Once Adam and Eve were exiled from the garden of Eden along with all of their descendants, the created order ceased to experience the kingdom of God — that place where the Lord’s will is done joyfully and where His blessing is enjoyed in its fullness. Now in a cursed realm of sin and death, our first parents needed some good news, and our Creator provided it when He announced that evil would not have the last word. The serpent who had disrupted everything would be crushed, and though the righteous seed of the woman would suffer in the process, the fullness of the kingdom of God would be restored to creation (Gen. 3; Luke 11:14–23; Rev. 21).
Later in redemptive history, Israel learned that her restoration from the Babylonian and Assyrian exiles would be key to the coming of the kingdom. Adam fell and Israel recapitulated — repeated — his fall when the nation did not heed the voice of the Lord (Hos. 6:4–7). Yet the prophets saw that Israel would emerge from exile a restored people who understood God’s grace and His atonement for sin. Just as Israel recapitulated the exile of creation from divine blessing, so too would all creation recapitulate Israel’s restoration to her covenant Lord, Yahweh (Isa. 24–27; Ezek. 45).
Note, however, that the restoration of creation to fellowship with its Creator does not merely put things back as they were before in Eden. Actually, the prophets looked for the restoration to make the world far better than what Adam and Eve knew in the garden. Death was a possibility in Eden because humanity, in its probation, could forfeit the blessing of life. But that is impossible in the restoration of the world, as Isaiah 25 reveals. Life will be greater than it was in Eden, for “God will swallow up death forever” (v. 8). The kingdom’s return brings a new kind of life — a life that cannot be lost. Sin will be gone forever, as life can be eternal only if there is no possibility that sin and its consequence of death can return. Matthew Henry comments, “The happiness of the saints shall be out of the reach of death, which puts a period to all the enjoyments of the world, embitters them, and stains the beauty of them.”
The gospel of the kingdom, then, is a message of life. It declares that the citizens of God’s kingdom enjoy the prospect of eternal life in a sinless creation. True life — life that death cannot snuff out — is the inheritance of those who believe the gospel.