Nazarene Space

What do you Mean... "Kingdom of Heaven"?

What do you Mean... "Kingdom of Heaven"?
By James Trimm


To understand the Kingdom we must first understand the terms "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Kingdom of Elohim". These terms are used interchangeably:

"Happy are the poor of spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
(Mt. 5:3 HRV)

And he lifted up his eyes to his talmidim and said, Happy are you who are poor because yours is the Kingdom of Eloah.
(Lk. 6:20 HRV)

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Go, and cry, saying ‘Turn you, turn you, for the Kingdom of Heaven is offered,’(Mt. 10:7 HRV)

And he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of Eloah and to heal .
(Lk. 9:2 HRV)

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Still another parable put he forth to them, saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven is comparable to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed it in his field,
(Mt. 13:31 HRV)

And he said, What is like the Kingdom of Eloah and with what parable can we compare it?
(Mk. 4:30 HRV)

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And he answered and said to them, "Because it is given to you to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to these it is not given.
(Mt. 13:11 HRV)

And Yeshua said to them, To you is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of Eloah. But to [those] outside, everything is in parables.
(Mk. 4:11 HRV)

------

And Yeshua said, "Allow the children, and hinder them not from coming to me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."
(Mt. 19:14 HRV)

And Yeshua saw and was offended and said to them, Permit the children [to] come to me and do not hinder them, for because of those who are as these are, the Kingdom of Eloah exists.
Truly I say to you that anyone who does not receive the Kingdom of Eloah like a child will not enter it.
(Mk. 10:14-15 HRV)

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And Yeshua said to him, "If you will be whole-hearted, go sell all that you have, and give to the poor, and you will have great store in heaven, and come follow me."
But when the young man heard the saying, he went away troubled, for he had great possessions.
Then said Yeshua to his talmidim, "Truly I tell you, that the rich will with difficulty enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
And again I tell you; It is easier to pass a large rope through the eye of the needle, than to bring the rich into the Kingdom of Heaven.
(Mt. 19:21-24 HRV)

And when Yeshua heard these things he said to him, One is lacking to you. Go, sell everything that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and follow me.
But when he heard these things he was sad, for he was very rich.
And when Yeshua saw that he was sad, he said, How difficult [it will be] for those who have possessions to enter the Kingdom of Eloah.
Because it is easier for a large rope that he enter through the eye of a needle than a rich man the kingdom of Eloah.
(Lk. 18:22-25 HRV)

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Both terms refer to the Kingdom of Elohim. This is because in Hebrew and Aramaic it is common to substitute the word for "Heaven" for the word Elohim so as not to make to common a use of the word Elohim. Another example of this may be found in 1Enoch 6:1-2 [4QEnoch(b)] = Gen. 6:1-2 where "sons' of God" (Gen. 6:2) has been replaced with "sons' of heaven" (1En. 6:1-2):

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of Elohim saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives, whomsoever they chose.
(Gen. 6:1-2)

And it came to pass when the sons of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the sons of heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: ‘Come, let us choose us wives from among the sons of men and beget us children.’
(1Enoch 6:1-2 [4QEnoch(b)])

While the term "Kingdom of Elohim" does not appear in the Tanak (O.T.) the term "Kingdom of YHWH" appears twice (1Chron. 28:5; 2Chron. 13:8) and there certainly can be no difference between these two Kingdoms. It is important to note that in both of the usages of the term "Kingdom of YHWH" the Kingdom referred to is clearly the literal Kingdom of Israel:

Howbeit YHWH, the Elohim of Yisra’el, chose me out of all the house of my father to be king over Yisra’el for ever; for He has chosen Y’hudah to be prince, and in the House of Y’hudah, the house of my father, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Yisra’el; and of all my sons--for YHWH has given me many sons--He has chosen Shlomo my son to sit upon the throne of the Kingdom of YHWH over Yisra’el.
(1Chron. 28:4-5 HRV)

And there were gathered unto him vain men, base fellows that strengthened themselves against Rechav’am the son of Shlomo, when Rechav’am was young and faint-hearted, and could not withstand them. And now you think to withstand the Kingdom of YHWH in the hand of the sons of David; and you are a great multitude, and there are with you the golden calves which Yarov’am made you for gods.
(2Chron. 13:7-8 HRV)

Another passage which makes the identity of the Kingdom of Elohim/Heaven evident is Mt. 5:3 = Lk. 6:20. In this passage the phrase "poor in spirit" is quoted in an abridged form from "poor and contrite in spirit" (Is. 66:2) where the Kingdom which these will inherit is the Kingdom of Israel restored (Is. 66:2, 7-9). Furthermore Mt. 5:3 is part of a Hebrew poem known today as the Beatitudes, this poem exhibits a quality of Hebrew poetry called "synonymous parallelism" in which successive lines repeat the same meaning in different words. In Mt. 5:5 (a passage parallel to Mt. 5:3) we read that the "meek shall inherit the earth" quoting Ps. 37:11. The Hebrew word for earth here is "eretz" which is better translated here as "land" which is how most translations render it in Ps. 37:11. The terms "meek" (from Ps. 37:11) and "poor in spirit" (from Is. 66:2) are almost identical, very closely related Hebrew words. The term Kingdom of Heaven (in Mt. 5:3) is therefore parallel to "land" (in Mt. 5:5 = Ps. 37:11). This means that the Kingdom of Heaven is the Land of Israel being referred to in Ps. 37:11.

The “Kingdom of Heaven” is not “Heaven” at all, but the restored Kingdom of Israel.


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Views: 125

Comment by TomJohnston on June 24, 2009 at 10:31pm
James -

Thanks for this post. I appreciated your exegesis of the idioms. This has stirred in me new insights into the contemporary political struggle for 'ha-eretz Israel'.

The news media NEVER presents the Judaic understanding of the Divine gift of "ha-eretz Israel" for the 'amo'. On the other hand, public debate has focused on the political right of Israel to have, at least,
the status of a free State [no matter what the territorial borders it may possess] .

Yeshua's parabolic linking of [the disposition] of 'children' with 'Israel' continues to raise to the fore the rights and responsibilities of the 'Israelite' to dwell "in the land". This land governed by their heavenly King. This king - manifested in Meshiach Jeshua, - a child born of the virgin, Miryam. This long-expected
Meshiach, raised from the dead, first-born Son of G-d.

Now, [no matter what the contemporary, treaty-granted boundaries of the State may be] what can this revealed destiny have upon the contemporary "'citizen' of the "nation"" of Israel ?

How can an 'Israelite'-in-exile witness to the divinely 'protected status' he or she now possesses?

Can G-d's revealed predilction for the true 'Israelite' have any political 'punch' in today's world?

Thomas (Tom)

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