'Restoration’ literally means ‘the action of returning something to a former owner, place, position or condition.’ When applied to the church of Jesus Christ, it means returning today's church, with all its truths and practices, to those revealed in the New Testament. For Bible-believing evangelicals, to pursue, or even consider changing todays church to the pattern of the New Testament church, would require a clear Biblical mandate.
Does the Bible prescribe such an action or should Christians today remain satisfied with the status quo, whatever branch or brand of the church to which they belong? This article attempts to examine the Biblical basis for the restoration of the church today.
This article, along with others in this section, attempts to examine the Biblical basis for the restoration of the Christian church.
We will firstly consider the broader Biblical picture which reveals that God is a God of restoration. Then we will look at the Bible as a book of restoration: The restoration of creation, mankind and Israel. Lastly, we will look at the key verse on church restoration, Acts 3:18-26, in some detail.
God is a God of Restoration
A quick scouring of any Bible concordance reveals 66 references to ‘restore,’ ‘restoration,’ ‘restorer’ and ‘restoring’ in the NIV Bible (see here for a complete list).
Many of these are references to God restoring a variety of things to individuals, to Israel, etc.; things that have been lost, damaged or stolen. The following are examples:
He restores the joy of salvation Psalm 51:12.
He restores backslidden Israel to their land, inheritance, and blessings Deuteronomy 30:1-3; Psalms 85:1-2, Jeremiah 16:15 Jeremiah 27:22, 30:3.
He promises to restore leaders Isaiah 1:26
He will restore the land Isaiah 49:8 (ie fertility)
He will restore Israel’s fortunes Jeremiah 30:18, Ezekiel 16:53, Joel 3:1
He restores my (David) soul Ps 23:3
Job’s fortunes are restored after terrible sickness Job 42:10
He restores health Isaiah 38:16; Jeremiah 30:17; Matthew 12:13, Mark 8:25.
Those who fall into sin can be restored Galatians 6:1.
He also commands his people to restore that which they have stolen or damaged and writes ‘restoration’ into His laws Lev 6:1-5. This restoration is to include restitution of stolen objects - x 2! This reflects his own practice of restoration by giving back more than was lost Job 42:10. See Ex 22:4-9, where God requires payment of 5 times more for cattle and 4 times more for sheep! Ex 22:1. God is serious about restoration!
God’s people are so sure that God will restore, they pray for restoration Psalms 85:4,126:4.
God is undoubtedly a God of restoration. God a restoring God – it’s part of His nature!
The Bible is a Book of Restoration
The four main subjects of the Bible are all objects of Restoration
These four subjects are creation, mankind , Israel and the Church. They constitute the entire contents of the Book of Books, from Genesis to Revelation. Each of them was birthed by God and all of them have undergone various levels of corruption, degeneration and destruction as they have been exposed to the world, the flesh or the devil.
1. The restoration of Creation
The Bible is clear regarding the quality of all that God created. In Genesis 1 it states seven times that everything that God made was ‘good.’ After man’s creation it was ‘very good.’ The creation of the heavens and the earth are not, however, described as good, but neither are they to be viewed as bad. They were simply the raw material that God began with. As God worked by his Spirit and His Word the material world was transformed by His creative acts, producing something that was stunningly magnificent, spectacularly glorious!
Nevertheless, at some point of time the splendour of the earth degenerated. Some who adopt the ‘Gap Theory’ conclude that between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 a great catastrophe occurred that reduced the earth to a chaotic state through the judgment of God. The cause of this judgment could possibly be the rebellion and casting out of Satan from heaven to earth, which led to its ‘bondage to decay,’ Rom 8:20-21.
Although the Bible states that the devil was cast out of heaven to the earth, it is silent regarding when that happened. However, it is assumed that Satan’s malevolent presence on the earth would have devastating consequences.
Other believers adopt the view that the degeneration of the earth began when Adam sinned. Genesis 3:17-19 speaks of the ground being cursed as a direct result of the fall. This Adam’s responsibility, but this was provoked by Satan’s malicious temptation of Eve.
In reality, the cause of the earth’s corruption is of little consequence. It’s the fact of its corruption that’s relevant to our theme.
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament declare God’s creation of a new heaven and a new earth Isa 65:17, 66:22, 2 Peter 3:13, Rev 21:1. The old, corrupted creation will be destroyed by fire 2 Peter 3:10-13, and be replaced by a new heavens and earth. The earth itself is longing for this day, along with the saints Romans 8:18-22.
Rev 21:1-4 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
2. The Restoration of Mankind
The second object of restoration has to do with fallen mankind. As soon as Adam fell into sin in the Garden of Eden, God promised to reverse this catastrophe through the seed of the woman Genesis 3:15. God’s plan was to restore man (including subsequent mankind) to his great high calling of fellowship with Himself through the last Adam, Jesus Christ.
All those born from Adam and Eve throughout the succeeding generations were separated from God because of the taint of Adam’s sin. God’s plan of restoration included the ultimate reversal of the curse of sin and the restoration of fellowship with God. This was made available to mankind through the death of Jesus Christ and became accessible through repentance and faith. Restoration was made possible by redemption.
Fellowship with God was not all that was lost when Adam sinned. His character was marred, his role of ruling and administering God’s grace were lost and his usefulness was curtailed. He contracted a bias towards sin which hampered every area of his life.
The focus of the entire Bible is on this restoration of mankind. The Old Testament is filled with promises of a Saviour and of new covenant truths. The prophets speak of God providing a new heart and a new spirit Ez 36:26-27. God will give a new covenant, a new way of connecting with Him, which will include a new law in their minds and hearts Jer 31:33-34. This new way of following God would be a direct result of the Messiah’s coming, his work of redemption and the Holy Spirit’s activity in the redeemed community. Joel 2:28-32.
This plan of restoration was not only prophesied but it was also pre-planned from before the foundation of the world Eph 1:4. God knew that mankind was going to fall and he devised a rescue plan that would redeem and restore them to his original intentions.
Christian conversion, becoming a follower of Christ and living a life in the Spirit is the opportunity that God has given mankind to experience a complete restoration.
3. The Restoration of Israel
Chronologically, the creation of the nation of Israel is the next main subject of restoration after the creation of mankind.
From Genesis 3-11 the lost state of man is revealed. Cain kills Abel, generations come and go and sin increases. God responds by the flood and rebuilds with Noah. After some time, men turn away from God and construct the Tower of Babel, which God deals with by scattering them and confusing their common language.
Abraham, the father of Israel, enters the story in Genesis 12. He is God’s chosen person to produce a new nation who will carry God’s light to the entire world Isa 42:6.
The failure of the nation of Israel to fulfil God’s plans are well known. Their history is filled with failures, rebellions, unfaithfulness to God, idolatry and so on.
Yet their history is also filled with evidence of God’s grace as he repeatedly restores them from their self-inflicted defeats and waywardness. Their history may be described a history of Israel’s Restorations.
The Book of Judges presents a fairly typical picture of Israel’s history. We read of 12 ‘Judges’ over a period of around 400 years who God raises up to deliver His people from their enemies. Each of these Judges appears after similar circumstances. The people are fine and walking with God. Then they fall into sin, neglect of God etc., which is followed by God’s judgement. This judgement is usually an attack from a neighbouring country. At this point God’s deliver comes to lead the people back to right living and consequent victory over their enemies. Each Judge brings a recovery or restoration of right living and the blessing of God.
The Babylonian Exile (586–538) marks a dividing point in Old Testament history. The Northern Kingdom, Israel, had already been carried into captivity by the King of Assyria between 733-740 BC. When Israel was split into the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern kingdom (Judah) in 922 BC, Jeroboam, its first king is described in the Bible 20 times as, ‘Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.’ That sin was replacing the centre of worship in Judah’s Jerusalem to two cultic centres at Bethel in the north and Dan in the south, of his northern kingdom. He also made two golden calves as idols I Kings 12:28– something that God had already forbidden Ex 32.
After 256 years of refusing the God’s pleas through the prophets, to re-align themselves with God’s ways or be made captive, the northern kingdom was finally carried off into captivity by the King of Assyria in 722 B.C.
Judah downfall followed close on the heels of Israel’s. For 136 years God’s prophets implored the nation not to follow the footsteps of their disobedient northern counterparts. Isaiah, Nathan, Jeremiah, Joel and Zephaniah were unrelenting in their passionate appeals, to no avail.
God chastened his wayward people by using King Nebuchadrezzar and the Babylonian armies to destroy the Kingdom of Judah, and its capital, Jerusalem. After the destruction of Jerusalem, the inhabitants and people from the surrounding lands were deported to Babylonia and the Babylonian captivity began in 586 B.C. Jerusalem was destroyed, the temple burned and the leaders led away. How far had God’s people had fallen from the glorious heights reached in King David’s day! The catastrophe began with division and a departure from God’s pattern of worship. Ps 137 and the book of Lamentations ably express the depths of this tragic loss. God’s elect nation was destroyed, decimated and virtually annihilated – all because they insisted on living their lives without reference to the God of Israel.
But God never abandoned his people or his promises. Jeremiah prophesied that the exile would last 70 years Jer 25:11-12, 29:10. God promised to restore Israel to their land and in their relationship with him. Jer 29:10-13.
The restoration of the Jews to their land
The Restoration of the Jews to Israel is one of the most important events of Israel’s history. It is told in the books Ezra and Nehemiah. It has been likened to a second Exodus, not from Egypt from where they were saved, but from Babylon where they suffered for their refusal to live by God’s laws.
Daniel and Ezekiel prophesied during Babylonian captivity and Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi were prophets during this restoration period.
In Ezra 1:1-6 we read that Cyrus, the King of Persia who conquered Babylon, made a proclamation permitting all the Jewish captives to return to Jerusalem. 50,000 returned and by 516, 21 years later, the Temple had been completely restored, despite much opposition. God was worshipped again in His chosen city and in his prescribed way.
When Nehemiah returned, God used him to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls and the city was re-established, also against considerable opposition. When all was finished, all the people gathered together in the street before the water gate and requested Ezra , the scribe, to bring out the book of the law of Moses. He stood upon a pulpit of wood and read and explained the Law to the people. Neh 8:1-13. This produced a great repentance and revival broke out among the people! The nation of Israel was restored, true worship was restored and God’s people, as custodians of His word, still had a purpose to fulfil.
It was 400 years from Nehemiah to the beginning of the New Testament times. No Biblical prophet spoke during this time but it was certainly a fruitful time for God’s people. It was mainly a preparation for the coming of Christ into the world. Alexander the Great imposed the Greek language on the majority of his vast kingdom and in about 285 B.C. the Jews translated the Old Testament Scriptures into Greek, which was called the Septuagint.
The peace the Jews enjoyed, enabled those who didn’t return to Palestine to establish synagogues across the former Persian Empire. The Romans followed the Greeks and by the time the Gospel arrived it was possible to travel across the massive Roman Empire, enjoying the Roman peace and protection (Pax Romana) on Roman roads, visiting Jewish synagogues and preaching the Gospel in a language everyone could understand. What a privilege for those early Jewish believers!
Nevertheless, there were rising enemies on the Jewish horizon. After Christ was crucified in AD 33, the Roman empire led by the emperor Titus, led a siege on Jerusalem and effectively sacked the city. The siege lasted from February - August AD 70. The siege was a culmination of the First Jewish-Roman War. Over a million Jewish people died and the Second Temple was destroyed. Thousands of Jewish prisoners of war were taken from Judea to Rome and sold into slavery.
It is not difficult to see that the growth of the Jewish diaspora was a gradual process that occurred over the centuries, beginning with the Assyrian destruction of Israel, the Babylonian destruction of Judah, the Roman destruction of Judea, and the subsequent rule of Christians and Muslims.
But again, the God of Restoration was at work! God had always promised God’s people a very special and blessed land. The land of Canaan was given to Israel as an everlasting possession Genesis 17:7-8 and God continually reminded his people of this promise Exodus 3:17; 23, Deuteronomy 6:10-11.
But on those occasions when the Jews were cast out of their land, there were repeated prophetic promises that God would restore them to their beloved land Jeremiah 16:14-15, 23:3,7-8, 29:14, 31:7–8. See also Isaiah 11:11-12, Ezek. 36:8:12, 24, Amos 9:11-15 and many other verses.
Over the past 120 years or so, more than 3.5 million Jews have immigrated to the Land of Israel from all over the world—from the north, south, east, and west—see Isaiah 43:5–7.
On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel – a direct fulfilment of biblical promises and evidence of God’s faithfulness.
How are these histories of Israel’s main restorations relevant to Christians?
The Old Testament was originally written for the Jewish people. The Scriptures undoubtedly ministered hope and faith to the hearts of God’s beleaguered people in challenging times. Nevertheless, the New Testament writers tell us that God gave the Old Testament for Christians.
1 Peter 1:12 ‘It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.’ The Old Testament authors knew they were writing for a future audience – the Christians of the New Testament church.
Similarly, Paul was convinced that God inspired Old Testament authors to write for New Testament believers:
Romans 15:4 ‘For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.’
1 Corinthians 10:11 ‘These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.’
This is true of all the Old Testament Scriptures:
Romans 4:23-24 ‘The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.’
2 Timothy 3:15-17 ‘… and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
New Testament authors often used the Old Testament as the basis for Christian teaching and exhortation, assuming its relevance for Christians (e.g., 1 Cor. 9:8–12; Eph. 6:2–3; 1 Tim. 5:18; 1 Peter 1:14–16). The fact is that the Old Testament histories about the Jews, though not written to Christians, was still written for them.
This raises another issue for Christians today:
What relevance do the promises and histories of Israel’s experience of restoration have for Christians today?
The answer is very obvious! Christians are also to expect restoration! Just as the Old Testament gives examples of the whole range of Christian practices and experience, like faith, unbelief, obedience, revivals, leadership, warfare etc, it also includes examples and promises of restoration that are to be expected in the Christian life.
4. Restoration of the Church
The key passage on the subject of "restoration" in the New Testament is found in Acts 3:18-26:
18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’
24 “Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”
In the last section, we cited some verses from the New Testament which stated that the Old Testament was written for New Testament believers (1 Peter 1:12, Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 10:11). This is further supported by this amazing passage in Acts 3:18-26.
1. Restoration prophesied by all the prophets.
Firstly, Luke quotes Peter saying that the suffering of Christ was prophesied by all the prophets (v.18). This is well-known eg. Ps 22, Isa 53, etc. In v.21 he states that the prophets also prophesied that God would ‘ restore everything’ before Jesus returns (at his second coming).
This truth is also found in 1 Peter 1:10-11:
‘Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow.’ Peter here uses ‘the glories that would follow’ to restate ‘restore everything.’
It is reasonable for believers today to accept that the Old Testament prophets spoke about the Messiah and His sufferings. Jesus Christ and His crucifixion are at the very centre of the Bible and the Christian message. We are aware that the prophets gave a prophetic, identikit picture of the coming Messiah, by which the world could recognize Him and verify His claims. The prophecies of his sufferings and death have great apologetic and confirmatory value. But the idea of ‘all the prophet’s, from Samuel on, speaking of these things, is an alien thought to most Bible readers and scholars.
‘Prophets’ are mentioned 4 times in this short passage, and are numbered with two of the greatest Old Testament prophets, Moses and Samuel. (See Jeremiah 15:1). In addition, Abraham, who was arguably the first Old Testament prophet in scripture, Gen 20:7 (excluding Enoch, Jude 14), is also quoted, connecting his prophecy of his offspring blessing all peoples on the earth, Gen 12:3, 22:18, 26:4, 28:14.
It should be remembered that, according to the Hebrew canon of the section of the Old Testament known as the Nevi’im, or the Prophets, is divided into two sections: the Former Prophets and the Latter Prophets. The Former Prophets contains four historical books—Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. The Latter Prophets includes four prophetic works—the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve (Minor) Prophets. The Twelve Prophets, formerly written on a single scroll, includes the books of Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Thus, in the Hebrew canon of the Prophets there are, in effect, eight books.
Adopting this approach, the historical books of the Old Testament may be included in Peter’s ‘all the prophets’ statement. Old Testament historical events may be interpreted as prophetic actions, exemplified by such actions as Noah and the flood, Ishmael and Isaac, Moses, the Passover, the Red Sea deliverance, the Hebrew Tabernacle, Moses raising a replica of a serpent which brings healing, Pentecost, the desert wanderings, Moses Tabernacle, David’s Tabernacle etc.
If this is what Peter and the writer of Acts was meaning, there are many examples of revival, decline, repentance, restoration and renewal: the Book of Judges, Biblical revivals through Asa, Hezekiah, Josiah etc., Israel’s backslidings, the Babylonian captivity and restoration to their land. If this is the case, there are many examples of decline and restoration from which the church can glean wisdom and direction in times of need.
2. The emphasis on ‘these days.’
Although the passage states that the prophets reveal a future restoration which will occur before Jesus returns Acts 3:21, it also says they ‘foretold these days’ Acts 3:24. Here Peter clarifies the ‘everything’ of v21 by saying the focus of all the Old Testament prophets was what was happening in ‘these days.’ As far as we can determine, Peter was referring to the experience of the church’s life from Pentecost to the healing of the crippled beggar in Acts 3:1-10, which could only be a few weeks, at most. What they saw as ‘these days’ was to be fully restored at the end of time.
So, what was happening in those days? The Day of Pentecost had happened! The Spirit was outpoured on 120 people including the apostles, then the Gospel was preached and 3000 people we not only converted but also were promised to receive the Holy Spirit.
There is widespread agreement amongst commentators that the description of the early church in Acts 2:42-47 is not part of the chronological history of the early church, but rather a statement regarding it's general, daily activity. In these 5 verses, we see the use of the imperfect tense 8 times. This tense indicates continuous behaviour. These are the practices the first apostles received from Jesus Christ to pass on to the fledgling Church. These things are the backbone, the lifeblood, the daily, constant, week-by-week agenda of the church in Acts. They describe its inner life, the principles, the practices, and the priorities they employed – all activities which undoubtedly played a part in the early church's impact upon its society. They are recorded in Scripture so that all subsequent churches could become healthy and maintain a spiritual vitality and effectiveness, by practising the same activities. These things are meant to be a way of life for God’s people.
The apostles teaching was paramount and fellowship was also high on the list of priorities. The breaking of bread, remembering the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, were also deemed central and the corporate prayers of the believers concluded the four practices that Luke considered the essential elements of church life.
Luke then follows this introductory statement Acts 2:42 with a general description of the life the believers experienced together Acts 2:43-47. There was a tangible sense of God’s presence seen in a variety of supernatural wonders and miraculous signs. In addition, the relationships between believers were astounding! They were truly united and expressed their love for God and for one another by public worship in the Temple and by eating together in private homes. They had everything in common and shared with the needy, sometimes selling their belongings to do so!
This description is repeated in Acts 4:32-37, underscoring the ongoing nature of New Testament church life. Its hallmark was simplicity. Spirituality was simple, comprising of the four points of Acts 2:42 and the gathered church was simple – truly loving one another! This combination, coupled with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit proved to be a recipe for explosive growth in the church Acts 4:4.
Naturally, as the church grew in numbers it had to become more organised. It needed deacons to handle the church’s benevolence and elders to provide care and oversight. Apostles and prophets were added to pioneer missions and provide ongoing direction and oversite.
3. The decline of the church
Arthur Wallis, in his ‘Special Introduction’ to a reprint of Frank Bartleman’s ‘What Really Happened at Azusa Street?’ renamed ‘Another Wave Rolls In’, made a very astute observation regarding of the church in the New Testament:
“In the New Testament we have a clear picture of the early Church. It wasn’t a perfect Church because it was composed of human beings, and they are never perfect. However, the early Church was perfect in constitution, perfect in the revelation of God’s mind, received through His holy apostles and prophets. They had complete light and thus had no need to progress into fuller revelation in the ensuing centuries.
“Through the apostles, the early Church received in that first century a complete revelation of the mind of God. This revelation is, of course, contained in our New Testament. But also, as they walked in the light of this revelation, not only the revelation but they themselves became a model of God’s intention.”
Wallis’ assessment is absolutely correct. There were imperfections in the early church, like Peter’s acquiescence to Judaist practices which Paul sharply rebuked at Antioch, Gal 2:11-21, immorality and faulty doctrine at Corinth or those at Philippi who insisted that circumcision is necessary for salvation. Nevertheless, God provided the Apostles, especially Paul, with perfect revelation regarding all aspects of church life and faith, belief and behaviour. This revelation is recorded accurately in the New Testament.
But in Acts 3:21 we find a prophecy about the ‘restoration of all things’ which will occur at the end of time. Consider the context of the message. Prompted by the healing of a crippled man, Peter explained the healing as an act of God through Jesus. Everyone knew that Jesus had been crucified but this miracle made it evident that he was very much alive and active in their midst. Peter then weaved in the gospel message, appealing to his hearers to repent and turn to God, before offering further Old Testament prophecies to explain what was happening during those days Acts 3:24. These events were simply the New Testament church at work.
The prophecies of restoration at the end of time have to do what was happening in the church of those days, and assumed that there would be some sort of loss, apostacy or corruption between then and the end of time, which required restoration by the hand of God.
If this is a correct interpretation of this promise of the restoration of all things, we would expect to see some evidence of the decline of the church over the past 20 centuries. In addition, we would also expect to see some similar evidence of ‘times of refreshing coming from the presence of the Lord’ Acts 3:19.
It is no exaggeration to say that the evidence for both of the above is voluminous! The decline of the church - it’s apostacy, heresies, subtractions and additions to the original revelation, fill the pages of virtually every book of church history. Similarly, history is peppered with Great Awakenings and lesser-known revivals that have revitalised the Christianity of their times. This website is populated by numerous articles covering both these subjects.
4. The same principles or requirements for revival apply to restoration.
The most popular Bible verse on man’s responsibility for revival is 2 Chronicles 7:14 ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’
Humility expressed by repentance and prayer have always elicited a response from God. Rare indeed is any outpouring of the Holy Spirit that did not include such godly elements.
Some revivals have been born from sincere obedience to God’s word. The entrance (NIV ‘unfolding’) of God’s word brings light Ps 119:130 A.V. When light is received it produces a turning to God through repentance, prayer and holiness.
The same is true of restoration. In this passage Peter exhorts his hearers to ‘Repent, then, and turn to God, so your sins may be wiped out. That times of refreshing may come from the Lord,’ and ‘he sent him (Jesus) first to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.’ Acts 3:19, 26.
It is entirely possible that the church of the end-times, prophesied in this passage, is already being revealed throughout the world. Ever since the Reformation the church has been on a road of restoration. This work of God has been a steady but sure process of development for over six hundred years. Our responsibility is like that of the Bereans: ‘Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.’
Many other articles on this site record the great moves of God which have inched Christ’s church back to the Apostolic revelation. If restoration is on God’s agenda, there is great hope for the church of our day and we can play a part in the unfolding of His plans.