The Mystery in the Lord’s Prayer: Is the Kingdom of God Really in Heaven?

Many Christians believe the kingdom of heaven is in heaven, but the Lord’s Prayer says, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven(Matthew 6:10). And the Book of Revelation also says, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ(Revelation 11:15). So, is the kingdom of heaven in heaven or on earth? In this article, we reveal the answer for you.

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Is the Kingdom of God in Heaven or on Earth?

At meetings, I often hear my pastor say, “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also(John 14:2–3), “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God…. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass(Revelation 21:10, 21), and similar passages from the Scripture to tell us that the Lord has gone to prepare a place for us, and that when He returns, we will all directly be raptured up to heaven to enjoy the pearls and gold of heaven, and that we should soberly await and pray often to avoid being left behind when the Lord returns …

After I heard my pastor’s words, I used to be filled with yearning for the kingdom of heaven. I would think that, in all my time on earth, I’d never seen any gold or pearls to speak of, so I really wanted to see what the kingdom of heaven looks like. Sometimes I also imagined myself there one day, standing in the kingdom of heaven, looking up at the gold and splendor around me, the sparkling gold gleaming in my eyes, and everywhere I walked, the crisp sound of golden pavement and my shoes colliding, and not a mote of dust in the air…. That truly would be a heavenly life! The more I thought about it, the more I hoped for the Lord to return and rapture us up to the heaven, so that I could enjoy its beauty. This became the focus of most of my prayers to the Lord.

One day, I recited the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven(Matthew 6:10). I began to contemplate the Lord’s words, and I became confused: God’s intention is that we pray for God’s kingdom to appear on earth, so why does the pastor say the Lord will directly rapture us up to heaven when He returns? The pastor’s sermons obviously conflict with the Lord’s words. Why?

It Turns Out That the Kingdom of God Is on Earth

One day, one of my coworkers brought me to join a small group, and a sister there fellowshiped very clearly on the Bible, which was very illuminating for me. I thought, “This is a rare opportunity, so why not seek answers to my confusion with this sister?” So I asked her, “Every day our pastor tells us to wait soberly, and that when the Lord returns He will rapture us up into heaven. But in the Lord’s Prayer, the Lord clearly tells us to pray that God’s kingdom come on earth, which conflicts with the pastor’s statement that we should wait to be raptured up to heaven when the Lord comes. So, is God’s kingdom in heaven or on earth?”

She smiled and said, “Brother, you’ve raised a very good question, and we can explore the answer together. In the Lord’s Prayer, the Lord Jesus does indeed clearly say that we should pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth and God’s will to be done on earth. Nowhere does it say that God’s kingdom will be established in heaven. In fact, the Lord said, ‘And no man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven(John 3:13). The Lord clearly tells us that aside from God, no man has ascended to heaven. Heaven is God’s dwelling place, and the Lord asks that we pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth. Yet we want to ascend up to heaven. Isn’t this an extravagant desire? So, God’s kingdom will ultimately appear on earth, not in heaven. We can also look at several verses from the Bible, ‘And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever(Revelation 11:15). ‘And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away(Revelation 21:2–4). These verses clearly make reference to the facts that ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ,’ ‘And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven,’ ‘the tabernacle of God is with men.’ All of these indicate that the kingdom of God will come down to earth. If we go by our imaginations, believing that God’s kingdom is in heaven and when the Lord comes He will rapture us all up to live in heaven, doesn’t that mean these prophecies won’t be fulfilled? We all know that in the beginning, God created mankind from mud and placed them in the Garden of Eden to watch over all things on earth, as well as obey, worship, and glorify God on earth, so we can see that God’s will is for mankind to live on earth. Afterward, mankind was corrupted by Satan, and God’s work to save mankind has all been carried out on earth. God made Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and this was done on earth. The Lord Jesus personally came as incarnate flesh to redeem mankind, and that was also on earth. So, mankind’s destination is on earth, not in heaven, and this was long ago preordained by God.”

After I heard her fellowship, I felt it was very practical. Her understanding fit with the Bible and the Lord’s words. In the past, I thought my pastor’s words and the Lord Jesus’ words conflicted, but I didn’t understand the truth within them. This fellowship made me understand that, because in the beginning God created mankind on earth, all of God’s work to save mankind has been done on earth, and the Lord asks us to pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth, God’s will is that we live on earth, not that we ascend to heaven.

After that, my sister read me these words, “God will return to His original place, and each person will return to their respective place. These are the destinations in which God and humans will reside once God’s entire management is finished. God has God’s destination, and humanity has humanity’s destination. While resting, God will continue to guide all humans in their lives upon earth, and while in His light, they will worship the one true God in heaven. … When humans enter into rest, it means that they have become true objects of creation; they will worship God from upon the earth, and live normal human lives. People will no longer be disobedient to God or resist Him, and will return to the original life of Adam and Eve. These will be the respective lives and destinations of God and humans after they enter into rest. Satan’s defeat is an inevitable trend in the war between it and God. As such, God’s entering into rest after the completion of His management work and humanity’s complete salvation and entrance into rest have likewise become inevitable trends. Humanity’s place of rest is on earth, and God’s place of rest is in heaven. While humans worship God in rest, they will live upon the earth, and while God leads the rest of humanity in rest, He will lead them from heaven, not from earth(“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together”).

She continued her fellowship, saying, “From this passage, we can see that after God completely rescues us from the hands of Satan, He will continue to lead mankind’s life on earth, and not rapture us up to heaven. Even though we will still live on earth, at that time all of Satan’s forces that resist God will have been completely destroyed, the earth will no longer be disturbed and harmed by Satan, there will be no scheming, bickering or deceit between people, and people will no longer suffer and worry or grow sick and die. Mankind will live just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, will worship and obey God, and live amidst God’s blessings. At that time, God and mankind alike will truly enter into rest, God will lead mankind from heaven and bestow the blessings of heaven upon the world of man, and on earth mankind will enjoy God’s guidance, live a heavenly life, and God and mankind will live happily together. This is the beautiful destination God has prepared for us. This completely fulfills this prophecy in Revelation, ‘And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away(Revelation 21:4).”

After I heard my sister’s fellowship on this passage, my heart felt bright. This, it turns out, is how the prophecies in Revelation will be fulfilled. Now I understood that the beautiful destination prepared for mankind by God is on earth, but that when it comes, mankind will live without Satan’s disturbances and live peacefully with each other, which will be the blessed life given to us by God. Thinking of how, in the past, I thought the beautiful destination prepared for mankind by God was in heaven, and the way I fantasized about life in heaven, I now realized it was ridiculous to imagine that way. We are fleshly beings, so how could we possibly exist in heaven? Thanks be to God for His guidance, which allowed me to understand that God’s kingdom is on earth.

Without me realizing it, the sky was getting dark, and before I felt like I had heard enough, the meeting was over. But, I truly gained a lot from this meeting, and I look forward to understanding more of the truth at the next one …

»  If this article is helpful to you, you may also be interested in reading more on our Gospel Topics page about Kingdom of God, or in the selected articles below: 

Does Having Our Sins Forgiven Mean We Can Be Raised Up Into the Heavenly Kingdom?

What Kinds of People Can Enter Heavenly Kingdom?