Acts 3:21
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.
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(21) Whom the heaven must receive.—The words have a pregnant force: “must receive and keep.”

Until the times of restitution of all things.—The “times” seem distinguished from the “seasons” as more permanent. This is the only passage in which the word translated “restitution” is found in the New Testament; nor is it found in the LXX. version of the Old. Etymologically, it conveys the thought of restoration to an earlier and better state, rather than that of simple consummation or completion, which the immediate context seems, in some measure, to suggest. It finds an interesting parallel in the “new heavens and new earth”—involving, as they do, a restoration of all things to their true order—of 2Peter 3:13. It does not necessarily involve, as some have thought, the final salvation of all men, but it does express the idea of a state in which “righteousness,” and not “sin,” shall have dominion over a redeemed and new created world; and that idea suggests a wider hope as to the possibilities of growth in wisdom and holiness, or even of repentance and conversion, in the unseen world than that with which Christendom has too often been content. The corresponding verb is found in the words, “Elias truly shall come first, and restore all things” (see Note on Matthew 17:11); and St. Peter’s words may well be looked on as an echo of that teaching, and so as an undesigned coincidence testifying to the truth of St. Matthew’s record.

Which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets.—The relative, if we take the meaning given above, must be referred to the “times,” not to “things.” The words, compared with 2Peter 1:21, are, as it were, the utterance of a profound dogmatic truth. The prophets spake as “they were moved by the Holy Ghost”; but He who spake by them was nothing less than God.

Since the world began.—Literally, from the agei.e., from its earliest point. The words take in the promises to Adam (Genesis 3:15) and Abraham (Genesis 22:18). See Note on Luke 1:70, of which St. Peter’s words are as an echo.

3:19-21 The absolute necessity of repentance is to be solemnly charged upon the consciences of all who desire that their sins may be blotted out, and that they may share in the refreshment which nothing but a sense of Christ's pardoning love can afford. Blessed are those who have felt this. It was not needful for the Holy Spirit to make known the times and seasons of these dispensations. These subjects are still left obscure. But when sinners are convinced of their sins, they will cry to the Lord for pardon; and to the penitent, converted, and believing, times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord. In a state of trial and probation, the glorified Redeemer will be out of sight, because we must live by faith in him.Whom the heavens must receive - The common belief of the Jews was, that the Messiah would reign on the earth forever, John 12:34. On this account they would object that Jesus could not be the Messiah, and hence, it became so important for the apostles to establish the fact that he had ascended to heaven. The evidence which they adduced was the fact that they saw him ascend, Acts 1:9. The meaning of the expression "whom the heavens must receive," is that it was "fit" or "proper" δεῖ dei that he should ascend. One reason of that fitness or propriety he himself stated in John 16:7; compare John 17:2. It was also fit or expedient that he should do it, to direct the affairs of the universe for the welfare of the church Ephesians 1:20-22, and that he should exercise there his office as a priest in interceding for his people, 1 John 2:1-2; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24; Romans 8:34, etc. It is remarkable that Peter did not adduce any passage of Scripture on this subject; but it was one of the points on which there was no clear revelation. Obscure intimations of it might be found in Psalm 110:1-7; Psalm 16:1-11; etc., but the fact that he would ascend to heaven was not made prominent in the Old Testament. 'The words "whom the heaven must receive" also convey the idea of "exaltation" and "power"; and Peter doubtless intended to say that he was clothed with power, and exalted to honor in the presence of God. See Psalm 115:3. Compare 1 Peter 3:22, "Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right banal of God; angels, and authorities, and powers being made subject unto him." See the notes on Acts 2:33.

Until - This word implies that he would then return to the earth, but it does not imply that he would not again ascend to heaven.

The times of the restitution of all things - The noun rendered restitution ἀποκαταστάσεως apokatastaseōs, does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. The verb from which it is derived occurs eight times. It means properly "to restore a thing to its former situation," as restoring a "strained" or "dislocated" limb to its former soundness. Hence, it is used to restore, or to heal, in the New Testament: Matthew 12:13, "And it (the hand) was restored whole as the other"; Mark 3:5; Luke 6:10. And hence, it is applied to the preparation or fitness for the coming of the Messiah which was to attend the preaching of John in the character of Elias, Matthew 17:11; Mark 9:12. Thus, in Josephus (Antiq., Mark 2:3, Mark 2:8), the word is used to denote the return of the Jews from the captivity of Babylon, and their restoration to their former state and privileges. The word has also the idea of "consummation, completion, or filling up." Thus, it is used in Philo, Hesychius, Phavorinus, and by the Greek Classics. (See Lightfoot and Kuinoel.) Thus, it is used here by the Syriac: "Until the complement or filling up of the times"; that is, of all the events foretold by the prophets, etc. Thus, the Arabic: "Until the times which shall establish the perfection or completion of all the predictions of the prophets," etc. In this sense the passage means that the heavens must receive the Lord Jesus until all thrums spoken by the prophets in relation to his work, his reign, the spread of the gospel, the triumph of religion, etc., shall have been fulfilled. It also conveys the idea of the predicted recovery of the world from sin, and the restoration of peace and order; the con. summation of the work of the Messiah, now begun, but not yet complete; slow it may be in its advances, but triumphant and certain in its progress and its close.

All things - All things which have been foretold by the prophets. The expression is limited by the connection to this; and of course it does not mean that all people will be saved, or that all the evils of sin can be repaired or remedied. This can never be, for the mischief is done and cannot be undone; but everything which the prophets have foretold shall receive their completion and fulfillment.

Which God hath spoken - Which have been revealed, and are recorded in the Old Testament.

Of all his holy prophets - This does not mean that each one of the prophets had spoken of these things, but that all which had been spoken would be fulfilled.

Since the world began - This is an expression denoting the same as from the beginning, meaning to affirm with emphasis that all the prophecies would be fulfilled. The apostles were desirous to show that they, as well as the Jews, held entirely to the prophets, and taught no doctrine which they had not taught before them.

21. until the times—embracing the whole period between the ascension and the second advent of Christ.

restitution of all things—comprehending, probably, the rectification of all the disorders of the fall.

Whom the heaven must receive; that is, contain after it hath received him, as a real place doth a true body; for such Christ’s body was, which was received into heaven: and heaven is the palace and throne of this King of kings and Lord of lords, where he shall reign until he hath put all his enemies under his feet, 1 Corinthians 15:25.

Until the times of restitution of all things; or restoration of all things, when all things shall be restored to that condition from which sin put them: for the fall hath maimed and disordered the whole universe; and probably there is not that excellency in any of the creatures which there was at first, before man (for whom they were made) by his sin brought death to himself, and as it were a dead colour over all them; this makes the whole creation groan and travail in pain until now, Romans 8:22. But the end of the world will be a time of restitution of all things unto man especially, who shall be then restored unto God, and to a blessed immortality: for unless this be granted, all their preaching and prophesying was in vain, 1 Corinthians 15:14.

Whom the heaven must receive,.... Hold and retain in his human nature; and which does not at all hinder or confront his mission, and coming to his people, in the mean while, in a spiritual way and manner, to their joy and comfort: or, "who must receive heaven"; the kingdom, and glory, and reign there:

until the times of the restitution of all things: not of all created beings to their original estate, which there is no reason to believe ever will be; or of the churches of Christ to purity of doctrine, discipline, and conversation, which is to be hoped for, and will be in the spiritual reign of Christ; but of the accomplishment of all promises and prophecies concerning the bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles, and the conversion of the Jews, and so the gathering in all the elect of God; and concerning all the glorious things spoken of the church of Christ in the latter day; which sense is confirmed by what follows:

which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began: ever since the world was, God has had more or less holy men, set apart and sanctified by him, and on whom he bestowed the spirit of prophecy; and by the mouth of everyone of these he has spoken one thing or another concerning his church and people, and the filling up of the number of them, or the gathering of them all in; and till this is done, Christ will remain in heaven and reign there: and this sense is further confirmed by the Syriac and Arabic versions, the former rendering the words, "until the filling or fulfilling of the times of all things"; and the latter, "until the times which will confirm the perfection of all the words which God hath spoken", &c. and from the sense of the word used, which some lexicographers explain by "perfection" or "fulfilling".

{f} 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.

(f) Or, be taken up into heaven.

Acts 3:21. Whom the heaven must receive (as the place of abode appointed for Him by God until the Parousia). Taken thus,[146] οὐρανόν is the subject (Beza, Piscator, Castalio, and others, the Socinians, also Kuinoel, de Wette, Baumgarten, Lechler, Hackett), and ΔΕῖ does not stand for ἜΔΕΙ, as if Peter wished historically to narrate the ascension; but the present tense places before the eyes the necessity of the elevation of Christ into heaven as an absolute relation, which as such is constantly present until the Parousia (Acts 3:20, and ἄχρι χρόνων κ.τ.λ., Acts 3:21). Hence also the infinitive is not of the duration of the action (ΔΈΧΕΣΘΑΙ), but of its absolute act (ΔΈΞΑΣΘΑΙ) Others find the subject in ὅν: who must occupy heaven (so Luther and many of the older Lutherans, partly in the interest of Christ’s ubiquity; also Bengel, Heinrichs, Olshausen, Lange, Weiss, et al.); “Christus coelum debuit occupare ceu regiam suam,” Calovius. But against this view the linguistic usage of δέχεσθαι, which never signifies occupare,[147] is decisive. Comp. on the other hand, Plat. Theaet. p. 177 A: τελευτήσαντας αὐτοὺς ἐκεῖνος μὲν ὁ τῶν κακῶν καθαρὸς τόπος οὐ δέξεται, Soph. Trach. 1075: ὦναξ Αἵδη δέξαι με. Occupare would be κατέχειν. Comp. Soph. Ant. 605: κατέχεις Ὀλύμπου μαρμαρόεσσαν αἴγλαν.

On the ΜΈΝ solitarium Grotius aptly remarks, that it has its reference in ἄχρι χρόνου ἀποκαταστ., “quasi dicat: ubi illud tempus venerit, ex coelo in terras redibit.”

ἌΧΡΙ ΧΡΌΝΩΝ ἈΠΟΚΑΤΑΣΤ. ΠΆΝΤΩΝ] until times shall have come, in which all things will be restored. Before such times set in, Christ comes not from heaven. Consequently the times of the αἰὼν ὁ μέλλων itself—the ΚΑΙΡΟῚ ἈΝΑΨΎΞΕΩς—cannot be meant; but only such times as shall precede the Parousia, and by the emergence of which it is conditioned, that the Parousia shall ensue. Accordingly the explanation of the universal renewal of the world unto a glory such as preceded the fall (παλιγγενεσία, Matthew 19:28; comp. Romans 8:18 ff.; 2 Peter 3:13) is excluded, seeing that that restoration of all things (πάντων) coincides with the Parousia (in opposition to de Wette, as well as many older expositors, who think on the resurrection and the judgment). The correct interpretation must start from Malachi 4:6 as the historical seat of the expression, and from Matthew 17:11, where Christ Himself, taking it from Malachi, has made it His own. Accordingly the ἈΠΟΚΑΤΆΣΤΑΣΙς ΠΆΝΤΩΝ can only be the restoration of all moral relations to their original normal condition. Christ’s reception in heaven—this is the idea of the apostle—continues until the moral corruption of the people of God is removed, and the thorough moral renovation, the ethical restitutio in integrum, of all their relations shall have ensued. Then only is the exalted Christ sent from heaven to the people, and then only does there come for the latter the ἀνάψυξις from the presence of God, Acts 3:20. What an incitement neither to neglect nor to defer repentance and conversion as the means to this ἈΠΟΚΑΤΆΣΤΑΣΙς ΠΆΝΤΩΝ! The mode in which this moral restitution must take place is, according to Acts 3:22, beyond doubt,—namely, by rendering obedience in all points to what the Messiah has during His earthly ministry spoken. Observe, moreover, that πάντων is not masculine (Weiss, Petr. Lehrbegr. p. 85, and bibl. Theol. p. 145), but neuter, as in Matthew 17:11, Mark 9:12 (comp. Acts 3:22, κατὰ πάντα, ὅσα); and that ἈΠΟΚΑΤΆΣΤΑΣΙς cannot be otherwise taken than in its constant literal meaning, restoration (Polyb. iv. 23. 1; v. 2. 11; xxvii. 10. 7; Dion. Hal. x. 8; also Plat. Ax. p. 370), wherein the state lost and to be restored is to be conceived as that of the obedience of the theocracy towards God and His messenger (Acts 3:22). The state of forgiveness of sin (Acts 3:19) is not identical with this, but previous to it, as ὅπως κ.τ.λ (Acts 3:20) shows: the sanctification following the reconciliation.

ὯΝ ἘΛΆΛΗΣΕΝ Κ.Τ.Λ] The attracted ὯΝ refers to ΧΡΌΝΩΝ: of which he has spoken, etc. On λαλεῖν τι, in this sense, comp. Matthew 26:13; Plat. Ax. p. 366 D; Soph. Phil. 110. So also λέγειν τι, to tell of something; see Stallbaum, ad Plat. Apol. p. 23 A; Phaed. p. 79 B. Others refer it to πάντων, and explain: usque ad tempus, quo omnia eventum habebunt,[148] quae, etc.; by which Peter is supposed to mean either the conquest of Messiah’s enemies and the diffusion of the Christian religion (Rosenmüller, Morus, Stolz, Heinrichs), or the destruction of the Jewish state (Grotius, Hammond, Bolten), or the erection of the Messianic kingdom and the changes preceding it, the diffusion of Christianity, the resurrection of the dead, and the judgment (Kuinoel). Incorrectly, as ἀποκατάστασις, in the sense of impletio, εἰς πέρας ἐλθεῖν (Oecumenius), and the like, is without warrant in usage; and as little does it admit the substitution of the idea realization (Grotius, Schneckenburger in the Stud. u. Krit. 1855, p. 517, Lechler).

ἀπ ̓ αἰῶνος] since the world began, to be taken relatively. See on Luke 1:70.

[146] Gregory of Nazianzus, Orat. 2, de fil., already has evidently this view: δεῖ γὰρ αὐτὸνὑπʼ οὐρανοῦ δεχθῆναι, and Oecumenius calls heaven the ἀποδοχὴ τοῦ ἀπεσταλμένου. The Vulgate repeats the ambiguity of the original: quem oportet coelum quidem suscipere; but yet appears, by suscipere, to betray the correct view. Clearly and definitely Castalio gives it with a passive turn: “quem oportet coelo capi.”

[147] We should have to explain it as: who must accept the heaven (comp. Bengel). But what a singularly turgid expression would that be!

[148] Baumgarten, p. 83, endeavours to bring out essentially the same meaning, but without any change in the idea of ἀποκατάστ., in this way: he supplies the verb ἀποκατασταθήσεσθαι with ὧν ἐλάλησεν, and assumes the kingdom of Israel (Acts 1:6) to be meant. To imagine the latter reference, especially after πάντων, is just as arbitrary, as the supplying of that verbal notion is exceedingly harsh. Hofm. Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 648, follows the correct reference of ὡν to χρόνων.

Acts 3:21. μὲν: no answering δέ expressed, but the antithesis is found in the ἄχρι χρόνων ἀποκ., “quasi dicat: ubi illud tempus venerit, ex coelo in terras redibit,” Grotius (so Weiss, Blass).—ὅν δεῖ οὐρανὸν δέξασθαι: the words have been rendered in three ways: (1) “whom the heaven must receive,” i.e., as the place assigned to Him by God until the Parousia, Php 3:20, Colossians 3:4. In this case δεῖ is not used for ἔδει, as if St. Luke were referring to the past historical fact of the Ascension only, but Christ’s exaltation to heaven is represented as a fact continually present until His coming again; or (2) the words have been taken as if ὅν were the subject, “who must possess the heaven”. But the former seems the more natural rendering, so in A.V. and R.V., as more in accordance with the use of δέχεσθαι, and κατέχειν would be rather the word in the second rendering (see Wendt’s note). Zöckler takes the words to mean “who must receive heaven,” i.e., from the Father. Here St. Peter corrects the popular view that the Messiah should remain on earth, John 12:34, and if we compare the words with the question asked in Acts 1:6, they show how his views had changed of his Master’s kingdom (see Hackett’s note).—ἄχρι χρόνων ἀποκαταστάσεως: the latter noun is not found either in LXX or elsewhere in N.T., but it is used by Polybius, Diodorus, Plutarch. In Josephus, Ant., xi., 3, 8, 9, it is used of the restoration of the Jews to their own land from the captivity, and also in Philo., Decal., 30, of the restoration of inheritances at the Jubilee. The key to its meaning here is found not in the question of the disciples in Acts 1:6, but in our Lord’s own saying, Matthew 17:11, Mark 9:12, “Elias truly first cometh, and shall restore all things,” καὶ ἀποκαταστήσει πάντα, and cf. LXX, Malachi 4:6, where the same verb is found (ἀποκυταστήσει). It was the teaching of the Scriptures that Elias should be the forerunner of the Messiah, Malachi 4:5, and Matthew 17:11; Matthew 11:14. But his activity embraced both an external and an internal, i.e., a moral restoration, Sir 48:10. He is said καταστῆσαι φυλὰς Ἰακώβ, to enable those who had been illegally excluded from the congregation to attain their inheritance. But he is eager also for the moral and religious renewal of his people. All disputes would be settled by him at his coming, and chiefly and above all he conducts the people to a great repentance, which will not be accomplished before he comes, Luke 1:16-17 (Malachi 4:6, LXX). This is the inward and moral side of the ἀποκατάστασις, Matthew 17:11, Mark 9:12. But as in Acts 1:6 our Lord had corrected the ideas of the disciples as to an external restoration of the kingdom to Israel, so in the Gospels He had corrected their ideas as to the coming of Elias, and had bidden them see its realisation in the preaching of John the Baptist in turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just. And so the ἀποκατάστασις πάντων had already begun, in so far as men’s hearts were restored to obedience to God, the beginning of wisdom, to the purity of family affection, to a love of righteousness and a hatred of iniquity. Even when the thoughts of the N.T. writers embrace the renewal of the visible creation, the moral and spiritual elements of restoration were present and prominent; cf. 2 Peter 3:13, Romans 8:19-21, Revelation 21:5. So too the παλινγενεσία, in Matthew 19:28, is joined with the rule which the disciples would share with their Lord, and involved great moral issues. A renewal of all things had no doubt been foretold by the prophets, Isaiah 34:4; Isaiah 51:6; Isaiah 65:17; it was dwelt upon in later Jewish writings, and often referred to by the Rabbis (cf., e.g., Book of Enoch, xlv., 2; lxii., 1; xci., 16, 17; Apocalypse of Baruch, xxxii., and instances in Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, ii., p. 343); but even amongst pious Israelites there was always a danger lest their hopes for the future should be mainly associated with material prosperity and national glorification. It is perhaps significant thas Josephus uses the two terms ἀποκατάστασις and παλινγενεσία in close conjunction of the restoration of the Jews to their own land after the exile. How this restoration of all things was to be effected, and what was involved in it, St. Peter does not say, but his whole trend of thought shows that it was made dependent upon man’s repentance, upon his heart being right with God, see Weber, Jüdische Theologie p. 352 ff. (1897); Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, ii., pp. 343, 706; Hauck’s Real-Encyclopädie, “Apokatastasis,” p. 616 ff. (1896).—ὧν refers to χρόνων, so R.V. “whereof,” i.e., of which times. Holtzmann and Wendt on the other hand refer ὧν to πάντων. But the words of our Lord in Matthew 17:11 certainly point to the former reference, and the words are so taken by Weiss, Page, Hackett. In the article from Hauck quoted above, the writer speaks of the reference to χρόνων as the more correct, and points out that if ὧν is the relative to πάντων, the restoration spoken of would no longer be a restoration of all things, but only of those things of which the prophets had spoken. On the prophecies referred to see above. All the words from πάντων to προφητῶν are ascribed by Hilgenfeld to his “author to Theophilus”; the thought of the prophets existing ἀπʼ αἰῶνος (Luke 1:70) belongs in his opinion to the Paulinism of this reviser, just as in Luke’s Gospel he carries back the genealogy of Jesus not to Abraham but to Adam. To a similar Pauline tendency on the part of the same reviser, Hilgenfeld refers the introduction in Acts 3:25-26 of the promise made to Abraham embracing all the nations of the earth (Galatians 3:16), and also the introduction of the word πρῶτον (Romans 1:16; Romans 2:9), to show that not only upon the Jews, but also upon the Gentiles had God conferred the blessings of the Christ; cf. Acts 2:39, where the same revising hand is at work. But St. Peter’s “universalism” here is in no way inconsistent with that of a pious Jew who would believe that all nations should be blessed through Israel, so far, i.e., as they conformed to the covenant and the law of Israel. Spitta sees no difficulty in referring both the passage before us and Acts 2:39 to the Jewish Diaspora (so too Jüngst).—διὰ στόματος τῶν ἁγ. προφ.: cf. Luke 1:70, a periphrasis of which St. Luke is fond (Plummer), cf. Acts 1:16, Acts 3:18, Acts 4:25; Acts 4:30, Acts 15:7, not found in the other Evangelists except once in St. Matthew in a quotation, Acts 4:4.—ἀπʼ αἰῶνος: in the singular the phrase is only used by St. Luke in the N.T., Luke 1:70, Acts 3:21; Acts 15:18, but the plural ἀπʼ αἰώνων is used twice, Colossians 1:26, Ephesians 3:9 (Friedrich), cf. in LXX, Genesis 6:4, Isaiah 46:9, Jeremiah 35 (28):8. The phrase here may be taken simply = “of old time,” cf. Tob 4:12.

21. whom the heaven must receive] and retain, as we are witnesses that He has been taken up into heaven.

until the times of restitution] Better, restoration of all things, i.e. at Christ’s second coming. But this phrase, “the restoration of all things,” is used in two senses in N. T. First it is said (Matthew 17:11; Mark 9:12) that Elias must “first come and restore all things.” There it signifies the beginning of Christ’s Kingdom. As Christ’s death was for all men’s redemption, the restoration of all things may be said to have begun then. In the present verse the words have reference to the time when the course of that restoration shall be completed.

which God hath spoken] Better, of which [i.e. times] God hath spoken.

all his holy prophets] All is omitted in the best MSS.

since the world began] See Acts 3:18.

Acts 3:21. Ὃν δεῖ οὐρανὸν μὲν δέξασθαι, who must indeed receive heaven [but Engl. Vers. whom the heaven must receive]) The particle μὲν, indeed, has the place of its Apodosis, which usually is expressed by δὲ, but, in this instance supplied in the ἀποστείλῃ, He may send, in Acts 3:20. To be taken, i.e. confined, shut up, or contained within heaven, is a violent interpretation, as though the heaven were greater than Christ; and is inimical to the loftiness of Christ, who “ascended up far above all heavens,” Ephesians 4:10. It might however be said, not without a reasonable sense, the heaven receives Christ; it admits and acknowledges Him, viz. [not as containing Him, but] as a throne does its legitimate king, although Christ previously was humbled, and was not yet recognised by the world. But much more august and consonant to the language of Scripture is this sentiment, Christ takes or receives for Himself heaven; and so σὐρανὸν more appropriately also [than in the other interpretation] is without the article. It is the same as λαβεῖν βασιλείαν, to receive a kingdom, Luke 19:12, and βασιλεύειν, to reign, 1 Corinthians 15:25. Nor is the force of the verb δέχομαι opposed to this view, as if the heaven ought to be the thing containing, wherein Christ should be contained. Basilius of Seleucia, Or. 11, writes, δέχεται ἡλίας καταγώγιον ἁμαρτίας ἐλεύθερον: and not dissimilar is that in Or. 14, πῶς ὁ οὐρανὸς σαγηνεύεται. Let those instances be added, which E. Schmidius has brought forward on this passage: οὐκ ἦλθες ἐν δέοντι, δέξασθαι δόμους, thou hast not come seasonably, to take (occupy) this house; and Demosthenes, οὐδὲ διδόντων ὑμῖν τῶν καιρῶν Ἀμφίπολιν δέξασθαι δύναισθʼ ἄν, not even if the opportunity itself should give you Amphipolis, would you be able to lay hold of it. Furthermore, the verb δέξασθαι has this emphasis, that it denotes a thing offered to us. For the Father said to the Son, Take possession of heaven, Sit at My right hand, Sit on My throne which is heaven. In fine, δέξασθαι, to receive or take to Himself, has an inceptive notion, and yet it is said in the present δεῖ, it behoves, not ἔδει, it behoved; although the Ascension had taken place not yesterday or the day before. In fact, Peter speaks concerning a fact which, as compared with His glorious advent from heaven, was still as it were present, especially in relation to His hearers, who were even now approaching to the faith.—ἄχρι χρόνων ἀποκαταστάσεως, until the times of restitution shall come) i.e. until they (these times) shall be fulfilled. So ἄχρις ἡμερῶν πέντε, in five days (“ipsos quinque dies”), ch. Acts 20:6 : ἄχρι χαιροῦ, for a season, ch. Acts 13:11. Similar phrases occur, Luke 21:24; Galatians 4:2; Hebrews 3:13; Revelation 7:3; Revelation 15:8; Revelation 17:17; Revelation 20:3. Peter comprises the whole course of the times of the New Testament between the Ascension of the Lord and His Advent in glory, times in which that apostolic age shines forth pre-eminent, Acts 3:24, as also corresponding to it the condition of the Church, which was to be constituted of Jews and Gentiles, together, [32] Justus Jonas says, “Christ is that King, who has now received heaven, reigning in the meantime through the Gospel in the Spirit, until all things be restored, i.e. until the remainder of the Jews and the Gentiles be converted.” Romans 11. Ἀποκατάστασις is the restitution of things from their confusion into their former order. You will say, Were then all things at any time in such a state as that to which they are to be restored? Answer: 1) They were, at least as far as concerns their beginnings: comp. Matthew 17:11, “Elias truly shall first come and restore all things:” for which reason the apostles also above used this verb, ch. Acts 1:6, “Wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” 2) There is a reference to the Divine intention and promise: as a man born blind is said to recover his sight, because the sight is a natural blessing. Weigh well the word השיב ἀποκαθίστημι, Jeremiah 16:15; Jeremiah 24:6; Jeremiah 50:19; Ezekiel 16:55. The restoration of all things shall be accomplished, when all enemies shall be the footstool of Christ: 1 Corinthians 15:25; a consummation which is being gradually accomplished now, and shall be quickly brought about at some future time.—πάντων, of all things) The universal whole is opposed to heaven, as to a part of that whole.—ὯΝ) for , which,—ἐλάλησεν, spake) נאם, spake [made a solemn declaration, Jeremiah 23:31].—[τῶν ἁγίων, the holy) All the prophets were holy: they all entered heaven, Luke 13:28. They who are rejected as “workers of iniquity” were not prophets, even though they uttered prophecies: Matthew 7:22, “Have we not prophesied in Thy name?” with which comp. John 11:51 : Caiaphas’ prophecy as to Jesus’ “dying for the people.” Balaam was no doubt a prophet, but not in Israel, but only in relation to (penes) Balak.—V. g.]—προφητῶν, prophets) Moses, Acts 3:22, and the rest, Acts 3:24. To this the ΓᾺΡ, for, is to be referred, Acts 3:22.

[32] So that the times of restitution comprise the existing Church as well as the future.—E. and T.

Verse 21. - Restoration for restitution, A.V.; whereof for which, A.V.; spake for hath spoken, A.V.; his for all his, A.V. and T.R. Whom the heaven must receive. This is clearly right, not as some render it, who must occupy heaven. The aorist δέξασθαι seems to point to the moment when, at the Ascension, he was carried up into heaven (Luke 24:51). The restoration of all things (ἀποκαταστάσεως πάντων). This must be the same operation as our Lord speaks of in Matthew 17:11: "Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things (ἀποκαταστήσει πάντα) ;" and from the words of Malachi (Malachi 4:5, 6) it would seem to be a moral or spiritual restoration preparatory to the coming of the Lord. If so, the time of restoration is not exactly synchronous with the times of refreshing, but preparatory to them; preparatory, too, to that restoration of the kingdom to Israel of which the apostles spake to the Lord (Acts 1:6). Probably, however, St. Peter includes in his view the immediately following times of" the presence of the Lord," just as in St. Mark (Mark 1:1) the preparatory mission of John the Baptist is included in the phrase, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ." Whereof God spake. The antecedent to "whereof" is "the times" (ver. 24). Acts 3:21Of restitution (ἀποκαταστάσεως)

Only here in New Testament. The kindred verb, to restore, occurs Matthew 17:11; Acts 1:6, etc. As a technical medical term, it denotes complete restoration of health; the restoring to its place of a dislocated joint, etc.

Since the world began (ἀπ' αἰῶνος)

The American Revisers insist on from of old.

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