You are not in the Kingdom of Heaven.
You are not in the kingdom of heaven. No one is in the kingdom of heaven. If you are born again you are in the kingdom of God, but the kingdom of heaven is not yet come on the earth.
Most evangelical preachers, teachers, and Bible students think there is just one kingdom—a spiritual kingdom—into which all believers of all ages must enter. But the Bible speaks of eight different kingdoms. They are listed in chronological order as they have, or will, unfold in history.
- The kingdom of God is the timeless spiritual rule of God over all beings, wherever they may be—in paradise, in hell, in earth, or anywhere in any of the three heavens. It is eternal, having no beginning and no end.
- Satan’s kingdom is self-evident. It is the unseen evil forces and fallen angels organized into a concerted effort to thwart the purposes of God for the human race. It began before the creation of man and will end at the close of the Millennium.
- Gentile kingdoms are what you study when taking world history—Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, The Mongol Hordes, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, United States of America, etc.
- The Jewish kingdom (Israel) began when the sons of Jacob left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea under Moses, and the kingdom was discontinued when Rome destroyed them in the first century A. D. It was reconstituted in 1948 and continues today in the land of Israel.
- The kingdom of heaven is the kingdom that God designed for this earth. It is as physical and earthly as any kingdom discussed in world history. God would rule it, and offered his rule at the beginning of his ministry, but was rejected. It was taken by force and has changed hands many times. When Jesus finally takes the kingdom of heaven by force during the tribulation, it will replace all existing earthly kingdoms, for it will rule over and occupy every inch of their domains. It is not heaven ruling heaven; it is heaven ruling the earth through men.
- Antichrist’s kingdom appears during the seven years immediately preceding the second coming of Christ. He is Satan’s counterfeit christ with a counterfeit kingdom which will be destroyed with the brightness of Christ’s coming.
- Christ’s kingdom is the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven merging with Christ as the visible head. It will be revealed during his coming earthly reign. When the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God come together at the beginning of the Millennium, it will be called interchangeably the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of his dear Son, his kingdom, and the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
- The Father’s kingdom is the all-encompassing kingdom of the Living God, in which the full unfolding and final manifestation of the mystery concerning the kingdoms is completed. The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God will have become Christ’s kingdom at his coming. And when Christ turns the kingdoms over to the Father, all that remains throughout eternity and after all things have become one, is the Father’s kingdom.
The kingdoms contrasted.
The kingdom of heaven is linked directly to the visible or physical heavens, just as the kingdom of God is linked to the invisible God. The kingdom of God (K of G) and the kingdom of heaven (K of H) are as different as are God and the universe. The K of H is presently allotted to mankind only, whereas the K of G also contains righteous angels, cherubim, seraphim, spirits, and living creatures of many varieties. The K of G existed before the earth and the human race were created, but the K of H is concurrent with the creation of life upon the earth. The K of H is less than the K of G, by virtue of its coming into being after it and by being inside of it. The K of H can be taken by force and controlled by the rulers of this world, or by Satan—not so the K of G. The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day were able to shut the door to the K of H and prevent everyone from entering it. No one can shut the door of the K of G to anyone. The K of H will contain unbelievers who will be purged from it and cast into hell at the beginning of the Millennium and at various times throughout the thousand years. The K of G will never have anyone in it that is not of God. The K of G is a relationship, whereas the K of H will come as a political institution—the kind with which we are all familiar—at the beginning of the Millennium.
One man can surrender to God and enter the K of G as a single individual, but no one can enter the K of H until it is instituted in the Millennium. The K of G is personal and individual, whereas the K of H is external and corporate. All Christians and righteous angels are in the K of G right now, but no one is in the K of H (God’s righteous version of it) until King Jesus returns and destroys the competing earthly kingdoms and sets up his own earthly kingdom with David on the throne in Jerusalem.
The K of G is invisible, whereas the coming of the K of H will be as visible as any government. The K of G is not tied to any location, while the K of H has already been defined as a worldwide kingdom with its capital to be located in the city of Jerusalem.
The K of G is God ruling in the hearts of men and other created beings, but the K of H is intended to be God ruling through men in the earth and the heavens—which includes all kingdoms, powers, principalities, and dominions.
The errors of reformed theology and Armenianism alike are rooted in a misunderstanding of the kingdoms. Most cults and many of the denominational differences today can be traced to a lack of understanding of the mystery of the kingdoms. The key to understanding the entire Bible is found in knowing the differences among the eight kingdoms, but especially these two—the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven.
If you do not readily understand the difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven you are not going to understand the Bible, and the more you study the more you will be troubled by what you consider inconsistencies or lack of clarity. When you try to read the kingdom of God into Jesus’ kingdom of heaven utterances you will either experience doctrinal meltdown or you will resort to allegory, assuming the Bible is not meant to be understood according to the normal rules of grammar.
- You will not be allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven unless you manifest a great deal of righteousness (Matthew 5:20).
- You must “do the will of the Father” to enter the K of H (Matthew 7:21).
- When the K of H is instituted, people will come from the east and the west to sit down with departed saints (Matthew 8:11).
- Some of the people who are in the K of H when Jesus returns will be cast into outer darkness (Matthew 8:12). Do you believe that some of the people in the K of G will be cast into hell?
- After John the Baptist was imprisoned Jesus said that the K of H had suffered an act of violence and the violent people had taken the kingdom by force (Matthew 11:12). That means the K of H was then under the control of wicked and violent men. Do you think the K of G could be possessed by wicked men?
- The K of H will be entirely corrupted (Matthew 13:33).
- The K of H contains tares—lost sinners that will be purged out at the end of the world (Matthew 13:37-43).
- The K of H is like a fishing net that gathers both good and bad fish (Matthew 13:47-50).
- Upon leaving the earth Jesus gave the key to the kingdom of heaven to Peter and the other disciples, telling them they now had the power to open or shut the door to the kingdom (Matthew 16:19). On the day of Pentecost Peter threw open the door, but in time the door was shut and only the Kingdom of God remained.
- Read Mathew 18:23-35 and see if you can fit that into the Kingdom of God. I think not. But it fits the K of H perfectly.
- Both John the Baptist and Jesus offered the K of H to the Jews, but the “scribes and Pharisees shut up the kingdom of heaven against men,” not allowing anyone to enter (Matthew 23:13). Could a few hypocrites prevent Jesus from bringing sinners into the K of G? I think not! It was only because the K of H was a physical, visible kingdom among men that the religious leaders could prevent it from coming. Upon their rejection, the K of H was postponed.
- Do you believe the K of G contains foolish Christians who run out of the Holy Spirit and can be turned away from the Lord at his coming (Matthew 25:1-13)? There are a few sects that do, because they take the Bible literally (as they should) but do not know the difference between the kingdoms.
- Matthew 25:14-46 has sent men and ignorant Christians into a doctrinal tailspin when they tried to make it fit the church and this present age of faith and grace.
You may ask, “Why is the Bible not clear; it is as if Jesus was talking in code, trying to keep us from understanding?” Exactly, now you’ve got it. In the midst of the kingdom of heaven parables, the disciples asked, “Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” Jesus answered, “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given (Matthew 13:10-11).
I know you have many questions and challenges to this doctrine. I have answered them all in my big study book titled Eight Kingdoms. It covers every usage of the word kingdom from many different angles. It is filled with tables comparing the different kingdoms. It is a definitive work and irrefutable in its Scriptural exegeses.
Many pastors have written to me saying that for the first time the entire Bible finally makes sense in a glorious way.