Q. This one is short and sweet, but it could be a very deep one. Are the terms “Kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of Heaven” synonymous in the New Testament?
A. The phrase “Kingdom of God” appears 70 times in the New Testament while “Kingdom Of Heaven” appears only 33 times, all of them in Matthew’s Gospel. Since it appears that Matthew was writing primarily to a Jewish audience, some scholars have concluded that Matthew was trying to avoid using the word “God” since it’s forbidden for Jews to write or speak the word.
But it’s interesting that Matthew also used the phrase Kingdom of God 4 times, all of them quotes from the Lord. Perhaps this was a subtle way of demonstrating the Lord’s deity, since it wouldn’t be against the Law for Him to speak His own name.
By comparing the gospel accounts we see that in some places where Matthew used “Heaven” other gospel writers used “God” in describing the same event. Matt. 11:11 vs. Luke 7:28 is one example among several.
All things considered, it seems likely that for all practical purposes the two terms are synonymous, and that the effort to force a distinction between them is man-made.