Monday, 16 January 2023
“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; Acts 13:36
Paul just cited Psalm 16:10, claiming it refers to the coming Messiah. That said, “You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” Having stated this, he will now defend that notion. He will follow the same logical reasoning as Peter did in Acts 2.
The words of this verse are a bit difficult to understand in the Greek, but an exacting literal translation, which will be used below, is, “for David, indeed, his own generation having served by the will of God, did fall asleep, and was added unto his fathers, and saw corruption” (YLT). With this in mind, Paul begins with, “for David.”
David is the author of Psalm 16 as noted in the psalm’s opening statement. Because of this, it cannot be that he is referring to himself in those words. Rather, he must be prophesying concerning the coming Messiah. This is because, as Paul continues, “indeed, his own generation having served.”
David was the king for a certain amount of time, forty years according to 2 Samuel 5:4 and 1 Kings 2:11. And more, 2 Samuel 5:4 noted that David was thirty years old when he began to reign. Hence, he lived to be seventy years old. Of the timeframe of his kingship, Paul says that it was “by the will of God.”
God set David on the throne of Israel, and God determined when he would die. It was set according to the foreknowledge of God, and it came about according to His plan. After that time, Paul next says that David “did fall asleep.”
The meaning is that he died. To fall asleep is a biblical euphemism for this. It implies that there is a continuance of the soul even if the body has died. It thus speaks of the eternal nature of the soul. Once he fell asleep, Paul next says, “and was added unto his fathers.”
Though David was buried, the thought of being added to the fathers has a dual thought involved in it. Being added to the fathers means that his soul has joined them in the pit (Hebrew: sheol) where they will remain until the resurrection. But it also means that his physical body is committed to the grave where the others who had gone before him also went. In the case of his physical body, Paul next says, “and saw corruption.”
This proves that David’s inspired words of the psalm could not be speaking of him. He died, he was buried, and his body saw corruption. There was no resurrection involved in the process. When the resurrection takes place, it will not be in the body he had because that has returned to the earth. As such, David’s words must refer to someone else, specifically, the Messiah. That will be seen in the next verse.
Life application: For the Christian, there is always the hope of the rapture. But that hope has gone unfulfilled for two thousand years. Those who are alive at that blessed moment will be changed from their earthly bodies to spiritual bodies. However, for those who die before that time, we should not feel any less excited for them. They have shed this earthly body of corruption.
Their souls have been separated from the pains, trials, sorrows, and troubles of this life and they are in the capable hands of their Lord, awaiting the moment when the call is made for them to rise and be granted their eternal, spiritual body. Though we may suffer the pain of separation, we should not mourn as the world mourns.
In Christ, there is the absolute certain hope that they will be raised. And so, let us rejoice, even in our sorrows. The redeemed of the Lord shall rise. Nothing can stop that from happening. And so let us thank God for what He has done in the giving of Jesus!
Lord God, how grateful we are for the sure and blessed hope we possess concerning Your promises to us. We have eternal life because of Jesus. And so, even if we have trials in this life, help us to not be consumed by them. Instead, may we hold fast to the joy set before us as we await the time of our glorification. Thank You, O God, for what You have granted to us. Amen.