Are the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven the same thing?
To enter the Kingdom of God (or the Kingdom of heaven) we must do the will of God.
Matthew 7:21 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.
To know the will of God we must read the word of God, and understand it.
Having understood it, we must believe and obey it.
Belief in the word of God is called ‘faith’.
Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
The only source of faith is the word of God. Faith does not come through an emotional ‘experience’.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
It is not possible to read and understand the Bible at one sitting. We must therefore apply ourselves to reading it daily. A reading plan is recommended.
In the Old Testament God explains his purpose in creation and why we die.
God chose Abraham and made promises to him which form the basis of the gospel.
God promised Abraham an eternal inheritance and that through him would come a ‘seed’ or descendant in whom all nations would be blessed.
Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
This blessing was in the form of the remission of sin, resurrection from the dead and eternal life in the kingdom of God; which will be established on the earth in the future.
This promised seed is Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
The promised seed would also come through king David a descendent of Abraham.
1 Chronicles 17:11 And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. 13 I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: 14 But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.
The kingdom of God
The kingdom of God will be the restored kingdom of David upon the earth.
Luke 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
In the New Testament we find the birth and life of the promised redeemer, Jesus Christ,
Matthew 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Jesus was fathered by God and born of May.
He bore our nature, was tempted in all points as we are yet he did not sin.
He preached the Gospel of the kingdom of God.
Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
At the end of his 3.1/2-year ministry he voluntarily gave his perfect life as a sacrifice for sin to redeem the faithful of all ages.
Because he had not sinned God raised him from the dead.
After his resurrection, Jesus commissioned his apostles to preach the Gospel to everyone.
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
What must I do to be saved
At Pentecost the Jews asked Peter what they needed to do to be saved.
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,
Baptism is the response required of us for the remission of our past sins. It follows that we must recognise our sins and turn from them before baptism.
Submission to baptism is the response of a good conscience (one that works).
1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
A new life
After baptism we must lead a new life.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
In this new life we must obey the commandments of Christ.
Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
Luke 6:46… why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
To attain to salvation and the kingdom of God the sequence is:
1. Hear the Gospel
2. Believe the Gospel
3. Repent of our sinful way of life
4. Be baptised by immersion in water
5. Live a new life by the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Many of the teachings of Jesus can be found in the ‘sermon on the mount’ Matthew 5 & 6 and ‘the sermon on the plain’ Luke 6.
Advice on how we should live
The apostles give sound advice on how we should live our lives:
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We are to live by love
1 Corinthians 13:4 NKJV Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails…13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
We will be judged on the love we have shown to others.
We must meet regularly with those of like faith to share bread and wine in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice, and take the opportunity to examine ourselves.
1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
Sin after baptism
After baptism we will still sin, but our sins will be forgiven if repent of them and confess them in prayer.
1 John 1:7… if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
After his resurrection Christ ascended to heaven to the right hand of God. He will remain there until the time appointed by God for his return.
He is return to judge the world in righteousness.
Acts 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
At his return he will also raise the dead and judge them.
John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
We will be judged on how we have shown the love of Christ to others.
Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Matthew 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
The millennial reign
Those accepted at the judgment will be given eternal life and reign with Christ over the mortal population of the earth for 1000 years.
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Christ will reign from Jerusalem and wars will cease.
Isaiah 2:2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
At the end of the millennial reign there will be a second resurrection and a final judgment. Sin and death will be no more for all who live on will be given eternal life, and God will dwell in them.
Paul explains what is going to happen:
1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
I hope you find this helpful.