Sunday, 21 November 2021
he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. Acts 2:31
Peter continues now with his citing of the 16th Psalm and with his evaluation of how that is fulfilled in Christ, beginning with, “he, foreseeing this.”
The words refer to David. In whatever manner, David foresaw the things he wrote about and penned them. The influence of the Spirit was upon him. In that capacity, he was able to prophesy of things to come. In this state, he “spoke concerning the resurrection.”
This is certain, because his words imply both death, and release from death –
The words, “For You will not leave my soul in Hades,” imply death. If a soul has departed to Hades, it is because the person has died. Not being left in Hades means something else will come about. That is later followed with, “You have made known to me the ways of life.” David clearly understood that if a soul had gone to Hades, and yet that same person has been made to know the ways of life, he has found the key by which to escape the state of death.
It could be reasonably argued that David was speaking in metaphor about himself, or that he was speaking poetically about some event that touched him and led him to write a psalm, but Peter – under the influence of the Spirit – corrects any such notion saying that what David wrote was specifically about God’s plans concerning the resurrection “of the Christ.”
David understood, from the words that he penned, that the Messiah would die and that He would rise again. The details and reason for these things may have been completely hidden from him, but the facts set before him when he read his own words of prophecy clearly indicated to him that he had written about the Christ.
Somehow, this coming One would die, but his words indicated without any doubt “that His soul was not left in Hades.” Peter, standing before the people gathered there, confirmed that the words referred to Jesus and that He had returned from the dead. Hades could not hold Him. The remarkable thought is later more fully revealed by John –
“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Revelation 1:18
Christ, because of His triumph over the law, possessed the keys of both Hades and Death. He had unlocked the prison which had bound men’s souls ever since the time of Adam. And it was not a return in a ghostly state, nor into a body that was in a state of ghoulish decay. Rather, it was to a body that was untouched by the effects of sin. As Peter says, “nor did His flesh see corruption.”
This is an important point. People claim to see ghosts and zombies. Samuel was brought back from his departed resting place as a disembodied spirit. But there has never been any occurrence such as that of Christ. He returned from Hades, and He returned to a body without any corruption. The victory is complete in Christ. This is the enormity of the thought being conveyed by Peter to the people standing before him whose ears heard of the marvelous workings of God in Christ.
Life application: David wrote under the influence of the Spirit concerning things that would come. According to Scripture, he even knew that what he wrote was concerning the coming Messiah. But this does not mean that he had a complete understanding of all things surrounding the events he prophesied of. Peter will later write concerning this –
“Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.” 1 Peter 1:10-12
David wrote beforehand of these things, and like the other prophets, he knew that these things pointed to “the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” This can certainly be said of the case of David’s words in the 16th Psalm. But Peter also says that such prophets “inquired and searched carefully” about such things.
David may have thought, “Why would the Christ need to die at all? What is the purpose of going to Sheol and then coming back from there?” Isaiah later went further, prophesying that Christ would be wounded for our transgressions and that he would be cut off from the land of the living. In this, he may have spent many hours pondering what these things could mean.
But in the end, they lacked all of the information. Instead, they realized that whatever was being conveyed would be formed into “the gospel.” It is this that they “preached” with their words, even if they didn’t fully understand what it was they were preaching.
The point of this is that the blood atonement of Christ is, in fact, proclaimed by the prophets, and it is confirmed right here in Chapter 2 of the book of Acts. Those who deny this do so because they have not thought through the enormity of what Christ has done. They have a myopic view of the world, dividing the work of Christ into two gospels, two bodies, and a twisted view of the united work of Christ.
The same gospel put forth in the many prophesies found in the Old Testament is summed up by Peter, and also by Paul, in the New. Paul elsewhere clearly and precisely defines this gospel that Peter is right now conveying to the people of Israel –
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
This is the gospel. It is the one gospel that pertains to both Jew and Gentile as witnessed first by Peter (Cephas), then by the other apostles, and finally by a large number of witnesses. And it is the same gospel that was later accepted by Paul and proclaimed among the nations. Any other gospel is no gospel. It is anathema.
Hold fast to the truth of God in Christ. Keep away from those who would destroy the beauty of the work of Christ, twisting it and perverting it for their own demented purposes.
Lord God, thank You for what You have done in Christ our Lord. Thank You for the all-sufficient atonement and reconciliation that comes through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.