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The Kingdom of God is Not the Kingdom of Heaven

February 15, 2010
Book written on the subject of by Michael Pearl

Mr. Pearl,
I gather from your teaching that you are of the “once saved, always saved” persuasion, though I have never heard you say it in just those words. How then do you handle passages like Matthew 25? It says the kingdom of heaven is like five foolish virgins who ran out of oil, which I take to represent the Holy Spirit, and were turned away from the wedding. When the virgins beg to enter they were told that they should have watched—I take that to mean watched for the second coming of Christ. And there are many more passages similar to this one. Take, for example, Matthew 8:12. It says, “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”


Michael Answers:
My doctrine is better summed up as “Once lost, once saved, twice lost, never saved again,” but that is for another time. Get my messages on the Security of the Believer, as they address that subject in a good bit of detail.

As to the passages you mention in Matthew, I assume you think the “five foolish virgins” and the “children of the kingdom” are Christian believers. The text bears out that they are not.
Notice how Matthew 25 begins: it dates the parables with the first word: “Then [following the events of chapter 24] shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins…” Chapter 24 was Jesus’ long answer to the question the disciples asked in 24:3, “what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?” The answer dwelt on the Great Tribulation, which culminated with the second coming of Christ in chapter 24, verses 27–30 and the day of wrath that follows (v. 29). The rest of the chapter is a warning to watch for this day of judgment and not be caught unaware, like the five foolish virgins or the drunken servants, lest one be appointed his “portion with the hypocrites” and “there be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The very next verse is, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins…”  The ten virgins are children of the kingdom (as in Matthew 8:12) who survived the tribulation, Christ’s second coming and the day of wrath. That much is clear.

The one still misunderstood truth is that the kingdom of heaven (the context of this passage—“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like…”) and the kingdom of God (to which we who are in the church belong), are not the same. No Christian is or ever will be in the kingdom of heaven. None of the “children of the kingdom” during the tribulation are in the kingdom of God. The kingdoms are different, containing different subjects, and only meet in the Millennial reign of Christ upon the earth.

In short, the kingdom of heaven is the physical kingdom promised to Israel and contains both believing and unbelieving Jews during the tribulation. Both the five wise and the five foolish virgins were in the kingdom, but at the second coming of Christ, the good fish and the bad fish are separated from the same net, just as the virgins are separated. At that time the children of the kingdom—the Jews—who are not watching and walking in truth will be cast into outer darkness and be damned.

I spent more than 25 years of my life studying the difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. I finally wrote a definitive book on the subject. It covers every mention of these two kingdoms in the Bible and clearly spells out their differences. You can also get an MP3 on Matthew where I teach verse by verse through all its kingdom passages.

Approach the Bible with an open mind and become a student “rightly dividing the word of truth.”

 

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27 comments on “The Kingdom of God is Not the Kingdom of Heaven”

  1. I read 8 kingdoms at a time when I was finally submitting my will to Gods Spirit. The truths I found were amazing to me and the effect of your many years of study on me was wonderful in causing me to ♥ the perfection of Gods Word. I appreciate all further discussion on the kingdoms!

  2. Hi and I learned something new with the distinction between the kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven. I'll forward this to our church leaders.
    Do you know anything about China? I wish to take a trip to educate a missionary from our church who married a Chinese national and are now expecting their first baby. I am a certified childbirth educator, and there is a group also carrying Chinese (mandarin) bible texts into China from HK. If you have a contact, I would appreciate knowing that as well.
    We enjoy your teaching responsibility tape, too.

  3. if there is a different between the kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven this means that every events that's recorded in Matthew 4 and Mark 1 happened twice.

    Mat 4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;.......
    Mat 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

    The Question is, what was really preached by Jesus in Galilee right after John The baptist was put in prison. Was it the gospel of the Kingdom of God, or the gospel of the Kingdom of heaven. Which one of these apostles were telling the truth? Was it Matthew or was it Mark? Or are these two different events where and when John the Bap. was put in prision twice and beheaded twice? Or are Matthew and Mark not acknowledging that two types of Gospels were preached and are just cherry picking the part of the preaching that suited them.

    Mar 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
    Mar 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

    I know that there are may other doctrines that one could cloud this topic with, But let us just deal with the aforementioned issues.

    1. 2 Peter 1:20,21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
      For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

      I agree with you. I don't think they cherry picked anything. I don't think they lied.

  4. If the kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God are different then what do you do with these passages

    Matthew 13:11, Mark 4:11 Luke 8.10 ()
    Matthew 13:31, mark 4:30, luke 13:18 ()
    Matthew 19:23, Mark 10.23, luk 18:24 ()

    Matthew uses Kingdom of Heaven and Mark and Luke use Kingdom of God in the exact same contexts. In these cases they must be identical.

    1. Why doesn't anybody answer this very important question? It's foundational: WHY are the scriptures on kingdom of heaven and God in different books of bible used interchangeably explaining the same exact things? Heck even in Matthew 19:23,24 it's used interchangeably.

      This man above referenced some good scriptures to compare. If you can't answer this basic question why write articles on them being different kingdoms?

  5. Unfortunately, the author of Matthew used the terms in such a way that no meaningful difference can be discerned between the "two" kingdoms without creating Scriptural conflicts. As others have pointed out with specific verses, the terms are used interchangeably in Matthew in a way that doesn't allow for a dualist interpretation.

    Beyond that, other New Testament writers quote Matthew while replacing "Heaven" with "God." If there is a hardfast difference between the two terms, we're dealing with some major mistranslations on the part of Matthew and some enormous omissions on the part of the other Synoptic authors.

  6. so aalllll Israel shall be saved. what about 1corinthians 15:50; now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of god. will someone explain this, in light of kingdom of heaven, and kingdom of god

    1. Your spirit inherits the kingdom of God. It is not of this earth, but of spiritual realm. In other words, you could be living on a dirt floor with no possessions but be richer than Bill Gates. Likewise, you could be as rich as Gates and not realize you are poor and naked.

      Signs that you are kingdom of God rich:
      You are righteous, full of love joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, mercy, faithfulness, self control. You can be in prison and free as a bird. Live in horrible outward circumstance and have a good attitude. Turn the other cheek, confident where your help comes from. Don't have anxiety, depression, despair. You always hope.

      1. Amber, you are wise beyond your years. I think that both will eventually be inherited
        by our human spirit and a physical body. Right now, we can access the kingdom of God when we are 'born-again' when we accept God's Holy Spirit within us...then later after the death of the physical body, our human spirit is taken via the Holy Spirit to the a level in the kingdom of heaven to await the time of Judgment when we will be judged as to whether we can inherit the full kingdom 'if' (we have endured and not lost our salvation by our Free-Will of Choice) we are deemed to be given 'the Crown of Life'. Then we can enter the kingdom of heaven and the physical kingdom of Christ's rule on Earth in a resurrected perfect body. So both are separate places but we can have both.

  7. The kingdom of God is attained by an on-going process of studying the Word of God which transforms and renews us and eventually leads to the kingdom of heaven.

  8. Qustion is wrong from the start surprising no one picked it up Matthew 25:3 doesnt say 5 foolish virgins ran out of oil but

    " They that were foolish took their lamps, and took NO OIL with them"

    which means they were not SAVED in the First place

  9. The reason that the Kingdom of heaven in Matthew is described in the same context as the Kingdom of God in the other gospels is simply that they are the same in context. However, the reason that Matthew used "heaven" as opposed to "God" when describing the Kingdom to come onto this earth (Rev.21;Rev.5:10) is the fact that the audience that Matthew was writing to were primarily Jewish people. The Jews of that time period avoided using God's name when speaking for fear that they may unintentionally blaspheme His name. Matthew was simply being a "good Jew" by not rejecting his upbringing by using God's name. Matthew is the only book the refers to the Kingdom of God as the Kingdom of heaven. The answer is much simpler than you may think. God bless you all!

  10. speaking to the rich young ruler, Christ uses “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” interchangeably. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven’” (Matthew 19:23). In the very next verse, Christ proclaims, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (verse 24). Jesus makes no distinction between the two terms but seems to consider them synonymous.

    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/kingdom-heaven-God.html#ixzz32v1LHNWy

  11. I wanted to ask you how does Matthew 5: 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven go into your understanding that the Kingdom of Heaven is during the Tribulation. I am not saying you are wrong, I have been studying this for a long time and I am searching for the truth

    1. Although the book of Matthew is included in the New Testament part of the Bible, the events that it records occurred during the Old Testament time period. Jesus was speaking the the Jewish people, the the nation of Israel was the earthly representation of the Kingdom of Heaven at that time.

  12. I believe the Kingdom of God to mean His entire kingdom which consists of 6 levels...
    levels 7 through 12. Twelve being where God meets with us as in the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. Level 7 being where we will be after shedding this earthly body.
    The kingdom of heaven refers to one of these levels, specifically Level 7.
    The Temple that God asked Moses and others to build upon the earth was a copy of the true one in the Kingdom of God. The Ark of the Covenant and its Mercy Seat is in Level 12, other levels are--Level 11 the Altar; Level 10 is the room of the menorah, table of showbread, which is the Inner Sanctuary etc.; Level 9- the priests Outer Sanctuary; Level 8- StoreHouse of where tithes and other offerings are received and stored to give back to the people; Level 7-the place of the receiving and cleansing of the sacrifice. No level is Earned ! I believe we will be able to go between any of these levels and up to Level 12 to be with God but our home base of Level 6 will be of
    many chambers / mansions as Jesus called them.
    Our Level of the Physical Plane is Level 6.
    Hell has Levels also.
    Level 6 is neither in heaven the spiritual realm or dimension nor is it entirely in hell.
    Tartarus is the lowest level of the entire realm of Hell.

  13. In response to Zelko, who indicated that in Matt 25:3 - the virgins took no oil with them....read vs. 8. It appears to show that they had not taken EXTRA oil with them....for their lamps were going out. Just trying to be a Berean.