What is the kingdom of heaven

The kingdom of heaven refers to the realm of God's rule both present and future. When John proclaimed that the kingdom of heaven was at hand he was announcing that divine judgement as a reality had come; that God's rule over the earth had drawn near and was about to be instituted through Jesus, for whom John was preparing the way (CP V4-12; 11:7-10). Jesus ushered the kingdom in when He began His earthly ministry (CP 4:13-17; 10:1-8; 12:25-28; Lu 17:20-21). Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God mean the same - the terms are interchangeable (CP Mt 19:23-24). The kingdom of heaven is both present and future. The professing church is the visible manifestation of the kingdom in its present earthly aspect. The kingdom works in the world through the church, bringing to all who will receive it all the blessings of God's rule. However, the church only represents those who belong to Christ, whereas the kingdom is the whole of God's activity in Christ in the world. It takes in the whole of human society. The requirements for entrance into the kingdom is repentance from sin and being born again (CP Mt 3:2; Mk 1:14-15; Jn 3:3-5). The kingdom will continue in its present earthly aspect until Christ's second coming, when the wicked will be cast down into hell and the righteous will rule and reign with Christ in the future eternal kingdom (CP Mt 13:47-50; 2Ti 2:11; 2Pe 1:11).

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