Acts 2:24
Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held of it.
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Whom God hath raised up - This was the main point, in this part of his argument, which Peter wished to establish. He could not but admit that the Messiah had been in an ignominious manner put to death. But he now shows them that God had also raised him up; had thus given his attestation to his doctrine; and had sent down his Spirit according to the promise which the Lord Jesus made before his death.

Having loosed the pains of death - The word "loosed," λύσας lusas, is opposed to bind, and is properly applied to a cord, or to anything which is bound. See Matthew 21:2; Mark 1:7. Hence, it means to free or to liberate, Luke 13:16; 1 Corinthians 7:27. It is used in this sense here; though the idea of untying or loosing a band is retained, because the word translated "pains" often means "a cord or band."

The pains of death - ὠδῖνας τοῦ θάνατου ōdinas tou thanatou. The word translated "pains" denotes properly "the extreme sufferings of parturition, and then any severe or excruciating pangs." Hence, it is applied also to death, as being a state of extreme suffering. A very frequent meaning of the Hebrew word of which this is the translation is cord or band. This, perhaps, was the original idea of the word; and the Hebrews expressed any extreme agony under the idea of bands or cords closely drawn, binding and constricting the limbs, and producing severe pain. Thus, death was represented under this image of a band that confined people, that pressed closely on them, that prevented escape, and produced severe suffering. For this use of the word חבל chebel, see Psalm 119:61; Isaiah 66:7; Jeremiah 22:23; Hosea 13:13. It is applied to death, Psalm 18:5, "The snares of death prevented me"; corresponding to the word "sorrows" in the previous part of the verse; Psalm 116:3, "The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell (Hades or Sheol, the cords or pains that were binding me down to the grave) gat held on me."

We are not to infer from this that our Lord suffered anything after death. It means simply that he could not be held by the grave, but that God loosed the bonds which had held him there; that he now set him free who had been encompassed by these pains or bonds until they had brought him down to the grave. Pain, mighty pain, will encompass us all like the constrictions and bindings of a cord which we cannot loose, and will fasten our limbs and bodies in the grave. Those bands begin to be thrown around us in early life, and they are drawn closer and closer, until we lie panting under the stricture on a bed of pain, and then are still and immovable in the grave - subdued in a manner not a little resembling the mortal agonies of the tiger in the convolutions of the boa constrictor, or like Laocoon and his sons in the folds of the serpents from the Island of Tenedos.

It was not possible - This does not refer to any natural impossibility, or to any inherent efficacy or power in the body of Jesus itself, but simply means that "in the circumstances of the case such an event could not be." Why it could not be he proceeds at once to show. It could not be consistently with the promises of the Scriptures. Jesus was the "Prince of life" Acts 3:15; he had life in himself John 1:4; John 5:26; he had power to lay down his life and to take it again Judges 10:18; and it was indispensable that he should rise. He came, also, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death that is, the devil Hebrews 2:14; and as it was his purpose to gain this victory, he could not be defeated in it by being confined to the grave.

Whom God hath raised up - For, as God alone gave him up to death, so God alone raised him up from death.

Having loosed the pains of death - It is generally supposed that this expression means, the dissolving of those bonds or obligations by which those who enter into the region of the dead are detained there till the day of the resurrection; and this is supposed to be the meaning of חבלי מות chebley maveth, in Psalm 116:3, or חבלי שאול chebley sheol, in Psalm 18:5, and in 2 Samuel 22:6, to which, as a parallel, this place has been referred. But Kypke has sufficiently proved that λυειν τας ωδινας θανατου, signifies rather to Remove the pains or sufferings of death. So Lucian, De Conscr. Hist., says, "a copious sweat to some, ελυσε τον πυρετον, Removes or carries off the fever." So Strabo, speaking of the balm of Jericho, says, λυει δε κεφαλαλγιας θαυμαστως - it wonderfully Removes the headache, etc. That Christ did suffer the pains and sorrows of death in his passion is sufficiently evident; but that these were all removed, previously to his crucifixion, is fully seen in that calm manner in which he met it, with all its attendant terrors. If we take the words as commonly understood, they mean that it was impossible for the Prince of Life to be left in the empire of death: his resurrection, therefore, was a necessary consequence of his own Divine power.

Instead of θανατου, of death, the Codex Bezae, Syriac, Coptic, and Vulgate, have Ἁιδου, of hell, or the place of separate spirits; and perhaps it was on no better authority than this various reading, supported but by slender evidence, that, He descended into hell, became an article in what is called the apostles' creed. And on this article many a popish legend has been builded, to the discredit of sober sense and true religion.

Whom God raised up,.... From the dead; for though his life was taken away by men, he was raised to life again by God the Father, to whom the resurrection of Christ is generally ascribed, though not to the exclusion of Christ himself, and the blessed Spirit; and this being what the apostles were witnesses of, and the Jews endeavoured to stifle as much as they could, it being the sign Christ gave them of the truth of his Messiahship; and this being also a fundamental article of the Christian religion, the apostle enlarges upon it:

having loosed the pains of death; this may be understood either of what Christ had done for his people by dying for them; he had abolished death; he had took away its sting, and delivered them from the curse of it, having fulfilled the law, satisfied justice, and made full atonement for their sin; so that though they die, death is not a penal evil to them, nor shall they always continue under the power of it: or of what God did in raising Christ from the dead; he delivered him from the power of death, by which he was held in the grave, and which is expressed by a word which signifies pains and sorrows, even those of a woman in travail; which though he felt not now, he had gone through them; his low state in the grave was the effect of them; and these are said to be loosed when he was raised up, he being so entirely delivered from them, as that they should never come upon him more: and it is to be observed, that the same word in the Hebrew language, and so in the Chaldee and Syriac, in which Peter might speak, signifies both cords and sorrows; and we often read in Talmudic and Rabbinic (w) writings, of , "the sorrows", or "pains" of the Messiah. The death which Christ died, being the death of the cross, was a very painful one: he endured great pains in his body, smote with rods, and buffeted with the hands of men; by being scourged and whipped, and having a crown of thorns platted on his head; but the pains of the cross were still greater, his body being stretched out upon it, and fastened to it by nails drove through his hands and feet, and then reared up, and jogged in the earth, where he hung upon it in extreme agony, till he expired: and these pains he endured, not through want of love to him in his Father, who, as he does not willingly grieve and afflict the children of men, so neither would he his own Son; nor was it on account of any sin of his, for he knew none, nor did he commit any; but he was wounded, and bruised, and endured these sorrows and pains for the sins of his people: as he was their surety, it was necessary he should die, because the wages of sin is death, and the justice and veracity of God required it; and it was proper he should die the painful death of the cross, because of the types and prophecies of it, and chiefly that he might appear to be made a curse for his people: though more must be meant here than the pains he endured in the moment and article of death, since they ceased at death, and he was then freed from them; whereas the text speaks of a loosing him from them at his resurrection, which supposes that they continued on him until that time; wherefore these pains of death also signify the power and dominion death had over him, and continued to have over him in the grave; with the cords of which he was bound and held, till he was loosed by raising him from the dead. Dr. Goodwin is of opinion, that these words are to be understood, not of the resurrection of Christ's body from the pains and power of death, but at least chiefly of the recovery and revival of his soul from those spiritual agonies which attended him, and from which he was loosed and delivered before his death; and the rather, because as before observed, at death the pains of it are gone, the bitterness of it is over, and nothing is felt in the grave; besides, the word here used signifies the pains of a woman in travail, 1 Thessalonians 5:3 and seems best to agree with those inward sufferings of Christ, which are called "the travail of his soul", Isaiah 53:11 and which, like the pangs of a woman in labour, came upon him gradually: four or five days before his death he said, "now is my soul troubled", John 12:27. The night in which he was betrayed, when he came into the garden, he began to be sorrowful, and heavy, and sore amazed; and at length he breaks out, and says, "my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death", Matthew 26:37 and after some time his pains increase, and being in agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood, Luke 22:44 but the sharpest pains were yet to come, and which he endured when on the cross, being forsaken by his God and Father, Matthew 27:46 and which arose partly from the sins of his people, the filth and guilt of them laid upon him, which must be very distressing to his pure and holy mind; and from the wrath of God, and curse of the law, which he sustained as the punishment for them; and it was necessary he should bear the whole punishment due to sin, the punishment of sense, or feel the wrath of God, and the strokes of divine justice, and the punishment of loss, or be deprived of the divine presence; and these sorrows of soul may be well called the pains or sorrows of death, because they were unto death, and issued in it; a corporeal death followed upon them; and when he was in the garden, and on the cross, it might be truly said, "the sorrows of death compassed him about", Psalm 18:4 but from these he was loosed just before his death, when he said, "it is finished"; the darkness was over; the light of God's countenance broke out upon him; he heard his cry, and helped him in the acceptable time, in the day of salvation; his anger, as a judge, was turned away from him, justice being entirely satisfied; and therefore it was not possible he should be held any longer with these cords and sorrows of death; for he being an infinite person, was able to bear all the wrath of God at once, which was due to sin, and therefore did not bring on him an eternal death as on the wicked, he sustaining and satisfying for all at once; and, like another Samson, broke asunder these cords like threads, and was loosed from them. But after all, though these are very great truths; yet, according to the order in which these words lie, being placed after the account of the crucifixion and death of Christ, they seem rather to respect the resurrection of his body, and the loosing it from the power and dominion of death; and in such sense as never to return to it, or any more feel the pains of it. One of Stephen's copies reads, "the pains of Hades", or the invisible state; and the Vulgate Latin version, "the pains of hell"; as in Psalm 18:5 where the grave is meant; and the Syriac version, , "the pains", or "cords of the grave": the word "cords", or "bands", best agrees with the word "loosing"; and the Ethiopic version renders it, "the bands of death",

Because it was not possible he should be holden of it: of death, and under the power of it; partly, because of the power and dignity of his person, as the Son of God, he being still the Prince of life, and who by dying abolished death, and him that had the power of it; and partly, because as the surety of his people, he had made full satisfaction for sin, and had brought in an everlasting righteousness, and therefore ought in justice to be discharged, and detained a prisoner no longer; as also because of the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning his resurrection, which must be fulfilled, as follows,

(w) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 118. 2. & Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2. Alkath Rocel, l. 1. p. 1. & passim.

{6} Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the {s} pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

(6) As David foretold, Christ did not only rise again, but also was void of all decay in the grave.

(s) The death that was full of sorrow both of body and mind: therefore when death appeared conqueror and victor over those sorrows, Christ is rightly said to have overcome those sorrows of death when, as being dead, he overcame death, to live forever with his Father.

24. was not possible he should be holden of it—Glorious saying! It was indeed impossible that "the Living One" should remain "among the dead" (Lu 24:5); but here, the impossibility seems to refer to the prophetic assurance that He should not see corruption.2:22-36 From this gift of the Holy Ghost, Peter preaches unto them Jesus: and here is the history of Christ. Here is an account of his death and sufferings, which they witnessed but a few weeks before. His death is considered as God's act; and of wonderful grace and wisdom. Thus Divine justice must be satisfied, God and man brought together again, and Christ himself glorified, according to an eternal counsel, which could not be altered. And as the people's act; in them it was an act of awful sin and folly. Christ's resurrection did away the reproach of his death; Peter speaks largely upon this. Christ was God's Holy One, sanctified and set apart to his service in the work of redemption. His death and sufferings should be, not to him only, but to all his, the entrance to a blessed life for evermore. This event had taken place as foretold, and the apostles were witnesses. Nor did the resurrection rest upon this alone; Christ had poured upon his disciples the miraculous gifts and Divine influences, of which they witnessed the effects. Through the Saviour, the ways of life are made known; and we are encouraged to expect God's presence, and his favour for evermore. All this springs from assured belief that Jesus is the Lord, and the anointed Saviour. 2:24 Because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. It was not possible that Jesus be held by death, because he had life in himself, and, besides, it was the Father's will that he should arise. This verse epitomizes the four Gospels.Verse 24. - Raised for hath raised, A.V.; pangs for pains, A.V. Pangs. St. Luke follows the LXX., who render the מָוֶת or חֶבְלֵי of Psalm 18:5, 6; Psalm 116:3, by ὠδῖνες θανάτου, as if the Hebrew word were חֵבֶל, the pains or pangs of a woman in childbirth, whereas it really is חֶבֶל, a cord, as it is rendered in the margin of Psalm 18:5, meaning the snare of the fowler. The variation is very similar to that of the "fruit of our lips" in Hebrews 13:15, compared with the "calves of our lips" of Hosea 14:2. It is manifest that "loosed" applies better to cords than to pangs. It was not possible. Why, not possible?

1. Because of the union of the Godhead and manhood in the one Person of Christ.

2. Because of God's character, which makes it impossible that one who trusts in him should be forsaken, or that God's Holy One should see corruption.

3. Because the Scripture, which cannot be broken, declared the resurrection of Christ.

God.

Acts 2:32 This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

Acts 3:15,26 And killed the Prince of life, whom God has raised from the dead; …

Acts 10:40,41 Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly…

Acts 13:30,34 But God raised him from the dead…

Acts 17:31 Because he has appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world …

Matthew 27:63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet …

Luke 24:1-53 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they …

John 2:19-21 Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple, and in three …

John 10:18 No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power …

Romans 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him …

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like …

Romans 8:11,34 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you…

Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he …

1 Corinthians 6:14 And God has both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some …

2 Corinthians 4:14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us …

Galatians 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, …

Ephesians 1:20 Which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and …

Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him …

1 Thessalonians 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, …

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, …

1 Peter 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and …

loosed.

Psalm 116:3,4,16 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold …

because.

Acts 1:16 Men and brothers, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled…

Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away …

Isaiah 26:19 Your dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. …

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief: when …

Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them …

Luke 24:46 And said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ …

John 10:35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the scripture …

John 12:39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,

Hebrews 2:14 For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, …

Revelation 1:18 I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for ever …

Pains (ὠδῖνας)

The meaning is disputed. Some claim that Peter followed the Septuagint mistranslation of Psalm 18:5, where the Hebrew word for snares is rendered by the word used here, pains; and that, therefore, it should be rendered snares of death; the figure being that of escape from the snare of a huntsman. Others suppose that death is represented in travail, the birth-pangs ceasing with the delivery; i.e., the resurrection. This seems to be far-fetched, though it is true that in classical Greek the word is used commonly of birth-throes. It is better, perhaps, on the whole, to take the expression in the sense of the A. V., and to make the pains of death stand for death generally.

2:24 Having loosed the pains of death - The word properly means, the pains of a woman in travail. As it was not possible that he should be held under it - Because the Scripture must needs be fulfilled.
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