Proposition #45
The phrases "Kingdom of heaven," "Kingdom of God," "Kingdom of Christ," etc., denote the same Kingdom.


Video Planned.

PROPOSITION 45. The phrases “Kingdom of heaven,” “Kingdom of God,” “Kingdom of Christ,” etc., denote the same Kingdom.

It has already been shown (Props. 20, 21, 22, 23, etc.) how the Jews understood and employed these phrases, and how the first preachers adopted them.

Obs. 1. Now attention is called to the fact that they are used as synonymous in the New Test. What Matt. pronounces “the Kingdom of heaven,” is said by Mark, Luke, and John to be “the Kingdom of God,” as e.g. comp. Matt. 5:3, with Luke 6:20, and Matt. 13:11 with Mark 4:11. So also “the Kingdom of God” is designated Christ’s Kingdom, as e.g. comp. Matt. 16:28 with Luke 9:27, Mark 9:1, etc.[*]

Note. So also “the Father’s Kingdom” and Christ’s are represented as identical. Comp. e.g. Matt. 13:41–43 with Eph. 5:5, and Matt. 26:29 with 2 Pet. 1:11, etc., and Prop. 83. In reference to the usage of those phrases, comp. Props. 22 and 23, and the note by Dr. Craven in Lange’s Com. Rev., p. 93.

Obs. 2. These phrases thus interchangeably employed to denote the one Kingdom (Prop. 35) were understood to mean the Davidic Kingdom restored, as e.g. Acts 1:6, Matt. 20:21, Acts 15:16, Luke 1:32, etc. (comp. Props. 19, 20, 21, 2223).[*]

Note. This has been so frankly admitted by our opponents (as e.g. Dr. Campbell, Knapp, Neander, etc.) that more need not be added, leaving our argument to bring in the additional proof. On every side do we find this testimony, given, too, without any thought of its bearing on the subject. Thus e.g. Farrar (Life of Christ, vol. 1, p. 22) informs us that “waiting for the Consolation of Israel” is equivalent to Mark 15:43, “waiting for the Kingdom of God,” and that among the Jews a prayer for the coming of the Messiah was, “may I see the Consolation of Israel.” The Messiah and the Kingdom were united. We merely suggest that in addition to the meanings and derivation usually given to the phrase used by Matthew, “the Kingdom of heaven” (viz.: that the God of heaven gives it to the Christ, that through it the Father’s will is manifested, that heavenly principles, etc., are exhibited, etc.), may there not, in the employment of the plural form, “heavenlies,” be an allusion to the peculiar form of government (Theocratical) under chosen heavenly rulers (comp. Prop. 154). Dr. Meyer (Com. on Matt. 3:2) says: “It is called the Messianic Kingdom, not because the words ‘of the heavens’ express God, but because this Kingdom is conceived as descending from heaven and entering the world, Gal. 4:26.” This idea may (comp. Rev. 19:11–16 and 21:2, etc.) indeed be included, but it does not exclude the old Jewish notion derived from Daniel, or the one just stated. It may include them all, making it the more expressive.

Obs. 3. In addition to the abundant testimony already adduced, that they were regarded as denoting the same Kingdom, and that the restored Theocracy, as existing under David, we add a few more. Nast (Com. on Matt. 11:1–6), allowing the Church-Kingdom theory as correct, frankly says: “Though John the Baptist, Zecharias, and those other Israelites who waited for ‘the Consolation of Israel,’ expected the Messiah to establish a spiritual Kingdom, a reign of righteousness, they connected, nevertheless, with it, the idea of a visible, terrestrial Kingdom, that he would literally sit on David’s throne, and extend His reign from the river to the ends of the earth.” Doddrige (Com. Matt. 3:2), cordially adopting the Church-Kingdom idea as intended by the phrase, says: “It is plain that the Jews understood it of a temporal monarchy, which God would crect; the seat of which, they supposed, would be Jerusalem, which would become, instead of Rome, the capital of the world. And the expected Sovereign of this Kingdom they learned from Daniel to call ‘the Son of Man’ ” (Were the Jews mistaken? Comp. Props. 19, 20, 21, 2223 and 31, 32, 33, 3435). Fairbairn (Herm. Manual, p. 41–43) tells us that the phrase, “points back to those prophecies of the Old Test., in which promise was made of a King and Kingdom, that should unite heaven and earth in another way than could be done by a merely human administration,” etc., which we cordially receive as true, remarking, however, that the plain Theocratical meaning contained in the grammatical sense (which he carefully avoids), as held by the Jews, by the disciples and apostles, introduces just such a union of heaven and earth (as e.g. God in Jesus condescending to reign as earthly Ruler, etc.) as he advocates. Our entire argument thus far conclusively proves that all these phrases do not denote separate things (as e.g. intimated by Lange, Com. Matt., p. 73), or are given (so Fleck, quoted by Lange) “in order to distinguish the Christian Kingdom of God more fully from the Jewish Theocracy,” but the restored Theocracy, as covenanted and predicted under the Messiah. They were applied to a definite, well-known Kingdom, viz.: the Theocratic-Davidic.[*]

Note. But able writers, wedded to the spiritual Church-Kingdom theory, can see nothing in the phrase but another and differing Kingdom, viz.: the Church regarded as militant and triumphant. Thus, to illustrate how confidently they appeal to its simplicity in their teaching, we refer to Gregory (Four Gospels, p. 146) who, speaking of “the Kingdom of heaven,” and that Matthew by its use intended to correct false Jewish views (when Acts 1:6, he still held them), confidently asserts: “The phrase clearly expresses the idea that it is a Kingdom distinct from all these kingdoms of this world after which the Jew had fashioned his idea of the Messiah’s dominion. Its origin is in the heavens, where God dwells; its throne, the seat of the King, is there; its highest present and prospective glories are there. This simple phrase taught that the Kingdom of the Messiah was to be a spiritual and heavenly Kingdom, unlike the old Theocracy with its temple and throne in Jerusalem; unlike the magnificent empire patterned after Rome, which the worldly Jew was dreaming of; wholly unlike the temporal empire of the Papacy long after established.” Here is a tissue of assumptions: (1) It ignores the fact that it was a Jewish phrase, adopted without explanation by Matthew, and that it could not possibly convey the idea assumed, being definitely used to designate the restored Davidic Kingdom and its extent, etc., as given by Daniel; (2) it engrafts upon it a modern notion, which the Jews never entertained, being bound by the plain covenant and prophetical language which locates the Kingdom, not in heaven but on the earth; (3) he assumes that the phrase is so clearly full of his doctrine that it ought to have taught the Jew such a view, when the facts are just the reverse, viz.: that its usage fortified them and the disciples (including Matthew) in believing that it unmistakably taught the restoration of the downfallen Theocracy, which was—as we have shown—a Kingdom of God and of heaven; (4) its simplicity of teaching established and confirmed the almost universal Pre-Millenarianism of the early Church and its connected doctrine of the Kingdom—a position just directly opposite to that which Gregory finds in the “simple phrase,” and which Shedd (His. of Doc., p. 291) calls a peculiarity of the Jewish-Christian.”