The Kingdom of Heaven? or in Heaven?
One of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible is Luke 17:21. This is another example of the mistranslations found in our well loved King James Bible. As found in the King James bible, Luke 17:20-21 reads as follows:
“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of Yahweh should come, He answered them and said, The kingdom of Yahweh cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or Lo there! For behold, the kingdom of Yahweh is within you.”
This has led many to consider the phrase kingdom of Yahweh, to be a false and misleading term. This has led people to believe that it is not referring to a kingdom at all, but just to a mere state of mind, in this they are greatly mistaken.
In the first place, the Greek word translated “within,” is “entos” which really means “among or in the midst of.” This same word is correctly translated “among,” 115 times in the King James Bible. For example John 1:26;
“John answered them saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one ‘among’ you, whom ye know not.”
Here is the same Greek word. Certainly no intelligent person could have said to the people standing around John the Baptist,
“There is a person standing ‘inside’ of you, whom you know not,”
so it was correctly translated among you.
Ferror Fenton renders this verse correctly:
“In reply, John said to them: ‘I baptize in water; but ‘among’ you is standing One Whom you know not.”
Consider for a moment who it was that said to Yahshua,
“When shall the kingdom of Yahweh come?,” they were Pharisees. Would Yahshua have told these Pharisees that the kingdom of Yahweh was within them, in their hearts? Let’s see what He really knew and said about them.
In Matthew 23:15, Yahshua is talking directly to the Pharisees and eight different times He denounces them. “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Are these the people who have the kingdom of Yahweh in their hearts? In the 13th verse He tells them,
“Woe unto you, neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”
In the 28th verse, He tells them what is in their hearts. “Even so, ye also outwardly appear righteous men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Is this the kingdom of Yahweh? No, and it never will be within them.
Then where is the kingdom of Yahweh? Is it a real kingdom, not just some rarified shadow up on cloud nine? The bible tells us what it is and where it is. Naturally the throne of Yahweh is in His Kingdom. Where is that? King David and King Solomon sat on earthly thrones. The Bible tells us this was the throne of Yahweh.
1 Chronicles 28:5 makes this very clear,
“Yahweh hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of Yahweh as king, in stead of David his father.”
Do you think Yahweh will never occupy this throne? Listen to Isaiah 9:6-7 speaking about Yahshua.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called wonderful, counselor, the mighty Yahweh, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, UPON THE THRONE OF DAVIE.”
Luke 1:32-33 speaking of Yahshua says,
“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and Yahweh shall give to Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever: and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
This confirms Jeremiah 3:17 which says, “And at that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Yahweh.”
There is some dispute in ecclesiastical circles, whether the Kingdom of God, so often mentioned by Jesus Christ, is to be on earth or only in heaven. This is based chiefly on the use by Matthew (ONLY) of the phrase "the kingdom of Heaven": from which some have argued that the Kingdom must be only in heaven, being heaven itself as ruled by Almighty God.
But neither Mark, Luke nor John refer to the Kingdom "of Heaven," but only to the Kingdom "of God"; and even Matthew himself uses as an equivalent phrase "the Kingdom of God" 4 times (Matthew 6:33; 12:28; 21:31; and 21:43); and in Matthew, Jesus Christ speaks of "the Kingdom of their Father" (13:43) and "My Father's Kingdom" (26:29), both phrases being obviously equivalent to "the Kingdom of God." Clearly, there is no distinction between "the Kingdom of HEAVEN" and "the Kingdom of God." Then why were the two phrases used?
Because outwardly pious Jews had first taken the name of God, Yahweh, out of the Scriptures, substituting the word "Adonai" (Lord)‑‑this in the 7th century B.C. At least as early as 200 B.C. they had begun to substitute "heaven" for "God." (Even today, many Jewish publications won't use the word "God," writing it " G‑d. ")
Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Bible Dictionary says:
"KINGDOM OF GOD: Usage of terms: A New Testament phrase based upon and expressing in its final form the Old Testament idea of the spiritual rule of God over Men. The phrase 'Kingdom of Heaven' is used in the New Testament by Matthew only, and is an exact equivalent of the phrase 'Kingdom of God.' The substitution of 'heaven' for 'God' is based on the popular superstitious feeling in later Judaism which led to the avoidance of the Divine Names in common speech."
So nothing can be based upon the use of the words "Kingdom of HEAVEN"; but what clues can we find in the Bible? First., GOD'S THRONE AND KINGDOM ARE ETERNAL:
"Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Thy kingdom" (Psalm 45:6).
"Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations" (Psalm 145:13).
BUT AN ETERNAL THRONE AND KINGDOM ON THIS EARTH WAS PROMISED:
"And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, AND I WILL ESTABLISH HIS KINGDOM. He shall build an house for My Name, and I WILL ESTABLISH THE THRONE OF HIS KINGDOM FOR EVER. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: but My mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took away from Saul, whom I put away before thee. AND THINE HOUSE AND THY KINGDOM SHALL BE ESTABLISHED FOR EVER BEFORE THEE: THY THRONE SHALL BE ESTABLISHED FOR EVER" (2 Samuel 7:12‑16).
"And of all my sons (for Yahweh hath given me many sons He hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon THE THRONE OF THE KINGDOM OF YAHWEH OVER ISRAEL" (Chronicles 28:5).
"THEN SOLOMON SAT ON THE THRONE OF YAHWEH AS KING instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him" (1 Chronicles 29:23).
"I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn unto David My servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up THY THRONE for all generations ...My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and My covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven...My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of My lips. Once have I sworn by My holiness that I will not lie to David. HIS SEED SHALL ENDURE FOR EVER, AND HIS THRONE AS THE SUN BEFORE ME" (Psalm 89:3‑4, 28‑36).
"And in the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up A KINGDOM, WHICH SHALL NEVER BE DESTROYED: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it will break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, AND IT SHALL STAND FOR EVER" (Daniel 2:44).
We know that Solomon never sat on the throne of Yahweh God in heaven; but we are told in the Bible that "Solomon sat on the throne of Yahweh as king;" and therefore God has an earthly throne, as well as a heavenly one. It is prophesied that Jesus Christ shall sit upon the throne of the Kingdom of God; but quite definitely an earthly kingdom, although an eternal one.
"And the 7th angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15).
"For the Lord Most High is terrible; He is a great king over all the earth...For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding. God reigneth over the heathen... " (Psalm 47:2‑7).
THIS KINGDOM CONTAINS EVIL PEOPLE, WHO MUST BE REJECTED. (Any of these in heaven?)
"And from the days of John the Baptist until now THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN SUFFERETH VIOLENCE, AND THE VIOLENT TAKE IT BY FORCE" (Matthew 11:12).
"Again, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, BUT CAST THE BAD AWAY. So shall it be at the end of this age: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 13:47‑50).
"Therefore say I unto you (the Jews), THE KINGDOM OF GOD SHALL BE TAKEN FROM YOU, AND GIVEN TO A NATION BRINGING FORTH THE FRUITS THEREOF" (Matthew 21:43).
WE ARE EVEN TOLD THAT THE CHILDREN OF SATAN ARE IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, AND MUST BE EXPELLED: This can't be IN heaven!
"He that soweth the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the Kingdom; but THE TARES ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE WICKED ONE; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this age. The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall GATHER OUT OF HIS KINGDOM all things that offend, and them which do iniquity" (Matthew 13:37‑41).
AND, THIS KINGDOM IS ONE WHERE PEOPLE ARE MATERIAL ENOUGH TO EAT AND DRINK:
"I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's Kingdom" (Matthew 26:29).
"And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto Me: that ye may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the Twelve Tribes of Israel." (Luke 22:29‑30).
You may wonder about John 18:36 where Yahshua tells Pontius Pilate,
“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.”
Yahshua was speaking to a Roman who represented the fourth and last of the Babylonian order of empires, which Yahweh prophesied in the second chapter of Daniel. Yahweh gave these empires a charter to rule 2,520 years, of which seventeen centuries were yet to come when Yahshua spoke.
Certainly Yahshua’s kingdom was not of this world order. The Greek word wrongly translated world is kosmos, meaning order or system. So Yahshua actually told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this order: fi my kingdom were of this system, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but no is my kingdom not from hence.” This did not mean that His kingdom was merely a state of mind, it meant that He always keeps His word. Having promised the Babylonian order of empires 2,520 years to rule, He would not overthrow them before the appointed time.
The people knew the time for the coming of the Messiah was at hand. However, they didn’t understand that His first coming was to be as Savior and Redeemer, they were expecting Him to come as king. Mark 11:9-10 tells that when Yahshua came to Jerusalem just before the crucifixion, the people greeted Him as King.
“And they that went before, and they that followed cried, saying Hosanna; blessed is He that cometh in the name of Yahweh.”
After His resurrection, the apostles asked Him,
“Yahshua, will Thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
They knew this was Yahweh’s kingdom, though their expectation was premature. Yahshua told His disciples in Matthew chapter 24 and Luke chapter 21, of the signs of the end of the age and of His second coming, as King of kings. He concluded with these words in Luke 21:31;
“So likewise ye, when y see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of Yahweh is nigh at hand.”
This couldn’t possibly refer to just a state of mind, in that case the prophesied signs would have nothing to do with it. Some would have had this state of mind many centuries earlier, while to others it would never come. Neither can it be spiritualized away and transferred to some church. Yahshua told the chief priests who were then ruling n Jerusalem,
“The kingdom of Yahweh shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matthew 21:43)
When Yahshua first came, the church of His day would not receive Him as Savior. They rejected Him because He didn’t come as king then. When He comes the second time, the Judeo-Christian churches of our day will reject Him, just as the antichrist Jews rejected Him the first time, because they will only accept Him as Savior, but not as a real and literal king. In spite of them, He will return to reign over a real and tangible kingdom, it is here on this earth.
In Daniel 2:44 and 7:18, 27 we are promised;
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever. But the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, even for ever and ever. And the kingdom and dominion and greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”
Who are the saints of the Most High, who shall rule with Yahweh in His kingdom? Are they the various people who have been selected by some church for special honor because of some act of Piety? No indeed. The Bible tells us who all of Yahweh’s saints are, note that not just some of them but all of them. It is Psalm 148:14 which tells us,
“He also exalteth the horn of His people, the praise of ALL HIS SAINTS, even of THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, a people near unto Him.”
This is the same kingdom of Israel where Yahweh’s throne has always been. This throne exists today in England, where the genealogy of the British royal family proves their direct descent from King David, just as prophecy had foretold. It is the same Israel, known today as the Anglo-Saxon group of nations. This includes the United States, the white parts of the British Empire, Germany, Holland and the Scandinavian nations.
All parts of the bible, when correctly translated, are consistent. They all prove Yahweh always keeps His word. His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that their descendants would be a great nation and a company of nations, and that He would never forsake them, have been kept. We Anglo-Saxons, Germanic, Scandinavian, Celtic peoples, the Israel of the Bible, are the living proof of this.
So, in short, the Kingdom of Heaven is the Kingdom of God; it is on earth; it contains both good and wicked people at present, who will both be in the Kingdom until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, when the angels will cast out the wicked; it will be here forever; and those in it will be not mere spirits, but real and solid enough to eat and drink earthly meals. It is "the Kingdom OF Heaven," but it is not IN heaven.
(Taken, in part, from and article entitled “The Kingdom of Heaven? or in Heaven?” by Pastor Bertrand Comparet)