The Reign of the Heavens

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It is the Reign of the Heavens

To preach the Kingdom of the heavens* is not to preach a city called Heaven.

If I try to teach English speaking people that Jesus never preached Heaven, I might run into some difficulty because in Matthew we see these words: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. (Matthew 4:17)  If you speak Spanish, read this verse in the Santa Biblia, Reina-Valera 1909 to see that the English versions mostly differ in translating this.

The phrase, kingdom of heaven is only found in Matthew (never in the Santa Biblia, Reina-Valera 1909). And people, who are unaware that in most English Bibles, this phrase is an incomplete translation, are sometimes tempted to say that Jesus is preaching Heaven, here.  But He is actually preaching the kingdom. It would help if they knew that the phrase should really be translated, the kingdom of the heavens, or the reign of the heavens.

There is no other book in the entire Bible to which people can go and mistakenly think that Jesus is preaching Heaven. This is because there is no other book with the phrase, “kingdom of heaven”.

In what is called Christendom, “Heaven” means one thing and “the heavens” means something else. In popular culture, Heaven is a city with streets of gold and pearly gates. On the other hand, the heavens are the celestial realm.

The purpose of the following is to confirm that the phrase should rightly be translated, the kingdom of the heavens or the reign of the heavens.

KJV:

Matthew 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,

3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Greek:

Mt 3:2 ——————————————————————————————————–

————————————————————————————————————

I ask your forgiveness, since I am not able to write the Greek text in such a form that will post, so I ask those of you who are able, to please study this same passage in Greek text that you can find available. I intend to shortly make a PowerPoint available that will contain this subject, along with the Greek text that I cannot directly post.

  

Scofield commentary notes 1917

(1) The phrase, kingdom of heaven (lit. of the heavens), is peculiar to Matthew and signifies the Messianic earth rule of Jesus Christ, the Son of David. It is called the kingdom of the heavens because it is the rule of the heavens over the earth, Matthew 6:10. 

Young’s Literal Translation:

Mt 3:1 And in those days cometh John the Baptist, proclaiming in the wilderness of Judea,

Mt 3:2 and saying, `Reform, for come nigh hath the reign of the heavens,`

Santa Biblia, Reina Valera 1909:

Mt 3:1 Y EN aquellos días vino Juan el Bautista predicando en el desierto de Judea,

Mt 3:2 Y diciendo: Arrepentíos, que el reino de los cielos se ha acercado.

Santa Biblia, Reina Velera 1909 Matthew 3:2:

Y

diciendo:

Arrepentíos

que

El

reino

de

los

cielos

se

ha

acercado.

         

reign

of

the

heavens

     

So you see, it does not say, “Heaven”; it says, “the heavens”.

In Spanish Bibles, this is plain (although not necessarily clear of weaker translations). However this is not plain to most English-only people, because as a rule English translators fail to completely translate the phrase.

All of the above was done in order to show that it is not Heaven (as in a city called Heaven, or just plain, Heaven) that Jesus is preaching. He is preaching the kingdom or reign of the heavens. We would have to add in our own traditional preferences (as co-scriptures) in order to continue to allege that Jesus preached, Heaven.  

Getting back to English, please let us observe that even in the imperfect English translations He does not say, repent for the kingdom—Heaven is at hand; but rather,  “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Excuse the faulty translation). The long dash (—) between kingdom and Heaven would, in that case, indicate that the kingdom and Heaven are one and the same. But it was not expressed in that way. In reality, the kingdom is the kingdom and the heavens are the heavens. So therefore, it is the reign of the heavens that we are looking forward to.

 

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