It is a mistake to think that the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven is, or is to be, in heaven.
The Bible teaches us that the purpose of God in creating the earth is that it should be inhabited.
Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: "I am the LORD, and there is no other.
And that God intends to fill the earth with his glory
Numbers 14:21 "but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD—
This glory will be in the form of men and women raised to the divine nature in whom and with whom God will live.
2 Peter 1:4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
An everlasting inheritance on the earth was promised to Abraham.
Genesis 13:15 "for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.
This means that Abraham must be raised from the dead to eternal life upon the earth to inherit the land previously called Canaan.
The promise of eternal inheritance on the earth is also made to those who ‘wait upon the Lord’:
Psalms 37:9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.
And ‘the meek’:
Psalms 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
And those blessed by the Lord:
Psalms 37:22 For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth, But those cursed by Him shall be cut off.
Jesus confirms that the ‘meek’ shall inherit the earth.
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
In process of time Abraham’s descendants became the nation of Israel.
Out of that nation God made David their king.
David (and Solomon his son) were thus kings on the throne of the Lord over Israel.
1 Chronicles 29:23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him.
God promised David a descendant, of whom God would be the father, who would establish David’s throne forever.
1 Chronicles 17:11 "And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12 "He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 "I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. 14 "And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever."’" 15 According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.
That descendant was Jesus Christ.
Matthew 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
David’s throne was on earth in the city of Jerusalem.
The angel Gabriel told Mary that in the future Jesus would sit upon the throne of David and his kingdom would have no end.:
Luke 1:31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
Jeremiah prophesies of this future time:
Jeremiah 3:17 "At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts.
Paul in his letters uses the word ‘heaven’ as follows
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
Romans 10:6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, "Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’" (that is, to bring Christ down from above)
1 Corinthians 8:5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords),
1 Corinthians 15:47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.
2 Corinthians 5:2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,
This means that the promised divine nature is reserved in heaven awaiting the day of Christ’s return and the resurrection of the faithful dead who will be given it and live forever on the earth.
2 Corinthians 12:2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.
The third heaven is not a place but a time - as Peter makes clear:
2 Peter 3:5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 ¶ But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 ¶ The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 ¶ Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells..
The ‘burning up’ is not the destruction of the physical heaven and earth (the latter is already promised as an eternal inheritance), but a complete change in the Government and the order upon earth. In figurative language the ‘heaven’ represents the rulers and their evil ways and the ‘earth’ represents the ruled and their Godless cultures.
The earth will abide forever
Ecclesiastes 1:4 ¶ One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.
This ‘third heaven’ is the time when the kingdom of God is fully established on the earth.
The physical land promised to Abraham will still exist. The throne of David in Jerusalem will still exist. Paul was caught away to this future time and saw the earth filled with the glory of God, which he was not permitted to describe.
Galatians 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
Ephesians 1:10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.
Jesus Christ has been given all authority in heaven and earth
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Ephesians 3:15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
Ephesians 6:9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Philippians 2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
Those in heaven refers not to men but to angels. Those on earth refers to those living upon the earth. Those under the earth refers to the dead awaiting resurrection.
Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
Colossians 1:5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,
The life promised to us (our hope) is currently reserved in heaven awaiting Christ’s return.
Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
All things were not created ‘by’ Christ. All things were created by God ‘for’ Christ (the Greek word can mean either ‘by’ or ‘on account of’ (for). He is to rule over all. We are clearly told elsewhere that God created all things before Jesus was born.
Colossians 1:20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
By Jesus’ sacrifice the faithful were (and are) reconciled to God.
Colossians 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Colossians 4:1 Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
The faithful whether alive or dead ‘wait’ for Christ’s return. They will not be taken to heaven.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
The dead in Christ are to be raised to eternal life on the earth, not taken to heaven.
2 Thessalonians 1:7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
In times of trouble in this life we can take comfort in the glorious ‘rest’ promised us at Christ’s return.
When Christ returns to restore the kingdom of David, the 12 apostles, raised to the divine nature will serve as judges to the 12 mortal tribes of Israel.
Matthew 19:28 So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
I hope you find this helpful.
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