Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Prelude to The Restoration

"Restitution" and "Restoration", two words commonly found in today's vernacular. We typically connote restitution with the obligation to repay someone after something of value has been taken away, particularly in a criminal sense. For example, if a thief has been found guilty, a typical sentence might include not only time in prison but the thief must also pay restitution, or the return of that which was taken or the return of something equivalent.

Restoration lends itself to a more positive connotation. Its meaning is to bring back to an original state. Unlike restitution, the use of restoration is more commonly used in a positive frame of reference. Restorative dentistry, for example, is repairing a lost tooth or a cavity with dentures, crowns or fillings. Or perhaps the restoration of an old home or an old painting. Careful work is done to try to bring the old home or painting back to its original glory.

The following is not an exhaustive list, but note the interchangeability in the following definitions:
RESTITUTION: Restoration to the former or original state or position. Source

RESTORATION: A return of something to a former, original, normal, or unimpaired condition. Restitution of something taken away or lost. Source
As outlined in previous posts, Jesus Christ has established His gospel throughout time. And each time after its establishment, it has been taken away through the disobedience of the inhabitants of earth, also known as apostasy. Each period of apostasy has been followed by a restitution or a restoration of the gospel; a period of time when the true, original gospel of Jesus Christ is reestablished through revelation to prophets. Each period of time when the true gospel is found on the earth and an authorized servant called of God to teach these truths is found on earth it is known as a dispensation.

We have already examined the prophecies concerning the Great Apostasy that occurred after the death of the apostles at the time of Christ. (November 16, 2009 post) But what the apostles and prophets also knew was that there would one day come another restitution of the gospel. In fact, a final restoration of the gospel and a final, or last, dispensation of the gospel.

Peter, the chief apostle, prophet, and leader of the church on the earth after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, admonished the people of Israel to look forward to a future time when Christ would come again and to be converted before that time comes.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19-21
The "times of refreshing" and the "times of restitution of all things" is referring to a future and new gospel dispensation. A time when the true gospel of Jesus Christ would be found on the earth following the Great Apostasy. The apostle Paul also declared to the church members, or saints, in Ephesus that there would be a future dispensation of the gospel. By a careful reading of these verses and chapter it is clear that Paul declares these things only after there was revelation to him.
Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him. Ephesians 1:8-10
After reading this verse, I would ask if all things have been gathered together in one? Have all things both in heaven and on earth been gathered together in one, even in Christ? One needs only turn on the local news to discover that the answer to these questions is a resounding "No." So we know that this "dispensation of the fulness of times" did not occur in the past. At the time of Paul it was a future period of time.

There will come a time when all things will be gathered together in Christ, and that will be at His Second Coming. What we then learn from this passage of scripture is that the Second Coming of Christ will occur during the dispensation of the fulness of times.

Not only New Testament prophets and apostles knew of this future dispensation of the fulness of times. A dispensation that would not fall into apostasy. The ancient prophet Daniel interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar's dream through revelation.
Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven...Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these...This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king...And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. Daniel 2:19, 27-28, 36, 44-45
If the Great Apostasy happened, and I testify that it did, when then did God set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed? In other words, when was there a time when Jesus Christ's gospel and His church were never again taken away from the earth or when has the church never fallen into apostasy? This passage of scripture states that these things will come to pass in the "latter days." Or in other words, the period of time right before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

In order for the human family to be in the latter days, we must also be in the dispensation of the fulness of times. In order for the human family to be in a dispensation, we must have emerged from the great apostasy through the restoration of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. In order to have had a restoration of the true gospel of Jesus Christ, there must have been an authorized servant called of God put here on the earth to reveal God's will. It's my conviction and witness that all of these things either have happened or are happening today. The Restoration will be our next topic.

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