Editor’s note: Joseph Farah is leading a tour of Israel through Nov. 13. While he is away, WND is republishing some of his relevant columns from the past.
We live in biblical times.
It’s quite possible, but hard to quantify, that the Bible has more to say about the 21st century than any other time period in history.
As I write in my newest book, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age,” it is this time in which we are approaching what all the prophets, from creation forward, pointed to as their great hope.
Here’s the way Peter preached it in Acts 3 on that Shavout celebration at the Temple:
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.
Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.
These days. All the prophets spoke of these days. It was true then in the first century, but it’s even truer today because this generation is closer to the restitution of all things than they were.
Just before the resurrected Jesus-Yeshua ascended into heaven after 40 days with His disciples, it was the restored Kingdom on Earth that was on their minds.
That’s what we learn in Chapter 1 of Acts a short time before Shavout or Pentecost.
The restoration of the Kingdom was the last question the disciples posed to Jesus-Yeshua.
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Think about that.
Even at that late date, the most pressing question the disciples had for Jesus-Yeshua was: “Is this the time you will restore the Kingdom of Israel?”
It preoccupied them. After all, it’s what all the prophets spoke about.
That was my inspiration for writing “The Restitution of All Things.”
First of all, even though I knew it was true that all the prophets pointed to this time because it was holy writ, I still had to search it out for myself. And that’s what launched my research journey into what all the prophets had to say about the Kingdom of God on Earth – the time of restoration, a period the scriptures say will be like the Eden-like restoration of the Garden of Eden, the beginning of all our experiences with eternal life.
I have been studying prophecy for more than 40 years. But, for most of that time, I was content to focus, like so many others, on what’s coming next. What’s the next thing that’s going to happen before the time of Jacob’s trouble begins? Which nations are going to set off the war that ends all wars?
But as I was writing this book and delving into my own study of the Kingdom, it dawned on me that, in all my years in church and Bible studies, I couldn’t remember hearing a single sermon or teaching about this great promise of a restored Earth.
How about you? Think about it.
Consider all the prophecy books you have read in your life – or seen promoted. Why is it that nearly all of them focus on a short period of time of seven years that lead into the Kingdom – and almost none focus on the thousand-year period in which we will all be resurrected and live in a restored earthly paradise?
Isn’t that incredible?
Also, I noted that this Kingdom on Earth in which Jesus-Yeshua will rule and reign from Jerusalem as King of Kings is almost a forgotten part of the gospel – one that we are supposed to be sharing to the uttermost parts of the Earth, as Jesus-Yeshua explained to His disciples in that last message before He ascended. It’s part of the good news along with salvation through repentance – a big part, judging from what all the prophets had to say about it.
I did a little survey of my friends and family members – all believers – and asked them: Where are you going to go when you die?
Every single one of them said “heaven.”
Yet, the resurrection of the dead comes in the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
That’s our great reward. It’s just the beginning, of course, of eternal life. But, after that thousand-year period, a new heaven and a new earth are created.
Man was created for earth. And our hope is living in the kind of Earth that God created for man – like that which existed in the Garden before the fall.
Yet, how do we evangelize? We give people a choice of heaven or hell.
I suggest to you that most people have no idea what heaven is like. I remember, as a kid, trying to imagine heaven. It was complete blank to me. I had no frame of reference. And, frankly, I still don’t. But a restored earthly paradise – that I can relate to.
Do you know what I mean?
So why don’t we talk about this very much with non-believers? Why does tradition triumph over scripture?
I remember when my kids were young and we would do Bible studies, I often found that they did not like to hear about prophecy. I now think it is because what prophecy meant to them – the way I taught it was not pleasant for them. I, too, was focused on “the end of the world.”
My girls didn’t want to hear about the end of the world. What was wrong with them? They wanted to live on Earth, find husbands, have children, live productive, happy lives.
Who could blame them? And who could blame those who are given a choice between a heaven they don’t know or understand and hell, which they could not imagine in their worst nightmares?
Do you see why the Kingdom is so important? Do you see why it was the central focus of all the prophets – their great hope for the future?
Do you see why the Kingdom was the focus of the apostles and Jesus-Yeshua’s disciples?
No. 1, it was real and scriptural.
No. 2, it represented paradise on Earth.
No. 3, it is something exciting, something we can all understand, something we can all comprehend and something to which we can look forward to with eagerness in the spirit of truth.