[Scott W. wrote this and sent this by email in consideration to be a post on HI4LDS. I took him up on his offer. It is a good post. – Todd]
The Apostle Peter proclaimed the coming of “the period of restoration of all things” in his sermon to the unbelieving Jews:
Acts 3:19 “Therefore repent and return, so 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.”
What is this restoration and when will it take place? It is almost without question that this passage teaches that “the restoration of all things” takes place when the Lord Jesus Christ returns from heaven to judge the world and bring in everlasting righteousness through a renewed earth. This interpretation – if not clearly established from the context of Acts 3:19-21 – is further confirmed by a similar word and context found in the Gospel According to Matthew.
The Lord Jesus Christ encouraged Peter and the other apostles who had left everything to follow Him that they would be given responsibility to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. When will this take place? First, you will want to read the text:
Matthew 19:27 “Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?” 28 And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
The Lord explains, “in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne.” This is a clear reference to the triumphant coming of Christ to judge the world. The Greek word translated “regeneration” here is described in the Friberg Lexicon as follows:
“paligenesia` (fr. Palin and ge,nesij a birth again) regeneration; (1) of the fut., as the restoration and renewal of the world new age (MT 19.28); (2) as spiritual and moral renewal of an individual new birth, regeneration (TI 3.5).”
In summary, the “restoration of all things” and “the regeneration” both refer to the same event and time, namely, the coming of the glorious kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ and all of the changes that will occur then. The whole earth will be “restored” and “regenerated” into righteousness and obedience. The knowledge of God will be magnified and everything will speak “Glory!” This blessed revival is spoken about by many prophets from the days of old.
It is true that the Bible foretells an apostasy and the coming of an antichrist, but it never predicts a total apostasy. The apostasy is described in relative terms, like “some will depart from the faith”, and “many will fall away”.
The following verses teach that the kingdom of God will continue from the time of Christ until the “regeneration;” I will post them without comment.
Matthew 13:24 “Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 26 “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. 27 “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ 29 “But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.””‘ 31 He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; 32 and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.” 33 He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.” 34 All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES; I WILL UTTER THINGS HIDDEN SINCE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.” 36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 40 “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 41 “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 “Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; 48 and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. 49 “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 16:18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.