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Greek Word Study - Restoration

What can you do for a bad case of pleurisy? (That's a painful inflammation of the lining around the lungs.) According to Aretaeus of Cappadocia, a famous Greek physician of the 2nd century A.D., there were two important steps.

First, the patient should be bled. A small cut on the inner bend of the left elbow works best. Second, a diet of raw eggs mixed with turpentine should be given, perhaps with pig brains on the side. (Do not try this treatment at home.)

Then the patient should be watched carefully. Usually, he will die. If matters take a favorable turn, there will be "a profuse hemorrhage" from the nostrils and a coughing up of phlegm. Then, if the patient sleeps, the convalescence is secure.

The Greek word used in the medical books of Aretaeus for "convalescence" was a long one: apokatastasis (ah paw kah TAH stah siss). It meant the "restoration" of a previous healthy state. In legal terms, it was the return of hostages to their own cities or the return of property to its rightful owners. In politics, it was the reconstitution of political order. In general, it was just making everything right again.

In the New Testament the word is used only once.1 In Acts 3:21 Peter preached at the Beautiful Gate of the temple that Jesus must remain in heaven until "the restoration of all things," as God promised long ago through his holy prophets. It appears that heaven has a "restoration movement" of its own!
One day the great Physician will make this sick old creation get well. One day the captives will be free in their heavenly home, the new Jerusalem. One day the political kingdoms of this world will fall, and there will be an everlasting kingdom with God and Jesus on the throne. That's an apokatastasis worth waiting for!