By Tom L. Ballinger

The disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ came to Him wanting to show Him the magnificent buildings of the Temple complex in Jerusalem. “And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2).

Then, some of them came to Him, privately, as He sat on the Mount of Olives and wanted to know what would be the sign of His Parousia and the consummation of the age? (Matthew 24:3). The age in view was not the age in which they were living. It was not this present age, in which we live because ours is one that no-one knew about. The age in view was the one in which their hope was centered. The very one the Lord Jesus told them to pray for: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6: 9-13).

The age to come, in the minds of the disciples, was His Kingdom when He would assume universal sovereignty and rule in righteousness, and justice, and honor. The Lord had already given the Jews an explanation of how He would impose His will upon the world. We could assume His disciples knew what Isaiah had written concerning the coming Divine Government.

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law” (Isaiah 42:1-4).

This is a clear reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Kingdom comes, Christ will first show judgment, or justice, to the Gentiles (i.e. the nations). There will be no nation of God’s Israel until He first rules over the nations. By ruling over the nations, He can effectively begin to re-gather His Chosen People and place them in their ancient land. All of mankind will be submissive to His world-wide rule. All will worship Him in that day. There will be no diversity of religions when the Lord governs. Those who fail to worship the Most High will suffer death. When He brings Israel into the Promised Land, there will not be one Moslem to object, not one Palestinian to protest, and no United Nations to dissent. The restoration of Israel will be achieved amicably. It will be accomplished by the Righteous Judge.

In Matthew 12:18-21, we find the New Testament version of Isaiah 42:1-4:

“Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.”

The Kingdom of God is established in the earth while Israel is “Lo-Ammi.” It is only logical for it to be this way. The re-gathering of the descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will take time to get them back into the Land and establish their government under the risen David. It will be a time of universal peace, a time when the earth yields her increase, the deserts blossom like a rose, justice rolls down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream, perfect health is restored, and much, much more could be said.

Daniel 2 tells us the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s forgotten dream. The events in this chapter are to take place in the “latter days.” Daniel 2 is not a historical fact of past events. It foretells that in the “latter days,” which is a reference to the Kingdom of God, five monarchs will have a universal rule over the nations [see Daniel 2’s Forgotten Dream]. The first monarch of the Kingdom is the only one named, Nebuchadnezzar. He will be raised from the dead when the Kingdom of God begins. The “God of Heaven” will give him a reign of power, and strength, and glory. And, wherever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven the God of heaven will make Nebuchadnezzar rule over them all (Daniel 2:37-38).

According to Daniel 2, there will be at least five universal monarchs who reign while the Lord is restoring the nation of Israel, “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure” (Daniel 2:44-45).

The Kingdom which the Lord sets up is Israel, and it shall stand forever. The restoration of Israel’s kingdom takes place while God is ruling the earth through His appointed kings. When Israel, the “stone cut out of the mountain without hands,” grows to such power and glory, it breaks, or pulverizes, the nations of the five monarchs. This takes place during days of the future Kingdom of God. The breaking in pieces of the nations mentioned gives way to the supremacy of Israel in world affairs.

All of this happens while Christ is retained in the heavens (Acts 3:21).

There is abundant evidence in the Scripture that the Lord first rules over the nations before Israel’s kingdom is restored. Psalm 67 is a psalm concerning His governing the nations.

“God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him” (Psalm 67:1-7).

Again, notice that Christ Jesus reigns over the nations while He re-gathers His People from the “four corners of the earth.”

“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:10-12).

The nations worship Him, and He is the governor of the nations.

“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD's: and he is the governor among the nations” (Psalm 22:27-28).

The Lord’s Kingdom [the Epiphany] comes upon the earth in such a manner that: “He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” This is not a reference to the Parousia of Jesus Christ.

The manner in which His Parousia occurs is one of shouting, the blast of a trumpet, and the destruction of those who have no love for the truth (see:1 Cor.15:52, 1 Thess. 4:16, and 2 Thess. 2:8-12). A great deal of damage occurs at His Parousia which is the consummation of the Kingdom.

The 2nd Coming of Christ (His Parousia) is the consummation of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, it cannot be the beginning of the Kingdom of God. The biblical placement of the Kingdom of God appears [the Epiphany] long before His Parousia. The Kingdom of God doesn’t come with His 2nd Coming. But instead, His Parousia ushers in the 1000 year reign on earth.

In summation, when the Lord Jesus Christ judges the quick and the dead at His Appearing (Epiphaniea) and Kingdom (2 Timothy 4:1), He assumes sovereignty over the nations of the world. While doing so, He begins a work in the hearts of the Jews preparing them to enter the Land of Promise. This includes those who are living, at the time, and those who He raises from the dead.

How does the Government [Kingdom] of God come upon Israel? How will it progress and finally come to fruition? Notice what the Lord Jesus says about it in parabolic form:

“And he said, So is the kingdom of God,” as it relates to Israel, “as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear” (Mark 4:26-28).

The Kingdom comes upon Israel while Christ rules over the nations from heaven; it doesn’t come suddenly or dramatically. It’s like a planted seed—it is not seen, but it exerts energy and power, and it brings forth fruit of itself; man knoweth not how. The Kingdom comes to Israel in stages; the blade stage, the ear stage, then the full corn in the ear.

Compare this with the 2nd Coming of Christ. It comes suddenly, like a thief in the night. It comes dramatically, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon will not yield her light, the stars fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken (Matthew 24:29).

The Epiphany and Kingdom of Christ is far different than the Parousia of Christ. If they are different, they cannot be the same thing.

The Parousia of Jesus Christ is the consummation the Kingdom age.

Tom L. Ballinger