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Acts 1

Contending for the FaithContending for the Faith

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Verse 1

The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

The former treatise have I made: Luke begins his narrative by referring to his

"former treatise" or literally to his first book, the Gospel of Luke. According to W. E. Vine, the word "treatise" is taken from the Greek word logos, meaning a "written narrative" (Vol. IV 152).

O Theophilus: It is not certain as to whom "Theophilus" is, but this is the second time Luke refers to him. In the Gospel of Luke, he is mentioned in chapter one verse 3 as "most excellent Theophilus." Albert Barnes makes this comment:

It is probable that he was some distinguished Roman or Greek, who had been converted; who was a friend of Luke; and who had requested an account of these things (Barnes 181).

of all that Jesus began both to do and teach: Luke declares himself an eyewitness to the events and teachings of Jesus both in his "former treatise" and in the account to follow. It is significant that he mentions "do and teach." Jesus not only taught the type of conduct pleasing to God, but He was a living example for us.

Verse 2

Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

Until the day in which he was taken up: Luke has been a witness of the life of Jesus on earth. In the early chapters of Luke, he records the birth and earliest life of Jesus; in Acts he records the return of Jesus to heaven. The events necessary for the establishment of Christianity are in place. Jesus has been born, has died, has been buried, and has risen again to become the Savior of mankind. What is about to unfold in Luke’s narrative impacts the world to such an extent that it will never be the same again.

after that he through the Holy Ghost: Jesus carries out His mission on earth with the assistance of God’s Holy Spirit. John records, "... for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him" (John 3:34) (see also Acts 10:38; Luke 4:1).

had given commandments unto the apostles: Before the ascension of Jesus, He gives them several commands. For example, they are commanded to "...tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).

They also receive the command:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19).

whom he had chosen: For the account of the choosing of the apostles, see Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:13-16.

Verse 3

To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

To whom also he shewed himself alive: In addition to the commands Jesus leaves the apostles, it is of marked importance that they be witnesses of his resurrection. These same apostles have seen Jesus nailed to the cross, to die apparently like any ordinary man, but Jesus is no ordinary man. Just as He has promised, He arises from the grave victorious over death, thus laying the basis for the good news soon to be preached to man.

after his passion: The Greek word pascho is here rendered "passion." Henry Thayer translates the word to mean "to suffer, to undergo evils, to be afflicted" (494-1- 3958).

by many infallible proofs: The word rendered "infallible proofs" does not appear anywhere else in the New Testament. The meaning is "a sure sign, a positive proof" (Vine, Vol. II 220). This truth concerning the indisputable resurrection of Jesus is confirmed by "infallible proofs, " such as the fact that Jesus eats with the apostles, talks with them, allows them to touch Him, and works miracles in their midst (John 20:27-28; John 21:5-15). There is no doubt in the apostles’ minds that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. They are now to affirm this truth to the whole world.

being seen of them forty days: This is the only record of the time interval between the resurrection and the ascension.

and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

In His last days on earth, Jesus has one theme in His teaching: the coming kingdom of God, its organization, and its goal to save the lost. The terms "kingdom of God" and "kingdom of heaven" are used many times in the New Testament. For all practical purposes, there is no distinction in meaning between the terms, which are often used to refer to the Lord’s church (Matthew 16:18-19).

Verse 4

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. And, being assembled together with them:

Luke here makes reference to the earlier gathering of the apostles with Jesus when He leaves His last instructions (Luke 24:36-49).

commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem: Isaiah prophesies, "... for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (2:3). Jesus says, "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47). Christianity is to have its beginning at Jerusalem.

but wait for the promise of the Father: This "promise of the Father" is the baptism of the Holy Spirit as is promised in Luke 3:16 and as related in the next verse.

which, saith he, ye have heard of me: Jesus on various occasions has repeated the "promise of the Father" to His apostles (Luke 12:11-12; John 14:16-26; John 15:26; John 16:7-13).

Verse 5

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Here is an amazing contrast that must have borne on the apostles’ minds. Some, if not all, of the apostles have been disciples of John. They have experienced the baptism of water. Now they are to receive the "promise of the Father, " baptism in the Holy Spirit. The one is an immersion in water; the second is an immersion in God’s Holy Spirit.

Verse 6

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

When they therefore were come together: This is a gathering of the apostles with Jesus during the forty days before the ascension.

they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel: This must have been a discouraging question to Jesus. The apostles have heard the teaching of Jesus concerning the coming kingdom for about three years, yet this question makes it obvious they do not understand the nature of the Lord’s kingdom. They are still expecting Israel to be returned to its former state. This question also indicates the apostles need "the promise of the Father, " the guidance of the Holy Spirit, if they are to preach the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

It should also be pointed out that the kingdom has not yet come; it is still in prospect. There are those who would argue that Christ’s kingdom had already been established, but this is a conclusion as erroneous as the one made by the apostles.

Nothing, indeed, but a misconception almost as gross as that of the twelve concerning the nature of the kingdom could have originated the thought entertained by some in modern times, that Christ’s kingdom had been set up previous to this time. All the arguments in support of this idea, and all the interpretations of special passages in its favor, plausible as they may be, are set aside by the one decisive consideration, that this kingdom could not be inaugurated until the King was crowned in heaven. This occurred after the ascension, and his first administrative act on earth was that of sending the Holy Spirit upon the apostles on the next Pentecost (McGarvey, Vol. I 5).

Verse 7

And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons: It seems Jesus overlooks the question concerning the restoration of Israel and responds to their desire to know if it is "at this time." He allows them to understand that "times and seasons" are not for them to know now. The only clue they have is "not many days hence."

which the Father hath put in his own power: The Father has the authority to set the time at "his own" pleasure. Marvin Vincent states in his Word Studies concerning "his own": "Stronger than the simple possessive pronoun. The adjective means private, personal." As is the case with all things, the coming events are to happen according to the "personal, " "private" determination and authority of God the Father.

Verse 8

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

But ye shall: This phrase tells us who is to receive "power." This verse is often used by charismatic preachers to teach that "power" and the "Holy Ghost" are promised to all believers today. This idea is a misapplication of scripture and contrary to what is taught. "Ye" is a pronoun; for it to have value, it must have a noun for which it stands. All we have to do to determine to whom "ye" refers is to review the preceding verses. We find the noun for which "ye" stands in verse 2. The "ye" who "shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, " are the apostles. We do not receive the baptism or the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost today (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).

receive power: The "power" that is here promised the apostles is the miraculous ability necessary to establish the Lord’s church, to preach the gospel by inspiration, to work signs and wonders to confirm their testimonies, to speak in foreign tongues that they may preach "unto all the world, " and to perform a host of other miraculous powers for the furtherance of Christianity in the first century.

after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: Through the Holy Ghost, the apostles are to be equipped for the monumental task of taking the gospel to the whole world.

and ye shall be witnesses unto me: Who could be more qualified to be witnesses of Jesus than His apostles? They have seen His manner of life and His miracles; they have heard His teaching; they have seen His meekness and His sufferings; but, most important of all, they are eyewitnesses to His death, burial, and resurrection. These things, to which they are witnesses, they are to preach to the world.

both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth: Here is the itinerary for the spreading of the gospel. It is to begin in Jerusalem and then to go into "all Judea." Judea is the southern part of Palestine and includes Jerusalem as the capital. The gospel is then taken to Samaria, the northern section of Palestine. This evangelism into Samaria takes place when the severe persecution comes against the church at Jerusalem.

And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles (8:1).

From this beginning the gospel is taken to the "whole world, " to "every creature" in less than thirty years. Paul writes:

But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world (Romans 10:18).

This task is accomplished without the aid of radio or television or any other mass communication. These people had no automobiles or jet planes. What they had was a burning desire to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. We need this fire rekindled in our hearts today (see also Romans 1:8; Colossians 1:23).

Verse 9

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

And when he had spoken these things: Jesus concludes His final instructions on earth and is ready to ascend back into heaven.

while they beheld: It is important for the apostles to have a clear record of this event. They are not only witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus: they have seen Him ascend to heaven. The fact that the ascension takes place in full view of the apostles makes them eyewitnesses to His ascension. If Jesus had ascended in secret or at night, the apostles might have been confounded, not knowing what had happened to Him. When they see Him leave as He does, there is no doubt as to where He goes.

But when they saw him leave them in this manner, they could not doubt that he had risen; and when they saw him ascend to heaven, they could not doubt that His work was approved, and that God would carry it onward. This event was exceedingly important. (1) It was a confirmation of the Christian religion. (2) It enabled the apostles to state distinctly where the Lord Jesus was, and at once directed their affections and their thoughts away from the earth, and opened their eyes on the glory of the scheme of religion they were to establish. If their Saviour was in heaven it settled the question about the nature of his kingdom. It was clear that it was not designed to be a temporal kingdom (Barnes 371).

Jesus has finished His personal ministry on this earth. It is now time for Him to "go away" that the "Comforter" might come (John 16:7). This has been the plan of God "before the world began"; Jesus has fulfilled His part; He now returns home to be glorified by His father (John 17:4-5).

he was taken up: Alexander Campbell makes the following comment on this phrase:

"Was taken up", indicating the commencement, not the completion of his ascent. He, it appears from the terminology here employed, gradually and with great dignity, ascended, not as a flash of lightning nor as a meteor passes away, but slowly and with majesty, that they might clearly perceive and be assured of his return to his native heaven (7).

With the words of Jesus still ringing in their ears (Luke 24:51) and "as they were looking on, " Jesus majestically returns to heaven to be crowned "both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).

and a cloud received him out of their sight: As Jesus rises into the splendor and grandeur of the heavens, He is taken out of their vision by the clouds.

Verse 10

And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;

And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up: The apostles are spellbound by this event. The ascension of Jesus is being indelibly etched on their memories.

behold, two men stood by them: The apostles are so absorbed by this scene that they fail to notice the appearance of "two men."

in white apparel: These "two men" are clothed in white. This is the usual way heavenly messengers appear to men (John 20:12; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4).

Verse 11

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee: The angels refer to the fact the apostles are from Galilee.

why stand ye gazing up into heaven?: Perhaps this is a slight rebuke to the apostles. The angels, realizing the great work before these men, seem to feel the urgency to get started.

this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner: Here is the assurance that "this same Jesus" will return "in like manner." Some glorious day Jesus will return "in the clouds of heaven" (Matthew 26:64).

as ye have seen him go into heaven: This verse is an affirmation of the fact that the apostles have been eyewitnesses to an event that is to be a key factor in the preaching of the gospel. It is essential that they can testify to the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. This is to be one of the facts in Peter’s sermon on Pentecost (2:32-34). Note the emphasis in verse 9, "while they beheld… out of their sight"; verse 10, "they looked steadfastly"; verse 11, "gazing up into heaven… as ye have seen." There is to be no doubt in the apostles’ minds as to the ascension of Jesus back to heaven.

Verse 12

Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.

Then returned they unto Jerusalem: The apostles return to Jerusalem as they have been instructed, "...tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem" (Luke 24:49). Luke also says, "they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy" (Luke 24:52).

from the mount called Olivet: Mount Olivet is usually referred to as "the Mount of Olives." This is an historical location mentioned many times in both the Old and the New Testaments. As to location, Zechariah says, "... the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east" (14:4). Mark records, "... they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives" (11:1).

which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey: A Sabbath-day’s journey, according to Jewish tradition, was about three-quarters of a mile. It was the supposed distance between the camp and the tabernacle in the wilderness (Joshua 3:4) (Vincent 444).

Verse 13

And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.

After the ascension the apostles return to Jerusalem to an "upper room." Concerning the "upper room Vincent says:

With the article, denoting some well-known place of resort. It was the name given to the room directly under the flat roof. Such rooms were often set apart as halls for meetings (444).

In this verse Luke gives the names of the remaining eleven apostles. This is the fourth such list in the scriptures (see also Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16).

This fresh enumeration of the eleven very appropriately finds place here, because it shows that all of those to whom the commission was given were at their post, ready to begin their appointed work, and waiting only for the promised power from on high (McGarvey, Vol. I 10).

Verse 14

These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

These all: These words refer to the eleven apostles.

continued with one accord: There is a harmony and oneness among the disciples noted here as they wait in high expectation of the events that are soon to follow. The word "continued" allows us to understand their perseverance. Vincent defines the word "continued" as follows: "the verb is from kartero, strong, stanch, and means originally to persist obstinately in" (444).

in prayer and supplication: The disciples spend their time in persistent prayers that nothing will hinder the "promise of my Father" that will bring "power" to the apostles "not many days hence" (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5).

with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren: These are other disciples of Jesus besides the apostles.

the women: These are the "women that followed Him from Galilee" (Luke 23:49).

Mary the mother of Jesus: Mary is mentioned here for the last time in the New Testament. It may be noted that Luke speaks of her with respect as"the mother of Jesus, "but he gives her no special reverence or adoration as the apostate church will do later in history.

his brethren: This is a reference to the literal half-brothers of Jesus, who were born to Mary after the birth of Jesus. At one time these brothers did not believe in Jesus, but by now they have become faithful followers (John 7:5). The names of the brothers of Jesus–James, Joses, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55)–are the same as the names of some of the apostles; but none of His brothers was an apostle.

Verse 15

And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty, )

And in those days: These are the days between the ascension of Jesus and the day of Pentecost.

Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said: The Apostle Peter, as is customary since he is the outspoken one of the apostles, reminds the brethren of the prophecies concerning Judas. There are those who suggest Peter is the oldest of the apostles; therefore, he takes the lead.

(the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty, ): It should not be understood that this number indicates the total number of the disciples of Jesus but rather those in Jerusalem. The Apostle Paul records, "After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once..." (1 Corinthians 15:6).

Verse 16

Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

Men and brethren: Literally, Luke is saying men, brothers or brother-men. This expression is more dignified and solemn than the simple word brethren (Vincent 445).

this scripture must needs have been fulfilled: This is a reference to Psalms 69 and Psalms 109, both of which will be discussed by Peter in verse 20.

which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas: This passage declares David spoke by direction of the Holy Ghost, thus verifying the"... holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21).

which was guide to them that took Jesus: Judas bears forever the infamous epitaph as "guide to them that took Jesus" (Matthew 26:47; John 18:3).

Verse 17

For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

Judas was chosen as an apostle by Jesus just as were the other apostles (Luke 6:16). He had the opportunity to go down in the annals of sacred history as one of a select few to hold this office; yet, because of his wicked character, he is known as "the traitor." Some might ask why Jesus chose such a character for an apostle? Albert Barnes makes the following suggestion:

If it be asked why he chose such a man to be an apostle – why he was made the treasurer of the apostles, and was admitted to the fullest confidence – we may reply, that a most important object was gained in having such a man – a spy – among them. It might be pretended when the apostles bore testimony to the purity of life, of doctrine, and of purpose, of the Lord Jesus, that they were interested and partial friends; that they might be disposed to suppress some of his real sentiments, and represent him in a light more favourable than the truth. Hence the testimony of such a man as Judas, if favourable, must be invaluable. It would be free from the charge of partiality. If Judas knew anything unfavourable to the character of Jesus, he would have communicated it to the Sanhedrin. If he knew of any secret plot against the government, or seditious purpose, he had every inducement to declare it. He had every opportunity to know it: he was with him; heard him converse; was a member of his family, and admitted to terms of familiarity. Yet even Judas could not be bought, or bribed, to testify against the moral character of the Saviour (373).

Even a person of the character of Judas admits he has betrayed the "innocent blood" (Matthew 27:4).

Verse 18

Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.

Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity: When Judas realizes what he has done, he takes the thirty pieces of silver he has received for betraying Jesus and casts them at the feet of the chief priests. They, realizing this "blood money" cannot be returned to the treasury, purchase "the potter’s field, to bury strangers in" (Matthew 27:5-7).

and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out: Matthew’s account allows us to know that Judas first hangs himself (Matthew 27:5) and then apparently his body hangs unattended until it falls and "burst(s) asunder."

Verse 19

And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.

The deeds of Judas and their consequences are so well known by the general population of Jerusalem that the field once known as "the potter’s field" is now called "the field of blood." "Their proper tongue" is Aramaic, the language spoken in Palestine at that time. The word "Aceldama" is a word composed of two Aramaic words that literally mean "the field of blood."

Verse 20

For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

For it is written in the book of Psalms: Luke now returns to the speech of Peter begun in verse 16. The quotation is from Psalms 69:25 and Psalms 109:8.

These two passages, the former from Psalms 69:25, and the latter from Psalms 109:8, have no specific reference to Judas in their original context. They occur in the midst of curses pronounced, not by David, but, as Peter explicitly states, by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David (16), concerning wicked men in general who persecute the servants of God. But if it be proper that the habitations of such men in general should be made desolate, and that any office they held should be given to others, it was preeminently so in the case of Judas; and it was proper to say that these words were written of him as one among many (McGarvey, Vol. I 14-15).

Peter thus declares the house of Judas is abandoned and his "bishopric, " overseership, will be taken by another (The New Englishman’s Greek Concordance and Lexicon 317).

Verse 21

Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

The process now begins for the selection of a successor to the apostleship once held by Judas. In this verse Peter asks which of these constant companions of Jesus will be chosen as a replacement for Judas.

And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning (John 15:27).

The candidates must meet specific requirements as will be noticed in the next verse.

Verse 22

Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

Beginning from the baptism of John: This event marks the beginning of the ministry of Jesus (Matthew 3:13). To be a proper "witness" of Jesus, the candidate needs to have been there in the beginning.

unto that same day that he was taken up from us: To be the complete "witness," the candidate for the apostleship must have seen the ascension of Jesus into heaven.

must one be ordained: Barnes clarifies the requirement of ordination:

The Greek word usually denoting ordination is not used here. The expression is, literally, "must one be, or become, a witness with us of his resurrection."The expression does not imply that he must be set apart in any particular manner, but simply that one should be designated or appointed for this specific purpose, to be a witness of the resurrection of Christ (375).

to be a witness: To qualify for this position as a "witness," one has to be more than a mere observer. Vincent comments: "Witness. One who shall bear testimony: not a spectator" (447).

with us of his resurrection: This candidate, to become the new apostle, must be able to bear witness of the resurrection of Jesus as could the other apostles.

It needs to be noticed that this is the only verse in the scriptures where we have a guideline for the selection of apostles. It was required that the apostles must have seen Jesus after his resurrection. The Apostle Paul, though "one born out of due time," also is a qualified witness (1 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Corinthians 15:8). It is also obvious that those who profess to be apostles today are lacking in these qualifications.

Verse 23

And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

And they appointed two: Of those who qualify, two are selected, or nominated, to be considered for the appointment.

Joseph called Barsabas: The name Barsabas literally means son of Saba.

who was surnamed Justus: Justus is a Latin name, meaning just, more than likely given him because he was known as a man of integrity (Barnes 375).

and Matthias: Very little is known of the family or background of this man. The name Matthias literally means "gift of Jehovah" (The Bible Encyclopedia and Scriptural Dictionary 1128).

Verse 24

And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

And they prayed: It is significant to note that the apostles are not presumptuous enough to attempt such a selection themselves. Rather they realize the authority of God in such matters and rely on His choice; thus they request His guidance.

and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men: The apostles’ prayer is addressed to God, the "heart searcher." "I the Lord search the heart…" (Jeremiah 17:10, also 1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalms 139:23).

shew whether of these two thou hast chosen: The apostles are aware that the choice of the new apostle is a decision that God has made. Since God "knows the hearts of all men, " He is called upon to "show" His choice, which without question will be the right choice. We must appreciate the confidence and trust of the apostles in the providence of God. They want only the man whom God has chosen.

Verse 25

That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship: The one selected for this office is to take the place once given to Judas. The word "part" is the same word rendered "lot" in the next verse. The idea is the new apostle will take "what is obtained by lot, allotted portion" (Thayer 349-2-2819).

from which Judas by transgression fell: It is obvious Judas, because of his sins, loses not only his apostleship but his life and, worst of all, his eternal soul. Such is the "wages of sin" (Romans 6:23).

that he might go to his own place: The simple way in which this statement is made seems to indicate the apostles are aware of the eternal abode of Judas, as well they should have been. Jesus says concerning Judas:

The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born (Matthew 26:24).

To us, in this day and time, it may seem calloused and uncharitable to say a dead sinner has "gone to his place," but we must face the scriptural facts: dead sinners are going to hell (Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

The phrase his own place, means the place of abode which is fitted for him, which is his appropriate home. Judas was not in a place which befitted his character when he was an apostle; he was not in such a place in the church; he would not be in heaven. Hell was the only place which was fitted to the man of avarice and of treason. And if this be the true interpretation of this passage, then it follows, (1) that there will be such a thing as future, eternal punishment. One such man there certainly is in hell, and ever will be. If there is one there, for the same reason there may be others. All objections to the doctrine are removed by this single fact; and it cannot be true that all men will be saved. (2) Each individual in eternity will find his own proper place. Hell is not an arbitrary appointment. Every man will go to the place for which his character is fitted. The hypocrite is not fitted for heaven. The man of pride, and avarice, and pollution and falsehood, is not fitted for heaven. The place adapted to such men is hell; and the design of the judgment will be to assign to each individual his proper abode in the eternal world. (3) The design of the judgment of the great day will be to assign to all the inhabitants of the world their proper place. It would not be fit that the holy and pure should dwell for ever in the same place with the unholy and impure; and the Lord Jesus will come to assign to each his appropriate eternal habitation (Barnes 376).

Verse 26

And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

And they gave forth their lots: The casting of lots is not a voting process as some suggest. This system is a means of making decisions under the direction of God. The Jews often used the process of "casting lots" to make decisions. The land of Canaan was divided by lot (Numbers 26:55). David divided the priests by lot (1 Chronicles 24:5). The guilt of Achan was determined by lot (Joshua 7:16-18). Thus, it is natural that the apostles would use this method to make this important decision. It must be remembered the decision remains with God; the apostles are asking "show whether of these two thou has chosen." "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord" (Proverbs 16:33).

and the lot fell upon Matthias: The method of "casting lots" varies, but it basically involves writing the names of the choices upon pieces of wood or stone and placing them in a vase. The vase is shaken, and the first name to be poured out is the choice. It is from this concept that we get the saying, "it fell his lot."In this case the "lot fell upon Matthias." Through this process, God makes known "whom he had chosen" to take the place of Judas.

and he was numbered with the eleven apostles: By the casting of the lot, Matthias becomes an apostle. We have no further record of the life of Matthias in the New Testament. Neither the place he worked, his successes or failures, nor his death are documented in the Word of God. Matthias is now a member of a very special group, which will become the driving force necessary to establish the Lord’s church. With "one accord" they are now waiting in anticipation of the coming "power from on high." Little do these twelve men know what lies before them in this monumental task. When the last apostle died, in service to his Lord, the special office of apostle ceased.

Bibliographical Information
Editor Charles Baily, "Commentary on Acts 1". "Contending for the Faith". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ctf/acts-1.html. 1993-2022.
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