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Monday Oct 18, 2021
Monday, 18 October 2021 And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. Acts 1:23 You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at "Discern the Bible" on YouTube or at Rumble (Click Here to listen). Peter has proposed the selection of another apostle to replace Judas. This is in accord with the Scriptures he cited, and therefore it is an appropriate step to take. Before proceeding to the verse, it should be noted that many take this decision by Peter and the others as an aberration. If a twelfth is now selected, then it – presumably – makes the selection of Paul problematic. How can he be chosen as an apostle and yet there be twelve apostles? The reasoning is that there were twelve sons of Israel. To maintain the pattern, there should then only be twelve apostles. The thinking is flawed. The twelve sons of Israel as recorded in Genesis are at first twelve – Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin. However, in Genesis 48, the following is recorded – “Now it came to pass after these things that Joseph was told, ‘Indeed your father is sick’; and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2 And Jacob was told, ‘Look, your son Joseph is coming to you’; and Israel strengthened himself and sat up on the bed. 3 Then Jacob said to Joseph: ‘God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, 4 and said to me, “Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.” 5 And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.” Genesis 48:1-5 Thus, the sons of Israel are fourteen – Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin, Manasseh, and Ephraim. Throughout the rest of Scripture, even in the New Testament, various listings of the sons of Israel are given based on the number twelve. At times, one name or another is given in replacement of another name, but the list is given as twelve. Of the apostles, Luke lists twelve – “Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; 15 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.” Luke 6:14-16 With the selection of another apostle now in Acts 1, and with the designation of another apostle – Paul – beginning in Acts 9, the number is fourteen – Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, John; Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon called the Zealot, Judas the son of James, Judas Iscariot, Matthias, and Paul. With this pattern set forth and understood, there is no reason to assume that the selection of Matthias (as will occur in verse 1:26) is inappropriate. Judas, being dead, does not discount that he was a named apostle. Nor does the adoption of Manasseh and Ephraim mean that these two sons are not “sons of Israel.” The pattern is set forth for us to learn from. Having said that, the verse set before us begins with, “And they proposed two.” Of those who had been with Jesus “from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up” (Acts 1:22), two qualified men have been identified. The first is “Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus.” The name “Joseph” essentially means, “He shall add,” coming from the Hebrew verb yasaph, “to add.” However, it is also connected to the word asaph, “to take away.” Therefore, the name is actually a double entendre. The name Barsabas (Barsabbas) is probably a patronymic. The word bar is Aramaic, meaning “son.” Thus, he is “Son of Sabas.” The Greek Sabas is derived from a one of various Hebrew words, depending on which transliteration is accepted. The name could mean Son of the Host, Son of the Imbiber, Son of Pleasure, Son of an Oath, or something similar. If the name is not a patronymic, the term “son of” may be relating to his character. This is common in the Bible. A person is known as a “Son of XXX” because his character exemplifies that quality. Thus, the term “Son of Sabas” designates either his father, or his personal character. Finally, Justus is a name of Latin origin meaning “Just.” It was not uncommon for people to have both a Hebrew name and a Latin or Greek name at this time. It was also common to be called “Son of XXX,” as well. Hence, he was known by any of these names. The second nominee is “Matthias.” This is believed to be a shortened form of the name Mattathias. If so, it is a transliteration from the Hebrew name Mattithyah (or Mattithyahu). The Hebrew word mattah signifies a gift or reward. The Hebrew Yah is an abbreviation for Yehovah. Thus, the name means “Gift of Yah (Yehovah).” Life application: Peter quoted Scripture to demonstrate that God’s plans were not upset by the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, but that this was in accord with what God knew would occur. He again cited Scripture to demonstrate that another person should replace him. Peter’s thinking was not in error. It was in accord with what was set forth in the word. The selection of the two men was in accord with what was just and right concerning the knowledge of Jesus’ ministry. In other words, the events in Acts 1 concerning the replacement of Judah are not an error as many claim. Instead, they are a part of what occurred, they are documented by Luke to show that this was what was decided, and in the conduct of this selection – and the later selection by Paul – a set pattern is brought forth that matches what occurred already in the Old Testament in relation to the sons of Israel. As such, EW Bullinger defines the number fourteen as – “...being a multiple of seven, partakes of its significance; and, being double that number, implies a double measure of spiritual perfection. The number two with which it is combined (2x7) may, however, bring its own significance into its meaning, as in Matthew 1, where the genealogy of Jesus Christ is divided up and given in sets of 14 (2x7) generations, two being the number associated with incarnation.” Be sure to carefully read the word, think on what is occurring as you do, and then continue to meditate on the word as you conduct your other affairs. The word is active and alive, and it will reward those who diligently ponder its truths, patterns, structure, and so on. Glorious heavenly Father, what a treasure Your word is. Thank You for the richness it contains. We have one life to live before we stand before You. Help us not to squander it on that which is temporary and futile, but to direct our hearts, minds, thoughts, and actions to a study and contemplation of Your precious word. To Your glory! Amen!
Thursday Oct 07, 2021
Thursday, 7 October 2021 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. Acts 1:12 The two men who appeared with the apostles just relayed the news of Christ’s promised return. With that complete, nothing more is said of them. It simply states, “Then they returned to Jerusalem.” In Luke 24, it says the following – “Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.” Luke 24:51-53 The words, “And they worshiped Him,” appear to have occurred after His ascension. It may be that the confirming words of the two men that Jesus Christ is, in fact, the Lord (see previous commentary), resulted in a time of prayer and praise to God. If so, it is after this time of worship that they proceeded to head back to Jerusalem “from the mount called Olivet.” The word translated as “Olivet” is found only here in the Bible, Elaión. It is derived from elaia, meaning “an olive tree.” It is the area where an orchard of olive trees was located. The mountain ridge is one that is separated from Jerusalem by the Kidron Valley. Of this walk from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, Luke specifically says that it is “a Sabbath day’s journey.” There are two possibilities for the inclusion of this statement. The first is that it is a general term used to describe the distance if it were a Sabbath, even if it was not a Sabbath. In other words, even if this was not a Saturday (Sabbath), it is the distance that would be considered allowable to walk on a Sabbath. This maximum distance is two thousand cubits as is seen in Joshua 3:4. It is about three-quarters of a mile. Luke is careful to give specific distances elsewhere, such as in Luke 24:13. The other possibility is that this was, in fact, a Sabbath. As such, Luke is noting that the distance they walked was not a violation of the Sabbath laws. This would then mean that they had gone to the mount on Friday, and walked back Friday evening, the start of the Sabbath (or even Saturday morning after a night of worship and sleep). This would then be in accord with statements recorded by Luke, such as – “And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.” Luke 23:55, 56 Without being dogmatic, it would appear that Luke is stating this distance because it was a Sabbath. If so, then the traditional dating for the ascension is incorrect. The church places it ten days prior to Pentecost. Acts 1:3 says that Christ was seen “during forty days.” The Greek reads “through forty days.” As such, instead of a Thursday ascension, it very well could be a Friday (or Friday evening) ascension. Thus, Luke is now specifying that with the term “a Sabbath day’s journey.” If so, then the ascension of Christ until Pentecost is eight days. The reason this is possible is typology. Christ would then be seen to have completed all of His work and then entered into His rest on (or just at the coming of) the Sabbath. The importance of this for believers is explained in Hebrews 4 – Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath,‘They shall not enter My rest,’” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice,Do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” Hebrews 4:1-10 Believers enter into Christ’s rest through faith in what He has done. As He is the Lord God, the typology would be appropriate. Life application: The term “a Sabbath day’s journey” prescribes nothing. Remember the five principal rules of proper biblical interpretation – Descriptive, Prescriptive, Context, Context, Context. Luke is describing what occurred, and quite possibly on the day it occurred. Luke is neither arguing for either a Sabbath observance nor is he stipulating that one can only walk so far on a Sabbath Day. Rather, he was (possibly) stating that the recorded event occurred on a Sabbath, and this is his way of noting that fact. Today in Israel people observe the Sabbath. It is a fact that prescribes nothing for those who know they do. Several times later in Acts, it will be noted that Paul went into the synagogues and preached on the Sabbath. This does not mean that Paul is prescribing Sabbath observance. Instead, it is describing to us what Paul did because the Jews (who had not come to Christ and who were being evangelized by Paul) were, in fact, Sabbath observers. This is a problem with the Hebrew Roots Movement, Judaizers, etc. They take such descriptive passages in the book of Acts, and they treat them as prescriptive. This leads to a faulty hermeneutic. Such a doctrine places believers back under the Law of Moses. As such, it is heresy. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (see Romans 10:4). Don’t be misdirected by such people. Read Acts with the understanding that it is a historical recording of events. Nothing is prescribed by Luke’s inclusion of the words of Acts 1:12. Hold fast to Christ alone and you will be in the sweet spot. Lord God, how good it is to know that Jesus fulfilled the law on our behalf. In knowing this, we have every reason to rejoice in Him and what He has done. We are freed from the impossible yoke placed upon Israel through His full, final, and forever satisfaction of the law. Thank you, O God, for Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Tuesday Oct 05, 2021
Monday, 4 October 2021 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. Acts 1:9 With His instruction and commission to His apostles stated in the previous words, Luke next says, “Now when He had spoken these things.” Luke makes a point of repeating that Jesus had spoken the words of the previous verses – 1:4 – remain in Jerusalem and wait for the Promise of the Father 1:5 – you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit 1:6 – questioned by the apostles concerning the restoration of the kingdom to Israel 1:7 – it is not for you to know the times and the seasons reserved by the Father 1:8 – you shall receive power and you shall be witnesses to Me The Holy Spirit (the Promise of the Father) would be given. Despite this, with the giving of the Spirit, we do not have a direct connection to all of the infinite knowledge of God. Certain things are withheld at the Father’s prerogative. However, the Holy Spirit will endow the Lord’s people with everything needed to accomplish His purposes with the main point being to witness to the Person of Jesus Christ. With this focused on by Luke, meaning it is what is of primary importance (even if the Lord spoke with them for an hour about a hundred other subjects), Luke next says, “while they watched.” In his gospel, Luke notes the following at this time – “And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.” Luke 24:50-53 The Lord spoke to the apostles (and any others who may have accompanied them), He blessed them, and then “while they watched, He was taken up.” It is of note that none of the apostles “watched” as Jesus was resurrected. The fact that He appeared to them was sufficient evidence that the resurrection had occurred. The four gospels then relay the events surrounding that event in various ways, each highlighting certain aspects of the event. It is also of note that only Luke especially highlights the timing and events surrounding this ascension. Mark’s gospel simply refers to it as if it were commonly known – “So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” Mark 16:19, 20 After the ascension, it was spoken of, or written about, by the apostles at various times and in various ways. A couple of them are – “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.” Acts 2:32, 33 “God was manifested in the flesh,Justified in the Spirit,Seen by angels,Preached among the Gentiles,Believed on in the world,Received up in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16 The fact that the ascension is simply referred to as an actual occurrence, without any notable highlight apart from Luke’s words, adds a level of credibility that would otherwise not exist. The event happened, it was documented, and then it is taken as an axiom that it occurred. The taking up of Christ is of the highest importance. Charles Ellicott gives his thoughts on possibilities that may have arisen if Christ did not ascend – “We may add that there was something like a moral necessity, assuming the Resurrection as a fact, for such a conclusion to our Lord’s work on earth. Two other alternatives may, perhaps, be just imagined as possible: He might, like Lazarus, have lived out His restored life to its appointed term, and then died the common death of all men; but in that case where would have been the victory over death, and the witness that He was the Son of Man? He might have lived on an endless life on earth; but in this case, being such as He was, conflict, persecution, and suffering would have come again and again at every stage, and in each instance a miracle would have been needed to save the suffering from passing on to death, or many deaths must have been followed by many resurrections.” Ellicott’s thoughts are well stated and what Peter says to Israel in Acts 3 explains Ellicott’s final point quite well – “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:19-21 The redemptive narrative must take its course. There is no need to endlessly speculate on what it would be like if Christ remained, although there is no harm in doing so. God saw the ascension as an integral part of what is necessary for His plans to come about, and so Christ was taken up. In this, sin is allowed to run its course, faith – rather than sight – is an essential part of the reception of the gospel, the kingdom promised to Israel is not denied them, but it is withheld until they (as a nation) receive Jesus as their Messiah, and so on. But importantly, Christ gave a personal reason for His going away – “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” John 16:7 In order for one thin g to occur, another must take place. What is promised to come upon the believers cannot happen until Christ ascends. Hence, the ascension of the Lord to the Right hand of God is a fundamental part of the workings of the Triune God. While the Holy Spirit is accomplishing His role at this time, Christ is in heaven performing His many roles before the Father – mediation, advocacy, and so on. With these things considered, the verse finishes with, “and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” The symbolism goes back to the Old Testament where the Lord is repeatedly said to dwell in a cloud, or even to be taken up in a cloud – “Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tabernacle of meeting, because the cloud rested above it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.” Exodus 40:34-38 “The Lord reigns;Let the earth rejoice;Let the multitude of isles be glad!2 Clouds and darkness surround Him;Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.” Psalm 97:1, 2 The ascension of Christ was bodily, and it was visible. At some point, he was taken into the clouds, and He was no longer seen by those who beheld this. But it was another confirmation to them that Jesus is, in fact, the Lord (Yehovah) incarnate. As Paul said to Timothy (see above), He was “Received up in glory.” Life application: The Lord’s words to the apostles before He was taken up were His final instructions of what was to be known and also accomplished by them. The same instructions applied to Paul as applied to those who stood watching. And from there, the same message is now carried on by those who have their testimony. There is one Lord and one gospel that is to be carried to the world. There is one church in which this is to occur, despite the countless denominations that divide that church. The content of Acts, the epistles that are set forth after Acts, and the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation confirm this. The Lord ascended and during the time until He returns, we have a commission to perform. Let us be about the Lord’s business, conveying this message that cannot be believed unless it is first conveyed – “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” Romans 10:14, 15 Heavenly Father, thank You for the surety we possess in Christ. We have the written testimony of who He is and what He did. The eyewitnesses who recorded those things provide us with the certainty we need to live by faith and not by sight. But, Lord, when our faith is challenged, help us through such times. Help us in our weakness and be with us as we wait for the glory to come. Amen.
13 hours ago
Thursday, 28 October 2021 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? Acts 2:7 In verse 1:5, Luke made a point of recording who the people were that were seeing the events occurring, saying, “And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.” Then, in verse 1:6, he noted that “everyone heard them speak in his own language.” As was seen, the word “language” is more appropriately rendered “dialect.” This would include the “dialect” of those in (meaning “from”) Jerusalem. Because of what they were hearing emanate from the disciples, Luke next notes, “Then they were all amazed and marveled.” Both verbs are in the imperfect tense, “they were amazed, and they were marveling.” As the tongues were being spoken, the astonishment of the people continued. The word translated as “amazed” means “to put out of place.” In other words, it is as if they were out of their mind because they were unable to grasp what was happening. The other word is described by Vincent’s Word Studies as, “to cause ‘wonder; ... to regard with amazement, and with a suggestion of beginning to speculate on the matter.’” Vincent’s is correct because the speculation immediately begins to follow. Luke says they were “saying to one another.” In other words, the people were seeing the spectacle and were beginning to speculate on what was going on. There is a hint of contempt in their attitude towards those who were speaking because the talk is among those beholding the spectacle and not directed towards those who were engaged in what was occurring. That is clearly evidenced in the next words, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?” The focus is on who these people are. They were understood to be Galileans and as such they were considered the hicks of the nation. They had their own dialect that was clearly distinguished from those in Jerusalem. They were also noted for their lack of care in their speech. As Vincent’s says of them, “They were blamed for neglecting the study of their language, and charged with errors in grammar and ridiculous mispronunciations.” This is noted elsewhere in the gospels, such as in Mark 14 – “And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, ‘Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.’” Mark 14:70 The word translated as “speech” in that verse from Mark is lalia. In classical Greek, it is used to signify babble or chattering talk. It is a word used to signify one’s manner of speech. One can see that the dialect of Jerusalem, which Luke focused on previously, was clearly distinguishable from that of Galilee – “And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)” Acts 1:19 What is occurring here is just what Paul says the purpose of tongues was for. It is as a sign to those who do not believe – “Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?” 1 Corinthians 14:22, 23 This is just what the presentation of these tongues was intended to bring about in Jerusalem at this pilgrim feast, meaning to convey a sign to the unbelievers. This is what Isaiah prophesied of – “Bind up the testimony,Seal the law among my disciples.17 And I will wait on the Lord,Who hides His face from the house of Jacob;And I will hope in Him.18 Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me!We are for signs and wonders in IsraelFrom the Lord of hosts,Who dwells in Mount Zion.19 And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:16-20 Instead of seeking the mediums and wizards who whisper and mutter, the people were to seek their God. The Lord was giving Israel a sign. This is evidenced in Hebrews 2:13 where the author of the epistle cites this passage from Isaiah, ascribing it to Christ and His people. Life application: The people in Jerusalem were highly astonished at what they saw, especially because those who were speaking in tongues were “lowly and uneducated” Galileans. It would be incredible to think that such boorish people could perfectly enunciate the particular dialects of the languages that were being spoken forth, and yet it was occurring. This was as much of a sign as the tongues themselves were. If someone who was linguistically proficient in picking up other languages was to stand up and speak fluently in another dialect, it wouldn’t seem so amazing. But if a person from the backwater areas of Louisiana or the deep mountains of Appalachia were to suddenly start speaking proper English in the court of the royal halls of England, it would be rather remarkable. As such, one can see the wisdom in God’s selection of these Galileans. It provides an added touch to the incredible nature of what was occurring. The Lord chose unimpressive people to be used to bring forth an amazing sign to those in Jerusalem. This is exactly what Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians – “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’” 1 Corinthians 1:16-31 God chooses those who seem least likely to do anything great or amazing in order to bring His glory to the fullest light possible. As such, if you are feeling like you have no particular capabilities or qualifications that will make an impact for Christ, you have underestimated yourself. You may think you are the least of all people, but because you have been saved by Christ, you can be used to make the greatest of difference in the lives of others. Take time today to offer yourself, wholly and unreservedly, to the Lord. Allow Him to be glorified through you. It is certain that He can do so. And so, talk to Him about it and let His glory shine through you so that others may see and believe. Great are You, O God, and You can do great things through the most unexpected people. This has been proven true throughout history and we know it will continue. And so, Lord, use us in the manner that will bring You the most glory. Be pleased to continue Your plan of redemption through us in the way that You see fit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Sunday Oct 17, 2021
Sunday, 17 October 2021 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” Acts 1:22 To get a better sense of the contents of this verse, it is good to read it together with the previous verse – “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” The idea is that a selection to replace Judas was to be made from someone who had witnessed the entire time of Jesus’ ministry “beginning from the baptism of John.” The intent of Peter’s words is that of the time when Jesus was baptized by John, not from the time that John began to baptize. John already had a ministry to the people of Israel, calling them to repentance and preparing the way of the Lord. But the focus of Peter’s words is on the time of Jesus’ ministry, not John’s. Thus, he is referring to the moment when the two ministries came together in John’s baptism of Jesus. The one selected as an apostle should have a personal knowledge of this event “to that day when He was taken up from us.” This is referring to the ascension of the Lord recorded in Acts 1:9. What seems evident is that this means that there were more than just the eleven apostles on the Mount of Olives with Jesus at that time. If that were not the case, Peter could not make this statement. Though the focus was on the apostles (see Acts 1:2), it is clear that they were a part of a larger group to have been with the Lord as He ascended. From this larger group, Peter then says, “one of these must become a witness.” The word translated as “witness” is martus. It means a witness, but it not only conveys the sense of having seen, but of “bearing testimony of.” The act of witnessing (the seeing) is to be proclaimed (bearing the testimony). As such, the word eventually also takes on the meaning of being a martyr. The one who bears the testimony of the Lord may even be martyred for that testimony. But in such a case, it would certainly be worth it. For the one selected to replace Judas, Peter says he is to be a witness “with us of His resurrection.” This is the central point of the Christian faith, upon which all else either stands or falls. Of this, John Gill says – “...the resurrection of Christ from the dead, which supposes his incarnation and life, and so his obedience, ministry, and miracles in it; and also his sufferings and death, with all the benefits and advantages thereof; and is particularly mentioned, because it not only supposes and includes the above things, but is the principal article, basis, and foundation of the Christian religion; and the sign which Christ gave to the Jews, of the truth of his being the Messiah.” Concerning this great and prominent act of the Lord, Paul says – “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 Life application: Everything about the record of the Person of Jesus Christ would be pointless if there was no resurrection. If He came, lived a perfect life, and then was crucified and buried, it would be of no value to us without His victory over death. This is why the New Testament goes to such great pains to not only record the event as it happened, but to validate it through the recording of all of the surrounding events including who saw it, how many saw the risen Lord, the things He did afterward, and so on. In reading and believing these things, we then can have faith that the other things recorded in the Bible are true as well, including the promise of eternal life. And if the promise of eternal life is true, then why should we allow our faith to be shaken? Why should we be fearful? What does it really matter if things don’t go well for us now? We have a hope that transcends those things because of our trust in the promises made to us. Let us be faithful witnesses to the hope we possess, even if that means that we must also become martyrs for it. Christ is risen! What can man truly do to us? Press on in the goodness of God that is found in the giving of His Son, JESUS! Heavenly Father, what sure and wonderful promises we possess in Christ. You have laid out the details in Your word so precisely that we can be absolutely certain in our hearts that it is true and what it tells us will come to pass. No fear here. We are grounded in Your word, and our eyes are fixed on Jesus. Amen.
Wednesday Oct 06, 2021
Wednesday, 6 October 2021 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11 In the previous verse, two men were noted as standing by the apostles when Christ ascended into heaven. With that noted, Luke next reveals their words to the apostles, beginning with, “who also said.” It is as if it took their speaking to the apostles for them to even be noticed. The apostles were so intently looking up that they failed to see the coming of these two men. In their address, they say, “Men of Galilee.” Luke makes a point of documenting where they were from here and again in Acts 2 – “And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?’” Acts 2:5-7 He notes the same again in Acts 13 – “He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. 32 And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers.” Acts 13:31, 32 It appears that Luke is intentionally noting their origin to remind the reader of the prophecy of Isaiah 9 – “Nevertheless the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed,As when at first He lightly esteemedThe land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,And afterward more heavily oppressed her,By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan,In Galilee of the Gentiles.2 The people who walked in darknessHave seen a great light;Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,Upon them a light has shined.” Isaiah 9:1, 2 As such, Luke is making the implication that Jesus is, in fact, the fulfillment of this prophecy. It is Galilee where this great light shined, and those who were from there are now those commissioned with spreading this good news. It is to them that the two men with them now state, “why do you stand gazing up into heaven?” Like the questions proposed to those at the empty tomb (see Luke 24:5) and later by the Lord (Luke 24:38), the words are intended to redirect the minds of the hearers. It is as they are saying, “Don’t you understand? These things had to take place. It is all there, right in the Scriptures. Each thing that occurs is according to God’s set plan and purpose.” Of the possible things that could have been on the minds of the apostles, Albert Barnes provides three valid suggestions – -------------------------- (1) In the feeling of disappointment, as if he would not restore the kingdom to Israel. (2) Possibly they were expecting that he would again soon appear, though he had often foretold them that he would ascend to heaven. (3) there might have been an impropriety in their earnest desire for the mere bodily presence of the Lord Jesus when it was more important that he should be in heaven. We may see here also that it is our duty not to stand in idleness, and to gaze even toward heaven. We, as well as the apostles, have a great work to do, and we should actively engage in it without delay. -------------------------- For these and/or for other reasons, their question is intended to get the apostles to think everything through in accord with the word. As such, they next state, “This same Jesus.” The words are given to highlight the name, and thus the Person. “We have something to tell you that you should have already deduced, and it concerns this same Jesus whom you saw crucified, buried, and risen again. It is this same Jesus also that you just saw ascend... ‘who was taken up from you into heaven.’” Again, one can only speculate on the exact intent, but it rightly seems to be, “You have seen this human being do things that no human being has ever done before. But more, you have seen that it was prophesied of before it occurred. The things that happened to Him were at the set times and by the appointment of God who said it would come about. The One you have been witnessing accomplish these things, and who has now ascended into heaven... ‘will so come in like manner.’” In other words, there are yet to be fulfilled prophesies. “To the word! Remember the word! It has all been spoken of before! And they will be fulfilled by THIS SAME JESUS!” There is no doubt that this is the unstated intent of their words. They are proclaiming that Jesus is the fulfillment of not only everything that has occurred, but all that will occur as well. His departure is not the end of the thing, but a planned part of it. As such, they can now put things together. Christ rose into heaven, and so He will come again from heaven. A cloud received Him out of their sight, and so He will come again on the cloud. He ascended from the Mount of Olives, and so He will return again to that spot. “You are asking about the kingdom being restored to Israel? Look at what Daniel and Zechariah have already said” – “I was watching in the night visions,And behold, One like the Son of Man,Coming with the clouds of heaven!He came to the Ancient of Days,And they brought Him near before Him.14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.His dominion is an everlasting dominion,Which shall not pass away,And His kingdom the oneWhich shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13, 14 “Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,And your spoil will be divided in your midst.2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;The city shall be taken,The houses rifled,And the women ravished.Half of the city shall go into captivity,But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go forthAnd fight against those nations,As He fights in the day of battle.4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,Which faces Jerusalem on the east.And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,From east to west,Making a very large valley;Half of the mountain shall move toward the northAnd half of it toward the south. 5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley,For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal.Yes, you shall fleeAs you fled from the earthquakeIn the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my God will come,And all the saints with You. 6 It shall come to pass in that dayThat there will be no light;The lights will diminish.7 It shall be one dayWhich is known to the Lord—Neither day nor night.But at evening time it shall happenThat it will be light. 8 And in that day it shall beThat living waters shall flow from Jerusalem,Half of them toward the eastern seaAnd half of them toward the western sea;In both summer and winter it shall occur.9 And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.In that day it shall be—‘The Lord is one,’And His name one.” Zechariah 14:1-9 This is what the two men are telling the apostles. This same Jesus who ascended out of their sight, who did not directly answer their question about a kingdom for Israel, didn’t have to give them an answer. The Scriptures have already given it. Jesus never said, “You have misunderstood the Scriptures.” Rather, the rebuke of these two men is that they should have faith in the Scriptures. Just as He has ascended, so shall He come again, just “as you saw Him go into heaven.” The words of Scripture have been written. They are faithful and reliable. God’s people simply need to study them, remember them, and have faith in them. Those who deny a literal millennial reign of Christ from Jerusalem have not done this. Epic fail. The words have already been confirmed by Jesus Himself – “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:29-31 (see also Matthew 26:64 and Revelation 1:7). Life application: If you cannot trust a literal reading of the Old Testament verses cited above, then there is no reason to trust anything else the Bible says. The two men standing on the Mount of Olives with the apostles not only confirm that Jesus will fulfill these verses, literally, but that He is also the Lord (Yehovah) of those same Scriptures. Go back and read Zechariah 14:3, 4 cited above. It is as clear as the purest crystal that this is what they are indicating. Those who deny the deity of Jesus Christ will not be saved because they have called on a false Christ through a false gospel. Epic Fail. Don’t be an epic failure. Instead, believe the word, call out to God through Christ, and be reconciled to Him forever. God has done it all, and He has done it through JESUS! Lord God, the wonder and marvel of Your word is beyond comprehension. We have a sure and great hope that can never be taken from us because Your word tells us of Jesus, Your coming in human flesh. Nothing can take away our joy, and our hope in Him is secure. Thank You for Your word that reveals these truths to us. Amen!
Saturday Sep 25, 2021
Before beginning a detailed study of Acts, it should be noted that a vast majority of errors in proper doctrine within the church are found in ignoring the five main rules of sound biblical interpretation. They are – Prescriptive. The verse or passage prescribes something. Descriptive. The verse or passage merely describes what happens without establishing a precedent that is to be followed, obeyed, adhered to, and so on. Context. This defines who is being spoken to, under what circumstances, under what covenant, under what dispensation, and so on. Context. See above. Context. See above. In misapplying a verse as prescriptive or descriptive, a faulty view of what the Christian is to do will result. But a prescriptive verse under one covenant, such as Numbers 15:38, is not prescriptive under another. As an example – “Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners.” Obviously, we are not under the law of Moses and we do not need to have tassels on our garments. This thinking is true within testaments when the author or speaker is referring to one covenant or another. In other words, Jesus’ words – when speaking to Israel in the synoptic gospels – do not necessarily apply to conduct within the church. This is because the context is: He is speaking to Israel, not the church. He is speaking under the Law of Moses (the Old Covenant), prior to the establishment of the New Covenant in His blood and which sets aside, annuls, and makes obsolete the Old Covenant (see Hebrews 7:18, 8:13, and 10:9).
Monday Sep 27, 2021
Understanding the intent and purpose of the book of Acts, in relation to everything else that is going on in redemptive history, is necessary to form a full picture of what God is doing in the world. To separate the church into two separate entities, as hyperdispensationalism does; to reinsert the law (in part or in whole) into the New Covenant, as the Hebrew Roots movement does; or to say that the church has replaced Israel as replacement theology claims, blemishes the intent of what God is doing in the world. Depending on the teaching, it can doctrinally destroy the effective working of Jesus Christ on behalf of all people, it can incorrectly consider other covenant promises made by God to the people of Israel, it diminishes the efficacy of the shed blood of Christ – marring or destroying the marvel of what God has done through His perfect life, sacrificial death in fulfilment of the law, and His resurrection. Let us carefully pay attention to what Acts reveals. In doing so, we will avoid these false teachings and we will be able to hold fast to the wonder of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tuesday Sep 28, 2021
Lord God, how good it is to know that our hope in Christ Jesus is grounded in the certainty of those who beheld Him after His resurrection. It is a well-documented set of events that happened at various times and in various places, and which included a great number of first-hand witnesses. Thank You for the surety we possess as we continue in the faith we profess. Amen.
Wednesday Sep 29, 2021
Wednesday, 29 September 2021 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; Acts 1:4 Luke just noted that Christ presented Himself alive to the apostles through a forty-day period “speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” The idea of a kingdom is that of a particular place and/or group that are ruled by a king. There is nothing stated in Scripture to negate the same term applying to more than one thing at the same time. For example, Paul speaks of the kingdom of God (as noted in the previous verse) in Acts. And yet, this was during a time when Rome ruled, where kings and kingdoms were in place, and where Christians were subject to those earthly rulers, such as Herod in the land of Israel. This fact that there are various meanings to the word “kingdom” will become important in just a few verses. For now, Christ Jesus has spoken of the kingdom of God. That is now immediately followed by the words of verse 1:4, beginning with, “And being assembled together with them.” Some translations say, “And eating together.” This is based on a variant spelling of the word. In one spelling, it signifies to “crowd,” or “throng.” In the other, it signifies “salt” (hence, eating salt, or dining together). Either translation is possible, because Luke’s words follow after those of his gospel. In Luke 24:43, it says that Jesus “ate in their presence.” In that same encounter, it then says – “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Luke 24:49 Only after that does He lead them out to Bethany. As the accounts state the same events, but without specificity, either word (assembled or ate) is possible. With that analyzed, it next says, “He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem.” This is perfectly in accord with the words of Luke 24:49. They were in Jerusalem, He appeared to them and spoke to them, and so on. However, it is true that Matthew and John record Jesus as meeting with the disciples in Galilee. Therefore, various events occurred somewhere in between the events Luke records. Luke’s gospel, and these beginning verses of Acts, are directed to particular events leading from the resurrection to the ascension. This is their focus, and no contradiction between his words and those of the other gospels can be inferred. The words to not depart from Jerusalem, then, are referring to the time after His ascension, not after the resurrection (as might be inferred from the end of the gospel narrative). As such, what ais being stated now by Jesus is at the end of the forty-day period. In this, Luke continues by saying, “but to wait for the Promise of the Father.” The word translated as “wait” is found only here in the Bible. It signifies to “remain all around.” It is a way of saying that they are to stay despite any obstacles that may be involved. In other words, there may be business back at home that needs to be attended to. Whatever would normally keep them from remaining was to be secondary to staying and waiting for what was promised to come. Also, the word translated as “Promise” is defined by Vincent’s Word Studies as, “Signifying a free promise, given without solicitation. This is the invariable sense of the word throughout the New Testament, and this and its kindred and compound words are the only words for promise in the New Testament.” Further, Walter Kaiser says of this word, “Almost every NT use of the word promise ( ) points back to the OT.” It is a legal term that speaks of a promise which is officially sanctioned. This is the Promise, “‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me.’” This is referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit as is repeatedly spoken of in John 14, 15, and 16. However, this may also be the words of the Promise recorded in Luke 24:49 (cited above) which occurred just after the resurrection. He may be restating that now, just prior to the ascension. Hence, the timeline should not be called into question when placed along with the events recorded in the other gospels. Life application: Though there are difficulties in forming an exact timeline in the events recorded in the gospels and now in Acts, none of the accounts contradicts any other. Rather, inferences have to be made. But this is the same with any such record when various eyewitnesses are brought together. Each gives his own perspective, and a chronology is then developed based on that. In the case of Luke’s words, it is possible, and even likely, that Jesus said the Promise was coming soon after His resurrection, and then He said it again, just prior to His ascension – reminding the disciples that they were to remain in Jerusalem. The matter ahead was of such importance that they were not to be pulled away for any lesser reason. And Jesus has promised to return again for His church. We are not to be pulled away from our hope for any lesser reason. Let us remain vigilant and not get our attention sidetracked by the things of this world. But let us hold fast to this great hope that we possess. This thought is repeated again and again by Paul, by the author of Hebrews (probably Paul), and by Jesus. HOLD FAST! Good things are in store for those who do so. Lord God, Your word asks us to hold fast to the name of Christ, to the things that we have been given in Christ, to our hope in Him, to the doctrine that has been laid before us in Your word, to our confession of faith, and so on. Help us to be responsible with the wonderful treasure we have been blessed with – the hope of glory. May we hold fast to it always. Amen.
Thursday Sep 30, 2021
Thursday, 30 September 2021 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:5 The words now complete the thought of the previous verse where Jesus spoke to the apostles concerning “the Promise of the Father.” He had already told them of the Promise to come on several occasions. Two such times are found in John 14 – “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16, 17 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26 References to the coming, indwelling, and work of the Spirit are also found in John 16 and 17. In these descriptions, the Spirit’s role is more fully understood, but Jesus next explains that the Spirit’s coming is an antitype that was anticipated in typology previously set forth, saying, “for John truly baptized with water.” To understand what Jesus is referring to, a few verses from the gospels should be considered – “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11 “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire’” Luke 3:16 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, “After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.” 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.’32 And John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.’” John 1:29-34 John’s baptism was one in water and of repentance. But more, his ministry was one directing the people to Another who was to come (see Acts 19:4). His typological baptism anticipated the baptism of the Holy Spirit. John baptized the people, immersing them in water, based on repentance. In contrast, Jesus (see above, “He will baptize you”) baptizes the people into the “Holy Spirit and fire” based upon belief in His accomplished work. The “water” of John’s baptism was an outward washing of the body. It was a ritual purification intended to demonstrate an inward change in the person. The “fire” of Jesus’ baptism is an internal purification of the soul. Fire in this case is not literal fire, but what fire symbolizes, meaning purification. Peter refers to this internal purification in 1 Peter 3 – “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” 1 Peter 3:21, 22 The promised baptism that John spoke of is now repeated by Jesus. This is “the Promise of the Father” referred to in verse 1:4. As He next explicitly states, saying, “but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Just as John immersed the people in the waters of Israel, turning them again to the Law of Moses (his words “unto repentance” signify a change in mind), so Christ would immerse the people in the Holy Spirit of God, based on their acceptance of His completed work under (and in fulfillment of) that same Law of Moses. The Spirit is to be given to those who accept that He has accomplished all things, died in fulfillment of them (thereby establishing the New Covenant in His blood), and was raised again – thus confirming the validity and doctrine of the New Covenant. This coming of the Holy Spirit was to be God’s stamp of approval concerning the work of Christ, His evidence of it, to the people of Israel. With that understood, Jesus next says that it will be “not many days from now.” No set time is given. All the apostles knew was that they were to wait in Jerusalem. Having already seen Christ’s fulfillment of the Feast of Passover (Leviticus 23:5), and the Feast of Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:9-14), if they were attentive, they could have logically guessed that this Promise would be coming in just a few more days. Whether they deduced this or not is unstated, but certainly when the time came, they would understand the event as the fulfillment of the typology set forth in the law. That will be seen in Acts 2. Life application: There is a very poor doctrine set forth concerning baptism based on the heresy of hyperdispensationalism. This says that believers today do not need to perform water baptism, but that was only intended for Israel. Though it is true that John’s baptism was in water and a baptism of repentance, this does not negate the requirement for water baptism for believers under the New Covenant. In fact, it is after the establishment of the New Covenant that Christ mandates water baptism for believers – “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus says nothing of repentance there. He gives this not as a part of the salvation process, but as an ordinance to those who have believed already. They have been baptized into the Holy Spirit. As such, the ordinance is an outward display of the inward change that has taken place. It is a public acknowledgment of the act of God upon the believer. Though none of the accounts in Acts are prescriptive, time and again, those who believe the gospel in the book of Acts – Jew and Gentile – are baptized in accord with the word of the Lord stated in Matthew. The precedent is given to highlight the precept. And the precept is a command of the risen Christ. The same people who deny that baptism is expected of believers will faithfully proclaim that believers are to take the Lord’s Supper. That was an ordinance also commanded by the Lord, even before He was crucified and rose. It, like baptism, is a public acknowledgement concerning what the Lord has already accomplished as well as an anticipation of His return someday. It is the epitome of confused theology to say that the Lord’s Supper is an expected ordinance of the Lord, but that water baptism is not. The antisemitic undertones of saying that one ordinance applies to the church and the other only applies to Jews are evident. But more, it destroys the purpose and intent of the Lord’s words that are directed to “all the nations.” Followers of the Lord Jesus do not baptize others into the Holy Spirit. Only Christ does that. Followers of Christ (well, faithful followers of Christ) baptize converts into the typology of what Christ has accomplished. Such baptism is not for the believer so much as it is for those who see the rite and understand the commitment to Christ. The twisting of Scripture by this heretical ideology is to be ignored and spoken against. Glorious God, how good it is to share in the wonder and marvel of what Christ Jesus has done for us. Not only are we freed from the stain of sin upon our souls, but we are also given the absolute guarantee that it is so through the sealing of Your Holy Spirit when we have faith in what He has done. We have moved from death to life, even life eternal! Hallelujah and Amen!
Friday Oct 08, 2021
Friday, 8 October 2021 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. Acts 1:13 The words now are dependent on what was said in the previous verse. The apostles returned to Jerusalem. Upon their return, Luke next says, “And when they had entered.” This is referring to Jerusalem the city. It is upon entering it that, “they went up into the upper room.” The KJV incorrectly states “an upper room.” The use of the article defines this as a room set aside for them that they specifically used in order to meet. The Greek word is huperóon. It signifies the upper part of the house. This word is only found in Acts where it is used four times – Acts 1:13, 9:37, 9:39, 20:8. From the uses, it can be determined that such a room was set aside for gatherings. They may be for meetings, parties, funerals, and so on. In Luke 24, it says – “And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.” Luke 24:52, 53 Because of this, some take this as being an upper room of the temple. It is then assumed that this is where the events of Acts 2:1 take place – “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” This connection is not necessary. The wording of Luke 24:53 simply means that they went to the temple to worship often, not that they were living there. What occurs in Acts 2 is certainly at the temple though. There is a place where they met as a group, and the temple is where they went to worship. The two are probably distinct thoughts. It is in this room “where they were staying.” Again, the older KJV incorrectly says “where abode.” Rather, it is a present participle. They were staying there, and they continued to do so now that they had returned. At the time of Luke, this room would have been known, and anyone who wanted to check his writing for accuracy could easily have followed his narrative to determine if his words were plausible or invented. With this carefully noted by Luke, he next presents the names of those who need to be highlighted. The list is the same as that given in Luke 16:14-16, except the order is changed for a few of the names. Also, Judas Iscariot is obviously not with the apostles in Acts, having come to a gruesome end. His demise was recorded in Matthew 27:5. Luke will give a secondary description of the end of Judas in Acts 1:18. For now, here are those listed by Luke who gathered in the upper room – “Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James.” This is how they are listed in Luke Luke 16:14-16 – Simon, whom He also named Peter Andrew his brother James John Philip Bartholomew Matthew Thomas James the son of Alphaeus Simon called the Zealot Judas the son of James Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor and then again in Acts – Acts 1:13 – Peter James John Andrew Philip Thomas Bartholomew Matthew James the son of Alphaeus Simon the Zealot Judas the son of James Life application: If you are going to take the book of Acts in a prescriptive manner, then churches would be meeting in upper rooms. The words here describe what occurred. They prescribe nothing. Remember this, because when we get to verses that are used by some to set church doctrine from the book of Acts, you must ask, “What is the difference between this verse and the verse about meeting in an upper room?” Be sure to think such things through and not rush ahead in setting doctrine based merely on what the text is saying. Is it only describing something? Is it prescribing something? Acts is presenting a historical account of what occurred. For the most part, it is not intended to establish church doctrine. Keep reminding yourself of this as you continue. Lord God Almighty, You have set Your word down as a guide to us. At times, it tells us of future events. At times, it tells us of historical events. And at times, it sets forth doctrine for us to walk in accord with what is set forth. Help us to maintain the proper context so that we rightly divide the words set forth before us. Amen.