Devotional Matthew’s Kingdom

The phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” occurs only in the Gospel of Matthew, where it is found thirty-one times. What does it mean? Here is a failure of the interpretation of the Word of God; most of the error and confusion around us springs from the false conception of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is generally taught and understood that the term Kingdom of Heaven means the Church, and thus the Church is thought to be the true Kingdom of Heaven, established on the earth, and conquering the nations and the world.

The Kingdom of Heaven is not the Church, and the Church is not the Kingdom of Heaven. This is a very vital truth. When our Lord speaks of the Kingdom of Heaven up to the twelfth chapter of Matthew He does not mean the Church, but the Kingdom of Heaven in its Old Testament sense, as it is promised to Israel (Mat 5:3, 10—NC), to be established in the land, with Jerusalem for its center, and from there to spread over all the nations and the entire earth (kingdom of heaven on earth; Thy kingdom come to earth, earth becomes like heaven but is not heaven—NC).

What did the pious, believing Jew expect according to the Scriptures? He expected (and still expects) the coming of the King Messiah, who is to occupy the “throne of His father David” (Luk 1:32; Rev 3:7—NC). He was expected to bring judgment for the enemies of Jerusalem, and to bring together the outcasts of Israel (Isa 11:12—NC). The land would flourish as never before; universal peace would be established; righteousness and peace in the knowledge of the glory of the Lord to cover the earth as the waters cover the deep.

All this on the earth with the land, which is Jehovah’s land (Hosea 9:3), as fountain head, from which all the blessings, the streams of living waters flow. A temple, a house of worship for all nations was expected to stand in Jerusalem, to which the nations would come to worship the Lord. This is the Kingdom of the Heavens as promised to Israel and as expected by them. It is all to be on the earth.

The Church, however, is something entirely different! The hope of the Church, the destiny of the Church, the reigning of the Church (Luk 22:30; Rev 20:4—NC) are not earthly but heavenly (in heaven reigning with Christ—NC). Now the King long expected has appeared, and He preached the Kingdom of the Heavens having drawn nigh, that is, this promised earthly kingdom for Israel. When John the Baptist preached, “Repent ye, for the Kingdom has drawn nigh” (Mat 3:2), he meant the same. It is all wrong to preach the Gospel from such a text and state that the sinner is to repent and believe in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (only the Jews were being called to salvation at the time, the Gentiles weren’t called until Paul - Act 13:46).

A very well-known British teacher of spiritual truths gave not long ago in this country a discourse on the mistranslated text, “The Kingdom of God is within you,” and dwelt largely on the fact that the Kingdom is within the believer. The context shows this is erroneous; the true translation is “The Kingdom is among you”; thas is, in the Person of the King.

Now if Israel had accepted the testimony of John, and had repented, and if they had accepted the King, the Kingdom would have come, but now it has been postponed until Jewish disciples will pray again in preaching the coming Kingdom, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is done in heaven.” That will be after the Church has been raptured (translated - Heb 11:5—NC) to the heavenly places (Eph 1:3, 20; 2:6).

—A Gaeblein

MJS daily devotional excerpt for May 25, 2023

“Believers are not occupying their position! At best, most are trying to attain a victorious position by means of prayer, Bible study, commitment, re-consecration, surrender, and so forth. But the answer is simply to abide where we have already been placed—in our risen Lord Jesus Christ. Abide above, and keep looking down!” –Miles J Stanford

“Our Father has taken us over Jordan and placed us in Canaan, but the reality of it is never known until by faith we accept the fact on the basis of having died with Christ, and that therefore heaven is our place, and we know it to be our place now; and that this side is not our place, and we know that it is not.

“The more we abide in the Lord on the other side, the less disappointed we will be here, for when we are there we import new joys and new hopes into this old world, from an entirely new one, and we therefore in every way surpass the inhabitants of this lost world.” -James Butler Stoney (1814-1897)

Recent Discussions