About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

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Restoration Ė Acts 3:21

There are many variations of the teaching on Restoration. Some are more extreme than others. In general the teaching says that Jesus will return to earth after "all things that the prophets have said have been fulfilled ". This means that the Kingdom of God will grow and increase in its influence to the degree that the whole world will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God. Things will be so good for the Kingdom that nations will come to it to find answers to the questions of life. At this point Christ will look on the earth and see what is happening and say, "all has been restored, I now can return". The church will say, "come Lord Jesus" and He will come.

There are a few key New Testament verses that people use to back up their thinking. Many other scriptures are found in the Old Testament. The Old Testament verses are interpreted with the understanding that all verses once relating to Israel, Jerusalem, mountain of God, and Zion should now be interpreted as relating to the church. For example, Micah 4:2 reads, "Many nations will come and say, come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways so that we can walk in His pathÖ" Restoration thinking interprets the mountain of the Lord and the house of God as the church in Godís Kingdom. Therefore before Jesus returns nations will come to the church for council.

Personally I cannot interpret the Old Testament this way. If the Old Testament prophets are speaking to and about Israel, those words are for them, not for the church. In the Micah 4:2 verse, where God is speaking about the house of Jacob, I donít think we can apply that to the church. We cannot substitute the word church every time we see the word Israel, Jerusalem, or mountain of the Lord, or any other like word or phase. 

Even if we could make this substitution, we should ask, when will this take place? At what moment in history will the nations run to the mountain of God? When will all things be restored?

Much could be said about what and why Restorationists believe. They tend to be Covenant Theologians and not Dispensationalist. They tend to be au-mill in their end time thinking. They believe that Israel has no real significant role to play in end times events. More could be said about all of that. What I simply want to do in this article is to point out a few reasons why I do not believe in restoration as described in my first paragraph.

Acts 3:21 is the key New Testament verse that is used for the Restoration Doctrine. It reads, "He (Jesus) must remain in Heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets." (NIV)

This scripture is a foundational verse in the Restoration teaching. This verse is supposed to tell us when Jesus will return in light of restoration. Restoration thinking says that Jesus will remain in Heaven "until all things are restored". Look closely at what this verse says. It says, "Jesus must remain in Heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything".

What is this verse really saying? Is it saying that Jesus will remain in Heaven until all things are restored? No, it says that He will remain in Heaven "until the time comes for God to restore all things". At that time Jesus will return. It is pretty clear that Jesus will return when God decides to restore all things. It appears to me that Jesusí return will launch the restoration of all things. This verse does not say that everything will be restored before Jesus returns. T

If this is the pivotal New Testament verse, and if it is interpreted incorrectly, how can the doctrinal structure that is built on this verse be correct?

 

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