Over the coming days, I hope (not promise) to post a series of quotes that help to articulate what different writers mean by the term “restoration” (specifically of Israel). I am increasingly surprised by the number of works that don’t appear to define the term even when it is part of their title. I confess, I might have tried the same tactic if one of my colleagues hadn’t roasted me for it. The importances of stating what we mean by restoration is highlighted by the number of different factors that we have to take into consideration.
Analyzing conceptions of “restoration” in the OT, Judaism, and early Christianity must take into account many factors, including the nature of the earlier order to which restoration is desired, the trauma which disrupted that earlier order, the subsequent situation of those who long for a return of the earlier order, and the traditions regarding each of these points. We must also keep in mind that we are dealing here with a complex phenomenon. There was not just one order and one national trauma, but a series of disruptions which affected both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Hence, restoration can and often does apply not only to the people of Judah, as if only the fall of the kingdom of Judah and the dismantling of the apparatus of the Davidic state could be remedied, but also to the whole people of Israel as heirs to the ancient covenant and promises of Yahweh. Ultimately, the restoration of Israel has implications for the whole world.
James M. Scott, Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish & Christian Perspectives, (JSJSup 72; Leiden: Brill, 2001), p. 7.