“Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. (Acts 3:19-21)
According to the prophecies from the Old testament it is clear that Israel will be redeemed, her sins will be forgiven, then the times of refreshing will come when she turns in faith to Jesus the long expected Messiah.
“The period of restoration of all things” is not a reference to a time in the distant future from us now. I will show why?
The word “restoration” here is from the Greek word “apokatastasis”.
The word apokatastasis (restoration) means to restore, to set back to the original position. It is to bring back to a proper state what was out of place. Now in the text on its own you may not see the nature of what is being restored and that is why context is key.
The theme of the book of Acts becomes important to understand the message. The book of is about restoration in redemption. The Acts of the Apostles is a journey of the restoration of the Israel of God, the church in Jesus. Many times we tend to forget the scriptures were written in covenantal language and references.
Do you remember the question that the disciples asked Jesus in chapter 1?
6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
The restoration was linked to the kingdom. The only problem with the disciples as at this time was the scope of the kingdom. They thought the identity of Israel was limited to Jews as such they never knew that Non-jews were a part of the Messianic work. Paul came along and presented it that the Israel in prophecy that was to be restored was both the Jew and non-Jew called gentiles. This was important as the prophecy to Abraham was to bless all the world in the seed. That seed is Jesus.
This restoration was spoken of through the writings of the old testaments and that is why there was an expectation in that regard. This was to be fulfilled when the Messiah came on the scene. This is the reason that we see Peter mentions Jesus as the one appointed.
James quotes Amos 9 as proof that God was fulfilling His promise to “rebuild the tabernacle of David that is fallen down” one of the things that was restored or being reconstituted through the arrival of the Messiah, Jesus. The tabernacle of David had to be restored for the Gentiles to be saved. The Gentiles were being saved. The lineage of David being restored was necessary for the nature of the kingdom.
This restoration was a precursor to the return of the Lord, his Parousia in particular. This has nothing to do with causing lions and cats to sit down on the same grazing field. It is the restoration of all things structured by the kingdom through the kingdom in Jesus the Messiah. This reconstitution is about the setting of heaven on earth fulfilling the prayer of Jesus “thy kingdom come’. The return of the Lord in the judgment of that old covenant age in ad70 has presented to us a perfect structure of all things in Jesus; this is simply redemption in its full consummation.