THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
The NT reports two different forms of the expression: “the kingdom
of God” and “the kingdom of the heavens.” The latter is found only in Matthew,
but Matthew also has “the kingdom of God” four times (Mt 12:28; 19:24; 21:31,
“The kingdom of heaven” is a Semitic phrase that would have been
meaningful to Jews but not to Greeks. The Jews, out of reverence for God,
avoided uttering the divine name, and contemporary literature gives examples of
substituting the word “heaven” for God (1 Macc 3:18, 50; 4:10; see Lk 15:18).