Pentecost: Based Upon Christ’s Work Part 10 of 13
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
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 were 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 principal 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 prophecy 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 afterward; 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.