Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Acts Study | Session 5 | 1:2-11

Today, we pick up our study in Acts 1:2 and make our way through Acts 2:11.

Chapter 1 
VERSE 12: Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. A sabbath day's journey is slightly over a mile. Notice that they were still concerned with the law. 

VERSES 13-15: 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. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. 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,) Luke now names the apostles present by name. Of course, Judas is gone. Altogether, there was about 120 present. Notice also that it says that they were all in one accord in prayer and supplication. That is important to know since some today say that Peter messed up in what they are about to do. 

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. Peter, being the designated leader, points out from the Psalms 109 that Judas' office must be filled, cf. v.20. There is no way we could have known that is what Psalm 109 was talking about otherwise. It has been said, "The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, while the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed." 

VERSE 17: For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Judas was one of the original twelve apostles. Interesting that the word part is kleros which is where we get the word clergy. 

VERSES 18-19: 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. 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. These verses are parenthetical in that they are just filling in the blanks in regards to the background. It must be noted that the field spoken of here is not the field that was purchased by the chief priests in Mat 27:6-8. Instead, this field appears to have been purchased by Judas himself "with the reward of iniquity." Remember, he did hold the money bag and he was a thief (Joh 12:6). Therefore, these fields are probably not the same also because, in Matthew's account, he says that he hung himself before the priests actually used the money to purchase the land (Mat_27:1-5). 

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. This is a quote from both Psa 69:25 and Psa 109:8. Again, we would have no way of knowing that these Psalms spoke to this without the light of the New Testament. 

VERSE 21-22: Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 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. Here we also learn that there were others who had been with them from the time of the Baptism of Jesus by John until that same day that he was taken up in the Ascension. The point is that however would be chosen must have full knowledge of what was going on and present for the 40-day Kingdom seminar in Acts 1:3. 

Note: Any witness could testify of his resurrection but only one would take the office of Judas. Why? Because testifying of the resurrection was only one role of the office, the Apostolic role included judging the tribes of Israel and it could only be filled by the Twelve.  

VERSE 23: And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. Based on the qualification, they chose two men. It is interesting that these two have been with them from the beginning, but not every detail is recorded in the Scripture, just those that lend themselves to the story, cf. Joh 21:25.

VERSES 24-25: And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. It is important to note that the Apostles were with one accord (v.14), basing their decision on Scripture (v.20) and after careful deliberation (v.23) and with prayer (v.24). If Apostles cannot make a valid decision under these circumstances, then what hope is there for any of the rest of us? They trusted God for them to make the right decision as should we. 

VERSE 26: And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. This is a clear reminder that the apostles were living in a different dispensation, for we would never condone this method of decision making. However, in their dispensation, Joshua divided the land by lot (Jos 18:10, Act 13:19), the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement was selected when Aaron shall cast lots (Lev 16:8), the division of the Levites was divided by lot (1Ch 24:5), and Jonah was determined to be the guilty party when the sailors cast lots (Jon 1:7). The casting of lots is never seen as "luck," or as poor judgment in the Dispensation of the Law, however, it is never used again after the Holy Spirit is given. Therefore, I believe those who have concluded that this was a decision made in haste are simply wrong. Of course, this line of reasoning upsets the whole apostolic succession practice of the Roman Catholic Church.

Examples of this can be found in practically any commentary: 1. "Whose name will be on the 12th foundation in the heavenly Jerusalem in Revelation 21:14? Matthias or Paul? -  Got Questions; 2. “On the issue of the "13" disciples, it is true that Peter and company "elected" Matthias to replace Judas, but not everything recorded in the Bible that individuals do is to be taken as ordained of God... Peter made his share of mistakes."; 3. "Whose names are on the gates? If we are to imagine that one of them will have the name "Matthias", then who will be left out (certainly not Paul, the last but also the greatest of the apostles)?"; 4. "Remember that the election of Matthias was held before Pentecost, after which Peter (and his fellows) are suddenly much more effective for God (as one would expect with the coming of the Holy Spirit). Notice too that to "elect" Matthias, they turn to the Old Testament device of casting lots, something Jesus never did and something that is never authorized in the New Testament (or practiced elsewhere ever again). Notice also that God did not communicate to Peter the need to get a new number 12."; 5. “The selection of St. Matthias (Acts 1:15-26) by the Apostles was made out of their desire to fill up the number twelve, but it seems possible they jumped the gun. Had they been patient and waited just a while, they would have seen the conversion of St. Paul and that he would have been a perfect replacement for Judas, rounding out the number twelve.”

Before we get into chapter two, here are some things that we need to keep in mind moving forward. 1. Pentecost is related to the Kingdom, not to the church. 2. The church could not begin (nor even be revealed) until the Kingdom had been officially offered and rejected to and by the nation of Israel. The nation had to be "in unbelief as Paul stated in Romans 11:28-32. Of course, their' being temporarily cast away provided for the reconciliation of the world as per Romans 11:15. In the end, it was only by the removal of Israel could the world be made a recipient of God’s grace and only by the removal of the church can Israel be the recipient of God’s promises to Abraham.

Chapter 2
VERSE 1: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. The day of Pentecost was the 50th day after the first day of the week after Passover, and as instructed in Lev 23:15-16. This day was fully come only after seven sabbaths had passed, not counting the sabbath immediately following Passover, but only those after the feast of first fruits, which was always on a Sunday.

VERSES 2-3: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. These two verses give the physical description of what happened. 

VERSE 4: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. This event was prophesied in verses 16-17. The context of this verse only allows for known human languages and nothing else. Sadly, most in the church have interpreted this verse to be the birth of the church. However, nothing in this verse says that. That is called eisegesis and not exegesis. 

VERSE 5: And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Notice that the emphasis is on the Jews, devout men. Thus far in Acts, we have no gentiles in the narrative at all. These Jews were men who had come out of every nation under heaven but were now dwelling at Jerusalem. They were apparently returning from the diaspora that had occurred as a result of the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 723 BC. There was no doubt a messianic expectation at the time. I believe that we grossly underestimate the understanding of the Jews of the time. They knew Daniel 9:24-27. Luke 2:25 says that some were waiting for the consolation of Israel.

VERSES 6-11: Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. What happened was noised abroad. The term indicates more of a rumor that had become known by all. The crowd was amazed and marveled because all of those filled with the Holy Ghost and speaking in other tongues were Galilaeans but each of the men was hearing in their native tongue. Note verse 10. There were no Gentiles. 

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