Acts 3 & Revelation 5 – Apokalastasis (Restoration)

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“Adoration of the Lamb,” by Jan van Eyck (1432), oil on wood, Ghent altarpiece, Cathedral of St. Bavo, Ghent.

In the Apocalypse, the last book in the Bible (Revelation), the Jewish-Christian prophet, known simply as John, receives visions and revelation from God via an angel.  In chapters 4 & 5 he describes his vision of the throne room of heaven itself.  In front of the throne of the Almighty are the highest orders of angels: the twenty-four elders, the mysterious four living creatures, and the seven archangels.  Surrounding the throne is a great crystal ocean and surrounding the crystal ocean is an infinity of angels.  In this throne room vision, John also hears an incredible song.

“Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea and all that is in them, singing, ‘To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour and glory and might forever and ever!’” (Revelation 5:13-14).

I think you would surely agree with me that it is impossible to imagine how awesome this experience would have been – to hear every sentient creature that has ever existed and that will ever exist (each according to its capacity and intelligence), including humans and angels, singing a song to God and to the Lamb.  The Lamb is a name used by the earliest Christian communities for Jesus describing his sacrifice by the Romans – “led like a lamb to the slaughter”.  This universal song gives us great hope.  Every song is just a practice for this most wonderful of all songs.

Theologians have a special word for this event – “apokatastasis”.  It means “restoration”.  It is a classical Greek word that occurs just once in the Bible in the Book of Acts.  The Book of Acts written in the first-century in Greek.  It’s a history of the beginning of Christianity.

“Turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration (= apokatastasis) that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.”(Acts 3:19-21).

Rev Dr Peter Pimentel

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