One of the greatest aspects of the Gospel is Jesus’ Second Coming. Without Jesus’ return there will be no Day of Judgment, no banishment to Hell and no ushering into Heaven. Although Jesus’ Salvific Work has been accomplished, His Mission will not be fully complete until the Elect of God He came to save are resident with Him in Glory. We have been examining Peter’s sermon to the Jews who gathered around the man who was crippled from birth, now walking, jumping and praising God who had healed him through him exercising faith in God for salvation. All the ingredients of his sermon had been pointed, calculated and confrontational until he got to verse 17 where he tells them they and their leaders acted in ignorance where it came to Jesus’ crucifixion. He then got to what they needed to do … repent … turn to God … have sins forgiven … and receive times of refreshment. This is one aspect of salvation. It is present salvation and is related to real salvation, real forgiveness, real refreshment by the Holy Spirit and real relationship with God. But there is another dimension and that is eternal salvation or as some have called it full and final salvation. To be technical, there are three phases to salvation.
(1) You are saved.
2 Tim 1:9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
This refers to a past action.
(2) You are being saved.
1Co 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Here we see a present action … the proof of what happened in the past is a present reality.
(3) You will be saved.
Ro 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
This refers to the future … the eternal future … to full and final salvation in heaven. This seems pretty easy. It sounds so good, the one linking to the other … but when does this last dimension of salvation actually happen? To say at death is to miss the point of full, final salvation. Our text continues and reads:
Ac 3:20 “‘and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven 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 among his people.’”
1) Jesus’ Second Coming. As Peter preaches he says that once the repentance and the proof of repentance has been proved, God will send His Messiah, the appointed one, who is Jesus. This is a great encouragement but the Jew needed to know that what they wanted as in the restoration of the Jewish Kingdom was not in Peter’s mind. You need to read verse 20 with verse 21. Peter was not saying that should they repent and turn to God He will send His Christ immediately! Verse 21 explains that Jesus must remain in heaven until the time arrives for God to restore everything.
(a) The word “restore” means to bring something back to its former condition. The religious Jew would immediately think of those “glory” days of the great king David. He was the one who was able to consolidate the tribes and bring about a nation comprising of the all the tribes. It was a United States of Israel. He was a great military general conquering all their enemies. His reign saw an upswing in the economy. This coupled with peace resulted in a nation living in harmony and happiness. Perhaps the thought was … “bring back the old days.” At the time of the apostles, the Nation was reduced to Judah and the Galilean territory. The Roman Empire ruled supreme. Taxation was ludicrous, the economy down and employment at a low ebb. The religious Jew wanted a revival of the Davidic Kingdom. But this is not what was meant by Peter. Remember the apostles had already been down that road:
Ac 1:6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
(b) God’s promise to “restore everything” as per the prophets was very different to the perception and desire of the religious Jews. Without losing Peter’s teaching on Jesus’ return … look at what Isaiah, then Peter and John have to say about “restore everything”:
Isa 65:17 “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. 19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.”
2 Pet 3:13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
Rev 21:1 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. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 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. 4 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.”
(i) The concept of “restore everything” must be seen as spiritually and eternal and not material and earthly. Jesus’ Kingdom although in part on earth is only so because where He is His reign is. Once He returns and executes Judge, Punishment and Rewards, the restoration will be complete.
(ii) The restoration of everything must be seen in the context of the Garden of Eden before the fall. God with His people in an environment of holiness. Not an earthly Garden of Eden but a heavenly one.
(iii) Jerusalem will be restored. The thought here is that Jerusalem being the Capital City, and when referred to meant Israel. The New Jerusalem will be heaven, the Home of Righteousness. Are you excited about and looking forward to being in the restored environment that your Heavenly Father has planned for you in His Heaven?
O God, praise You for Your promise of our Restored Home with You forever in Your Heaven. Amen.