To bring back, to reinstate, to re-establish- If you look up the definition of the word restore in the dictionary, this is what you will find. The definition seems good enough, but truly, it doesn’t do justice to the biblical definition of restoration. The Bible’s meaning gives a much more hopeful picture. The biblical definition of restore means to receive back more than what has been lost. It means the final state of the person, object or situation will be greater and better than the original condition. The idea of restoration in the Bible is one where there is improvement beyond one’s own human expectations.
I don’t know about you, but I like the biblical definition better than Webster’s !!! If I want to look at restoration from a dictionary standpoint, I will receive back exactly what I had before. Imagine I had a Toyota Camry in good condition, but one day it was totaled in a car accident. After a trip to the auto shop, my car is restored to its previous condition. That’s not a bad deal, but the biblical way would be much better. If we apply the biblical definition of restore to my Toyota Camry, I don’t get my Camry back as it was………..perhaps I get a completely different car I never expected- maybe a BMW, Porsche, Maserati, or a Ferrari. I receive a car back that was worth significantly more than my Camry. This one probably has real leather seats too! I would never expect to receive a luxury car in place of my original economy class vehicle. But, there it is in my
driveway- a car I wasn’t expecting, and certainly one I didn’t deserve.
We have a God that restores beyond the original. He is looking to take what we once had and rebuild, remake and renew it to the point we may not even recognize it. That’s because he knows what’s best. He knows the end before the beginning. He knows our problems before they occur and he’s got the solution already in mind. He can see the restoration while we are still in the pit of hopelessness. Unfortunately, there can be a long wait time for this restoration.
The story of Joseph and restoration
This idea of restoration is seen in the story of Joseph from the Bible. Joseph’s brothers left him for dead and then sold him into slavery. Joseph ended up in a foreign land, isolated from his family and friends. At one point Joseph is falsely accused of rape and ends up in prison for several years. At the proper time, however, Joseph is restored to a much greater position and title. Being in prison allowed the opportunity for Joseph to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. Joseph’s lowly position as a prisoner allows him to gain favor with Pharaoh, and then be placed in charge of all of the grain in Egypt. He was also given charge over the palace, and the land of Egypt- he was second in command only to Pharaoh. Now, let us consider the fact that before Joseph was given command of Egypt, he was a simple seventeen year old shepherd who tended flocks with his brothers. He certainly lost a lot when he was betrayed by his own flesh and blood. But the end result was much better and greater than he could have imagined. What is even more awesome about the restoration in this story is that even Joseph’s brothers are restored. When a famine ravages the land where Joseph’s brothers live, they are forced to come to Egypt, hoping to buy grain. At this point, they assume their brother Joseph is dead and have no idea they will actually be buying grain from him! When they see Joseph face to face, they are clueless as to who he is. After all, it’s been many years since they’ve seen him. Joseph recognizes them right away, however. Joseph has the perfect opportunity to seek revenge on the brothers who sold him into slavery. Instead, he provides them with grain, and hatches a plan for the ultimate restoration. By the end of the story, Joseph and his brothers have made amends and Joseph has invited his entire extended family to live in Egypt with him. He is also reunited with his father, who has grieved for him since he first disappeared. The reunion and restoration is beyond what Joseph and his brothers could have imagined! That, my friends, is the formula Jesus uses.
The Grand Reunion: The Grand Restoration
This reunion reminds me of what will happen to the nation of Israel when Jesus returns. The nation of Israel as a whole has not accepted Jesus as the Messiah. Thousands of years have passed and the majority of the nation continues to be blinded to who Jesus is. But, there will come a time when their eyes will be opened and they will see their “brother” for who he really is- The Son of God- the long awaited Messiah. By that point, Israel will have gone through much suffering, and will be in a state of almost complete brokenness. Of course, that’s where restoration does its best work. Jesus will step foot on the Mount of Olives and restore all things- the nation, the land, the people and the world. Much more will be gained than was lost. The world will not be recognizable when the King of Kings takes the throne. When God restores, he multiplies the value of all things. We can’t even fathom what it will look like when final restoration takes place. Some of that restoration is already taking place because the Jewish people have returned to their homeland. On May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation once again. This came after the horrendous times of the Holocaust. Six million Jews were murdered at the hands of the Nazis. After all that death, God restored the nation to its biblical land. But, the restoration is far from over. Just a few days ago over 700 rockets were fired into Israel by terrorists who want their land. The nations surrounding Israel never wanted to see her restored. Since the day Israel declared itself a nation, they have received attacks and threats from neighboring countries, and the condemnation of the United Nations. What these attackers don’t realize is that their plans are fruitless. Jesus Christ, who is Jewish, has already set the wheels in motion to restore the Jewish people, the land and the world. When restoration comes, the Jewish people will recognize Jesus. Many hundreds of thousands of Jewish people do recognize Jesus already- they are called Messianic Jews. The restoration is in motion and I can’t wait to see the final result.
GOD CAN RESTORE ANYTHING
Jesus wants to restore both big and little things in our lives. He knows what we deal with from day to day, and year to year. Certain problems can become overwhelming and it may feel like restoration will never come. This is how I felt two days after Easter Sunday. I had a PVC pipe cross in my yard during the month of April for Easter/Passover. The time came to take down the cross made from PVC pipes as the season was coming to a close. Actually, it was still Passover week so I should have left the cross up. But I was sad that day and I guess the mood took over, so I went to take down the cross. As I took it down, I realized there was a crack in one of the pipes. The cross was starting to bend from the crack. I took the cross apart and laid the pipes on the ground, near a bench I was sitting on. There was a piece of purple linen from the cross on the ground as well. I sat there looking at the broken, cracked cross……..contemplating. I began to think about all the broken things in my life. The cross lay in pieces, and I thought about certain parts of my life that were in pieces. Doubt started to creep in. I wondered if all the broken things in my life would ever be fixed. As I sat there thinking, my sweet 16 year old cat Oreo wandered over to where I was sitting. He meowed a few times and then he laid right on top of the broken pieces of the cross. He didn’t lay on the linen (as you see in the picture) initially. First, he laid right on the PVC pipes. I thought, “That can’t be comfortable.” But, he laid there for quite a while. I cried and put my head in my hands. Oreo just looked up and meowed. Eventually, he moved over from the broken pipes of the cross to the purple linen.
THE JEWISH WEDDING
After he moved, a thought came to me………a picture popped in my mind. It was a Jewish wedding. At the end of a Jewish wedding they will stomp a glass. The meaning behind stomping the glass is that it is supposed to remind the Bride and the Groom of the destruction of the Temple. It’s a reminder to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and that the Temples will be restored. When I think about this tradition it reminds me of Jesus. He is the Living Temple. He fulfilled all aspects of the Temple, including the Temple sacrifices. One day, he will rule and reign from Jerusalem and restore all that was lost. The Groom will come back for his Bride and bring her to live in a world that is no longer controlled by demonic forces or evil.
When a glass is broken at a Jewish wedding, it’s also a reminder that one day all broken things will be restored. It is usually the Groom who stomps on the glass with his right foot. We must never forget Jesus is Jewish and he is our Groom. He sits at the right hand of the Father, waiting for the signal to come fetch his Bride. When the time is right, he will come back, and the pieces of glass that have been shattered in our lives and in the world will be restored. The end product will be much better than a glass however.
My sweet cat Oreo is a bit broken himself. He has skin cancer and his face is a mess. You can’t see it too much in the picture. Also, he recently had a cortisone treatment so it’s looking better than usual. On top of the cancer, his kidneys are failing so he drinks water all day. He has arthritis so he doesn’t move as fast as he used to. His memory is lacking also, so he forgets when he has eaten. He would eat all day if I let him. He sleeps most of his day away, lounging on the lawn, or even on top of lava rocks. In spite of all these things, he’s a pretty happy cat.
GOD RESTORES BROKENNESS
When broken Oreo was laying on top of that broken cross, I couldn’t help but remember our Savior, whose body was broken on the cross for us. Isaiah 52 says, “his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness.” That is certainly a picture of complete brokenness. But the story didn’t end there. This broken Savior died and rose from the dead- a restoration beyond human comprehension. Not even the disciples understood exactly what would happen after Jesus died. It was too much for their human mind to behold. Isaiah 53 is even more detailed than Isaiah 52, and describes Jesus as the suffering lamb of God. See article below that describes crucifixion as well.
I am sure there are things in your life that are broken to a point that they seem un-fixable. Perhaps you’ve prayed and prayed for these things to be resolved or restored. As you wait, you become restless, and maybe even hopeless. I’ve been there and done that. But, we must remember it’s not our timing or will, but God’s. Like the menorah, which is made out of pure gold, God is often refining us as he let’s us go through the fire. We are purified as we are hammered out into a beautiful piece of gold. The menorah emanated light and was the only light in the Most Holy Place. Jesus is the Light of the World, and he is full of this light. Through this hammering process, we often shine more brightly than if we just passed through without difficulties or obstacles. It is through the brokenness that we are able to take in the light. I love the quote by Ernest Hemingway which says, “We are all a little broken. That’s how the light gets in.”
When Jesus took the Last Supper with the disciples he shared a cup of wine with them. This cup is called the cup of redemption and it signifies our redemption through Jesus. He paid the price on the cross to redeem us. His blood was the redemption price. When we take communion, we are taking this cup with him. We are receiving his gift. We are receiving his redemption. But, did you know there is another cup coming? It’s called the Cup of Restoration, or the Kingdom Cup. This is the cup of wine we will share with our Groom when he returns for his Bride.
When Jesus ate the Last Supper he said, “I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Jesus was referring to the Cup of Restoration- the Kingdom Cup. He was saying that one day the Earth will be restored and his kingdom will come. That is when that cup will be shared. This means we can be assured the kingdom will come. Jesus is faithful and he will fulfill his word.
The World is Broken, but GOD CAN RESTORE ANYTHING
Until then, we do have to keep living in this broken world. 1 Peter 5:10-11 says, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself RESTORE you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
Did you catch the word restore in there? That is good news! Jesus has the power to do it, and HE WILL.
We are ROYALTY in God’s eyes
There’s something else we need to remember! We are royalty! Those who are in Christ are not mere peasants. We have been given the gift of royal DNA from Jesus himself. We are adopted into his royal family and are entitled to the riches of his kingdom. These riches may not be seen in the earthly material world, but they can be seen spiritually, and in the kingdom to come.
I’ve been watching the CROWN, which depicts the life of Queen Elizabeth II. She and her family lived in a palace, surrounded by the finest of everything- food, clothing, art, furniture, cars, etc. But even though the Queen has everything money can buy and has a royal position, she still encounters the problems and sorrows of life. I find myself being able to relate with her feelings of disappointment, sadness and anxiety. She’s not so different from those of us in Christ. Even though Jesus has set us in this royal position, there are still situations around us that cause strife, fear and upheaval in our lives. These situations may be very broken and the outlook may be grim. But, we have to keep our chin up and stay the course. These situations do not cause us to lose our position in Christ, but rather they strengthen our relationship with him, and force us to rely on him as our daily Counselor. One thing I really admire about Queen Elizabeth is her strong faith, and her ability to keep herself together, even when life gets messy. She has an anchor she falls back on- Jesus. To this day, she is the longest lived, longest reigning British monarch, as well as the world’s longest serving female head of state. During those years, she has faced both praise and criticism, but through it all she has held her head high.
Here is a picture of Oreo when he was young and healthy. I really believe those who are in Christ will be completely restored- our youth, our health, our lives……….. And guess what Oreo’s name means? GOLD- the name comes from the French word for GOLD which is ORO. My sweet broken cat is a reminder that God will purify and restore us like GOLD. Meow……….or should I say AMEN…………………
Key idea to remember: GOD CAN RESTORE ANYTHING!
UPDATE: I posted this on May 8, 2019 and at that time my sweet Oreo was still alive. A week after posting this blog Oreo passed away. It was a sad time for our family because Oreo was a special part of our lives. But, like I wrote above, I know God will restore all things- his entire creation. Here is a video and article by Randy Alcorn, who wrote the book, Heaven. It will offer comfort to those who wonder what happens to animals when they die…………………..