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Acts 3:16-19 HOT

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Acts 3.end
Milk
December 6th 2015
Okay, last week we left off at verse 19 with Peter telling the Jews that in light of their sin (which was done in ignorance) that they needed to “repent and be converted that their sins may be blotted out” and then he adds something we did not cover -
“when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (verse 20)
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
21 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.
These passages lend to a meaty subject, and because it is so meaty there has been untold interpretations of it by many very smart people over the ages.
There is a part of me that really hates this part of my job. What part? The part that takes passages like this and lays out stances that have been around for a long time but are NOT the norm.
I do not choose to embrace them because they are out of the ordinary but having not cut my teeth on orthodoxy I have little predisposition to its prejudices – and I believe I am able to more readily see and receive information that traditions have put in the attic.
As the teacher in this gathering I have two firm allegiances – the first is to God and His Word shared contextually, and the second is to telling things as they are to aid seekers in discovering the truth and to therefore help set them free or emancipate them from the shackles of man-made traditions or views.
Our group has thinned over this subject – it will again. But in order to clearly see and comprehend Christianity a sound understanding of these passages are required.
So, remember the setting – Peter and John in the temple having healed a man born lame.
This has opened Peter up to preaching. Preaching what? Jesus Christ.
To Whom. Devout Jews. He told them they had killed “the Just” and “the Holy One” and “the Prince of Life” but that they and their rulers had done it ignorantly, and that in the face of this they should now:
Repent (change their minds) and turn (from their present course) . . . .” that “their sins (related to their rebellious response and rejection of God’s Only Son coming to save them) and then Peter adds:
“when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (and listen to more context -verse 20 and 21) “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.”
Now, point blank, ask yourselves, “What does this sound like Peter is saying and speaking of?”


• He has preached to them Jesus.
• He has told them that they put Him to death in ignorance.
• He has directed them to repent, and to turn, that their sins may be blotted out
(READY)
When “the times of refreshing” shall come from the presence of (whom?) the Lord,” AND “he shall send . . . JESUS CHRIST (who was preached unto them) whom the heavens received (through His ascention into them) UNTIL “the restitution of all things.”
I humbly state that the multiplicity of answers and insights on these passages and their meanings are actually comical – sorry – as most of them require torqueing and twisting the words around to make them fit their respective theories.
There are theories on what Peter meant when he used the line, “times of refreshing,” theories on what he meant when he said, “he shall sent Jesus Christ,” and grand evolving theories on what Peter meant by, “until a restitution of all things.”
There are all sort – from the Christian camps – and from LDS history – that propose their theories.
I don’t want a theory. I want the truth – no matter how it reads. And right here in front of us we have what it says AND the context wherein it is said.
So, again . . . “What does this sound like Peter is talking about when he says – then and there -
“You guys, repent and turn and have your sins blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come (from the presence of the Lord,” AND “he shall send . . . JESUS CHRIST (who was preached unto you) whom the heavens received UNTIL “the restitution of all things.”
Does it sound like Peter is speaking of a frame of time where he is imploring them to act?
Does it sound like, speaking to these Jewish men that the period of time (where the times of refreshing and restitution of all things would happen might have bearing on these very people or does it sound like something that would be far, far, far into the future?
Paul also spoke of this same time as Peter – he called it “the dispensation of the fullness of times.”
Ever hear that phrase? What does it mean and to whom does it apply?
In Ephesians 1:10 Paul writes:
“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.”
Again, is Paul speaking of a period or dispensation of time to come, or was it something else? Something that would be application to these men and their families?
We know that the LDS assign this “dispensation” to their prophet Joseph Smith, suggesting that he is the one who ushered in what Paul calls, “the dispensation of the fullness of times” and what Peter called, “the restitution of all things.”
Is that what Peter and Paul were talking about? Do you believe that Peter was telling these Jewish men to repent and turn and have their sins blotted out because “the restitution of all things was going to happen in 1830?”
(beat)
Stepping back before the days of Joseph Smith and his so-called restoration, there was a Christian man named Darby – John Darby.
He laid the ground work, again before Smith, of a theory called “dispensationalism,” which is a belief that the earth’s history can be divided up into seven dispensations (or periods of time) with the seventh being the millennial reign of Jesus Christ on earth.
This theory makes great use (and some really good sense) of periods of time in the Bible and the number seven. Darby created a theme from scripture that was pretty convincing and when Joseph Smith claimed to restore the truth back to the earth he included this popular theme of Darby’s dispensationalism into his restoration but with Smith being the one to oversee this last dispensation of time.
To the LDS this final dispensation would usher in the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.
As an FYI, dispensationalism was not a theory prior to the early 1800’s but it is a thriving way to see Christian eschatology today and is the driving force behind Christians screaming that the end is near.
Mormonism today has moved away from the seven dispensational theory and in the 1979 LDS bible dictionary it reads:
“There have been many gospel dispensations from the beginning.”
Because of all of this rhetoric and theory most of us – myself included, have embraced the notion that a dispensation is a period of time.
And since Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:10
“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.”
We are prone to see things the way Darby and then Smith interpret them – including how we define the term, “dispensation.”
Truth is, dispensation, and the Greek word from which it is garnered, have nothing to do with periods of time. They have to do with administration and/or an arrangement of affairs.
Listen to the Greek word– its “OIKONOMEEAH”
Does that sound like a familiar English word to you? OICON-OMEEA?
It’s where we get our word, “economy” and do you know what that word means in its simplest form?
The “management of a house.”
One of the better expository reference books out there on the Greek, called Vine’s Expository Dictionary says this:
“A dispensation is not a period or ephoch (which is a common but ernoneous use of the word) but a MODE of dealing, an arrangement or administration of affairs.”
In our book A to Z we explain that when trying to understand Grace we might examine the Old Testament verses the New in terms of a change of administration.
Under the Old Economy there was a works/obedience/reward administration in place but in the New Economy Christ introduces a new administration – one of grace.
Same God – different administration – just like one administration under the president of the United States being Republican and then the next being democrat; the office of president is the same but the administration (or the economy – the management of the household - is changed.
So when Paul speaks of the “dispensation of the fullness of times,” and when Peter is telling these men right here at that time and in there age that they need to repent and have their sins blotted out “when the time of refreshing shall come by the presence of Jesus Christ” they are both speaking of the ultimate completion of the former administration and the implementation of God’s ultimate “plan” for all of creation.
The Expositors Bible Commentary says of this verse from Paul:
“Here Paul uses it to suggest the administration or putting into effect of God’s far reaching redemptive plan.”
One more factor to consider. When did this fullness of times begin? Interestingly enough the New Testament assigns the term to the BIRTH of Christ. Listen to Galatians 4:4
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”
The writer of Hebrews made it clear that in order for the restitution of all things and fullness of times to take full control, the former administration had to leave office and wrote:
Hebrews 8:13 “In speaking of a new covenant he treats the first as obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”
This context gives additional meaning to 2nd Corinthians 5:17, which says:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Paul added in Romans 13:12
“The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”
In 1st Corinthians 13:10 he said:
“But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
The writer of Hebrews said (in 10:25) “Don’t forsake assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
James 5:8 “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”
And in one of the last books written chronologically in the New Testament Peter, again showing up, there says to the believers who had repented, turned, and had this sins blotted out:
“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”
This is the context of Peter’s words here in Acts chapter 3 verses 19-21.
Let me read what he said to these men (yet) again:
“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”
“Be prepared when the times of refreshing shall come” (listen) “which will occur from the presence of the Lord” (being with us again).
In other words, the very presence of the Lord will initiate this times of refreshing. It will signify the utter end of all things old and the fully integration of all things new.
It will happen when the Old Economy is manifestly over and the New has utterly taken over.
Then Peter adds even more clarity to the context and says:
20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you
Do you see the connection between all of these factors?
That Peter is speaking to them, those people, about preparing for the “time of refreshing” and he ties it to Jesus being sent back to them to completely wipe out the former administration and implement the new. And speaking of Jesus (who, he says, “was preached to them” – and they rejected) says:
21 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.
So we are given yet another connection and explanation in context here.
Speaking of Jesus as His ascention, Peter says
“Whom the heaven must receive. . . “
Meaning, since He was holy and pure and overcame sin and death the heavens had to take Him in (receive Him) UNTIL????
(Beat)
“Until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
Every single believer and reader of the Bible has to decide for themselves what they believe Peter was speaking of here when he said that
“the heavens must receive Christ until the times of restitution of all things.”
The LDS ultimately (because over the course of their history this line from Peter has meant different things) but the LDS have ultimately interpreted Peter’s words to these men to mean the “restoration of the Gospel, the priesthood, and temple rituals” to the earth.
Dispensationalists believe that this speaks of a future date in which Jesus will finally return (with judgement) and establish His kingdom once and for all.
Admittedly, this is the say most Christians understand this passage. But NOT all.
I want to use what Peter says next, plus some other insights from the whole of scripture to explain why I am convinced that “the time of refreshing,” “the restitution of all things,” and “the dispensation of the fullness of times” all refer to the period when Peter was talking to these men –
The period that started the moment Jesus was born in a manger and ended when the Old Economy was destroyed and all things, from that time forward, have been fully restored – spiritually.
The first appeal I will make to support this view is what Peter says next in what appears to be a means to support what he has said.
So after saying to them that Jesus was to be in the heavens until the restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. He says:
22 “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
In verse 21 Peter says that “God has spoken of this restitution of all things by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”
And guess who he uses, having made this claim, to prove this? Moses, saying:
“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.”
Who do ALL Christian scholars say Moses was talking about here prophetically? That’s right, Jesus.
The LDS say Moses was speaking of Joseph Smith, but every Christian interprets this as speaking of the promised Messiah and LISTEN – so do the Jews.
If the Jews and the Christians are correct in this then right here and now we can see that Peter, in quoting Moses, ties the restoration of all things to the coming of Jesus and His work among the Nation of Israel and the world.
Peter continues and says to these men then and there:
23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
A directive that supports his reason to get them to repent and turn. Have they been destroyed from among the people here or yet?
Not yet. But Peter is citing for them reasons why they must change their minds and direction, “because EVERY soul that will not hear this prophet of whom Moses spoke will be destroyed from among the people!”
Get the context?
We don’t need Darby or Smith or anything else to reinterpret what the Word is clearly saying. Peter continues:
24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.
(What days? The days we are living in? Two thousand years later? No Peter says that all the prophets foretold of THOSE DAYS THEN.
And then to bring it all home, and in context to those men standing there who he has told to repent and turn Peter says:
25 Ye are the children of the prophets (which fortold of those days when the restitution of all things would happen), and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, “And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.”

And adds:
“Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”

And from this we can see that Peter was telling them that the
“restitution of all things” this “time of refreshing,” this “dispensation of the fullness of times” was spoken of as the time when, as God told Abraham, “in his seed would ALL the kindreds of the earth be blessed” (including us Gentiles) and that God first is giving these blessing unto them,” HAD begun.
Receive Jesus now, Peter is saying, for the heavens are going to hold the Him until the completion of this restitution of all things, and the Messiah comes to completely shut down the old Administration and utterly replace it with the new – where all things are done by and through His Spirit – where the Law, and the prophets, and temples, and priesthoods, and sacrifices and all things would become new.
There would be a new heaven and a new earth, governed by Christ from His throne, and the new economy would then thrive – but the Old has to first vanish away.
The question that remains for many today is, “If Peter (and Paul) were all speaking of Christ and his first coming through birth and His second coming to wrap everything up, and this is “the restitution of all things,” “the time of refreshing,” and “the dispensation of the fullness of times,”
Did Jesus have the victory over all things?
Was it truly the end of all things, as Peter said?
Have all things really become new?
What does this mean and look like? Why is there still death, and evil, and what about Satan and the like?
Again, when Peter said:
Behold the end of all things is at hand, we have to ask:
Who was he talking to? Was it us? No. It was to those who were living at the end of that age where all things in and of it were about to end.
Obviously this has to be the case or Peter was wrong – and Peter wasn’t wrong. The mere fact that we are living and reading the word today proves that Peter clearly did NOT mean the end of ALLLL things, right?
So, again, writing to the people of that age the “all things” Peter was talking about were all the things related to that administration – the former economy.
And when it utterly came to an end, the New Administration would be in full and absolute effect.
This is not appreciated by believers today because we want to see things in material terms.
We want to believe that the earth will become materially like the Garden of Eden instead of spiritually.
We want to believe that Satan has been completely thrown out and unable to tempt instead of realizing that while he continues to be allowed to tempt Jesus has eliminated his power – its gone – he has not lasting power over the lives of anyone on earth or beyond.
Christ has HAD the victory – He is not waiting to have it. The dispensation of the fullness of times started at his birth, the old Administration was utterly wiped out with material judgement in 70 Ad, and the restitution of all things continues out to this very day.
Let me wrap this up with a scriptural appeal. Its meaty and it again, is from Peter, who, speaking of Jesus, says in 1st Peter 3:22
22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
The most literal Greek translations have Peter speaking of Jesus and saying that He “having Gone into heaven.”
Now the writer of Hebrews calls Jesus our great High Priest. He makes reference to Him making intercession for us and He makes reference to Him entering the Holy of Holies.
I am convinced that Jesus did just that – as our High Priest entered into the Holy of Holies to make intercession with the Father.
Looking back to the Old Covenant High Priest, Jesus, upon His ascension, entered into the realm where God dwells, on the behalf of human beings, taking His own shed blood, as it were, with Him – as the high priests of the Old Testament would take animal blood.
Now, in Old Administration times, when the High Priest went into the temple the Nation of Israel waited outside while he was inside.
It was only when He exited – alive – that the people knew that their offering of blood through the high priest was accepted! And celebrations followed.
So we have Jesus entering into heave upon ascension, but unlike the high priest of the Old Covenant (who never sat in the Holy of Holies because the sacrificial work was never done) Jesus, entering in once and for all of us, sat at the right hand of the glory of God.
This is where He was when Peter was speaking to these men in the temple in Acts 3.
For an entire generation the Nation of Israel (to whom He came and revealed Himself) would have an opportunity to recognize Him as the promised One and believe and receive.
This was the work of the Apostles.
The parallel to the Old Testament high priest coming out of the temple again, signifying that God had accepted his offering of blood on behalf of the people was met when Jesus returned out of the Holy of Holies – with rewards for those who looked for Him and judgment for those who did not.
His coming in the clouds in that day was for believers the proof that God had accepted His offering in the Holy of Holies.
We often teach that His resurrection was this evidence but I think we make a mistake. Nothing was finished until He died, resurrected, ascended and then returned – picturing the Old Admin high priest.
If He hasn’t yet returned then we are still waiting to see if God truly received His offering as High Priest entering in with His atoning blood.
So here Peter says, speaking of Jesus:
“Who has gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
At the time of Peter’s writing this was the case – Jesus had gone INTO heaven, and He was on the right hand of God and listen – at that time, when Peter was writing, as verse 22 proves, “angels and authorities and powers being made subject to Him.
The King James translation of this is unfortunate because the Greek for huppotasso – a word we are somewhat familiar with by this point because it’s what we are supposed to be in respect to governments and bosses – is in the genitive absolute and might better be translated that angels and authorities and powers . . . “Have BEEN made” OR “Now Yield” OR “Have been put under”
In other words, when Peter was writing, he admits here that when Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father “angels, authorities and powers” WERE - NOT WOULD BE BUT WERE placed under His control.
It was completed then. We are not still waiting today for this to occur. It happened. It’s done.
Paul echoes the finality of this, saying in Ephesians 1 beginning at verse 17:
Ephesians 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, (that line is past tense) when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22 And hath put all things under his feet, (again, past tense) and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
So back to Peter’s last verse in chapter 3 of 1st Peter. He too says, speaking of Jesus (and probably echoing Paul)
“Who has gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers are made subject unto him.”
If I was to say that in the XYZ corporation Bob is over everything – “senior managers, laborers and everything under its roof,” my mentioning these three areas is like saying, “everything or all things.”
That is what I believe Peter is saying here when he mentions, “angels, authorities, and powers” – EVERYTHING is made subject to Him.
He has all power in the heavens and in the earth. He alone can save; and he alone can destroy.
Nobody needs to fear who have put their trust in him, as He, making a restitution of all things spiritually, can do whatsoever He will in behalf of his followers, and has good and evil spirits under his absolute command.

Now the trouble.
At the time Peter wrote these words the Gospel was still being preached to those of the House of Israel who were dwelling at Jerusalem where the temple stood, the priesthood thrived, the genealogies lay.
As we have mentioned before, in chapter four of this epistle Peter includes this line:
“But the end of all things is at hand . . .”
I am convinced that this means the end of all things relative to the establishment of all things God uses to redeem human kind.
I don’t believe it was the end to the work of His Spirit, who draws all men to Christ nor do I believe that God’s love, or care or interactions with Man are over.
But I do believe that His work in, through and against the Nation of Israel to establish all things through them and their promised Messiah ended.
The implications of this are weighty.
Why?
The most oft quoted words from the Old Testament in the New are from David where He said in Psalm 110:1
“The LORD said unto my Lord, “Sit thou at my right hand, until (beat) I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
We have just read, from the pen of Paul in Ephesians and from the pen of Peter here in 1st Peter 3 that all things have been placed in the authority and power of Jesus. This means that David’s prophecy is complete.
All things are in His power. Not some. All.
And if this is so, what are we to make of the line, “Sit thou at my right hand, until (beat) I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
We can either say that not all enemies are in His control and we are waiting for all of them to BE placed under the power of Jesus OR that God HAS made all His enemies UNDER Him (or His footstool) and the restitution of all things is complete.
Which is it?
Most believers today somehow believe that Jesus is not in control – yet. They will say,
“Look around. Does it look like He’s at the helm?”
But if we remember “that His kingdom is NOT of this world” and that He reigns over His Kingdom spiritually, and that scripture clearly states that He is in full control – and if this is the case, we have to ask ourselves how to interpret the words of 1st Corinthians 15 where we read beginning at verse 20:
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
24 Then cometh the end, (which I believe is the end Peter said was on its way) LISTEN . . . when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
Then read verse 28
“And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
What is this saying? A lot – most of which is not admitted or even touched upon today. But I would submit to the following short summary of God’s narrative:
That, in the beginning God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
And when God “spoke” everything happened.
I would then suggest that the very Word’s God spoke, which were in the beginning with God, and which were God - became flesh - and dwelled among us.
I would suggest that His Word named Immanuel / Jesus – God with us – accomplished everything He was called to accomplish and (LISTEN) finished it all.
Through His birth, His life, then through His death, His resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father, where everything was put under His feet, and then finally at His return with judgement and reward on that age.
This consummated the dispensation of the fullness of times.
I now submit that since all things – including death – have been won over by Him, that “His sitting at the right hand of the Father UNTIL” and that God is all in all though His Son, our savior, mediator, and God in the flesh.
I believe every single knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus as LORD, and I agree with scripture that no body can admit such things unless by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I believe Satan is absolutely powerless (but like in the garden of Eden before the fall is allowed to tempt) and that death has no hold on any person, that all people will reap what they sow at death – that all will be reconciled to God as Christ has had the victory but some to a resurrection of damnation and others to a resurrection of life – whatever that means.
And, as always, I believe I am wrong on things, and everyone must decide for themselves what they will receive and believe.
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