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What is the time of restoration of all things (Acts 3:21)?

restoration of all things

After healing a man who was lame from birth, Peter explained to the people gathered at the temple that the man had not been healed by Peter’s power. In his explanation of where the power came, he mentioned “the times of restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21, NKJV).

The healed man was walking and leaping and praising God (Acts 3:8), and Peter made sure the onlookers knew that the healing was not done by human power (Acts 3:12). The power was from Jesus, whom the people had disowned and had crucified (Acts 3:13–15). The healing was on the basis of faith in the name of Jesus (Acts 3:16).

Earlier, they had rejected Jesus in ignorance, Peter explains (Acts 3:17). Christ had to suffer and die, just as God had revealed to the prophets (Acts 3:18). The people now had an opportunity to change their minds about Jesus and to return to their Messiah. If they did, they would be forgiven, and times of refreshing would come (Acts 3:19). The same Messiah who died for them would one day return for them (Acts 3:20). Now, Christ is in heaven until the time of restoration of all things that the Hebrew prophets had described (Acts 3:21).

The time of restoration of all things is described by Isaiah:
“The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
the splendor of our God. . . .
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35:1–2, 5–6).

The time of restoration of all things is mentioned by Paul: “The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). John recorded Jesus saying, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5).

In the temple, Peter pointed his hearers to Jesus, reminding them that God had promised through Moses that God would send another prophet to whom they should listen (Acts 3:22–23; cf. Deuteronomy 18:15). The coming of that prophet would be associated with the time when God will restore everything. Samuel and others had announced “these days” (Acts 3:24)—the time of the restoration of all things. The prophet Malachi announced that another prophet would come before the day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5), and that day would be associated with a restoration (Malachi 4:6). These prophecies were not irrelevant for the people. It was important that they understood that not only was the Messiah coming, but that He had already come.

Peter reminded his audience that they were the sons of the prophets and partakers of the covenant God had made with Abraham (Acts 3:25). In addition to promises of blessing for those who were descended from Abraham, that covenant promised blessing for all the families of the earth through Abraham’s seed (Genesis 12:3b; Acts 3:25). But the first promises of that covenant (Genesis 12:2–3a) included blessings for the descendants of Abraham—which Peter’s audience were. Peter explains that it was for them first that God raised up His Servant, the Messiah, and sent Him to bless the people by turning them from their wickedness (Acts 3:26). Until the time of the restoration of all things, when God’s covenant promises to the descendants of Abraham would be fulfilled, Jesus is in heaven. The people still had time to change their minds about Him and recognize Him as their Messiah.

The healing miracle of the man born lame in Acts 3 was a vivid example of the power of Jesus to restore all things. The people at the temple that day were given an opportunity to repent, moving from unbelief to belief. All who believe in the Messiah will not be disappointed (Romans 9:33; 10:11; 1 Peter 2:6).

Likewise, when we read of the miracles and signs that Jesus and His apostles accomplished, we can recognize who Jesus is and live by believing in His name (John 20:31). One day, the time of the restoration of all things will arrive. God will keep His covenant promises. As surely as those days will come, God will also keep His promises to all who believe in Him. Jesus said that the believing one has eternal life (John 6:47). Just as He has power to heal a lame man, He has power to forgive sin and provide eternal life to all who believe in Him.

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What is the time of restoration of all things (Acts 3:21)?
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This page last updated: November 21, 2022