Vol.V No.X Pg.7
December 1968

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Please explain "the sign of the Son of man" MAT.24:30, "the day of visitation" 1PE.2:12, and "times of restitution" ACT. 3:21.


I'll try to answer these questions if you will try to be a charitable reader. The destruction of Jerusalem is the theme of MAT.24: and I believe the "coming" of the Son of man refers to his coming in vengeance -- not to his personal return at the end of time. Some think the destruction of Jerusalem is under consideration throughout the chapter, but it seems to me the coming through vs. 34, is predictable, with exact "signs" by which saints are warned to flee to the mountains; and after vs. 34, the parables are given which teach there will be no warning — hence, refer to the final coming and judgement, from which none can flee.

On this basis of interpretation, the "sign of the Son of man" must be some clear indication of divine power that made the wicked Jews realize, albeit too late, the folly of their ways; and which unified and encouraged the "elect". I know of no clues by which to hazard a guess as to the particulars (see MAR.13:26; LUK.21:27).

The "day of visitation" is the time that puts to test our previous conduct. A like expression is used by the Lord (LUK.19:44) with reference to the destruction of Jerusalem. That was their "time of visitation". Note its use in ISA.10:3. In 1PE.2:12 it simply says that right will out, and there will come times when the good works of the Christians will have an effect upon those who observe them. This is similar to Christ's words, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven". This is not limited to one particular day; it may come often.

I believe "the times of restitution" of ACT.3:21 refers to this Christian dispensation, when "whosoever will" may receive the blessings that were promised through Moses, and other prophets of old. The "remnant" of Israel may now be redeemed, and the Gentile may also be saved (see ISA.49:5-6-f.).

The wording "restitution" may seem strange to us, but if you will read the history of Israel, and then the promises of Messiah, this becomes what we know as the blessings of this Christian age (ISA.1:9, 9:1-7,11).

A few words about such passages in general. Often expressions that seem strange to us, are understood by use of a good concordance, and effort to keep the whole picture of context before our minds. If we select a part of a verse, or an isolated phrase, and then begin to speculate as to its meaning, there is no telling what we will conclude.

Comparative reading of the American Standard, or other standard versions may open new lights for us. Our own speech is filled with figurative and idiomatic expressions — so that of the Bible. Study, and pray.