Christians, is there such an expression as "the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven"?

I know that Matthew talks about the Kingdom of Heaven and the other gospels talk about the Kingdom of God. I also know both phrases refer to the same thing. But someone asked me to explain "the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven" and I am at a complete and utter loss to know where to start! What mystery?

Is this an expression used in Catholicism? Any insights most welcome!


Great answers! Thanks, everybody. This is a genuine request for information so I can respond to an assignment.

While acknowledging that Jesus came to save the lost sheep of Israel, it's worth checking out Luke 2:25-40 when Simeon said this about the 8 day old Jesus: "For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." Luke, as a Gentile, emphasises the truth that salvation was offered for the Gentiles as well as for Jews, but Simeon is quoting from Isaiah 42:6. Just a thought!

Update 2:

Helpful links from Autumn and I am about to read the link from Amp Man. What a fascinating subject - I'm so glad I asked this question and I appreciate everyone's time and input.

Update 3:

The reason I think kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God are the same is explained in these two links:

Update 4:

Clearly, as everyone has pointed out, there is such an expression as "the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven", and there are differing views on what the Kingdom of Heaven is. However, when I asked, 'what mystery?' I didn't expect a debate on the difference between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God! My fault for mentioning it, I guess.

One person gave a really good explanation of Jesus' words to his disciples in Matthew 13:11 and Mark 4:11 when they asked why Jesus spoke in parables to the crowds but not to them. This answer shows how the mystery is revealed, and to whom. This is a vitally important point.

With regard to the differences between the expressions Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God, as spoken by Jesus and contained within the New Testament, I think this deserves a fresh question, aimed specifically at the who, what, where and when aspects of God's Kingdom. Please feel free to copy and paste your posts to my next question, and forgive me for not being clear.

14 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Matthew 13 (Amplified Bible)

    11And He replied to them, To you it has been given to know the secrets and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.

    Mark 4 (Amplified Bible)

    11And He said to them, To you has been entrusted the mystery of the kingdom of God [that is, [a]the secret counsels of God which are hidden from the ungodly]; but for those outside [[b]of our circle] everything becomes a parable,

    +++"To this question Christ answers largely, v. 11-17, where he tells them, that therefore he preached by parables, because thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to them who were willingly ignorant; and thus the gospel would be a savour of life to some, and of death to others. A parable, like the pillar of cloud and fire, turns a dark side towards Egyptians, which confounds them, but a light side towards Israelites, which comforts them, and so answers a double intention. The same light directs the eyes of some, but dazzles the eyes of others. Now,

    1. This reason is laid down (v. 11): Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. That is, (1.) The disciples had knowledge, but the people had not. You know already something of these mysteries, and need not in this familiar way to be instructed; but the people are ignorant, are yet but babes, and must be taught as such by plain similitudes, being yet incapable of receiving instruction in any other way: for though they have eyes, they know not how to use them; so some. Or, (2.) The disciples were well inclined to the knowledge of gospel mysteries, and would search into the parables, and by them would be led into a more intimate acquaintance with those mysteries; but the carnal hearers that rested in bare hearing, and would not be at the pains to look further, nor to ask the meaning of the parables, would be never the wiser, and so would justly suffer for their remissions. A parable is a shell that keeps good fruit for the diligent, but keeps it from the slothful. Note, There are mysteries in the kingdom of heaven, and without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: Christ's incarnation, satisfaction, intercession, our justification and sanctification by union with Christ, and indeed the whole work of redemption, from first to last, are mysteries, which could never have been discovered but by divine revelation (1 Cor. xv. 51), were at this time discovered but in part to the disciples, and will never be fully discovered till the veil shall be rent; but the mysteriousness of gospel truth should not discourage us from, but quicken us in, our enquiries after it and searches into it. [1.] It is graciously given to the disciples of Christ to be acquainted with these mysteries. Knowledge is the first gift of God, and it is a distinguishing gift (Prov. ii. 6); it was given to the apostles, because they were Christ's constant followers and attendants. Note, The nearer we draw to Christ, and the more we converse with him, the better acquainted we shall be with gospel mysteries. [2.] It is given to all true believers, who have an experimental knowledge of the gospel mysteries, and that is without doubt the best knowledge: a principle of grace in the heart, is that which makes men of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord, and in the faith of Christ, and so in the meaning of parables; and for want of that, Nicodemus, a master in Israel, talked of the new birth as a blind man of colours. [3.] There are those to whom this knowledge is not given, and a man can receive nothing unless it be given him from above (John iii. 27); and be it remembered that God is debtor to no man; his grace is his own; he gives or withholds it at pleasure (Rom. xi. 35); the difference must be resolved into God's sovereignty, as before, ch. xi. 25, 26."

  • 10 years ago

    Yes, it's in Matthew's gospel 13:10-53 (with many parables helping us to understand that it would start imperceptibly yet grow to massive proportions.) Matthew was out to convince the Jews that Jesus fulfills the ancient faith of Israel and the OT hope of the restoration of the Kingdom. However, the huge stumbling block to Jewish understanding of Messiah was their blinkered view that the Kingdom would be the restoration of the Davidic Kingdom - an earthly rulership establishing Israel as the chosen people of God, enjoying His blessing. They were so taken up with dismay at the Roman occupation, they could not think of anything but deliverance from its hated yolk. Because so many Jewish people (the disciples included) could not see past this earthly rulership, Matthew kept stressing the Kingdom of Heaven (some 30 times). He wished to evoke the thought of the invisible aspect of the Kingdom of God, yet also that Jesus was visibly representing its power and authority.

    Even though Jesus explained many things to the disciples, the two He spoke with on the road to Emmaus (after His resurrection) were still labouring under the illusion that Jesus was going to restore the Kingdom at that time - well, He did, but they were only thinking of the earthly Kingdom! "We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel." (Luke 24:13-33) That is why they could not grasp the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven! Jesus had to chide them for being so slow to grasp all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures about Messiah, who would have to suffer before entering into His glory. That glory was the glory He had with the Father, in heaven, before His incarnation.

    It is the same today. There are very many people who love the idea of the Kingdom of God, but they only seem to think of it in terms of earthly blessings - of an earthly rulership of Christ that will make them enjoy life on earth far more than now. They cannot seem to get beyond earth and to enter into the heavenly dimension of God's Kingdom. That is where Christ, the King, is located! That is where those who are saved by Him will go! Yes, the day will eventually come when heaven and earth will flee away (Revelation 6:14 Isa 34:4) and then God will create a new heavens and a new earth, but all that is way, way ahead. First, souls must be saved and brought into the Kingdom of God! It is foolish for anyone to expect to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom prior to becoming a subject of its King, the Lord Jesus Christ! Their knees must bend in His name first before their understanding will be furthered.

  • Pamela
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Things are only mysteries when you don't know.

    When you know, they cease to be mysteries.

    God will save humanity, but those who are called, chosen and obedient now will receive the gift of rulership in the Kingdom of Heaven, which will rule on earth for the millennium, prior to the second resurrection and judgement.

    1 Timothy 4:10

    ...the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, and especially of those who believe.

    Isaiah 26:9

    When your judgements come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.

  • 1 decade ago

    The mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven must begin with the knowledge of a Good God who is strongly opposed to the point of hatred against all forms of disobedience and unrighteousness. God has complete dominion over all of His creation (including us) and will show a demonstration of How much he hates sin by dealing severely with those who continued in it. All of Humanity has sinned and fallen short of Gods standard. God considers the natural man, an enemy in His sight. Yet he loved us so much that he gave His only son to pay the price for those who believes in him and repents of their sin, to be free from the coming Judgment. Those who obey the gospel of christ shall be blessed and inherit the Kingdom of God and have eternal life.

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  • 10 years ago

    When a person moves away from the simplicity of Christ all sorts of wordy explanations are needed.

    Paul - 2 Corinthians 11:3

    But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.


    Matter of fact it is so obvious that it takes a mind that is without trying to fit preconceived ideas:

    Jesus - Mark 10:15

    “Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”


    Jesus describes the location

    Jesus - Luke 17:21

    They can't say, 'Here it is!' or 'There it is!' You see, the kingdom of God is within you."


    The Kingdom of Heaven is not one people of one tribe of one nation.

    Jesus - Matthew 13:47

    Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:


    Kingdom of Heaven is a place - a location.

    Jesus - 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.


    1. The Kingdom of God is within you

    2. Enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father

  • 10 years ago

    awesome q. and thanks to troll to troll i borrowed these verses from him:

    Jesus - Mark 10:15

    “Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” is this not speaking of Jesus? if we try to receive Him using logic we try to limit and try to understand Jesus and His allnillnessour own understanding which will misguide us.


    Jesus describes the location

    Jesus - Luke 17:21

    They can't say, 'Here it is!' or 'There it is!' You see, the kingdom of God is within you." Jesus is within us upon receiving Him; for where can we hide that He is not there, if we go into the deepest part of the see, is He not there? if we to unto the tallest mountain is He not there? yes to all of these for He is in us--the location of Him is in our heart.


    The Kingdom of Heaven is not one people of one tribe of one nation. and this is correct He is the Savior to anyone that accepts Him as Lord of Lord and King of Kings; the Lamb of God.

    Jesus - Matthew 13:47

    Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Kind--any person. Jesus gathers us--society---of believers


    Source(s): me, your friendly Pentecostal
  • 1 decade ago

    "A close study of all the passages relating to the 'Kingdom, of God' (Heaven), will show that it is regarded both as a present possession and as a future inheritance."

    A promise made in the O.T. and N.T. to all those that call upon and trust the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    Source(s): "The Bible reader's Encyclopedia and Concordance. Rev. W.M. Clow.D.D.
  • Yes. The only way we can learn the meaning of these "mysteries" is to seek the Truth in the Lord God. :D

  • 1 decade ago

    It appears here perhaps other places.........

    10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”

    11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

    ‘ Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,

    And seeing you will see and not perceive;

    15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.

    Their ears are hard of hearing,

    And their eyes they have closed,

    Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,

    Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,

    So that I should[a]heal them.’

    16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

    Matthew 13:10-17 NKJV

  • 1 decade ago

    It's not a mystery - God is the God of Israel, his spiritual kingdom is Judaism.

    xtianity is as much a continuation of Judaism as islam is a continutation of xtianity.

    Source(s): ex-xtian
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