Who Restores All Things: Elijah or Jesus?

Has this statement of Jesus ever bothered you:

Matthew 17:11 — Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.

Mark 9:12 — Then He answered and told them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt?

Compare that to this verse about the nature of the time of Jesus return:

Acts 3:21 — whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

Who really restores all things, Elijah or Jesus? According to many prophecies about the Millennium, we know that Jesus will himself do this at his coming. If Elijah does the same thing first then there is nothing left for Jesus to restore of course. So this is a problem. To solve it, some doubt that Jesus really meant Elijah, but instead perhaps was referring to himself in some mystic way. Myself, I always hesitate to say the Bible should be spiritualized that far (i.e., “Elijah” is not Elijah but a reference to himself, Jesus). The solution in difficult cases like this usually turns up after carefully looking at multiple Bible version since the Greek NT we have is not perfect but a patchwork of many incomplete fragments subjectively pieced together by each translator.

In this case, I looked and found that the Aramaic for these passages says something different than “restore all things”:

Matthew 17:11 (Lamsa) — Jesus answered and said to them, Elijah will come first, so that everything might be fulfilled.

Mark 9:12 (Lamsa) — He said to them, Elijah does come first, to prepare everything; and as it is written concerning the Son of man, that he will suffer much and be rejected.

That’s makes more sense doen’t it? As I state in my About page, if you always accept that the Bible means what it (originally) says, a good answer will present itself without resorting to spiritualizing the text away from its face value meanings (plural because as we saw in this case, there are often more than one possible face readings because of the manuscript variants or word ambiguities). This, then is a good example of the benefit of resisting the temptation to deviate from reading the Bible naturally.

9 thoughts on “Who Restores All Things: Elijah or Jesus?”

  1. I find it strange that the Almighty all knowing, seeing hearing God that created everything, and whose hand this world fits in, could not, by His Holy Spirit, put in our hands, a perfect bible!

  2. Of course he could have, but the evidence says for whatever reason he obviously choose not to. We can ignore the evidence for this unpleasant reality and continue instead to choose to believe our preferred reality that we have an perfectly preserved, easy to understand Bible (KJV or otherwise).

    Or, we can face reality and go deeper and discover why delivering a perfect Bible actually would damage our free will and thus God’s plan 6000 year plan giving men a choice of what to believe, who to serve and who to love first in their life and find out the results themselves of each. See my second book for details

  3. Perhaps the reason we have a biblein whichwe have to dig in sometimes to find the truth is that

    “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
    But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” Proverbs 25:2

  4. There are many different translations to choose from. Do we only look at a particular translated verse, with the easiest explanation? No. We look at all available and deduct the most accurate.

  5. So when a difficult passage conflicts with our eschatology, we search to find a some obscure translation to fit? Even in Koine Greek, which the 1st century Jews commonly spoke, “restore all things” is the proper English rendering. This does not mean that Elijah will restore the world or the Temple; all things here means the mysteries of Scripture, to prepare one Bride for Messiah, whereas now there are thousands of denominations and divided theologians. Elijah must restore the hearts of Jews to the faith, to the Messiah. The worldview of creation must be restored, whereas now most Jews and many Christians follow the the neo-Darwinian worldview. Thus, Elijah must restore the truths in a unique way from the beginning of creation- all things unto the Lord. This does not imply that Elijah does not need redemption through Christ, but as a friend he removes the stumblingblocks set before Israel, which destroy their faiths.

    • Lew, actually there was no searching or trying to fit things to my own views. I stumbled upon the Aramaic and saw how it made more sense considering the clear Millennial role of Jesus to “restore all things” and how John only “fulfilled all things” prophesied by Malachi about Elijah. I judged that it preserved a more original reading which perhaps a scribal error in the Greek obscured. I like that answer better than the one you offer. If you understood that Jesus did not teach in Greek but that Hebrew was still spoken in first century Palestine, then you might be able to see how many difficult readings in the Greek mss. like these are resolved by consulting the Semitic texts.

  6. Jesus Christ, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh…(Romans1:3)
    In no way am I intending to “spiritualize this Prophesy”. This is simply how I have observed God hides the mystery of the Gospel from the “no desire to understand” sceptic.

    For the Jewish Apostles, who would testify to the authenticity of Jesus being the Christ, the fact that he was a descendent of David was of utmost importance. First of all, you may recall that in the days of Samuel the Judge, Israel was loosely self-governed. There was no body politic from which came orders, or an army for protection, or human hierarchy that could be considered the ultimate human authority. In those early days of Israel, there was simply a priesthood supported by the Tithe, the Holy scriptures, and an invisible God. A theocracy if you will. There were leaders, but no human King. God was their King who directed the people through Prophets and Elders. (See 1 Samuel 8)
    The elders and general population became disappointed over time with Samuels choice to put his sons in leadership, because “They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
    4*  So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b] us, such as all the other nations have.”
    6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but THEY HAVE REJECTED ME AS THEIR KING.
    The nation of Israel, at that moment, was at a turning point, and ready to change the nature of their governance. It isn’t until the New Covenant is established that God returns to what is now the antitype that form of Kingdom rule, through the hearts of the people and by the spirit of the living God. In the Church Age, the testimony of God once again would be recognized as The King of his people and the leader of the people from all nations.
    It is interesting that the Jews who reject the idea that their Messiah could be God in human flesh, also looks forward to the day when the Messiah comes and “restores all things”, by becoming a Righteous King ruling over the nations.
    Specifically related to Malachi 4:5-6 is Matthew 17:10-13 where “His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. . . .’ Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.” Actually the disciples mistakenly understood that Jesus was speaking of John the Baptist. The fact is Jesus was prophesying of himself. This was the New Covenant’s promise, to restore all things. In Jeremiah 30:3 it is prophesied that “days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the LORD, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.”….Verse 7, “Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.”….Verse 8, “And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him.”….Verse 9, “But they shall serve the LORD their God and DAVID, THEIR KING, whom I will raise up for them.”
    Who is this DAVID, THEIR KING, that the Lord shall raise up to restore the fortunes of God’s People in the latter days? It is actually referring to Jesus. In the same way that Jesus is referred to as David in Jeremiah 30:9 so also is Jesus referring to himself at Elijah who restores all things. In the New Covenant period, Jesus establishes His Kingdom and does restore all things, even to the point of restoring Israel in the final days of the old earths existence. Jesus sets up a visible reign on the earth and as a visible King, he restores the reign of God as the king of this tiny nation. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9 )
    This is how I see it anyway.


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