Editor’s note: The following is excerpted and adapted from the preface of the newest book by Joseph Farah, founder, editor and chief executive officer of WND, called “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age,” a book about the prophecies pertaining to Jesus’ first coming and His second coming. The book, available now at the WND Superstore and Amazon, will be officially released nationwide Jan. 10.
“And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
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.”
By Joseph Farah
It’s a funny thing about the way the entire world tracks time.
Every person in every nation knows what year it is right now. They’re all, like it or not, to one degree or another, all on the same calendar.
Something very dramatic and life-changing must have happened more than 2,017 years ago that made people take notice. It had to have been rather spectacular and amazing for all nations and all people to adopt this new calendar.
Not surprisingly, there have been some feeble protests.
Notably, many in Israel keep track of what year it is in two ways – one “civic” date and another religious.
North Korea, an isolated, totalitarian country led by a series of madmen who rule like “gods,” build weapons of mass destruction and starve their people, have on various occasions tried to persuade the rest of the world that time really began when the first of its dynasty of rulers, Kim Il-sung, was born April 15, 1912.
When the bloodthirsty communist revolutionary Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975, murdering millions in the process, the leadership declared it was the year zero, just as the French revolutionary leaders declared 1792 the Year 1 in opposition to all religious influences.
Let’s just say such efforts have been … in vain.
Of course, most people know why the entire world marks time the way it does. They know what happened. (Exceptionally, I note, though, with horror, that many Twitter users remarked on New Year’s Day 2014 they believed it marked America’s 2,014th birthday!)
But, as the Bible says about the reality of God’s role in the world, man is “without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
That “something” that happened more than 2,000 years ago is Jesus, the savior of the world, the Messiah, the Son of God, came into the world – and life was never the same again.
He came as a baby born of a virgin, fulfilling hundreds of Hebrew prophecies about the coming Redeemer. He lived approximately 33 years in Israel and never traveled beyond Egypt and what we call Syria or Lebanon and Jordan today. He taught that the Hebrew Scriptures were God-breathed and true and valid.
He healed the sick, raised the dead, was crucified, rose after three days and foretold that He would come again as a conquering king of kings, establishing an everlasting Kingdom of pure justice, righteousness and peace.
Since then, there have been efforts to portray Him as:
- simply a great teacher who told magnificent parables;
- a lunatic who happened to be at the right place at the right time to captivate billions of followers;
- the leader of a group of “Bronze Age peasants in a backwater called Israel”;
- a magician or sorcerer;
- a misunderstood socialist and advocate for the poor and downtrodden;
- a revolutionary zealot;
- merely another in a long line of Hebrew prophets.
A few even insist, despite the overwhelming and well-documented historical record, that He never really existed.
Despite efforts to conceal the nature of his unique calendar-changing life, such as the use of terms like C.E. (common era) and B.C.E. (before the common era), everyone knows it was Jesus who reset mankind’s clock. The original terms used to divide time were A.D. (abbreviating the Latin “Anno Domini” or “in the year of our Lord”) and B.C. (“Before Christ” – “Christ” being Greek for the Messiah).
While most people know why we measure time the way we do, you will seldom hear it mentioned. When the lighted ball drops in Times Square every New Year’s Eve at midnight, there’s always a lot of chatter. Yet in all the years I have watched that phenomenon, I have yet to hear even one celebrity, not one participant braving the cold night air in Manhattan, not one musical guest, not one news commentator, not one host, ever reference what happened so long ago to change our concept of time.
In fact, in the 62 years I have been alive, I’ve never seen anyone in public life make the point I am attempting to drive home today – that Jesus, or Yeshua, as He was known to his Hebrew brethren, is the one and only life in the history of mankind that changed everything – even the way we count the years going by.
Not only that, we also use His earthly life to count the years before He came. We simply do it backward.
I don’t believe followers of Jesus make this point effectively enough. I don’t think even we appreciate it enough. I don’t think we use it to share the Good News Jesus came to share. I don’t think we underline it every chance we get. I don’t think we recognize how important it is to stave off efforts to popularize terms like C.E. and B.C.E. rather than B.C. and A.D.
In short, I don’t think we do enough to remind believers and non-believers alike just how much it’s all about Jesus.
He is, after all, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the King of kings, the Lion of Judah, the Lord, God with Us, The Alpha and the Omega, the Word, the Lamb of God, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
See the book’s trailer:
Nor do we talk much about the subject of this book — His Second Coming and what it portends.
Oh, I know, some of you don’t believe in such things. You think it’s just a bunch of silly superstition. Even some Christians don’t believe in the Second Coming.
But, as a journalist, I can’t ignore hard evidence – no matter where it may lead me. And the more I study the prophetic scriptures of the Holy Bible and look at the condition of our world today, the more convinced I become that we are nearing that time. In fact, I think we are very close.
For just as Jesus’ virgin birth in Bethlehem was foretold by the Hebrew prophets hundreds of years earlier, so, too, was His return to Earth clearly and explicitly predicted. The only question is when.
The most dramatic evidence for His imminent return our generation has witnessed was the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948. The Jews, God’s chosen people, were, as prophesied, scattered over the whole earth for nearly two millennia beginning shortly after Jesus’ death on the cross. Yet, in my opinion, the scriptures leave no doubt that the Jewish state would exist, once again, before He returned. The fact that it is the first nation in the history of the world to be, shall we say, raised from the dead, should be ignored.
Interestingly, Orthodox Jews have long taught that the world would last for 6,000 years before the Messiah would come and usher in a millennial period of restful human history. Since God created the world in six days, according to Genesis 1:31, and rested on the seventh day, according to Genesis 2:1, they reasoned the world’s history would climax the same way. They cite Psalms 90:4, which says: “For a thousand years in Thy sight are like yesterday when it passes by.”
Likewise, Christians have looked to II Peter 3:8: “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
The early church understood this “six-day theory” of world history. It was widely accepted teaching for the first three centuries of the church. From the time of Adam, we’ve got genealogical records to show that 4,000 years passed until the time of Christ. From Jesus’ time until the present age represents another 2,000 years for a total of approximately 6,000 years or six days.
I can’t help but notice six-thousand years are almost up. You can make of it what you will.
There’s also a three-day theory: Jesus rose on the third day. Would the beginning of the third millennium – or thousand-year period – not be a likely time for His return to earth? There is even strong scriptural evidence for such a theory provided in Hosea 6:2: “After two days will he revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.” Note that this prophecy is not about the Resurrection of Jesus, it’s either about the resurrection of Israel after 2,000 years of dispersal and/or the physical return of the Lord about the same time.
In 1772, Edward Gibbons published “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” in which he cites early documents suggesting the Christian disciples of the first century were taught that Jesus-Yeshua would return after 2,000 years. We’ll soon find out if they were right.
But the critical question addressed in this book is not the “When will it happen,” it’s the question of “What will it be like when He does return?”
Even among self-professed followers of Jesus, there is so little expectancy, so little talk about this age of which all the prophets pointed to and yearned to see, as Peter said.
Who wouldn’t want to see a one-thousand-year period of peace, justice and righteousness?
In one way or another, people dream about a return to the Garden of Eden – whether they believe it ever existed or not.
Almost everyone says they seek justice, peace, mercy and truth.
We all want peace on Earth and goodwill toward mankind – most of us, anyway.
In fact, the same Bible that tells us of that all-too brief paradise-like existence on earth also foreshadows a return to a glorious period of one-thousand years in which justice, mercy, truth, peace, love and goodwill among people dominates the Earth.
It will be a return to the way God intended men, women and all creation to live in the world. It will be as the Apostle Peter called it “the times of restitution of all things.”
The Bible gives us many hints of what this period of time will be like, from many different angles and perspectives.
In fact, it is, as Peter suggests, the good news that all of the prophets spoke about since the world began.
Think about that. There’s a common denominator in whatall the prophets spoke about. Obviously they all foreshadow a Savior, a Redeemer, a Messiah. But they also point to a period of time, a global Kingdom to come, in which truth, light, justice and peace prevail.
That’s pretty exciting stuff. Many other authors and teachers have asserted the idea that we might be very close to that time and that place. And the Bible is replete with glimpses of that Kingdom and that period.
That begs a question: Why don’t we hear much about this period of time in churches? Why aren’t more books written about it? Why don’t we see movies about this period instead of films about the most violent and catastrophic brief times to come on Earth that precede it?
Why do even prophecy students and teachers focus so much attention on the death and destruction and the cataclysm of what the Bible promises to be a very short period of future history and so little on what is called the Millennial Kingdom or when earth will experience the restoration of all things?
It’s a good question, isn’t it?
Shouldn’t mankind be looking toward the Coming Kingdom of God as our great hope for the future? Why are we so preoccupied by an intense but short period of Tribulation?
Peter added in Acts 3:23-24: “Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.”
Even the most famous prayer of the Bible, the one Jesus recited when He instructed His brethren on how to communicate with the heavenly Father. (Matthew 6:9-13)
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
Twice in that short prayer Jesus refers to this coming Kingdom in which God’s will for mankind will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
This book seeks to shed light on what few sermons teach about, what few authors expound upon and on that which few Bible studies explore.
It’s also about the standards for entering the Kingdom and appreciating it to the fullest extent.
But why don’t we hear, read and see more about this Coming Kingdom of God here on Earth today?
Why don’t people think much about it, let alone talk about it?
The answer, I suspect, is because of the fear of accountability for our actions.
Warning! I’m going to suggest that you may be shocked, blown away, astonished, stunned, amazed, perplexed, disturned and possibly even offended by some of what you read in this book. It is not my intention to offend, but it is my desire to get you thinking in a new way and studying the Bible as it is written rather than as others tell you it is written.
That is the reason I provide so many scriptural references – in their entirety.
One admission: I am a most unlikely person to be tackling such an endeavor.
What qualifies me to write about spiritual matters?
Do I have a seminary degree? No.
Have I pastored a church? No.
Do I have any formal training in religion? No.
But while I am best known for a career in journalism, writing books, making movies and launching the first independent online news source in the world, I have always had a passion for knowing God and His ways more deeply.
I was raised as a nominal Roman Catholic. As long as I can remember, I always loved Jesus – at least what I knew about him, which, honestly, wasn’t much as a young person.
Coming of age in the 1960s, I got caught up in the radical politics – first of anti-Vietnam war activism, then the counter-culture movement and, finally, the kind of nihilistic, revolution-for-the-hell-of-it activity which brought me into contact with some of the most notorious characters of the ’60s and ’70s – from Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin to Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.
With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, I successfully fought suspension from high school for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag.
I wrote for left-wing underground papers and started some.
In high school, with hair down to my waist, I was arrested and jailed in an attempt to shut down Washington, D.C., with thousands of protestors in 1971. Again, with the help of the ACLU, all charges were dropped. Many, not me, were actually paid by the federal government hundreds or thousands of dollars for false arrest.
As a teenager I helped foment campus rebellions, uprisings and building takeovers.
I was even recruited to perform acts of terrorism by adult radicals who liked the idea of exploiting juveniles in their schemes because they were unlikely to be severely prosecuted if caught. At one point in my young life as an Arab-American, I dreamed of joining Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organization to conduct terrorist attacks on Israel.
None of this activity was costly to me. In fact, it set me apart in a strange and worldly way. I was elected vice president of my senior class in high school. (I probably could have won as president, but I wasn’t interested in the work it would entail.) As a senior in high school I found myself being wooed with offers of full-ride scholarships to prestigious universities, not because of my academic achievements, but because of my reputation as a hard-core radical in the making.
I turned the offers down because I sensed these institutions and offers represented, in French Revolution parlance, “bourgeois” efforts to buy me off. Instead I accepted admission to a state university just outside of Manhattan where I expected to organize the working class students into revolutionary soldiers.
True story. Few people who know me today can believe it.
It was there, in that university, that I discovered two passions that would change my life:
- I met someone who would become my best friend for life – the son of a Spanish-speaking Baptist minister from Venezuela. For the first time in my life, he evangelized me, gave me a copy of Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth,” and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
- I decided journalism was to be my career.
The common denominator between these two paths? In my mind, they both presented the opportunity to seek the truth. And that’s what I had been doing all along – even while looking in all the wrong places.
I became editor of the college newspaper and took every communications and writing course offered. In a series of stories that ranged from over-enrollment of the university to unreported moonlighting, my reports resulted in a top-down shakeup of the institution. At night I was a part-time correspondent for a daily newspaper, covering government meetings.
My formal training and my experiential education is in journalism. I’ve been doing it now professionally for four decades.
Shortly after graduating college, I got my first job reporting full-time for my hometown daily, the Paterson News in New Jersey. I went home to tell my father, who, with tears in his eyes, confided in me for the first time that I got the job he wanted when he was my age. World War II had interrupted his college studies and he had been forced to get his degree over many years attending night school while he worked as an upholsterer to provide for his family. He went into teaching instead. I had tears in my eyes, too. It made me appreciate the opportunity more than ever.
I worked hard at the paper and advanced quickly – getting better beats, more money and some experience as an editor. In 1979, I applied for a job at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, then one of the biggest dailies in the country in the second-biggest city, and got it. I spent the next nine years there, the last six running the newsroom.
But, there was more going on in my life than long hours at the paper.
One day, I was watching television and a commercial came on. It was Hal Lindsey promoting his new book, “The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon.” I decided to interview him for the paper. I wrote a story about how, through the decade of the 1970s, Lindsey’s books had sold more copies than any other author. We hit it off. We began decade-long collaboration on his books, his newsletter and his TV show, which still airs today. I got immersed in prophecy and worked in similar ways with other famous teachers.
It was Hal Lindsey who first taught me about the centrality of Israel in the Bible. It was during that period I first began visiting Israel – back then as a Middle East correspondent. I had many other teachers along the way, including Chuck Missler, Chuck Smith, Jack Van Impe, Greg Laurie, Mark Biltz, Joel Richardson and Jonathan Cahn who all helped deepen my walk with Jesus and gave me many insights into the Coming Kingdom – even before I was actively searching for them.
I’ve belonged to many different kinds of churches and Bible study groups over the years – Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Calvary Chapel, some charismatic, others not, denominational and non-denominational.
Meanwhile, and simultaneously, I got the opportunity to serve as editor-in-chief of two major-market dailies in L.A. and Sacramento. I also started a non-profit foundation committed to sponsoring investigative journalism – all the while collaborating on books with other authors, including Rush Limbaugh’s No. 1 New York Times bestseller, “See, I Told You So.”
In 1997, I founded the first independent online news service, WorldNetDaily – now known as WND.com. The focus, then and now, was the kind of reporting the press was supposed to do – exposing fraud, waste, abuse and corruption in government and other powerful institutions. But it also became a haven for Christian journalists and brought a distinctive Christian worldview to the media marketplace.
Today, it is one of the largest news sites in the world, the largest Christian content website in the world and one of the largest websites of any kind in the U.S. The business has expanded into book publishing, boasting the highest percentage of New York Times bestsellers of any publisher in the world, along with producing movies. “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” based on Jonathan Cahn’s “The Harbinger,” became the bestselling faith movie of 2012 and 2013.
But there’s someone in my life who has been as inspirational as all of these gifted and learned teachers and wonderful experiences. It’s my wife, Elizabeth. When it comes to the Word of God, her curiosity knows no end. And her passion for truth and understanding God’s ways remains boundless.
And that’s why, I believe, God has put it on my heart to write this book.
I waited for a long time for someone else to do it. I even tried to recruit others to do it. Though I have written 13 books over the years, it’s harder and harder for me to find the time as the business of WND has grown.
But I, like my wife, still have a passion for the truth in a world full of lies – and that’s why I have written “The Restitution of All Things.” It’s the result of my lifelong pursuit of truth – even if some of that life turned out to be terribly misguided and misdirected.
What did my wife have to do with this book? My interaction with her and our studies of the Bible together, along with our children, have led to many profound questions and discoveries over the years. The one that started the journey to writing this book came with one of those loaded questions: Why don’t we observe the fourth commandment?
It was a question that I couldn’t answer – not with a clear conscience. I just didn’t know. I’d never come across anything in the Bible that explained it clearly. So we studied – and studied some more. Those studied deepened our faith, opened our eyes, made the Bible come alive in ways I could never imagine.
We searched for the truth.
We just didn’t ask our pastors.
We went deep into the Bible and into history for clues.
It’s a study that continues today and will probably continue into the Kingdom to come.
That’s when we will all learn more about our faith and truth than can learn in this lifetime.
Do you know the word “truth” is found 224 times in the Bible?
Truth is even one of the names for our God.
- “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” Exodus 34:6
- “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4
- “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.” Psalm 31:5
- “That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.” Isaiah 65:16
- Jesus refers frequently to the Holy Spirit as “the spirit of truth.”
Meanwhile, there are still many people walking around the world today asking the question Pilate asked of Jesus: “What is truth?” They wonder if there is any truth – because they wonder if God is real. We don’t want to be like Pilate, who washed his hands after staring Truth in the eye.
We want to be like Jesus who said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Knowing Jesus is, of course, knowing the Truth with a capital T.
I didn’t write “The Restitution of All Things” because it was time write another book.
I didn’t write it because I needed something else to do.
I didn’t write it because of pride.
I certainly didn’t write it for the money.
I wrote it because I felt God calling me to do it.
I no more wanted to take on this project than did Jonah want to evangelize Nineveh.
I wrote it because I had a hunger to know more about what Peter and all those prophets were talking about when they described the way God, in the person of Jesus, would restore all things, make them all new, remake the world the way it was intended to be before the fall.
After all, if all the prophets were looking toward this glorious, victorious time of peace and harmony, shouldn’t we be considering it, too? Shouldn’t we understand our destiny and that “blessed hope.” Shouldn’t we be preparing ourselves for this amazing new life?
But, in my mind, it’s more than another prophecy book – much more. I had a desire to learn why the church of the first century was so effective in such a brief period of time and, sadly, why the institutional church over the last 19 centuries has been at times so ineffective and even counterproductive – often not part of the solution but part of the problem. I had a desire to share what I have learned about the spiritual traditions of men sometimes overshadowing the commandments of God. I wanted to expose the vicious lie that has become known as “replacement theology.” In short, I wanted to awaken the world to the truth of the Bible, of the reality of Jesus, Yeshua, the Messiah, the King, the High Priest, the Redeemer and Son of God.
So here we go on our journey to discover the truth about Jesus’ 1,000-year reign as king and high priest on planet Earth and many other matters that relate directly to that glorious new world awaiting us in which truth, justice and peace will finally prevail during that time of “the restitution of all things.”
In Matthew 16:19, Jesus-Yeshua promised to give His disciples “the keys of the Kingdom.”
This book explores the nature of those keys and that Kingdom, which, I believe, can be found only in the scriptures under the leading of the Holy Spirit. What I found in my study of this time, this period, this Kingdom affirms what Peter said – every prophet provided glimpses of this great hope.
Would you like to learn more about those keys?
Would you like to get your hands on them?
Would you like to unfold the mysteries of that Kingdom that could be your destiny?
Would you like to know more about your true inheritance as a believer and follower of Jesus?
That’s what this book is all about – along with the responsibilities that citizenship in that Kingdom require.
It is my hope that it challenges you to dig deeper into the scriptures.
There’s little doubt in my mind that you are going to be confronted with some controversial ideas in this book.
There’s little doubt in my mind that you may react with horror to some of those ideas.
There’s little doubt in my mind that the ideas in this book will not necessarily be popular among believers.
All I ask is to put these ideas to the ultimate test of truth. Don’t take my word for anything. If anything I write here is not supported by scripture, don’t believe it. Be like a Berean, who receives the word with all readiness of mind, and searches the scriptures daily, to ascertain whether what you read here is so.
Get Joseph Farah’s newest book, “The Restitution of All Things,” and learn what you have missed in all those sermons you’ve attended, all those Bible studies and all those prophecy books you’ve read. It’s available now at Amazon and the WND Superstore and available Jan. 10 wherever fine books are sold.