There has been a question that had been on my mind for a number of years now. I cannot say that the question has been bothering me, since that would infer more prominence for the question than it actually held, but it has often led to my pondering it. The question is simply this: "Is there a difference between the Biblical terms kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven?" I have often wondered if I was missing some nuance of scriptural truth in treating them as one.
If one would venture to do an Internet search on this question, you would get both yes and no answers (Spoiler Alert: Someone on the Internet is wrong!) In fact some would be so bold as to proclaim that without a proper understanding of the difference between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God, it is impossible to form a correct understanding of Ecclesiology (study of the church), Eschatology (study of end times), Anthropology (study of humankind), or Arachnology (study of spiders – Okay I just threw that one in to see if you were still paying attention).
But, in preparing to preach an upcoming sermon (Oct 12 at ValleyView Church if interested- you're all invited) I stumbled upon this passage which I do believe answers the question.
In Matthew 19: 23 Jesus exclaims how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, and then in verse 24 he goes on to say “And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Emphasis mine). If Jesus differentiates between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God, would he not have used the term “also I say unto you” rather than “again I say unto you”? The word “again” would infer that Jesus was speaking of the same rich man entering the same kingdom.