Patheos answers the question:

What Does Acts 3:21 Mean? The "Restitution" of All Things


Acts 3:21 speaks of a time when God will restore everything, as He promised long ago through His holy prophets.

21 - “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of arestitution of all things, which God hath bspoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

But what does this "restitution of all things" truly mean? Let's delve into this scripture from various religious perspectives.

Evangelical Perspective

Evangelicals, known for their emphasis on the authority of the Bible, generally interpret the "restitution of all things" as the ultimate fulfillment of God's promises. This includes the restoration of the earth to its Edenic state, the resurrection of the dead, and the establishment of God's kingdom on earth. The return of Jesus Christ is central to this belief, marking the commencement of this grand restoration.

Catholic Perspective

The Catholic Church, rooted in both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, views the "restitution of all things" in a sacramental light. It signifies the culmination of God's salvific plan, where all of creation is reconciled to Him. This includes the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, and the establishment of a new heaven and a new earth. The Church's sacraments, especially the Eucharist, are seen as foretastes of this coming restoration–and purveyors of the grace necessary to make it happen.

Progressive Christian Perspective

Progressive Christians, while diverse in their beliefs, often approach scripture with a more metaphorical lens. For many, the "restitution of all things" is less about a future apocalyptic event and more about the ongoing work of justice, reconciliation, and healing in the present. It is a call to action, urging Christians to participate in God's restorative work in the world today, addressing issues like social justice, environmental stewardship, and inclusivity.

Modern Christian Perspective

In Christian theology, the "restitution of all things" refers to the time when God will restore the earth to its original state of perfection, as it was before the fall of man. This restoration will be characterized by peace, righteousness, and the absence of sin. The prophets of the Old Testament, such as Isaiah, spoke of a time when the desert will blossom, the blind will see, and the lame will walk (Isaiah 35:1–2, 5–6). This restoration is closely linked with the second coming of Jesus Christ, who will reign on earth and bring about this prophesied restoration.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Perspective

For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the restitution involves not only the restoration of the earth but also the restoration of the fullness of the gospel. This includes the re-establishment of priesthood authority, temple ordinances, and the pure (or unadulterated) teachings of Jesus Christ. The LDS church believes that this restitution was necessary as a result of a post-biblical apostasy which corrupted parts of the gospel. Thus, the need to “restore,” which they see as beginning with the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, and continuing today.

Islamic Perspective

While Acts 3:21 is not found in the Quran, the concept of a final restoration is not foreign to Islam. Muslims believe that numerous times throughout religious history Allah (i.e., God) had to “restore” the truth because of apostasy or the corruption of revealed religion. The Prophet Muhammud (PBUH) was the last one to “restore all things,” with the promise that the truth (as encapsulated in Islam) will never be lost again. On the Day of Judgment, when all souls will be resurrected and judged by Allah, things will be “restored” to their proper place (according to Islamic thinking). The righteous will be rewarded with paradise, while the wicked will face punishment. This day signifies the ultimate restoration of justice and the fulfillment of God's will.

Pagan Perspective

In many pagan traditions, the cycle of life, death, and rebirth is a central theme. While the exact interpretation of "restitution" might differ, many pagan beliefs emphasize the cyclical nature of existence and the eventual return to a state of balance and harmony. Pagans who believe in reincarnation will typically hold that one will have “restored” to their person (in their next incarnation) the very things they deserved based on their most recent incarnation.

Hindu Perspective

Hinduism speaks of the various cycles, ages, or “yugas.” Each of the four yugas represents a different age of the world. The concept of restitution can be likened to the transition from Kali Yuga–which is the 4th and last “age” (sometimes referred to as the “age of darkness”) to Satya Yuga–which is the 1st age (and is often seen as “the age of truth”). This process of cycling through the four yugas or stages, until the 4th ends and the 1st begins again, could be seen as a “restoration” of the “golden age” when righteousness will again prevail, and the world will be restored to a state of purity.

Buddhist Perspective

Buddhism teaches the concept of Samsara, which is the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. While not a direct parallel to the "restitution of all things," the ultimate goal in Buddhism is to achieve Nirvana, breaking free from this cycle. This state of enlightenment can be seen as a form of restoration to a state of pure existence, free from suffering, attachment, and unmet desires.


The "restitution of all things" in Acts 3:21 is a powerful concept that resonates across various religious beliefs. While interpretations may vary from religion to religion (and even within various denominations within a tradition), the underlying theme is the hope for a restored and perfected world (or existence) where righteousness, peace, and divine purpose reign supreme.

9/6/2023 6:18:51 PM