How “Restoration of All Things” Is Made
1. What question did the political situation of the Jews in Jesus’ days make it appropriate for his apostles to ask him, and what does Israel’s position today show as to his action?
ALL who are familiar with history know that at the time of Jesus’ ascension the nation of Israel did not have a kingdom. For some years they had had a kingdom of the Maccabees, but that had been a kingdom of Jewish priests of the tribe of Levi and had been overthrown by the Roman Empire in the year 63 before our Common Era. Also, the later kingdom of Herod the Great had been no Jewish kingdom but an Edomite kingdom and had been imposed upon the Jews by the Roman Senate. But when Jesus ascended to heaven, Jerusalem was under the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, who had handed him over to be put to death; and the province of Galilee was being ruled by Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great. (Luke 3:1, 2; 23:6-15) So the disciples could properly ask Jesus Christ before he ascended: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” (Acts 1:6) He did not then do so, and to this day Israel has no kingdom. The government of Israel in the Middle East is a Republic and is a member of the organization for world peace and security, the United Nations.
2. What is the attitude of the U.N. toward Jehovah’s Messianic kingdom, but who wants it restored?
2 The United Nations does not want the Messianic kingdom to come by means of the Republic of Israel. In fact, the United Nations does not desire or pray for Jehovah’s Messianic kingdom at all. Not Christendom, but Jehovah’s Christian witnesses do desire that Messianic kingdom and have given their allegiance to it.
3. How did the apostles by their question show that establishment of the Messianic kingdom then would be a restoration, and how did they expect him to make it?
3 The establishment of that Messianic kingdom, not on earth, but in heaven, means a “restoration,” according to the Holy Scriptures. How so? Let us remember that the apostles of Jesus Christ knew and acknowledged that he was the Messiah or the Christ appointed by Jehovah for His people. On one occasion the apostle Nathanael said to Jesus: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are King of Israel.” And on a later occasion the apostle Peter said to him: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 1:49; Matt. 16:16) The title Christ is the Greek word for the Hebrew word Messiah. Consequently, when the apostles asked the resurrected Jesus, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” they were asking whether the real Messiah would restore the kingdom. As he was truly the Messiah or Christ, they expected him to “restore” the kingdom. How? By his becoming King himself over Israel at that time.
4. So what kind of kingdom must the Jewish kingdom have been down to the year 607 B.C.E., and why was the Son of God from heaven born into David’s line?
4 Ah, do we now get the point? The ancient kingdom of Israel down to its overthrow by the Babylonian Empire in the year 607 B.C.E. was a Messianic kingdom. That kingdom was the government of the royal family of David of Bethlehem. When God sent his only-begotten Son from heaven, he was born into the family of King David and was given the name Jesus, the name meaning “Jehovah Is Salvation.” Thereby Jesus was an heir to the throne of King David. (Matthew 1:1 to 2:6; Luke 3:23-31) Even an angel from heaven declared that Jesus was the Christ or Messiah. On the night of his birth in Bethlehem, this angel from Jehovah said to God-fearing shepherds: “Have no fear, for, look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have, because there was born to you today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in David’s city.”—Luke 2:8-11.
5. Into what kind of line, then, was Jesus born, and what is there to prove that Israel’s kings were referred to as Messiahs?
5 This Jesus, who was to be the “Lord” of King David, was born into a Messianic line. How is that? Because the adjective Messianic means “having to do with the Messiah.” Well, then, were the kings of David’s line in ancient Israel called “Messiahs”? Or, would the Greek-speaking Jews call them “Christs”? Yes, because the title Messiah means Anointed One, and Christ means Anointed One. This title applied to these kings of David’s royal line because they had been anointed by Jehovah’s high priest in Israel with holy anointing oil to be kings over Jehovah’s chosen people. (1 Ki. 1:34-39) Repeatedly David spoke of King Saul, the first king of the twelve tribes of Israel, as being the “anointed [or, Messiah] of Jehovah.” Likewise, David himself as king was constantly spoken of as Jehovah’s anointed or Messiah. (1 Sam. 24:6, 10; 26:9-23; 2 Sam. 1:14-16; 19:21; 22:51; 23:1) Even Zedekiah, the last king of David’s line on the throne of Jerusalem, is called “the anointed one [or, Messiah] of Jehovah.”—Lam. 4:20, footnote of 1958 edition.
6. In view of what event in 607 B.C.E., why would God’s promise to King David require that the Messianic kingdom be restored?
6 After the overthrow of King Zedekiah at the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E., there was no Messianic king on the throne of Israel. But 463 years before this Jehovah, in a solemn covenant with King David, promised him: “Your house and your kingdom will certainly be steadfast to time indefinite before you; your very throne will become one firmly established to time indefinite.” (2 Sam. 7:16) This meant, therefore, that the Messianic kingdom in the royal line of David had to be restored.
7. Why was Jesus Christ the one in whom to make restoration of the Messianic kingdom?
7 Jesus Christ was the one by means of whom to make this restoration of the Messianic kingdom, for Jesus was born into the line of King David. Before his human birth an angel said concerning Jesus: “Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.” And at Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem an angel announced that he was to be “Christ [or, Messiah] the Lord.” (Luke 1:32, 33; 2:11) That fixed matters; the restoration of the Messianic kingdom was to be with Jesus.
8. Although not anointed by the high priest at Jerusalem, why was Jesus nevertheless the Messiah, and why can he now reign forever?
8 True, Jesus was not anointed to be king over Jacob or Israel by having the high priest pour the holy anointing oil upon his head at Jerusalem. To the contrary, in the year 33 C.E. the high priest of Jerusalem called for the death of Jesus by being executed at the hands of the Romans. But this did not prove that Jesus was not the Anointed One or Messiah. (Luke 24:20; John 19:6, 15, 21) Jesus was anointed by someone higher than the high priest of Israel. He was in a very special sense “the Anointed One of Jehovah,” for he was anointed by Jehovah himself, and not with holy anointing oil, but with Jehovah’s spirit. This took place after Jesus was baptized in water by John the Baptist. (Matt. 3:13-17; Acts 10:38) His death on an execution stake outside Jerusalem did not prevent him from becoming the Messianic Heir of King David forever, for, on the third day of his death, God Almighty resurrected him and rewarded him with immortality, with incorruptible life in the spirit. (Rom. 1:3, 4; 1 Cor. 15:3-8; 1 Pet. 3:18-22) So by reason of his endless life in heaven he can reign as Messianic King forever.
FORETOLD BY MOSES AND LATER PROPHETS
9, 10. (a) How did Peter indicate who was to be the Prophet like Moses, but greater? (b) How is that one greater than Moses, and so why do we not want to resist him?
9 In order to show how great this Jesus is, the apostle Peter went on to say to the crowd of Jews around him in the temple: “In fact, Moses said, ‘Jehovah God will raise up for you from among your brothers a prophet like me. You must listen to him according to all the things he speaks to you. Indeed, any soul that does not listen to that Prophet will be completely destroyed from among the people.’” (Acts 3:22, 23) Peter was there quoting the words of the prophet Moses as found in Deuteronomy 18:15-19.
10 Jesus Christ is that promised Prophet, who was to be like Moses but greater than Moses. He did more and greater miracles than Moses did, and he mediates the New Covenant between Jehovah and the Christian congregation, a covenant that is far better than the Law Covenant as mediated by Moses at Mount Sinai in Arabia. (Acts 2:22; Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24; 13:20) Certainly, then, we do not desire to be found among those who oppose the restoration of the Messianic kingdom in the person of Jesus Christ, the Prophet King who is greater than Moses. To be found among them would mean our complete destruction.
11. According to Peter’s words, who besides Moses had declared those days and the blessing for which the Israelites were in line?
11 Moses, however, was not the only one who prophesied under divine inspiration about this Jesus the Messiah. There were many others, and so the apostle Peter went on to say to Jews crowded around him in the temple: “And all the prophets, in fact, from Samuel on and those in succession, just as many as have spoken, have also plainly declared these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God covenanted with your forefathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth will be blessed.’ To you first God, after raising up his Servant, sent him forth to bless you by turning each one away from your wicked deeds.”—Acts 3:24-26.
12. (a) How were those words true with respect to the prophets? (b) How did Jehovah arrange to have Israel blessed first by Messiah?
12 The prophet Moses was the one that recorded Jehovah’s covenant with the patriarch Abraham for all families and nations of the earth to be blessed by means of his Seed or Offspring. (Gen. 12:3; 22:18) The prophet Samuel was the one who first anointed David of Bethlehem to become the king of all Israel; and this in itself was a prophetic act pointing forward to Jesus Christ. (1 Sam. 16:11-13) The succession of Hebrew prophets after Samuel all had something to say with reference to Jehovah’s Messianic kingdom. From these prophecies we are helped to appreciate how much the Messianic kingdom of the Son of God will mean to all mankind. Jesus Christ was primarily that promised Seed of Abraham for blessing all families and nations. (Gal. 3:3-16) God raised him up and commissioned him as “his Servant” to bring blessings to the people. God sent this anointed Servant to bless first the natural, circumcised Jews, by having his Son Jesus born as a Jew in the family line of King David. To get the blessing those Jews had to turn from wicked works.
13. When Peter called on those Jews to repent, was he setting before them an earthly hope or a heavenly one, and why?
13 So by calling upon those Jews to ‘repent and turn around’ or be converted, the apostle Peter was not setting before those Jews an earthly hope, a hope of inheriting an earthly Paradise under the Messianic kingdom of the heavens. He was not pointing them forward to the long-distant future with the prospect of being restored to perfect human life and health in a Garden of Eden restored to earth. Rather, Peter was pointing them to the opportunity of becoming associated with that Jesus Christ the primary Seed of Abraham and thus sharing with Jesus Christ in blessing all the families and nations of the earth. This would mean that they would also be associated with him in his Messianic reign, reigning with him in the heavens for the blessing of all mankind. So they, also, would receive the anointing with Jehovah’s spirit and become his spiritual sons. Their being natural circumcised Israelites no longer counted with God. They needed to become spiritual Israelites, circumcised at heart, and making up the spiritual “Israel of God.”—Gal. 6:15, 16.
14. (a) When the vast majority of the Jews turned down the Kingdom opportunity, who were allowed to take advantage of it? (b) Why are a remnant of these Kingdom heirs rejoicing today?
14 When the vast majority of the Jews refused to take advantage of this wondrous opportunity to become associated with Jesus Christ in his heavenly Messianic reign, the opportunity was offered to all non-Jewish nations. God’s predetermined number are acting upon this opportunity. (Acts 10:1 to 11:18; 15:7-14; 13:46-48) A remnant of these spirit-begotten heirs of the Messianic kingdom are on earth today, and eagerly they look forward to sharing with the Messiah Jesus in his heavenly kingdom. (Rom. 8:14-17; 2 Tim. 2:10-12; Rev. 20:4-6) They specially rejoice today because they know that “times of restoration of all things of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets of old time” have broken upon them. (Acts 3:21) The Messianic kingdom has been restored! Since when?
15. Since when has the Messianic kingdom been restored, and so because of going on in what course will the nations be destroyed?
15 Since the end of the “times of the Gentiles,” or, “the appointed times of the nations,” in the year 1914 C.E. (Luke 21:20-24) Jesus Christ did not ‘restore the kingdom’ at the time of his ascension to heaven in the year 33 C.E. He knew he had to wait, and he did wait, until those Gentile Times ended in that year when the first world war erupted upon mankind. At that time he was authorized to make request of Jehovah, and Jehovah foretold that he would then grant the request of his Messiah. He would give the Messiah or Christ the political nations for his inheritance and the “ends of the earth” for his possession. Today these nations are interested in world domination by politicians not anointed with Jehovah’s spirit. They are giving themselves over to selfish nationalism along with national sovereignty, in spite of belonging to the United Nations organization. Even in their desperate circumstances today they are not seeking and praying for Jehovah’s restored Messianic kingdom. Their keeping on in this course will mean their annihilation.—Ps. 2:1-9.
RESTORATION OF UNIVERSAL SOVEREIGNTY
16. With due regard for God, what would we desire to see reestablished?
16 How about us, though? Do we have faith in the Holy Bible and in its prophecies and its timetable for human affairs? Are we rejoicing in these “times of restoration of all things” of which the God of the Bible spoke? If we do have faith and we are therefore rejoicing, then the first thing that we should unselfishly desire with due respect to God is the reestablishment of the universal sovereignty of Jehovah so as to include our earth. This would mean that Jehovah would positively prove that he as God the Creator still owns the earth and controls it the same as all the rest of the boundless realm of creation, heavenly and earthly.
17. What change in things will such a reestablishment mean, and with what refreshing to us?
17 This would mean an all-inclusive change in things. It would mean the reestablishment of peace through all the universe heavenly and earthly. What a great “refreshing” it will be for us when that greatest of all peace disturbers, Satan the Devil, and his demons will be bound by Jehovah’s Messianic kingdom and be hurled into an abyss so as not to be able to mislead and oppress earth’s inhabitants! (Rev. 20:1-6) By destroying Satan’s entire organization God’s kingdom will vindicate his universal sovereignty.
18. What do the “all things” that are to be restored include?
18 God’s Messianic kingdom has rightful interests in the earth. These interests belong to the “all things” of which God spoke through the mouth of his prophets of old time and which must have a restoration here. So subjects are included. All human creatures living on this earth must become subjects of that kingdom in order to come under the universal sovereignty of Jehovah.
19, 20. (a) Who already submit themselves to the Messianic kingdom, and with what prospects for after the end of this system? (b) How does Isaiah 11:1-5 describe their King?
19 A “great crowd” of sheeplike persons today acknowledge and subject themselves to that Messianic kingdom as set up in the heavens at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E., even now before the destruction of Satan’s organization visible and invisible. After the disastrous end of this wicked system of things, they will not experience opposition and persecution for further submitting themselves to the Messianic government then in full undisputed power and control. (Rev. 7:9-17) Unitedly they will worship the divine Sovereign of the universe, Jehovah. As his “men of goodwill” they will receive every help and blessing from his Messianic kingdom, as well as from their fellowmen. How refreshing will be the peace that will then reign over all the earth! What a wise, just and merciful King they will have in the Messiah Jesus! Speaking of him as the descendant of Jesse of Bethlehem, who was also the direct father of King David, the prophecy of Isaiah 11:1-5 says:
20 “And there must go forth a twig out of the stump of Jesse; and out of his roots a sprout will be fruitful. And upon him the spirit of Jehovah must settle down, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of mightiness, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah; and there will be enjoyment by him in the fear of Jehovah. And he will not judge by any mere appearance to his eyes, nor reprove simply according to the thing heard by his ears. And with righteousness he must judge the lowly ones, and with uprightness he must give reproof in behalf of the meek ones of the earth. And he must strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the spirit of his lips he will put the wicked one to death. And righteousness must prove to be the belt of his hips, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.”
21, 22. (a) How will the King strike with the “rod of his mouth” and put to death with the “spirit of his lips”? (b) The peacefulness of whom on earth today will carry over into the new system, and how does Isaiah 11:6-9 describe the beauty of it?
21 With the “rod of his mouth,” or with the authoritative orders that issue from his mouth for striking, he will have smashed to pieces the visible earthly organization of mankind’s great enemy, Satan the Devil. Also, with the “spirit of his lips,” or with the irresistible active force that is expressed by his lips in pronouncing God’s judgments, he will have put all the wicked ones of the earth to death. (Compare Revelation 19:15, 16, 21.) This will leave only the true lovers of peace alive on the earth. The refreshing peace that already exists between God’s “men of goodwill” world wide even now before that coming destruction of all wicked, unpeaceful ones will be carried over into the righteous system of things under Messiah’s kingdom. The beauty of that peace and harmony, besides now fulfilling the further words of the prophet Isaiah in a spiritual sense, will become more concrete in a literal fulfillment of those same prophetic words, which we read in Isaiah 11:6-9:
22 “And the wolf will actually reside for a while with the male lamb, and with the kid the leopard itself will lie down, and the calf and the maned young lion and the well-fed animal all together; and a mere little boy will be leader over them. And the cow and the bear themselves will feed; together their young ones will lie down. And even the lion will eat straw just like the bull. And the sucking child will certainly play upon the hole of the cobra; and upon the light aperture of a poisonous snake will a weaned child actually put his own hand. They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”
EARTH-WIDE PEACE AND SECURITY AT LAST!
23, 24. (a) What conditions under ancient King Solomon’s reign will be restored? (b) Whom will the Greater Solomon call back to enjoy these earthly conditions then?
23 Under the Messiah Jesus, who is “something more than Solomon,” the peace will be restored that existed under the united kingdom of wise King Solomon, the son of David, concerning whose reign it is written: “Judah and Israel were many, like the grains of sand that are by the sea for multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing. And Judah and Israel continued to dwell in security, everyone under his own vine and under his own fig tree, from Dan to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon.” (1 Ki. 4:20, 25; Matt. 12:42) It will be this prosperous peace earth wide into which all the ransomed dead of mankind will be resurrected. The Messiah Jesus, one of whose titles is “Prince of Peace,” will not call men of all nations and families back from the grave to resume under his kingdom the interracial, international, intertribal and interfamily quarrels and wars in which they engaged before and down till death. Concerning his reign he prophesied:
24 “Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, . . . to a resurrection.”—John 5:28, 29.
25. Why will the resurrection of some under Messiah’s kingdom turn out to be for judgment or condemnation, and that of others turn out to be for life?
25 How will each one’s resurrection to life on earth under the Messianic kingdom turn out to be? This will depend upon the course of each one. There will be an opportunity for each one to gain endless life on a Paradise earth, and that will be taken advantage of by heartfelt obedience to the Messianic government. Those refusing full submission and obedience to the restored Messianic kingdom over earth will be judged as undeserving of any life at all and will be destroyed, condemned to absolute extinction. But those who learn to practice obedience will receive the full benefit of the perfect human sacrifice of Jesus Christ as a ransom. They themselves will be uplifted to perfection of human life, as obedient children of the Messianic King. Thus they will be able to enjoy him as their life-giving Father, for another one of his titles prophetically given is Eternal Father.—Isa. 9:6.
26. What territory will be restored to Jehovah’s Messianic kingdom, and into what will it be transformed?
26 The Messianic kingdom of the kings of ancient Israel had just the God-given territory in the Promised Land over there in the Middle East. The Messianic kingdom of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, will have this territory restored to it. It will also have Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, the North, Central and South Americas, the Antarctic and all the islands of the seven seas, yea, all the earth. They will all be transformed into a Paradise of Pleasure, a Garden of Eden, for all the interests that belong to the universal sovereignty of Jehovah in those parts of our planet will be restored to his Messianic King, Jesus Christ. (Luke 23:43) That Messianic Government will see to it that all these earthly interests belonging to the Creator are conserved forever to Jehovah’s praise and to man’s eternal good.
27. What “times” are now upon us, and we should see that they are what to us?
27 Through the mouth of his holy prophets of old time God spoke of all these things that are to be restored. (Acts 3:21) The promised “times of restoration of all things” are now upon us. Let us see to it that they are a blessing to us all.
[Picture on page 241]
God promised King David that his kingdom would be established to time indefinite. This meant that the Messianic kingdom in the royal line of David had to be restored