Malachi prophesied that Elijah the prophet would return to the earth “before the great and dreadful day of the Lord” and that he would “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:5-6).
Peter, James, and John apparently had that prophecy in mind when they asked Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration what it meant for Elijah to return. Jesus responded by testifying, “Elias [Elijah] truly shall first come and restore all things” (Matthew 17:11). He went on to explain that, in one sense, Elias had already come: John the Baptist had fulfilled the role of an “Elias,” preparing the way for His earthly ministry.
After the death and resurrection of the Savior, Peter reiterated the Savior’s promise that all things would one day be restored:
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.Acts 3:19-21
The Greek word translated “restitution” in this passage, apokatastasis (ἀποκατάστασις), means “restoration,” as in returning something to its prior condition or recovering something that has been lost. Nearly all Bible translations render this passage “restoration of all things.” (See Acts 3:21 on biblehub.com.)
The apostle John saw in a vision a woman (representing the church) who fled into the wilderness to escape from danger. (See Revelation 12.) Nephi likewise foresaw that the Savior’s church would be smothered by persecution and corrupted by inaccurate doctrines. (See 1 Nephi 13.)
But as Alma taught his son Corianton, “All things must be restored to their proper order” (Alma 41:4). Through the grace of God, everything that is lost can be found, and everything that has been destroyed can be rebuilt.
In 1832, the Lord encouraged church members to hold on to that promise of restoration:
Your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.
Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness.Doctrine and Covenants 86:10-11
Today, I will trust in the promise of complete restoration. I will have faith in a God who refreshes, replenishes, rebuilds, and renews all things that are needed for the happiness and progression of His children.