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Bible Commentaries
Acts 1

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-19

1 Acts is a continuation of the account of our Lord's ministry as recorded by Luke, who presents Him as Son of Mankind. As Theophilus is mentioned elsewhere only in Luke's account, it seems that the latter is the writer of Acts ( Luk_1:3 ). Though carried on through His apostles, it is the same ministry which the Lord began. It is largely confined to the one aspect treated in Luke's narrative-Christ as Man-but covers all the characters in which He is presented, He is the King of Israel, as in Matthew, the Servant as in Mark, and the Son of God as in John. The distinct commissions in each previous account are often combined in this continuation of the history of the kingdom proclamation.

3 The interval between His resurrection and ascension was used by our Lord to present indisputable proofs of His resurrection and to instruct His disciples concerning the kingdom of God. This was the preparation He deemed necessary for the ministry recorded in this book. These two subjects dominate it to the very end.

6 He had been telling them about the kingdom of Israel, but did not tell them when it would be restored to them. He does not correct their ideas as to the character of the kingdom, but keeps them in suspense as to the time . That would depend on the reception accorded their testimony, hence could not be foretold without unfavorably affecting its proclamation. Indeed, we are kept in suspense throughout the book, till the very close, when the kingdom is rejected by the Jews in Rome, and even then we are referred to Isaiah's question, "Till when?" God alone knows when, though in these days there are many signs that the longed-for time is near.

8 The ministry of the twelve apostles was devoted to three spheres-Jerusalem, Samaria, and the rest of the earth. They did not go to all nations ( Luk_24:47 ). Paul was called outside the land and commissioned for the regions beyond. The first seven chapters deal with their ministry in Jerusalem, the eighth and ninth with Samaria and the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth with the proselytes and Jews in the land. The balance of the book leads us outside the sphere of the ministry of the Twelve.

9 The resurrection and ascension of Christ are the two dominating factors in the kingdom testimony in this book. The kingdom had been proclaimed by the King in meekness and humiliation. Now it was about to be proclaimed in power by His apostles while He is glorified in heaven. They rejected Him when He spoke on earth. Will they refuse when He speaks from heaven? They scorned Him before His death. Will they hear One Who had risen from the dead!

11 The manner of His descent upon Olivet is to be precisely that which Zechariah had foretold ( Zec_14:3-4 ):

And Jehovah shall go forth and fight against those nations,

As the day He fought in the day of the attack.

And His feet stand in that day upon the mount of Olives

Which faces Jerusalem from the east.

He will come with the clouds of heaven ( Dan_7:13 ; Rev_1:7 ) with power and great glory ( Mat_24:30 ) as the Son of Mankind to a handful of faithful Israelites, just as He left. But for the church, the body of Christ, He comes, not to Olivet, but to the air, not to judge and make war, but to save us and take to Himself in glory all the members of His body, long before He returns to the mount of Olives.

12 The apostles seem to have had permanent quarters in Jerusalem. The list is probably arranged according to rank, for Peter and John, the "pillars", come first, followed by James. Simon the Zealot, so named from a class in the nation which arose at the time of the Maccabees, who were excessively zealous for the Mosaic law, is called a Cananite, the Hebrew equivalent or zealot, i n ( Mat_10:4 ) and Mar_3:18 ). Judas James was surnamed Thaddeus ( Mat_10:3 ) and Lebbeus.

16 The buying of a freehold was typical of Judas' loss of his allotment and going to his "own" place. Almost all land in Israel was held in common and allotted each year. But there were a few parcels of ground, such as the garden of Gethsemane, the titles of which were held by individuals. Judas bought one of these. This shows that he had no faith in the coming kingdom. when lands would be re-distributed. Contrast the course of the believing disciples ( Act_4:34 ).

Verses 20-26

20 It seems that Judas did not pay for the freehold, but returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests. They had a consultation, and used the money to complete the purchase. The freehold was called the Field of the Potter and was used for the burial of strangers ( Mat_27:7 ). But Judas not only lost his land and his life but also his place among the apostles.

21 These qualifications shut out the apostle Paul. He could never be one of the twelve, for he had not known the Lord at all during His earthly ministry. That the kingdom to Israel is in view is apparent from the very necessity of twelve apostles. Why would not the eleven be enough? Paul was associated with an indefinite number of apostles, but there must always be exactly twelve kingdom apostles, one for each of the tribes of Israel ( Mat_19:28 ).

26 The casting of lots was quite the opposite of a "lottery" in Israel. It was a constant recourse in order to know the mind of the Lord ( Pro_16:33 ). The lot is cast forth in a bosom, And from Jehovah is all its judgment. Matthias was duly and lawfully chosen and will have his place in the kingdom ruling over a tribe of Israel. That his name is not again mentioned does not disprove this, for several of the lesser apostles are never heard of afterward.

1 Pentecost is simply the Greek word "Fiftieth", because it was fifty days after the Passover. There were three festivals in Israel each year ( Exo_23:14 ). The first was the feast of unleavened bread, after the Passover; the second, the feast of harvest, or first fruits (which is here called Pentecost because it was held seven weeks after the Passover), and the feast of ingathering. As the latter is a type of the time when all Israel shall be saved, so Pentecost is a picture of the salvation of a first fruit of the nation. This is what occurred, both on the day of Pentecost and during the entire period covered by this book ( Jam_1:18 ),

2 This is not the reception of the spirit by the apostles, for they had already received it ( Joh_20:22 ). This is the "coming on" of power which the Lord had promised a few days before ( Act_1:8 ). The baptism of the spirit was given for cleansing (not power), and the filling for utterance .

5 To this day it has been the hope of the pious among the dispersion to return to Jerusalem. Many aged Jews have spent their last days there. So, on the day of Pentecost, there were many in the city who had been born abroad, but who had returned to dwell near the temple; They were typical of that return to the land of their fathers which will precede the setting up of the kingdom. Then salvation and deliverance will be in mount Zion and in Jerusalem ( Joe_2:32 ). To be in that remnant is the highest privilege open to the pious repatriate of the dispersion.

5 These men came literally from every nation under heaven. Then, as now, the Jew had penetrated to every part of the known world. The list of countries mentioned includes practically every language or dialect spoken at the time. They are grouped accordingly into

Eastern Aramaic, Central Grecian, Western Roman and Southern Egyptian dialects.

12 The object of this manifestation, as found in Joel, was to make them know that God was in the midst of Israel. ( Joe_2:27 ). Afterward the signs which usher in the day of the Lord were due. In other words, Pentecost was the prelude to the era of judgement which precedes the setting up of the kingdom. This shows that it was not intended to be the commencement of the present economy of grace which was later introduced through Paul's ministries. In that future judgment period the signs foretold by Peter will take place. The salvation offered at Pentecost was principally concerned with these judgment scenes through which they hoped to be saved for a place in the kingdom when Christ would return to the Mount of Olives.

14 Peter declaims . He does not address them in common words, but uses choice and rare expressions in making this oration. Perhaps this was done partly to meet and refute the charge of drunkenness. His immediate appeal is to their own Scriptures, which he brought home to them with power.

16 This is what . Such is Peter's interpretation of Pentecost. It was a fulfillment of ancient prophecy. God was in their midst as foretold in ( Joe_2:27 ). This, however, was introductory to the terrible celestial convulsions and earthly upheavals which prepare for the dreadful day of the Lord. It promised a time of trial and affliction unparalleled by any that earth has suffered hitherto. It introduced God in the character of an Avenger of His people, Who is about to gather the nations to battle and Who will destroy them in His fury. Had the nation of Israel repented, and the Pentecostal economy continued without interruption, there would never have been a parenthetic period like the present of which none of the prophets ever spoke, which was a secret hid in God ( Eph_3:9 ) and which presents God as a Supplicant, petitioning for conciliation, and preserving peace at all costs ( 2Co_5:20 ), Who showers His richest blessings on the nations and gives them a celestial allotment immeasurably beyond the highest thought of Pentecost.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Acts 1". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/acts-1.html. 1968.
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