In order to better follow Jewish culture and show respect for God’s name, Matthew, the author of the book Matthew, chose to use heaven instead of God in his message. He understood Jewish reverence for the name God, for this reason Jews avoided mentioning His sacred name.
The Apostle Matthew was himself Jewish, and a former tax collector by trade. Tax collectors were despised for being cheats. Sitting in their tax booths while working for Rome, they extorted monies from the locals. Any money they collected over and above what Roman government required, they kept for themselves.
Matthew (also known as Levi), lived and worked in Capernaum, a large fishing village and trade center on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. He first met Jesus at his tax booth, Matthew 9:9. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
Matthew’s disreputable job made him a known figure in the Jewish community. Like laws of today, everyone in Jesus’ time was required to pay their taxes; which meant an unwelcome walk to the tax booth on the main roadway.
When Matthew dedicated himself to write his gospel and share the Good News of Jesus Christ, he paid special attention to write in a way Jews would relate to the message. One special term noted in his gospel, as compared to Mark, Luke and John, is the use of “kingdom of heaven” rather than “kingdom of God.”
The Jews were waiting for the prophet’s the promised leader. This new leader, the Messiah, was to establish a new kingdom. The Jews knew from Old Testament prophesies the “anointed one” was coming. But Matthew knew The Truth John 14:6, Jesus was the King the prophets spoke about.
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 3:2
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:10
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21
As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Matthew 10:7
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. Matthew 13:24
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32
He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Matthew 13:33
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Matthew 13:44
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45-46
“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous. Matthew 13:47-49
He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” Matthew 13:52
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. Matthew 20