THE PREPARATION OF THE BRIDE - DEVOTIONAL (THE RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS)
"Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshingmay come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you,Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which Godspoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago." (Acts 3:19–21)
In response to the dramatic healing of a lame beggar outside the Temple’s beautiful gate, Peterproclaims a message to his fellow Jewish brethren (Acts 3:11). Peter explained that thisastounding miracle was a sign that Yeshua, rejected by the nation but vindicated by Godthrough his resurrection was indeed Israel’s long awaited messiah. In similar fashion to thesermon he had recently preached on Shavuot (Pentecost), Peter exhorted the people to repent.
The outcome anticipated by Israel’s repentance would be the return of Messiah Yeshua, God’sappointed ruler over the nation, now exalted to the Father’s right hand "whom heaven mustreceive until the time of the restoring of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of hisholy prophets long ago." Today many Christians believe that Yeshua’s return is imminent. The second coming requires no preconditions and could occur at any time without warning. This is contrary to Peter’s explanation that Yeshua must remain in heaven until the restoration spoken of by the prophets comes to pass.
In Acts 1:6, the disciples asked the risen Messiah if he would now "restore the kingdom toIsrael." When those first Jewish disciples saw the feet of the risen Messiah standing on the Mount of Olives they correctly anticipated the restoration of Messiah’s kingdom over Israel.
The prophet Zechariah had foretold that when the LORD stood on the Mount of Olives He would vanquish Israel’s enemies and be "king over all the earth" (Zech. 14:1-9). Yeshua’s response did not nullify the validity of their inquiry, rather, he shifted the disciples’ priority from the timing of this restoration on to their present mandate to bear witness to Yeshua’s resurrection to the Jewish people and ultimately, to all nations, even "to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). By doing so Yeshua reminded them that the Father’s restoration purposes extended beyond Israel’s particular domain to encompass all peoples across the globe. In a similar fashion, it know behooves the Body of Messiah spread out across the globe, yearning for the marriage supper of the Lamb to consider that Yeshua’s return will not occur outside of Israel’s restoration. The restoration of all things and the restoration of Israel are linked together. The restoration ofall things speaks to God’s ultimate purposes of consummation, when the the knowledge of the glory of God covers the earth like the waters cover the sea (Isa. 11:9; Hab. 2:14). However, all the prophets spoke of God’s ultimate consummation purposes in the context of Israel’srestoration. Isaiah’s vision of the end of war between nations and the establishment of universal justice for all peoples will occur when the Torah shall go forth from Zion and "theword of the LORD from Jerusalem" (Isa. 2:2-4).
The gospel Paul preached to the Gentiles conﬁrmed the correlation between Israel’s restoration and the restoration of all things. Paul explained to the church in Rome that the gospel "was to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16). The gospel to the Jew first is not a declaration of God’s favoritism of one over others. It is a dynamic of mutual blessing in order to bring together Israel’s restoration with the restoration of all things. The outpouring of "greater riches" anticipated in Messiah for the world is dependent on Israel coming into her fullness (Rom. 11:12). The Body of Messiah that will conform to "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13) is comprised of Jew and Gentile, one new man in Messiah (Eph. 2:15). Israel’s restoration moves the restoration of all things forward and conversely, the restoration of all things cannot take place apart from Israel’s restoration.
Now, at the end of the age we are in the unprecedented situation of seeing the restorationpromises to Israel being fulfilled before our eyes. In 1948 the Jewish people returned as anation to their homeland as promised in the scriptures. In 1967, Jerusalem was re-united underJewish rule for the first time in millennia. The 20th century has also seen unprecedentedrestoration within the Body of Messiah. As the end of the age draws to a close we arewitnessing these two streams of restoration converging towards Yeshua’s return to Jerusalemas king of Israel and king of kings. The restoration of the gifts of the spirit, worship, propheticand apostolic leadership and the renewal of an emphasis on bridal intimacy is not divorcedfrom Israel’s restoration. Further, scripture warns the Body of Messiah in the nations not to beignorant of the mystery of Israel’s restoration (Rom. 11:25), and calls the body to activelypursue, promote and intercede on Israel’s behalf (Rom. 11:30,31).
"For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?" (Rom. 11:15)
Abba, as we discern the signs moving us towards the restoration of all things we ask that youwould reveal to us the mystery of Israel. We recoil from any ignorance on our part that wouldcontribute to us becoming arrogant. As humble recipients of Your grace help us to take up ourcall to show mercy to Israel: those who became disobedient on our behalf so that mercy would come to us. Help us to recognize that within your heart to return to us as our bridegroom is also your passion to be reconciled to your own people Israel. May the people of Israel soon proclaim the ancient words, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." Truly, this will be greater riches for the world and will sanctify your great name among the nations.
Ahava Life Centre, a multinational congregation serving the needs of our community, emphasizing Hebrew roots of our faith, loving God and one another.