In Romans 8: 18 in the New Testament part of the Bible, Paul, the writer of the letter to the Romans made an outrageous statement: He said all human sufferings are “not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” The human race has experienced unspeakable amounts of suffering throughout history. What can possibly make human suffering seem like nothing? The Great Restoration of all things. Paul then went on to write, “All creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal who his children are [when Jesus returns].” (verse 19) The Great Restoration of all things is being more or less held back, waiting for Jesus to return to earth.
Two Basic Principles
Two basic principles must be understood at the beginning of this teaching. The first: when humans restore something (such as an antique car), they always attempt to restore the object to its original condition. In reality, humans often restore something to less than its original condition, but even in a lesser condition they often consider it fully restored. The second principle: when God restores something, He always restores it to FAR GREATER than its original condition! In a few places, the Bible implies that God’s restoration may sometimes reach even a hundred times (or more!) greater than the original condition.
This issue is about God’s total restoration (and more!) of everything He created—including human beings. His universal restoration began in the Garden of Eden immediately after our first ancestors chose to sin, and will end when God freshly restores the entire universe and the earth. See Isaiah 65: 17; 66: 22; 2 Peter 3: 13; and Revelation 21: 1 for references about the “new” heaven (universe) and the “new” earth; those are the only four such references in the entire Bible. In the two references in Isaiah, the word “new” is the Hebrew word, “chadash,” meaning “something begun again as in the beginning of a new cycle.” In the two references in the New Testament, the word “new” is the Greek word “kainos,” meaning “freshly restored.”
If you put those meanings together, the words “new heavens” and “new earth” mean a freshly restored universe and earth begun anew by God. Again, this issue is about how God is in the process of restoring his entire creation, until in the end the entire universe and earth will be “freshly restored” and “begun again.” In a manner of speaking, God will hit the cosmic “reset button” and all things will begin to be freshly renovated and restored.
Beginning at the Beginning
Let’s begin with our first human parents, Adam and Eve—how God is in the process of restoring them as well as all humanity “in Adam,” as the Bible puts it. I have already covered that restoration in two other teachings on this ministry website, so I will not write any more about it in this issue; those other two teachings are: Let There Be Light and Whole In One. We’ll look at some Bible references about restoration in general in a few moments, but for now, I want simply to generalize with the following fictional thoughts adapted from the writings of a brother in Jesus named John Eldredge:
“In Jesus’ Kingdom and, later, in the freshly restored universe and earth, things are not stained or broken; everything is as it was meant to be in the beginning—and greater. Think about this for a moment. Aren’t every one of our sorrows on earth the result of things not being as they were meant to be? And so when Jesus returns and establishes his Kingdom, wonderful things will begin to unfold. ‘When He spoke to people about the Kingdom of God, He healed those who needed healing.’ (Luke 9: 11)
What will happen when we find ourselves in the Kingdom of God? The disabled will jump to their feet and begin dancing. The deaf will go out and purchase stereo equipment. The blind will head to the movies. The dead will not be dead anymore, but very much alive. They’ll show up for dinner. In other words, human brokenness in all its forms will be healed. The Kingdom of God will bring restoration. Life will be restored to what it was meant to be. ‘In the beginning,’ back in Eden, all of creation was pronounced good because all of creation was exactly as God meant for it to be. For it to be ‘good’ again is not for it to be destroyed, but healed, renewed, brought back to its goodness, fully restored.
When He announced the full coming of his Kingdom, Jesus said, ‘Look, I am freshly restoring all things.’ (Revelation 21: 5) He means that everything in the entire created universe that has been so badly broken will be restored—and then some.”
Ancient Teachings About Restoration
Back to some of the Bible’s teaching about God’s restoration of all things. I’ve already mentioned how God will restore Adam and Eve. God also taught some principles of restoration during the time of the ancient Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and Moses, 4,000 to 3,500 years ago. Also, many of the prophets who lived during the times of the Old Testament kings (3,000 to 2,500 years ago) wrote about God’s restoration; we’ll get to some of them later. But I actually want to begin with some of God’s principles of restoration as found in the oldest book of the Bible, the Book of Job.
I hope you remember the story of Job. God essentially allowed him to be stripped of everything to test and purify his faith and humble him. I won’t go into details, but the first 41 chapters of Job address that in full and lengthy detail. Instead, I want to focus on the 42nd chapter where God restored Job. Chapter 42, verse 10 says this: “and God turned [around] the captivity of Job and restored his fortunes, when he [Job] prayed for his friends; also God gave Job twice as much as he had before.” Verse 12 goes on to say: “And the Lord blessed the end of Job’s life much morethan his early life.” Earlier, Job 33: 26b also conveys some very powerful concepts about God restoring righteousness to unrighteous human beings.
We read in Isaiah 64: 6 that all human righteousness is filthy rags; we humans are totally unrighteous in and of our self-centered, self-righteous selves. Here in Job we read that God restores all of humanity’s righteousness to them. How does He do that? God himself is the only inherently righteous Being (Jeremiah 23: 6); God the Son—Jesus—is also totally righteous (1 Corinthians 1: 30). God—through Jesus—implants his own righteousness in humans, displacing and replacing their unrighteousness and self-righteousness.
In the time of Moses, Deuteronomy 30, verses 1 – 3 intimate and allude to the same type of restoration if in their future God’s people might depart from Him and then return to Him for his restoration. Yes, such principles of God’s restoration are taught here and there throughout both the Old and New Testaments.
Restoration In Elisha’s Time
But now let’s turn to one example during the times of ancient Israel’s kings. In 2 Kings chapter 8, Elisha, one of God’s prophets, predicted that a seven-year famine would come upon the land. In light of the upcoming famine, God—speaking through Elisha—told a widow (whose son Elisha had earlier raised from the dead by God’s power) to go to another land and stay there until the famine ended. She obeyed the prophet and did as he told her to do.
At the end of the seven-year famine, the woman returned to her homeland and went to the king to appeal to have her original land restored to her. The king had the woman’s claims checked out in the court records and, sure enough, she did have a prior legal claim to the land which had previously been hers. The king decreed not only to restore her land, but for her to receive the income from the land from the previous seven years.
In the Book of Job, we saw that God restored to Job double what he had previously owned. Now in 2 Kings we find that God restored to the woman seven times what she previously possessed. Those are timeless principles of God’s restoration. God often restores from two to seven times what a person had previously lost! He did that in those days, and He is still practicing those principles of restoration in the NOW of our lives . . . today! God’s restoration is always more and greater than the original condition or situation!
Other Restoration In The Bible
Here’s another example from the time of Israel’s kings along with a parallel example from the New Testament in the life of Jesus. Turn to 2 Samuel 12: 6. It’s about an incident in the life of King David after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba; by telling the fictitious story of a sin committed by another man, Nathan the prophet was confronting David about his adultery. David responded to Nathan’s story by exclaiming that that the man Nathan spoke of should restore fourfold what the man had stolen from another person in the story. David then understood that Nathan’s story had actually been about David.
Let’s look at another incident, this time in the New Testament during the life of Jesus. See Luke 19: 1 – 9. Jesus confronted a chief tax collector of his day about his need to repent and turn to God. Zaccheus responded positively to Jesus, was redeemed from his sinful condition, and then exclaimed, “I will restore fourfold what I have taken dishonestly!”
Okay, what do we have—in principle—now? Twofold restoration. Fourfold restoration. And sevenfold restoration. Does it get any better in this life? Look at Mark 10: 29 – 31. In some few instances, some people will receive in this life one-hundredfold restoration! In this reference, there are some other details that are part of that degree of restoration, but I’ll let you ponder those for yourself.
Revival = Restoration
I want to insert at this point in our teaching some thoughts you might want to study on your own. In the Old Testament, the words “revive” and “restore” are often used synonymously. I guarantee if you look up both those Old Testament words in a Bible concordance, you could find yourself studying a plethora of teachings about the Bible’s principles of revival and restoration. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for “revive” is “chayah,” meaning to live again. In the New Testament, the Greek word for “revive” is “anazao,” meaning the same as the Hebrew word.
Thus, “revive” means that something was dead and has been brought back to life. The English word “revive” means the same as the Hebrew and Greek words—with the added concept of bringing something back to a healthy, vigorous, flourishing condition after having been dead. Yes, I encourage you to put all those definitions, thoughts, and concepts together for a fascinating study of your own about God’s restoration and revival.
“[Jesus] must remain in heaven until the restoration of all things has taken place…” –Acts 3: 21, paraphrased
To Think About This Month:
“God, You are such a good, caring Shepherd! You furnish all I need day after day after day during my life journey. You bed me down so I rest in lush, peaceful meadows along the way. You constantly refresh and RESTORE my soul!” –-From Psalm 23
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Revised and Updated December 2020