The predominant view of futurist eschatology is that Jesus absolutely must return to this earth and set up or establish a physical Kingdom of God, wherein he will reign as the Messiah in a visible, physical body on a physical throne from physical Jerusalem. I have been in recent months repudiating that point of view, saying that Jesus has already returned and has already established his Kingdom in 70 AD, when he returned in the clouds, as he claimed he would (Matthew 26:64), and judged Jerusalem and destroyed its Temple in the person of the Roman general, Titus, and his armies. Of course, such a ‘Second Coming’ was not visible with one’s eyes, but it was perceived, in that, the destruction of Jerusalem was the sign of Christ’s presence (Matthew 24:3, 30).
In my more recent studies, I have been discussing Ezekiel 37 and its tenets found in the New Testament. Ezekiel mentions that the Lord will cut a “covenant of peace” with his people—the whole house of Israel (Ezekiel 37:11, 26). At the time of Ezekiel’s prophecy both the House of Israel and the House of Judah had gone into captivity, because they had broken their covenant with God. Their hopes were dashed (verse-11), but God promised them a New Covenant (verse-26), which was also foretold by Jeremiah:
Behold, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Jehovah; but this shall be the covenant that I will cut with the house of Israel: After those days, says Jehovah, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Jehovah. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34; emphasis mine)
Jeremiah tells us that the New Covenant would not be like the Old, which God made with Israel in the days of Moses (verse-32). But, what does that mean? Well, first of all, Jeremiah points to a spiritual kind of covenant. Instead of God’s laws being written on stone, they are written in the hearts of his people (verse-33). Therefore, the question arises: ‘how much else would be spiritual’ or ‘how much else would be different from the Old Covenant’ made with Moses?
Notice what Jeremiah says in verse-34: “they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.” Under the Old Covenant, a citizen of the Kingdom of Israel was born into that kingdom. He was circumcised the 8th day and was in an immediate, but ignorant, relationship with the Lord. From that point on he had to be taught who the Lord was. Under the New Covenant, however, Jeremiah says all will know the Lord and wouldn’t need to be taught about him. This, of course, doesn’t mean there would be no need of teachers, but the concept points to how one became a member of the Kingdom.
Under the New Covenant, one learned about God through the Gospel. He believed the Gospel and then he entered into a covenant relationship with God in full knowledge of who he was. In that sense, once he was in the Kingdom of God, he didn’t have to be taught who God was. All new citizens of the Old Covenant, however, did have to be taught who God was. So, again, the New Covenant shows its difference from the Old. This new concept, however, begs the question: who is permitted into the New Covenant? Is it only the House of Israel, or can foreigners also become citizens of the Kingdom of God, if they believe the Gospel?
Since the method of entry into the Kingdom of God under the Old Covenant has been changed, i.e. under the New Covenant only those Israelites who believe the Gospel are permitted into the Kingdom of God. The a natural Jew isn’t guaranteed citizenship. The emphasis, then, is placed upon faith not birth or ethnicity. If ethnicity isn’t important for citizenship, then it is logical to conclude believing gentiles could also be accepted into the Kingdom of God as full citizens alongside believing Jews. This is a new concept and demands a new understanding of the Kingdom. It can no longer be geocentric. It must be spiritual, just as the covenant is spiritual. If the Kingdom is spiritual, how can Jerusalem be physical? If Jerusalem is a spiritual city (spiritual Zion – Hebrews 12:22), then the Temple or Sanctuary, which God promised in Ezekiel 37, must also be a spiritual Temple.
In other words, as Paul concludes in 1Corinthians 10:11, everything that occurred under the Old Covenant, occurred as a typical event, instructing believers in the first century AD, upon whom the ends of the age had come. The physical foreshadowed the spiritual (cf. Colossians 2:16-17). The idea that the physical foreshadows the spiritual, which in turn foreshadows the physical (viz. the Second Coming of Christ in a physical body etc.) is a completely imaginary paradigm. It has absolutely no foundation in scripture.