While he was with them, he commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “Which,” he said, “you have heard me speak about; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit in a few days.”ACTS 1:4-6
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”
When Christ gathered His disciples as He was about to Ascend to the Father, He told them that they were going to receive the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence. The disciples knew what the prophets had spoken. God spoke through the prophets that He would restore His Kingdom and pour out His Spirit on His people (Joel 2).
However, what the disciples didn’t understand is that there would be a period of time – known only to the Father – between the pouring out of the Spirit and the consummation of God’s Kingdom.
In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.EPHESIANS 1:13-14
The Kingdom of God was inaugurated at the first coming of Christ. Now we await His Return when He will consummate the Kingdom of God.
With the inauguration of the Kingdom, God began applying Christ’s Redemptive work to believers by His Spirit who now indwells them. Believers in Christ have their hearts changed and await the redemption of their bodies at Christ’s Second Coming. In the meantime, the Spirit also serves as God’s down payment to reassure us that we have awaiting for us an inheritance, the fullness of our redemption. God is guaranteeing us by His Spirit that when He redeems someone, He commits Himself to redeeming all of them (Phil. 1:6).
So when will Christ Return to bring His Kingdom in its fullness and give us redeemed (resurrected) bodies?
While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what is the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”…
This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.MATTHEW 24:3, 14
Before Christ Returns, He is going to redeem a people from every tribe, tongue and nation to Himself.
After that takes place, He will Return and we will receive our redeemed bodies. But there is an order in which God’s people will receive their redeemed bodies. First, those who have died in Christ; then, those who are in Christ and alive at His Return:
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For we say this to you by a word from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.1 THESSALONIANS 4:14-17
Resurrection – Applying Redemption to Our Bodies
When Christ Returns, He will bring with Him the glorified souls of all who died in Christ. While they are in the air, He will raise up for them new bodies where ensoulment will take place.
Then, while they are still in the air, we who are alive in Christ will be transformed. Our corrupted bodies will become transformed into Resurrected bodies.
But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; afterward, at his coming, those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he abolishes all rule and all authority and power…
What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption. Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality.1 CORINTHIANS 15:20-24, 50-53
As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15, we will not be able to be in God’s Kingdom realm as long as we have corrupted and sinful bodies. That is why the redemption of our bodies at Christ’s Return is necessary.
Once we receive the fullness of our redemption, we will will be in a state similar to that of Adam & Eve before the Fall. However, there is one major difference. Adam & Eve were able to sin and able to be corrupted, hence the Fall. Fully redeemed mankind, on the other hand, will be incorruptible (1 Cor. 15:53).
We can illustrate the state of mankind after the Kingdom is consummated as below:
The New Creation
When Christ Returns, we will be, body and soul, a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).
The relationship that we will have to the Kingdom of God is that we have a new heart by which we submit to God’s Kingdom rule and a new body by which we will dwell in His Kingdom realm.
Christ gave the Apostle John a vision of what that day will look like:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.REVELATION 21:1-5
Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God.He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.
Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new.”
In the New Heavens and Earth, the two are one. God’s Kingdom rule will be fully realized in the hearts of men, and we will dwell in His Kingdom realm. As the voice from the throne said, “God’s dwelling is with humanity” again.
Man’s exile from God is over; the day of evil is done. Christ has made all things new.
We have covered a lot of material in this post, looking at the Kingdom of God in redemptive history with a wide-angle lens. The following illustration might help put things in perspective: