Questions and Answers
Question: Wasn't Gods promise to establish His kingdom fulfilled in the kingdom Christ established in heaven?
Answer: Jesus taught his disciples to pray, "Thy kingdom come. They will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt 6:10). A future heavenly kingdom on earth is not only the hope of those still repeating the Lord's Prayer, but the expectation of the Savior, who told his disciples at the last supper, "I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come" (Lu 22:18). Jesus did not eat and drink the emblems of Ins passion when he established his kingdom in heaven. He will partake of them when he returns to earth (Mk 14:25).
When Jesus ascended in a cloud after his resurrection, the angels then appearing to the disciples said that he would come again "in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). Consequently, the Bible repeatedly reveals that Jesus will descend in clouds of glory (Dan 7:13, Matt 24:30, Mk 13:26, Lu 21:27, and Rev 1:7). When he descends, he will come with his kingdom. Jesus said, "There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Matt 16:28). These clouds - the glory that the scriptures say will accompany the Savior - depict his kingdom.
So glorious will be his descent and so universal will be his reign that his coming will be seen throughout all the earth. Jesus said, "For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven, so shall also the Son of man be in his day" (Lu 17:24). Isaiah, while speaking of his coming, said, "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Is 40:5). Since all people on earth will see the Savior's descent, they will also all see the kingdom he brings with him then. He will come as their king. Zechariah prophesied, "The Lord shall be king over all the earth" (Zech 14:9).
While the return of the Savior will complete the establishment of God's kingdom on earth, it will not be the beginning of it The kingdom will exist before Christ's second coming. Jesus said that angels must be sent before he came to purge out the wicked from his kingdom. He said, "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of Ins kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matt 13:41-43). This means that the kingdom must be set up before the angels are sent to gather the wicked out from it - certainly before Jesus descends.
God promised to make the Hebrews into his holy kingdom (Ex 19:6), but they would not. For this reason, He gave the kingdom to a nation not called after His name (Is 65:1), that is, not named Israel. This new nation, a stranger to the Abrahamic covenant, was joined to Hun through the gospel of Christ. God then joined these strangers to the descendants of Jacob when He sowed the dispersed of Israel among the Gentile nation converted by the gospel (Zech 10:9). These Hebrews had forgotten their lineage and no longer named their nations after God. Nevertheless, God promised to increase their nation twofold and remove it to the end of the earth. Isaiah prophesied, "Thou has increased the nation, 0 Lord, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hast removed it far unto all the ends of the earth" (Is 26:15).
Ephraim means "double fruit." The twofold increase of the nation of Israel sown among the Gentiles, of which Isaiah spoke, implies that its elevation in the last days will be caused by descendants of Ephraim. Under their direction, the nation of Israel will be removed to the ends of the earth. The ends of the earth mean the other side of the earth. America lies on the other side of the earth from Palestine. Britain housed many descendants of Ephraim. Under its oversight America prospered as a refuge for Europeans seeking religious freedom. Eventually, God will establish His sanctuary among them (Ez 37:22-28). Then the faithful (strangers grafted into the covenant) and the elect (sons of Jacob cleansed by the redemption of the Savior) will unite in the kingdom of God to prepare for the return of Jesus.
The establishment of the kingdom of God on earth occurs while other nations remain. Ezekiel predicts that the heathen nations will see the establishment of God's sanctuary in the nation of Israel (Ez 37:28). Micah (Mic 4:1-4) and Isaiah (Is 2:2-4) prophesy that other nations will come to it to learn the ways of righteousness. Daniel reveals (Dan 2:44) that God will set up his kingdom on earth during the days the ten nations represented by the ten toes of iron mixed with clay still wield power. He goes on to say that Gods kingdom will replace the ten-kingdorn empire. John prophesies the same victory when he said, "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ" (Rev 11:15).
The Bible teaches that God will set up His kingdom on earth before Jesus returns. It will be at the "end of the earth," in America, among descendants of Jacob originally sown among Gentiles in northwestern Europe. It will be present while other nations exist on earth, including a remnant of the ancient Babylonian Empire. Under divine providence it will triumph over the kingdoms of this world. Just before Jesus descends, he will send his angels to cleanse his kingdom. Then he will come in clouds of glory, clothed with the power of heaven, to rule his dominion finally established throughout the earth.