Acts 1:10
And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
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(10) Two men stood by them in white apparel.—Better, were standing, the appearance being sudden, and their approach unnoticed. The forms were such as those as had been seen at the portals of the empty sepulchre, bright and fair to look upon, and clad in white garments, like the young priests in the Temple. (See Note on Luke 1:12.)

1:6-11 They were earnest in asking about that which their Master never had directed or encouraged them to seek. Our Lord knew that his ascension and the teaching of the Holy Spirit would soon end these expectations, and therefore only gave them a rebuke; but it is a caution to his church in all ages, to take heed of a desire of forbidden knowledge. He had given his disciples instructions for the discharge of their duty, both before his death and since his resurrection, and this knowledge is enough for a Christian. It is enough that He has engaged to give believers strength equal to their trials and services; that under the influence of the Holy Spirit they may, in one way or other, be witnesses for Christ on earth, while in heaven he manages their concerns with perfect wisdom, truth, and love. When we stand gazing and trifling, the thoughts of our Master's second coming should quicken and awaken us: when we stand gazing and trembling, they should comfort and encourage us. May our expectation of it be stedfast and joyful, giving diligence to be found of him blameless.Looked stedfastly - They fixed their eyes, or gazed intently toward heaven. Luke 4:20, "and the eyes of all them in the synagogue were fastened (Greek: the same word as here) on him." It denotes the intense gaze when we are deeply interested, and wish to see clearly and distinctly. They were amazed and confounded; what had occurred was unlocked for; for they had just been inquiring whether he would not, at that time, restore the kingdom to Israel. With this mingled amazement, disappointment, and curiosity, and with an earnest desire to catch the last glimpse of their beloved master, they naturally continued to gaze on the distant clouds where he had mysteriously disappeared from their view. Never was a scene more impressive, grand, and solemn than this.

Toward heaven - Toward the distant clouds or sky which had received him.

As he went up - Literally, upon him going up; that is, they gazed on him as he ascended, and doubtless they continued to gaze after he had disappeared from their view.

Two men - From the raiment of these "men," and the nature of their message, it seems clear that they were angelic beings, who were sent to meet and comfort the disciples on this occasion. They appeared in human form, and Luke describes them as they appeared. Angels are not infrequently called people. Luke 24:4, "two men stood by them in shining garments," etc. Compare John 20:12; Matthew 28:5. As two angels are mentioned only as addressing the apostles after the resurrection of Jesus John 20:12; Luke 24:4, it is no unnatural supposition that these were the same who had been designated to the honorable office of bearing witness to his resurrection, and of giving them all the information about that resurrection, and of his ascension, which their circumstances needed.

In white apparel - Angels are commonly represented as clothed in white. See the John 20:12 note; Matthew 28:3 note; Mark 16:5 note. It is an emblem of purity; and the worshippers of heaven are represented as clothed in this manner. Revelation 3:4, "they shall walk with me in white"; Revelation 3:5, "He that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment"; Revelation 4:4; Revelation 7:9, Revelation 7:13-14.

10. while they looked steadfastly toward heaven—following Him with their eager eyes, in rapt amazement. Not, however, as a mere fact is this recorded, but as a part of that resistless evidence of their senses on which their whole subsequent testimony was to be borne.

two men in white apparel—angels in human form, as in Lu 24:4.

Christ’s ascent was the more leisurely, that he might delight their eyes and mind; but especially confirm their faith the more.

Behold, two men stood by them, angels in the shape of men, in white apparel; which angels ordinarily appeared in, to show they retained their native purity, as also to represent the joyfulness of the errand they were usually sent upon.

And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven,.... For though he was taken out of their sight by the cloud, they kept looking upwards, and after him, if they could see him again, or any more of him:

as he went up; they looked up to heaven after him, as he went up from the earth, before the cloud took him out of their sight; and still they continued looking, as the cloud carried him up, until it was out of the reach of their sight, being willing to see the last of him in this way:

behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; that is, two angels in the form of men; it being usual with them to appear in human form: these on a sudden appeared and stood on the earth just by them; though the Ethiopic version renders it, "they stood above them", as if they were in the air over their heads; and they appeared in white apparel, as the angel at the sepulchre in Matthew 28:2 which was a symbol both of their purity and holiness, and of their lustre and glory. The Ethiopic version renders it, "they were clothed with lightning"; they appeared in such a dazzling form, that it looked as if they were covered with lightning; as the angel that appeared at Christ's resurrection, his countenance is said to be as lightning; which must at once fix the attention of the disciples to them, and strike them with surprise: hence a "behold" is prefixed to this: and hereby they knew that they were not common and ordinary men, or mere men, but angels in such a form.

And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Acts 1:10-11. Ἀτενίζοντες ἦσαν] expresses continuance: they were in fixed gazing. To this (not to πορευομ. αὐτ.) εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν belongs. Comp. Acts 3:4, Acts 6:15, Acts 7:55, Acts 11:6, Acts 13:9; 2 Corinthians 3:7; 2 Corinthians 3:13. τῷ οὐρανῷ might also have stood, Luke 4:20; Luke 22:56; Acts 3:12; Acts 10:4; Acts 13:1. See generally, Valck. Schol. p. 309 ff. Comp. Polyb. 6:11. 7. Strangely erroneous is the view of Lange, Apost. Zeitalt. II. p. 12 : that ὥς is not temporal, but as if: “they wished to fix the blue (?) heaven, which one cannot fix.”

πορευομένου αὐτοῦ] whilst He, enveloped by the cloud, was departing (into heaven).

καὶ ἰδού] as in Luke 7:12, Acts 10:17; not as an anacoluthon, but: behold also there! See Nägelsbach, z. Ilias, p. 164, ed. 3.

The men are characterized as inhabitants of the heavenly world, angels,[99] who are therefore clothed in white (see on John 20:12).

οἳ καὶ εἶπον] who (not only stood, but) also said: comp. Acts 1:3.

τί ἑστήκατε κ.τ.λ.] The meaning is: “Remain now no longer sunk in aimless gazing after Him; for ye are not for ever separated from this Jesus, who will so come even as ye have seen Him go away into heaven.”

οὕτως] i.e. in the same manner come down from heaven in a cloud as He was borne up. Comp. Matthew 24:30.

On the emphasis οὕτως, ὃν τρόπον, comp. Acts 27:25; 2 Timothy 3:8.

[99] According to Ewald, we are to think on Moses and Elias, as at the transfiguration. But if the tradition had meant these,—and in that case it would certainly have named them,—Luke would hardly have left them unnamed. Comp. rather Luke 24:4; Acts 10:30.

Acts 1:10. ἀτενίζοντες ἦσαν: this periphrasis of ἦν or ἦσαν with a present or perfect participle is very frequently found in St. Luke’s writings (Friedrich, pp. 12 and 89, and compare the list in Simcox, u. s., pp. 130–134). The verb is peculiar to St. Luke and St. Paul, and is found ten times in Acts, twice in St. Luke’s Gospel, and twice in 2 Cor.; it denotes a fixed, steadfast, protracted gaze: “and while they were looking steadfastly into heaven as he went,” R.V., thus expressing more clearly the longing gaze of the disciples watching the Lord as He was going (πορευομένου αὐτοῦ, the present participle denoting that the cloud was still visible for a considerable time), as if carrying their eyes and hearts with Him to heaven: “Ipse enim est amor noster; ubi autem amor, ibi est oculus et cor” (Corn, à Lapide). The word is also found in LXX 1Es 6:28 and 3Ma 2:26 (cf. Aquila, Job 7:8), and also in Josephus, B. J., v., 12, 3, and Polybius. Ramsay, St. Paul, 38, 39, gives a most valuable account of the use of the word in St. Luke, and concludes that the action implied by it is quite inconsistent with weakness of vision, and that the theory which makes Paul a permanent sufferer in the eyes, as if he could not distinctly see the persons near him, is hopelessly at variance with St. Luke; cf. too the meaning of the word as used by St. Paul himself in 2 Corinthians 3:7; 2 Corinthians 3:13, where not weak but strong sight is implied in the word. The verb thus common in St. Luke is frequently employed by medical writers to denote a peculiar fixed look (Zahn); so in Luke 22:56, where it is used for the servant-maid’s earnest gaze at St. Peter, a gaze not mentioned at all by St. Matthew, and expressed by a different word in St. Mark 14:67; Hobart, Medical Language of St. Luke, p. 76. In LXX, as above, it is employed in a secondary sense, but by Aquila, u. s., in its primary meaning of gazing, beholding.—καὶ ἰδοὺ: καὶ at the commencement of the apodosis is explained as Hebraistic, but instances are not wanting in classical Greek; cf. Blass, Grammatik des N. G., p. 257, and see also Simcox, ubi supra, p. 160 ff. For the formula καὶ ἰδοὺ cf. the Hebrew וְהִנֵּה, and on St. Luke’s employment of it in sudden interpositions, see Hort, Ecclesia, p. 179. The use of καί (which in the most Hebraic books of the N.T. is employed much more extensively than in classical Greek) is most frequent in Luke, who also uses more frequently than other writers the formula καὶ ἰδού to introduce an apodosis; cf. Friedrich, ubi supra, p. 33.—παρειστήκεισαν αὐτοῖς: in the appearance of angels which St. Luke often narrates there is a striking similarity between the phraseology of his Gospel and the Acts; cf. with the present passage Acts 10:30; Acts 12:7, and Luke 24:4; Luke 2:9. The description in the angels’ disappearances is not so similar, cf. Acts 10:7 and Luke 2:15, but it must be remembered that there is only one other passage in which the departure of the angels is mentioned, Revelation 16:2; Friedrich, ubi supra, pp. 45, 52, and Zeller, Acts ii., p. 224 (E. T.). For the verb cf. Luke 1:19; Luke 19:24, Acts 23:2; Acts 23:4, and especially Acts 27:23.—ἐν ἐσθῆτι λευκῇ: in R.V. in the plural, see critical notes and also Deissmann, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 90.

10. as he went up] The preposition is not in the Greek, which has simply, as he went.

in white apparel] They are called men, but they are evidently angels. So the two angels are clothed in white (John 20:12) whom Mary saw in the sepulchre after the Resurrection, and one of these is called by St Mark (Mark 16:5) “a young man clothed in a long white garment.” St Luke in the Gospel calls them “two men in shining garments” (Acts 24:4). So the “man in bright clothing,” Acts 10:30, is described in Acts 11:13 as “an angel.” This was a common Jewish expression to signify angelic or divine messengers. Cf. Talm. Jer. Joma Acts 1:2, ad fin.

“Shimeon ha-Tsaddik (i.e. the righteous) served Israel forty years in the High-priesthood, and in the last year he said to the people, ‘In this year I shall die.’ They said to him: ‘How dost thou know this?’ He said to them: ‘Every year when I was going into the Holy of Holies there was an Ancient one, clad in white garments and with a white vail, who went in with me and came out with me; but this year he went in with me and did not come out with me.’ [On this matter] they asked of Rabbi Abuhu, ‘But surely it is written: ‘Nothing of mankind shall be in the tent of meeting when he [the High-priest] goes in to make atonement until his coming out again,’ not even those concerning whom it is written [Ezekiel 1:5] ‘They had the likeness of a man,’ even they shall not be in the tent of meeting.’ He said to them: ‘What is there [in this language of Shimeon] to tell me that it was a human being at all? I say it was the Holy One.”

Acts 1:10. Ἄνδρεςλευκῇ, men—white) Comp. note on Matthew 28:3 [Angels had not before the resurrection appeared in this garb]. A man put for an angel: ch. Acts 10:30; Acts 10:3; Acts 10:22; Luke 24:4, note. But comp. also Luke 9:30. note [Moses and Elias, who were men, appeared like angels at the transfiguration]. [Therefore they were either angels or men.—V. g.]

Verse 10. - Were looking for looked, A.V. ; into for toward, A.V.; went for went up, A.V. Two men. St. Luke describes them according to their appearance. They were really angels. In like manner, in Joshua 5:13 we read, "There stood a man over against him;" and in Genesis 18:2, 16; Genesis 19:10, 12, 16, we read of "the men;" and in Judges 13:6, 8, 10, 11, of "the man of God;" the persons spoken of in all these cases being angels (comp. Daniel 3:25; Daniel 8:15, 16; Daniel 9:21, etc.; Zechariah 1:8, 10; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4). Gabriel, too, means "man of God." In white apparel, typical of perfect holiness, and of the glory which belongs to the inhabitants of heaven (comp. Daniel 10:5, 6; Matthew 17:2; Matthew 28:3; Mark 9:3; Mark 16:5; Luke 24:4; Revelation 7:9, 13; Revelation 3:5, 18; Revelation 4:4; Revelation 6:11; Revelation 19:8, etc.). Acts 1:10Looked steadfastly (ἀτενίζοντες ἦσαν)

See on Luke 4:20.

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