|<< Acts 3 >>|
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
1Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.
Now Peter and John went up together into the temple,.... These two disciples were intimate companions, and great lovers of each other; they were often together: they are thought, by some, to have been together in the high priest's palace at the trial of Christ; and they ran together to his sepulchre, John 18:15 and they now went together to the temple, not to attend the daily sacrifice, which was now abolished by the sacrifice of Christ, but to attend to the duty of prayer, which was still in force, and that they might have an opportunity of preaching Christ, where there was a number of people together:
at the hour of prayer; being the ninth hour, or three o'clock in the afternoon. This was one of their hours of prayer; it was customary with the Jews to pray three times a day, Daniel 6:10 which, according to the Psalmist in Psalm 55:17 were evening, morning, and at noon; to which seems to answer the three times that are taken notice of by Luke in this history: that in the morning was at the third hour, as in Acts 2:15 or nine o'clock in the morning; that at noon was at the sixth hour, as in Acts 10:9 or twelve o'clock at noon; and that in the evening at the ninth hour, as here, or three o'clock in the afternoon. Not that these were times of divine appointment. The Jews (o) themselves say,
"there is no number of prayers from the law, and there is no repetition of this or that prayer from the law, and there is no , "fixed time" for prayer from the law.''
But according to the traditions of the elders,
"the morning prayer was to the end of the fourth hour, which is the third part of the day--the prayer of the "Minchah", (or evening prayer,) they fixed the time of it to answer to the evening daily sacrifice; and because the daily sacrifice was offered up every day from the ninth hour and a half, they ordered the time of it to be from the ninth hour and a half, and it is called the lesser "Minchah"; and because in the evening of the passover, which falls upon the evening of the sabbath, they slay the daily sacrifice at the sixth hour and a half, they say, that he that prays after the sixth hour and a half is excused; and after this time is come, the time to which he is obliged is come, and this is called the great "Minchah"---lo, you learn, that the time of the great "Minchah" is from the sixth hour and a half, to the ninth hour and a half; and the time of the lesser "Minchah" is from the ninth hour and a half, until there remains of the day an hour and a quarter; and it is lawful to pray it until the sun sets.''
So that it was at the time of the lesser "Minchah" that Peter and John went up to the temple; which seems to be not on the same day of Pentecost, but on some day, or days after; it may be the sabbath following, when there was a great number of people got together.
(o) Maimon. Hilch. Tephilla, c. 1. sect. 1. Ib. c. 3. sect. 1, 2, 4. Vid. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 26. 2.
2And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;
And a certain man, lame from his mother's womb,.... He was born so; his lameness came not through any disease or fall, or any external hurt, but from a defect in nature, in one of his limbs, or more; which made the after miracle the more extraordinary: and he was so lame that he
was carried; he could not walk of himself, or go, being led, but they were obliged to carry him:
whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple; it had been a common usage, it may be, for years past, to bring him every day, at prayer time, and lay him at the gate of the temple where the people went in; hence he was well known by the people, and to have been of a long time lame, even ever since he was born; so that there could be no imposture in this case: and it was at the gate of the temple he lay,
which is called beautiful; which some think was the gate Shushan, which was the eastern gate of the mountain of the house, or the outmost wall, and was so called, because Shushan, the metropolis of Persia, was pourtrayed upon it (q), which made it look very beautiful. The reason commonly given by the Jewish commentators (r) why this was done, is this; when the Jews returned from captivity, the king of Persia commanded that they should make a figure of the palace of Shushan upon one of the gates of the temple, that they might fear the king, and not rebel against him; and accordingly they drew one upon the eastern gate: but some say (s), that the children of the captivity did this (upon their return) that they might remember the wonder of Purim, (their deliverance from Haman,) which was done in Shushan; moreover, it might be so called from the word Shushan, which signifies joy and gladness: but this does not bid so fair to be the gate here meant, since it was lower than all the rest; for as the eastern wall was lower than the rest of the walls, that when the high priest burnt the red heifer on the top of Mount Olivet, he might see the gate of the temple at the time of the sprinkling of the blood; so the gate itself was four cubits lower than the others (t), and therefore could not look so grand and beautiful as the rest. Indeed, concerning this eastern gate of the mountain of the house, it is said (u), that
"in the time when the sanctuary stood, when they prayed on the mountain of the house, they went in by the way of the eastern gate.''
And as this was now the hour of prayer, and the people were going to the temple to pray, whose entrance was at the east gate; here it might be thought, in all probability, was laid the lame man: though it seems rather to be the eastern gate of the court of the women, which was made of Corinthian brass, and looked brighter than gold itself; of which Josephus (w) thus speaks:
"nine of the gates were covered all over with gold and silver, likewise the side posts and lintels; but there was one, without the temple, of Corinthian brass, which in dignity greatly exceeded the silver and golden ones.''
And since at this gate was the greatest frequency of persons, both men and women entering here; it is most likely, that here lay the lame man a begging: this is thought, by some, to be the higher gate of the house of the Lord; said to be built by Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, 2 Kings 15:35 upon which text, a Jewish commentator of great note (x) has this remark,
"observe it is said of Jotham, that he built it, because he made a building on it, "more glorious and great" than it had been:''
and this is also called the new gate of the house of the Lord, Jeremiah 26:10 and which both the Targum and Kimchi on the place say is the eastern gate.
To ask alms of them that entered into the temple; who going to religious exercises, might be thought to be more disposed to acts of liberality and charity: and besides, these were known to be Jews, of whom only alms were to be asked and taken; for so run their canons (y),
"it is forbidden to take alms of Gentiles publicly, except a man cannot live by the alms of Israelites; and if a king, or a prince of the Gentiles, should send money to an Israelite for alms, he must not return it, because of the peace of the kingdom, but must take it of him, and give it to the poor of the Gentiles secretly, that the king may not hear.''
(q) Misn. Middot, c. 1. sect. 3.((r) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. ib. (s) Vid. Juchasin, fol. 65. 2.((t) Misn. Middot, c. 2. sect. 4. Maimon. Hilchot Beth Habechirah, c. 6. sect. 5. (u) Gloss. in T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 15. 2. Vid. Maimon. Hilch. Taanith, c. 4. sect. 15. (w) De Bello Jud. l. 5. c. 5. sect. 3.((x) Abarbinel in loc. (y) Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora, pr. Affirm. 162.
3Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.
Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple,.... Just as they were entering through the gate at which he lay, he looked at them; and though they were strangers to him, he concluded they were Israelites by their going into the temple at that time:
asked an alms; of them; prayed them to give him something for his relief and support.
4And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
And Peter fastening his eyes upon him,.... Or looking very wistly and intently at him, being, no doubt, under some uncommon impulse of the Spirit of God to take notice of him, and cure him of his disease:
with John; who was also under a like impulse at the same time; and who was equally concerned in this cure, as appears by the notice the man, when healed, took of the one, as well as the other; and by Peter's declaration, Acts 3:11 as also by the following words:
said, look on us; which was said to raise his attention to them, to put him upon observing what manner of men they were, and how unlikely to perform the following cure, and to take notice of the manner in which it would be done. The Jews speak of a supernatural cure effected in such a manner, using such words; and which perhaps is told, with a view to lessen the glory of this (z).
"Elias appeared to one in the likeness of R. Chiyah Rabbah; he said to him, how does my Lord do? he replied to him, a certain tooth distresses me; he said to him, , "look on me"; and he looked on him, and put his finger on it, and he was well.''
(z) T. Hieros. Cetubot, fol. 35. 1.
5And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
And he gave heed unto them,.... Or "he looked at them", as the Syriac version renders it, as they bid him: he was not only attentive to them in his mind, but he directed his eyes towards them, and looked wistly at them. This clause is left out in the Ethiopic version.
Expecting to receive something of them; not a cure for his lameness, which he little thought of, but some money, as an alms.
6Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Then Peter said, silver and gold have I none,.... The Ethiopic version reads, "we have none"; and so it reads the next clause in the first person plural; that is, they had no money either of gold or silver coin; they had none about them, nor any of their own perhaps any where; none but what was brought to them, and put into their hands as a common stock for the whole church, or the poor of it: nor indeed might any money be carried in a purse into the temple; See Gill on Matthew 10:9, Mark 11:16 though doubtless they might carry it in their hands, or otherwise, for the offerings, or for the poor, or this man would not have lain here for alms.
But such as I have, give I thee; meaning the gift of healing; not that he communicated that to him, but exercised the gift upon him, by curing him of his lameness; and which was much preferable to large quantities of gold and silver, had he had them to give unto him:
in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth: signifying, that it was by the command of Christ he said what follows; and by his power he wrought the cure which commenced upon it; even by the authority and virtue of him, who was treated with so much contempt by the Jews, and had lately been crucified by them: in his name he bid him
rise up and walk; without making use of any medicines, or applying anything to him; but believing that power would go along with the words, and strength would be communicated to him, by him in whose name he spoke, he said these words: and herein lies the difference between the miracles wrought by Christ, and by his disciples; those that were done by him were done in his own name, and by his own power; those that were performed by his disciples, were done in the name of Christ, and by his power alone; and the Jews themselves own, that the disciples performed cures , "in the name of Jesus" (a).
(a) T. Hieros. Sabbat, fol. 14. 4. & Avoda Zara, fol. 40. 4.
7And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ancle bones received strength.
And he took him by the right hand,.... In imitation of Christ, whom he had often seen using the same action on such occasions:
and lift him up; believing he was cured, and that it might be manifest. The word him is expressed in the Alexandrian copy, and in some others, and in the Oriental versions, which is a supplement in our translation:
and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength; where, it seems, his lameness lay. The Vulgate Latin renders it, his bases and soles, which may include his legs and thighs, as well as feet; and the Syriac version, "his feet and soles"; and the Arabic version, "his soles, and the muscles adjoining to his heels"; and the Ethiopic version furthest off of all, "he was strengthened in his feet, and in his loins"; his disorder might be of the paralytic kind.
8And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
And he leaping up,.... From off the bed or couch, or ground on which he lay:
stood and walked; stood firm and strong upon his feet, and walked about; by which it was abundantly manifest to himself and others, that he had a perfect cure. The Ethiopic version is a very ridiculous one, "and he went with them catching fishes"; as if upon this, before they went into the temple, he and the apostles went a fishing together, which has not the least foundation in the text:
and entered with them into the temple; to join with them in divine worship, to acknowledge the goodness of God to him, and to show respect to the instruments he made use of in his cure:
and leaping; for joy of the mercy, and that it might appear to all that he was thoroughly cured of his lameness: and thus the prophecy in Isaiah 35:6 "then shall the lame man leap as an hart", was literally fulfilled:
and praising God; and not the apostles; for he knew that this was owing to the power of God, and could never have been done by man; though he might not be ungrateful to the instruments.
9And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
And all the people,.... That were in the temple,
saw him walking; who before lay on a couch, or on the ground, and was so lame, that he was obliged to be carried;
and praising God; for this miraculous cure. The Arabic version renders it, "saw him walking to praise God": that is, entering into the temple with the apostles, in order to offer up the sacrifice of praise to God there.
10And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.
And they knew it was he that sat for alms,.... The Syriac version renders it, "they knew him to be that beggar that sat daily and asked alms". As he was daily brought thither, and had, for many years, it is very likely, sat there to ask alms of the people as they went into the temple; he was well known by them, and they had but just now passed him, and observed him in the same condition he had for a long time been, and knew him to be the same. It was a clear and indisputable point with them.
At the beautiful gate of the temple See Gill on Acts 3:2.
And they were all filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him; that he should have a cure so suddenly, and in such an extraordinary manner; they wondered at the power of God, which was seen in it, and that he should make use of such mean and contemptible persons as the apostles were.
11And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.
And as the lame man which was healed,.... This is left out in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions, and in the Alexandrian copy, which only read, and as he
held Peter and John; by their clothes or arms, either through fear, lest his lameness should return on their leaving him; or rather out of affection to them for the favour he had received, and therefore hung about them, and was loath to part with them; unless it was to make them known, and point them out as the authors of his cure, that they might be taken notice of by others, and the miracle be ascribed unto them:
all the people ran together unto them; to the man that was healed, and to Peter and John, when they saw him standing, walking, and leaping, and clinging about the apostles; who were
in the porch that is called Solomon's; See Gill on John 10:23.
greatly wondering; at the man that was cured; at the cure that was wrought upon him; and still more at the persons who did it, and the manner in which it was done.
12And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?
And when Peter saw it,.... That the people ran to them, and looked wistly upon them, and wondered at what was done:
he answered unto the people, ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? either at this man, who was cured of his lameness, or at the cure itself:
or why look ye so earnestly on us; suggesting, that they ought to look to God, and observe his divine power, and to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom they had crucified, whose apostles they were, and in whose name, and by whose power they had wrought this miracle; which shows that they were not self-seeking and vain glorious men, but discovers great sincerity and integrity, much love to Christ, and great regard to his honour, and to the glory of God:
as though by our own power and holiness we had made this man to walk? as if it was any natural power of theirs; or for any merit of theirs, because of their strict religion and piety; or "laudable conversation", as the Arabic version; because they were mightier in themselves and holier than others, that they had such a faculty of curing lame persons; all which they utterly reject, and place it to a right account in the next verse. Instead of "holiness", the Syriac version reads "authority"; and to the same, or like sense, the Vulgate Latin, which seems most agreeable.
13The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob,.... These titles and epithets of God, which are used in the Old Testament, Exodus 3:6 the apostle chooses to retain, partly to distinguish him from the gods of the Gentiles, and partly to show his regard to the God of Israel, the one, only true, and living God; and that, though he and his fellow apostles were preachers of Christ, yet they were not setters forth of another, or a strange God, but believed in the same God their forefathers did, and to whom they ascribe the glory of this miracle:
the God hath glorified his Son Jesus; by raising him from the dead, setting him at his own right hand, and giving him the gifts of the Spirit for men; which he having bestowed on the apostles, by virtue of this they wrought this miracle, which was a means of setting forth the glory of Christ, and of putting men upon glorifying him, or ascribing honour and glory to him. And in order to awaken their minds, to convict them of their sin, ingratitude, and folly, the apostle adds,
whom ye delivered up; to Pilate, the Roman governor; having first seized him as a thief, bound him as a malefactor, and arraigned, and condemned him to death in the high priest's palace as a blasphemer:
and denied him in the presence of Pilate; or "to", or "against the face of Pilate"; contrary to his sense of things, who more than once called him the King of the Jews, and wrote this as the superscription over him, when they denied him to be their King Messiah, and the Son of God, saying, they had no king but Caesar:
when he was determined to let him go; or release him; that is, "when he judged it right that he should be released", as the Syriac version renders it; for he never came to a point, to a resolution to let him go; though he thought it was but just and equitable that he should be dismissed, being, in his apprehension, an innocent man; and therefore pressed it on the people to agree to release him, to which he was himself strongly inclined.
14But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
But ye denied the Holy One, and the just,.... Who is "holy" both in his divine and human nature, and the fountain of holiness to his people; see Psalm 16:10 and who is "just" or "righteous", both in his person, and in the discharge of his office, and has wrought a righteousness for his people, which is imputed to them. These characters may have a particular regard to the purity of Christ, as man, and to the innocence of his life, and the harmlessness of his actions, in opposition to the unjust charges of his enemies, and the base treatment he met with from them who denied him to be the Christ, the Redeemer and Saviour:
and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; when it was put to their choice, who they would have released, Christ or Barabbas; they requested it as a favour, and desired they might be gratified in having Barabbas, a thief, and a robber, who, with others, had raised an insurrection, and committed murder in it, released, and Christ crucified. They desired an act of grace for him, and a sentence of condemnation to a most shameful and painful death on Christ.
15And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
And killed the Prince of life,.... Or author of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal; who not only is the living God, and has life in himself; and as man, had such a power over his own life, as no man ever had; but he is the author of a spiritual resurrection from the death of sin, to a life of grace, and has procured eternal life for his people, and gives it to them. Now this Lord of life and glory they crucified. His death is laid to them because it was at their request, and through their instigation, and at their earnest solicitations, that Pilate condemned him, and delivered, him to his soldiers to crucify him.
Whom God hath raised from the dead; notwithstanding all their spite and malice; so that they had not their whole will, and all their end, not being able to retain him under the power of death, and under the shame and reproach of the cross; and this the apostle the rather mentions, as being the reason why such gifts, and such power were bestowed on them to do the miracles they did.
Whereof we are witnesses; either of Christ, for it may be rendered, "whose witnesses we are"; they testifying of his person, office, grace, and righteousness; or of the resurrection of Christ, of which they were eyewitnesses; and of which they had the fullest proof, and were capable of bearing a sufficient testimony, and for which they were chosen and appointed.
16And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
And his name, through faith in his name,.... That is, the name of Christ, or the power of Christ, through the faith of the apostles in him, while they made use of his name, and said, "in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth", &c. Acts 3:6 or Christ, through the faith of the lame man in him; and when his name was used in this manner by the apostles; not that either their faith, or his, had any causal influence on the cure, but was the way and means in which they, glorifying Christ, he was pleased to effect this cure:
hath made this man strong; who was before exceeding weak; strengthened the parts that were infirm, his feet and ankles, and consolidated them, so that he could use them, and walk with them:
whom ye see and know; they knew him before, when he was lame, and now knew him to be the same man, and whom they saw now perfectly well; so that they could be appealed to that there was no fraud or imposture in the case:
yea, the faith which is by him; by Christ, of which he is the object, and the author, and finisher: this is repeated out of affection to Christ, and a passionate concern for the glory of his name; or because that faith, in one clause, may regard the faith of the apostles, and in the other, the faith of the man that was cured:
hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all: he had perfect soundness both in body and mind; though the former may chiefly be designed, it being that which was only visible to these persons; and which was done, not in a corner, but publicly, before them all, at the gate of the temple, where the multitude passed to and fro.
17And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.
And now, brethren,.... He calls them brethren, because they were so according to the flesh; and to testify his cordial love and affection for them.
I wot, or "I know",
that through ignorance ye did it; delivered up Jesus into the hands of Pilate; denied him to be the Messiah before him; preferred a murderer to him, and put him to death.
As did also your rulers; the members of the sanhedrim, some of them; see 1 Corinthians 2:8 for others of them knew him to be the Messiah, to be sent of God, by the miracles he did, and yet blasphemously ascribed them to Satan; and so sinning against light and knowledge, in such a malicious manner, sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost, to which ignorance is here opposed; and which did not excuse from sin: nor was it itself without sin; nor is it opposed to any sin, but to this now mentioned.
18But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
But those things which God before had showed,.... In the Scriptures of the Old Testament, concerning the betraying of the Messiah, and his sufferings and death, with the various causes, concomitants, and circumstances of them:
by the mouths of all his prophets; which were since the world began; some pointing out one thing or circumstance, and some another:
that Christ should suffer. The Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions read, "that his Christ should suffer"; but then they leave out the word "his" in the preceding clause, which they put into this; and this entire clause is omitted in the Alexandrian copy:
he hath so fulfilled; in the manner he has, so exactly, so perfectly agreeable to the predictions of them, and yet were unknown to the persons by whom they were fulfilled. So wisely and surprisingly are things ordered and overruled by the wise providence of God, who is a God of knowledge, and by whom all actions are weighed.
19Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Repent ye therefore,.... The Ethiopic version adds, "and be baptized"; see Gill on Acts 2:38,
and be converted. The apostle's sense is, repent of the sin of crucifying Christ, which is what he had been charging them with, and turn unto him, and acknowledge him as the Messiah; receive his doctrines, and submit to his ordinances; externally reform in life and conversation, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance, such as will show it to be true and genuine:
that your sins may be blotted out; or forgiven, see Psalm 51:9. Not that repentance and reformation procure the pardon of sin, or are the causes of it, for forgiveness is entirely owing to the free grace of God, and blood of Christ; but inasmuch as that is only manifested and applied to repenting and converted sinners; and who are encouraged to repent, and turn to the Lord from the promise of pardon; it is incumbent on them, and is their interest so to do, that they may have a discovery of the remission of their sins by the blood of Christ. Though no other repentance and conversion may be here meant than an external one; and the blotting out of sin, and forgiveness of it, may intend no other than the removing a present calamity, or the averting a threatened judgment, or the deliverance of persons from national ruin, Exodus 32:32. These Jews had crucified the Lord of glory, and for this sin were threatened with miserable destruction; the apostle therefore exhorteth them to repentance for it, and to a conversion to the Messiah, that so when ruin should come upon their nation, they might be delivered from the general calamity; when it would be terrible times to the unbelieving and impenitent Jews, but times of refreshment, ease, peace, and rest from persecution, to the believers, as is next expressed.
When the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; or "that the times of refreshing may come", as the Syriac version; either seasons of spiritual refreshment, joy, and peace, through the great and precious promises of the Gospel, and by the application of the blood and righteousness of Christ, to such penitent and converted sinners; which refreshment and comfort come from the Lord, and are accompanied with his gracious presence: or else seasons of rest, and deliverance from the violent heat of persecution; which was the case of the saints at the destruction of Jerusalem; they were not only saved from that ruin, but delivered from the wrath of their most implacable enemies. The Ethiopic version renders it, "and the day of mercy shall come from the presence of the Lord", repenting sinners find mercy; and a discovery of pardon is a time of mercy; and when God grants this, he affords his presence. The Jews call the world to come a time of refreshment; and say (b),
"better is one hour , "of refreshment", in the world to come, than the whole life of this world.''
(b) Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 17.
20And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
And he shall send Jesus Christ,.... Or "that he may send Jesus Christ", as the Syriac and Arabic versions render it: not in person, for this regards neither his first, nor his second coming, both which might be terrible to the awakened Jews; the former, because he had been sent, and was come, and was gone again; and therefore might fear there was no hope for them, who had denied him, and crucified him; the latter, because they might conclude he would be sent, and come to take vengeance on them, when they should look upon him whom they had pierced with horror and trembling; but here it regards his being sent, and his coming in the ministration of the word, and by his Spirit, to the comfort of their souls:
which before was preached unto you; in the writings of the Old Testament, in the books of Moses, and of the Prophets, Acts 3:22 or, as it is read in the Alexandrian copy, and in other copies, and in the Complutensian edition, and in the Syriac and Arabic versions, who was "predetermined" or "prepared for you"; that is, in the purposes, council, and covenant of God. The Ethiopic version reads, "whom he before anointed"; to be prophet, priest, and King; and from each of these considerations much comfort might be drawn by sensible sinners.
21Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
Whom the heaven must receive,.... Hold and retain in his human nature; and which does not at all hinder or confront his mission, and coming to his people, in the mean while, in a spiritual way and manner, to their joy and comfort: or, "who must receive heaven"; the kingdom, and glory, and reign there:
until the times of the restitution of all things: not of all created beings to their original estate, which there is no reason to believe ever will be; or of the churches of Christ to purity of doctrine, discipline, and conversation, which is to be hoped for, and will be in the spiritual reign of Christ; but of the accomplishment of all promises and prophecies concerning the bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles, and the conversion of the Jews, and so the gathering in all the elect of God; and concerning all the glorious things spoken of the church of Christ in the latter day; which sense is confirmed by what follows:
which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets, since the world began: ever since the world was, God has had more or less holy men, set apart and sanctified by him, and on whom he bestowed the spirit of prophecy; and by the mouth of everyone of these he has spoken one thing or another concerning his church and people, and the filling up of the number of them, or the gathering of them all in; and till this is done, Christ will remain in heaven and reign there: and this sense is further confirmed by the Syriac and Arabic versions, the former rendering the words, "until the filling or fulfilling of the times of all things"; and the latter, "until the times which will confirm the perfection of all the words which God hath spoken", &c. and from the sense of the word used, which some lexicographers explain by "perfection" or "fulfilling".
22For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
For Moses truly said unto the fathers,.... The Jewish fathers, the Israelites in the times of Moses. The Ethiopic version reads, "our fathers". This phrase, "unto the fathers", is left out in the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions, and in the Alexandrian copy: the passages referred to are in Deuteronomy 18:15
a prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you: which is not to be understood of a succession of prophets, as some of the Jewish writers (c) think; for the Jews never had a constant succession of prophets, and those they had, were not like to Moses: but of a single prophet, and so the Targums or Onkelos and Jonathan understood it; but not to be applied to Joshua, as some (d), or to Jeremiah (e) as others, or to David (f); but to the Messiah, and which is the Lord Jesus Christ, who answers to all the characters: he was a prophet in every sense, who brought a revelation of the divine will, taught the way, and explained the Scriptures of truth perfectly, and foretold things to come; he was raised up by the Lord God of Israel, and was anointed by his Spirit, and sent by him, and that to the people of the Jews, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; he was the minister of the circumcision:
of your brethren; in the Hebrew text in Deuteronomy 18:15 it is also said, "out of the midst of thee"; but as these phrases are synonymous, the apostle here only retains one of them, which suggests that this prophet, the Messiah, should be of Jewish extract; as Jesus was, of the seed of David, and a son of Abraham:
like unto me; that is, to Moses, who is, the person speaking, between whom and Christ there is an agreement; the law was given by Moses, and the Gospel came by Christ; Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel, and Christ is the Mediator between God and men; Moses, under God, was an instrument of redeeming the people of Israel out of Egypt, and Christ, he is the Redeemer of his people from sin, Satan, and the law, and all their enemies: the Jews (g) have a common saying,
"as was the first Redeemer, so shall be the last Redeemer;''
and they moreover observe (h), that,
"as Israel was redeemed in the month Nisan, so they shall be redeemed in the month Nisan;''
in the future redemption by the Messiah: let the Jews abide by this; the Messiah Jesus suffered in the month Nisan, and obtained eternal redemption for his people: one of their (i) writers has a notion, that when the Messiah comes, there will be the same disposition of the constellations, as when Moses brought the people out of Egypt, and gave them the law; and that the conjunction will be of Jupiter and Saturn, in the constellation Pisces: there was likewise between Moses and Christ, an agreement in the miracles they wrought, and in other things:
him shall ye hear in all things, whatsoever he shall say unto you: all his doctrines are to be believed, embraced, and professed; and all his commands are to be obeyed, and all his ordinances submitted to; and this is hearing, or hearkening, to him in all things, delivered or enjoined by him.
(c) Jarchi in Deuteronomy 18.15. (d) Aben Ezra in loc. (e) R. Abraham Seba in Tzeror Hammor, fol. 127. 4. & 143. 4. Baal Hatturim in Deuteronomy 18.15. (f) Herban. disp. cum Gregeut. p. 13. (g) Bemidbar Rabba, fol. 202. 2. Midrash Ruth, fol. 33. 2. Midrash Kohelet, fol. 63. 2.((h) T. Bab. Roshhasbana, fol. 11, 1. 2. (i) R. Abraham ben R. Chija apud Wolfii Hebr. Bibliothec. p. 51,
23And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
And it shall come to pass, that every soul,.... Every person, man or woman:
which will not hear that prophet; neither believe what he says, nor do what he commands; or as it is in Deuteronomy 18:19 "will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name": for he that hears not him, hearkens not to God, in whose name he speaks, and whose word he delivers,
shall be destroyed from among the people; in the Hebrew text it is, "I will require it of him"; the Hebrew word, there used, by having different points, may be rendered "of him", or "from his people", which seems to be the reason of this difference: and requiring often intends punishment, or a cutting off; or as Aben Ezra explains it here,
"death by the hand of heaven;''
that is, immediate destruction from God; and so Maimonides says (k), he that transgresses the words of that prophet, is guilty of death by the hand of heaven; and which was remarkably fulfilled in the Jewish nation, for their rejection of Jesus as the true Messiah, and that prophet.
(k) Yesod Hattora, c. 9. sect. 4.
24Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.
Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel,.... Who was, as the Jews call him, , "the master of the prophets" (l); and they say, that Samuel the prophet is , "the first prophet" in the chain of the Kabbala (m); and therefore is here particularly mentioned, as at the head of the prophets, and next to Moses; there being but very few prophets between him and Moses, when there were many after him; and in his days, the schools of the prophets were set up: now not only Moses spoke of Christ, but all the prophets from the time of Samuel; in the books that bear his name, stands a famous prophecy concerning Christ, 2 Samuel 7:13.
And those that follow after; in order, as David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, &c.
and as many as have spoken; anything by way of prophecy:
have likewise foretold of these days; of the days of the Messiah, of his person, office, incarnation, obedience, sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension, the pouring down of the Spirit, the times of refreshing, the Gospel dispensation, the conversion of the Jews, the calling of the Gentiles, and the gathering in all the elect of God.
(l) T Hieros. Chagiga, fol. 77. 1.((m) Ganz Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 9. 1. Vid. Kimchi in Psal. xcix. 6.
25Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
Ye are the children of the prophets,.... Of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are called prophets, Psalm 105:15 being lineally and naturally descended from them; to them belonged the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah, and the promises of him; they were heirs of them;
and of the covenant which God made with our fathers; so the phrase , "children of the covenant", is used by the Jews, as peculiar to themselves; See Gill on Romans 9:8 and so , "a son of the law" (n), is also used by them in a like sense; the law, the covenant, and the promises, externally belonging to them:
saying unto Abraham, Genesis 22:18
and in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed; meaning the Messiah, that sprung from him, and is called the son of Abraham; in whom, not only all Abraham's spiritual seed among the Jews, or the elect of God in that nation, and who were truly the children of Abraham, and of the promise, but even all the chosen of God among the Gentiles, in every nation, and of every kindred and family among them, are blessed in Christ, with all spiritual blessings; with peace, pardon, righteousness, redemption, and salvation: for this is not a form of blessing the Gentiles would use, when they blessed themselves, or others; saying, God bless thee, as he blessed Abraham's seed; for no one instance can be produced, when the Gentiles ever used such a form of blessing as this; but a prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles by the Messiah, and of their being blessed in him; see Galatians 3:16 and though this sense is departed from by modern Jews, it was what the ancient synagogue gave into (o).
(n) T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 62. 1.((o) Sepher Chasidim, sect. 961. apud Allix, Judgment of the Jewish Church, p 57.
26Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
Unto you first, God having raised his Son Jesus,.... Which may be understood, either of the incarnation of Christ, and his exhibition in the flesh; which is sometimes expressed by raising him up, and is no other than the mission, or manifestation of him in human nature, as in Luke 1:69. Or of the resurrection of him from the dead, and the exaltation of him at the right hand of God:
sent him to bless you; in person, according to the former sense; for he was indeed sent only to the people of Israel, and to them he preached; many of whom were blessed with converting grace under his ministry; but according to the latter sense, and which seems most agreeable, he was sent in the ministry of the word, and came by his Spirit, first to the Jews, among whom the Gospel was first preached for a while, and was blessed to the conversion of many thousands among them, both in Judea, and in the nations of the world, where they were dispersed:
in turning away everyone of you from his iniquities; in this the blessing lay, and is rightly in our version ascribed to Christ, and to the power of his grace, in the ministration of the Gospel and not to themselves, as in many other versions; as the Syriac version, "if ye convert yourselves, and turn from your evils"; making it both their own act, and the condition of their being blessed; and the Arabic version likewise, "so that everyone of you departs from his wickedness"; but that work is Christ's, and this is the blessing of grace he himself bestows, and is a fruit of redemption by his blood, Titus 2:14.