Refreshing and Restoration in Acts 3:19-21: The Role and Impact of Isaiah 2:1-5

  • Ezekiel Shibemba

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis argues that interpreting the hapax legomena ‘times of refreshing and times of restoration of all things’ in Acts 3:19-21 could benefit from an examination and demonstration of the influence of Isaiah 2:1-5 in Acts. Reading Acts this way can illumine their meaning, Luke’s ecclesiology, and eschatology. Historically, these phrases have been understood either by reading Acts in the general Second Temple Period (STP) context or a Hellenistic one. The result has been ongoing discussion regarding their meaning, their timing, and to whom they apply. Not surprisingly, interpretation has yielded a variety of views. Alternative views define restoration to include the cosmos, while others see the references limited to salvific blessings such as forgiveness and the outpouring of the Spirit. Some others see the phrases as fulfilled at the return of Christ, while others see refreshing and restoration as present realities. Still others see a ‘national Israel’ while some others interpret a universal restoration that includes all nations. Having demonstrated that Isaiah 2:1-5 shapes the narrative of Acts, beginning with two of Luke’s paradigmatic texts (Acts 1:8 and 2:17), the study traces other allusions to the text of Isaiah to demonstrate Luke’s thoroughgoing reliance on Isaiah 2:1-5 to tell the story of the early followers of Jesus. Thematic allusions give further support. When interpretation is given to these two hapax legomena in this context, the result is a reassessment of the meaning, timing, and understanding of who is restored in Luke’s narrative. In this way, the thesis reassesses the relationship between Luke’s ecclesiology and eschatology and finds that, for Luke, the community were partners with God in restoration through Spirit-empowered proclamation, living as the new temple that is inclusive of Jew and Gentile.
Date of Award1 Aug 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorKent Brower (Supervisor)


  • Acts 3:19-21; Times of Restoration; Times of Refreshing; Isaiah 2:1-5; Jerusalem; Temple
  • Gentile; nationsRefreshing

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