What is “the restoration of all things”?

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Acts 3:19–26, Who is the Prophet and what is “the restoration of all things?” The flow of the context (vv. 16–22) clearly points to Yeshua and not another person as beingthe prophet of Deut 18. This is the opinion of the NKJV Bible translators as well, which take the liberty of capitalizing capitalize the word Prophet in verse 22 — an obvious reference to Yeshua. A quick check of several respected Christian commentaries corroborates this view. In fact, Beale and Carson (Commentary on the NT Use of the OT) point out that Peter’s reference to the seed (singular) of Abraham through which all nations would be blessed is an obvious reference to Yeshua, and Paul concurs with this idea and develops this theme in Gal 3:8, 16–17.

When Peter speaks of the “restoration of all things” before Yeshua’s second coming, he may be using hyperbole here, which was a common biblical literary device to emphasize a point. Will we have a new heaven and a new earth along with the New Jerusalem at the second coming, or does that come at the end of the 1000 year long Millennium as the chronology of Revelation seems to indicate? It seems unlikely that everything will be totally restored at Yeshua’s return. However, the regathering of the exiles of the lost sheep of the house of Israel will be certainly finalized around the time of his return or shortly thereafter. This process began with the coming of Yeshua as he states in Matt 10:6 and 15:24, and was to continue as he commanded in Acts 1:8. Truly, Paul, as the apostle to the Gentiles, played a key role in this process, and it has continued to one degree or another to this day in the preaching of the gospel by the church around the world.

It seems that the restoration of Israel to its kingdom is what Peter is referring to in Acts 3:21 when he refers to the “restoration of all things” (v. 21), since this issue was of paramount importance in the disciples’ minds. After all, it was the last question they asked Yeshua before his ascension in Acts 1. This point isn’t lost by Christian commentators like Craig S. Keener and Adam Clarke either.

Interestingly, Yeshua uses this same terminology in Mark 3:12 where he prophesies that Elijah will come to restore all things. He says that as John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah, others will come in the same spirit of Elijah to complete this work in the last days before his second advent. Paul, as the apostle to the Gentiles, helped in fulfilling that mission, but he didn’t complete it. He didn’t even live in the last days just before the second coming! Will a single Elijah figure (like John) arise in the last days to help complete this task, or will there be many who will come in the spirit of Elijah to help regather the tribes of Israel? That’s a hard question to answer at this time. Yeshua indicated that it would be a single person, but at this time, there are many who are preaching the regathering of Israel. So it will probably be a combination of both.