Restitution of All Things, What to Expect
Commentary for June 21, 2003 — Israel as the Example
Israel was (and is) the example to the world of how mankind reacts to God, both in history and in the near future when God will make known His existence and active presence in world affairs through the restitution of all things (Acts 3:17). This will occur just prior to the punishment of the nations at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Note Israel’s reaction to God’s presence immediately after He demonstrated His power and glory through the mighty acts of the Exodus. Note also Israel’s reaction to Christ’s miracles and teaching. In each case they show us what we should expect from the people of the world after God makes His subtle and gentle demonstration of His existence and presence in the world today before His judgments occur.
The Result of the Restitution
Understand this clearly: after God presents Himself to the awareness of the world (in some unspecified manner), and the world begins to acknowledge God, the world will be worse off in many ways than before God revealed His presence.
The knowledge of God will slowly and gently be put forth into the world by God’s direct actions. However, this knowledge will be unsettling to many people, even though the knowledge is of and about God. “For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:18). God will reveal Himself to such an extent that the people of the world will know that He exists, is active in the affairs of His creation and that He will require an accounting. Once that is acknowledged, the fear of God follows, but so too does resentment that God has requirements for justice and righteousness.
(Look in your own heart and mind, do you really like being told what to do and not to do? Truly, would you rather do what you will to do in life, or what God wills? This is how the world will view the situation.)
God will hold the world to account — individually and corporately as nations — for the actions committed. This accounting may be for sin and unrighteousness, or it may be for good and evil, most likely both.
The Nature of the Restitution
It appears that the information resulting from the restitution of all things will be so complete and convincing that the world will reject some 250 years of scientific, philosophical and political skepticism that has pervaded education.
The existence of God will be considered in every facet of life, people will first think this is wonderful, that a utopia has begun, every aspect of human achievement will have a correct and proper basis — God’s existence — underlying its thought and presentation. The arts will flourish and present us with the highest achievements of humankind. Education will consider God’s existence and presence in every discipline taught in most every curriculum. Think of the possibilities.
Ancient history will be “fixed” along with chronology of the major empires to the time of Alexander the Great. Science will begin not only to “understand” how the mechanics of the universe work, but why the universe works the way it does, and why God through Jesus Christ created all things the way that He did. The Christian world will largely accept Paul’s plain statement about Christ,
“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”Privately at first, then publicly, people will deny God’s authority over them even while they acknowledge His existence and creation. Oh, they will put on a front of respectability and morality and lawfulness that will in truth be disrespectful to God. Sin and evil will prevail, even with a knowledge of God, just as Paul states in Romans chapter 1.
• Colossians 1:15–17
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”The people of the world before the time of the end will act no different than those who lived before the flood of Noah (Matthew 24:37–38). The people of the world will act no different than the Israelites at Mount Sinai. The people of the world will act no different than Judah during the time of Christ. The actions that the people of the world will take during and after the restitution of all things will be the basis for the severe judgment and punishment that God will inflict on the nations and peoples of the world, starting with Israel. This will be the basis of God’s end-time judgments.
• Jeremiah 17:9–10
Israel’s Status Among Nations
Israel is God’s chosen nation, His chosen people. However, Israel is no different from the nations, except for the fact that they are chosen. ISRAEL WAS NOT CHOSEN BECAUSE THEY ARE SPECIAL, THEY ARE SPECIAL BECAUSE THEY WERE CHOSEN. They may be “a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9), but they are just as human as the nations of the world.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he has chosen for his own inheritance. The Lord looks from heaven; he beholds all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashions their hearts alike; he considers all their works.”
• Psalms 33:12–15
During the restitution of all things, all nations will be blessed because their God will be the Lord, but their hearts will remain the same (“deceitful above all things”) which will cause God to bring the severest judgment for sin and unrighteousness.
Israel’s Example at the Exodus
Israel experienced God’s power at the Exodus through a series of miracles and great wonders performed on their behalf. They knew God existed and acted on their behalf. However, soon after Aaron was made High Priest and Moses was gone up the mountain to receive God’s commandments, the Israelites almost immediately gathered together, complained to Aaron about Moses’ long absence, and “forced” him to supervise construction of a golden calf after which they ran riot and sinned greatly. Expect no less from the world during and after the restitution.
Israel’s Example in the time of Christ
Israel had a knowledge and acceptance of God’s authority during the time of Christ. Look at what they did at that time. First they praised him and asked among themselves who this man was who did signs and wonders. Toward the end of his ministry after raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus visited Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary.
“Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.”
• John 12:9–11
The next day the people did a most unusual and marvelous thing,
“On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, ‘Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.’”
• John 12:12–13
Then they praised him publicly calling out Hosannahs,
“And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed [laid them down] them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.’ And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, ‘Who is this?’ And the multitude said, ‘This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.’”
• Matthew 21:8–11
All this praise and joy concluded with the public demand for Jesus death by crucifixion (Mark 15:13–14; Luke 20:20–23; John 19:5–6, 14–16). Pilate knew this to be the case when Jesus was first brought before him, “Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you unto me” (John 18:35). After Jesus’ resurrection Peter emphasized again:
“You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as you yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”
• Acts 2:22–23
Later in the same speech Peter reiterates this statement,
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God has made that same Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
• Acts 2:36
The Sum of the Matter
Israel’s examples of a turn to evil after God made Himself known and performed miracles on their behalf will be repeated by Israel and the nations after the restitution of all things. This will immediately lead to persecution.
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. ... Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
• Matthew 24:21–22, 29–30
Note the sequence of events (bearing in mind that I am covering only the highlights and not the details),
When it does, the world will be changed, at first for the better, then for the worse as the inevitable human tendency toward rebellion against God takes hold. The times ahead of us will be exciting and dramatic, first for good and righteousness, then for evil and sin.
Finally, remember one thing, this entire process will take time to complete.
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