Session 1: God’s Plans for the Future
According to the Old Testament prophets, the Jewish Messiah was supposed to rule Israel and the whole world and set up a messianic kingdom on this earth. The world would be characterized by peace, justice, righteousness, and prosperity. Humanity would return to the Garden and experience an Edenic paradise. The messianic kingdom would be an age of righteous humanity. Mankind would fulfill the original creation mandate to marry, be fruitful, and fill the earth with godly offspring. But Jesus Christ was rejected, crucified, resurrected, and ascended to heaven. And the world remains characterized by strife, war, injustice, unrighteousness, and systemic poverty.
Before the fall, the world was the Son of God’s righteous kingdom on earth. That is because the Genesis creation was created by him, through him, and for him. But when Adam and Eve sinned, they allowed Satan into the world, and it became his regime, or his dominion. Does the Son of God ever get his kingdom back? As human beings, do we ever return to the Garden of Eden? If so, when do we get to experience this promised abundant life in a restored paradise on this Genesis earth before he comes again to take us to heaven? Or do we go to heaven when Christ returns to gather his people, never getting to experience a restored Genesis creation? Can you have a Messiah without a messianic kingdom?