Below is something that I posted to an email forum (of which the editor of The Remnant is a part of) that I am no longer a part of.
Subject: Observations and Questions on the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven ; The Remnant, March-April 2007.
My apologies for my delay in these questions. I have tried to let them go and they keep coming back. Let me first start by attempting to recreate part of the chart that is on page 11 for those that do not get or have not gotten the current “Remnant” which is Volume 21, No. 2 - March-April 2007.
|KINGDOM OF GOD||KINGDOM OF HEAVEN|
|Primary text:||John 3:3-5||Seven Parables of Matthew 13. etc.|
|When:||Presently: in His people||Future: at His return|
|Location:||Both literal and spiritual, from his Father's throne in heaven.||Both literal and spiritual, on earth from the throne of David.|
|Seat of Government:||Throne of God (Acts 2.34, Hebrews 1.3)||Throne of David (Isaiah 9.7, Acts 2.30, Psalm 132.11)|
|Subjects of the Kingdom:||Those born of God's Spirit||All creation (Psalm 103.19; Matthew 13)|
There were four more rows in the chart, but in order to save space I didn't feel the need to include them. Please notice with me two things about the chart. The “Kingdom of Heaven” is supposed to be in the future and all creation will be included in it.
On the first page second paragraph of “The Remnant” it says something that appears to me to contradict the chart above. Let me quote it below:
“The kingdom of heaven, on the other hand, is that worldwide, universal kingdom wherein God rules over all things in all creation after the counsel of His own will. What the Bible describes as Christ's reigning over the kingdom of heaven is not merely His ruling over His people. The kingdom of heaven has nothing to do with His reign being merely “spiritual,” or over His people only, either now or later. The all things of Romans 8.28 and Ephesians 1.11 means exactly that: all things, from the smallest particle of every atom in all creation to the farthest star in the farthest galaxy in the universe; angels, men, and demons; the sand and the waves of the sea, all plant and animal life, the environment of this earth, and all things we can or cannot even conceive in our little minds, and it includes religion, politics, and all other affairs of men and nations. All of everything is in the kingdom of heaven. He rules invisibly and by His providence no less than if he were visibly moving everything that moves and manifestly supervising and sustaining everything that exists, like so many pieces on His chessboard.”
Now to me it sure seems like this paragraph is portraying Christ's reign in the “kingdom of heaven” as here and now. But in the chart above it very plainly states that the “Kingdom of Heaven” is supposed to be at some future time or event.
On page 10 of this current edition it also says this:
“I have insisted and insist now that the Bible is God's inspired word down to the very letters and the parts of the letters (the jots and tittles), even as the Lord Christ said. In particular, if God had wanted to say “kingdom of God” where He said “kingdom of heaven” or vice versa, He would have done so. I might be wrong, but if there were only one kingdom under consideration, He would have not created confusion by calling it by two or three different names. There would have been no need for Him to explain, as He did, that everyone, including the children of the wicked one (Satan), are in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13), but only His elect are brought into the Kingdom of God by being born from above (John 3)....”
I agree 100% with the first sentence. But with the rest of the paragraph is where I have my questions and concerns.
If I may, let me quote Scripture and let it speak for itself.
Matthew 3:1-3 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea , and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
Matthew 4:12-17 “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Here we see first off John the Baptist proclaiming that the kingdom of heaven is at hand and then once John is no longer a presence because he was thrown in jail, Jesus continues with the same message.
Mark 1:14-15 “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
We see that Mark is presenting the exact same time period, right after John was put in prison, and Mark records what Jesus says as “the kingdom of God is at hand” where Matthew records it as “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Matthew 19:13-15 “Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.”
Mark 10:13-14 “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
Here again is the exact same incident and yet we see again Matthew recording it at the “kingdom of heaven” and Mark recording it as the “kingdom of God.” If by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit these two phrases are used interchangeably, who am I to try and make them distinct and different?
I also find it very interesting, though I don't know what it means, that the phrase “kingdom of heaven” is only found in the gospel according to Matthew. It is not found anywhere else in scripture.
I am also kind of confused that if there are different kingdoms, then which one is Paul referring to in Ephesians? “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (5:5)” Or does this point to yet another Kingdom?
Also, there are eight verses that refer to “His kingdom.” (Matthew 12:26; 13:41; 16:28; Luke 1:33; 11:18; 1 Thess. 2:12; 2 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 16:10) Out of the eight, four of them are referring to the kingdom of darkness and the other four are referring to Christ. Again, where do these four fit into?
There are also three verses that refer to the phrase “My Kingdom.” One of the verses is with reference to King Herodias but the other two are again Jesus speaking.
Luke 22:30 “That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel .”
John 18:36 “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
Here Jesus is speaking and makes reference to “my kingdom.” Is the kingdom He is referring to the “kingdom of heaven”, “kingdom of God”, or is it as I stated above a completely different kingdom? Now my understanding is that during the so-called thousand year reign Christ will set up “a” kingdom. It definitely cannot be “His kingdom” because He very plainly states in the verse above that His kingdom is not of this world. So, there must be yet another kingdom that He will set up during that time.
In Scripture there are only four references to the term “kingdoms” being plural. But it is very interesting again to me that none of them refer to God or heaven. ALL of them refer to the kingdoms of the world. (Matthew. 4:8; Luke 4:5; Hebrews 11:33; Revelation 11:15)
It also says in the chart above, in the section of the “Subjects of the Kingdom” that it includes “All creation”. If that is the case, then why would Jesus say this:
Matthew 5:17-20 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Matthew 18:1-3 “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
It appears to me that there is a contradiction here. For if the “kingdom of heaven” is really to include “all of creation” I think that would include these above that Jesus says “shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Also, if the kingdom of heaven is inclusive to “all creation” why must one enter it?
About 3 months ago at work, a co-worker was talking to another co-worker that her husband had rented a movie to watch. It was the movie “ Brokeback Mountain .” The first co-worker was saying that her husband couldn't finish the movie because he thought it was going to be a western. The second co-worker immediately piped up and called her husband a homophobic. On page 13 under the sub-title “The Nation of Israel ” pretty much the same thing has occurred. It says:
It further saddens us that some who profess free grace principles, even some professing Primitive Baptists, have sided against Israel, aligning themselves with many of the Arminian will-worshipers...for shame that lovers of grace principles would kink arm in arm and join hand in hand with the Arminians and the anti-Semitic Calvinists, all linked up together in the same free-will system. Though the two groups claim to be poles apart doctrinally, the one professing the free grace of God and the other espousing the free will of Man, they prove by their hatred of the Jews the secret bond they share in common...” (underlining added - Tom)
I again find it very interesting that if one believes that the Lord is finished with the nation of Israel and that He only has ONE true Israel because two Israels is one too many that he would be called a Jew Hater or anti-Semitic. Yes there are those out there who have a hatred towards the Jews. But it is not right to lump all in the same category. That would be like saying that all those who believe that the world will not end are Preterists. Though I personally believe that this world will have an ending.
I apologize for the length of this. Also, I must add that the bold and underlining in the verses are from me for emphasis.
In hope, Tom March 12, 2007
I never did receive a personal reply from Mr. Morris to the above statements/questions in the group and granted I didn't specifically send my comments to him either. But there was a small little blurp of a reply in the May-June edition on page 14 which reads:
We have heard a few comments about our chart on page 11 in the March-April 2007 issue. Some were quick to point out that the chart indicated the When of the kingdom of heaven whould be "Future: at His [Christ's] return," but elsewhere I have indicated the kingdom of heaven is present now; therefore I am guilty of contradicting myself.
Charts are of necessity brief summaries. You cannot say everything you would like to say in al ittle box of one or two square inches.
The chart's emphasis in the box in question was on the full manifestation of Christ's kingdom of heaven. On page 1 of the same issue, and elsewhere in it, I said as I have since the subject orginally came up, that "all of everything is in the kingdom of heaven...He now rules all nations invisibly and providentially...At Christ's second advent, He will rule visibly upon this earth as completely, literally, and as surely as any world ruler has ever ruled," etc.
I do not wish to rest in a sense of false security, but if the weak spot in my chart (to which I admit) is the worst the opponents of premillennialism can find fault with, that does not seem to be much for them to go on. If anyone yet wishes to gloat over catching my contradiction, that is their privilege. I love what Walt Whitman said in a similar situation: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself!" - CCM
A few things: In this little blurp he only makes mention of the chart. There were quite a few other aspects from the article that I attempted to make mention of in my post that were completely glossed over or thought not important. You will also notice that again there is a seeming contradiction with what is stated above in the response and what Scripture says. Jesus made it very clear and was recorded by Matthew in the verses above that some shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven and yet in the response above from "The Remnant" it again is stated that "all of everything is in the kingdom of heaven." With reference to the clever quote in the response, I have no clue who Walt Whitman is/was and therefore it has no significance to me whatsoever. - Tom