserved, to be used in the their synagogues and religious meetings. The Jews in place of saying, “God,” would substitute the phrase, “the name.” Matthew, writing his gospel to Jews and aware of their culture, used the term “kingdom of heaven” instead so it would be acceptable, not offensive to his Jewish readers.
The kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven are used interchangeably in the gospels. It is only Matthew that substitutes the kingdom of heaven for the kingdom of God. He does use the kingdom of God mostly as an admonishment or warning. He uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven” over 30 times.
Ex: Mt.21:42-43 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.
Other comparisons of parallel statements
Mt, 10:7 "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
Mt. 3:1-2 “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,
and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
Mark 1:14-15 Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
Matt 13:24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field”
Mark 4:26 And He said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground”
Matt 19:23 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Mark 10:23 “Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" (Luke 18:24).
Mt. 19:14 But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
Mk. 10:14 “But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.”
In the Mt.13 account of the parables he speaks of the kingdom of heaven is like
Matt 13:31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field,
Mark 4:30 Then He said, "To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it?