When Jesus speaks of the Restoration, he does so in very tangible terms, pointing to the recovery of normal things like houses and lands:
“Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne ... everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:28–29)
There is no bait and switch here. The renewal of all things simply means that the earth you love—all your special places and treasured memories—are restored and renewed and given back to you. Forever. Nobody seems to have heard this or paid much attention to it, because, for one thing, nobody I know is fantasizing about it. When was the last time you eavesdropped on a conversation at Starbucks about the restoration of all things? And for another thing, everybody I talk to still has these anemic, wispy views of heaven, as a place up there somewhere, where we go to attend the eternal-worship-service-in-the- sky.
Meanwhile we fantasize about that boat we’d love to get or the trip to Italy, the chocolate éclair or the girl in the cubicle next door. Of course we do—we are made for utter happiness.
But the restoration of all things—now that would change everything.