“The Times of Restoration” Are at Hand!
Shortly before Jesus ascended to heaven, some of his faithful disciples asked him: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” Jesus’ answer implied that some time would elapse before the Kingdom would come. During that time, his followers would have a great work to do. They were to be witnesses of Jesus “both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth.”—Acts 1:6-8.
THAT assignment could not be accomplished in a matter of a few days, weeks, or months. Without the slightest hesitation, however, the disciples began to preach. But they did not lose interest in the subject of restoration. To a large crowd gathered in Jerusalem, the apostle Peter spoke about it, saying: “Repent . . . and turn around so as to get your sins blotted out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the person of Jehovah and that he may send forth the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven, indeed, must hold within itself until the times of restoration of all things of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets of old time.”—Acts 3:19-21.
These “times of restoration” were to usher in “seasons of refreshing” from Jehovah. The foretold restoration was to come in two stages. First, there would be a refreshing spiritual restoration, which is now under way. Second, this would be followed by the establishing of a physical paradise on earth.
The Time of Restoration Begins
As the apostle Peter pointed out to that crowd in Jerusalem, heaven ‘held Jesus within itself.’ This was the case until 1914, when Jesus took up his royal power and began ruling as God’s appointed King. At that time, Peter foretold, Jehovah would “send forth” his Son in the sense that He would allow Jesus to carry out his role as the central figure in God’s purposes. The Bible describes the event in symbolic language: “And [God’s heavenly organization] gave birth to a son, a male, [God’s Kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ] who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod.”—Revelation 12:5.
But the nations had no intention of submitting to Christ’s rulership. Indeed, they lashed out at his loyal earthly subjects, known today as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Like their apostolic forerunners, the Witnesses had unhesitatingly taken up “the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” (Revelation 12:17) Opposition to the work that these sincere Christians were doing flared up in one country after another. In 1918, responsible members of the headquarters staff of the Watch Tower Society in Brooklyn, New York, were haled into court on trumped-up charges and unjustly sentenced to lengthy prison terms. For a time it appeared that the modern-day witness work “to the most distant part of the earth” was going to fail.—Revelation 11:7-10.
However, in 1919, the imprisoned members of the headquarters staff were released and later exonerated of all the false charges. They wasted no time getting the spiritual restoration work back on course. Since then, Jehovah’s people have been enjoying unprecedented spiritual prosperity.
An extensive campaign was undertaken to teach people of all nations to observe the things Christ had commanded his followers to do. (Matthew 28:20) How refreshing it was to see some who had formerly displayed animallike characteristics change their outlook! They stripped off the old personality, which produces such traits as “anger,” “abusive speech,” and “obscene talk,” and put on the new personality, “which through accurate knowledge is being made new according to the image of [God] who created it.” In a spiritual sense, the words of the prophet Isaiah are being fulfilled even now: “The wolf [a person who formerly displayed wolflike characteristics] will actually reside for a while with the male lamb [a person manifesting a meek disposition], 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.”—Colossians 3:8-10; Isaiah 11:6, 9.
Further Restoration at Hand!
In addition to the restoration that has resulted in a spiritual paradise today, the time is fast approaching when our planet will become a physical paradise. A small part of the earth was a paradise when Jehovah placed our ancestors, Adam and Eve, in the garden of Eden. (Genesis 1:29-31) That is why we can speak of Paradise as being restored. Before that happens, though, the earth must be rid of God-dishonoring false religion. The political elements of this world will take care of this. (Revelation 17:15-18) Then, the political and commercial elements, along with their supporters, will be brought low. Finally, the last of God’s opponents—Satan the Devil and his demons—will be shut away for a thousand years—the duration of the restoration project. During that time, “the wilderness and the waterless region will exult, and the desert plain will be joyful and blossom as the saffron.” (Isaiah 35:1) The whole earth will come to be free of disturbance. (Isaiah 14:7) Even the millions who have died will be restored to life on earth. All will experience the restorative benefits of the ransom sacrifice. (Revelation 20:12-15; 22:1, 2) There will be no blind, deaf, or lame people on the earth. “No resident will say: ‘I am sick.’” (Isaiah 33:24) Shortly after the end of the Thousand Year Reign of Christ, the Devil and his demons will be released for a short period of time and will see how God’s purpose for the earth has been fulfilled to that point. Ultimately, they will be destroyed forever.—Revelation 20:1-3.
When the earth reaches the end of the thousand years of restoration, “every breathing thing” will praise Jehovah, and they will do so throughout all eternity. (Psalm 150:6) Will you be among them? You can be.