“The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men . . .” (Psalm 33:13)
“The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (Psalm 115:16).
These passages demonstrate that God operates very much from heaven. It is His dwelling place and the place to which Jesus ascended after his resurrection, “who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him” (1 Peter 3:22).
It is not the place to which people go when they die, Peter speaking about David a king of ancient Israel said: “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day . . . For David did not ascend into the heavens . . .”
Jesus also clearly stated that no-one has ascended into heaven, “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man . . .” (John 3:13).
The word heaven is also used to the space that exists above the earth, “All the birds of the heavens made their nests in its boughs” (Ezekiel 31:6).
When, throughout the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven he was simply speaking of the kingdom which will be set up on earth when he returns. Equivalent passages in the other Gospels refer to it as the kingdom of God for it has its origin in heaven as a part of God’s plan and purpose.
Compare these two parallel passages:
“And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11).
“They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 13:29).
Jesus instructed his followers to pray for the coming of this kingdom when He taught them what has now become known as the Lord's prayer.
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9,10).
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(Quotations from the New King James Version of the Bible)