I have just begun a study on the nature of Jesus’ Kingdom. Most Christians believe Jesus will return some day to the earth in a physical body to sit on a physical throne located in physical Jerusalem, which would be the capital of his physical Kingdom. I take issue with this point of view that seems to be the hope of most Christians, and in my previous study on this theme I pointed out that, if, as nearly everyone believes, Jesus did, in fact, come cir. 70 AD to judge Jerusalem and to destroy the Temple, as the scriptures seem to support (Matthew 26:64; cf. Daniel 9:26-27; Luke 19:12-15, 27; Acts 6:14), then wouldn’t that have been his ‘Second Coming’? If not, why not, and do the scriptures predict a ‘third’ coming of the Lord?
It seems to me that this whole futurist idea of a physical King ruling from a physical throne, in physical Jerusalem over a physical Kingdom is totally bankrupt. It simply has no Biblical support. Moreover, how would this idea of physical Jesus, ruling in a physical Kingdom, in physical Jerusalem on a physical throne fit into what Jesus claimed about not being able to see or point to the Kingdom of God (Luke 17:20-21)?
Consider, if you will, the paradigm we find in John 6. This is where Jesus miraculously fed 5000 men, not counting women and children, so the figure might be closer to 15-20000 people. He fed all of them with 2 fish and 5 barley loaves. Not only so, but when he told the disciples to gather up the leftovers, they filled up 12 baskets with food (John 6:9-13)! What happened next? Well, when the people saw what Jesus had done, they immediately rushed toward him to make him king, but when Jesus perceived what they intended to do, he withdrew from them (John 6:14-15).
Know and understand that later Jesus would tell Pilate that he was indeed the King of the Jews, and for this reason he had been born (John 18:37). Therefore, John tells us, far from rejecting Jesus at this point, they wanted to make him King. They were receiving their Messiah (John 6:14), i.e. they believed he was that Prophet that Moses foretold would come (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Nevertheless, Jesus withdrew himself and wouldn’t allow them to make him King. Why? If the Kingdom of God is as the futurists tell us, namely, a physical Jesus, sitting on a physical throne, in physical Jerusalem, reigning over a physical Kingdom, why didn’t Jesus accept their proposal? Wasn’t that the end to which he was born (John 18:37)?
There is a huge problem with this idea of God’s Kingdom, and a physical Jesus, reigning on a physical throne, in physical Jerusalem, over a physical Kingdom. Consider with me what we are told under similar circumstances that we find in John 6. Long ago, when Israel was a theocracy, the elders of the land came to Samuel, wanting him to anoint a king over them (1Samuel 8:4-5), but the matter was very distasteful for Samuel. Nevertheless, the Lord told him the people had not rejected Samuel, but, rather had rejected God’s reign over them (1Samuel 6-7). Not only are we told that God said the people had rejected him as their King, but Samuel gathered Israel together and repeated what God had told him (1Samuel 10:17-19), telling them what they had done by asking for a physical king to rule on a physical throne in Israel. In doing so, they had rejected their God, who had saved them out of every trouble and from every oppressor that came against them.
Moreover, Samuel again gathered Israel together after Saul had been anointed king, and Samuel recounted all the Lord had done for his people from delivering them out of the hand of Pharaoh when they were but slaves in Egypt, up to that very day. Then he told them once more what they had done by asking for a physical king, when they had God as their King (1Samuel 12:1-20).
So, why did Jesus withdraw from the people who wished to make him king (John 6:14-15)? It was, because, from the very beginning, having a physical King to reign from a physical throne, located in a physical city, ruling over a physical kingdom was an act of rebellion against God. Jesus knew what was going on in John 6:14, and he rejected it. Moreover, for nearly 2000 years he has been rejecting the hope of the futurists’ idea of a physical king, sitting on a physical throne in physical Jerusalem, reigning over a physical Kingdom.