God has been trying to set up a “Visible” Kingdom on this Earth ever since the creation of man, to whom He gave dominion. (Gen 1:26-28). But that dominion was lost by the “fall” and Satan set himself up as the “Prince of this World”. (Math 4:8-10) (John 14:30). In the “call” of Abraham, God took the first step toward setting up of a “visible” Kingdom on this Earth, which assumed an outward form in the “Jewish Commonwealth,” under Moses. During the administration of Moses, Joshua, the Elders that outlived Joshua, the Judges, David, Solomon, the Kings of Israel and Judah down to the Babylonian Captivity, God reigned through these men under the form of a “Theocracy”. Under the Judgeship of Samuel there was a revolt against the “Theocracy” and Saul was chosen by the people as King. (1 Sam 8:6,7). This was followed by Gods selection of David. But the misrule of his successors and the idolatry of the people, caused the cessation of the Theocratic reign in 606 B.C. and the “Times of the Gentiles,” began.
The Kingdom at Hand:
After 600 years of the “Times of the Gentiles” had run their course, God again made the attempt to set up His Kingdom on Earth, and the Angel Gabrielle announced to Mary the birth of the King. (Luke 1:26-33). 30 Years later the Kings forerunner, John the Baptist, announced that the Kingdom was “at hand,” (Math 3:1,2) and when the King manifested Himself to Israel, He Himself made the same announcement
(Math 4:17-23) and later He sent off the “twelve” (Math 10:7) and the “Seventy” to proclaim the same thing. (Luke 10:1-9)
But the King was rejected and crucified, and the setting up of the Kingdom postponed; the Kingdom took on its “Mystery Form”, under the Name of the “Kingdom of Heaven.” The difference between the “Kingdom of God,” and the “Kingdom of Heaven,” is that the “Kingdom of God” in the Universe over all His created creatures, and includes time and eternity, heaven and Earth. It is spiritual and “cometh not with observation”. (Luke 17:20,21) It is entered by the “New Birth”, (John 3:5) and is not “meat” and “drink” but “Righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost”. (Rom 14:17)
The “Kingdom of Heaven”, is a New Testament term, and is found only in the Gospel of Matthew. Where it is mentioned 32 times. Its character is described in the “12 Kingdom of Heaven Parables” given in (Math 13:1-50) (18:23-25) (20:1-16) (22:1-4) (25:1-30). From these parables we see that the “Kingdom of Heaven” is limited as to its time and peace or sphere. Its time is from the 1st to the 2nd coming of Christ, and its sphere is over that part of the world we call Christendom. In the “Kingdom of Heaven,” there is a mixture of good and evil, wheat and tares, good fish and bad fish, Wise virgins and foolish virgins.