Imagine a house that has been a shambles for many years. The roof has caved in, the doors have fallen off their hinges, and the exterior has been vandalized. At one time, this house was in good condition—but no longer. Considering the extent of the damage that has occurred, restoration will be no small task; it will not take place overnight.
Now consider the damage that occurred to mankind some 6,000 years ago when an unseen spirit, Satan, induced Adam and Eve to rebel against God. Prior to that event, the first human couple enjoyed perfect health with the prospect of living forever along with future generations of their offspring. (Genesis 1:28) When they sinned, however, it was as if Adam and Eve vandalized the human family yet to be born.
Do not underestimate the damaging effects of that rebellion. The Bible says: “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin.” (Romans 5:12) Besides bringing death, sin has impaired our relationship with our Creator and has affected us physically, mentally, and emotionally. As a result, our condition is similar to that of a run-down house. The righteous man Job realistically summed up our situation when he described man as being “short of days and full of trouble.”—Job 14:1, Holman Christian Standard Bible.
But did God abandon the human race after the downfall of Adam and Eve? Not at all! In fact, from then until now, our heavenly Father has been working in behalf of the human family. To appreciate better just what he is doing for us, consider three steps that are necessary for restoring a house and how each of these relates to what God has done to restore mankind.
1 After inspecting a damaged house, the owner must decide whether to restore it or to demolish it.
Immediately after the rebellion in Eden, Jehovah God announced his purpose to restore mankind. He said to the unseen spirit who was behind the rebellion: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.”—Genesis 3:15.
With those words, Jehovah promised to destroy the instigator of the rebellion in Eden. (Romans 16:20; Revelation 12:9) Furthermore, Jehovah foretold that a future “seed” would redeem mankind from sin. (1 John 3:8) Those promises put on record a vital truth: God was going to repair, not demolish, his creation. But the restoration of mankind would require time.
2 An architect prepares blueprints that clearly set forth what the restoration work will accomplish.
Jehovah God gave the Israelites a code of laws and designed a temple at which they were to worship him. The Bible says: “Those things are a shadow of the things to come.” (Colossians 2:17) Like blueprints, they represented something greater.
For example, the Israelites offered animal sacrifices to obtain forgiveness of sins. (Leviticus 17:11) That practice foreshadowed a greater sacrifice that would be offered centuries later—a sacrifice that would provide mankind with true redemption. The very layout of the tabernacle and temple at which the Israelites worshipped prefigured the steps that the future Messiah would take, from his sacrificial death to his ascension to heaven.—See the chart on page 7.
3 A builder is chosen who will follow the blueprints and perform the restoration.
Jesus was the promised Messiah who would follow the pattern that was set by the Israelites’ sacrifices and would give his own life to redeem mankind. Indeed, John the Baptizer called Jesus “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) Jesus willingly accepted the assignment. He stated: “I have come down from heaven to do, not my will, but the will of him that sent me.”—John 6:38.
God’s will for Jesus included that he not only would “give his soul a ransom in exchange for many” but also would make a covenant with his followers for a Kingdom. (Matthew 20:28; Luke 22:29, 30) That Kingdom is the means by which God will accomplish his purpose for mankind. The message about God’s Kingdom is called “good news” because it explains that God has set up a government in heaven to take control of earth’s affairs!—Matthew 24:14; Daniel 2:44.