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Restitution

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a term applied in the A.V. in two very different senses.

1. Penal (שָׁלִם, to repay, Exodus 20:1-14, etc.; elsewhere "requite," etc.; but in Job 20:18, תְּמוּרָה, exchange, as elsewhere rendered), that act of justice by which we restore to our neighbor whatever we have unjustly deprived him of; a point insisted on under both the old and the new covenant (Exodus 22:1; Luke 19:8). Justice requires that those things which have been stolen or unlawfully taken from another should be restored to the party aggrieved, and that compensation should be made to him by the aggressor. Accordingly various fines or pecuniary payments were exacted by the Mosaic law: as,

(1.) Fines, ענש , onesh, strictly so called, went commonly to the injured party, and were of two kinds: fixed, i.e. those of which the amount was determined by some statute as, for instance, that of Deuteronomy 22:19, or deu 22:29; and undetermined, or where the amount was left to the decision of the judges (Exodus 21:22).

(2.) Twofold, fourfold, and even fivefold restitution of things stolen, and restitution of property unjustly retained, with twenty per cent. over and above. He who, by ignorance, should omit to give to the Temple what was appointed by the law for example, in the tithes or first-fruits was obliged to restore it to the priests and to add a fifth part besides, over and above which he was bound to offer a ram for his expiation. Nehemiah prevailed with all those Israelites to make restitution who had taken interest of their brethren (Nehemiah 5:10-11), and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:8) promises a Fourfold restitution to ail from whom he had extorted in his office as a publican. The Roman laws condemned to a fourfold restitution all who were convicted of extortion or fraud. Zacchaus here imposes that penalty on himself, to which he adds the half of his goods, which was what the law did not require.

(3.) If a man killed a beast, he was to make it good, beast for beast (Leviticus 24:18). If an ox pushed or gored another man's servant to death, his owner was bound to pay for the servant thirty shekels of silver (Exodus 21:32). In the case of one man's ox pushing the ox of another man to death, as it would be very difficult to ascertain which of the two had been to blame for the quarrel, the two owners were obliged to bear the loss between them; the living ox was to be sold, and its price, together with the dead beast, was to be equally divided by them. If, however, one of the oxen. had previously been notorious for goring, and the owner had not taken care to confine him, in such case he was to give the loser another and to take the dead ox himself (Exodus 21:36).

(4.) If a man dug a pit and did not cover it, or let an old pit remain open and another man's beast fell into it, the owner of such pit was obliged to pay for the beast and had it for the payment (Exodus 21:33-34).

(5.) When a fire was kindled in the fields and did any damage, he who kindled it was to make the damage good (22:6). (See DAMAGES).

Moralists observe respecting restitution:

(1.) That where it can be made in kind, or the injury can be certainly valued, we are to restore the thing or the value.

(2.) We are bound to restore the thing with the natural increase of it, i.e. to satisfy for the loss sustained in the meantime and the gain hindered.

(3.) Where the thing cannot be restored and the value of it is not certain, we are to give reasonable satisfaction according to a middle estimation.

(4.) We are at least to give by way of restitution what the law would give, for that is a generally equal and in most cases rather favorable than rigorous.

(5.) A man is not only bound to restitution for the injury he did, but for all that directly follows from the injurious act; for the first injury being wilful, we are supposed to will all that which follows upon it.

2. Apocatastasis, a term which, in its Greek form, occurs but once in the New Test. in the phrase "restitution of all things," ἀποκατάστασις πάντων (Acts 3:21). As an event, it is in that passage connected with the "refreshing (ἀνάψυξις ) from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19). The grammatical construction as well as exegetical interpretation of the whole passage has been greatly disputed by commentators (see Meyer, Commentar. ad loc.); but Alford (Greek Test. ad loc.) regards both these as being decisively settled by the parallel expression of our Saviour that Elijah "will restore all things," ἀποκαταστάσει πάντα (Matthew 17:11). The principal opinions of interpreters are thus summed up by Kuinol (Comment. ad loc.):

(a) De Dieu, Limbach, Wolf, and others understand by the times of "refreshing" and "restitution" (i.e. the predicted period when the due position will be assigned each one), the days of the last judgment, the times of affliction to the impious and contumacious, but of relief, quiet, and safety to the saints. In support of this view they adduce the frequent argument of the sacred writers to induce Christians to diligence and hope drawn from the prospect of the last day (Acts 17:30 sq.; 2 Peter 3:7; 2 Peter 3:11; 2 Peter 3:13 sq.; comp. especially the similar language of 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:16), and the fact that Jewish writers were accustomed so to speak of it (Pirke Aboth, 4:17).

(b) Schulz (in his Dissert. de Temporibus τῆς ἀναψύξεως, in the Biblioth. Hagan. v, 119 sq.) understands the time of death, the terminus fixed to each man's life, the future rest of the dead in the Lord; a view which Barkey (ibid. p. 411) justly opposes by this, among other considerations, that if this had been Peter's meaning it is strange he had not used clearer and more customary phraseology.

(c) Kraft (Obss. Sacr. fascic. 9:271 sq.) remarks that Peter on this passage derives his argument not merely from the hope of pardon, but also from the benefits already bestowed by God, and therefore considers this "refreshing" to be the liberation afforded by Jesus from the ceremonial yoke of bondage of the Jewish law, an exposition which is well refuted by Barkey (Bibl. Hag. 3:119 sq.), who pertinently remarks that Peter at this very time was not himself free from legal prejudices.

(d) Barkey (ibid. v, 397 sq.) thinks these "times of refreshing" are the period of the delay of the divine judgment upon the Jews, the time of the divine longsuffering, in which the zeal of the Almighty's vengeance was remitted or relaxed. He regards the expression "Jesus Christ" here as put for "the word of Jesus Christ," and so refers the words "he shall send," etc., to the preaching of the doctrine of Jesus.

(e) In the opinion of Grotius, Hammond, and Bolten, the "times of refreshing" are the time of the freedom of Christians from Jewish persecution and the calamities impending over the wicked and refractory Jews (Matthew 24:33; Luke 21:28); while the "times of restitution" are the time of the fulfilment of the predictions concerning the overthrow of the capital and polity of the Jews (comp. Matthew 24:15; Matthew 24:30).

(f) Ernesti (in his Opusc. Theol. p. 477), who finds a follower in Dbderlein (Institutio Theol. Christ. ii, § 223, obs. 6), interprets the term apocatastasis as meaning a new, greater, and truer perfection of religion, the doctrine of the Gospel clear and free from all shadows of figures and rites; first announced by John, then promulgated by Jesus among the Jews, and finally propagated by the apostle everywhere. This view he fortifies by the observation that "times of restitution" is equivalent to "time of reformation" (διόρθωσις, Hebrews 9:10).

(g) Also Eckermann (Theologische Beitrage, 1, ii, 112 sq.) interprets the "apocatatasasis of all things" to mean the universal emendation of religion by the doctrine of Christ, and the "times of refreshing" to be the day of renewal, the times of the Messiah. The same writer, however, afterwards (ibid. II, i, 188 sq.) rejects this exposition on the ground that the parallel passages (Matthew 11:17; Mark 9:12) speak of Elijah as to precede and rectify Jewish faith and morals. He therefore concludes that Peter was referring to a restoration of the Jewish polity in its original splendor. Yet finally (in his Erkalrung aller dunkeln Stellen des N.T. ii, 184) he returns to his original opinion. (h) Rosenmuller, following Morus, understands the "times of refreshing" to denote happy times, not merely the day of the resurrectioni of the dead, but also spiritual benefits of every kind which Christians enjoy in this and the future life (Morus: the Messianic times), and refers the "times of restitution" (full and perfect fulfilment of prophecy) to the consummation of that auspicious period when all enemies shall be subdued (1 Corinthians 20:25 sq.; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 10:15; comp. Psalms 110:1), and every influence opposing true religion removed. Many of these interpretations are obviously fanciful, and most of them too vague, although some contain an element of truth. The word ἀποκατάστασις signifies emendation, restoration to a pristine condition, change to a better state. (So Josephus, Ant. 11:3, 8; 4:6; Philo, De Decal. p. 767 b; De Rer. Div. Her. p. 522 c. Hesychius and Phanorinus likewise explain it by τελείωσις ; but the scholiast in the Cod. Nosq. ad loc. renders συμπλήρωσις, ἔκβασις. In like manner ἀποκαθιστάνειν signifies to complete, bring to a conclusion; see the Sept. at Job 8:6, where it corresponds with שַׁלֵּם ; so in Genesis 41:13; Jeremiah 22:8; comp. Polyb. 4, 23, 1; Diod. Sic. 20:34.) By the expression "until the times of the apocatastasis of all things which God hath spoken," etc., Peter means the time when all affairs shall be consummated, all the prophetical announcements shall be accomplished, including the inauguration of the kingdom of the Messiah and its attendant events, the full extension of the Gospel, the resurrection, judgment, etc. in short, the end of the world (see Olshausen, De Wette, Hackett, and most others, ad loc.). (See ESCHATOLOGY).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Restitution'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/r/restitution.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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