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.
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?
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:
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.
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:
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: