Matthew's use of 'Kingdom', 'Kingdom of God' and 'Kingdom of Heaven'

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[This initially appeared in The Bangalore Theological Forum, Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1976, pp. 60-77].

Matthew's use of 
θεός, 'God'
    Matthaean usage of 
βασιλεία, 'kingdom'
    'The Kingdom' passages
    'The Kingdom of God' passages
    'The Kingdom of Heaven' in the parables
    'The Kingdom of Heaven' in other passages
    Other uses of 'Kingdom'

            One of the concerns of many of the writers of the New Testament is how to handle the problem of presenting a balance between present reality and future expectation, between present grace and demand on the one hand and future promise and consummation on the other.  As we hope to demonstrate, Matthew appears to have struck such a balance around the word 'Kingdom', using 'Kingdom of God' for present grace and demand and 'Kingdom of Heaven' for future promise and consummation, with the unmodified term 'the Kingdom' apparently including both vectors. [1]
        A second purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that anyone doing research should develop a healthy disrespect for secondary sources, no matter how eminent their authors may be.  That there is no substitute for consideration of primary data was shown by the ironically humorous example of the Wright brothers making their first flight in an airplane at Kittyhawk, thus giving the lie to the then current orthodoxy in aerodynamics that a machine that was heavier than air could never fly.
        When we suggest that one should not equate 'Kingdom', 'Kingdom of God' and 'Kingdom of Heaven' in Matthew, we shall be arguing against the conclusion hitherto maintained by most scholars.  For example, K. L. Schmidt in The Theological Dictionary of the New Testamment holds that in Matthew 'Kingdom of God' and 'Kingdom of Heaven' have exactly the same meaning, and that 'Kingdom of the Father' is a third equivalent. [2] Likewise, Floyd V. Filson in his commentary on Matthew says of these and other uses of  'Kingdom' in Matthew, 'There is no real difference between these varied expressions' [3], and the same verdict is given by C. T. Craig in The Interpreter's Bible. [4]  In The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible O. E. Evans similarly specifies that there is no difference of meaning between 'Kingdom of God' and 'Kingdom of Heaven' [5], and in Peake's Commentary Krister Stendahl simply says that 'Kingdom of heaven is Matthew's term for the Kingdom of God'. [6]  We can find similar judgements in the N.T. theologies of Hans Conzelmann [7], W. G. Kümmel [8], Joachim Jeremias [9], and Alan Richardson [10].
        The argument that is commonly advanced for Matthew's shift to 'Kingdom of Heaven' is that since 'Heaven' is a periphrasis for 'God' and Jews out of reverence tended to use substitutes for 'God', therefore Matthew as  a Jewish Christian used 'Kingdom of  Heaven' instead of 'Kingdom of God' simply because he was being a reverential Jew.  Let us now test this argument against the data of Matthew.  We shall do so on two lines, the first of which is to examine the frequency of Matthew's use of  θεός, 'God', and the second of which is to investigate his various uses of  βασιλεία, 'kingdom'.

Matthew's use of  θεός, 'God'
       Matthew uses  θεός, 'God', 51 times to Mark's 48.  But fifteen of Mark's occurrences are in the phrase 'the Kingdom of God', with Matthew using this phrase four times.  Thus discounting this phrase, we are left with θεός 47 times in Matthew and 33 times in Mark.  This is once per 389 words in Matthew to once in 305 words in Mark 1.1-16.8, which is 78.5% or over 3/4 of Mark's frequency.  If we also remove the ten times in Matthew and four times in Mark which speak of 'son (or sons) of God', then Matthew's use of θεός is once per 495 words and Mark's is once per 347 words, so that Matthew's frequency is still 7/10 that of Mark's.  This appears to indicate that the grounds are very weak indeed for asserting that Matthew uses 'Kingdom of Heaven' merely to avoid the use of 'God'.

Matthaean usage of  βασιλεία, 'kingdom'
       Looking at the occurrences of  βασιλεία, 'kingdom', in Matthew , we find 'the Kingdom' without further definition seven times (4.23; 6.33; 8.12; 9.35; 13.19, 38; 24.14); elsewhere in the gospels this usage is found only in Luke-Acts (Luke 12.32; Acts 1.6; 20.35).  Four times Matthew uses 'the Kingdom of God' (1.28; 19.24; 21.31, 43) as against 15 in Mark, 32 in Luke, 6 in Acts and 2 in John [11].
'The Kingdom of Heaven' occurs 32 times and only in Matthew in the N.T. [12]  We also find ; 'thy Kingdom' referring to God once (6.10, par. Luke 11.2) and to Jesus once (20.21 and in Luke 23.42).  'His Kingdom' is used twice, referring to the Son of man (13.41; 16.28).  'The Kingdom of their Father', namely, God, the Father of 'the righteous ones' occurs once (26.29), and also one time we find 'a Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world' (25.34).
        In addition to these fifty cases there are a further five.  Four times βασιλεία is used to speak of secular kingdoms (4.8; 12.25; 24.7 [bis]).  Once it is used in reference to the Kingdom of Satan (12.26).  These fifty-five occurrences, when compared to twenty in Mark, forty-six in Luke, eight in Acts and five in John, indicate that βασιλεία and what it is used to signify may well be of special concern in Matthew.  Let us now attempt to see if Matthew has intentionally differentiated between his various uses of the word 'kingdom', and whether he has, for example, a particular reason for ever using the phrase 'the Kingdom of God'.

'The Kingdom' passages
        We shall begin with the cases in which occur the unmodified uses of 'the Kingdom', ἡ βασιλεία.  Four times Matthew tells of 'preaching the gospel',  κηρύσσειν τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, the only times that he uses εὐαγγέλιον, 'gospel', and in three of them it is a preaching of the gospel 'of the Kingdom' (4.23 with its doublet, 9.35 [13]; 24.14; the fourth passage is 26.13).
       Thus in Matthew Jesus is spoken of as simply preaching  'the gospel of the Kingdom' (4.23 and 9.35), not 'the Kingdom of Heaven' or 'the Kingdom of God'.  Unlike Mark, Matthew does not speak of Jesus as 'preaching the gospel of God' (Mark 1.14).  Matthew does not speak of 'the gospel of Jesus Christ' (Mark 1.1), or of 'the gospel' (Mark 2.15; 8.35; 10.29), or of the disciples as simply 'preaching the gospel' (Mark 13.10; 14.9).  For 'the gospel' in Mark 13.10 and 14.9 Matthew has 'this gospel of the Kingdom' (Matt. 24.14) for the former passage and 'this gospel' (Matt. 26.13) for the latter.  The addition of 'this' in both Matthaean passages suggests an organic linking of Jesus' preaching with that of the disciples even if not a total identity.  Perhaps it may also indicate that besides the true gospel, 'this gospel', aberrant forms have arisen as well.
        Jesus' statement that 'this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the entire inhabited world for a witness to all the nations, and then shall the end come' (Matt. 24.14), suggests that it is not expected that all will respond.  This would also seem to be implied in the saying in Matthew about the disciples as 'the salt of the earth' (5.13) and, less clearly, in the statement that they are 'the light of the world' (5.14).  It is stated more clearly in the passage from Mark about shaking the dust from one's feet when no response is forthcoming (Matt. 10.14; Mark 3.11; Luke 9.5).  That the response will be variable even among those who heed the preaching of the Kingdom is clearly borne out in the interpretation of the parable of the sower, taken over from Mark (Matt. 13.18-23; Mark 4.13-20; Luke 8.11-15). [14]  In this section in Matthew there is another passage using 'the Kingdom' which undoubtedly belongs here.  Whereas in the Markan interpretation of the parable what is sown is 'the word', ὁ λόγος  (Mark 4.14), corresponding to Mark's absolute use of 'the gospel', Matthew says that it is 'the word of the Kingdom' that is sown (Matt. 13.19), the fruit of which is to be brought forth in the present (v. 23) [15].  Matt. 28.19 f. indicates clearly that Matthew intends that the central content of the disciples' preaching shall be the calling to discipleship, which includes the present demand of Jesus' teaching of God's Torah, [16] along with the grace of Jesus' reigning presence as 'God with us'.  In any event, Jesus' teaching in Matthew, as seen in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) and in his dispute with the scribes and Pharisees over the nature of the Torah (Matt. 23.1-36), clearly concerns the demands of God here and now, albeit in an eschatological situation.  Therefore Jesus' preaching of the Kingdom includes a present demand.  At the same time, the future tenses to be found in the Beatitudes (5.4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; cf. v. 12: 'great is your reward in heaven') along with the promises of a future sitting upon twelve thrones (19.28), and a future receiving of riches and inheriting of eternal life (19.29), indicate that Jesus' preaching of the Kingdom also includes a promise of the future, a future inheritance.  Thus it would seem that 'the Kingdom' is an inclusive term, encompassing both demand (and grace) for the present and promise for the future.
        There are still three other passages involving the simple use of 'the kingdom'.  In the Q section on anxiety, having spoken to the disciples of 'your heavenly Father' (6.26b; cp. 'God' in the Lukan parallel, Luke 12.24b), Jesus says, 'But seek first the Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you' (6.33).  This clearly involves both the present and the future.  In the other two passages, 8.12 and 13.38, Jesus speaks of 'the sons of the Kingdom'.  After commending the centurion of Capernaum for exhibiting faith unlike any that he has found in Israel (Matt. 8.10; par. Luke 7.9), Jesus says that many will come from the east and the west (i..e., including Gentiles0 and recline with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 8.11; cp. Luke 7.29), 'But the sons of the Kingdom will be expelled into outer darkness' (Matt. 8.12a).  'The sons of the Kingdom' are clearly the hard-hearted among the Jews, who, having been called to the future inheritance of the Kingdom, have failed to enter into its demands in the present.  The second 'sons of the Kingdom' passage occurs in the interpretation of the Matthaean parable of the tares (Matt. 13.36-43).  Jesus says. 'The field is the world; the good seed: these are the sons of the Kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the evil one' (v. 38).  'Sons of the Kingdom' must mean those who show forth God's rule over them, his righteousness in the world (cf. οἱ δίκαιοι, 'the righteous ones', of v. 43), just as the 'sons of the evil one' in Semitic idiom means those who are evil.  But in v. 43 it is said that after the harvesting bythe angels of the Son of Man, 'Then the righteous will shine out as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father'.  Thus in both of the 'sons of the Kingdom' passages the phrase appears to embrace both present demand and future inheritance and consummation.

'The Kingdom of God' passages
        'Kingdom of God' is retained only once from Mark (Matt. 19.24; Mark 10.25) and once from  materials 9Matt. 12.28; Luke 11.20).  It is to be found in the Matthaean parable of the two sons (21.31), and in 21.43 it occurs in a Matthaean addition to the Markan parable of the wicked husbandman (added after Mark 12.11).  Matthew's 'Kingdom of God' passages thus range strikingly over all three levels of his materials: Mark, Q and Special Matthaean, which means that with his propensity for 'Kingdom of Heaven' Matthew either selected these 'Kingdom of God' passages or he was a very careless editor.  We hope to show the former explanation better fits the data.
        In 12.28 Jesus says, 'If by God's spirit I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God is come upon you.'  Although 'the Kingdom of Heaven' has only drawn near (ἤγγικεν, Matt. 3.2; 4.17; 10.7), 'the Kingdom of God' is now present (ἔφθασεν ἐφ ̓ ὑμᾶς, 'is come upon you', 12.28).  W. G. Kümmel [17], rightly in my view, maintains that there is this difference between the two verbs ἤγγικεν and ἔφθασεν.  The ἐφ ̓ ὑμᾶς, 'upon you', would appear both to reinforce this difference and also to personalize the Kingdom of God as a present demand placed 'upon you'.
        In 19.24 (Matthew's only Markan 'Kingdom of God' passage) it is clearly the rich young man's [18] unwillingness (v. 22) to enter into the depth of the present demand of the Torah, as set forth by Jesus that is meant when Jesus says, 'It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God'.  The rich young man had wanted to have (future) 'eternal life' (19.16; par. Mark 10.17), but Jesus had told him what to do if he wished 'to enter into life' (v. 17, a Matthaean form), that is, to enter into life now.   In the same vein, we then find in v. 23 Jesus saying, 'A rich man will enter the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty'.  Thus 'eternal life' and 'the Kingdom of Heaven' are future entities, participation in which is dependent upon entering into 'life' and taking up the demand of  'the Kingdom of God' now.
        In the Matthaean parable of the two sons (21.28-32), a parable concerned with present obedience, Jesus, addressing the chief priests and elders of the people (cf. v. 23), says, 'the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going before you into the Kingdom of God' (v. 31).  Thus there are people who are entering the Kingdom of God at the present time.  This should be taken with the statement by Jesus to the same audience in 21.43 that 'the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and will be given to a people producing its fruits'.  Once again, 'the Kingdom of God' is to be manifested in the present in its fruits, and the passage here would appear to imply the transfer of the Covenant from those who are hard-hearted among the people of the Jews to a reconstituted people gathered around Jesus.

'The Kingdom of Heaven' in the parables
        We shall now survey all the 'Kingdom of Heaven' passages, beginning with the ten passages which introduce parables.   In 13.31 and 33 the phrase incurs in the introductions to two parables retained from Mark, namely, those of the mustard seed and the leaven, with both parables concerning large results coming from small beginnings, and hence clearly having reference to the future.  All the other parables but one are peculiar to Matthew.  In 13.24 the phrase introduces the parable of the wheat and tares, which is about future judgement 9as well as being about the present Church as a mixed raher than puritanical community).  In 13.44, 45 and 47 the phrase begins the parables of the treasure in the field, the pearl of great price, and the net, with the former two concerned with an ultimate goal for which one is to forsake all, and the last one concerned with a future judgement.
        The four remaining cases we shall consider here occur later in the gospel, and they all involve the use of a future tense, and all of them are concerned with a future judgement.  'The Kingdom of Heaven' occurs in 18.23 (the unmerciful servant; future tense in 18.35), and in 20.1 (the labourers in the vineyard; future tense in 20.16).  It occurs again in 22.2 concerning the marriage feast, with Matt. 221-10 basically parallel to Luke 14.16-24, but with Matthew adding the further judgemental note of the man without the wedding garment, Matt. 22.11-14, with a future tense in v. 13.  In this Matthaean form, the extended parable concerns both the transfer of the promise of the Kingdom from the original intended heirs to the outsiders (to the 'people of the land' and the Gentiles, most probably), and also the demand that the latter be fruitful in good works (cf. 5.16), for 'unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven' (5.20).  One may note here the contrast between this rejected invitation to something offered (the Kingdom of Heaven parabolically presented as a marriage feast) and 21.43, where that which they have already, namely, the Kingdom of God, will be taken away from them.  The last case to be examined here occurs in 25.1, and the future tense is used in the very introduction to the parable of the wise and foolish virgins: 'Then the Kingdom of Heaven shall be compared to ten maidens...' (25.1), the parable being a Matthaean addition to the materials of the Markan apocalypse; it ends with the injunction which occurs frequently in Matthew: 'Watch!' (25.13), and it points to a future dividing judgement.
        Thus in all the parables in Matthew the phrase 'the Kingdom of Heaven' points to the future in terms of fulfilment, promise, goal, or impending judgement. [19].

'The Kingdom of Heaven' in other passages
        We now turn to the twenty-two non-parabolic occurrences of 'the Kingdom of Heaven'. As we have already seen, 3.2 (John's preaching); 4.17 (Jesus' preaching) and 10.7 (the disciples' preaching) all speak of 'the Kingdom of Heaven' as only having 'drawn near', ἤγγικεν.  In the Beatitudes, to share in 'the Kingdom of Heaven' (5.3, 10) appears to refer to an assured promise of an inheritance, not a present possession.  This is in conformity with the parable of the last judgement, the Great Assize (25.31-46), in which the Son of Man, the king, says, 'Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world' (v. 34).  Eight times the phrase is found in passages employing the future tense with reference to 'the Kingdom of Heaven', whether one is to be called 'least' in it (ἐλάχιστος, 5.19), or is to enter it (5.20; 7.21; 8.11; 1`8.3; 19.23), or is to be given the keys of it (16.19, bis).
        Let us now look 
at 13.11 and 52 together.  In 13.11 Jesus says to the disciples, 'To you has been given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven' (δέδοται, a perfect passive), while in 13.52 Jesus speaks of 'every scribe discipled to the Kingdom of Heaven' (μαθητευθείς, an aorist passive participle).  These passages, while they deal with the present, clearly concern knowledge about the Kingdom of Heaven, which means that they leave open the question of whether it is present or future as such, despite the use of the perfect in the former and the basically timeless aorist in the latter.
        In 19.12 we read of 'those who make themselves eunuchs (εὐνούχισαν, an aorist indicative) for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven'.  The best explanation of this is on the basis of the parables of the hidden treasure in the field and the pearl of great price (13.44-46), namely, what some give up now for the sake of the goal of the Kingdom of Heaven.
        We still have six more passages to examine (11.11, 12; 18.1, 4; 19.14; 23.13).  As we hope to show, what they appear to have in common is a Matthaean presupposition that the Kingdom of Heaven is anticipated in Jesus' person.  Thus at first sight 23.13 appears to contradict our thesis concerning the basic futurity of  'the Kingdom of Heaven', for in it Jesus says to the scribes and Pharisees, 'You are shutting the Kingdom of Heaven before men, for you are not entering, neither are you allowing those who are entering to enter'.  But the issue at stake in Matt. 23, as we have indicated earlier, is the meaning, interpretation, and present demand of the Torah, about which the Pharisees and their scribes are blind guides.  This is seen most clearly in Jesus' charge about their blindness concerning the deep things of the Law in 23.23.  Thus their shutting of the Kingdom of Heaven and refusing to enter it would appear to refer to their total opposition to Jesus.
        This would seem to be borne out by another apparently difficult passage.  The passage in question is 11..12-13 in which 'the Kingdom of Heaven' is said to be suffering violence from the days of John until now.  But if we build upon W. G. Kümmel's careful study of the passage [20], which in turn owes much to G. Schrenk's work on the parallelism of the verbs βιάζεται, 'it suffers violence', and ἁρπάζουσιν, 'they seize', in 11.12 [21], then it is the Kingdom of Heaven as present in Jesus' person from the days of John until now that is suffering violence, and violence in a bad sense.  Thus we may legitimately turn this around and say that it is in Jesus' person that the Kingdom of Heaven is proleptically present and it suffers violence inasmuch as violence is done to Jesus.  This then casts light upon the previous passage we have just examined concerning the shutting of the Kingdom of Heaven by the scribes and Pharisees, their refusing to enter and their blocking of the way for those who are entering (23.13), for it ius then their refusal to accept Jesus' teaching (as in 15.12-14, where Jesus calls them blind guides, and especially 24.16-24, where he twice repeats the charge) and their attempt to divert the ὄχλοι, the 'crowds' from confessing and following Jesus (12.24) that are meant.  The real violence as such that the Kingdom of Heaven suffers in Jesus' person is seen in the perverting of the ὄχλοι, the 'crowds', by the chief priests and elders to the point that they demand that Jesus be crucified (27.20). [22]
  On the basis of what we have just seen  in 11.12, namely, that the violence that the Kingdom of Heaven suffers is that which is done to Jesus' person, in whom the Kingdom of Heaven is present 'before the time' (πρὸ καιροῦ, 8.29), we are now ready to understand 11.11: 'Among those that are born of women there has not arisen a greater than John the Baptist, yet he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he'.  Although such scholars as Eduard Schweizer [23] believe that the one who is literally 'lesser' (ὁ μικρότερος) cannot be Jesus, we shall see that it probably means Jesus himself, and hence he is here, as in 11.12, the present representative of the future promise and consummation of the Kingdom, i.e., the  Kingdom of Heaven.  Matt. 11.10, 11, 12, 14 (implied), and 16-19 all contain contrasts between John and another person, and except for vv. 11 and 12 it is obvious that the contrast is between John and Jesus.  Thus Matt. 11.10 cites Malachi 3.1 concerning the forerunner, while v. 14 identifies John as Elijah (i.e., the forerunner).  Verses 16-19 contrast the approaches of John and Jesus and the receptions given to them (v. 17 is chiastic against vv. 18-19): the 'wailing' and ascetic John is rejected as having a demon, and the 'piping' and gregariously eating and drinking Son of Man, Jesus, is rejected as a glutton, drunkard and one who consorts with undesireables.  Thus the contrast between John an another in 11.11 is almost certainly between John and Jesus, an idea entertained by J. C. Fenton [24], who refers to Jesus as coming as the one who serves rather than being served (20.28) but yet is mightier than John (3.1).
        From this we can see that ὁ μικρότερον [25],
'the least' (Matt. 13.32; par. Mark 4.31, which however lacks the article) in the parable of the mustard seed, probably also represents Jesus as the one who is 'sown' (and ';dies' like the equivalent grain of wheat in John 12.24).  If the disciples in Matthew are οἱ μικρόι, 'the little ones' (10.42; 18.6, 10, 14), which probably refers totheir childlike dependence upon God and his gracious mercy, then Jesus would be fittingly ὁ μικρότερος as the one who has lived in perfect dependence upon the Father.  We may note that this positive meaning given to μικρός/μικρότερος, 'little one'/'least one', is in contrast to the negative meaning given to ἐλάχιστος in the saying about the one who will be called 'least' in the Kingdom of Heaven (5.19).
        We may reasonably ask at this point, why does Matthew present Jesus as representing 'the Kingdom of Heaven'?  The answer would appear to be that he represents the goal, Jesus being the one Teacher, διδάσκαλος (23.8), and the one Guide, καθηγητής, as the Christ (23.10), that is, the one who has given the Torah in the depth of its demands and the one who has gone completely in the way of Torah. [26]
        The remaining three passages mentioning 'the Kingdom of Heaven', 18.1, 4, and 19.14, can now be readily understood.  In 18.1 the disciples ask, 'Who then is greatest (μείζων) in the Kingdom of Heaven?'  Jesus' reply includes 18.3 about the need for them to become 'as the little children' (ὡς τὰ παιδία) if they would in the future enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  In 18.4 he gives the direct answer to their question: 'Whoever therefore will humble himself (ταπεινώσει ἑαυτόν, a future tense) as this little child: this one (οὑτός) is the greatest (ὁ μείζων, with the article) in the Kingdom of Heaven'.
  That 'the greatest one', ὁ μείζων, in the Kingdom of Heaven is Jesus himself is made almost certain by Jesus' self-description as the one who is 'humble in heart', ταπεινός τῇ καρδίᾳ (11.19), and the future tense of ταπεινώσει in 18.4 looks forward to the cross.  (We may note here the humbling specifically connected with Jesus' death in the Philippians hymn, Phil. 2.8:  ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτόν, 'he humbled himself''.)  Thus our last passage, Matt. 19.14, 'allow the little children, and forbid them not, to come to me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven', both denotes a coming to Jesus as the embodiment of the Kingdom of Heaven and also repeats the condition of 18.3 for entering the Kingdom of Heaven.  This same double combination would appear to be the meaning of 11.28-30, with the coming to Jesus conveying a promise of 'rest' (the final goal of Gen. 2.2-3, which lies behind Matthew at this point) and the present demand of the 'easy yoke'.
        From our examination of 'Kingdom of God' and 'Kingdom of Heaven' passages we have seen that Matthew considers the former to be the present demand of God's reign with the latter being basically a future entity, but that he also views the 'Kingdom of Heaven' as being present now at least in foretaste in Jesus as 'God with us' (1.23). [27]

Other uses of 'Kingdom'
     One important occurrence of 'Kingdom' is that in the Lord's Prayer.  The disciples are to pray to their Father in heaven, 'Thy Kingdom come' (6.10a), and in the Matthaean form this appears with two more parallel verb clauses.  The whole passage in question, 6.9b-10, may be set forth as follows:
                                        ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·
                                        ἐλθάτω ἡ βασιλεία σου·
                                        γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημα σου,
                                            ὡς [28] ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς·
        G. H. P. Thompson [29] has argued two points about this.  The first is that there is good reason for taking v. 10c as meaning 'both in heaven and on earth', without giving any real force to the ὡς, 'as'.  J. C. Fenton [30] likewise believes the passage should probably be taken this way, and he points to Jesus' saying in 24.29 that the powers of heaven will be shaken at the coming of the Son of Man as indicating that the fullness of God's reign has yet to come in the heavens as well as the earth.  We may add that further support for this view is to be found in the O.T. and Jewish use of 'heaven and earth' to signify the whole creation, and Matthew also uses 'heaven and earth' elsewhere to mean the whole creation as in 11.25 and 28.18 (see also 5.34 which echoes Isa. 66.1 in the linking of heaven as God's throne and the earth as his footstool).  Matthew as well refers to 'heaven and earth' passing away (5.18; 24.35, par. Mark 13.31; cf. the παλιγγενεσία, 'regeneration', in Matt. 19.28), and this latter usage is in line with that strand of O.T.-Jewish thought which envisages the renewal of creation as involving a new heaven and a new earth as in Rev. 21.1. [31]  Thus Thompson's first point is most probably correct.
        His second point is that all three verbal phrases of 6.9b-10 are in parallel and 'both in heaven and on earth' is to be referred to all three verbs, so that the passage is to be taken as meaning:
                                        'Both in heaven and on earth:
                                            thy name be hallowed,
                                            thy Kingdom come,
                                            thy will be done'.
        The three petitions in apposition all concern ends to be fervently desired, as consisting of that which is to be furthered by the disciples' present dependent obedience and therefore as being in process and not yet consummated.  By briefly explicating their meaning we can show this to be the case.  As Abraham was known in Jewish tradition as 'the hallower of the name', so the disciples living by Abrahamic faith are to cause God's name to be called 'holy' as opposed to its being blasphemed (cp. Rom. 2.24, based on Isa. 52.5, where Paul charges the Jews with causing God's name to be blasphemed).  As David is connected with the theme of mercy, so the disciples are to manifest God's reign by showing mercy.  As the Christ has brought justice to completion, so the disciples are to do the will of God.  Thus these three petitions connect the disciples' ongoing way with Jesus' completed way as defined by the titles 'Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham' in 1.1. and the contents of the deep things of the Torah in 23.23, 'justice and mercy and faith'. [32] Hence for the disciples these are part of an ongoing growth and process, and although inaugurated, they are not yet completed.  Thus 'thy Kingdom', the Kingdom of the 'our Father in heaven', is partially present but not yet fully 'come'. [33]
        This is in agreement with the future tense in 13.43 (in the interpretation of the parable of the tares): 'Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father', that is, after the judgement.  Hence the consummation is not yet.  But Jesus has also told the disciples, 'You are the light of the world' (5.14) and has then commanded them, 'Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven' (5.16).  Here we have the doing of God's will, the good works, so done now as to elicit a present glorifying of God's name by men, which is in accord with 6.9-10 in the Lord's Prayer as we have just seen.
        We have noted in the above that the Kingdom of the Father appears to bear both a present and a future meaning, with seemingly its major thrust being toward future consummation, but nevertheless a certain element of it being present now to the extent that the disciples do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God (Mic. 6.8; cf. Matt. 23.23).  What then shall we make of the Matthaean form of Jesus' words at the last supper, 'I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in the Kingdom of my Father' (26.29)?  'In that day' suggests the final consummation, but 'the Kingdom of my father' also suggests, on the basis of what we have said, a certain element in the present.  On balance, therefore, it would seem that Matt. 26.29 points, at least in part, to a present foretaste of fellowship with Jesus in the Eucharist now, but only a foretaste which is to be consummated 'in that day' when the Father's Kingdom is fully come.  In the question about fasting (Matt. 9.14-17; Mark 2.18-22; Luke 5.33-39), when Matthew speaks of the disciples' fasting, he omits 'in that day' from Mark 2.20 (cp. Matt. 9.15; in Luke 5.35 it becomes 'in those days').  The Markan form appears to point to the cross (and probably the Friday fast).  Matthew's omission of the phrase in 9.15 would appear to leave 'in that day' in 26.29 with more of a post-cross vector.  Besides pointing to the Eucharist, 26.29 quite likely also indicates that Jesus goes with the disciples as they drink the cup of the Father's will, a cup they will indeed drink (Matt. 20.22 f.; cp. Mark 10.38 f.) and which Jesus has already drunk (Matt. 20.22; 26.39, 42, 44; Mark 14.36, 39; Luke 22.42).  As the present author has shown elsewhere [34], Jesus and the disciples go together precisely as they will to put the Father's word into deed, so that 26.29 would appear to point to the Father's Kingdom as both a present reality and a future goal.

     We would submit that we have shown a fairly clear-cut differentiation in Matthew between 'the Kingdom' as both present grace and demand and as also future consummation, 'the Kingdom of God' as present demand, and 'the Kingdom of Heaven' as basically future consummation, although it is already anticiated in Jesus' person.  The incident concerning the rich young man is used to help make it clear that the only gateway to eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven lies in entering into life lived here and now in the Kingdom of God. m The note for the present is one of the demand and the necessary grace for dependence and obedience; the future note is one of participation, inheritance and consummation.  It is a question of both a 'now' and a 'not yet', so that in Matthew we have an inaugurated eschatology structured around the phrases 'the Kingdom', 'the Kingdom of God' and 'the Kingdom of Heaven'. [35]

[1]    This presentation was developed initially from suggestions made in a seminar at Nottingham, England, in 1962 by Stuart G. hall of the Theology Department, University of Nottingham.  His suggestions were reinforced by W. C. Allen's note on the subject in St Matthew (I.C.C., 2nd ed. Edinburgh, 1907), pp. lxvii-lxxi and to a lesser extent by material in A. H. McNeile, The Gospel according to St Matthew (London, 19915), pp. xix-xxiv. (Back to text)
K. L. Schmidt, Art. βασιλεία, T.D.N.T. i, p. 582 (T.W.N.T. i, pp. 582-583). (Back)
[3]    F. V. Filson, The Gospel according to St Matthew (BNTC, London, 1960), p. 32. (Back)
   C. T. Craig, 'The Proclamation of the Kingdom', The Interpreter's Bible, vii (New York and Nashville, 1962), p. 146b.  (Back)
O. E. Evans, 'Kingdom of God, of Heaven', Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (New York and Nashville, 1962), iii, p. 17b.  (Back)
   K. Stendahl, 'Matthew', Peake's Commentary on the Bible, ed. by M. Black and H. H. Rowley (London and Edinburgh, 1962), p. 774, section 677. (Back)
    H. Conzelmann, An Outline of the Theology of the New Testament (ET by John Bowden; London, 1969) , p. 108.  (Back)
  W. G. Kümmel, The Theology of the New Testament (ET by John E. Steely; London, 1974), p. 34.  (Back)
   J. Jeremias, New Testament Theology: Part One: The Proclamation of Jesus (ET by John Bowden; London, 1971), p. 97.  (Back)
    A. Richardson, An Introduction to the Theology of the New Testament (London, 1958), p. 85.  (Back)
   John 3.3, 5.  John's three other occurrences of βασιλεία are all in the phrase ἡ βασιλεία ἡ ἐμή, 'the Kingdom which is mine', in 18.36 (ter).  (Back)
    A few witnesses read 'the Kingdom of Heaven' in John 3.5; 'Kingdom of Heaven' occurs in a few witnesses in Matt. 19.24 instead of 'Kingdom of God'.  (Back)
   Luke 8.1, which has affinities with Matt. 9.35, tells of Jesus 'preaching and evangelizing the Kingdom of God'.  Matthew uses εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, 'to evangelize', only in the Q passage concerning the things of which John's disciples are to testify to the Baptizer: πτωχοὶ εὐαγγελίζονται, 'the poor are evangelized' (Matt. 11.5; par. Luke 7.22).  (Back)
   Whereas in Mark's interpretation the types of ground are groups of people ('those who'), in Matthew they are individuals ('he who'), which is a further indication that the Matthaean churtch now expects individual conversions, not mass conversions.  A further indication of this is Matthew's use of second person singular imperatives, as in Matt. 23.36 where it is set in the midst of the second person plural vocatives addressed to 'scribes and Pharisees'. (Back)
    The present writer suspects that ὁ λόγος in Mark 4.14 is Jesus himself (i.e., a Logos christology on Mark's part), while 'the word of the Kingdom' in Matt. 13.19 refers more particularly to Jesus' teaching as being God's true Torah (the one and only Torah, not a new Torah), inasmuch as in Matthew Jesus is the one 'teacher' (23.8; c. 11.29-30) and the confrontations with the Pharisaic Jews are basically concerned with Jesus' teaching (which Jesus also embodies in deed) rather than with his person per se (15.12; cf. 28.10; cp. 16.6 to Mark 8.15, where Matthew substitutes 'Sadducees', who have teaching, for Mark's 'Herodians', who have none).  (Back)
   See the present writer's articles, 'The Son of God as the Torah Incarnate in Matthew', Studia Evangelica IV ed. by F. L. Cross (Berlin, 1968), pp. 38-46; 'Purpose and Pattern in Matthew's Use of the Title "Son of David"', N.T.S. 10 (1963-64), pp. 446-464; 'Mark 1,1-15, Matthew 1,1-4,16, Luke 1,1-4,30, John 1,1-51: The Gospel Prologues and their Function', Studia Evangelica VI ed. by E. A. Livingstone (Berlin, 1973), pp. 178-181.  See also M. Jack Suggs, Wisdom, Christology, and Law in Matthew's Gospel (Cambridge, Mass., 1970). (Back)
   W. G. Kümmel, Promise and Fulfilment (SBT 23; London 1957), p. 107. (Back)
    R. Scroggs and K. I. Groff, 'Baptism in Mark: Dying and Rising with Christ', J.B.L. 92 (1973), pp. 531-548, have cogently shown that the naked 'young man', νεανίσκος, of Mark 14.51who is clothed in Mark 16.5 is a baptismal candidate.  Matthew removes much Markan baptismal material, such as the six references in Mark 10.38-39 (cp. Matt. 20.22-23) relating baptism to Jesus' passion (and the baptismal reference in Matt. 28.19 is an interpolation, Eusebius being the only witness to the original text) but he transfers the tern νεανίσκος to this story of the rich man (Matt. 19.20, 22) taken over from Mark 10.17-22.  Thus it would appear that νεανίσκος may have been used in Markan and Matthaean circles as a quasi-technical term for a new or would-be disciple or convert.  (This appears to be also the case in 1 John, and possibly in Luke, but not in Acts.) (Back)
    Matt. 13.52, concerning the 'scribe discipled to the Kingdom of Heaven', is associated with a parabolic statement about a householder and his treasury.  We shall deal with this in the next section.  (Back)
   Kümmel, Promise and Fulfilment, pp.121-124.  (Back)
[21]    G. Schrenk, Art.  , T.D.N.T. i, pp. 609 ff. (T.W.N.T. i, pp. 608 ff.). (Back)
    As J. C. Fenton rightly says of Matthew, 'When he says the crowds (hoi ochloi) he means those who are usually bewildered and distressed but often favourable to Jesus; they are the potential or future Church' (The Gospel of St Matthew [Pelican Gospel Commentary; Harmondsworth, middx, 1963]. p. 197).  For the developing movement of the 'crowd'/'crowds' to Jesus, with their being turned from and against Jesus by the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders, see Gibbs, 'Purpose and Pattern in Matthew's Use of the Title "Son of David"', N.T.S. 10 (1963-64), pp. 450-451, 458-460. (Back)
    E. Schweizer, The Good News according to Matthew (ET by David E. Green; London, 1976), on 11.11 (p. 261). (Back)
   Fenton, St Matthew, on 11.11 (p. 179).  (Back)
   The neuter gender is required to match τὰ σπέρματα, 'the seeds'.  (Back)
   Jesus alone is the true Adam, God's complete Man, in Matthew's presentation.  Micah 6.8 defines God's requirements of man in terms of doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.  Matt. 23.23 picks these up as the deep things of the Law: 'justice and mercy and faith'.  Matt. 1.1, echoing Gen. 5.1 (LXX), defines Jesus as the true Adam (substituting 'Jesus' for 'Adam') with the three titles 'Christ', Son of David, Son of Abraham'.  As Son of Abraham he lives by fauith; as Son of David he wills mercy, and as Christ he brings justice to completion, thus having his well-being, wisdom and power respectively from God alone.  For details see Gibbs, 'Jesus as the Wisdom of God: The Normative Man of History Moving to the Cosmic Christ,' Indian Jour.Theol. 24, Nos. 3-4 (July-Dec., 1975), pp. 108-109, 118-123, and also Gibbs, 'Gospel Prologues, Studia Evangelica VI, pp. 178-181. [For full presentation on this site see: Wisdom, Power and Well-being.]
  Thus ὁ μικρότερος probably represents Jesus, not the disciples in their present state, since they are as yet only ὀλιγόπιστοι, 'little faithful ones' (6.30; 8.26; 14.31; 16.8), having ὀλιγοπιστία, 'little faith' (17.20).  (Back)
    See also, for example, Matt. 18.20: 'For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them'.  This is obviously a re-working of the Jewish tradition preserved in the Mishnah, Pirqe Aboth iii.2: 'If two sit together and words of the law (are spoken) between them, the Shekinah rests between them'.  In the words of Gunther Barth, '... the place of the Torah is taken by the ὄνομα ('name') of  Jesus; the place of the Shekinah [i.e., God's presence] by Jesus himself'. G. Barth, 'Matthew's Understanding of the Law', Tradition and Interpretation in Matthew by G. Birnkamm, G. barth and H. J. Helkd (ET, LOndon, 1963), p. 135. (Back)
    Omitted in B* a b c k; Cl Tert Cyp.  Even if  ὡς, 'as' was in the original text, then at least these witnesses indicate that v. 10c or the tradition behind it conveyed Thompson's understanding of it (discussed above) in some circles, and the ὡς was dropped to make this more clear.   (Back)
   G. H. P. Thompson, '"The Will be Done in Earth, as it is in Heaven" (Matthew vi.10), a Suggested Re-interpretation', Expository Times 70 (1958-59), pp. 379-381.  (Back)
    Fenton, St Matthew, on 6.10 (p. 101).  Ernst Lohmeyer simply takes it for granted without discussion in '"Mir ist gegeben alle Gewalt!" Eine Exegese von Mt. 28,16-20', In Memoriam Ernst Lohmayer ed. by Werner Schmauch (Stuttgart, 1951), p. 35. (Back)
   On this whole subject see P. S. Minear, 'The Cosmology of the Apocalypse', Current Issues in New Testament Interpretation ed. by W. Klassen and G. F. Snyder (London, 1962), pp. 23-37.  The remaining passages in Matthew which speak of heaven and earth together, 16.19 (bis) and 18.18 (bis), are the binding and loosing passages which concern the future consequences of present church discipline, with 16.19a connecting this with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.  But that the goal is 'the Kingdom of Heevn' in a renewed creation, and not simply 'heaven' as such, appears to be indicated by the promise that the meek will inherit the earth (5.5).  (Back)
   On all these see note 26 and the literature cited therein.        (Back)
[33]    If we allow the ὡς, 'as', to stand in the text of 6.9-10 and if we give it full force, then the meaning can be, 'May we do your wil;l and show dforth your glory as it is already shown forth in the rest of creation'.  For the Wisdom literature view of creation as being created by God's wisdom and showing forth God's glory (albeit in a form that men fail to fathom ) see Ps. 19.1-3; 1 Cor. 1.21 and G. von Rad, 'Some Aspects of the Old Testament World-view', The Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays (Edinburgh and London, 1966), pp. 144-165, particularly pp. 155-165, which culminate in a consideration of 1 Cor. 1.21.
        Thus there would appear to be two possible ways of interpreting the Lord's Prayer, both of which have good O.T.-Jewish backgrounds.  The first, following Thompson's arguments, would view the Lord's Prayer in terms of man's calling as the image of God to be the symbol to the creation of God's sovereign ownership (Gen. 1.26a, 27) and to be God's active vice-regent who is to bring about and maintain order (Gen. 1.27b, 28).  From what we have seen, this appears likely to be Matthew's understanding.  the second interpretation would see man as called to conform to God's will and show forth his glory as the rest of creation already does.  This would match the idea that Wisdom formed the creation and then dwelt among men in the form of Torah, a form that men could hear and understand (see Sir. 24..3-10; von Rad, loc. cit., and U. Wilckens, Art. σοφία, T.D.N.T. vii, pp. 507-509 [T.W.N.T. vii, pp. 508-510]).
        The one position for which there seems to be the least warrant, either in the whole of Matthew and Matt. 6.9b-10 or in O.T.-Jewish thought, is to take the phrase as it is usually translated, namely, 'on earth as it is in heaven'
.   (Back)
  Gibbs, 'Gospel Prologues', Studia Evangelica VI, p. 180. (Back)
    The case of Jesus himself would appear to be similarly set forth in Matthew.  The 'earthly' Jesus as we have seen is the representative of the Kingdom of Heaven 'before the time'.  He is in his Kingdom' precisely when he is on the cross, serving and giving his life as a ransom for many (see 20.20-28, comparing 20.20 with 27.56, and 20.21with 27.37 f.; that is, the mother of the sons of Zebedee is added in both passages, 20.20 and 27.56, to cross-reference 'thy Kingdom' of 20.20 to the cross, since the cross-reference of 'right hand' and 'left hand' of 20.21 to 27..37-38 has been weakened by Matthew's other uses of the pair in 6.3 about almsgiving and in 25.33 about the separation of the sheep and goats at the Great Assize).  As the raised and exalted Lord, Jesus is the one who now has all authority in the whole creation (28.18), and he is yet for Matthew's audience the Son of Man who will come and sit upon the throne of his glory (25.31) as king (25.34) at the final judgement.  (Back)