We will quickly survey the Bible in the same way we did last year in an effort to remind us that the gospel is proceeding according to the plan of God and will not be deterred.
The Pattern of the Kingdom
We see the world as it was designed to be. God’s people, Adam and Eve, live in God’s place, the garden, under his rule as they submit to his word. To live under his word is to live under his blessing.
The Perished Kingdom
Tragically, Adam and Eve think life would be better lived independently of God. The results of this decision are cataclysmic. They are no longer his people, they are kicked out of his place and they are no longer under his word and thus do not enjoy God’s blessing. They are under judgment and yet God, in his great mercy and love promises redemption and the restoration of his kingdom.
The Promised Kingdom
God calls Abraham and makes a promise to him: through Abraham’s descendants he will re-establish his kingdom. They will be his people, living in his place, under his rule and blessing and through them, all the people of the earth will be blessed. That promise is the gospel. It is partially fulfilled in the people of Israel, but finally fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
The Partial Kingdom
The promises of God to Abraham are partially fulfilled in the history of Israel. Through the Exodus from Egypt, God makes the descendants of Abraham his very own people and at mount Sinai he gives them his law so that they might live under his blessing, shown primarily in the building of the Tabernacle, which was to be God’s dwelling place with his people. Under Joshua’s leadership they enter the land and by the time of Kings David and Solomon, there is peace and rest from enemies and strife. This is the climax of Old Testament History. They appear to be God’s people in God’s place enjoying God’s rule and blessing. But things go bad. The people sin to the point that the kingdom falls apart.
The Prophesied Kingdom
After the death of Solomon, civil war breaks out and the kingdom splits. Israel in the North and Judah in the South. Neither was strong and after 200 years of separate existence, the northern kingdom of Israel is destroyed by the Assyrians. The Southern kingdom hobbled along for another 100 years but then it too fell and was taken into Babylon. During this time, the prophets spoke clearly and powerfully about how God would act through his messiah and that his promises would be fulfilled. The people of Judah must have thought that time had come when they were allowed to return from exile, but God made it clear that the time of the messiah was still yet to come.