Written by my dear Christian friends in Australia...


The central theme of Christ's message was the "Kingdom of Heaven". ("Kingdom of God") He preached the 'gospel' of this Kingdom (Mark 1:14), and taught his followers to seek the Kingdom of Heaven before anything else in life. (Matthew 6:33)

To many the "Kingdom of Heaven" is just a nice place to go when you die, but in the Lord's prayer we are taught to pray for God's Kingdom to "come on earth". Jesus spoke about the "Kingdom of heaven being "at hand" (or "among you") (Matthew 3:2), and taught his followers to preach the same message. (Matthew 10:7) In fact he said that the Kingdom of Heaven came "near" to anyone that heard His teachings (Luke 10:9-11), and "upon" those he healed of evil spirits. (Luke 11:20) It is clear that the Kingdom of Heaven is something we are called to "enter" and glimpse through the actions of this life. (Matthew 18:3, 19:23, 7:21)

It seems the "mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven" were hidden from the religious experts (Matthew 13:11). If there ever was a religion established by God it was the Jewish one, but Jesus said their concept of right and wrong would exclude them from the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:20, John 3:3) On this basis we conclude that the "Kingdom of Heaven" is quite different from any other religion, and have discovered that its principles are in fact the antithesis of religion.

There are many different religions in the world, and despite the obvious variations they all share certain characteristics in common. This study outlines the ways in which all religions differ from the Kingdom of Heaven. Note: Many people who call themselves Christians are actually closer to following the Jewish religion than they are to following the Teachings of Jesus.


Temple Worship ... V's We ARE the Temple!

The Religions of Man
... usually 'worship' temples. They give their time and money to make nice buildings which are viewed as "holy places". Their standard phrase to get someone to see their religion is, "Come to my church/temple/mosque/etc". If anyone does not love their temples, the followers of the religion do not love them.
Genesis 11:3-4, Mark 13:1-2, Acts 7:48
The Kingdom of Heaven
... recognises that God does not live in man made buildings; that each person is a temple of God's spirit; and that God is present wherever two or three unite in his service. True Christians do not go to church - they are the church.
Luke 17:20-21, Matthew 18:20, 1 Corinthians 3:16
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Flesh Worship ... V's Die for Others

The Religions of Man
... worship their own bodies. They generally have a lot to say about health, and have a lot of rules about eating meat, drinking alcohol, taking drugs or medicines etc. These health rules are set up as moral rules - i.e. people who do not conform to these rules are bad, evil, sinful. Religions teach people that God loves healthy people more than unhealthy people.
Mark 7:15, Acts 10:9-16, 1 Corinthians 6:13
The Kingdom of Heaven
... recognises that what goes into your mouth does not make you sinful. Jesus told his followers that God can protect them from anything that is unhealthy. (Mark 16:18) and was called a "glutton" and a "drunkard" because he ate and drank with religious outcasts. (Luke 7:34) We are not looking for perfect physical bodies - we are all going to die some day anyway. We may as well use our bodies to show love to others, and wear out in the service of God and others (1John 3:16).
Matthew 16:24-25, Romans 12:1, 1 Corinthians 15:50,53
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Rituals ... V's Loving, Serving, Giving

The Religions of Man
... teach their followers that they should say special prayers or chants, undergo initiation ceremonies, ritual cleansing, offer "sacrifices", "sacraments" etc. to prove that they are more spiritual than others and/or earn them special favours from God.
Mark 7:1-8, Hebrews 10:1, Colossians 2:20-23, Luke 3:16
The Kingdom of Heaven
... recognises that God desires mercy rather than sacrifice. God wants us to have love for him and each other, and to show this love in meaningful acts of service for each other. Rituals are no good if people do not have the right spirit in their hearts. No act of "magic" or superstition can compel God to do anything; instead we are compelled to do what he asks of us.
Mark 12:33, Luke 11:39-41, James 1:27
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Holy Days ... V's A Holy Life

The Religions of Man
... have holy days and/or weekly meetings, to make their members feel their lives are better than other people. By making ONE day holy, religious people think God will "bless" the rest of the week which is spent working for money. Religions divide between "holy" and "secular" so they do not have to feed their members.
Mark 2:23-28, Colossians 2:16, Hebrews 10:11, Mark 7:11
The Kingdom of Heaven
... teaches people to live a holy life by living together, sharing, and spending every day doing good. One day a week religion is not necessary if you are living a holy life every day of the week.
Hebrews 10:25, Acts 2:44-45, 5:42
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10% tithes ... V's 100% Forsake All!

The Religions of Man
... need money to pay for their nice buildings and its leaders, so they teach its members to work hard for money and to give some part of their wage to support the religion. Members of the Jewish religion give 10% of their income (a "tithe"). Through this token giving religion teaches that a mutual partnership can be reached with God and money.
Luke 11.42, Mark 12:41-44
The Kingdom of Heaven
... realises that God does not want 10% of your income - he wants 100% of your life! Jesus asks his followers to be willing to give up everything they own, and realize that money will not buy their acceptance with God, and to trust God to provide the things they need.
Luke 12:33, 14:33, Matthew 6:24-33

Visible Political Structures (Hierarchies)
Direct Link to God ...

The Religions of Man
... are just human organizations, so they focus heavily on organizational details, like the names of their religion, the names of their leaders and founder, how many members their religion has etc. in an effort to create a distinction between themselves and other groups. Religions maintain their authority over its members by convincing them that they need special people to mediate between themselves and God . They have priests and holy people who claim to have special powers to do spiritual things that ordinary people cannot do (talk to God on behalf of others, forgive other people's sins on behalf of God, perform rituals in a way that they say is acceptable to God, etc). These priests and holy people have special titles (Reverend, Father, Rabbi, Teacher, Guru, Swami, etc) to show they are special, and to separate them from ordinary people. These priests and holy people are "ordained" (that is, made into these special people) by other priests and holy people who have some historical link with a special holy person who is the religion's prophet or messenger from God, and they teach if you are not under the "covering" of their leadership, you are cut off from God.
Matthew 23:6-12, Luke 13:34-35
The Kingdom of Heaven
... has no human "mediators" because everyone has a direct link to God's spirit. Jesus taught against elevating human authorities and using titles like "Father", "Teacher", "Leader", etc, because in the Kingdom of Heaven everyone is a "priest" and capable of coming to God directly without going through the authority of an organization..
John 1:12, 15:15, 1 Timothy 2:5, 1 Peter 2:9

theology (the Study of God)
Obedience to God

The Religions of Man
... like to talk about God. They analyse God, define him, and say who and what he is/is not. Religions like to talk about (and argue) theories which are unverifiable such as; predestination vs free will, Trinity vs the Unity of God, the existence and nature of heaven and hell, the attributes of angels and demons, and other religious subjects that do not have much to do with obeying God. Such "knowledge" helps religious people convince themselves that they are spiritual while avoiding doing what God has asked people to do.
John 5:39, Colossians 2:18, Matthew 7:21
The Kingdom of Heaven
... knows that God is beyond our human understanding and what he really wants is to be obeyed. Jesus makes God known to us when we follow his teachings, which have very little to do with matters of theology, but in changing our base motivations and actions.
Matthew 7:24-27, Matthew 25:33-36, John 7:17

Outward Appearances of Morality ...
Inner Sincerity

The Religions of Man
... are concerned about appearances. They do everything because they must show the world that they are better than ordinary people and those from other religions. They have many rules that tell their followers how to appear to be good. Their holy men and priests dress in special ways, so other people will know they are "holy". And they tell their followers that dressing in special ways, will make them more righteous. Religion teaches that good people do not to use certain words or talk about sex.; that good people must not be friendly with "sinners" or people from other religions, and many other outward signs that they say proves a person is morally right with God.
Matthew 23:5, 25-28, John 7:24
The Kingdom of Heaven
... looks at people's hearts, their motives, and their sincerity, realising that honesty is better than the hypocrisy that hides behind religious appearances. Jesus taught that the way to see inside a person's heart is to see what he does with his money, his time, and to see how much love he has for other people. God is more concerned with our sincerity than he is about our religions. All sincere people are saved by Jesus, because he has paid the price for all our religious mistakes and defects in theology.
Matthew 6:1-6, 21, Matthew 25: 37-40, 1 John 4:7, Romans 2:26-29

References mentioned in the Study

(King James text)

Introduction ...

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Matthew 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Matthew 10:7And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Luke 10:9 -11 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
Luke 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
19:23: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
7:21: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Matthew 5:20, John 3:3 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
John 3:3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
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Temple Worship ...

Genesis 11:3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
Mark:13:1 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Acts 7:48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?

vs We ARE the Temple!

Luke 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
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Flesh Worship ...

Mark 7:15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
Acts 10:9-16 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
1 Corinthians 6:13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

vs Die for Others ...

Matthew 16:24-25 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
1 Corinthians 15:50,53 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
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Rituals ...

Mark 7:1-8 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
Hebrews 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
Colossians 2:20-23 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

vs Loving, Serving, Giving ...

Mark 12:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
Luke 11:39-41</U> And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
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Holy Days ...

Mark 2:23-28 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn.
And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Hebrews 10:11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

vs A Holy Life ...

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Acts 2:44-45 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Acts 5:42</U> And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
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10% Tithes ...

Luke 11:42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Mark 12:41-44 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

vs 100% Forsake All!

Luke 12:33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
Luke 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
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>Visible Political Structures (Hierarchies) ...
Matthew 23:6-12 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
Luke 13:34-35 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

vs Direct Link to God ...

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
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Theology (the Study OF God) ...

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

vs Obedience TO God ...

Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Matthew 25:33-36 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. Back to Study ...

Outward Appearances of Morality ...

Matthew 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Matthew 23:25-28 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
John 7:24</U> Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

vs Inner Sincerity ...

Matthew 6:1-6 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
1 John 4:7</U> Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
Romans 2:26-29 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
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