I also finished The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation by Brad Young while on vacation. I’ll just say that this is an important book for anyone interested in studying Jesus’ parables and leave it at that.
I do want to offer one quote. In the quote below, I think he offers one of the most helpful descriptions for understanding what the “kingdom of heaven” is that I have seen:
In its most fundamental meaning, the kingdom of heaven in the teachings of Jesus denotes the reign of God, which is experienced as a present force for healing, wholeness, and salvation in people’s lives. The kingdom is never defined as identical with the coming of the Son of man. The final judgment, or course, is another display of divine sovereignty, which rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked. Though the judgment may be an expression of God’s kingly power, it should not be equated with the definition of the kingdom of heaven.