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What Do We Mean by Restoration?

What Do We Mean by Restoration? By Rabbi Dr Dan Juster

Many have asked us over the years “What does this word ‘tikkun (pronounced tee-koon)’mean?” “Tikkun” is simply the Hebrew word for “restoration.” Now let’s try to “unpack” the word.

In the New Covenant the phrase comes from Acts 3:21, “Heaven must receive Him until the time of the restoration of all things that God spoke about long ago through the mouth of his holy prophets.” It is also a time honored concept in Judaism: tikkun haOlam, or the repair of the world. In this context it is the redemption of all things anticipated when Israel’s Messiah is revealed.

The Greek word apokatastis - “restoration” in English - is translated as tikkun/תיקון in the modern Hebrew of the NT. The name of our ministry reflects our longing for the return of Yeshua when we shall see the restoration of all things.

Parallel Restoration of Israel and the Church

In the 1980s, a number of ministries, including ours, began speaking of restorations in the Body of the Messiah that are to take place before the second coming. These restorations include prophetic hopes that go beyond anything yet seen, beyond the restoration of even what existed in the First Century. Part of this restoration includes the fulfillment of Ephesians 4:11-13 which teaches that a full-orbed five-fold ministry – one that includes apostles and prophets – is central to equipping the Body of Messiah to reach a "measure of the stature" of unity, maturity and "fullness" that is our destiny as His followers. We understand this to include completing the work of world evangelism, making Israel jealous (Romans 11:11-13), and seeing the Church come into all it is to be before the return of the Lord.

Several highly respected leaders underscored this end-time expectation. The profound teacher and apostolic figure, Derek Prince, spoke of the parallel restoration of Israel and the Church. He saw that striking parallels had been happening since the end of the 19th century. His teaching was amazingly similar to what we were understanding. The great Pentecostal teacher David Duplessis was also teaching parallel restoration like Prince. They understood the restoration of Israel as parallel to restorations taking place in the Church world in the 20th century. We therefore invited Derek Prince to do a conference for us in 1982 on parallel restoration. His teaching on this is still available from Derek Prince Ministries.

When we looked through the “restoration” lens, it became a key to understanding Protestant Church history. Reformation movements saw themselves as restoring truth and practice that had been lost in Church history. Then, in the 19th century, many restoration movements used the term. Those who yearned to see the Jewish people return to their Land spoke of it as restoration and were known as restorationists. Pentecostalism over 100 years ago saw itself as a restoration movement with regard to baptism in the Spirit, the power of God, and the gifts of the Spirit that would lead to the Second Coming.

For many leaders, the idea of the full restoration of all things after the return of Yeshua seems clear. However, we must ask, “Which things are going to be restored before the return of Yeshua?” Is it a return to the realities of the book of Acts in the First Century? Is it more than that?

Restoring 1st Century Reality

Some of what we seek is simply the restoration of what existed in the First Century--a Messianic Jewish movement--a saved remnant of Israel, made up of Jewish disciples living identifiably as Jews. This movement expanded, especially under Paul's ministry, to include many Gentiles who had come to faith in Yeshua. Together they made up the “One New Humanity” of Ephesians 2:15.

Secondly, all the 1st century congregations were linked in mutual accountability to apostolic leadership and were in relationship with one another, yet the movement was decentralized and not under one government bureaucracy. Cities that came to have thousands of believers were joined under one eldership of the city. There was power and growth through signs and wonders. Home-group-type gatherings were characteristic though there were larger gatherings as well. People were discipled through the intimacy of such groups. Acts 2:42-47 gives us this pattern. We see ourselves as pursuing Acts 2:42 communities. They gave themselves to the apostles’ teaching, the breaking of bread and prayer, and meeting from house to house.

Yeshua prayed in John 17:21 that we would be one in order that the world might believe. In Acts 2 the Spirit was poured out at Pentecost. We see there the manifestation of unity. “These all continued in one accord” (Acts 1:14). However, the unity for which Yeshua prayed was far more than the unity of just that early community.

When we study the early centuries of Church history, the strife, divisions, and controversies amaze us. I believe that the first split was the rejection of the Messianic Jews and their Jewish lifestyle in Yeshua.[1] There is here much material for reflection connected to the issue of restoration and what the Body of the Messiah will look like before His return.

In all these things we pray for restoration, for unity, for Holy Spirit power, and for the embrace of Jews and Gentiles in unity and in their distinctive callings.

More than 1st Century Restoration

However, there is more than restoration to 1st century patterns promised before His return. Yeshua prayed for a unity that will lead to the world believing (John 17:21), which anticipate His return.

There has NEVER yet been a worldwide unity among believers like that for which He prayed. Today we long for and labor for this. Our friends in the World Evangelical Alliance, representing 600 million believers, say they are working and praying toward this great world unity along with cooperative unity in every city and region. We read that the Gospel of the Kingdom must be preached in all the world as a witness (I interpret this as a fully-adequate-witness with the demonstration of His power); and then will come the end of this Age (Matthew 24:14, 15). We are also told that the Gentiles will provoke Israel to jealousy leading to their full acceptance and life from the dead (Rom. 11:14,15). This is MORE THAN a restoration of what existed in the First Century.

Joel 2 indicates that another great outpouring of the Spirit will occur before the “great and terrible day” of the Lord’s judgement. This is worldwide, on all flesh, and beyond a restoration of anything that has ever taken place, though there are great foreshadowings through history.

Finally in Ephesians 4:11-13 we read that the various leadership gifts that God will provide (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) will equip the saints until we come to unity. The text in Greek actually says this equipping will “continue until” we come to that profound unity that Paul describes as “the measure of the stature of Messiah’s fullness.” This also is beyond a restoration of what existed in the First Century.

Yes, we believe in “tikkun,” in restoration, in a renewal of what it was like in days of old. But we also believe in a manifestation of God’s glory even beyond a restoration of those things that existed in the past.

[1] Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew (130-150 A. D) in Ante Nicaean Fathers, The Epistle of Barnabas, (100 A. D), Ignatius of Antioch spoke of the uselessness of all things Jewish, Bishop Ambrose allowed burning synagogues and said it was not a sin. For fuller account see James Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue,(1969)Ch. 4. See the official rejection of Jewish life in Yeshua in Council of Alvira, 307, Antioch 316, and Council of Nicaea II, 787)

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