July 15, 2013

Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles
By: Tom Lowe


Topic #II: The Church in Jerusalem, Acts 2.1-8.3
 Subtopic A: The Church is Born (Acts 2.1-2.41)                   
         Secondary Topic 2: Peter’s Explanation in a Sermon (Acts 2.14-2.36)                     


Lesson II.A.2.b: Pentecost: Based Upon Christ’s Work


Acts 2.22-36 (KJV)

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

 

 

Introduction


Having concluded his remarks concerning the gift of the Holy Ghost, Peter preaches to them about Jesus: and this passage is a summary of the history of Christ. Here is an account of his death and sufferings, which they witnessed just a few weeks earlier. His death is considered an instance of God's wonderful grace and wisdom. In this sacrifice, Divine justice was satisfied, God and man brought together again, and Christ himself glorified, according to an eternal counsel, which could not be changed. But, as for the peoples role in this; it was an act of awful sin and foolishness. Christ's resurrection did away with the reproach of his death; this was Peter’s main topic. Christ was God's Holy One, sanctified and set apart to His service in the work of redemption. His death and sufferings were not for Him only, but for all His, and it gave them entrance into an eternal blessed life. This event had taken place as foretold, and the apostles were witnesses. But the resurrection did not rest upon this alone; Christ had poured upon his disciples the miraculous gifts and Divine influences, of which the crowd had witnessed the effects. Through the Saviour, we know the way to a better life; and we are encouraged to expect God's presence and His blessings forever. All this springs from certain belief that Jesus is the Lord, and the anointed Saviour.


Commentary

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Ye men of Israel,
Peter has been speaking to a large crowd of curious Jews, who have gathered in response to the rumors of the great event unfolding in Jerusalem during Pentecost.  Now he gets to the main theme of his message; he gives a synopsis of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. He tells them that the One who accomplished mighty works and signs and wonders through the power of God had been taken and crucified and slain. Many who listened to him had been part of the howling mob that cried, “Crucify Him!” However, all who participated in putting the Lord to death were unconsciously fulfilling the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God. It was God’s purpose that the Messiah should suffer death for us—“And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day” (Luke 24:46; KJV). But if the Messiah’s suffering and death was ordained by the determined counsel of God, so was His resurrection and glory.


“Ye men of Israel” are the descendants of Israel, or Jacob, i.e. Jews.


hear these words;
Peter now begins to preach Christ directly to them. He boldly declares that they knew about His miracles, and wonders and signs. Christ made a twofold demonstration of His Messiahship:
1. By the miracles which they had seen with their own eyes.
2. By his Resurrection. His resurrection was proved:
a. By the prophecy of David.
b. By the testimony of all the apostles present, who were eye-witnesses.
c. By the phenomena they were witnessing, which could only be due to His exalted position at the right hand of God.


We are currently people of the twenty-first Century, therefore it is impossible for us to realize, even in the least degree, the effect that Peter’s sermon had upon the minds of those Jews who heard him exclaim in a loud voice: “Men of Israel, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God among you, by miracles and wonders and signs which God did by him, in the midst of you, as you yourselves know; him, delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain; whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be held under it.” They were already filled with amazement by the visible and audible manifestation of the Spirit of God that they had observed; but now, they are shocked as they realize that this amazing phenomenon is not nearly as amazing as that which was accomplished by the Nazarene whom they had despised and crucified. This mind-set is brought home to them in a statement so full of overwhelming facts that it caused them to reel and stagger under a succession of fearful blows rapidly repeated. In one breath, in one long sentence, they have just heard no less than seven startling propositions:
1. That Jesus had been “approved of” by God; He was among them, and God had done many miracles and wonders and signs through Him.
2. That they, themselves, knew this was true.
3. That they took Him and treated Him dreadfully, but it was not due to any weakness in Him, but in accordance with the purpose and foreknowledge of God, that he yielded Himself to them.
4. That while He was submitted to them, they had put Him to death, by the torture of crucifixion.
5. That this was a wicked, sinful act.
6. That God had raised Him from the dead.
7. That it was impossible for death to hold him.


Jesus of Nazareth,
The apostle calls him “Jesus of Nazareth,” because, (1) He was from that town; He grew up there, His mother lived there with His brothers and sisters, and there He was a well-known carpenter; but the people rejected Him, and (2) He was generally known by that name. He was a man approved of God and He lived among you. He was censured and condemned by men, but approved of God: God showed His approval of his doctrine by the power he gave Him to work miracles.


Here is a complete personification of the four gospels, condensed into one short clause—“Jesus of Nazareth.” The name “Jesus of Nazareth” brought vividly before their minds a well-known public figure and all his illustrious history flashed across their memory.


a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs,
“A man approved of God” has several meanings— "authenticated," "manifested," "proved," or "demonstrated to be from God”—A man who was shown or who demonstrated to have the approbation of God, or to have been sent by Him. Dr. Hammond prefers “a man marked out by God; signalized and made remarkable among you that now hear me. He was sent to you, set up, and made a glorious light in your land.”

This is the first assertion concerning Him, and it calls attention to his miracles as a demonstration that he was from God. There is no need for discussion since the miracles speak for themselves, only God could do such things; they did not need more evidence to prove the reality of the miracles, because they were done “in your midst, as you yourselves also know.” The sense of the verse seems to be this: Jesus of Nazareth, a man sent from God and well-known to you because He created miracles, and signs; and all these were done in such profusion that they exceeded what was done by the best of your most accredited prophets. And these miracles, wonders, and signs were a demonstration of his Divine mission. Christ said as much to His disciples—“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake” (John 14.10, 11; KJV). The words and works of Christ surely must indicate a unique relationship between the Father and the Son. The disciples were weak in their faith, so Christ exhorts them to believe what He has said, or simply to believe on the basis of His works.


“Miracles” refers to the displays of power which Jesus made; “wonders,” the unusual or remarkable events which accompanied His presence; “signs,” proofs that he was from God. Together, they denote the array or series of His remarkable works—raising the dead, healing the sick, etc., which showed that Jesus was sent from God. The proof which they furnished to show that he was from God was this—that God would not confer such power on an impostor, and therefore he was who He said He was.


which God did by him in the midst of you,
“Which God did by him” refers to the miracles which Christ did by the power which was given to Him by God. This doesn’t take anything away from Him, since while He existed as a man; He needed the filling of the Holy Spirit and to be endued with power from God. This is in agreement with His own words—“…Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19; KJV). Here our Lord gives the source and nature of His authority. He begins the explanation with these words: The Son-whom he had just confirmed to be equal with God. Next, He said that He did nothing of himself; that is, nothing without first consulting with the Father; nothing contrary to the Father’s will, as he immediately explains. When it is said that he CAN do nothing OF HIMSELF, it means that the union existing between the Father and the Son is such that he can do nothing independently or separate from the Father. This is the nature of the union that He can do nothing with which the Father does not concur, and which He does not command. In all things he must, because it is his nature, act in accordance with the character and will of God. The closeness of the union between the Father and Son is apparent in the fact that anything he does is proof that God in agreement with Him. There is no separate action—no separate existence; but, they are alike in being and in action; there is the most perfect oneness between Him and the Father. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30; KJV). They are so united that the Father is pledged to keep the sheep of the Son. The Jews said these words were blasphemy, and sought to stone him.

Peter says here that God did these works by Jesus Christ, to show that Jesus was truly sent by Him, and therefore he had God’s seal of approval. Jesus said the same thing himself: "But I have greater witness than that of John: for 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” (John 5:36 (KJV). These works or miracles bore witness of Him; that is, they showed that He was sent from God, because no one but God could perform them, and because God would not give such power to anyone whose life and doctrines he did not approve. They were more decisive proof than the testimony of John and Peter. The great works which God has done in creation, as well as in redemption, are represented as having been done by His Son—“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb 1:2; KJV).


Peter uses the phrase “In the midst of you” to indicate that they were witnesses of the miracles, wonders, and signs by which He became famous, works exceeding the power of nature, out of the ordinary course of nature, and contrary to it; that which God did by him; that is, which he did by that divine power with which he was infused, and in which God clearly approved. It is probable that many of the persons present had been witnesses of his miracles.


 as ye yourselves also know:
They knew He had done miraculous things, either by having witnessed them, or by the evidence that He had done them which could be seen everywhere, and was the subject of a multitude of conversations. So obvious and numerous were the miracles of Jesus, that Peter pleads with the Jews to acknowledge that they knew He had done them. He was confident that they could not deny it. The Jews, even in the time of Christ, did not dare to call His miracles into question—“If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father” (John 15:24; KJV). The proof of his divine mission was such that they were left without excuse. The Jews claimed to love God, but when God, manifest in the flesh, and appeared, they hated him. The hatred of Christ is the hate of God. While they admitted the miracle, they attempted to trace it to the influence of Beelzebub—“But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils” (Matt 9:34; KJV). In other words: He gets power from the devil, instead of God, to cast out demons.


Now I personally think that miracles and wonders and signs were all different. I believe that miracles were performed for one purpose, wonders for another purpose, and signs for another purpose. Jesus did certain things that were to be signs. Some miracles of healing were performed to get the attention of His hearers. These were the three areas in which our Lord was active.


Peter proceeds now to the third part of His argument, to show that Jesus Christ had been raised from death; and that the scene which had occurred was in accordance with His promise, was proof of His resurrection, and of His approbation to be the Messiah; and therefore they should repent for their great sin of having put their own Messiah to death.


23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Him,
HIM, of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is an account of His death and sufferings which many that were in the crowd that day had witnessed a few weeks earlier. 


These verses explain two great mysteries:
1. That a man approved of God (v. 22) could seem to be abandoned by Him.
2. That a man approved of by the people, and who lived and ministered among them could be abandoned by them too.


being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,
This word, DELIVERED, is commonly used when talking about those who are handed over, surrendered, or delivered into the hands of their enemies or adversaries. It means that Jesus was surrendered, handed over, delivered, or given up to his enemies, by those who should have been His guardians. Therefore He was delivered to the chief priests, Mark 10:33. Pilate released Barabbas, and delivered Jesus to their will, Mark 15:15, Luke 23:25; he was handed over to the Gentiles, Luke 18:32; the chief priests delivered him to Pilate, Matthew 27:2; and Pilate delivered him to be crucified, Matthew 27:26, John 19:16. Jesus was crucified only after being delivered from one tribunal to another; and it is implied here, that God knew all about it before it happened; that He allowed it, approved of it, and handed over Jesus to wicked men. The scriptures bear this out.
• “For God so loved the world, that HE GAVE his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16; KJV).
•  “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that GOD SENT his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him…Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and SENT HIS SON to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10; KJV).


 God SENT and GAVE His Son, and it was an act of wonderful grace and wisdom. He delivered him to death; He not only permitted Him to be put to death, but gave Him up (dedicated Him) to it: this is explained Rom. 8:32, where it says, “He delivered him up for us all.” How wonderful that is! He did not spare His Son. He spared Abraham’s son, but not His own. Since He gave His Son to die for us, He will give us everything that we need.


Peter is saying that what has happened was not contrary to God’s program. This is not something that took God by surprise. Actually, it happened because of “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” The word that has been translated DETERMINATE means that which is defined, marked out, or bounded; for example, to mark out or define the boundary of a field, etc. 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.” There are also these verses:
• "The Son of man goeth, as it was determined" (Luke 22:22), i.e. as God has intended or determined beforehand that He should go.
• "The disciples—determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea (Acts 11:29)," i.e. they resolved beforehand to do it.
• "God—hath determined the times before appointed (Acts 17:26)." 


In all these places there is the idea of a purpose, or intention, or plan implying intention, and marking out or establishing the boundaries to some future action or event. The word implies that the death of Jesus was predetermined 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 forced to give up his Son. He did not have to do it. And He had a right, therefore, to determine when and how it should be done. The fact that this was predicted shows that it was predetermined or decided beforehand. It is certain that no event can be foretold, unless it is certain that it will take place. The event, therefore, must in some way be preset or determined beforehand. In this place, then, the meaning of BY THE DETERMINATE COUNSEL means that counsel of God which determined the time, place, and circumstance, according to his foreknowledge, which always saw what was the most proper time and place for the manifestation and crucifixion of his Son; so that there was nothing left to chance in these things. God had determined that the salvation of a lost world should be brought about in this way; and neither the Jews nor Romans had any say-so in the matter, except that which was given to them from above. It was necessary to show the Jews that it was not through Christ's weakness or inability to defend himself that he was taken; nor was it merely through their jealousy and hatred of Him that he was killed; because God had determined long before it happened, “from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8),” to give his Son as a sacrifice for sin; and the treachery of Judas, and the hatred of the Jews were only the incidental means by which the great counsel of God was fulfilled.


The word COUNSEL, as used in this place means the purpose or will of God; it was His plan or decree that Jesus should be handed over to His enemies—"For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy COUNSEL determined before to be done" (Acts 4:28). "Who worketh all things after the COUNSEL of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11). "God, willing to show the immutability of his COUNSEL” (Hebrews 6:17).Here the word proves that Jesus was delivered by the deliberate purpose of God; that it was according to his previously made plans and purpose. The reason why this was emphasized by Peter was so that he might convince the Jews that Jesus was not delivered because He was weak, 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 established design of God; and, therefore, that it did not interfere in the least with his claims to be the Messiah. Our Saviour has acknowledge the same thing—“Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above” (John 19.10; KJV). Christ reminds him (Pilate) that the only authority he has is that which has been given to him by a higher source.


 FOREKNOWLEDGE means seeing an event before it takes place. The awfulness of the murder of Jesus is magnified by the thought that He allowed himself to be taken to them, in accordance with a deliberate purpose of God, which had been declared long ago by the prophets. He knew everything that would happen—every slap, every stroke of the whip, every hurtful remark, and He knew about the crown of thorns and the Cross.


FOREKNOWLEDGE implies that for some reason the event will certainly take place. God is represented in the Scriptures as determining future events; since they could not be foreseen by Him unless He had preordained for them to happen, so the word sometimes is used in the sense of determining beforehand, or as synonymous with decreeing—“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate…” (Romans 8:29; KJV). 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 with respect to their treatment of his Son. Nor will he be disappointed by anything men do.

 
 ye have taken,
It is possible that fifty days earlier, some of these very same people were present and had been personally involved in taking Jesus—“And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away…” (Matthew 26:57; KJV); and it is also possible that many of them had joined in the cry, "Crucify him," (Luke 23:18-21). And, therefore Peter was justified in making the accusation: “YE Jews HAVE TAKEN HIM.” It was, at any rate, an act committed by the Jewish people; an act of immense sin and foolishness; it was fighting against God to persecute One that was the greatest blessing of this earth. Peter was once so timid he denied his Lord, but now he charged his countrymen with this atrocious crime, in spite 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 complicit in this ghastly crime. He appeals to their individual consciousness of guilt; and this gives intensity to the effect of his sermon upon their hearts, which it could not otherwise have possessed.


However, he makes it clear that this does not release men from their responsibility. Who is responsible for the crucifixion of Christ? The religious rulers were the ones who began the movement. I would say that they were largely to blame. They stirred up the multitude so that they became an angry mob, and they schemed and provoked the Roman government to execute Him. Remember, He was crucified on a Roman cross. Peter is pointing his finger at his fellow Israelites.


But there is no use in our arguing about who was responsible for His death back at that time. I’ll tell you who is responsible for His death. You are responsible, and I am responsible. It was for my sins and for your sins that He died. Listen to the words of Jesus: “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:17–18; KJV).


and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
The death of Jesus on the Cross was not an accident. Luke clearly informed his readers that the Cross was in the eternal plan of God for the salvation of the world. Peter is speaking to men who were directly involved in the plot of the Crucifixion, and he says, “YE HAVE TAKEN, AND BY WICKED HANDS HAVE CRUCIFIED AND SLAIN.”


The Greek word that has been translated, BY WICKED HANDS means "through or by the hands of the lawless, or wicked." Doubtless, this refers to Pilate and the Roman soldiers, through whose wherewithal this had been done. The reasons for supposing that this is the true interpretation of the passage are these:
1. The Jews did not have the power to inflict death on anyone; the Romans refused to relinquish that authority to conquered nations—“Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death” (John 18.31; KJV). Pilate, unaware that the Jews want to kill Christ, tells them to judge the case and pass sentence according to your law. The Jews could not legally execute anyone. They wanted Pilate to pass the death sentence on Christ.
2. The term used here—WICKED, was not applicable to the Jews, but to the Romans. It means lawless, or those who did not have the law, and is often applied to the heathen—“For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law…For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves” (Romans 2:12, 14; KJV).
3. Crucifixion was a Roman punishment.
4. It was a matter of fact, that the Jews, though they had condemned him, had not put him to death themselves, but had demanded that the Romans do it. But though they had utilized the Romans to do it, still they were the prime-instigators of the deed; they had plotted, and schemed and demanded His death; and therefore they were equally guilty. A principle of common law, and of common sense, is, "he who does a deed by the instrumentality of another is responsible for it." It was not due to the goodness of the Jews that they had not put him to death themselves. It was simply because the power was taken away from them.

 
Peter charges the crime entirely on the Jews—“YE HAVE TAKEN, AND BY WICKED HANDS HAVE CRUCIFIED AND SLAIN” Him. Their guilt was not diminished because they had employed others to do it. This was no time for nice distinctions between what a man does himself, and what he does through another. The “wicked hands” are not, as some suppose, the hands of Roman soldiers, who had performed the actual work of his execution, but the hands of wicked Jews.


 The manner of Christ’s death makes it even more dreadful. They had nailed him to the cross, and compelled him to die like a criminal. From this it should be noted:
1. That this was one of the most amazing and awful crimes that could be charged against any man. It was hatred, and treason, and revulsion, and murder combined. But it was not any common murder. It was their own Messiah whom they had put to death; the hope of their fathers; He had been promised long ago by God, and the prospect of His coming had been joyfully anticipated by the nation for centuries; but now they stood charged with the awful crime of having murdered the Prince of peace.
2. The fact that they had done the deed by the instrumentality of others did not mitigate their own guilt. It is often, if not always, worse than the deed itself.
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, since it is a fact it had been foretold with undeviating certainty by the prophets. God had, for wise and gracious reasons, 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 his birth and his life, were foretold. And yet, in this, the Jews and the Romans never supposed or alleged that they were compelled to do what they did. They did what they chose.
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 in the Divine counsels. 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, they will be punished. And the sinner must answer for his sins.
5. If this event was predetermined, then all the events leading to it, and the circumstances surrounding it, were also a part of the decree. The one could not be determined without the other.
6. Finally, the crucifixion of Jesus was considered a national act, because it was done both by the vote of the great council and by the voice of the great crowd. He charges it mainly against them, since they were part of the nation that would be charged with the crime; his purpose was to bring them to faith and repentance, because that was the only way they could distinguish themselves from the guilty and receive a pardon from their God.


Whom God hath raised up,
This was the main point, in this part of his argument, which Peter wished to establish. He had declared that the Messiah had been put to death in a humiliating manner. But now he explains to them that God had raised Him up. That is the most important part of his message. He goes on to say, “WHOM GOD HATH RAISED UP, HAVING LOOSED THE PAINS OF DEATH.” He preaches the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the first sermon ever preached in the church age. This is the beginning. This is the Day of Pentecost. What is his theme? It is not the prophecy of Joel, my friend. It is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ; that God alone gave him up to death, and God alone raised him up from death.


The evidence of Christ’s resurrection, which essentially wiped away the reproach of his death, also brought Him more praise and esteem than all the signs and wonders He had done, put together. But how shall their conscience endure the fearful guilt of the additional thought, that God has raised their crucified Messiah from the dead? I do not think mortal lips ever spoke in so brief a time, so many thoughts of so terrific importance to the hearers. It is the first announcement to the world of a risen and glorified Redeemer.


having loosed the pains of death:
Now he is going to quote his text. He quotes from Psalm 16:8–10.  “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalms 16:8-10; KJV). “HAVING LOOSED THE PAINS OF DEATH” refers to the fact that death could not hold Jesus. He describes his resurrection: God LOOSED THE PAINS OF DEATH, BECAUSE IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE THAT HE SHOULD BE HOLDEN OF IT. The pains of death is used for travailing (childbirth) pains, and some think it signifies the trouble and agony of Christ’s soul, which was exceedingly sorrowful, even to the death; from these pains and sorrows of soul, this travail of soul, the Father LOOSED him when at his death he said, It is finished. Jesus dissolved the pains of death for all that believe in him; God raised up Christ, and by his resurrection broke all the power of death, and destroyed its pangs for his people. He has abolished death, has altered its ability to harm God’s people.


It is generally accepted that this expression, HAVING LOOSED THE PAINS OF DEATH means, the dissolving of those bonds by which those who enter into the region of the dead are detained there until the day of the resurrection; and this is thought to be the meaning of Psalm 116:3—“The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow,” of Psalm 18.5, and 2 Samuel 22:6. The fact that Christ did suffer the pains and sorrows of death during his passion have been sufficiently proven; but it is obvious from the calm manner in which He met it that these were all removed prior to His crucifixion. If we take the words as commonly understood, they mean that it was impossible for the Prince of Life to be left in the empire of death: his resurrection, therefore, was a necessary consequence of his own Divine power.


because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Most commentators believe this refers to the resurrection of Christ’s body. The apostle says it was impossible for Jesus to stay dead. And death is a punitive state because it deprives sinners the possibility of forgiveness and salvation; in that respect it is evil. Christ was imprisoned because of our debt, and was bound by the bands of death; but, since divine justice was satisfied, it was impossible to detain Him there, because He had life in himself, and had conquered the prince of death. Peter substantiated the truth of His resurrection: “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:32; NKJV)—the apostles and their companions, who were intimately acquainted with Him before his death, were intimately familiar with him after His resurrection, and they did eat and drink with him. They received power, by the descent of the Holy Ghost upon them, and He empowered them to become skilful, faithful, and courageous witnesses of His resurrection, even though his enemies charged them with stealing His body.


IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE does not refer to any natural impossibility, or to any inherent facility or power in the body of Jesus itself; but it simply means that the circumstances of the case would not allow Him to be kept there. And Peter proceeds immediately to show why it could not happen:
• First, it would not be consistent with the promises of the Scriptures.
• Second, Jesus was the Prince of life: “And killed the Prince  of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses” (Acts 3:15; KJV)—and had life in himself. It was not possible that Jesus could be held by death, because he had life in Himself.
• Third, it was the Father's will that he should arise.
• Fourth, One of the reasons He came was to destroy, by His death, him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb 2:14; NKJV)—and since it was His purpose to gain this victory, He could not be defeated by being confined to the grave.
• Fifth, He had power to lay down his life, and to take it again: “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:18; NKJV). When Jesus made this statement, He was facing His Jewish enemies in the audience; He assured them that they could not kill Him. They had already tried to do so on two previous occasions. He was completely beyond their reach, even though they were close enough to hear His voice. Leaving no doubt, Jesus told them emphatically that He would give up His life on a unilaterally voluntary basis. He declared that He alone had the power to give up His life. Included in that divine power was the innate power to take up His life again under direct command from the Father Who had sent Him for such a glorious purpose.


25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:

For David speaketh concerning him,
Peter goes to the Old Testament to support his message. His quotation comes from Psalm 16:8–11 (KJV): “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Peter will make the case that these prophetic words were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth and in no one else. Therefore, the Messiah whom David promised was in fact Jesus of Nazareth. David said the Messiah would rise before His body corrupted (began to decompose; decay); Jesus was placed in the tomb Friday evening and He arose less than forty hours later, on  Sunday morning. You may recall that Lazarus had been dead for three days (around 72 hours) when Jesus called to him, “Lazarus, come forth.” He had just began to “stink” according to his sister, therefore, I think we can safely say that Jesus body never suffered corruption; which is another instance of fulfilled prophesy; it was impossible that he should be holden by death and the grave.


This is the psalm of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This was the heart of Peter’s message on the day of Pentecost. Simon Peter said that Psalm 16 refers to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and I am taking his word for it.

 
I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
The Hebrew for I FORESAW THE LORD translates I expected, or waited for. It expresses the appeal of one who is helpless and dependent, who waits for help from God. It is often used in this way in the Old Testament. The phrase means to foresee, and then to envision before us, that is, to regard as being near, or present with us. As it is used here, it implies to put confidence in one; to rely on him, or expect assistance from him. Jesus foresees His Father being always present to help Him, and to deliver Him out of all His troubles.
 

Here we see the constant regard that our Lord Jesus had for his Father throughout the entirety of His work on earth: I FORESAW THE LORD BEFORE ME CONTINUALLY. Jesus always worked to bring His Father glory. It was the end He FORESAW—because He saw that his sufferings would contribute abundantly to the honour of God, and would, in the end, bring Him great joy; He was aware of everything that would occur in His future, and he had an eye for the Cross and the suffering it would bring, but in everything He did and suffered the prospect of these things only served to buoy Him up and encourage Him to carry on—“Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him…If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him” (Jn. 13:31, 32; KJV). This verse points to the departure of Judas and sets the scene for the death and ultimate glorification of Christ. God would glorify the Son through the Son’s passion, and would show the close relationship between the two.


 for he is on my right hand,
HE IS ON MY RIGHT HAND conveys the idea of one being at hand or nearby and ready to help when needed. The right hand is mentioned because that was the place of dignity and honour. David did not want to simply say that God was near in order to help him, but that He had the place of honour, the uppermost place in his affections—“For He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, To save him from those who condemn him” (Psalms 109:31; NKJV). In this verse, David says God will not be absent when his people are on trial; he will show them what to do and stand up in court as their advocate, prepared to plead on their behalf. How different is this from the plight of the ungodly who have Satan at their right hand—“Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand” (Psalms 109:6; KJV). Who is a better right hand friend for an opponent of the righteous than the great adversary himself? What could be more natural than for those who serve Satan to expect to have his company, his assistance, his temptations, and at last his doom—then in the end to have Satan stand at his right hand when God says to him, I never knew you.


Since we are dependent 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. David was confident of his Father’s presence and power going along with him, and therefore he could say HE IS ON MY RIGHT HAND—the hand of action; He is strengthening, guiding, and upholding it, so THAT I SHOULD NOT BE MOVED, or driven away from my undertaking by the hardships I must go through.’’ This was an article of the covenant of redemption (Ps. 89:21) which says, “With whom My hand shall be established; Also My arm shall strengthen him;” and therefore he is confident that the work God has called on him to do will not fail in his hand. If God is at our right hand we shall not be moved.


that I should not be moved:
That is, that nothing, no great evil or calamity, could happen to me, therefore, I will stand firm. The phrase signifies sinking into calamities, or to fall into the power of enemies. This expresses the confidence of one who is in danger of great calamities, and who puts his trust in the help of God alone. “He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved…He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved” (Psalm 62.2, 6). Zadok, the high priest is going to travel with David. He is faithful and has brought the ark, a symbol to the Israelites of God’s presence in their midst, and he is following David when the old king turns and, seeing the ark, commands Zadok to carry it back to the city, for the reason that “… if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation: But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him” (2 Sam. 15:25–26).


Allow me at this point to make this great truth clear so that it will live for you! Here is a man so wholly committed to God that he turns aside from any thought of merit in the ark, clinging only unto God and saying to Zadok that if it is God’s will for him to come back to this city, he will be allowed to come back; if not, then he is in God’s hands. He refuses to attempt to force God to do anything but determines to go the way God leads, regardless of the path. Oh, to live like that today!


That is the central truth of the psalm. That is the central truth of David’s life. That is the dynamo that ran his life. That is the thing that caused him to stand head and shoulders above other men on the horizon of history. It has caused him to cast a long shadow down the corridor of time. “He only is my rock.”


When we come to the New Testament, we can see what the Lord Jesus means when He makes this tremendous statement: “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” (Matt. 21:44). Christ is that Rock, that Stone. There is coming a day when the Stone cut out without hands will fall on this earth. Today, you and I can fall on this Stone, and those who fall on it will be saved.


A little Scottish woman got up in a testimony meeting and gave this as her testimony: “You know, sometimes I tremmel [tremble] on the rock, but the rock never tremmels under me.” Are you on this Rock? Whosoever falls on this Rock shall be saved. This is what Paul meant when he said, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). David said, “He only is my rock. He is the One I am trusting. O, the throne is toppling, Jerusalem is in convulsions, the people have turned against me, but I am on the Rock!” David has learned that glorious lesson.


26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

Therefore did my heart rejoice,
Peter ascribes these expressions to the Messiah; Rejoicing, gladness, hope. The reason why he could rejoice was because He knew He would be sustained by His Father as He passed through the sorrows and suffering that He was soon to fall upon Him, and could look forward to the triumph that awaited him. Therefore, Paul says, “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (Heb 12:2; NLT). Throughout the New Testament, the shame and sorrow of his sufferings were regarded as connected with his glory and his triumph (see Luke 24:26; Philippians 2:6-9; Ephesians 1:20, 21). Herein, our Saviour has left us an example, so that we might walk in his steps. The prospect of future glory and triumph should sustain us as it did Him, as we encounter afflictions, and it should prepare us, like it did Him, to lie down even among the corruptions of the grave.


The cheerfulness with which our Lord Jesus continued to do his work is in view here, in spite of the sorrows he must pass through: "Being satisfied that I shall not be moved, but the good pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in my hand, therefore doth my heart rejoice, and my tongue is glad, and the thought of my sorrow is as nothing to me.” It was a constant pleasure for our Lord Jesus to look ahead to the end of his work, and to know, without a doubt, that it would be a glorious end: It did His heart good to know that His undertaking met the will and design of God. He rejoiced in spirit—“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit…” (Luke 10:21; KJV).
 

 In the Hebrew DID MY HEART REJOICE is in the present tense, "my heart rejoices." The word heart is used here to signify the person, and is the same as saying “I rejoice.” The Hebrews used the different parts or members of the body to represent the person. The meaning may be expresses this way: Because God is near me in time of heartbreak and disaster, and will support and deliver me, I will not be distressed or be afraid, but will revel in the expectation of the future, bearing in mind the "joy that is set before me."


and my tongue was glad;
In the Hebrew this phrase is, “My glory, or my honour rejoices.” The word “glory” is used to indicate majesty, splendor, 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, which is regarded by the Hebrews as the seat of the affections. We read in Psalms 108:1, "I will sing-even with my glory." The Septuagint translated “glory” as TONGUE. The Arabic and Latin Vulgate have also done the same. Why they use the word in this way is not clear; but it may be because the TONGUE, or the gift of speech, contributes to the honour of man, or distinguishes him from the animals. The faculty of speaking is an honour for us, but never more of an honor than when it is used for praising God. The word glory is used specifically for TONGUE in Psalms 30:12: “To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.” Certainly, Christ’s tongue was glad, since upon the close of His last supper and just prior to Him entering into his sufferings, He sang a hymn—“And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives” (Matt 26:30; KJV). It was customary to conclude the Passover by singing Psalms, specifically Psalm 115-118.


moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
The meaning of MOREOVER ALSO is “Truly; in addition to this.” In this place, MY FLESH. stands for “My body.” That is the meaning in the following verses: “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the FLESH, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5.5; KJV); and, “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his FLESH did see corruption” (Acts 2:31; KJV). In both verses it means the body separate from the soul; the dead body. Here, SHALL REST denotes rest or repose in the grave, but free from corruption.


IN HOPE is used here to express confident expectation of a resurrection. The Hebrew word more closely expresses confidence than hope. The passage means, “I will commit My body to the grave, with a confident expectation and with a firm belief that in the future it will not see corruption, but be raised up." It expresses the feelings of the dying Messiah; the certain confidence which he had that his sleep in the grave would not be long, and would definitely come to an end. The death of Christians is also represented in the New Testament, as sleep, and as rest (see Acts 7:60, 1 Corinthians 15:6,18, 1 Thessalonians 4:13,15, 2 Peter 3:4), and they may also follow the example of their Lord, by committing their bodies to the dust, IN HOPE. They shall lie in the grave being assured of a happy resurrection; and though their bodies, unlike His, will rot and decompose, and eventually become dust, yet “this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53).


27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,
The word SOUL, means the thinking, the immortal part of man, regardless of whether it is applied in connection with the body, or separate from it. The Hebrew word translated here as SOUL is “naphshi;” however, it may mean, my spirit, my mind, my life; but here it may possibly denote nothing more than me, or myself. It also means breath; therefore life, or the vital principle, a living being, the soul, the spirit, the thinking part. Instances where it is used for the individual himself, meaning "me," or "myself," may be seen in Psalms 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 to some extent by the meaning of the word HELL. If it 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" etc. The word LEAVE at this point means, "You will not resign me to, or will not give me over to it, to be held under its power.”


The word HELL, in English, now commonly indicates the place of the future eternal punishment of the wicked. It has acquired this sense by long usage. It is a Saxon word, derived from “helan,” meaning to cover; and denotes, literally, a covered or deep place (Webster), and in that case, the dark and dismal abode of departed spirits; the place of torment. As the word is used now, it by no means expresses the force of the original. The Greek word “hades” means, literally, a place devoid of light; a dark, obscure abode; and the Greek writers applied to the dark and obscure regions where disembodied spirits were supposed to dwell. HELL, in this place is the translation of the Hebrew, “sheol.” In Revelation 20:13, 14, it is connected with “death”—"And the sea gave up the dead who were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead who were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” Also see Revelation 6:8, and 1:18. In 1 Corinthians 15:55, it means the grave—"O grave (hades), where is thy victory?" In Matthew 11:23 it means a deep, overwhelming place, as opposed to an exalted, glorious one; a situation of tragedy and degradation as opposed to one of great prosperity—"Thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell, (hades).” In Luke 16:23, it is applied to the place where the rich man was after his death, a place of punishment—"In hell (hades) he lifted up his eyes, being in torments." Here, in this verse it is connected with the idea of suffering; and undoubtedly denotes a place of punishment. It is remarkable that it is never used in the Old Testament to denote the word “keeper,” which stands for a grave or sepulcher. The idea which was conveyed by the word sheol, or hades, was not a grave or sepulcher, but that dark, unknown state, which included the region of the dead. It is now difficult to explain the idea the Hebrews had of the future world, and it is not necessary in this case. The word HELL originally meant simply the state of the dead, the ravenous demands of the grave, but the meaning was expanded 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 convey the idea of the abode of a deceased body in the earth.
2. Man has a soul, a thinking essence; and therefore the question must arise—what will be its condition? Will it also die? The Hebrews never appear to have believed that. Will it ascend to heaven at once? Will it go immediately to a place of torment? They assumed it would live and that it would go at once to sheol—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. Since they were ignorant of the size and spherical structure of the earth, they supposed this place was located deep in the earth, far below us; and that's why the Psalmist put it in opposition to heaven--"If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, (sheol,) behold, thou art there” (Psalms 139:8).  The most common meaning of the word expresses those dark regions, the lower world, the regions of ghosts, etc.
3. There was yet another question that needed to be settled—whether all these beings were happy? Revelation supplied the answer; and it was revealed in the Old Testament. HELL expressed the situation of the wicked dead, better than it did the righteous. It conveyed the idea of darkness, gloom, wandering aimlessly; the idea of a sad and uncertain environment, unlike heaven. Therefore the word sometimes expresses the idea of a place of punishment, as it does in Psalms 9:17: "The wicked shall be turned into hell.” While the word does not mean a grave or a sepulcher, yet it often means the state of the dead, and implies the continued existence of the soul. This is the sense in which it is often used in the Old Testament, where the Hebrew word is sheol, and the Greek hades. This expression refers to the dead Messiah. Thou wilt not leave him among the dead; thou wilt raise him up. It is from this verse, and perhaps with help from two others that the doctrine that Christ "descended," as it is expressed in the creed, "into hell," originated.
a. Romans 10:7 (KJV) “Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)”
b. 1 Peter 3:19 (KJV) “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.”


 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.


neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
The Hebrew word which is translated here as HOLY ONE, properly means one who is tenderly and piously devoted to another, and it meets the requirements of the New Testament expression, "my beloved Son." Peter uses it here to indicate one that is HOLY; that is set apart to God. In this sense it is applied to Christ, either as Him being set apart to the office of Messiah, or as a person so pure that it is only proper to designate Him the Holy One, or the Holy One of God. It is used several times to designate the Messiah.
• Mark 1:24 (KJV) “…I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.”
• Luke 4:34 (KJV) “…I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.”
• Acts 3:14 (KJV) “But ye denied the Holy One…”
• Luke 1:35 (KJV) “…that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

The body of Christ lay in the grave for only a little while: NEITHER WILT THOU SUFFER THINE HOLY ONE TO SEE CORRUPTION. It does not take long for a body in the grave to begin to decompose; and therefore it must return to life on or before the third day after its death. Christ was God’s Holy One, sanctified and set apart to serve Him in the work of redemption. He must die in order to fulfill prophesy and to give His body as a sacrifice for sin; but he must not see corruption, because his death was to be unto God of a sweet smelling savour. This was epitomized by the law concerning the sacrifice that no part of the flesh of the sacrifice which was to be eaten should be kept till the third day, for fear it would see corruption and begin to become rancid—“The flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day it is offered. He shall not leave any of it until morning. But if the sacrifice of his offering is a vow or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he offers his sacrifice; but on the next day the remainder of it also may be eaten; the remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day must be burned with fire. And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering is eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, nor shall it be imputed to him; it shall be an abomination to him who offers it, and the person who eats of it shall bear guilt” (Lev 7:15-18; NKJV).

The sentence pronounced on man after the fall was, “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.” But Jesus, since He was conceived without sin, and never involved Himself in human corruption, or in the condemnation of fallen human nature; it was impossible for His body to see corruption; and it could not have undergone temporary death, if it had not been for the purpose of making an atonement for sin. It was therefore impossible that the human nature of our Lord could be subject to corruption: and although it was possible that His soul and body might be separated for a time, it would never undergo termination, because it had not sinned, and its immortality was the necessary consequence of its being pure from transgression.


28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

Thou hast made known to me the ways of life;
In Psalm 16 David is talking about the resurrection of Christ—“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalms 16:10, 11; KJV). This is the psalm of the resurrection of Jesus Christ—it has now been gloriously fulfilled. The interpretation of this psalm is given by Simon Peter, who is filled with the Holy Spirit. This was the heart of Peter’s message on the day of Pentecost. “For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [sheol was the Hebrew word, meaning “the unseen world”], neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day [from where Peter was preaching in the temple area, they could see the tomb of David, and Peter undoubtedly pointed to it]. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption” (Acts 2:25–31). Peter said clearly that Psalm 16:8–10 spoke of the resurrection of Christ. There are several liberal expositors who say that Psalm 16 has no reference to the resurrection of Christ. When a liberal makes that statement, I have to consider what Simon Peter said. When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, several thousand people turned to Christ and were saved, which brought about a revolution in the Roman Empire. With this in mind I feel like saying to the liberals, “How many are coming to the Lord through your ministry?” That is the real test. Simon Peter said that Psalm 16 refers to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and I am taking his word for it.


Peter also said this on the day of Pentecost: “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:32–36). Obviously Psalm 16 refers to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Paul also quoted from this psalm. In Acts 13:35–37 he says, “Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.” You see, Paul also said it was the psalm of Jesus’ resurrection.


What we have in this psalm is quite remarkable. In verse 8 we have the life of Christ. “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”  That, my friend, was the pathway He followed down here, and it is the pathway I want to follow.


Then in verse 9 we have the death of Christ: “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” He died there upon the cross, knowing that God would raise Him from the dead.


 Then we have the resurrection of Christ in verse 10: “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [that is, the grave]; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”


Next we have the ascension of Christ in verse 11: THOU WILT SHEW ME THE PATH OF LIFE: IN THY PRESENCE IS FULNESS OF JOY; AT THY RIGHT HAND THERE ARE PLEASURES FOR EVERMORE. As you can see, this is a wonderful resurrection psalm, and it is used as such in the New Testament. The resurrection of Christ is definitely prophesied in this great messianic psalm.


THE WAYS OF LIFE is what David called THE PATH TO LIFE; it is what we call, the road to advancement or honour; the path to happiness. But for many men today it is the highway to ruin.  Proverbs 7:25-27 has this to say, “Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” This warning is to be taken literally, and there is also a spiritual application for you and me today. The Scriptures have a great deal to say about spiritual adultery. God called it that when His people left Him and went after idols. They were snared by idolatry, and they were brought into subjection. They departed from the living and true God. They were to be joined to Him, but they had separated from Him. They were actually playing the harlot; they were being unfaithful and untrue to Him. That is spiritual adultery.


Today we have many cults and “isms” and all types of false religions around us. For example, one says, “You don’t need any longer to follow Christ as you are following Him. You don’t need to trust Him alone as your Savior. What you need to do is join our group and do certain things.”


In my opinion, the best picture we have of cults, “isms,” and all false religions is the prostitute that is all dressed up—attractive, alluring, offering something to man that will actually destroy him and send him down to hell, and take him away from Jesus Christ, the lover of our souls.


Peter was under the power of the Holy Spirit and He preached the first great sermon on the Day of Pentecost. At one point he was talking about the resurrection of Christ, and he said, THOU HAST MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE. It means, Thou wilt make known to me life itself, that is, thou wilt restore me to life. The expressions in the Psalm are capable of this interpretation without doing any harm 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.


Christ’s death and sufferings should be, not to Him only, but to all of His, an inlet to a blessed immortality: "THOU HAS MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE, and by me made them known to the world, and laid them open.’’ When the Father gave to the Son to have life in himself, a power to lay down his life and to take it again, then he showed him THE WAY OF LIFE, both to and from; the gates of death were open to him and the doors of the shadow of death (Job 38:17), to pass and go through them, as his sacrifice for man’s redemption led Him to do.


The words, “Thou shalt make known to me the ways of life,” constitute the affirmative assertion of a restoration to life, which had been negatively expressed, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades, neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption” The words “Thou wilt make me full of joy with thy countenance,” no doubt refer to that joy set before Jesus, for which “he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
 

thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
THOU SHALT MAKE ME FULL OF JOY expresses the feelings of the Messiah as He envisions the honor that would be showed him by His Father; 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—
• Hebrews 12.2; (KJV) “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” In the same way Jesus fixed His gaze upon the joy which lay at the end of the course, so we must fix our gaze upon Jesus; for as the finisher of our faith, He is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
• Ephesians 1.20-22; (KJV) “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.” It took power to raise Christ from the dead—a tremendous power. Not only is it resurrection power, but it is the power that set Christ at God’s right hand, and that is ascension power. We don’t make much of the Ascension in our churches today; we emphasize Christmas and Easter, but we seem to forget the events after that. Have you ever stopped to think of the power that took Him back to the right hand of God? That, my friend, is power. The power that took Christ to the right hand of God is the same power that is available to believers today. That is why Paul prays that believers may know the greatness of that power. He writes, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection …” (Phil. 3:10).


All our Savior’s sorrows and sufferings should end in perfect and perpetual joy: THOU SHALT MAKE ME FULL OF JOY WITH THY COUNTENANCE. The reward set before him was joy, a fulness of joy, that would be found in God’s COUNTENANCE, in the COUNTENANCE he gave to His undertaking, and to all those, for His sake, that would believe in Him. The smiles with which the Father received him, when, at his ascension, he was brought to the Ancient of days, filled him with joy unspeakable, and that is the joy of our Lord, into which all His shall enter, and in which they shall be forever happy.


 WITH THY COUNTENANCE literally means, "With thy face," that is, in thy presence. The words COUNTENANCE and presence mean the same thing; and indicate favor, or the honor and happiness provided by being admitted into the presence of God. The prospect of that honor, which would be bestowed on the Messiah, was what 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 exalted position on 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 a full and confident expectation that he would rise from the dead. The Lord Jesus always envisioned this, and often declared it to his disciples.
2. If the Saviour rejoiced in the prospect of the glories before him, we should also. We should anticipate with joy an everlasting dwelling in the presence of God.
3. The prospect of this should sustain us, as it did him, in the midst of persecution, tragedy, 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 there are pleasures for evermore."


29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

Men and brethren,
Peter addresses his audience with a title of respect—MEN AND BRETHREN. “You are MEN, and therefore you should be ruled by reason; you are BRETHREN, and therefore should welcome and appreciate what is said to you by one who is closely related to you, is sincerely concerned for you, and wishes you well.


The comment that Peter makes upon this text, in this place relates to the resurrection of Christ. He will use the same passage in Psalms to prove it could not refer to David, but must have reference to the Messiah. He begins his argument in a respectful manner by addressing them as his brethren, even though they had just charged him and the others with intoxication. There may be a lesson here for Christians—that we should use the usual respectful forms of greeting, in spite of whatever contempt and accusations they may direct against us.
 

let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David,
The word PATRIARCH means the head or ruler of a family, the founder of a family, or a memorable ancestor. It was commonly applied to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because of their prominence as the illustrious founders of the Jewish nation—“And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs. And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him” (Acts 7:9; KJV). It was also applied to the heads of the families, or the chief men of the tribes of Israel. It was therefore a title of honour, signifying great respect. When applied to David, it acknowledges that he was the illustrious head or founder of the royal family, and Peter does not intend to say anything disrespectful about such a respected king; but, at the same time he freely comments on a passage of Scripture which many alleged to refer to him. It is evident that prophecy did not literally find its fulfillment in David, since the patriarch died and is buried and on that very day was in a sepulcher that could be seen from where Peter stood. But Jesus Christ’s triumph over death and His resurrection confirms the truth of this Old Testament prophecy. Therefore the prophecy was not made of David himself, but of his descendant, Jesus of Nazareth. The apostles were all witnesses of the resurrected Lord and could attest to the truth of the prophecy. So, Peter speaks boldly, “Give me leave to speak to you FREELY CONCERNING THE PATRIARCH DAVID, and do not be offended if I tell you that David cannot be understood here as speaking of himself, but of the Christ to come.’’ Though David was a pious man; though he was venerated by all as a king; yet it is appropriate to say of him, that he is dead, and his body has disintegrated and returned to the earth. It should be observed that there is not one syllable mentioned anywhere in scripture of the resurrection of David’s body, or the return of his soul from the state of the dead.


that he is both dead and buried,
Peter, who is full of the Holy Ghost, envisions in the sixteenth Psalm a Holy Man whose life consisted of extraordinary devotedness and lofty spirituality and is crowned with the confidence, that despite the fact that He will taste of death, He will certainly rise again without being subjected to corruption, and be given access to the delight of God's immediate presence. Now, since this could not be true of David, because he died, and was buried, and his sepulchre remained in Jerusalem till now, when Peter spoke these words, it could be applied to only One other person; Him whom David was taught would be the final Occupant of the throne of Israel. The focus of the Psalm must be JESUS of NAZARETH, and no one else, whose resurrection and ascension were witnessed by the apostles, while the glorious outpouring of the Spirit by the hand of the One who had ascended, was a fulfillment of prophesy and a Promise made by Him to these same apostles, and was even then witnessed by the thousands who stood listening to Him.


In the words quoted by Peter, David speaks in the first person, and this might lead some to say that he was speaking about himself. If, however, it can be proved that he did not speak of himself, they would have to admit that he spoke in the name of the Christ. Peter proves this, in these words: (29) “Brethren, let me freely speak to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us to this day. (30) Being a prophet, then, and knowing that God had sworn to him, that from the fruit of his loins he would raise up the Christ, according to the flesh, to sit on his throne; (31) foreseeing this, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that his soul was not left in hades, neither did his flesh see corruption.” Although David was a man after God’s own heart, yet he went the way of all the earth, which he said about himself (1 Ki. 2:2) in regard to both his death and burial. Therefore, he undoubtedly spoke as a prophet; David's flesh did see corruption, which they readily admitted, and his soul, in spite of everything was still living in Hades, so there was nothing left to them than to admit that he spoke of the Messiah. This brief argument not only refuted the baseless objection, but opened the minds of his hearers, to an entirely new understanding of the prophetic throne of David, and of the Messiah, who would set upon it; showing, that instead of being the ruler of an earthly kingdom, he would sit upon the throne of the whole universe.


and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Sepulchers were commonly located outside the walls of cities and beyond the limits of villages. The custom of burying in towns was not commonly practiced. This was true of other ancient societies as well as the Hebrews, and is still followed in eastern countries, except in the case of kings and very distinguished men, whose ashes are permitted to remain within the walls of a city. Scripture contains some examples of prominent men who were laid to rest inside city walls:
• 1 Samuel 28:3 (NKJV) “Now Samuel had died, and all Israel had lamented for him and buried him in Ramah, in his own city…”
• 2 Kings 21:18 (KJV) “And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza…”
• 2 Chron 16:14 (NKJV) “They buried him [ASA] in his own tomb, which he had made for himself in the City of David…”
• 2 Kings 14:20 (NKJV) “Then they brought him on horses, and he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the City of David.” The sepulchers of the Hebrew kings were on Mount Zion (2 Chronicles 21:20, 24:25, 28:27, 32:33, 24:16, 2 Kings 14:20).
• 1 Kings 2:10 (KJV) “So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.” David was buried in the city of David, with his fathers, on mount Zion, where he built a city called by his name—“Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that is, the City of David)” (2 Sam 5:7; NKJV).


 It is not known today what the tombs of the kings looked like. It is almost certain, though, that they would have been built in a grand manner. The tombs were commonly carved out of solid rock, or adapted from natural caves; and large sepulchers cut out of the solid rock are known to have existed. The following account of the tomb called "the sepulcher of the kings" is condensed from an article by 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 sepulchers. 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 required a great deal of labour and expense. It was probably the practice then as it is now to erect expensive and impressive monuments to the memory of the great and powerful.
 

It is clear from the writings of Josephus (Antiq., b. vii., c. xv., 3.), that the sepulcher of David was well known and honoured—"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.  The tomb of a monarch like David would be well known and honored by the Jews. Peter might, then, confidently appeal to their own belief and knowledge, that David had not been raised from the dead. That no Jew believed it is apparent from their care of his sepulcher, and by the honor with which they regarded his grave; instead, they believed his body had decayed and returned to the earth. The Psalm, therefore, could not apply to him.


Apparently Peter was standing in the temple area. He could point his finger to the sepulcher of David at the top of Mount Zion. He is saying, “It is obvious that David wasn’t speaking about himself because his bones are right up there on the top of the hill. His grave is there; his body did undergo corruption. He is not speaking of himself but of Someone whom you and I know, Someone who did not see corruption but was raised from the dead.”


30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

Therefore being a prophet,
It is clear from scripture that David was a prophet and was inspired by the Spirit of God—“The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue” (2 Sam 23:2; NKJV). This clearly shows that all the excellent wisdom, beautiful language, and striking prophetic imagery, which the Psalms of David contain, were due, not to his superior natural talents or acquired knowledge, but to the influences and dictates of God's Spirit.


David was dead and buried, and it was clear that he could not have referred to himself when he made this remarkable declaration in the sixteenth Psalm. It followed that he must have made reference to someone else. He spoke as a prophet of God about a future event. Many of the prophecies relating to the Messiah are found in the Psalms of David (See Psalms 22:1; Matthew 27:46; Luke 24:44; Psalms 22:18, compare to Matthew 27:35; Psalms 69:21, compare to Matthew 27:34, 48; Psalms 69:26, compare to Acts 1:20.).


and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him,
It is said, “The LORD swore an oath to David, a pledge never to be broken: “Your own offspring I will set upon your throne” (Ps. 132.11; NABWRNT). When our Lord Jesus was born the angel Gabriel had a message for His mother, Mary: “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Lk. 1.32; NKJV). God had promised to David that Christ would sit on his throne (See 2 Sam 7:11-16; Psa 89:3, 4, 35, 37.).   The places where it speaks of God having sworn to David are found in the following verses (In addition to Ps. 132.11.):
• “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah” (Psalms 89:3-4; KJV).
• “Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me” (Psalms 89:35-36; KJV).


The promise to which reference is made in all these places is in 2 Samuel 7:11-16. “As since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”
 

All Israel knew that the Messiah was to be the Son of David; but only according to the flesh, he would be so by his human nature; on the other hand, according to the spirit, and by his divine nature, he would be David’s Lord, not his son. And since God had sworn to David that the Messiah, promised to his fathers, would be his son and successor, the fruit of his loins, and heir to his throne, he kept it in view when he wrote his psalms.


that of the fruit of his loins,
David knew that the Messiah would be THE FRUIT OF HIS LOINS; that God had sworn to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne. Therefore, Christ being the fruit of his loins, and consequently in his loins when he wrote that psalm (similar to how Levi is said to be in Abraham’s loins when he paid tithes to Melchizedek), if what he said is not applicable to himself (and Peter has shown that it is not), we must conclude it points to that Son of his that was then in his loins, in whom his family and kingdom were to have their perfection and perpetuity; and therefore, when he says that his soul should not be left in Hades, nor his flesh see corruption, without a shred of doubt he must be understood to speak of the resurrection of Christ (v. 31). And we are witnesses that Christ died, and that he rose again, according to the scriptures.

 
according to the flesh,
ACCORDING TO THE FLESH means 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 meaningless. They are never used in connection with a mere man; and they imply that the speaker or writer thought the Messiah had a nature which was not according to the flesh. It is clear from what he wrote to the Roman Church that the Apostle Paul recognized the human and divine natures of Christ: “Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1.3, 4; NKJV). He is of the seed (the sperm) of David, according to the flesh. This is the humanity of Jesus. He is virgin–born because He is declared the Son of God with power.


he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
HE WOULD RAISE UP CHRIST, that is, the Messiah. To raise up seed, or descendants, is the same as giving them to him. It is clear that the promises made to David and to his descendants in all these places was understood by the New Testament writers as well as the Jews in general to refer specifically to the Messiah. But today it is not clear in what way these promises that were made to David were understood as applying to the Messiah and it may not be easy to determine. The facts, however, are 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 last forever. Yet his descendants died, and all earthly kingdoms changed.
• The promise was made only to David; it was not made to any of the other Jewish kings; nor was similar declarations made to any of the 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 established doctrine of the Jews that he was to descend from David, and that his kingdom was to be perpetual. The apostles made this belief of the prophecy one of the principle elements of their message to the Jews and since the opinions of the Jews were in agreement it 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 understood that the promise referred to the Messiah.
• Fortunately, we have the commentary of David himself, 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 it is just as certain that he regarded the promise made to him extending to his coming and his reign.


This is what David was talking about in Psalm 16. He was speaking of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. You may say, “But I read Psalm 16, and it doesn’t say that Jesus Christ will rise from the dead.” My friend, here in Acts 2 we have the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of this psalm. Now we can go back and read the psalm, knowing that it refers to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

 
 TO SIT ON HIS THRONE means 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 never leave his family, like it had left 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. Therefore, the One who would reign over the people of God, though in a somewhat different manner from David, would be regarded as occupying his throne, and as being his successor. 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 no less real; defended not with carnal weapons, but by the power of God and His angels; not under a visible earthly monarch, but really under the Captain of salvation, and the King of kings.
 

31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

HE SEEING THIS BEFORE refers to the spirit of prophecy. David had distinct views of the great doctrines pertaining to the Messiah that he received directly from the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ’s triumph over death by His resurrection confirms the reality of this Old Testament prophecy. Therefore the prophecy was not made about David himself, but about his descendant, Jesus of Nazareth. The apostles and many in the crowd that day were witnesses of the resurrected Lord and could attest to the truth of the prophecy. Christ rose from the grave and later at His ascension they saw Him rise and disappear into the clouds, and therefore the prophesy that David made in the 16th Psalm must pertain to the resurrection  of Christ and not to David’s own, since there is no account anywhere of David rising out of his grave or ascending to heaven.


What is Simon Peter talking about? His sermon is about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The first sermon ever preached in the church age was an Easter sermon. And every sermon in the early church was an Easter sermon.


The words “HIS SOUL” are omitted by ABCD, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, and Vulgate. If they are omitted, the verse reads: "He spake of the resurrection of Christ; that he was not left in Hades, neither did his flesh see corruption."


Christ's resurrection did away with the shame and reproach of His death; this is the theme of Peter’s sermons and he drove it home with simple language, time after time. Christ was God's Holy One, sanctified and set apart to His service in the work of redemption. His death and sufferings were not done for Him only, but for all those His Father has given Him, in order that they may have entrance to a blessed life for evermore.
 

32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

This Jesus hath God raised up,
Now Peter is saying to the crowd that was there that day, “This that you have seen—that is, the miracle of hearing their own languages spoken by Galileans—has taken place because Jesus was raised from the dead. David foretold it; we are all witnesses of it.” There were, including him, at least twelve witnesses there who had seen the risen Lord again and again.


Peter, having made the case 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 objections to the truth of the doctrine were taken away, and the only question was, whether there was evidence that it had really occurred. The proof which Peter now offers is his own testimony, and that of his brethren, to the truth of this great and glorious fact—This Jesus, “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:24; KJV).


whereof we all are witnesses.
WE ALL ARE WITNESSES—Men witnessing to the world was His method. And the message was that He died and rose again from the dead, and that, by trusting Him, sinners could be saved. The power to carry the witness to the world is the Holy Spirit.


It seems likely that Peter is referring to the entire one hundred and twenty who were on hand, and were ready in the face of persecution and death, to substantiate this great truth that—THIS JESUS HATH GOD RAISED UP. The matter which was to be proved, simply stated, was that Jesus was seen alive after he had been put to death. The apostles were commissioned to bear witness to this fact. And we are told by Paul that He was seen by more than five hundred brethren, that is, Christians, at one time—“After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:6; NKJV). This was probably in Galilee, where the Lord Jesus had carried out most of his public ministry, and where he had found most of His disciples. The hundred and twenty assembled on this occasion were almost certainly part of that number, and now they were ready to testify to the reality of this glorious event. This was the proof that Peter declare; and the strength of this proof should have overcome all objections. The proof included the following points:
1. The apostles had seen Him themselves. They did not suppose it, or make it up; they had evidence like that on which men act every day, and which must be regarded as satisfactory—the evidence of their own senses of sight, hearing, and touch.
2. The number of witnesses was great enough that they could not be accused of committing a fraud or mistaking what they saw. If one hundred and twenty persons could not prove a plain matter of fact, and five hundred could not either, then nothing could be established by testimony; there could be no way of arriving at any facts.
3. The thing to be established was a simple matter. It was not that they saw him rise. They never said they did. Impostors would have done that. But what they declared was that they saw him, talked to Him, walked with Him, ate with Him, and drank with him, AFTER he had been crucified and His body confined in a tomb. The fact of his death was a matter of Jewish record; and no one called it into question. The only fact Christianity made out of this was that he was seen alive afterwards; and this was substantiated by many witnesses.
4. The apostles had nothing to gain by deceiving the world in this thing. There was no expectation of pleasure, wealth, or honor in doing it.
5. They offered themselves not merely as witnesses, but as men who were ready to endure any sufferings, or to die, in order to provide corroboration for the truth of this event.
6. This event had taken place as foretold, and the apostles were witnesses. But the resurrection did not rest upon this alone; Christ had by His Holy Spirit poured upon his disciple’s miraculous gifts and Divine influences of which they were now witnessing the effects.


33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted,
THE RIGHT HAND was often used by the Hebrews to symbolize power; and as the expression is used here it does not mean that He was exalted to the right hand of God, but the right hand of God (that is, by his power), He was exalted. He was raised from the dead by the power of God, and ascended to heaven, triumphant over all His enemies. The use of the term RIGHT HAND to denote power is common in the Scriptures. For example: "Thine own right hand can save thee" (Job 40:14); and “Thou savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee" (Psalms 17:7). (Also see Psalms 18:35; Psalms 20:6, 21:8, 44:3, and 60:5.)


Jesus prayed to His Father  that He would be raised up from his condition of humiliation to the glory which he had with the Father before the world was created: “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5; KJV). Did God honor His request? He certainly did! “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, AND SET HIM AT HIS OWN RIGHT HAND in the heavenly places, (Eph 1.19, 20; KJV). Jesus was raised by omnipotence to the highest dignity in the realms of glory, to sit at the right hand of God, and administer the laws of both worlds.
• Phil 2:9-11 (NKJV) “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
• Acts 5:31 (KJV) “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”


and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost,
THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY GHOST was the promise that he had made to them a little before He was taken by wicked men to be tortured and cruelly murdered. This promise can be found in several places:

• (John 14.16; KJV) “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”
• (John 16:7; KJV) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” The coming of the Holy Ghost was conditional. He would not come until the Lord Jesus returned to heaven.
• John 14:26 (KJV) “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” This gift was in the power of the Father, and He would send him.
• John 15:26 (KJV) “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.”
• John 16:13-15 (KJV) “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”


The Promise was also given by Christ after He had risen from the dead: “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49; KJV).


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.


he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
The supernatural marvels of this wonderful day were the proof of Christ's exaltation. He had SHED them forth. The Spirit came, not because the believers prayed but because the day of Pentecost had come, the day appointed for the “birthday of the church” (See Lev. 23:15–21). He baptized the believers into one body—“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13; KJV)—so that they had a living connection with their Head (Jesus Christ) exalted in heaven. Luke 2 describes the birth of the Lord’s physical body and Acts 2 the birth of His spiritual body.


What they were currently observing, which HATH been SHED FORTH was the power of speaking different languages, and declaring the truth of the gospel. This is how Peter explains the remarkable events taking place before them. It could not be produced by new wine (Acts 2:15). It was expressly foretold in 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 would descend; and the fulfillment of this promise was a rational way of accounting for the scene before them. It could not be accounted for in any other way; and the effect on those who witnessed it was what might be expected.


The Spirit also filled the believers and empowered them for witnessing. He gave Peter insight into the Word and the ability to show men Christ in the Word. The Spirit used the witness of the church to convict the lost, just as Jesus said He would do.


But the same Holy Spirit assisted the believers in their church fellowship. The original group was outnumbered by the new believers, but there was still harmony in the church family. They worshiped daily and witnessed daily, and “the Lord added to the church daily” (v. 47). Is your experience with the Lord a daily one?


34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

For David is not ascended into the heavens:
Peter continues to illustrate that the patriarch David is not the Messiah—FOR DAVID IS NOT ASCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS. The exaltation of Christ placed Him at the right hand of the Father and set the stage for sending the Holy Spirit of God to His believers. This David could not do it, because he had not ascended into the heavens. To prove this, Peter looks to Psalms 110:1 which he quotes as evidence that David addressed the Lord Jesus as One on high (the Messiah)—“Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” As great as they revered David and as much as they were accustomed to apply these verses of Scripture to him, they could not be legitimately applied to him. They must refer to some other being; and especially that passage which Peter now proceeds to quote. It was important to show that these verses could not apply to David, and also that by them David gave his testimony concerning the exalted character and dignity of the Messiah. To that end, Peter points out here that David declared that the Messiah was to be exalted to a position of dignity far above his own. This does not mean 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. Consequently, he has not shed forth this extraordinary gift, but it comes from his Lord, of whom he said, The Lord said unto my Lord, etc.


Old Testament saints didn’t go to heaven. If any of them had been up in heaven, David would have been there. David did not ascend into heaven. You see, the Old Testament saints are going to be raised to live down on this earth someday. It is the church that will be taken to the New Jerusalem. It is said of the believers today when they die that they are absent from the body and present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8).


Peter’s conclusion: that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.


but he saith himself,
Peter now shows that David had predicted the exaltation of Christ by quoting the verse containing that prophesy—“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Psalms 110:1; KJV).


Back in the twenty second chapter of Matthew we find that Jesus also quoted this verse and applied it to Himself. It happened after the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees with His reply to a question they asked. They wanted to do better than the Sadducees by asking Him a question that He could not answer without impugning the law of God, so they came in a group to question him again. One of them, who is an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the Law of Moses?” (22.36). You will find Jesus reply in Matthew 22.37-40.


He was surrounded by the Pharisees, but He turned the table on them by asking them a question of His own. “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They replied, “He is the son of David” He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool" '? (Matt 22:42-44; NKJV).The question can be expressed like this: How is this doctrine, that he is descended from David, consistent with what David said when he calls him Lord? How can your opinion be reconciled with that? That is recorded in Psalms 110:1. A lord or master is a superior. The word here does not necessarily imply Divinity, but only superiority. David calls him his superior, his Lord, his Master, his Lawgiver; and expresses his willingness to obey him. If the Messiah was to be merely a descendant of David, like other men who are descended from parents—if he was to have a human nature only, as you Jews suppose—if he did not exist when David wrote—with what accuracy could he, then, call him his Lord?  Then Jesus asked a question that caused them to walk away, grumbling to themselves: “Since David called the Messiah ‘my Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?” No one could answer him. And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions” (Matt 22:45-46; NLT).

 
The LORD said unto my Lord,
“THE LORD” designates God, the Father. “My Lord” refers to Christ.


The word “LORD” (with small capitals) in the Bible, indicates that the original word is “Jehovah.” The Hebrews regarded this as the distinctive name of God, a name unutterable to any other being. It is not applied to any being except God in the Scriptures. The Jews had such a reverence for it that they never said it; but when it occurred in the Scriptures they pronounced another name, “Adoni.” Here it means, Jehovah said. 


The word “Lord” is a different word in the Hebrew: it is Adoni‎. It is used by a servant to address his master, or by a subject to his sovereign, or it is used as a title of respect by an inferior to a superior. Here it means, "Jehovah said to Him whom I, David, acknowledge to be my superior and sovereign.” From this we understand that, though he regarded him as his descendant according to the flesh, he also regarded Him as his superior and Lord. By reference to this passage our Saviour confounded the Pharisees (See Matthew 22:42-46 above.). It is clear that Psalm 110.1 refers to the Messiah. That is how our Saviour applied it in Matthew 22:42-46, and He presented it in a way that showed it was the well-understood doctrine of the Jews.


Sit thou on my right hand,
This is still a quote from Psalm 110:1. He is showing them that Jesus is up yonder at the right hand of God. He will be there until He comes back to establish His Kingdom. But while He is at the right hand of God, He is still working in the world. The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." See verse 33.


35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
A “FOOTSTOOL” is a piece of furniture on which a person would rest his feet. The word is often used symbolically in the Bible to signify God’s promise to Israel to "make (the Lord’s) enemies his footstool" (Ps. 110:1). This messianic promise is repeated six times in the New Testament (Matt. 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:43; Acts 2:35; Heb. 1:13; 10:13).


It was NOT usual for conquerors to put their feet on the necks of defeated leaders. It was a symbolic act which indicated the state of subjection to which they were reduced, and the total extinction of their power. By quoting these words, Peter shows the Jews, who continued to be enemies of Christ, that the frustration of their hopes or plans and the ruin of their nation had to take place; their own king and prophet predicted this in connection with the other things which had already been so literally and circumstantially fulfilled. This conclusion had the desired effect, when pressed home with the strong application in the following verse.


When the Mediatorial work of Christ is finished and “every ruler and authority and power has been destroyed,” then all power is given up to the Father (See 1 Cor 15:23-28). When Christ's work is accomplished he places all in the Father's hands. Christ is reigning now, and will continue to reign until he has conquered all his enemies. He is not waging a contest for a kingdom, as some contend, but will give up the kingdom when the contest is over and the final victory won over all His wicked opposition, human and supernatural; also sin and death; and when everything has been accomplished—the resurrection, the judgment, the casting of Death and Hell (hades—the grave) into the lake of fire, and all things are under his feet. This is a quote from Psalm 8.6: “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet;” a statement that Christ is Lord of all and that God has subjected all to him. God gave Christ the power, but the Father is not subject to the Son. When the entire world is subdued to Christ and all His work is done, He will give up the kingdom to the Father, and Christ will give up the seals of His office.


36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.


Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly,
This is the grand climax, the conclusion to which the whole discourse, thus far, had been directed; that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah and Saviour of the world; with this he closes his sermon: THEREFORE LET ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL KNOW ASSUREDLY (that is, for certain) that this truth has now been confirmed, and we have been commission to make it known—THAT GOD HAS MADE THAT SAME JESUS WHOM YOU HAVE CRUCIFIED BOTH LORD AND CHRIST; and it is their duty to receive it as a faithful saying. Many in the crowd on that day were "Convinced by the prophecies, by the testimony of the one hundred and twenty disciples of Christ, by Peter’s sermon, and by the remarkable scene exhibited on the day of Pentecost: Therefore let all men everywhere be convinced that the true Messiah has come, and has been exalted to heaven."


The word HOUSE often means family, as it does here; therefore, HOUSE OF ISRAEL means the “family of Israel,” that is, all of the nation of the Jews. “Know assuredly” means be assured, or know without any doubt, or possibility of mistake.


The twelve were ordered by our Lord to tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ until after his resurrection—“Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ” (Mt. 16:20; KJV); but now it must be proclaimed from the housetops, to all the house of Israel; he that hath ears to hear, let him hear it.


that God hath made that same Jesus,
GOD HATH MADE denotes that God has appointed, or constituted—“Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5.31; KJV).

 
“THAT SAME JESUS” is the very person who was crucified. He was raised with the same body; He had the same soul, and was the same being, which distinguished Him from all others. Likewise, Christians, in the resurrection, will be the same beings that they were before they died.

 
whom ye have crucified,
God has glorified the Lord Jesus WHOM THEY HAVE CRUCIFIED. This makes their wickedness even worse; they crucified the One whom God intended to glorify, and put him to death as a fraud and deceiver, in spite of Him having given them such momentous proofs of His divine mission; and it magnifies the wisdom and power of God that though they crucified him, and thought they were done with Him, even putting His character under an indelible mark of infamy, yet God had glorified him, and the indignities they had done to Him served only to smug his luster.


There was no better way to show the Jews the horribleness of what they done than the argument which Peter used—“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23; KJV). He showed them that God had sent Jesus; that he was the Messiah; that God had showed his love for Him, by raising him from the dead. They had put to death the Son of God and the hope of their nation; He was not an impostor, or a man sowing sedition, or a blasphemer; He was the Messiah of God; and they had stained their hands in his blood. There is nothing more certain to make sinners fear and tremble, than to show them that by rejecting Christ, they have rejected God; by refusing to serve Him, they have refused to serve God. The crime committed by sinners has a double malignity, since it is committed against a kind and loving Saviour, and against the God who loved Him, and delegated to Him the task of saving men. “But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses” (Acts 3:14,15; KJV). Here he goes again. Simon Peter will never preach a sermon without the mention of the Resurrection. Paul won’t either. Unfortunately, today there are many sermons preached without a mention of the Resurrection.


both Lord and Christ.
 The word lord denotes proprietor, master, or sovereign, and here it clearly means that God had exalted him to be the King that was anticipated for so long; and that he had given him dominion in the heavens; or, as we should say, made Him ruler of all things. The extent of this dominion may be seen in the following verses.
• John 17:2 (KJV) “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” This shows how the Son is to be glorified. It is by “GIVING HIM ALL POWER IN HEAVEN AND EARTH,” and “COMMITTING ALL THINGS” to Him, and raising Him from the dead so that “HE SHOULD GIVE ETERNAL LIFE.”
• Eph 1:20-22 (KJV) “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.” God's power brought Christ back to the living and moved Him out of the tomb. The Scriptures put Christ at God's right hand (See Mark 16:19; Heb 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; Col 3:1). His seat there indicates his glory, and also that the work of redemption has been accomplished. “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion” indicates His rank which is above all the angelic hierarchy (See Rom 8:38; 1 Peter 3:22; also Eph 3:10). The same terms are applied to evil spirits in Ephesians 6:12. Christ is above all angels, good or evil. He is above every person, office and dignitary, whether in this present state, or in that future state. All power was given into his hands when he was raised from the dead (Matt 28:18). He is the rightful ruler of all. He was, when raised from the dead, exalted to be the ruler of all things and made the Head of the church; not merely its ruler, but the Head of the Body, which derives its life from the Head. (See 1 Cor 10:17; 12:27). Note that this exaltation is after the cross and the resurrection, and this definitely shows that Christ's church was not organized until after our Lord's crucifixion.


In His present office, he rules in heaven and on earth; and will come at a time when at a time when no one expects to judge the world. This truth was particularly capable of exciting their fear. They had murdered their Sovereign, who is now shown to be raised from the dead, and entrusted with infinite power. They had reason, therefore, to fear that he would come to them in vengeance, and punish them for their crimes. Those sinners that oppose the Savior are at war with their living and mighty Sovereign and Lord. He has all power; and it is not safe to challenge Him against the Judge of the living and the dead.
 
He is not only LORD, but also CHRIST. They had crucified the hope of their nation; smeared their hands with the blood of the One the prophets had pointed to, and put to death that Holy One, the prospect of whose coming had sustained the most holy men of the world when afflicted, and cheered them when they looked at the future years. That hope of their fathers had come, and they had put him to death; and it is no wonder that their consciousness of this brought a sense of guilt, and shame, and confusion that would overwhelm their minds, and lead them to ask in deep distress, “What can I do?”
 

God has glorified Him by making Him BOTH LORD AND CHRIST: these signify the same person; He is Lord of all, and he is not a fraud, but is anointed to be the Christ. He is one Lord to the Gentiles, who at one time had many lords; and to the Jews he is Messiah, which includes all his offices. This is the great truth of the gospel which we are to believe, that that same Jesus, the very same that was crucified at Jerusalem, is He to whom we owe allegiance, and from whom we are to expect protection, as Lord and Christ. Through the Saviour, the ways of life are made known; and we are encouraged to expect God's presence and his favor forever. All this springs from sure belief that Jesus is the Lord, and the anointed Saviour.


I AM SO VERY THANKFUL THAT I CAN SAY, “HE IS MY SAVIOR AND LORD.”  I PRAY YOU CAN TOO!

 

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