Acts 2THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES CHAPTER 2 Verse 1. And when the day of Pentecost. The word Pentecost is a Greek word, signifying the fiftieth part of a thing; or the fiftieth in order. Among the Jews it was applied to one of their three great feasts which began on the fiftieth day after the Passover. This feast was reckoned from the sixteenth day of the month ABIB, or April, or the second day of the Passover. The paschal lamb was slain on the fourteenth of the month at even, (Lev 23:5); on the fifteenth of the month was a holy convocation--the proper beginning of the feast; on the sixteenth was the offering of the first-fruits of harvest, and from that day they were to reckon seven weeks, i.e., forty-nine days to the feast called the feast of Pentecost, so that it occurred fifty days after the first day of the feast of the Passover. This feast was also called the feast of weeks, from the circumstance that it followed a succession of weeks, Ex 34:22, Nu 28:26, De 16:10. It was also a harvest festival, and was accordingly called the feast of harvest. And it was for this reason that two loaves made of new meal were offered on this occasion as first-fruits, Lev 23:17,20 Nu 28:27-31. Was fully come. When the day had arrived. The word means here simply, had come. Comp. Mk 1:15, Lk 1:57. This fact is mentioned, that the time of the Pentecost had come, or fully arrived, to account for what is related afterwards, that there were so many strangers and foreigners present. The promised influences of the Spirit were withheld until the greatest possible numbers of Jews should be present at Jerusalem at the same time, and thus an opportunity be afforded of preaching the gospel to vast multitudes in the very place where the Lord Jesus was crucified, and also an opportunity be afforded of sending the gospel by them into distant parts of the earth. They were all. Probably not only the apostles, but also the one hundred and twenty mentioned in Acts 1:15. With one accord. See Acts 1:14. It is probable they had continued together until this time, and given themselves entirely to the business of devotion. In one place. Where this was cannot be known, Commentators have been much divided in their conjectures about it. Some have supposed it was in the upper room mentioned, (Acts 1:13;) others that it was a room in the temple; others that it was in a synagogue; others that it was in the promiscuous multitude that assembled for devotion in the courts of the temple. See Acts 2:2. It has by many been supposed that this took place on the first day of the week, that is, on the Christian Sabbath. But there is a difficulty in establishing this. There was probably a difference among the Jews themselves on this subject. The law said that they should reckon seven Sabbaths, that is, seven weeks, "from the morrow after the Sabbath," Lev 23:15. By this Sabbath the Pharisees understood the second day of the Passover, on whatever day of the week it occurred, which was kept as a holy assembly, and might be called a Sabbath. But the Caraite Jews, or those who insisted on a literal interpretation of the Scriptures, maintained that by the Sabbath here was meant the usual Sabbath, the seventh day of the week. Consequently with them the day of Pentecost always occurred on the first day of the week; and if the apostles fell in with their views, the day was fully come on what is now the Christian Sabbath. But if the views of the Pharisees were followed, and the Lord Jesus had with them kept the Passover on Thursday, as many have supposed, then the day of Pentecost would have occurred on the Jewish Sabbath, that is, on Saturday.--Kuinoel; Lightfoot. It is impossible to determine the truth on this subject. Nor is it of much importance. The day of Pentecost was kept by the Jews also as a festival to commemorate the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. (a) "the day of Pentecost" Lev 23:15 (b) "they were all in one accord" Acts 1:14 (*) "accord" or, "consent" Verse 2. And suddenly. It burst upon them at once. Though they were waiting for the descent of the Spirit, yet it is not probable that they expected it in this manner. As this was an important event, and one on which the welfare of the church depended, it was proper that the gift of the Holy Spirit should take place in some striking and sensible manner, so as to convince their own minds that the promise was fulfilled, and so as deeply to impress others with the greatness and importance of the event. There came a sound. ηχος. This word is applied to any noise or report. Heb 12:19, "The sound of a trumpet." Lk 4:37, "The fame of him," etc. Comp. Mk 1:28. From heaven. Appearing to rush down from the sky. It was fitted, therefore, to attract their attention no less from the direction from which it came, than on account of its suddenness and violence. Tempests blow, commonly, horizontally. This appeared to come from above; and this is all that is meant by the expression, "from heaven." As of a rushing mighty wind. Literally, "as of a violent wind or gale," borne along--φερομενης--, sweeping along like a tempest. Such a wind is sometimes borne along so violently, and with such a noise, as to make it difficult even to hear the thunder in the gale. Such appears to have been the sound of this remarkable phenomenon. It does not appear that there was any wind; all might have been still; but the sudden sound was like such a sweeping tempest. It may be remarked, however, that the wind in the sacred Scriptures is often put as an emblem of a Divine influence. It is invisible, yet mighty; and thus represents the agency of the Holy Spirit. The same word in Hebrew, (,) and in Greek, πνευμα is used to denote both. The mighty power of God may be denoted also by the violence of a mighty tempest, 1Kgs 19:11, Ps 29, 104:3, 18:10. And thus Jesus by his breath indicated to the apostles the conferring of the Holy Ghost, Jn 20:22. In this place the sound as of a gale was emblematic of the mighty power of the Spirit, and of the great effects which his coming would accomplish among men. And it filled. Not the wind filled, but the sound. This is evident, (1.) because there is no affirmation that there was any wind. (2.) The grammatical structure of the sentence will admit no other construction. The word "filled" has no nominative case but "the sound." And suddenly there was a sound as of a wind, and (the sound) filled the house. In the Greek, the word "wind" is in the genitive or possessive case. It may be remarked here, that this miracle was really far more striking than the common supposition makes it to have been. A tempest might have been terrific. A mighty wind might have alarmed them. But there would have been nothing unusual or remarkable in it. Such things often occurred; and the thoughts would have been directed of course to the storm as an ordinary, though perhaps alarming occurrence. But when all was still--when there was no storm, no wind, no rain, no thunder, such a rushing sound must have arrested their attention; and directed all minds to so unusual and unaccountable an occurrence. All the house. Some have supposed that this was a room in or near the temple. But as the temple is not expressly mentioned, this is improbable. it was probably the private dwelling mentioned in Acts 1:12. If it be said that such a dwelling could not contain so large a multitude as soon assembled, it may be replied that their houses had large central courts, Mt 9:2, and that it is not affirmed that the transaction recorded in this chapter occurred in the room which they occupied. It is probable that it took place in the court and around the house. (c) "it filled all the house" Acts 4:31 Verse 3. And there appeared unto them. There were seen by them, or they saw. They were first seen by them in the room before they rested on the heads of the disciples. Perhaps the fire appeared at first as scintillations or coruscations, until it became fixed on their heads. Tongues. γλωσσαι. The word tongue occurs often in the Scriptures to denote the member which is the instrument of taste and speech, and also to denote language or speech itself. It is also used, as with us, to denote that which in shape resembles the tongue. Thus Josh 7:21,24, (in Hebrew,) "a tongue of gold," i.e., a wedge of gold; Josh 10:5, 18:19, Isa 11:15, "The tongue of the sea," i.e., a bay or gulf. Thus also we say a tongue of land. The phrase "tongue of fire" occurs once, and once only, in the Old Testament: Isa 5:24, "Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble (Heb., tongue of fire,) and the flame consumeth," etc. In this place the name tongue is given from the resemblance of a pointed flame to the human tongue. Anything long, narrow, and tending to a point, is thus in the Hebrew called a tongue. The word here means, therefore, slender and pointed appearances of flame; perhaps at first moving irregularly around the room. Cloven. Divided, separated. διαμεριζομεναι, from the verb to divide, or distribute into parts. Mt 27:35, "They parted his garments." Lk 22:17, "Take this, (the cup,) and divide it among yourselves." Probably the common opinion is that these tongues or flames were, each one of them, split, or forked, or cloven. But this is not the sense of the expression. It means that they were separated or divided one from another; not one great flame, but broken up, or cloven into many parts; and probably moving without order in the room. In the Syriac it is, "And there appeared unto them tongues which divided themselves, like fire, and sat upon each of them." The old Ethiopic version reads it, "And fire, as it were, appeared to them, and sat on them." And it sat upon each of them. Or rested, in the form of a lambent or gentle flame, upon the head of each one. This evinced that the prodigy was directed to them, and was a very significant emblem of the promised descent of the Holy Spirit. After the rushing sound, and the appearance of the flames, they could not doubt that here was some remarkable interposition of God. The appearance of fire, or flame, has always been regarded as a most striking emblem of the Divinity. Thus, (Ex 3:2,3) God is said to have manifested himself to Moses in a bush which was burning, yet not consumed. Thus, (Ex 19:16-20,) God descended on Mount Sinai in the midst of thunders, and lightnings, and smoke, and fire--striking emblems of his presence and power. See also Gen 15:17. Thus, (De 4:24,) God is said to be "a consuming fire." Comp. Heb 12:29, Eze 1:4, Ps 18:12-14. The classic reader will also instantly recall the beautiful description in Virgil.--AEniad, b. ii. 680--691. Other instances of a similar prodigy are also recorded in profane writers.--Pliny, H. N. 2, 37; Livy, i. 39. These appearances to the apostles were emblematic, doubtless, (1.) of the promised Holy Spirit, as a Spirit of purity and of power. The prediction of John the Baptist, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire," (Mt 3:11,) would probably be recalled at once to their memory. (2.) The peculiar appearance, that of tongues, was an emblem of the diversity of languages which they were about to be able to utter. Any form of fire would have denoted the presence and power of God; but a form was adopted expressive of the case. Thus, any appearance at the baptism of Jesus might have denoted the presence and approbation of God; but the form chosen was that of a dove descending; expressive of the mild and gentle virtues with which he was to be imbued. So in Eze 1:4, any form of flame might have expressed the presence of God; but the appearance actually was emblematical of his Providence. In the same way the appearance here expressed their peculiar endowments for entering on their great work--the ability to speak powerfully with new tongues. (*) "cloven" or, "divided" Verse 4. Were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Were entirely under his sacred influence and power. Lk 1:41,67. To be filled with anything is a phrase denoting that all the faculties are pervaded by it, engaged in it, or under its influence. Acts 3:10, "Were filled with wonder and amazement;" Acts 5:17, "Filled with indignation;" Acts 13:45, "Filled with envy;" Acts 13:52, "Filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost." Began to speak with other tongues. In other languages than their native tongue. The languages which they spoke are specified in @Ac 2:9-11. As the Spirit gave them utterance. As the Spirit gave them power to speak. This language implies plainly that they were now endued with a faculty of speaking languages which they had not before learned. Their native tongue was that of Galilee, a somewhat barbarous dialect of the common language used in Judea, the Syro-Chaldaic. It is possible that some of them might have been partially acquainted with the Greek and Latin, as both of them were spoken among the Jews to some extent; but there is not the slightest evidence that they were acquainted with the languages of the different nations afterwards specified. Various attempts have been made to account for this remarkable phenomenon, without supposing it to be a miracle. But the natural and obvious meaning of the passage is, that they were endowed by the miraculous power of the Holy Ghost with ability to speak foreign languages, and languages to them before unknown. It does not appear that each one had the power of speaking all the languages which are specified, (Acts 2:9-11,) but that this ability was among them, and that together they could speak these languages; probably some one, and some another. The following remarks may perhaps throw some light on this remarkable occurrence: (1.) This ability was predicted in the Old Testament, (Isa 28:11), "With another tongue will he speak to this people." Comp. 1Cor 14:21, where this passage is expressly applied to the power of speaking foreign languages under the gospel. (2.) It was predicted by the Lord Jesus that they should have this power. Mk 16:17, "These signs shall follow them that believe--they shall speak with new tongues." (3.) The ability to do it existed extensively and long in the church. 1Cor 12:10,11, "To another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit;" 1Cor 12:28, "God hath set in the church-- diversities of tongues;" 1Cor 12:30, 14:2,4,5,6,9,13,14,18,19,22,23, 1Cor 14:27,39. From this it appears that the power was well known in the church, and was not confined to the apostles. This also may show that, in the case in the Acts, the power was conferred on other members of the church as well as the apostles. (4.) It was very important that they should be endowed with this power in their great work. They were going forth to preach to all nations; and though the Greek and Roman tongues were extensively spoken, yet their use was not universal; nor is it known that the apostles were skilled in those languages. To preach to all nations, it was indispensable that they should be able to understand their language. And it was necessary that they should be endowed with ability to speak them without the slow process of being compelled to learn them. (5.) One design was to establish the gospel by means of miracles. Yet no miracle could be more striking than the power of conveying their sentiments at once into all the languages of the earth. When it is remembered what a slow and toilsome process it is to learn a foreign tongue, this would be regarded by the heathen as one of the most striking miracles which were ever wrought in the establishment of the Christian faith, 1Cor 14:22,24,25. (6.) The reality and certainty of this miracle is strongly attested by the early triumphs of the gospel. That the gospel was early spread over all the world, and that, too, by the apostles of Jesus Christ, by men of Galilee, is the clear testimony of all history. They preached it in Arabia, Greece, Syria, Asia, Persia, Africa, and Rome. Yet how could this have been effected without a miraculous power of speaking the languages used in all those places? Now, it requires the toil of many years to speak in foreign languages; and the recorded success of the gospel is one of the most striking attestations to the fact of the miracle that could be conceived. (7.) The corruption of language was one of the most decided effects of sin, of pride and ambition, and the source of endless embarrassments and difficulties, Gen 11. It is not to be regarded as wonderful if one of the effects of the plan of recovering men should be to show the power of God over all evil; and thus to furnish striking evidence that the gospel could meet all the crimes and calamities of men. And we may add, (8.) that from this we see the necessity now of training men who are to be the missionaries to other lands. The gift of miracles is withdrawn. The apostles, by that miracle, simply were empowered to speak other languages. That power must still be had if the gospel is to be preached. But it is now to be obtained, not by miracle, but by slow and careful study and toil. If possessed, men must be taught it. They must labour for it. And as the church is bound (Mt 28:19) to send the gospel to all nations, so it is bound to provide that the teachers who shall be sent forth shall be qualified for their work. Hence one of the reasons of the importance of training men for the holy ministry. (a) "were all filled" Acts 1:5 (b) "began to speak with" Mk 16:17, Acts 10:46 (+) "tongues" or, "in other languages" 378 Verse 5. There were dwelling at Jerusalem. The word rendered κατοικουντες properly means to have a fixed and permanent habitation, in distinction from another word, παροικουντες, which means to have a temporary and transient residence in a place. But it is not always confined, to this signification; and it is not improbable that many wealthy foreign Jews had a permanent residence in Jerusalem for the convenience of being near the temple. This was the more probable, as about that time the Messiah was expected to appear, Mt 2. Jews. Jews by birth; of Jewish descent and religion. Devout men. ανδρεςευλαβεις. Literally, men of cautious and circumspect lives, who lived in a prudent manner. The term is applied to men who were cautious about offending God; who were careful to observe his commandments. It hence is a general expression to denote pious or religious men. Acts 8:2, "And devout men carried Stephen to his burial." Lk 2:25, "And the same man (Simeon) was just and devout." The word devout means, "yielding a solemn and reverential attention to God in religious exercises, particularly in prayer, pious, sincere, solemn," (Webster,) and very well expresses the force of the original. Out of every nation under heaven. A general expression, meaning from all parts of the earth. The countries from which they came are more particularly specified in Acts 2:9-11. The Jews at that time were scattered into almost all nations, and in all places had synagogues. Jn 7:35. Still they would naturally desire to be present as often as possible at the great feasts of the nation in Jerusalem. Many would seek a residence there for the convenience of being present at the religious solemnities. Many who came up to the feast of the Passover would remain to the feast of the Pentecost. And the consequence was, that on such occasions the city would be full of strangers. We are told, that when Titus besieged Jerusalem at about the feast of the Passover, there were no less than three millions of people in the city, and this great multitude greatly deepened the calamities arising from the siege. Josephus also mentions an instance where great multitudes of Jews from other nations were present at the feast of Pentecost.--Jewish Wars, b. ii. chap. iii. & 1. Verse 6. When this was noised abroad. When the rumour of this remarkable transaction was spread, as it naturally would be without delay. Were confounded. συνεχυθη. Were violently moved and agitated; were amazed, and astonished at the remarkable occurrence. Every man heard them speak, etc. Though the multitude spoke different tongues, yet they now heard Galilaeans use the language which they had learned in foreign nations. His own language. His own dialect--διαλεκτω. His own idiom, whether it was a foreign language, or whether it was a modification of the Hebrew. The word may mean either; but it is probable that the foreign Jews would greatly modify the Hebrew, or conform almost entirely to the language spoken in the country where they lived. We may remark here, that this effect on the first descent of the Holy Ghost was not peculiar to that time. A work of grace on the hearts of men in a revival of religion will always be noised abroad. A multitude will come together, and God often, as he did here, makes use of this motive to bring them under the influence of religion. Curiosity was the motive here, and it was the occasion of their being brought under the influence of the truth, and of the conversion. In thousands of cases, this has occurred since. The effect of what they saw was to confound them. They made no complaint at first of the irregularity of what was done, but were all amazed and overwhelmed. So the effect of a revival of religion is often to convince the multitude that it is indeed a work of the Holy One; to amaze them by the display of his power; and to silence opposition and cavil by the manifest presence and the power of God. A few afterwards began to cavil, (Acts 2:13,) as some will always do in a revival; but the mass were convinced, as will be the case always, that this was a mighty display of the power of God. (1) "Now when" "When this voice was made" (*) "abroad" "The report was spread" (2) "confounded" "troubled in mind" Verse 7. Galilaeans. Inhabitants of Galilee. It was remarkable that they should speak in this manner, because (1) they were proverbially ignorant, rude, and uncivilized, Jn 1:46. Hence the term Galilaeans was used as an expression of the deepest reproach and contempt, Mk 14:70; Jn 7:52. (2.) Their dialect was proverbially barbarous and corrupt, Mk 14:70, Mt 26:73. They were regarded as an outlandish people, unacquainted with other nations and languages, and hence the amazement that they could address them in the refined language of other people. Their native ignorance was the occasion of making the miracle more striking. The native weakness and inability of Christian ministers makes the grace and glory of God more remarkable in the success of the gospel. "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us," 2Cor 4:7. The success which God often grants to those who are of slender endowments and of little learning, though blessed with a humble and pious heart, is often amazing to the men of the world. "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise," 1Cor 1:27. This should teach us that no talent or attainment is too humble to be employed for mighty purposes, in its proper sphere, in the kingdom of Christ, and that pious effort may accomplish much, may awe and amaze the world, and then burn in heaven with increasing lustre for ever; while pride, and learning, and talent may blaze uselessly among men, or kindle up the worst passions of our nature, and then be extinguished in eternal night. (a) "Galilaeans" Acts 1:11 Verse 8. Wherein we were born. That is, as we say, in our native language; that which is spoken where we were born. Verse 9. Parthians, etc. To show the surprising extent and power of this miracle, Luke enumerates the different nations that were represented then at Jerusalem. In this way the number of languages which the apostles spoke, and the extent of the miracle, can be ascertained. The enumeration of these nations begins at the east, and proceeds to the west. Parthians mean those Jews, or proselytes, who dwelt in Parthi. This country was a part of Persia, and was situated between the Persian Gulf and the Tigris on the west, and the river Indus on the east. To the south it was bounded by the desert of Caramania, and it had Media on the north. Their empire lasted about four hundred years, and they were much distinguished for their manner of fighting. They usually fought on horseback; and when appearing to retreat, discharged their arrows with great execution behind them. They were a part of the vast Scythian horde of Asia, and disputed the empire of the east with the Romans. The language spoken there was that of Persia; and, in ancient writers, Parthis and Persia often mean the same country. Medes. Inhabitants of Media. This country was situated north of Parthis, and south of the Caspian Sea. It was about the size of Spain, and was one of the richest parts of Asia. In the Scriptures it is called Madai, Gen 10:2. The Medes are often mentioned, frequently in connexion with the Persians, with whom they were often connected under the same government, 2Kgs 17:6, 18:11; Est 1:3,14,18,19, Jer 25:25, Dan 5:28, 6:8, 8:20, 9:1. The language spoken here was also that of Persia. In his whole region many Jews remained after the Babylonish captivity, who chose not to return with their brethren to the land of their fathers. From the descendants of these probably were those who were now assembled from those places at Jerusalem. Elamites. Elam is often mentioned in the Old Testament. The nation was descended from Elam, the son of Shem, Gen 10:22. It is mentioned as being in alliance with Axnraphel, the king of Shinar, and Arioch, king of Ellasar, and Tidal, king of nations, Gen 14:1. Of these nations in alliance, Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, was the chief, Gen 14:4. See also Ezr 2:7, 8:7, Neh 7:12, 34, Isa 11:11, 21:2, 22:6; etc. They are mentioned as a part of the Persian empire, and Daniel is said to have resided "at Shushan, which is in the province of Elam," Dan 8:2. The Greeks and Romans gave to this country the name of Elymais. It is now called Kusistan. It was bounded by Persia on the east, by Media on the north, by Babylonia on the west, and by the Persian Gulf on the south. The Elamites were a warlike people, and celebrated for the use of the bow, Isa 22:6; Jer 49:35. The language of this people was of course the Persian. Its capital Shusan, called by the Greeks Susa, was much celebrated. It is said to have been fifteen miles in circumference; and was adorned with the celebrated palace of Ahasuerus. The inhabitants still pretend to show there the tomb of the prophet Daniel. Mesopotamia. This name, which is Greek, signifies between the rivers; that is, the region lying between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. In Hebrew it was called Aram-Naharaim; that is, Aram, or Syria of tho two rivers. It was also called Padam Aram, the plain of Syria. In this region were situated some important places mentioned in the Bible:--Ur of the Chaldees the birthplace of Abraham, Gen 11:27,28; Haran where Terah stopped on his journey and died, Gen 11:31,32; Charchemish, 2Chr 35:20; Hena, 2Kgs 19:13; Sepharvaim, 2Kgs 17:24. This region, known as Mesopotamia, extended between the two rivers from their sources to Babylon on the south. It had on the north, Armenia; on the west, Syria; on the east, Persia; and on the south, Babylonia. It was an extensive, level, and fertile country. The language spoken here was probably the Syriac, with perhaps a mixture of the Chaldee. In Judea. This expression has greatly perplexed commentators. It has been thought difficult to see why Judaea should be mentioned, as if it were a matter of surprise that they could speak in this language. Some have supposed an error in the manuscripts, and have proposed to read Armenia, or India, or Lydia, or Idumea, etc. But all this has been without any authority. Others have supposed that the language of Galilee was so different from that of the other parts of Judea, as to render it remarkable that they could speak that dialect. But this is an idle supposition. This is one of the many instances in which commentators have perplexed themselves to very little purpose. Luke recorded this as any other historian would have done. In running over the languages which they spoke, he enumerated this as a matter of course; not that it was remarkable simply that they should speak the language of Judea, but that they should speak so many, meaning about the same by it as if he had said they spoke every language in the world. Just as if a similar miracle were to occur at this time among an assembly of native Englishmen and foreigners. In describing it, nothing would be more natural than to say, they spoke French, and German, and Spanish, and English, and Italian, etc. In this there would be nothing remarkable, except that they spoke so many languages. Cappadocia. This was a region of Asia Minor, and was bounded on the east by Armenia, on the north by Pontus and the Euxine Sea, west by Lycaonia, and south by Cilicia. The language which was spoken here is not certainly known. It was probably, however, a mixed dialect made up of Greek and Syriac, perhaps the same as their neighbours, the Lycaonians, Acts 14:11. This place was formerly celebrated for iniquity, and is mentioned in Greek writers as one of the three eminently wicked places, whose name began with "C". The others were Crete (Comp. Tit 1:12) and Cilicia. After its conversion to the Christian religion, however, it produced many eminent men, among whom were Gregory Nyssen, and Basil the Great. It was one of the places to which Peter directed an epistle, 1Pet 1:1. In Pontus. This was another province of Asia Minor, and was situated north of Cappadocia, and was bounded west by Paphlagonia. Pontus and Cappadocia under the Romans constituted one province. This was one of the places to which the apostle Peter directed his epistle, 1Pet 1:1. This was the birthplace of Aquila, one of the companions of Paul, Acts 18:2,18,26, Rom 16:3, 1Cor 16:19, 2Ti 4:19. And Asia. Pontus, and Cappadocia, etc., were parts of Asia. But the word Asia is doubtless used here to denote the regions or provinces west of these, which are not particularly enumerated. Thus it is used, Acts 6:9, 16:6, 20:16. The capital of this region was Ephesus. See also 1Pet 1:1. This region was frequently called Ionia, and was afterwards the seat of the seven churches in Asia, Rev 1:4. Verse 10. Phrygia, and Pamphylia. These were also two provinces of Asia Minor. Phrygia was surrounded by Galatia, Cappadocia, and Pisidia. Pamphylia was on the Mediterranean, and was bounded north by Pisidia. The language of all these places was doubtless the Greek, more or less pure. In Egypt. This was that extensive country, well known, on the south of the Mediterranean, watered by the Nile. It extends 600 miles from north to south, and from 100 to 120 east and west. The language used there was the Coptic. At present the Arabic is spoken. Vast numbers of Jews dwelt in Egypt; and many from that country would be present at the great feasts at Jerusalem. In this country the first translation of the Old Testament was made, which is now called the Septuagint. In the parts of Libya. Libya is a general name for Africa. It properly denoted the region which was near to Egypt; but the Greeks gave the name to all Africa. About Cyrene. This was a region about 500 miles west of Alexandria in Egypt. It was also called Pentapolis, because there were in it five celebrated cities. This country now belongs to Tripoli. Great numbers of Jews resided here. A Jew of this place, Simon by name, was compelled to bear Our Saviour's cross after him to the place of crucifixion, Mt 27:32, Lk 23:26. Some of the Cyrenians are mentioned among the earliest Christians, Acts 11:20, 13:1. The language which they spoke is not certainly known. Strangers of Rome. This literally means, "Romans dwelling, or tarrying;" i.e., at Jerusalem. It may mean either that they were permanently fixed, or only tarrying at Jerusalem--οιεπιδημουντες Πωμαιοι--. They were doubtless Jews who had taken up their residence in Italy, and had come to Jerusalem to attend the great feasts. The language which they spoke was the Latin. Great numbers of Jews were at that time dwelling at Rome. Josephus says, that there were eight synagogues there. The Jews are often mentioned by the Roman writers. There was a Jewish colony across the Tiber from Rome. When Judea was conquered, about sixty years before Christ, vast numbers of Jews were taken captive and carried to Rome. But they had much difficulty in managing them as slaves. They pertinaciously adhered to their religion, observed the Sabbath, and refused to join in the idolatrous rites of the Romans. Hence they were freed, and lived by themselves across the Tiber. Jews. Native born Jews, or descendants of Jewish families. Proselytes. Those who had been converted to the Jewish religion from among the Gentiles. The great zeal of the Jews to make proselytes is mentioned by our Saviour as one of the peculiar characteristics of the Pharisees, Mt 23:15. Some have supposed that the expression, Jews and proselytes, refers to the Romans only. But it is more probable that reference is made to all those that are mentioned. It has the appearance of a hurried enumeration; and the writer evidently mentioned them as they occurred to his mind, just as we would in giving a rapid account of so many different nations. Verse 11. Cretes. Crete, now called Candia, is an island in the Mediterranean, about 200 miles in length and 50 in breadth, about 500 miles south-west of Constantinople, and about the same distance west of Syria or Palestine. The climate is mild and delightful, the sky unclouded and serene. By some this island is supposed to be the Caphtorim of the Hebrews, Gen 10:14. It is mentioned in the Acts as the place touched at by Paul, Acts 27:7,8,13. This was the residence of Titus, who was left there by Paul to "set in order the things that were wanting," etc., Tit 1:5. The Cretians among the Greeks were famous for deceit and falsehood, Tit 1:12,13. The language spoken there was probably the Greek. Arabians. Arabia is the great peninsula which is bounded north by part of Syria, east by the Euphrates and the Persian Gulf, south by the Indian Ocean, and west by the Red Sea. It is often mentioned in the Scriptures; and there were doubtless there many Jews. The language spoken there was the Arabic. In our tongues. The languages spoken by the apostles could not have been less than seven or eight, besides different dialects of the same languages. It is not certain that the Jews present from foreign nations spoke those languages perfectly; but they had doubtless so used them as to make them the common tongue in which they conversed. No miracle could be more decided than this. There was no way in which the apostles could impose on them, and make them suppose they spoke foreign languages, if they really did not; for these foreigners were abundantly able to determine that. It may be remarked, that this miracle had most important effects besides that witnessed on the day of Pentecost. The gospel would be carried by those who were converted to all these places; and the way would be prepared for the labours of the apostles there. Accordingly, most of these places became afterwards celebrated by the establishment of Christian churches, and the conversion of great multitudes to the Christian faith. The wonderful works of God. ταμεγαλειατουθεου. The great things of God; that is, the great things that God had done, in the gift of his Son; in his raising him from the dead; in his miracles, ascension, etc. Comp. Lk 1:49, Ps 71:19, 26:7, 66:3, 92:6, 104:24, etc. (*) "tongues" "Our own languages" (a) "the wonderful works of God" 1Cor 12:10,28 Verse 12. Were in doubt. This expression--διηπορουν-- denotes a state of hesitancy or anxiety about an event. It is applied to those who are travelling, and are ignorant of the way, or who hesitate about the road. They were all astonished at this; they did not know how to understand it or explain it, until some of them supposed it was merely the effect of new wine. (b) "What meaneth this" Acts 17:20 Verse 13. Others mocking said. The word rendered "mocking" means to cavil, to deride. It occurs in the New Testament but in one other place: Acts 17:32, "And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked." This was an effect that was not confined to the day of Pentecost. There has been seldom a revival of religion, a remarkable manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit, that has not given occasion for profane mockery and merriment. One characteristic of wicked men is to deride those things which are done to promote their own welfare. Hence the Saviour himself was mocked; and the efforts of Christians to save others have been the subject of derision. Derision, and mockery, and a jeer, have been far more effectual in deterring men from becoming Christians than any attempts at sober argument. God will treat men as they treat him, Ps 18:26. And hence he says to the wicked, "Because I have called, and ye refused-- but ye have set at nought all my counsel--I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh," Prov 1:24-26. These men are full of new wine. These men are drunk. In such times men will have some way of accounting for the effects of the gospel; and the way is commonly about as wise and rational as this. "To escape the absurdity of acknowledging their own ignorance, they adopted the theory that strong drink can teach languages."--Dr. McLelland. In modern times it has been usual to denominate such scenes fanaticism, or wildfire, or enthusiasm. When men fail in argument, it is common to attempt to confute a doctrine, or bring reproach upon a transaction, by "giving it an ill name." Hence the names Puritan, Quaker, Methodist, etc., were at first given in derision, to account for some remarkable effect of religion on the world. Comp. Mt 11:19, Jn 7:20, 8:48. And thus men endeavour to trace revivals to ungoverned and heated passions; and they are regarded by many as the mere offspring of fanaticism. The friends of revivals should not be discouraged by this; but should remember that the very first revival of religion was by many supposed to be the effect of a drunken frolic. New wine. γλευκους. This word properly means the juice of the grape which distils before a pressure is applied, and called must. It was sweet wine; and hence the word in Greek meaning sweet was given to it. The ancients, it is said, had the art of preserving their new wine with the peculiar flavour before fermentation for a considerable time, and were in the habit of drinking it in the morning. See Horace, Sat. b. ii. iv. Sweet wine, which was probably the same as that mentioned here, is also mentioned in the Old Testament, Isa 49:26; Amos 9:13. (+) "mocking" or "Scoffing" Verse 14. But Peter. This was in accordance with the natural temperament of Peter. He was bold, forward, ardent; and he rose now to defend the apostles of Jesus Christ, and Christ himself, from an injurious charge. Not daunted by ridicule or opposition, he felt that now was the time for preaching the gospel to the crowd that had been assembled by curiosity. No ridicule should deter Christians from an honest avowal of their opinions, and a defence of the operations of the Holy Spirit. With the eleven. Matthias was now one of the apostles, and now appeared as one of the witnesses for the truth. They probably all arose, and took part in the discourse. Possibly Peter began to discourse, and either all spoke together in different languages, or one succeeded another. Ye men of Judea. Men who are Jews; that is, Jews by birth. The original does not mean that they were permanent dwellers in Judea, but that they were Jews, of Jewish families. Literally, "men, Jews." And all ye that dwell, etc. All others besides native-born Jews, whether proselytes or strangers, who were abiding at Jerusalem. This comprised, of course, the whole assembly, and was a respectful and conciliatory introduction to his discourse. Though they had mocked them, yet he treated them with respect, and did not render railing for railing, (1Pet 3:9,) but sought to convince them of their error. Be this known, etc. Peter did not intimate that this was a doubtful matter, or one that could not be explained. His address was respectful, yet firm. He proceeded calmly to show them their error. When the enemies of religion deride us or the gospel, we should answer them kindly and respectfully, yet firmly. We should reason with them coolly, and convince them of their error, Prov 15:1. In this case Peter acted on the principle which he afterwards enjoined on all. 1Pet 3:15, "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." The design of Peter was to vindicate the conduct of the apostles from the reproach of intoxication, to show that this could be no other than the work of God; and to make an application of the truth to his hearers. This he did, (1.) by showing that this could not be reasonably supposed to be the effect of new wine, Acts 2:15. (2.) That it had been expressly predicted in the writings of the Jewish prophets, Acts 2:16-21. (3.) By a calm argument, proving the resurrection and ascension of Christ, and showing that this also was in accordance with the Jewish Scriptures, Acts 2:22-35. We are not to suppose that this was the whole of Peter's discourse, but that these were the topics on which he insisted, and the main points of his argument. Verse 15. For these are not drunken, etc. The word these here includes Peter himself, as well as the others. The charge doubtless extended to all. The third hour of the day. The Jews divided their day into twelve equal parts, reckoning from sunrise to sunset. Of course the hours were longer in the summer than in the winter. The third hour would answer to our nine o'clock in the morning. The reasons why it was so improbable that they should be drunk at that time were the following: (1.) It was the hour of morning worship, or sacrifice. It was highly improbable, that at that early hour they would be intoxicated. (2.) It was not usual for even drunkards to become drunk in the daytime. 1Thes 5:7, "They that be drunken are drunken in the night." (3.) The charge was, that they had become drunk with wine. Ardent spirits, or alcohol, that curse of our times, was unknown. It was very improbable that so much of the weak wine commonly used in Judea should have been taken at that early hour as to produce intoxication. (4.) It was a regular practice with the Jews, not to eat or drink anything until after the third hour of the day, especially on the Sabbath, and on all festival occasions. Sometimes this abstinence was maintained until noon. So universal was this custom, that the apostle could appeal to it with confidence, as a full refutation of the charge of drunkenness at that hour. Even the intemperate were not accustomed to drink before that hour. The following testimonies on this subject from Jewish writers, are from Lightfoot. "This was the custom of pious people in ancient times, that each one should offer his morning prayers with additions in the synagogue, and then return home and take refreshment." (Maimonides, Shabb.chap. 30.) "They remained in the synagogue until the sixth hour and a half, and then each one offered the prayer of the Mincha, before he returned home, and then he ate." "The fourth is the hour of repast, when all eat." One of the Jewish writers says, that the difference between thieves and honest men might be known by the fact that the former might be seen in the morning at the fourth hour, eating and sleeping, and holding a cup in his hand. But for those who made pretensions to religion, as the apostles did, such a thing was altogether improbable. (a) "seeing it is but the third" 1Thes 5:7 Verse 16. This is that. This is the fulfillment of that, or this was predicted. This was the second part of Peter's argument to show that this was in accordance with the predictions in their own Scriptures. By the prophet Joel. Joel 2:28-32. This is not quoted literally either from the Hebrew or from the Septuagint. The substance, however, is preserved. (b) "was spoken by the prophet Joel" Joel 2:25-32 Verse 17. It shall come to pass. It shall happen, or shall occur. In the last days. Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic, after these things, or afterwards. The expression the last days, however, occurs frequently in the Old Testament. Gen 49:1, Jacob called his sons, that he might tell them what should happen to them in the last days; that is, in future times. Hebrew, in after times. Mi 4:1, "In the last days, (Heb. in after times,) the mountain of the house of the Lord," etc. Isa 2:2, "In the last days, the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains," etc. The expression then properly denoted the future times in general; but, as the coming of the Messiah was to the eye of a Jew the most important event in the coming ages, the great, glorious, and crowning scene in all that vast futurity, the phrase came to be regarded as properly expressive of that. And they spoke of future times, and of the last times, as the glad period which should be crowned and honoured with the presence and triumphs of the Messiah. It stood in opposition to the usual denomination of earlier times. It was a phrase in contrast with the days of the patriarchs, the kings, the prophets, etc. The last days, or the closing period of the world, were the days of the Messiah. It does not appear from this, and it certainly is not implied in the expression, that they supposed the world would then come to an end. Their views were just the contrary. They anticipated a long and glorious time, under the dominion of the Messiah, and to this expectation they were led by the promise that his kingdom should be for ever; that of the increase of his government there should be no end, etc. This expression was understood by the writers of the New Testament as referring undoubtedly to the times of the gospel. And hence they often used it as denoting that the time of the expected Messiah had come, but not to imply that the world was drawing near to an end. Heb 1:2, God "hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son." 1Pet 1:20, "Was manifest in these last times for you." 2Pet 3:3, 1Pet 1:5, 1Jn 2:18, "Little children, it is the last time," etc. Jude 1:18. The expression, the last day, is applied by our Saviour to the resurrection and the day of judgment, Jn 6:39,40,44,54, 11:24, 12:48. Here the expression means simply in those future times, when the Messiah shall have come. I will pour out of my Spirit. The expression in Hebrew is, "I will pour out my Spirit." The word pour is commonly applied to water, or to blood, to pour it out, or to shed it, Isa 57:6; to tears, to pour them out, that is, to weep, etc., Ps 42:4, 1Sam 1:15. It is applied to water, to wine, or to blood, in the New Testament, Mt 9:17, Rev 16:1, Acts 22:20, "The blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed." It conveys also the idea of communicating largely, or freely, as water is poured freely from a fountain. Tit 3:5,6, "The renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly." Thus Job 36:27, "They (the clouds) pour down rain according to the vapour thereof." Isa 44:3, "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty." Isa 45:8, "Let the skies pour down righteousness." Mal 3:10, "Will I pour you out a blessing." It is also applied to fury and anger, when God intends to say that he will not spare, but will signally punish. Ps 69:24, Jer 10:2,5. It is not unfrequently applied to the Spirit, Prov 1:23, Isa 44:3 Zech 12:10. And then it means that he will bestow large measures of spiritual influences. As the Spirit renews and sanctifies men, so to pour out the Spirit is to grant freely his influences to renew and sanctify the soul. My Spirit. The Spirit here denotes the Third Person of the Trinity, promised by the Saviour, and sent to finish his work, and apply it to men. The Holy Spirit is regarded as the source, or conveyer of all the blessings which Christians experience. Hence he renews the heart, Jn 3:5,6. He is the Source of all proper feelings and principles in Christians, or he produces the Christian graces, Gal 5:22-25, Tit 3:5-7. The spread and success of the gospel are attributed to him, Isa 32:15,16. Miraculous gifts are traced to him; especially the various gifts with which the early Christians were endowed, 1Cor 12:4-10. The promise that he would pour out his Spirit, means that he would, in the time of the Messiah, impart a large measure of those influences, which it was his peculiar province to communicate to men. A part of them were communicated on the day of Pentecost, in the miraculous endowment of the power of speaking foreign languages, in the wisdom of the apostles, and in the conversion of the three thousand. Upon all flesh. The word flesh here means persons, or men. Rom 1:3. The word all, here, does not mean every individual, but every class or rank of men. It is to be limited to the cases specified immediately. The influences were not to be confined to any class, but to be communicated to all kinds of persons, old men, youth, servants, etc. Comp. 1Timm 2:1-4. And your sons and your daughters. Your children. It would seem, however, that females shared in the remarkable influences of the Holy Spirit. Philip, the evangelist, had four daughters which did prophesy, Acts 21:9. It is probable also that the females of the church of Corinth partook of this gift, though they were forbidden to exercise it in public, 1Cor 14:34. The office of prophesying, whatever was meant by that, was not confined to the men among the Jews. Ex 15:20, "Miriam, the prophetess, took a timbrel," etc. Jud 4:4, "Deborah, a prophetess, judged Israel." 2Kgs 22:14. See also Lk 2:36, "There was one Anna, a prophetess," etc. Shall prophesy. The word prophesy is used in a great variety of senses. (1.) It means to predict, or foretell future events, Mt 11:13, 15:7. (2.) To divine, to conjecture, to declare as a prophet might. Mt 26:68, "Prophesy, Who is he that smote thee." (3.) To celebrate the praises of God, being under a Divine influence, Lk 1:67. This seems to have been a considerable part of the employment in the ancient schools of the prophets, 1Sam 10:5, 19:20 1Sam 30:15. (4.) To teach--as no small part of the office of the prophets was to teach the doctrines of religion. Mt 7:22, "Have we not prophesied in thy name?" (5.) It denotes then, in general, to speak under a Divine influence, whether in foretelling future events; in celebrating the praises of God; in instructing others in the duties of religion; or in speaking foreign languages under that influence. In this last sense, the word is used in the New Testament to denote those who were miraculously endowed with the power of speaking foreign languages, Acts 19:6. The word is also used to denote teaching, or speaking in intelligible language, in opposition to speaking a foreign tongue, 1Cor 14:1-5. In this place it means that they should speak under a Divine influence, and is specially applied to the power of speaking in a foreign tongue. Your young men shall see visions. The will of God in former times was communicated to the prophets in various ways. One was by visions; and hence one of the most usual names of the prophets was seers. The name seer was first given to that class of men, and was superseded by the name prophet. 1Sam 9:9, "He that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer. 1Sam 9:11,18,19, 2Sam 24:11, 1Chr 29:29, etc. This name was given from the manner in which the Divine will was communicated, which seems to have been by throwing the prophet into an ecstacy, and then by causing the vision, or the appearance of the objects or events to pass before the mind. The prophet looked upon the passing scene, the often splendid diorama as it actually occurred, and recorded it as it appeared to his mind. Hence he recorded rather the succession of images than the times in which they would occur. These visions occurred sometimes when they were asleep, and sometimes during a prophetic ecstacy, Dan 2:28, 7:1,2,15, 7:2, Eze 11:24; Gen 15:1, Nu 12:6, Job 4:13, 7:14, Eze 1:1, 8:3. Often the prophet seemed to be transferred, or translated to another place from where he was; and the scene in a distant land or age passed before the mind, Eze 8:3, 40:2, 11:24, Dan 8:2. In this case, the distant scene or time passed before the prophet, and he recollected it as it appeared to him. That this did not cease before the times of the gospel is evident. Acts 9:10, "To Ananias said the Lord in a vision," Acts 9:12, "And hath seen (i.e. Paul) in a vision a man named Ananias," etc., i.e. Paul hath seen Ananias represented to him, though absent; he has had an image of him coming in to him. Acts 10:3, Cornelius "saw in a vision evidently an angel of God coming in to him," etc. This was one of the modes by which in former times God made known his will; and the language of the Jews came to express a revelation in this manner. Though there were strictly no visions on the day of Pentecost, yet that was one scene under the great economy of the Messiah, under which God would make known his will in a manner as clear as he did to the ancient Jews. Your old men shall dream dreams. The will of God, in former times, was made known often in this manner; and there are several instances recorded in which it was done under the gospel. God informed Abimelech in a dream that Sarah was the wife of Abraham, Gen 20:3. He spoke to Jacob in a dream, Gen 31:11; to Laban, Gen 31:24; to Joseph, Gen 37:5; to the butler and baker, Gen 40:5; to Pharaoh, Gen 41:1-7; to Solomon, 1Kgs 3:5; to Daniel, Dan 2:3, 7:1. It was prophesied by Moses that in this way God would make known his will, Nu 12:6. It occurred even in the times of the gospel, Mt 1:20. Joseph was warned in a dream, Mt 2:12,13,19,22. Pilate's wife was also troubled in this manner about the conduct of the Jews to Christ, Mt 27:19. As this was one way in which the will of God was made known formerly to men, so the expression here denotes simply that his will should be made known; that it should be one characteristic of the times of the gospel that God would reveal himself to man. The ancients probably had some mode of determining whether their dreams were Divine communications, or whether they were, as they are now, the mere erratic wanderings of the mind when unrestrained and unchecked by the will. At present no confidence is to be put in dreams. (a) "pour out my Spirit" Isa 44:3, Eze 36:27 Verse 18. And on my servants. The Hebrew in Joel is, "upon the servants." The Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, however, render it "on my servants." In Joel, the prophet would seem to be enumerating the different conditions and ranks of society. The influences of the Spirit would be confined to no class; they would descend on old and young, and even on servants and handmaids. So the Chaldee Paraphrase understood it. But the Septuagint and Peter evidently understood it in the sense of servants of God; as the worshippers of God are often called servants in the Scriptures. See Rom 1:1. It is possible, however, that the Hebrew intended to refer to the servants of God. It is not "upon your servants," etc., as in the former expression, "your sons," etc.; but the form is changed, "upon servants and handmaids." The language, therefore, will admit the construction of the Septuagint and of Peter; and it was this variation in the Hebrew which suggested, doubtless, the mention of "my servants," etc., instead of your servants. And on my handmaidens. Female servants. The name is several times given to pious women, Ps 86:16, 116:16, Lk 1:38,48. The meaning of this verse does not materially differ from the former. In the times of the gospel, those who were brought under its influence should be remarkably endowed with ability to declare the will of God. (b) "and they shall prophesy" Acts 16:4,9,10, 1Cor 12:10 Verse 19, 20. I will shew wonders. Literally, "I will give signs." δωσωτερατα. The word in the Hebrew----mophethim, means, properly, prodigies; wonderful occurrences; miracles wrought by God or his messengers, Ex 4:21, 7:3,9, 11:9, De 4:34, etc. It is the common word to denote a miracle, in the Old Testament. Here it means, however, a portentous appearance, a prodigy, a remarkable occurrence. It is commonly joined in the New Testament with the word signs, "signs and wonders," Mt 24:24, Mk 13:22, Jn 4:48. In these places it does not of necessity mean miracles, but unusual and remarkable appearances. Here it is fixed to mean great and striking changes in the sky, the sun, moon, etc. The Hebrew is, "I will give signs in the heaven, and upon the earth." Peter has quoted it according to the sense, and not according to the letter. The Septuagint is here a literal translation of the Hebrew; and this is one of the instances where the New Testament writers did not quote from either. Much of the difficulty of interpreting these verses consists in fixing the proper meaning to the expression, "that great and notable day of the Lord." If it be limited to the day of Pentecost, it is certain that no such events occurred at that time. But there is, it is believed, no propriety in confining it to that time. The description here pertains to "the last days," (Acts 2:17) that is, to the whole of that period of duration, however long, which was known by the prophets as the last times. That period might be extended through many centuries; and during that period all these events would take place. The day of the Lord is the day when God shall manifest himself in a peculiar manner; a day when he shall so strikingly be seen in his wonders and his judgments, that it may be called his day. Thus it is applied to the day of judgment, as the day of the Son of man; the day in which he will be the great attractive object, and will be signally glorified, Lk 17:24, 1Thes 5:2, Php 1:6; 2Pet 3:12. If, as I suppose, "that notable day of the Lord" here denotes that future time when God shall manifest himself in judgment, then we are not to suppose that Peter meant to say that these "wonders" should take place on the day of Pentecost, or had their fulfillment then; but would occur under that indefinite period called "the last days," the days of the Messiah, and BEFORE that period was closed by the great day of the Lord. The gift of tongues was a partial fulfillment of the general prophecy pertaining to those times. And as the prophecy was thus partially fulfilled, it was a pledge that it would be entirely; and thus there was laid a foundation for the necessity of repentance, and for calling on the Lord in order to be saved. Blood. Blood is commonly used as an emblem of slaughter, or of battle. Fire. Fire is also an image of war, or the conflagration of towns and dwellings in time of war. Vapour of smoke. The word vapour--ατμις--means, commonly, an exhalation from the earth, etc., easily moved from one place to another, here it means (Heb. Joel) rising columns, or pillars of smoke; and is another image of the calamities of war, the smoke rising from burning towns. It has almost always been customary in war to burn the towns of an enemy, and to render him as helpless as possible, Hence the calamities denoted here are those represented by such scenes. To what particular scenes there is reference here, it may be impossible now to say. It may be remarked, however, that scenes of this kind occurred before the destruction of Jerusalem; and there is a striking resemblance between the description in Joel, and that by which our Saviour foretells the destruction of Jerusalem. Mt 24:21-24. Verse 20. The sun shall be turned into darkness. Mt 24:29. The same images used here with reference to the sun and moon, are used also there. They occur not unfrequently, Mk 13:24, 2Pet 3:7,10. The shining of the sun is an emblem of prosperity; the withdrawing, or eclipse, or setting of the sun is an emblem of calamity, and is often thus used in the Scriptures, Isa 60:20, Jer 15:9, Eze 32:7, Amos 8:9, Rev 6:12, 8:12, 9:2, 16:8. To say that the sun is darkened, or turned into darkness, is an image of calamity, and especially of the calamities of war; when the smoke of burning cities rises to heaven, and obscures his light. This is not, therefore, to be taken literally, nor does it afford any indication of what will be at the end of the world in regard to the sun. The moon into blood. The word blood here means that obscure, sanguinary colour which the moon has when the atmosphere is filled with smoke and vapour; and especially the lurid and alarming appearance which it assumes when smoke and flames are thrown up by earthquakes and fiery eruptions. Rev 6:12, "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood., Rev 8:8. In this place it denotes great calamities. The figures used are indicative of wars, and conflagrations, and unusual prodigies of earthquakes. As these things are (Mt 24) applied to the destruction of Jerusalem; as they actually occurred previous to that event, Mt 24:1 it may be supposed that the prophecy in Joel had an immediate reference to that. The meaning of the quotation by Peter in this place therefore is, that what occurred on the day of Pentecost was the beginning of the series of wonders that were to take place during the times of the Messiah. It is not intimated that those scenes were to close, or to be exhausted in that age. They may precede that great day of the Lord which is yet to come in view of the whole earth. That great and notable day of the Lord. This is called the great day of the Lord, because on that day he will be signally manifested, more impressively-and strikingly than on other times. The word notable, επιφανη, means signal, illustrious, distinguished. In Joel the word is terrible, or fearful; a word applicable to days of calamity, and trial, and judgment. The Greek word here rendered notable is also in the Septuagint frequently used to denote calamity, or times of judgment, De 10:21, 2Sam 7:23. This will apply to any day in which God signally manifests himself; but particularly to a day when he shall come forth to punish men, as at the destruction of Jerusalem, or at the day of judgment. The meaning is, that those wonders should take place before that distinguished day should arrive when God should come forth in judgment. (a) "The sun shall be turned into darkness" Mk 13:24, 2Pet 3:7,10 (*) "notable" "Signal" Verse 21. Whosoever shall call. In the midst of these wonders and dangers, whosoever should call on the Lord should be delivered, (Joel.) The name of the Lord is the same as the Lord himself. It is a Hebraism, signifying to call on the Lord, Ps 79:6, Zech 13:9. Shall be saved. In Hebrew, shall be delivered, i.e. from impending calamities. When they threaten, and God is coming forth to judge them, it shall be that those who are characterized as those who call on the Lord shall be delivered. This is equally true at all times. It is remarkable that no Christians perished in the siege of Jerusalem. Though more than a million of Jews perished, yet the followers of Christ who were there, having been warned by him, when they saw the signs of the Romans approaching, with- drew to AElia, and were preserved. So it shall be in the day of judgment. All whose character it has been that they called on God, will then be saved. While the wicked shall then call on the rocks and the mountains to shelter them from the Lord, those who have invoked his favour and mercy shall then find deliverance. The use which Peter makes of this passage is this: Calamities were about to come; the day of judgment was approaching; they were passing through the last days of the earth's history; and therefore it became them to call on the name of the Lord, and to obtain deliverance from the dangers which impended over the guilty. There can be little doubt that Peter intended to apply this to the Messiah, and that by the name of the Lord he meant the Lord Jesus. See 1Cor 1:2. Paul makes the same use of the passage, expressly applying it to the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom 10:13,14. In Joel, the word translated Lord is JEHOVAH, the incommunicable and peculiar name of God; and the use of the passage before us, in the New Testament, shows how the apostles regarded the Lord Jesus Christ; and proves that they had no hesitation in applying to him names and attributes which could belong to no one but God. This verse teaches us, (1.) that in prospect of the judgments of God which are to come, we should make preparation. We shall be called to pass through the closing scene of this earth; the time when the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, and when the great day of the Lord shah come. (2.) It is easy to be saved. All that God requires of us is to call upon him, to pray to him, to ask him, and he will answer and save. If men will not do so easy a thing as to call on God, and ask him for salvation, it is obviously proper that they should be cast off. The terms of salvation could not be made plainer or easier. The offer is wide, free, universal, and there is no obstacle but what exists in the heart of the sinner. And from this part of Peter's vindication of the scene on the day of Pentecost, we may learn also, (1.) that revivals of religion are to be expected as a part of the history of the Christian church. He speaks of God's pouring out his Spirit, etc., as what was to take place in the last days, i.e. in the indefinite and large tract of time which was to come under the administration of the Messiah. His remarks are by no means limited to the day of Pentecost. They are as applicable to future periods as to that time; and we are to expect it as a part of Christian history, that the Holy Spirit will be sent down to awaken and convert men. (2.) This will also vindicate revivals from all the charges which have ever been brought against them. All the objections of irregularity, extravagance, wildfire, enthusiasm, disorder, etc., which have been alleged against revivals in modern times, might have been brought with equal propriety against the scene on the day of Pentecost. Yet an apostle showed that that was in accordance with the predictions of the Old Testament, and was an undoubted work of the Holy Spirit. If that work could be vindicated, then modern revivals may be. If that was really liable to no objections on these accounts, then modern works of grace should not be objected to for the same things. And if that excited deep interest in the apostles; if they felt deep concern to vindicate it from the charge brought against it, then Christians and Christian ministers now should feel similar solicitude to defend revivals, and not be found among their revilers, their calumniators, or their foes. There will be enemies enough of the work of the Holy Spirit without the aid of professed Christians; and that man possesses no enviable feelings or character who is found with the enemies of God and his Christ, in opposing the mighty work of the Holy Spirit on the human heart. (b) "shall call on the name" 1Cor 1:2, Heb 4:16 Verse 22. Ye men of Israel. Descendants of Israel, or Jacob, i.e. Jews. Peter proceeds now to the third part of his argument, to show that Jesus Christ had been raised up; and that the scene which had occurred was in accordance with his promise, was proof of his resurrection, and of his exaltation to be the Messiah; and that therefore they should repent for their great sin in having put their own Messiah to death. A man approved of God. A man who was shown or demonstrated to have the approbation of God, or to have been sent by him. By miracles and wonders and signs. The first of these words properly means the displays of power which Jesus made; the second, the unusual or remarkable events which attended him; the third, the signs or proofs that he was from God. Together, they denote the array or series of remarkable works--raising the dead, healing the sick, etc., which showed that Jesus was sent from God. The proof which they furnished that he was from God was this--that God would not confer such power on an impostor, and that therefore he was what he pretended to be. Which God did by him. The Lord Jesus himself often traced his power to do these things to his commission from the Father; but he did it in such a way as to show that he was closely united to him, Jn 5:19,30. Peter here says that God did these works by Jesus Christ, to show that Jesus was truly sent by him, and that therefore he had the seal and attestation of God. The same thing Jesus himself said: Jn 5:36, "The works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me." The great works which God has wrought in creation, as well as in redemption, he is represented as having done by his Son. Heb 1:2, "By whom also he made the worlds." Jn 1:3, Col 1:15-19. In the midst of you. In your own land. It is also probable that many of the persons present had been witnesses of his miracles. As ye yourselves also know. They knew it either by having witnessed them, or by the evidence which everywhere abounded of the truth that he had wrought them. The Jews, even in the time of Christ, did not dare to call his miracles in question, Jn 15:24. While they admitted the miracle, they attempted to trace it to the influence of Beelzebub, Mt 9:34, Mk 3:22. So decided and numerous were the miracles of Jesus, that Peter here appeals to them as having been known by the Jews themselves to have been performed, and with a confidence that even they could not deny it. On this he proceeds to rear his argument for the truth of his Messiahship. (*) "approved" "manifested" (a) "miracles and wonders and signs" Jn 14:10,11, Heb 2:4 (b) "ye yourselves know" Jn 15:24 Verse 23. Him being delivered, εκδοτον. This word, delivered, is used commonly of those who are surrendered or delivered into the hands of enemies or adversaries. It means that Jesus was surrendered, or given up to his enemies, by those who should have been his protectors. Thus he was delivered to the chief priests, Mk 10:33. Pilate released Barabbas, and delivered Jesus to their will, Mk 15:15, Lk 23:25; he was delivered unto the Gentiles, Lk 18:32; the chief priests delivered him to Pilate, Mt 27:2; and Pilate delivered him to be crucified, Mt 27:26, Jn 19:16. In this manner was the death of Jesus accomplished, by being surrendered from one tribunal to another, and one demand of his countrymen, to another, until they succeeded in procuring his death. It may also be implied here, that he was given or surrendered by God to the hands of men. Thus he is represented to have been given by God, Jn 3:16, 1Jn 4:9,10. The Syriac translates this, "Him, who was destined to this by the foreknowledge and will of God, you delivered into the hands of wicked men," etc. The Arabic, "Him, delivered to you by the hands of the wicked, you received, and after you had mocked him, you slew him." By the determinate counsel. The word translated determinate --τηωρισμενη-- means, properly, that which is defined, marked out, or bounded; as, to mark out or define the boundary of a field, etc. See Rom 1:1,4. In Acts 10:42, it is translated ordained of God; denoting his purpose that it should be so, i.e. that Jesus should be the Judge of quick and dead. Lk 22:22, "The Son of man goeth, as it was determined," i.e. as God has purposed or determined beforehand that he should go. Acts 11:29, "The disciples--determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea," i.e. they resolved or purposed beforehand to do it. Acts 17:26, "God-- hath determined the times before appointed," etc. In all these places there is the idea of a purpose, or intention, or plan implying intention, and marking out or fixing the boundaries to some future action or event. The word implies that the death of Jesus was resolved on by God before it took place. And this truth is established by all the predictions made in the Old Testament, and by the Saviour himself. God was not compelled to give up his Son. There was no claim on him for it. And he had a right, therefore, to determine when and how it should be done. The fact, moreover, that this was predicted, shows that it was fixed or resolved on. No event can be foretold, evidently, unless it be certain that it will take place. The event, therefore, must in some way be fixed or resolved on beforehand. Counsel. βουλη. This word properly denotes purpose, decree, will. It expresses the act of the mind in willing, or the purpose or design which is formed. Here it means the purpose or will of God; it was his plan or decree that Jesus should be delivered. Acts 4:28, "For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel ηβουλησου determined before to be done." Eph 1:11, "Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." Heb 6:17, "God, willing to show the immutability of his counsel." See Acts 20:27, 1Cor 4:5, Lk 23:51. The word here, therefore, proves that Jesus was delivered by the deliberate purpose of God; that it was according to his previous intention and design. The reason why this was insisted on by Peter, was, that he might convince the Jews that Jesus was not delivered by weakness, or because he was unable to rescue himself. Such an opinion would have been inconsistent with the belief that he was the Messiah. It was important, then, to assert the dignity of Jesus, and to show that his death was in accordance with the fixed design of God; and, therefore, that it did not interfere in the least with his claims to be the Messiah. The same thing our Saviour has himself expressly affirmed, Jn 19:10,11, 10:18, Mt 26:53. Foreknowledge. This word denotes the seeing beforehand of an event yet to take place. It implies, (1.) omniscience; and, (2.) that the event is fixed and certain. To foresee a contingent event, that is, to foresee that an event will take place, when it may or may not take place, is an absurdity. Foreknowledge, therefore, implies that for some reason the event will certainly take place. What that reason is, the word itself does not determine. As, however, God is represented in the Scriptures as purposing or determining future events; as they could not be foreseen by him unless he had so determined, so the word sometimes is used in the sense of determining beforehand, or as synonymous with decreeing, Rom 8:29, 11:2. In this place the word is used to denote that the delivering up of Jesus was something more than a bare or naked decree. It implies that God did it according to his foresight of what would be the best time, and place, and manner of its being done. It was not the result merely of will; it was will directed by a wise foreknowledge of what would be best. And this is the case with all the decrees of God. It follows from this, that the conduct of the Jews was foreknown. God was not disappointed in anything respecting their treatment of his Son. Nor will he be disappointed in any of the doings of men. Notwithstanding the wickedness of the world, his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure, Isa 46:10. Ye have taken. See Mt 26:57. Ye Jews have taken. It is possible that some were present on this occasion who had been personally concerned in taking Jesus; and many who had joined in the cry, "Crucify him," Lk 23:18-21. It was, at any rate, the act of the Jewish people by which this had been done. This was a striking instance of the fidelity of that preaching which says, as Nathan did to David, "Thou art the man !" Peter, once so timid that he denied his Lord, now charged this atrocious crime on his countrymen, regardless of their anger and his own danger. He did not deal in general accusations, but brought the charges home, and declared that they were the men who had been concerned in this amazing crime. No preaching can be successful that does not charge on men their personal guilt; and that does not fearlessly proclaim their ruin and danger. By wicked hands. Greek, "through or by the hands of the lawless, or wicked." This refers, doubtless, to Pilate and the Roman soldiers, through whose instrumentality this had been done. The reasons for supposing that this is the true interpretation of the passage are these: (1.) The Jews had not the power of inflicting death themselves. (2.) The term used here--wicked,ανομων was not applicable to the Jews, but to the Romans. It properly means lawless, or those who had not the law, and is often applied to the heathen, Rom 2:12,14; 1Cor 9:21. (3.) The punishment which was inflicted was a Roman punishment. (4.) It was a matter of fact, that the Jews, though they had condemned him, yet had not put him to death themselves, but had demanded it of the Romans. But though they had employed the Romans to do it, still they were the prime-movers in the deed; they had plotted, and compassed, and demanded his death; and they were therefore not the less guilty. The maxim of the common law, and of common sense, is, "he who does a deed by the instrumentality of another is responsible for it." It was from no merit of the Jews that they had not put him to death themselves. It was simply because the power was taken away from them. Have crucified. Greek, "having affixed him to the cross, ye have put him to death." Peter here charges the crime fully on them. Their guilt was not diminished because they had employed others to do it. From this we may remark, (1.) that this was one of the most amazing and awful crimes that could be charged on any men. It was malice, and treason, and hatred, and murder combined. Nor was it any common murder. It was their own Messiah whom they had put to death; the hope of their fathers; he who had been long promised by God, and the prospect of whose coming had so long cheered and animated the nation. They had now imbrued their hands in his blood, and stood charged with the awful crime of having murdered the Prince of peace. (2.) It is no mitigation of guilt that we do it by the instrumentality of others. It is often, if not always, a deepening and extending of the crime. (3.) We have here a striking and clear instance of the doctrine that the decrees of God do not interfere with the free agency of men. This event was certainly determined beforehand. Nothing is clearer than this. It is here expressly asserted; and it had been foretold with undeviating certainty by the prophets. God had, for wise and gracious purposes, purposed or decreed in his own mind that his Son should die at the time, and in the manner in which he did; for all the circumstances of his death, as well as of his birth and his life, were foretold. And yet, in this, the Jews and the Romans never supposed or alleged that they were compelled or cramped in what they did. They did what they chose. If in this case the decrees of God were not inconsistent with human freedom, neither can they be in any case. Between those decrees and the freedom of man there is no inconsistency, unless it could be shown--what never can be--that God compels men to act contrary to their own will. In that case there could be no freedom. But that is not the case with regard to the decrees of God. An act is what it is in itself; it can be contemplated and measured by itself. That it was foreseen, foreknown, or purposed, does not alter its nature, any more than it does that it be remembered after it is performed. The memory of what we have done does not destroy our freedom. Our own purposes in relation to our conduct do not destroy our freedom; nor can the purposes or designs of any other being violate one free moral action, unless he compels us to do a thing against our will. (4.) We have here a proof that the decree of God does not take away the moral character of an action. It does not prove that an action is innocent if it is shown that it is a part of the wise plan of God to permit it. Never was there a more atrocious crime than the crucifixion of the Son of God. And yet it was determined on in the Divine counsels. So with all the deeds of human guilt. The purpose of God to permit them does not destroy their nature, or make them innocent. They are what they are in themselves. The purpose of God does not change their character; and if it is right to punish them in fact, they will be punished. If it is right for God to punish them, it was right to resolve to do it. And the sinner must answer for his sins, not for the plans of his Maker; nor can he take shelter in the day of wrath, against what he deserves, in the plea that God has determined future events. If any men could have done it, it would have been those whom Peter addressed; yet neither he nor they felt that their guilt was in the least diminished by the fact that Jesus was "delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God." (5.) If this event was predetermined; if that act of amazing wickedness, when the Son of God was put to death, was fixed by the determinate counsel of God, then all the events leading to it, and the circumstances attending it, were also a part of the decree. The one could not be determined without the other. (6.) If that event was determined, then others may be also consistently with human freedom and responsibility. There can be no deed of wickedness that shall surpass that of crucifying the Son of God. And if the acts of his murderers were a part of the wise counsel of God, then on the same principle are we to suppose that all events are under his direction, and ordered by a purpose infinitely wise and good. (7.) If the Jews could not take shelter from the charge of wickedness under the plea that it was foreordained, then no sinners can do it. This was as clear a case as can ever occur; and yet the apostle did not intimate that an excuse or mitigation for their sin could be pleaded from this cause. This case, therefore, meets all the excuses of sinners from this plea, and proves that those excuses will not avail them or save them in the day of judgment. (c) "delivered by the determinate" Lk 22:22, 24:44, Acts 3:18 (d) "ye have taken" Acts 5:30 (e) "and by wicked hands" Mt 27:1 Verse 24. Whom God hath raised up. This was the main point, in this part of his argument, which Peter wished to establish. He could not but admit that the Messiah had been in an ignominious manner put to death. But he now shows them that God had also raised him up; had thus given his attestation to his doctrine; and had sent down his Spirit according to the promise which the Lord Jesus made before his death. Having loosed the pains of death. The word loosed, λυσας, is opposed to bind, and is properly applied to a cord, or to anything which is bound. See Mt 21:2, Mk 1:7. Hence it means to free, or to liberate, Lkke 13:16, 1Cor 7:27. It is used in this sense here; though the idea of untying or loosing a band is retained, because the word translated pains often means a cord or band. The pains of death. ωδιναςτουθανατου. The word translated pains denotes, properly, the extreme sufferings of parturition, and then any severe or excruciating pangs. Hence it is applied also to death, as being a state of extreme suffering. A very frequent meaning of the Hebrew word, of which this is the translation, is cord, or band. This perhaps was the original idea of the word; and the Hebrews expressed any extreme agony under the idea of bands or cords closely drawn, binding and constricting the limbs, and producing severe pain. Thus death was represented under this image of a band that confined men; that pressed closely on them; that prevented escape; and produced severe suffering. For this use of the word , see Ps 119:61; Isa 66:7, Jer 22:23, Hoss 13:13. It is applied to death, (Ps 18:5,) "The snares of death prevented me;" answering to the word sorrows in the previous part of the verse. Ps 116:3, "The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell (hades or sheol, the cords or pains that were binding me down to the grave) gat hold upon me." We are not to infer from this that our Lord suffered anything after death. It means simply that he could not be held by the grave, but that God loosed the bonds which had held him there; and that he now set him free who had been encompassed by these pains or bonds, until they had brought him down to the grave. Pain, mighty pain, will encompass us all like the constrictions and bindings of a cord which we cannot loose, and will fasten our limbs and bodies in the grave. Those bands begin to be thrown around us in early life, and they are drawn closer and closer, until we lie panting under the stricture on a bed of pain, and then are still and immovable in the grave; subdued in a manner not a little resembling the mortal agonies of the tiger in the convolutions of the boa constrictor; or like Laocoon and his sons in the folds of the serpents from the island of Tenedos. It was not possible. This does not refer to any natural impossibility, or to any inherent efficacy or power in the body of Jesus itself; but simply means that, in the circumstances of the case, such an event could not be. Why it could not be, he proceeds at once to show. It could not be consistently with the promises of the Scriptures. Jesus was the Prince of life, (Acts 3:15,) and had life in himself, (Jn 1:4, 5:26) and had power to lay down his life, and to take it again, (Jn 10:18;) and it was indispensable that he should rise. He came, also, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, (Heb 2:14;) and as it was his purpose to gain this victory, he could not be defeated in it by being confined to the grave. (a) "Whom God" Lk 24:1, Acts 13:30,34, 1Cor 6:14, Eph 1:20, Col 2:12 1Thes 1:10, Heb 13:10, 1Pet 1:21 (*) "pains" "Bands" (b) "not possible that" Jn 10:18 Verses 25-28. For David speaketh, etc. This doctrine that the Messiah must rise from the dead, Peter proceeds to prove by a quotation from the Old Testament. This passage is taken from Ps 16:8-11. It is made from the Greek version of the Septuagint, with only one slight and unimportant change. Nor is there any material change, as will be seen, from the Hebrew. In what sense this Psalm Can be applied to Christ will be seen after we have examined the expressions which Peter alleges. I foresaw the Lord. This is an unhappy translation. To foresee the Lord always before us conveys no idea, though it may be a literal translation of the passage. The word means to foresee, and then to see before us, that is, as present with us, to regard as being near. It thus implies to put confidence in one; to rely on him, or expect assistance from him. This is its meaning here. The Hebrew is, I expected, or waited for. It thus expresses the petition of one who is helpless and dependent, who waits for help from God. It is often thus used in the Old Testament. Always before my face. As being always present to help me, and to deliver me out of all my troubles. He is on my right hand. To be at hand is to be near to afford help. The right hand is mentioned because that was the place of dignity and honour. And David did not design simply to say that he was near to help him, but that he had the place of honour, the highest place in his affections, Ps 109:31. In our dependence on God, we should exalt him. We should not merely regard him as our help, but should at the same time give him the highest place in our affections. That I should not be moved. That is, that no great evil or calamity should happen to me, that I may stand firm. The phrase denotes to sink into calamities, or to fall into the power of enemies, Ps 62:2,6. This expresses the confidence of one who is in danger of great calamities, and who puts his trust in the help of God alone. Verse 26. Therefore. Peter ascribes these expressions to the Messiah. The reason why he would exult or rejoice was, that he would be preserved amidst the sorrows that were coming on him, and could look forward to the triumph that awaited him. Thus Paul says, (Heb 12:2) that "Jesus--for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame," etc. And throughout the New Testament, the shame and sorrow of his sufferings were regarded as connected with his glory and his triumph, Lk 24:26, Php 2:6-9; Eph 1:20,21. In this, our Saviour has left us an example, that we should walk in his steps. The prospect of future glory and triumph should sustain us amid all afflictions, and make us ready, like him, to lie down amid even the corruptions of the grave. Did my heart rejoice. In the Hebrew this is in the present tense, "my heart rejoices." The word heart here expresses the person, and is the same as saying I rejoice. The Hebrews used the different members to express the person. And thus we say, "every soul perished; the vessel had forty hands; wise heads do not think so; hearts of steel will not flinch," etc.--Prof. Stuart on Ps 16. The meaning is, because God is near me in time of calamity, and will support and deliver me, I will not be agitated or fear, but will exult in the prospect of the future, in view of the "joy that is set before me." My tongue was glad. Hebrew, My glory, or my honour exults. The word is used to denote majesty, splendour, dignity, honour. It is also used to express the heart or soul, either because that is the chief source of man's dignity, or because the word is also expressive of the liver, regarded by the Hebrews as the seat of the affections. Gen 49:6, "Unto their assembly, mine honour," i.e. my soul, or myself, "be not thou united." Ps 57:8, "Awake up, my glory, etc. Ps 108:1, "I will sing--even with my glory." This word the Septuagint translated tongue. The Arabic and Latin Vulgate have also done the same. Why they thus use the word is not clear. It may be because the tongue, or the gift of speech, was that which chiefly contributes to the honour of man, or distinguishes him from the brutal creation. The word glory is used expressly for tongue in Ps 30:12, "To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent." Moreover also. Truly; in addition to this. My flesh. My body. See Acts 2:31, 1Cor 5:5. It means here, properly, the body separate from the soul; the dead body. Shall rest. Shall rest or repose in the grave, free from corruption. In hope. In confident expectation of a resurrection. The Hebrew word rather expresses confidence than hope. The passage means, My body will I commit to the grave, with a confident expectation of the future, that is, with a firm belief that it will not see corruption, but be raised up." It thus expresses the feelings of the dying Messiah; the assured confidence which he had that his repose in the grave would not be long, and would certainly come to an end. The death of Christians is also, in the New Testament, represented as a sleep, and as repose, (Acts 7:60, 1Cor 15:6,18, 1Thes 4:13,15, 2Pet 3:4) and they may also, after the example of their Lord, commit their bodies to the dust, in hope. They shall lie in the grave under the assurance of a happy resurrection; and though their bodies, unlike his, shall moulder to their native dust, yet this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality, 1Cor 15:53. Verse 27. Thou wilt not leave my soul. The word soul, with us, means the thinking, the immortal part of man, and is applied to it whether existing in connexion with the body, or whether separate from it. The Hebrew word translated soul here-- naphsli however, may mean, My spirit, my mind, my life; and may denote here nothing more than me, or myself. It means, properly, breath; then life, or the vital principle, a living being; then the soul, the spirit, the thinking part. Instances where it is put for the individual himself, meaning "me," or "myself," may be seen in Ps 11:1, 35:3,7, Job 9:21. There is no clear instance in which it is applied to the soul in its separate state, or disjoined from the body. In this place it must be explained in part by the meaning of the word hell. If that means grave, then this word probably means "me;" thou wilt not leave me in the grave. The meaning probably is, "Thou wilt not leave me in sheol, neither," etc. The word leave here means, "Thou wilt not resign me to, or wilt not give me over to it, to be held under its power. In hell. ειςαδου. The word hell, in English, now commonly denotes the place of the future eternal punishment of the wicked. This sense it has acquired by long usage. It is a Saxon word, derived from helan, to cover; and denotes, literally, a covered or deep place, (Webster;) then the dark and dismal abode of departed spirits; and then the place of torment. As the word is used now by us, it by no means expresses the force of the original; and if with this idea we read a passage like the one before us, it would convey an erroneous meaning altogether; although formally the English word perhaps expressed no more than the original. The Greek word hades means, literally, a place devoid of light; a dark, obscure abode; and in Greek writers was applied to the dark and obscure regions where disembodied spirits were supposed to dwell. It occurs but eleven times in the New Testament. In this place it is the translation of the Hebrew, sheol. In Rev 20:13,14, it is connected with death. "And death and hell (hades) delivered up the dead which were in them." "And death and hell (hades) were cast into the lake of fire.' See also Rev 6:8, 1:18, "I have the keys of hell and of death." In 1Cor 15:55, it means the grave. "O grave (hades), where is thy victory?" In Mt 11:23 it means a deep, profound place, opposed to an exalted one; a condition of calamity and degradation opposed to former great prosperity. "Thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell, (hades.) In Lk 16:23, it is applied to the place where the rich man was after death, in a state of punishment: "In hell (hades) he lifted up his eyes, being in torments." In this place it is connected with the idea of suffering; and undoubtedly denotes a place of punishment. The Septuagint has used this word commonly to translate the word sheol. Once it is used as a translation of the phrase, "the stones of the pit, (Isa 14:19); twice to express silence, particularly the silence of the grave, (Ps 94:17; 115:17); once to express the Hebrew for "the shadow of death," (Job 38:17;) and sixty times to translate the word sheol. It is remarkable that it is never used in the Old Testament to denote the word keber, which properly denotes a grave or sepulchre. The idea which was conveyed by the word sheol, or hades, was not properly a grave or sepulchre, but that dark, unknown state, including the grave, which constituted the dominions of the dead. What idea the Hebrews had of the future world, it is now difficult to explain, and is not necessary in the case before us. The word originally denoting simply the state of the dead, the insatiable demands of the grave, came at last to be extended in its meaning, in proportion as they received new revelations, or formed new opinions about the future world. Perhaps the following may be the process of thought by which the word came to have the peculiar meanings which it is found to have in the Old Testament. (1.) The word death, and the grave, (keber,) would express the abode of a deceased body in the earth. (2.) Man has a soul, a thinking principle; and the inquiry must arise, what will be its state? Will it die also? The Hebrews never appear to have believed that. Will it ascend to heaven at once? On that subject they had at first no knowledge. Will it go at once to a place of torment? Of that also they had no information at first. Yet they supposed it would live; and the word sheol expressed just this state--the dark, unknown regions of the dead; the abode of spirits, whether good or bad; the residence of departed men, whether fixed in a permanent habitation, or whether wandering about. As they were ignorant of the size and spherical structure of the earth, they seem to have supposed this region to be situated in the earth, far below us; and hence it is put in opposition to heaven. Ps 139:8: "If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, (sheol,) behold, thou art there." Amos 9:2. The most common meaning of the word is, therefore, to express those dark regions, the lower world, the regions of ghosts, etc. Instances of this, almost without number, might be given. See a most striking and sublime instance of this in Isa 14:9: "Hell from beneath is moved for thee," etc.; where the assembled dead are represented as being agitated in all their vast regions at the death of the king of Babylon. (3.) The inquiry could not but arise, whether all these beings were happy? This point revelation decided; and it was decided in the Old Testament. Yet this word would better express the state of the wicked dead, than the righteous. It conveyed the idea of darkness, gloom, wandering; the idea of a sad and unfixed abode, unlike heaven. Hence the word sometimes expresses the idea of a place of punishment. Ps 9:17: "The wicked shall be turned into hell," etc.; Prov 15:11; 23:14, 17:20, Job 26:6, While, therefore, the word does not mean properly a grave or a sepulchre, yet it does mean often the state of the dead, without designating whether in happiness or woe, but implying the continued existence of the soul. In this sense it is often used in the Old Testament, where the Hebrew word is sheol, and the Greek hades. Gen 37:35: "I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning." I will go down to the dead, to death, to my son, still there existing. Gen 42:38, 44:29: "Ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave;" Nu 16:30,33, 1Kgs 2:6,9, etc., etc. In the place before us, therefore, the meaning is simply, thou wilt not leave me AMONG THE DEAD. This conveys all the idea. It does not mean literally the grave or the sepulchre; that relates only to the body. This expression refers to the deceased Messiah. Thou wilt not leave him among the dead; thou wilt raise him up. It is from this Message, perhaps, aided by two others, (Rom 10:7, 1Pet 3:19) the doctrine originated, that Christ "descended," as it is expressed in the creed, "into hell;" and many have invented strange opinions about his going among lost spirits. The doctrine of the Roman Catholic church has been, that he went to purgatory, to deliver the spirits confined there. But if the interpretation now given be correct, then it will follow, (1.) that nothing is affirmed here about the destination of the human soul of Christ after his death. That he went to the region of the dead is implied, but nothing further. (2.) It may be remarked, that the Scriptures affirm nothing about the state of his soul in that time which intervened between his death and resurrection. The only intimation which occurs on the subject is such as to leave us to suppose that he was in a state of happiness. To the dying thief Jesus said, "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise," Lk 23:43. When Jesus died he said, "It is finished ;" and he doubtless meant by that, that his sufferings and toils for man's redemption were at an end. All suppositions of any toils or pains after his death are fables, and without the slightest warrant in the New Testament. Thine Holy One. The word in the Hebrew which is translated here holy one, properly denotes one who is tenderly and piously devoted to another; and answers to the expression used in the New Testament, "my beloved Son." It is also used as it is here by the Septuagint, and by Peter, to denote one that is holy, that is set apart to God. In this sense it is applied to Christ, either as being set apart to this office, or as so pure as to make it proper to designate him by way of eminence the Holy One, or the Holy One of God. It is several times used as the well-known designation of the Messiah. Mk 1:24: "I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God." Lk 4:34 Acts 3:14: "But ye denied the Holy One and the Just," etc. See also Lk 1:35: "That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." To see corruption. To see corruption is to experience it, to be made partakers of it. The Hebrews often expressed the idea of experiencing anything by the use of words pertaining to the senses; as, to taste of death, to see death, etc. Corruption here means putrefaction in the grave. The word which is used in the Psalm----shahath, is thus used in Job 17:14: "I have said to corruption, Thou art my father," etc. The Greek word thus used properly denotes this. Thus it is used in Acts 13:34-37. This meaning would be properly suggested by the Hebrew word; and thus the ancient versions understood it. The meaning implied in the expression is, that he of whom the Psalm was written should be restored to life again; and this meaning Peter proceeds to show that the words must have. Verse 28. Thou hast made known, etc. The Hebrew is, "Thou wilt make known to me," etc. In relation to the Messiah, it means, Thou wilt restore me to life. The ways of life. This properly means the path to life; as we say, the road to preferment or honour; the path to happiness; the highway to ruin, etc. See Prov 7:25,27. It means, Thou wilt make known to me life itself, i.e. thou wilt restore me to life. The expressions in the Psalm are capable of this interpretation without doing any violence to the text; and if the preceding verses refer to the death and burial of the Messiah, then the natural and proper meaning of this is, that he would be restored to life again. Thou shalt make me full of joy. This expresses the feelings of the Messiah in view of the favour that would thus be showed him; the resurrection from the dead, and the elevation to the right hand of God. It was this which is represented as sustaining him--the prospect of the joy that was before him, in heaven, Heb 12:2, Eph 1:20-22. With thy countenance. Literally, "with thy face," that is, in thy presence. The words countenance and presence mean the same thing; and denote favour, or the honour and happiness provided by being admitted to the presence of God. The prospect of the honour that would be bestowed on the Messiah, was that which sustained him. And this proves that the person contemplated in the Psalm expected to be raised from the dead, and exalted to the presence of God. That expectation is now fulfilled; and the Messiah is now filled with joy in his exaltation to the throne of the universe. He has "ascended to his Father and our Father;" he is "seated at the right hand of God ;" he has entered on that "joy which was set before him;" he is "crowned with glory and honour;" and all things are put under his feet." In view of this, we may remark, (1.) that the Messiah had full and confident expectation that he would rise from the dead. This the Lord Jesus always evinced, and often declared it to his disciples. (2.) If the Saviour rejoiced in view of the glories before him, we should also. We should anticipate with joy an everlasting dwelling in the presence of God, and the high honour of sitting "with him on his throne, as he overcame, and is set down with the Father on his throne." (3.) The prospect of this should sustain us, as it did him, in the midst of persecution, calamity, and trials. They will soon be ended; and if we are his friends, we shall "overcome," as he did, and be admitted to "the fulness of joy" above, and to the "right hand" of God, where "are pleasures for evermore." (*) "countenance", or "Presence" Verse 29. Men and brethren. This passage of the Psalms Peter now proves could not relate to David, but must have reference to the Messiah. He begins his argument in a respectful manner, addressing them as his brethren, though they had just charged him and the others with intoxication. Christians should use the usual respectful forms of salutation, whatever contempt and reproaches they may meet with from opposers. Let me freely speak. That is, "It is lawful or proper to speak with boldness, or openly, respecting David." Though he was eminently a pious man; though venerated by us all as a king; yet it is proper to say of him, that he is dead, and has returned to corruption. This was a delicate way of expressing high respect for the monarch whom they all honoured; and yet evincing boldness in examining a passage of Scripture which probably many supposed to have reference solely to him. Of the patriarch David. The word patriarch properly means the head or ruler of a family; and then the founder of a family, or an illustrious ancestor. It was commonly applied to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, etc., by way of eminence; the illustrious founders of the Jewish nation, Heb 7:4, Acts 7:8,9. It was also applied to the heads of the families, or the chief men of the tribes of Israel, 1Chr 24:31; 2Chr 19:8, etc. It was thus a title of honour, denoting high respect. Applied to David, it means that he was the illustrious head or founder of the royal family, and implies Peter's intention not to say anything disrespectful of such a king; at the same time, that he freely canvassed a passage of Scripture which had been supposed to refer to him. Dead and buried. The record of that fact they had in the Old Testament. There had been no pretence that he had risen, and therefore the Psalm could not apply to him. His sepulchre is with us. Is in the city of Jerusalem. Sepulchres were commonly situated without the walls of cities and the limits of villages. The custom of burying in towns was not commonly practised. This was true of other ancient nations as well as the Hebrews, and is still in eastern countries, except in the case of kings and very distinguished men, whose ashes are permitted to repose within the walls of a city. 1Sam 28:3, "Samuel was dead--and Israel buried him in Ramah, even in his own city." 2Kgs 21:18, "Manasseh was buried in the garden of his own house." 2Chr 16:14. Asa was buried in the city of David. 2Kgs 14:20. The sepulchres of the Hebrew kings were on Mount Zion, 2Chr 21:20, 24:25, 28:27, 32:33, 24:16, 2Kgs 14:20. David was buried in the city of David, (1Kgs 2:10,) with his fathers, that is, on mount Zion, where he built a city called after his name, 2Sam 5:7. Of what form the tombs of the kings were made is not certainly known. It is almost certain, however, that they would be constructed in a magnificent manner. The tombs were commonly excavations from rocks, or natural caves; and sepulchres cut out of the solid rock, of vast extent, are known to have existed. The following account of the tomb called "the sepulchre of the kings" is abridged from Maundrell: "The approach is through an entrance cut out of a solid rock, which admits you into an open court about forty paces square, cut down into the rock. On the south side is a portico nine paces long and four broad, hewn likewise out of the solid rock. At the end of the portico is the descent to the sepulchres. The descent is into a room about seven or eight yards square, cut out of the natural rock. From this room there are passages into six more, all of the same fabric with the first. In every one of these rooms, except the first, were coffins placed in niches in the sides of the chamber," etc. (Maundrell's Travels, p. 76.) If the tombs of the kings were of this form, it is clear that they were works of great labour and expense. Probably also there were, as there are now, costly and splendid monuments erected to the memory of the mighty dead. Unto this day. That the sepulchre of David was well known and honoured, is clear from Josephus. Antiq., b. vii., c. xv., 3. "He (David) was buried by his son Solomon in Jerusalem with great magnificence, and with all the other funeral pomps with which kings used to be buried. Moreover, he had immense wealth buried with him: for a thousand and three hundred years afterwards, Hyrcanus, the high priest, when he was besieged by Antiochus, and was desirous of giving him money to raise the siege, opened one room of David's sepulchre, and took out three thousand talents. Herod, many years afterward, opened another room, and took away a great deal of money," etc. See also Antiq., b. xiii., c. viii., % 4. The tomb of a monarch like David would be well known and had in reverence. Peter might, then, confidently appeal to their own belief and knowledge, that David had not been raised from the dead. No Jew believed or supposed it. All, by their care of his sepulchre, and by the honour with which they regarded his grave, believed that he had returned to corruption. The Psalm, therefore, could not apply to him. (1) "let me speak freely" or, "I may" Verse 30. Therefore. As David was dead and buried, it was clear that he could not have referred to himself it. this remarkable declaration. It followed that he must have had reference to some other one. Being a prophet. One who foretold future events. That David was inspired, is clear, 2Sam 23:2. Many of the prophecies relating to the Messiah are found in the Psalms of David. Ps 22:1, comp. Mt 27:46, Lk 24:44, Ps 22:18, comp. Mt 27:35, Ps 69:21, comp. Mt 27:34,48, Ps 69:26, comp. Acts 1:20. And knowing. Knowing by what God had said to him respecting his posterity. Had sworn with an oath. The places which speak of God as having sworn to David are found in Ps 89:3,4, "I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish," etc. And Ps 132:11, "The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne." Ps 89:35,36. The promise to which reference is made in all these places is in 2Sam 7:11-16. Of the fruit of his loins. Of his descendants. See 2Sam 7:12; Gen 35:11, 46:26, 1Kgs 8:19, etc. According to the flesh. That is, so far as the human nature of the Messiah was concerned, he would be descended from David. Expressions like these are very remarkable. If the Messiah was only a man, they would be unmeaning. They are never used in relation to a mere man; and they imply that the speaker or writer supposed that there pertained to the Messiah a nature which was not according to the flesh. See Rom 1:3,4. He would raise up Christ. That is, the Messiah. To raise up seed, or descendants, is to give them to him. The promises made to David in all these places had immediate reference to Solomon, and to his descendants. But it is clear that the New Testament writers understood them as referring to the Messiah. And it is no less clear that the Jews understood that the Messiah was to be descended from David, Mt 12:23, 21:9, 22:42,45, Mk 11:10, Jn 7:42, etc. In what way these promises that were made to David were understood as applying to the Messiah, it may not be easy to determine. The fact, however, is clear. The following remarks may throw some light on the subject. The kingdom which was promised to David was to have no end; it was to be established for ever. Yet his descendants died, and all other kingdoms changed. The promise likewise stood by itself; it was not made to any other of the Jewish kings; nor were similar declarations made of surrounding kingdoms and nations. It came, therefore, gradually to be applied to that future King and kingdom which was the hope of the nation; and their eyes were anxiously fixed on the long-expected Messiah. At the time that he came, it had become the settled doctrine of the Jews that he was to descend from David, and that his kingdom was to be perpetual. On this belief of the prophecy the apostles argued; and the opinions of the Jews furnished a strong point by which they could convince them that Jesus was the Messiah. Peter affirms that David was aware of this, and that he so understood the promise as referring not only to Solomon, but in a far more important sense to the Messiah. Happily, we have a commentary of David himself, also, as expressing his own views of that promise. That comment is found particularly in Psalms 2, 22, 69, and 16. In these Psalms there can be no doubt that David looked forward to the coming of the Messiah; and there can be as little that he regarded the promise made to him as extending to his coming and his reign. It may be remarked, that there are some important variations in the manuscripts in regard to this verse. The expression "according to the flesh" is omitted in many MSS., and is now left out by Griesbach in his New Testament. It is omitted also by the ancient Syriac and Ethiopic versions, and by the Latin Vulgate. To sit on his throne. To be his successor in his kingdom. Saul was the first of the kings of Israel. The kingdom was taken away from him and his posterity, and conferred on David and his descendants. It was determined that it should be continued in the family of David, and no more go out of his family, as it had from the family of Saul. The peculiar characteristic of David as king, or that which distinguished him from the other kings of the earth, was, that he reigned over the people of God. Israel was his chosen people; and the kingdom was over that nation. Hence he that should reign over the people of God, though in a manner somewhat different from David, would be regarded as occupying his throne, and as being his successor. The form of the administration might be varied, but it would still retain its prime characteristic, as being a reign over the people of God. In this sense the Messiah sits on the throne of David. He is his descendant and successor. He has an empire over all the friends of the Most High. And as that kingdom is destined to fill the earth, and to be eternal in the heavens, so it may be said that it is a kingdom which shall have no end. It is spiritual, but not the less real; defended not with carnal weapons, but not the less really defended; advanced not by the sword and the din of arms, but not the less really advanced against principalities, and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places; not under a visible head and earthly monarch, but not less really under the Captain of salvation, and the King of kings. (a) "being a prophet" 2Sam 23:2 (b) "sworn with an oath" 2Sam 7:12,13, Ps 132:11 (c) "oath to him" Heb 6:17 Verse 31. He seeing this before, etc. By the spirit of prophecy. From this it. appears that David had distract views of the great doctrines pertaining to the Messiah. Spake, etc. See Ps 16. That his soul, etc. Acts 2:27. (*) "before" or, "Forseeing" (a) "spake of the resurrection" 1Pet 1:11,12 Verse 32. This Jesus. Peter, having shown that it was predicted that the Messiah would rise, now affirms that it was done in the case of Jesus. If it were a matter of prophecy, all objection to the truth of the doctrine was taken away, and the only question was, whether there was evidence that this had been done. The proof of this Peter now alleges, and offers his own testimony, and that of his brethren, to the truth of this great and glorious fact. We all are witnesses. It seems probable that Peter refers here to the whole one hundred and twenty who were present, and who were ready to attest it in any manner. The matter which was to be proved was, that Jesus was seen alive after he had been put to death. The apostles were appointed to bear witness of this. And we are told by Paul, (1Cor 15:6,) that he was seen by more than five hundred brethren, that is, Christians, at one time. The hundred and twenty assembled on this occasion were doubtless part of the number, and were ready to attest this. This was the proof that Peter alleged; and the strength of this proof was, and should have been, perfectly irresistible. (1.) They had seen him themselves. They did not conjecture it, or reason about it; but they had the evidence on which men act every day, and which must be regarded as satisfactory--the evidence of their own senses. (2.) The number was such that they could not be imposed on. If one hundred and twenty persons could not prove a plain matter of fact, nothing could be established by testimony; there could be no way of arriving at any facts. (3.) The thing to be established was a plain matter. It was not that they saw him rise. That they never pretended. Impostors would have done thus. But it was that they saw him, talked, walked, ate, drank with him, being alive AFTER he had been crucified. The fact of his death was matter of Jewish record; and no one called it in question. The only fact for Christianity to make out was that he was seen alive afterwards; and this was attested by many witnesses. (4.) They had no interest in deceiving the world in this thing. There was no prospect of pleasure, wealth, or honour in doing it. (5.) They offered themselves now as ready to endure any sufferings, or to die, in attestation of the truth of this event. (b) "This Jesus" Acts 2:24 (c) "We are all witnesses" Lk 24:48 Verse 33. Therefore being by the right hand. The right hand among the Hebrews was often used to denote power; and the expression here means, not that he was exalted to the right hand of God, but by his power. He was raised from the dead by his power, and borne to heaven, triumphant over all his enemies. The use of the word right hand to denote power is common in the Scriptures. Job 40:14, "Thine own right hand can save thee." Ps 17:7, "Thou savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee." Ps 18:35; Ps 20:6, 21:8, 44:3, 60:5, etc. Exalted. Constituted King and Messiah in heaven. Raised up from his condition of humiliation to the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, Jn 17:5. And having received, etc. The Holy Ghost was promised to the disciples before his death, Joh 14:26 15:26 16:13-15. It was expressly declared, (1.) that the Holy Ghost would not be given except the Lord Jesus should return to heaven, (Jn 16:7) and (2.) that this gift was in the power of the Father, and that he would send him, Jn 14:26, 15:26. This promise was now fulfilled; and those who witnessed the extraordinary scene before them could not doubt that it was the effect of Divine power. Hath shed forth this, etc. This power of speaking different languages, and declaring the truth of the gospel. In this way Peter accounts for the remarkable events before them. It could not be produced by new wine, Acts 2:15. It was expressly foretold, Acts 2:16-21. It was predicted that Jesus would rise, Acts 2:22-31. The apostles were witnesses that he had risen, and that he had promised that the Holy Spirit should descend; and the fulfillment of this promise was a rational way of accounting for the scene before them. It was unanswerable; and the effect on those who witnessed it was such as might be expected. (d) "Therefore being by the" Acts 5:31, Php 2:9 (e) "having received" Jn 16:7,13, Acts 1:4 (f) "hath shed forth this" Acts 10:45, Eph 4:8 Verses 34, 35. For David is not ascended into the heavens. That is, David has not risen from the dead, and ascended to heaven. This further shows that Ps 16 could not refer to David, but must refer to the Messiah. Great as they esteemed David, and much as they were accustomed to apply these expressions of the Scripture to him, yet they could not be applicable to him. They must refer to some other being; and especially that passage which Peter now proceeds to quote. It was of great importance to show that these expressions could not apply to David, and also that David bore testimony to the exalted character and dignity of the Messiah. Hence Peter here adduces David himself as affirming that the Messiah was to be exalted to a dignity far above his own. This does not affirm that David was not saved, or that his spirit had not ascended to heaven, but that he had not been exalted in the heavens in the sense in which Peter was speaking of the Messiah. But he saith himself. Ps 110:1. The Lord. The small capitals used in translating the word LORD in the Bible, denote that the original word is Jehovah. The Hebrews regarded this as the peculiar name of God, a name incommunicable to any other being. It is not applied to any being but God in the Scriptures. The Jews had such a reverence for it that they never pronounced it; but when it occurred in the Scriptures they pronounced another name, Adoni. Here it means, Jehovah said, etc. My Lord. This is a different word in the Hebrew: it is Adoni -- . It properly is applied by a servant to his master, or a subject to his sovereign, or is used as a title of respect by an inferior to a superior. It means here, "Jehovah said to him whom I, David, acknowledge to be my superior and sovereign. Thus, though he regarded him as his descendant according to the flesh, yet he regarded him also as his superior and Lord. By reference to this passage our Saviour confounded the Pharisees, Mt 22:42-46. That the passage in this Psalm refers to the Messiah is clear. Our Saviour, in Mt 22:42-46, expressly applied it thus, and in such a manner as to show that this was the well-understood doctrine of the Jews. Mt 22:42, etc. (g) "The Lord" Ps 110:1, Mt 22:44 Verse 36. Therefore let all, etc. "Convinced by the prophecies, by our testimony, and by the remarkable scene exhibited on the day of Pentecost, let all be convinced that the true Messiah has come, and has been exalted to heaven." House of Israel. The word house often means family; let all the family of Israel, i.e. all the nation of the Jews, know this. Know assuredly. Be assured, or know without any hesitation, or possibility of mistake. This is the sum of his argument, or his discourse, he had established the points which he purposed to prove; and he now applies it to his hearers. God hath made. God hath appointed, or constituted. See Acts 5:31. That same Jesus. The very person who had suffered, He was raised with the same body, and had the same soul; was the same being, as distinguished from all others. So Christians, in the resurrection, will be the same beings that they were before they died. Whom ye have crucified. See Acts 2:23. There was nothing better fitted to show them the guilt of having done this than the argument which Peter used. He showed them that God had sent him; that he was the Messiah; that God had showed his love for him, in raising him from the dead. The Son of God, and the hope of their nation, they had put to death, He was not an impostor; nor a man sowing sedition; nor a blasphemer; but the Messiah of God; and they had imbrued their hands in his blood. There is nothing better fitted to make sinners fear and tremble, than to show them that in rejecting Christ, they have rejected God; in refusing to serve him, they have refused to serve God. The crime of sinners has a double malignity, as committed against a kind and lovely Saviour, and against the God who loved him, and appointed him to save men. Comp. Acts 3:14,15. Both Lord. The word lord properly denotes proprietor, master, or sovereign, here it means clearly that God had exalted him to be the King so long expected; and that he had given him dominion in the heavens; or, as we should say, ruler of all things. The extent of this dominion may be seen in Jn 17:2, Eph 1:20-22, etc. In the exercise of this office, he now rules in heaven and on earth; and will yet come to judge the world. This truth was particularly fitted to excite their fear. They had murdered their Sovereign, now shown to be raised from the dead, and entrusted with infinite power. They had reason, therefore, to fear that he would come forth in vengeance, and punish them for their crimes. Sinners, opposing the Saviour, are at war with their living and mighty Sovereign and Lord. He has all power; and it is not safe to contend against the Judge of the living and the dead. And Christ. Messiah. They had thus crucified the hope of their nation; imbrued their hands in the blood of Him to whom the prophets had looked, and put to death that Holy One, the prospect of whose coming had sustained the most holy men of the world in affliction, and cheered them when they looked on to future years. That hope of their fathers had come, and they had put him to death; and it is no wonder that the consciousness of this, that a sense of guilt, and shame, and confusion, should overwhelm their minds, and lead them to ask in deep distress what they should do. (h) "house of Israel" Zech 13:1 (i) "God hath made that" Acts 5:31 (k) "both Lord" Jn 3:35 (l) "and Christ" Ps 2:2,6-8 Verse 37. Now when they heard this. When they heard this declaration of Peter, and this proof that Jesus was the Messiah. There was no fanaticism in his discourse; it was cool, close, pungent reasoning. He proved to them the truth of what he was saying, and thus prepared the way for this effect. They were pricked in their heart. The word translated were pricked, κατενυγησαν, is not used elsewhere in the New Testament. It properly denotes to pierce or penetrate with a needle, lancet, or sharp instrument; and then to pierce with grief, or acute pain of any kind. It answers precisely to our word compunction. It implies also the idea of sudden as well as acute grief. In this case it means that they were suddenly and deeply affected with anguish and alarm at what Peter had said. The causes of their grief may have been these: (1.) Their sorrow that the Messiah had been put to death by his own countrymen. (2.) Their deep sense of guilt in having clone this. There would be mingled here a remembrance of ingratitude, and a consciousness that they had been guilty of murder of the most aggravated and horrid kind, that of having killed their own Messiah. (3.) The fear of his wrath. He was still alive, exalted to be their Lord, and entrusted with all power. They were afraid of his vengeance; they were conscious that they deserved it; and they supposed that they were exposed to it. (4.) What they had done could not be undone. The guilt remained; they could not wash it out. They had imbrued their hands in the blood of innocence; and the guilt of that oppressed their souls. This expresses the usual feelings which sinners have when they are convicted of sin. Men and brethren. This was an expression denoting affectionate earnestness. Just before this they mocked the disciples, and charged them with being filled with new wine, Acts 2:13. They now treated them with respect and confidence. The views which sinners have of Christians and Christian ministers are greatly changed when they are under conviction for sin. Before that, they may deride and oppose them; then, they are glad to be taught by the obscurest Christian--and even cling to a minister of the gospel as if he could save them by his own power. What shall we do? What shall we do to avoid the wrath of this crucified and exalted Messiah? They were apprehensive of his vengeance, and they wished to know how to avoid it. Never was a more important question asked than this. It is the question which all convicted sinners ask. It implies an apprehension of danger; a sense of guilt, and a readiness to yield the will to the claims of God. This was the same question asked by Paul, (Acts 9:6,) "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" and by the jailer, (Acts 16:29,30,) "He came trembling--and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" The state of mind in this case--the case of a convicted sinner--consists in (1.) a deep sense of the evil of the past life; remembrance of a thousand crimes perhaps before forgotten; a pervading and deepening conviction that the heart, and conversation, and life has been evil, and deserves condemnation. (2.) apprehension about the justice of God; alarm when the mind looks upward to him, or onward to the day of death and judgment. (3.) An earnest wish, amounting sometimes to agony, to be delivered from this sense of condemnation, and this apprehension of the future. (4.) a readiness to sacrifice all to the will of God, to surrender the governing purpose of the mind, and to do what he requires. In this state the soul is prepared to receive the offers of eternal life; and when the sinner comes to this, the offers of mercy meet his case, and he yields himself to the Lord Jesus, and finds peace. In regard to this discourse of Peter, and this remarkable result, we may observe, (1.) that this is the first discourse which was preached after the ascension of Christ, and is a model which the ministers of religion should imitate. (2.) It is a clear and close argument. There is no ranting, no declamation, nothing but truth presented in a clear and striking manner. It abounds with proof of his main point; and supposes that his hearers were rational beings, and capable of being influenced by truth. Ministers have no right to address men as incapable of reason and thought; nor to imagine that because they are speaking on religious subjects, that therefore they are at liberty to speak nonsense. (3.) Though these were eminent sinners, and had added to the crime of murdering the Messiah that of deriding the Holy Ghost and the ministers of the gospel, yet Peter reasoned with them coolly, and endeavoured to convince them of their guilt. Men should be treated as endowed with reason, and as capable of seeing the force and beauty of the great truths of religion. (4.) The arguments of Peter were adapted to make this impression on their minds, and to impress them deeply with the sense of their guilt. He proved to them that they had been guilty of putting the Messiah to death; that God had raised him up; and that they were now in the midst of the scenes which established one strong proof of the truth of what he was saying. No class of truths could have been so well adapted to make an impression of their guilt as these. (5.) Conviction for sin is a rational process on a sinner's mind. It is the proper state produced by a view of the past sins. It is suffering truth to make an appropriate impression; suffering the mind to feel as it ought to feel. The man who is guilty, ought to be willing to see and confess it. It is no disgrace to confess an error, or to feel deeply when we know we are guilty. Disgrace consists in a hypocritical desire to conceal crime; in the pride that is unwilling to avow it; in the falsehood which denies it. To feel it, and to acknowledge it, is the mark of an open and ingenuous mind. (6.) These same truths are adapted still to produce conviction for sin. The sinner's treatment of the Messiah should produce grief and alarm. He did not murder him--but he has rejected him; he did not crown him with thorns--but he has despised him; he did not insult him when hanging on the cross-- but he has a thousand times insulted him since; he did not pierce his side with the spear--but he has pierced his heart by rejecting him, and contemning his mercy. For these things he should weep. In the Saviour's resurrection he has also a deep interest. He rose as the pledge that we may rise: and when the sinner looks forward, he should remember that he must meet the ascended Son of God, The Saviour reigns; he lives, Lord of all. The sinner's deeds now are aimed at his throne, and his heart, and his crown. All his crimes are seen by his Sovereign; and it is not safe to mock the Son of God on his throne, or to despise Him who will soon come to judgment. When the sinner feels these truths, he should tremble, and cry out, What shall I do? (7.) We see here how the Spirit operates in producing conviction of sin. It is not in an arbitrary manner; it is in accordance with truth, and by the truth. Nor have we a right to expect that he will convict and convert men, except as the truth is presented to their minds. They who desire success in the gospel should present clear, striking, and impressive truth; for such only God is accustomed to bless. (8.) We have, in the conduct of Peter and the other apostles, a striking instance of the power of the gospel. Just before, Peter, trembling and afraid, had denied his Master with an oath. Now, in the presence of the murderers of the Son of God, he boldly charged them with their crime, and dared their fury. Just before, all the disciples forsook the Lord Jesus, and fled. Now, in the presence of his murderers, they lifted their voice, and proclaimed their guilt and danger, even in the city where he had been just arraigned and put to death. What could have produced this change but the power of God! And is there not proof here that a religion which produces such changes came from heaven? (a) "pricked in their heart" Eze 7:16, Zech 12:10 (b) "what shall we do" Acts 9:6, 16:30 Verse 38. Then Peter said unto them. Peter had been the chief speaker, though others had also addressed them. He now, in the name of all, directed the multitude what to do. Repent. Mt 3:2. Repentance implies sorrow for sin as committed against God, with a purpose to forsake it. It is not merely a fear of the consequences, or of the wrath of God in hell. It is such a view of sin as evil in itself, as to lead the mind to hate it and forsake it. Laying aside all view of the punishment of sin, the true penitent hates it. Even if sin was the means of procuring him happiness; if it would promote his gratification, and be unattended with any future punishment, he would hate it and turn from it. The mere fact that it is evil, and that God hates it, is a sufficient reason why those who are truly penitent should hate and forsake it. False repentance dreads the consequences of sin; true repentance dreads sin itself. These persons whom Peter addressed had been merely alarmed; they were afraid of wrath, and especially of the wrath of the Messiah. They had no true sense of sin as an evil, but were simply afraid of punishment. This alarm Peter did not regard as by any means genuine repentance. Such conviction for sin would soon wear off, unless repentance became thorough and complete. Hence he told them to repent, to turn from sin, to exercise sorrow, for it is an evil and bitter thing, and to express their sorrow in the proper manner. We may learn here, (1.) that there is no safety in mere conviction for sin: it may soon pass off, and leave the soul as thoughtless as before. (2.) There is no goodness or holiness in mere alarm or conviction. The devils tremble. A man may fear, who yet has a firm purpose to do evil if he can do it with impunity. (3.) Many are greatly troubled and alarmed who yet never repent. There is no situation where souls are so easily deceived as here. Alarm is taken for repentance; trembling for godly sorrow; and the fear of wrath is taken to be the true fear of God. (4.) True repentance is the only thing in such a state of mind that can give any relief. An ingenuous confession of sin, a solemn purpose to forsake it, and a true hatred of it, is the only thing that can give the mind true composure. Such is the constitution of the mind, that nothing else will furnish relief. But the moment we are willing to make an open confession of guilt, the mind is delivered of its burden, and the convicted soul finds peace. Till this is done, and the hold on sin is broken, there can be no peace. (5.) We see here what direction is to be given to a convicted sinner. We are not to direct him to wait; nor to suppose that he is in a good way; nor to continue to seek; nor to call him a mourner; nor to take sides with him, as if God were wrong and harsh; nor to tell him to read, and search, and postpone the subject to a future time. We are to direct him to repent; to mourn over his sins, and to forsake them. Religion demands that he should at once surrender himself to God by genuine repentance; by confession that God is right, and that he was wrong; and by a firm purpose to live a life of holiness. Be baptized. Mt 3:6. The direction which Christ gave to his apostles was, that they should baptize all who believed, Mt 28:19, Mk 16:16. The Jews had not been baptized; and a baptism now would be a profession of the religion of Christ, or a declaration made before the world that they embraced Jesus as their Messiah. It was equivalent to saying that they should publicly and professedly embrace Jesus Christ as their Saviour. The gospel requires such a profession; and no one is at liberty to withhold it. And a similar declaration is to be made to all who are inquiring the way to life. They are to exercise repentance; and then, without any unnecessary delay, to evince it in the ordinances of the gospel. If men are unwilling to profess religion, they have none. If they will not, in the proper way, show that they are truly attached to Christ, it is proof that they have no such attachment. Baptism is the application of water, as expressive of the need of purification, and as emblematic of the influences from God that can alone cleanse the soul. It is also a form of dedication to the service of God. In the name of Jerua Christ. Not εις, but επι. The usual form of baptism is into the name of the Father, etc., εις. Here it does not mean to be baptized by the authority of Jesus Christ; but it means to be baptized for him and his service; to be consecrated in this way, and by this public profession, to him, and to his cause. The name of Jesus Christ means the same as Jesus Christ himself. To be baptized to his name is to be devoted to him. The word name is often thus used. And the profession which they were to make amounted to this: A confession of sins; a hearty purpose to turn from them; a reception of Jesus as the Messiah, and as their Saviour; and a determination to become his followers, and to be devoted to his service. Thus, (1Cor 10:2) to be "baptized unto Moses," means to take him as the leader and guide. It does not follow that in administering the ordinance of baptism they used only the name of Jesus Christ. It is much more probable that they used the form prescribed by the Saviour himself, (Mt 28:19;) though as the peculiar mark of a Christian is that he receives and honours Jesus Christ, this name is used here as implying the whole. The same thing occurs in Acts 19:5. For the remission of sins. Not merely the sin of crucifying the Messiah, but of all sins. There is nothing in baptism itself that can wash away sin. That can be done only by the pardoning mercy of God through the atonement of Christ. But baptism is expressive of a willingness to be pardoned in that way; and a solemn declaration of our conviction that there is no other way of remission. He who comes to be baptized, comes with a professed conviction that he is a sinner, that there is no other way of mercy but in the gospel, and with a professed willingness to comply with the terms of salvation, and receive it as it is offered through Jesus Christ. And ye shall receive, etc. The gift of the Holy Ghost here does not mean his extraordinary gifts, or the power of working miracles; but it simply means, you shall partake of the influences of the Holy Ghost as far as they may be adapted to your case, as far as may be needful for your comfort, and peace, and sanctification. There is no evidence that they were all endowed with the power of working miracles; nor does the connexion of the passage require us thus to understand it. Nor does it mean that they had not been awakened by his influences. All true conviction is from him, Jn 16:8-10. But it is also the office of the Spirit to comfort, to enlighten, to give peace, and thus to give evidence that the soul is born again. To this, probably, Peter refers; and this all who are born again, and profess faith in Christ, possess. There is peace, calmness, joy; there is evidence of piety, and that evidence is the product of the influences of the Spirit. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace," etc., Gal 5:22,24. Verse 39. For the promise. That is, the promise respecting the particular thing of which he was speaking--the influences of the Holy Ghost. This promise he had adduced in the beginning of his discourse, (Acts 2:17,) and he now applies it to them. As the Spirit was promised to descend on Jews and their sons and daughters, it was applicable to them in the circumstances in which they then were. The only hope of lost sinners is in the promises of God; and the only thing that can give comfort to a soul that is convicted of sin, is the hope that God will pardon and save. To you. To you Jews, even though you have crucified the Messiah. The promise had especial reference to the Jewish people. To your children. In Joel, to their sons and daughters, who should, nevertheless, be old enough to prophesy. Similar promises occur in Isa 44:3, "I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring," and Isa 59:21. In these and similar places, their descendants or posterity are denoted. It does not refer to children as children, and should not be adduced to establish the propriety of infant baptism, or as applicable particularly to infants. It is a promise, indeed, to parents, that the blessings of salvation shall not be confined to parents, but shall be extended also to their posterity. Under this promise parents may be encouraged to train up their children for God; to devote them to his service; believing that it is the gracious purpose of God to perpetuate the blessings of salvation from age to age. To all. To the whole race; not limited to Jews. Afar off. To those in other lands. It is probable that Peter here referred to the Jews who were scattered in other nations; for he does not seem yet to have understood that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles. See Acts 10. Yet the promise was equally applicable to the Gentiles as the Jews; and the apostles were afterwards brought to understand it, Acts 10; Rom 10:12,14-20, Rom 11. The Gentiles are sometimes clearly indicated by the expression "afar off," Eph 2:13,17; and they are represented as having been brought nigh by the blood of Christ. The phrase is equally applicable to those who have been far off from God by their sins and their evil affections. To them also the promise is extended if they will return. Even as many, etc. The promise is not to those who do not hear the gospel, nor to those who do not obey it; but it is to those to whom God, in his gracious Providence, shall send it. He has the power and right to pardon. The meaning of Peter is, that the promise is ample, full, free; that it is fitted to all, and may be applied to all; that there is no defect or want in the provisions or promises; but that God may extend it to whomsoever he pleases. We see here how ample and full are the offers of mercy. God is not limited in the provisions of his grace; but the plan is applicable to all mankind. It is also the purpose of God to send it to all men; and he has given a solemn charge to his church to do it. We can not reflect but with deep pain on the fact that these provisions have been made, fully made; that they are adapted to all men; and yet that by his people they have been extended to so small a portion of the human family. If the promise of life is to all, it is the duty of the church to send to all the message of eternal mercy. (a) "promise is unto you" Joel 2:28 (b) "and to all that are afar" Eph 2:13,17 Verse 40. Many other words, This discourse, though one of the longest in the New Testament, is but an outline. It contains, however, the substance of the plan of mercy; and is admirably arranged to obtain its object. Testify. Bear witness to. He bore witness to the promises of Christianity; to the truths pertaining to the danger of sinners; and to the truth respecting the character of that generation. Exhort. He entreated them by arguments and promises. Save yourselves. This expression here denotes--Preserve yourselves from the influence, opinions, and fate of this generation. It implies that they were to use diligence and effort to deliver themselves. God deals with men as free agents. He calls upon them to put forth their own power and effort to be saved. Unless men put forth their own strength and exertion, they will never be saved. When they are saved, they will ascribe to God the praise for having inclined them to seek him, and for the grace whereby they are saved. This generation. This age or race of men, the Jews then living. They were not to apprehend danger from them from which they were to deliver themselves, but they were to apprehend danger from being with them, united in their plans, designs, and feelings. From the influence of their opinions, etc., they were to escape. That generation was signally corrupt and wicked. See Mt 23:12,39, 16:4; Mk 8:38. They had crucified the Messiah; and they were for their sins soon to be destroyed. Untoward. "Perverse, refractory, not easily guided or taught."-- (Webster.) The same character our Saviour had given of that generation in Mt 11:16-19. This character they had shown uniformly. They were smooth, cunning, plausible; but they were corrupt in principle, and wicked in conduct. The Pharisees had a vast hold on the people. To break away from them was to set at defiance all their power and doctrines; to alienate themselves from their teachers and friends; to brave the power of those in office, and those who had long claimed the right of teaching and guiding the nation. The chief danger of those who were now awakened was from this generation; that they would deride, or denounce, or persecute them, and induce them to abandon their seriousness, and turn back to their sins. And hence Peter exhorted them at once to break off from them, and give themselves to Christ. We may hence learn, (1.) that if sinners will be saved, they must make an effort. There is no promise to any unless they will exert themselves. (2.) The principal danger which besets those who are awakened arises from their former companions. They are often wicked, cunning, rich, and mighty. They may be their kindred, and will seek to drive off their serious impressions by derision, or argument, or persecution. They have a mighty hold on the affections; and they will seek to use it to prevent those who are awakened from becoming Christians. (3.) Those who are awakened should resolve at once to break off from their evil companions, and unite themselves to Christ and his people. There may be no other way in which this can be done than by resolving to forsake the society of those who are infidels, and scoffers, and profane. They should forsake the world, and give themselves up to God, and resolve to have only so much intercourse With the world as may be required by duty, and as may be consistent with a supreme purpose to live to the honour of God. Verse 41. They that gladly received. The word rendered gladly means freely, cheerfully, joyfully. It implies that they did it without compulsion, and with joy. Religion is not compulsion, They who become Christians do it cheerfully; and do it rejoicing in the privilege of becoming reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Though so many received his word and were baptized, yet it is implied that there were others who did not. It is probable that there were multitudes assembled who were alarmed, but who did not receive the word with joy. In all revivals there are many who become alarmed, who are anxious about their souls, but who refuse the gospel, and again become thoughtless, and are ruined. His word. The message which Peter had spoken respecting the pardon of sins through Jesus Christ. Were baptized. That is, those who professed a readiness to embrace the offers of salvation. The narrative plainly implies that this was done the same day. Their conversion was instantaneous. The demand on them was to yield themselves at once to God. And their profession was made, and the ordinance which sealed their profession administered without delay. And the same day. The discourse of Peter commenced at nine o'clock in the morning, Acts 2:15. How long it continued it is not said; but the Ceremony of admitting them to the church and of baptizing them was evidently performed on the same day. The mode in which this is done is not mentioned; but it is highly improbable that in the midst of the city of Jerusalem three thousand persons were wholly immersed in one day. The whole narrative supposes that it was all done in the city; and yet there is no probability that there were conveniences there for immersing so many persons in a single day. Besides, in the ordinary way of administering baptism by immersion, it is difficult to conceive that so many persons could have been immersed in so short a time. There is, indeed, here no positive proof that they were not immersed; but the narrative is one of those incidental circumstances, often much more satisfactory than philological discussion, that show the extreme improbability that all this was done by wholly immersing them in water. It may be further remarked, that here is an example of very quick admission to the church. It was the first great work of grace under the gospel. It was the model of all revivals of religion. And it was doubtless intended that this should be a specimen of the manner in which the ministers of religion should conduct in regard to admissions to the Christian church. Prudence is indeed required; but this example furnishes no warrant for advising persons who profess their willingness to obey Jesus Christ, to delay uniting with the church. If persons give evidence of piety, of true hatred of sin, and of attachment to the Lord Jesus, they should unite themselves to his people without delay. There were added. To the company of disciples, or to the followers of Christ. Souls. Persons, Comp. 1Pet 3:20, Gen 12:5. It is not affirmed that all this took place in one part of Jerusalem, or that it was all done at once; but it is probable that this was what was afterwards ascertained to be the fruit of this day's labour, the result of this revival of religion. This was the first effusion of the Holy Spirit under the preaching of the gospel; and it shows that such scenes are to be expected in the church, and that the gospel is fitted to work a rapid and mighty change in the hearts of men. Verse 42. And they continued stedfastly. They persevered in, or they adhered to. This is the inspired record of the result. That any of these apostatized is nowhere recorded, and is not to be presumed. Though they had been suddenly converted, though suddenly admitted to the church, though exposed to much persecution and contempt, and many trials, yet the record is that they adhered to the doctrines and duties of the Christian religion. The word rendered continued stedfastly, προσκαρτερουντες, means attending one, remaining by his side, not leaving or forsaking him. The apostles' doctrine. This does not mean that they held or believed the doctrines of the apostles, though that was true; but it means that they adhered to, or attended on, their teaching or instruction. The word doctrine has now a technical sense, and means a collection and arrangement of abstract views supposed to be contained in the Bible. In the Scriptures the word means simply teaching; and the expression here denotes that they continued to attend on their instructions. One evidence of conversion is a desire to be instructed in the doctrines and duties of religion, and a willingness to attend on the preaching of the gospel. And fellowship. The word rendered fellowship, κοινωνια is often rendered communion. It properly denotes having things in common, or participation, society, friendship. It may apply to anything which may be possessed in common, or in which all may partake. Thus all Christians have the same hope of heaven; the same joys; the same hatred of sin; the same enemies to contend with. Thus they have the same subjects of conversation, of feeling, and of prayer; or they have communion in these things. And thus the early Christians had their property in common. The word here may apply to either or to all--to their conversation, their prayers, their dangers, or their property; and means that they were united to the apostles, and participated with them in whatever befell them. It may be added, that the effect of a revival of religion is to unite Christians more and more, and to bring those who were before separated to union and love. Christians feel that they are a band of brethren, and that however much they were separated before they became Christians, now they have great and important interests in common; united in feelings, in interest, in dangers, in conflicts, in opinions, and in the hopes of a blessed immortality. Breaking of bread. The Syriac renders this "the Eucharist," or the Lord's Supper. It cannot, however, be determined whether this refers to their partaking of their ordinary food together, or to feasts of charity, or to the Lord's Supper. The bread of the Hebrews was made commonly into cakes, thin, hard, and brittle, so that it was broken instead of being cut. Hence, to denote intimacy or friendship, the phrase to break bread together would be very expressive, in the same way as the Greeks denoted it by drinking together, συμποσιον. From the expression used in Acts 2:44, comp. with Acts 2:46, that they had all things common, it would rather seem to be implied that this referred to the participation of their ordinary meals. The action of breaking bread was commonly performed by the master or head of a family, immediately after asking a blessing.--(Lightfoot.) In prayers. This was one effect of the influence of the, Spirit, and an evidence of their change. A genuine revival will be always followed by a love of prayer. (a) "continued stedfastly" 1Cor 11:2, Heb 10:25 Verse 43. And fear came. That is, there was great reverence or awe. The multitude had just before derided them, (Acts 2:13;) but so striking and manifest was the power of God on this occasion, that it silenced all clamours, and produced a general veneration and awe. The effect of a great work of God's grace is commonly to produce an unusual seriousness and solemnity in a community, even among those who are not convicted. It restrains, subdues, and silences opposition. Every soul. Every person, or individual; that is, upon the people generally; not only on those who became Christians, but upon the multitudes who witnessed these things. All things were fitted to produce this fear: the recent crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth; the wonders that attended that event; the events of the day of Pentecost; and the miracles performed by the apostles, were all fitted to diffuse solemnity, and thought, and anxiety through the community. Many wonders and signs. Acts 2:22. This was promised by the Saviour Mk 16:17. Some of the miracles which they wrought are specified in the following chapters. (a) "many wonders and signs" Mk 16:17 Verse 44. All that believed. That is, that believed that Jesus was the Messiah; for that was the distinguishing point by which they were known from others. Were together--επιτοαυτο--. Were united; were joined in the same thing. It does not mean that they lived in the same house, but they were united in the same community; or engaged in the same thing. They were doubtless often together in the same place for prayer and praise. One of the best means for strengthening the faith of young converts is for them often to meet together for prayer, conversation, and praise. Had all things common. That is, all their property or possessions. See Acts 4:32-37, 5:1-10. The apostles, in the time of the Saviour, evidently had all their property in common stock, and Judas was made their treasurer. They regarded themselves as one family, having common wants; and there was no use or propriety in their possessing extensive property by themselves. Yet even then it is probable that some of them retained an interest in their property which was not supposed to be necessary to be devoted to the common use. It is evident that John thus possessed property which he retained, Jn 19:27. And it is clear that the Saviour did not command them to give up their property into a common stock; nor did the apostles enjoin it. Acts 5:4: "Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?" It was therefore perfectly voluntary; and was evidently adapted to the peculiar circumstances of the early converts. Many of them came from abroad. They were from Parthia, and Media, and Arabia, and Rome, and Africa, etc. It is probable, also, that they now remained longer in Jerusalem than they had at first proposed. And it is not at all improbable that they would be denied now the usual hospitalities of the Jews, and excluded from their customary kindness, because they had embraced Jesus of Nazareth, who had been just put to death. In these circumstances, it was natural and proper at they should share together their property while they remained together. (b) "had all things common" Acts 4:32,34 Verse 45. And sold. That is, they sold as much as was necessary in order to procure the means of providing for the wants of each other. Possessions. Property, particularly real estate. This word κτηματα refers, properly, to their fixed property, as lands, houses, vineyards, etc. The word rendered goods, υπαρξεις, refers to their personal or movable property. And parted them to all. They distributed them to supply the wants of their poorer brethren, according to their necessities. As every man had need. This expression limits and fixes the meaning of what is said before. The passage does not mean that they sold all their possessions, or that they relinquished their title to all their property; but that they so far regarded all as common as to be willing to part with it IF it was needful to supply the wants of the others. Hence the property was laid at the disposal of the apostles, and they were desired to distribute it freely to meet the wants of the poor, Acts 4:34,35. This was an important incident in the early propagation of religion; and it may suggest many useful reflections. (1.) We see the effect of religion. The love of property is one of the strongest affections which men have. There is nothing that will overcome it but religion. That will; and one of the first effects of the gospel was to loosen the hold of Christians on property. (2.) It is the duty of the church to provide for the wants of its poor and needy members. There can be no doubt that property should now be regarded as so far common as that the wants of the poor should be supplied by those who are rich. Comp. Mt 26:11. (3.) If it be asked why the early disciples evinced this readiness to part with their property in this manner, it may be replied, 1st, that the apostles had done it before them. The family of the Saviour had all things common. 2nd. It was the nature of religion to do it. 3rd. The circumstances of the persons assembled on this occasion were such as to require it. There were many of them from distant regions; and probably many of them of the poorer class of the people in Jerusalem. In this they evinced what should be done in behalf of the poor in the church at all times. (4.) If it be asked whether this was done commonly among the early Christians, it may be replied, that there is no evidence that it was. It is mentioned here, and in Acts 4:32-37, 5:1-4. It does not appear that it was done even by all who were afterwards converted in Judea; and there is no evidence that it was done in Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Philippi, Rome, etc. That the effect of religion was to make men liberal, and willing to provide for the poor, there can be no doubt. See 2Cor 8:19, 9:2, 1Cor 16:2, Gal 2:10. But there is not proof that it was common to part with their possessions, and to lay it at the feet of the apostles. Religion does not contemplate, evidently, that men should break up all the arrangements in society; but it contemplates that those who have property should be ready and willing to part with it for the help of the poor and needy. (5.) If it be asked whether all the arrangements of property should be broken up now, and believers have all things in common, we a prepared to answer--No. For, 1st, this was an extraordinary case. 2nd. It was not even enjoined by the apostles on them. 3rd. It was practised nowhere else. 4th. It would be impracticable. No community where all things were in common has long prospered. It has been attempted often, by pagans, by infidels, and by fanatic sects of Christians. It ends soon in anarchy, and licentiousness, idleness, and profligacy; or the more cunning secure the mass of property, and control the whole. Till all men are made alike, there could be no hope of such a community; and if there could be, it would not be desirable. God evidently intended that men should be excited to industry by the hope of gain; and then he demands that their gains should be devoted to his service. Still, this was a noble instance of Christian generosity, and evinces the power of religion in loosing the hold which men commonly have on the world. It rebukes also those professors of religion--of whom, alas! there are many--who give nothing to benefit either the souls or bodies of their fellow-men. (*) "goods" or, "Substance" (c) "parted them" Isa 58:7, 2Cor 9:1,9, 1Jn 3:17 Verse 46. With one accord. Comp. Acts 1:14, 2:1. In the temple. This was the public place of worship; and the disciples were not disposed to leave the place where their fathers had so long worshipped God. This does not mean that they were constantly in the temple, but only at the customary hours of prayer; at nine o'clock in the morning, and at three in the afternoon. And breaking bread. Acts 2:42. From house to house. In the margin, "at home." So the Syriac and Arabic. The common interpretation, however, is that they did it in their various houses; now in this, and now in that, as might be convenient. If it refers to their ordinary meals, then it means that they partook in common of what they possessed. And the expression in this verse, "did eat their meat," seems to imply that this refers to their common meals, and not to the Lord's Supper. Did eat their meat. Did partake of their food. The word meat, with us, is applied to flesh. In the Bible, and in old English authors, it is applied to provision of any kind. Here it means all kinds of sustenance; that which nourished them--τροφης-- and the use of this word proves that it does not refer to the Lord's Supper; for that ordinance is nowhere represented as designed for an ordinary meal, or to nourish the body. Comp. 1Cor 11:33,34. With gladness. With rejoicing. This is one of the effects of religion. It is far from gloom; it diffuses joy over the mind; and it bestows additional joy in the participation of even our ordinary pleasures. Singleness of heart. This means with a sincere and pure heart. They were satisfied and thankful. They were not perplexed or anxious; nor were they solicitious for the luxurious living, or aspiring after the vain objects of the men of the world. Comp. Rom 12:8, 2Cor 1:12 Eph 6:5. (1) "breaking bread from house to house" or, "at home" (+) "their meat with gladness" "Consent" Verse 47. Praising God. See Lk 24:53. And having favour. See Lk 2:52. With all the people. That is, with the great mass of the people; with the people generally. It does not mean that all the people had become reconciled to Christianity; but their humble, serious, and devoted lives won the favour of the great mass of the community, and silenced opposition and cavil. This was a remarkable effect; but God has power to silence opposition; and there is nothing so well fitted to do this as the humble and consistent lives of his friends. And the Lord added. See Acts 5:14, 11:24, etc. It was the Lord who did this. There was no power in man to do it; and the Christian loves to trace all increase of the church to the grace of God. Added. Caused, or inclined them to be joined to the church. The Church. To the assembly of the followers of Christ-τηεκκλησια, The word church properly means those who are called out, and is applied to Christians as being called out, or separated from the world. It is used but three times in the Gospels, Mt 16:18, 18:17. It occurs frequently in other parts of the New Testament, and usually as applied to the followers of Christ. Comp. Acts 5:11, 7:38, 8:1,3, 9:31, 11:22,26; Acts 12:1,5. It is used in classic writers to denote an assembly of any kind, and is twice thus used in the New Testament, Acts 19:39,41, where it is translated "assembly." Such as should be saved. This whole phrase is a translation of a participle, τουςσωζομενους. It does not express any purpose that they should be saved, but simply the fact that they were those who would be, or who were about to be saved. It is clear, however, from this expression, that those who became members of the church, were those who continued to adorn their profession, or who gave proof that they were sincere Christians. It is implied here, also, that those who are to be saved will join themselves to the church of God. This is everywhere required; and it constitutes one evidence of piety when they are willing to face the world, and give themselves at once to the service of the Lord Jesus. Two remarks may be made on the last verse of this chapter: one is, that the effect of a consistent Christian life will be to command the respect of the world; and the other is, that the effect will be continually to increase the number of those who shall be saved. In this case they were daily added to it; the church was constantly increasing: and the same result may be expected in all cases where there is similar zeal, self-denial, consistency, and prayer. We have now contemplated the foundation of the Christian church; and the first glorious revival of religion. This chapter deserves to be profoundly studied by all the ministers of the gospel, and by all who pray for the prosperity of the kingdom of God. It should excite our fervent gratitude that God has left this record of the first great work of grace; and our fervent prayers that he would multiply and extend such scenes until the earth shall be filled with his glory. (a) "favour" Lk 2:52, Rom 14:18 (b) "And the Lord" Acts 5:14, 11:24 (c) "should be saved" "As were saved"
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