The phrase, Kingdom of Heaven (most of the time literally “Kingdom 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). The phrase is derived from Daniel, where it is defined (Daniel 2:34-36, 44, 7:23-27) as the Kingdom which the God of heaven will set up after the destruction by “the stone cut out without hands,” of the Gentile world-system.
It is the kingdom covenanted to David’s seed (2 Samuel 7:7-10) described in the prophets; and confirmed to Jesus the Christ, the Son of Mary, through the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:32, 33).
The kingdom of heaven has three aspects in Matthew:
- It is “at hand” from the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) to the virtual rejection of the King, and the announcement of the new brotherhood (Matthew 12:46-50)
- In seven “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” to be fulfilled during the present age (Matthew 13:1-52) to which are to be added the parables of the kingdom of heaven, which were spoken after those of Matthew 13, and which have to do with the sphere of Christian profession during this age.
- The prophetic aspect. The kingdom to be set up after the return of the King in glory. (Matthew 24:29-25:46; Luke 19:12-19; Acts 15:14-17; Luke 1:33; 1 Corinthians 15:28).