Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven?
                          
The Heresy Of Scofieldism

   
In the Scofield Bible, there's this very complicated explanation about the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God:

     "The kingdom of God is to be distinguished from the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 3:2, note), in five respects: (1) The kingdom of God is universal, including all moral intelligences willingly subject to the will of God, whether angels, the Church, or saints of past or future dispensations (Lk 13:28,29; Heb. 12:22,23) while the kingdom of heaven is Messianic, mediatorial, and Davidic, and has for its object the establishment of the kingdom of God in the earth (Mt. 3:2, note; 1 Cor. 15:24,25). (2) The kingdom of God is entered only by the new birth (John 3:3,5-7); the kingdom of heaven, during this age, is the sphere of a profession which may be real or false (Mt. 13:3, note; 25:1,11,12). (3) Since the kingdom of heaven is the earthly sphere of the universal kingdom of God, the two have almost all things in common. For this reason many parables and other teachings are spoken of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew, and of the kingdom of God in Mark and Luke. It is the omissions which are significant. The parables of the wheat and tares, and of the net (Mt. 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50) are not spoken of the kingdom of God. In that kingdom there are neither tares nor bad fish. But the parable of the leaven (Mt. 13:33) is spoken of the kingdom of God also, for, alas, even the true doctrines of the kingdom are leavened with the errors of which the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Herodians were the representatives. (See Mt. 13:33, note.) (4) The kingdom of God "comes not with outward show" (Lk. 17:20) but is chiefly that which is inward and spiritual (Rom. 14:17) while the kingdom of heaven is organic, and is to be manifested in glory on the earth. (See "Kingdom (O.T.)," Zech. 12:8, note; (N.T.), Lk. 1:31-33; 1 Cor. 15:24, note; Mt. 17:2, note.) (5) The kingdom of heaven merges into the kingdom of God when Christ, having "put all enemies under his feet," "shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father" (1 Cor. 15:24-28). Cf. Mt. 3:2, note."
1917 Scofield Reference Bible  p. 1003  Footnote #1 (to Matthew 6:33)

    
We'll try to wade through this. Let's look at the introduction first.

     "The kingdom of God is to be distinguished from the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 3:2, note), in five respects:"
We'd look at Scofield's note about Matthew 3:2, but it's far easier to just look at Matthew 3:2 instead (and Matthew 4:17 and 10:7 thrown in as well):

Matthew 3:2   And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 4:17   From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Matthew 10:7   And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

    Let's see if we can find parallel passages that say "the kingdom of God is at hand."

Mark 1:15   And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

   
Already we see a problem with Scofield's notes about Matthew 6:33. Jesus said "the kingdom of heaven is at hand." He also said "the kingdom of God is at hand." Clearly, Jesus did not believe that the two were to be distinguished!

(1) The kingdom of God is universal, including all moral intelligences willingly subject to the will of God, whether angels, the Church, or saints of past or future dispensations (Lk 13:28,29; Heb. 12:22,23) while the kingdom of heaven is Messianic, mediatorial, and Davidic, and has for its object the establishment of the kingdom of God in the earth (Mt. 3:2, note; 1 Cor. 15:24,25).

     I won't even try to decipher Scofield's first point.

(2) The kingdom of God is entered only by the new birth (John 3:3,5-7); the kingdom of heaven, during this age, is the sphere of a profession which may be real or false (Mt. 13:3, note; 25:1,11,12).

   
It is true that John 3 teaches that you can only enter into the kingdom of God by being born again. However, Scofield claims that the kingdom of heaven may contain those whose profession is real or false. He refers you to Matthew 13:3. However, he should have pointed out that this parable of the sower is found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Here then are the verses in each book where Jesus begins to explain the parable of the sower:

Matthew 13:11   He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Mark 4:11   And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

Luke 8:10   And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

    
Interestingly, the parable of the sower is related in all three of the synoptic gospels. In Matthew, Jesus refers to the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. In Mark and Luke, He refers to the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Scofield's second point is thus refuted.

"(3) Since the kingdom of heaven is the earthly sphere of the universal kingdom of God, the two have almost all things in common. For this reason many parables and other teachings are spoken of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew, and of the kingdom of God in Mark and Luke. It is the omissions which are significant. The parables of the wheat and tares, and of the net (Mt. 13:24-30, 36-43, 47-50) are not spoken of the kingdom of God. In that kingdom there are neither tares nor bad fish. But the parable of the leaven (Mt. 13:33) is spoken of the kingdom of God also, for, alas, even the true doctrines of the kingdom are leavened with the errors of which the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Herodians were the representatives. (See Mt. 13:33, note.)"

   
Scofield states that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God "have almost all things in common." He builds a doctrine out of the simple fact that only the gospel of Matthew mentions two parables (the parable of the wheat and tares, and the parable of the net). Since up to this time, Jesus has used the terms "kingdom of heaven" and "kingdom of God" interchangeably, there is no reason to accept Scofield's conclusion.

"(4) The kingdom of God "comes not with outward show" (Lk. 17:20) but is chiefly that which is inward and spiritual (Rom. 14:17) while the kingdom of heaven is organic, and is to be manifested in glory on the earth. (See "Kingdom (O.T.)," Zech. 12:8, note; (N.T.), Lk. 1:31-33; 1 Cor. 15:24, note; Mt. 17:2, note.)"

   
In discussing the "kingdom of heaven," Scofield refers you to Luke 1:31-33, which mentions the word "kingdom" only. In the book of Luke, "kingdom of heaven" is never mentioned - only the "kingdom of God." (32 times) Likewise, 1 Cor. 15:24 is mentioned, even though "kingdom of heaven" is not found in that book - only the "kingdom of God." (5 times) Thus, the references to "kingdom" in Luke 1:31-33 and 1 Cor. 15:24 in context would seem to be references to the "kingdom of God," not the "kingdom of heaven." But since Jesus equated the two, this point is also refuted.

"(5) The kingdom of heaven merges into the kingdom of God when Christ, having "put all enemies under his feet," "shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father" (1 Cor. 15:24-28). Cf. Mt. 3:2, note."

    
Now, if the kingdom of heaven includes both real and false believers (according to Scofield), how can it be merged into the kingdom of God, which supposedly has no false believers?

Conclusion

    
The Scriptures make it clear that the phrases "kingdom of heaven" and "kingdom of God" are synonymous. In Contemporary Dispensationalism (ed. Herbert W. Bateman IV), pp. 23-31 are devoted to an attempt to distinguish the two phrases and yet appease those dispensationalists who disagree with Scofield. The committee of scholars who produced the 1967 Scofield Bible considerably changed this footnote, even admitting that the expression "kingdom of God" is synonymous with the kingdom of heaven. Mostly, they simplified what Scofield had originally written.

What's amazing is that if you just accept the fact that Jesus used the phrases "kingdom of God" and "kingdom of heaven" interchangeably and synonymously, it's really very simple after all. You can then just ignore Scofield's bewildering footnote.