PLAINER WORDS ONLINE …
THE TIMES OF REFRESHING
By Tom L. Ballinger
We sincerely believe that the truths set forth in this issue of Plainer Words presents the most significant Dispensational Truth which we have ever written. The writing may not be the most erudite, or scholarly, but it brings to light truth that has been deliberately papered over, hid, obscured, or ignored by Bible teachers of great reputation. Those who have attempted to let this truth see the light of day have been vilified, denigrated, slandered, and maligned. This understanding is the key to Dispensational Truth; regardless of who says it is not. We have written about this several times, but because of its’ momentous importance, we considered it not to be grievous (Philippians 3:1) to write about it 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; 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).
This passage of Scripture suffers from commentators failing to report what the verses actually state. Instead, they teach doctrine that is not contained in the text.
To begin with, the Scripture does not say that if Israel repented and be converted, their sins would be blotted out.
It does not say: their sins would be forgiven when they repented.
It does not say: that Christ would return to earth if they repented.
It does not say: that the Kingdom would be restored to Israel if they repented.
Noticing what it does not say, let's look at the positive side of what the Apostle Peter actually said.
Peter was addressing the men of Israel in Jerusalem when he exhorted them to "repent ye therefore, and be converted." This was what must be done in order “that your sins be blotted out.” The blotting out of sins was not to occur at the time of repentance and conversion, but rather, “when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” The word, “times,” means “age ―a part of a duration distinct from other parts, or the measured, or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exist or continues; an occasion, the point or period when something occurs.”
Peter was saying; there is coming an age, or a measured period of time, in which a condition will exist, and something will occur which he referred to as the “times of refreshing.” When these “times” come, that is when their sins were to be blotted out.
“Times of refreshing” can be amplified to mean an exhilarating age which is opposite of the present world condition in which the whole world is held in bondage under the curse. The Apostle Paul referred to these “times” in Romans 8;
“Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (vs.21-23).
The “glorious liberty” Paul spoke of was a reference to the “times of refreshing.”
The Amplified New Testament renders; “times of refreshing—of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air” which is in contrast to creation’s present state of groaning and travailing in pain.
It must be pointed out that Peter did not explain what the restoration (i.e. restitution) of all things was because his audience understood, fully, what he was referring to. They had been raised on the writings of the Prophets; consequently, its’ nature was not unfolded. The idea of a restoration of the world had its’ origin in the preaching of the Old Testament prophets. Their faith in the unique position and mission of Israel, as the chosen people of God, inspired in them the conviction that the destruction of the nation would eventually be followed by a restoration under conditions that would insure the realization of the original, divine purpose.
The Jews to whom Peter was speaking knew the “restitution of all things” meant a re-creation of the world which would restore it to an Eden-like, pre-flood, condition with the curse removed. Christians raised on John 3:16 cannot really appreciate Peter’s announcement until they, too, understand, like the Jews of old, what Peter was talking about. We plan to point this out.
Notice what comes from the presence of the Lord: an age, or an eon, or a duration of time which is to be refreshing. It doesn't say that Christ comes from the presence of the Lord.
Peter went on to say, “And He will send Jesus Christ, which was preached unto you,” but notice what is almost always overlooked; “Whom the heaven must receive [or retain] until....” We have seen no Commentary that comments on the fact that the heaven must retain Christ until something takes place. The silence is deafening. Christendom teaches that when Christ comes at His Second Advent, He ushers in the “times of refreshing.” But, this is not what Peter said. Let us not be guilty of putting words into Peter's mouth. Keep in mind that every word Peter spoke were the words God gave him to speak (Matt. 10:19-20, 1 Thess. 3:13. 2 Cor.13:3). The Apostle Peter was the authority, and he said in plainer words; "If you repent and be converted, your sins will be blotted out when the times of refreshing comes from the face of the Lord. And yes, He will send Jesus Christ, Whom the heaven must receive or retain until...” Christ remains there until … something is accomplished. This is not Second Coming truth. This is not millennial truth—this is pre-millennial truth concerning the Kingdom of God.
Christ will remain in the heaven when the refreshing times are ushered in.
Take note that the word, “until,” is a functional word used to indicate continuance (as of an action or condition) to a specified time. Christ remains in the heavens “until,” that is to say, during a specified time while an action, or condition, is continuing. The action, or condition, is the restitution of all things. If the words which the Holy Spirit inspired are to mean anything, then, there is no way the Lord Jesus Christ can return until all things are restored. “Restitution” means; “The act of recovering a former state or posture, the putting the world in a holy and happy state. Acts 3:” (Webster's 1828 Dictionary). The former state of the world refers to the pre-flood conditions of the earth and the cosmos. The world will be restored to its’ former, pristine order while Christ remains in heaven. No wonder the commentaries leave out the God-inspired phrase, “Whom the heaven must receive until.” This inspired phrase, spoken by Peter, doesn’t fit in their theology, so they ignore it as though it wasn’t spoken at all.
“Whom the heaven must receive until the restitution of all things…” Here, an Ellipsis must be supplied in order to get the true sense of the passage.
An Ellipsis is a figure of speech, and it is the omission of one or more words that are to be obviously understood, but must be supplied in order to make a construction grammatically complete. In the book, “Figures of Speech,” Dr. E. W. Bullinger says; “Figures involving omission, the Ellipsis, the figure is a peculiar form given to a passage when a word or words are omitted; words which are necessary for the grammar, but are not necessary for the sense. The law of syntax may be legitimately broken by an Ellipsis. The omission arises not from the want of thought or lack of care or from accident, but from design in order that we may not stop to think of, or lay stress on, the word omitted, but may dwell on the other words which are thus emphasized by omission.”
“Whom the heaven must receive until the restitution of all things …” are the words the Lord would have us dwell on which are emphasized by the omission of the words which are to be mentally supplied, “is accomplished.” The Ellipsis is: “is accomplished;” that is to say; “until the restitution of all things [is accomplished].”
Three periods ( … ) in English grammar indicates to the reader that an Ellipsis occurs in the text. In the Greek, there is no such punctuation. However, we have supplied the three periods to denote the Ellipsis; “...which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” All of God's prophets spoke about the age, or eon, or period of time in which there would be a renewal of all things, and it takes place while the Lord Jesus remains in heaven. The New Testament term for this is “the Kingdom of God.”
To speak of the refreshing times and the restitution of all things being associated with and taking place at the Second Coming (i.e. the Parousia) of Christ, makes the Word of God of none effect! The Second Coming (i.e. the Parousia) is the consummation of the Kingdom of God; not the beginning (see Matthew 24:3).
At this point, it might be necessary to say that if there be anyone reading these lines who is among that number who believe only such things as are generally believed and taught, there is no use for them to read further in this study. Far too many Christians are in a class with the Pharisees of old who asked concerning Christ: “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on Him?” (John 7:48). The fact that none admitted believing on Him was sufficient reason for no one to believe on Him. If the recognized leaders don’t believe certain things, then, there is no reason for the common man even to consider the things they don’t believe.
The Scripture demands that there be a time and framework for “the times of refreshing;” the next magnificent work to take place. However, Christendom, by its’ interpretation, is denying God the opportunity to display this restoration while Christ remains in Heaven.
The Lord Jesus makes reference to the restitution of all things when He said to the apostles, “Verily I say unto you That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit upon the throne of His glory [in heaven], ye shall also sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt.19:28). The word, “regeneration.” is the Greek word, palingenessia, which means re-creation. In plainer words, the Lord said; “You apostles that have followed Me, when the times of re-creation comes you will sit upon twelve thrones [i.e. seats of authority] as judges of the twelve tribes of Israel.
The apostles will be on the twelve thrones in Israel in the regeneration while the Lord Jesus Christ sits upon His Throne of glory in the Heavens. He is not referencing to the Throne of David. Psalm 11:4; “The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try the children of men.” The LORD’s Throne will be in heaven during the “times of refreshing.”
“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision: (Psalm 2:4).
“The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all” (Psalm 103:19).
“Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?” (Isaiah 66:1).
These four verses “are as clear as a bell.” They inform us where the Throne of Jesus Christ will be during “the times of refreshing.” It will be HEAVEN; NOT EARTH. The big difference most people miss is the question; “upon whose throne does the Lord Jesus Christ sit when He returns to earth to reign for 1000 years?” The answer is; the Throne of David! (Isaiah 9:7; Jeremiah 29:16). Christ remains in Heaven while the re-creation is accomplished. This re-creation is not that of Revelation 21, or 2 Peter 3:13, but it is the one Isaiah mentions in chapter 65, verse 17; “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” This is the restitution of all things mentioned by Peter in Acts 3.
Notice what follows in Isaiah 65:18 22; “But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” This is not millennial truth—it is pre-millennial.
Here, it is noted that sorrows disappear from the world scene. Longevity of life is restored; like, before the Flood.
According to Isaiah 35:1-2, the restitution of all things results in, “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom like a rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebannon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.”
Isaiah spoke of this pre-millennial restoration, again, in chapter 41:18-20, “I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.”
Isaiah foretold of conditions during the times of restitution; Isaiah 11:6 9, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
How magnificent this will be when the world is full of the knowledge of the LORD.
The “times of refreshing” and "restitution of all things" begins when 2 Timothy 4:1 becomes a reality; “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing (epiphany) and His kingdom.”
The Second Advent (i.e. Parousia) of Jesus Christ does not have to take place for the restoration, i.e. the restitution, to be accomplished. In fact, the Bible says He is to remain in heaven while the re-creation is completed. This fact, alone, should cause one to question the pre-millennial dispensationalists’ fixation that the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ are imminent.
Two, signal events occur when Christ's epiphany ensues; (1) He establishes His world-wide governmental sovereignty (i.e. His Kingdom), and (2) He begins to adjudge among the living and the dead who will qualify to live under His imperial Government and enjoy the benefits of the re-creation.
More news on this truth here:http://godstruthforall.com/audio/library1/A_Truth_Not_To_Be_Ignored.mp3