Acts 26:16
But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
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(16) But rise, and stand upon thy feet.—The report of the words heard by the Apostle is much fuller than in either Acts 9:11 or Acts 22:10, and may fairly be thought of as embodying what followed on the actual words so recorded, the substance of “the visions and revelations of the Lord” (2Corinthians 12:1), by which, in those days of blindness and ecstasy, the future of his life was marked out for him, and the gospel which he was to preach revealed in its fulness. In such states of consciousness, the man who is in contact with the supernatural life does not take note of the sequence of thoughts with the precision of a short-hand reporter.

A minister and a witness.—The first word is the same as that which the Apostle uses of himself in 1Corinthians 4:1.

Acts 26:16-18. But rise and stand upon thy feet — Though thou hast persecuted me and my followers in this outrageous manner, and hast been engaged in a desperate attempt to destroy them from the face of the earth, and, by so doing, hast forfeited thy life. I am determined graciously to spare it, and to use thee hereafter as the instrument of my grace. For I have appeared unto thee — In this extraordinary manner; for this purpose, to make thee a minister — Of my gospel; and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen — Now, at this time; and of those in which I will appear unto thee — Namely, hereafter; Delivering thee from the people — The Jews; and the Gentiles, to whom — Both Jews and Gentiles; I now send thee — Paul gives them to know that the liberty he enjoyed, even in bonds, was promised to him, as well as his preaching to the Gentiles. I, denotes the authority of the sender; now, the time whence his mission was dated. For his apostleship, as well as his conversion, commenced at this moment. To open their eyes — The eyes of them who are now in a miserable state of blindness, whether Jews or Gentiles. He opens them who sends Paul, and he does it by Paul who is sent. And to turn them from darkness — From that state of ignorance and folly in which they are involved; that is, with respect to the Gentiles, to turn them from following false and blind guides, their oracles, divinations, and superstitious usages, received by tradition from their fathers, and the corrupt notions they had of their gods. And with respect to the Jews, to rescue them from their ignorance of the spirituality, extent, and obligation of the moral law, and of the shadowy, typical, and temporary nature of the Mosaic institution in general, as also from their ignorance of the spiritual and heavenly nature of the Messiah’s kingdom, and the qualifications necessary for becoming subjects of it, and of the true sense of the prophetic writings with relation to these things; to light — The light of divine knowledge and wisdom; and from the power of Satan — Who now holds them in a state of sin and guilt, weakness and wretchedness; unto God — To his love and service: for it was not sufficient for them to have their eyes opened, it was also necessary to have their hearts renewed; not enough to be turned from darkness to light, but they must be turned from sin to holiness; which, indeed, follows of course; for Satan rules by the power of darkness, and God by the convincing evidence of light. Idolaters were and are, in a special manner, under the power of Satan, paying their homage to creatures of their own fancy; to images, or imaginary beings; or to God’s creatures, not formed and given to man for any such purpose; that is, in effect, doing service to devils: but all sinners, also, are under the power of Satan, influenced by his temptations, yielding themselves captives to his will and pleasure. But converting grace rescues them from his tyranny, and brings them into subjection to God; translates them out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Observe, reader, when gracious dispositions are as strong in the soul as corrupt and sinful dispositions had been, it is then turned from the power of Satan unto God. That they may receive forgiveness of sins — That they may be pardoned, and restored to God’s favour, which by sin they had forfeited. They are delivered from the dominion of sin, that they may be delivered from that death which is the wages of sin; not that they may merit that forgiveness, as a debt or reward, but that they may receive it as a free gift, together with the comfort arising from it; they are persuaded to lay down their arms, and return to their allegiance, that they may have the benefit of the act of indemnity passed by God in behalf of those who do so. An inheritance, or lot, among them which are sanctified — That Isaiah , 1 st, That they may be sanctified as well as justified; may be redeemed from all iniquity, Titus 2:14; cleansed from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:9; from all unholy tempers, words, and works, purified from all pollution of the flesh and of the spirit, 2 Corinthians 7:1; and made glorious souls, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but constituted holy and without blemish, Ephesians 5:26-27; in other words, so renewed by the power of the Holy Ghost as to bear the image of the heavenly, as they had borne that of the earthly, and be made partakers of the divine nature, Titus 3:5; 2 Peter 1:4. 2d, That they may receive an inheritance among such as are thus sanctified, even the inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away. For this inheritance, the forgiveness of our sins and the sanctification of our nature prepare us; removing that guilt and depravity which were the chief hinderances in the way of our receiving it. As all those that shall be saved hereafter must be sanctified as well as justified here, all that receive the heavenly inheritance must be thus entitled to it and made meet for it: and none can be saints in heaven that are not first saints on earth; so we need no more to ensure our happiness in a future world, than to possess these blessings in this world. And, as is here stated, these, together with the heavenly inheritance, for which they prepare us, are received by faith in Jesus: for faith in him, and in the promises of God, made to the penitent and believing through him; the faith whereby we not only receive divine revelation in general, but the record which God hath given of his Son in particular; by which we apply to, and rely on, Christ as the Lord our righteousness and sanctification, and resign ourselves to him as the Lord our proprietor and ruler; this is that faith whereby we receive forgiveness, holiness, and eternal life, the salvation of grace here, and the salvation of glory hereafter.

26:12-23 Paul was made a Christian by Divine power; by a revelation of Christ both to him and in him; when in the full career of his sin. He was made a minister by Divine authority: the same Jesus who appeared to him in that glorious light, ordered him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. A world that sits in darkness must be enlightened; those must be brought to know the things that belong to their everlasting peace, who are yet ignorant of them. A world that lies in wickedness must be sanctified and reformed; it is not enough for them to have their eyes opened, they must have their hearts renewed; not enough to be turned from darkness to light, but they must be turned from the power of Satan unto God. All who are turned from sin to God, are not only pardoned, but have a grant of a rich inheritance. The forgiveness of sins makes way for this. None can be happy who are not holy; and to be saints in heaven we must be first saints on earth. We are made holy, and saved by faith in Christ; by which we rely upon Christ as the Lord our Righteousness, and give up ourselves to him as the Lord our Ruler; by this we receive the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and eternal life. The cross of Christ was a stumbling-block to the Jews, and they were in a rage at Paul's preaching the fulfilling of the Old Testament predictions. Christ should be the first that should rise from the dead; the Head or principal One. Also, it was foretold by the prophets, that the Gentiles should be brought to the knowledge of God by the Messiah; and what in this could the Jews justly be displeased at? Thus the true convert can give a reason of his hope, and a good account of the change manifest in him. Yet for going about and calling on men thus to repent and to be converted, vast numbers have been blamed and persecuted.But rise ... - The particulars mentioned in this verse and the two following are not recorded in the account of Paul's conversion in Acts 9; but it is not improbable that many circumstances may have occurred which are not recorded. Paul dwells on them here at length in order particularly to show his authority for doing what he had done in preaching to the Gentiles.

To make thee a minister - A minister of the gospel; a preacher of the truth.

And a witness - See the notes on Acts 22:15.

Which thou hast seen - On the road to Damascus; that is, of the Lord Jesus, and of the fact that he was risen from the dead.

And of those things ... - Of those further manifestations of my person, purposes, and will, which I will yet make to you. It is evident from this that the Lord Jesus promised to manifest himself to Paul in his ministry, and to make to him still further displays of his will and glory. Compare Acts 22:17-18. This was done by his rescuing him from destruction and danger; by inspiration; by the growing and expanding view which Paul was permitted to take of the character and perfections of the Lord Jesus. In this we see that it is the duty of ministers to bear witness not only to the truth of religion in general, or of that which they can demonstrate by argument, but more especially of that which they experience in their own hearts, and which they understand by having themselves been the subjects of it. No man is qualified to enter the ministry who has not a personal saving view of the glory and perfections of the Lord Jesus, and who does not go to his work as a witness of those things which he has felt; and no man enters the ministry with these feelings who has not, as Paul had, a promise that he shall see still brighter displays of the perfections of the Saviour, and be permitted to advance in the knowledge of him and of his work. The highest personal consolation in this work is the promise of being admitted to ever-growing and expanding views of the glory of the Lord Jesus, and of experiencing his presence, guidance, and protection.

16-18. But rise, &c.—Here the apostle appears to condense into one statement various sayings of his Lord to him in visions at different times, in order to present at one view the grandeur of the commission with which his Master had clothed him [Alford].

a minister … both of these things which thou hast seen—putting him on a footing with those "eye-witnesses and ministers of the word" mentioned in Lu 1:2.

and of those in which I will appear to thee—referring to visions he was thereafter to be favored with; such as Ac 18:9, 10; 22:17-21; 23:11; 2Co 12:1-10, &c. (Ga 1:12).

Stand upon thy feet; as Daniel was bidden by the angel, Daniel 10:11, to mitigate his consternation and fear.

Of those things in the which I will appear unto thee: St. Paul accordingly had many visions and revelations, Acts 28:9 23:11 2 Corinthians 12:2; as he was more abundant in his sufferings for Christ, so in consolations from Christ, 2 Corinthians 1:5.

But rise and stand upon thy feet,.... This, and what follows in this and the two next verses, are not in any of the former accounts; and these words are used not only because Saul was fallen to the earth, and are an encouragement to rise up, and stand corporeally, but to take heart, and be of good cheer; for though he had acted so vile and cruel a part by Christ, and his people, yet he had designs of grace, and good will to him; and this appearance was not for his destruction, but for his honour, comfort, and usefulness:

for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose; not to take vengeance for past offences, but for the ends hereafter mentioned: and this appearance of Christ was real, corporeal, and personal, and not imaginary, or merely visionary and intellectual; and it was to this sight of Christ he more than once refers, partly in proof of Christ's resurrection from the dead, and partly to demonstrate the truth of his apostleship, 1 Corinthians 9:1.

to make thee a minister and a witness, both of those things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; so that he was an apostle, not of men, nor by man, but by Jesus Christ, as he himself says, Galatians 1:1. He was a minister, not of man's making, but of Christ's; and they are the only true ministers of the Gospel, who are made by Christ, who have their mission and commission, their qualifications, gifts, and abilities, their doctrine, work, and wages from him: and the apostle's work, as a minister, was to be a witness; it was to testify what he had seen of Christ corporeally; and what knowledge of his person, office, and grace was now communicated to him by the spirit of wisdom and revelation; and what should hereafter be made known to him, either mediately by Ananias, or immediately by Christ and his Spirit; for the apostle had after appearances, visions, and revelations; see Acts 22:17.

But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
Acts 26:16-18. Ἀλλά] “Prostravit Christus Paulum, ut eum humiliaret; nunc eum erigit ac jubet bono esse animo,” Calvin.

εἰς τοῦτο γάρ] εἰς τοῦτο points emphatically to what follows (προχειρίσασθαι κ.τ.λ.), and γάρ assigns the reason for what precedes (ἀνάστηθι κ.τ.λ.).

προχειρ.] in order to appoint thee. See on Acts 3:20, Acts 22:14. He was, indeed, the σκεῦος ἐκλογῆς, Acts 9:15.

ὧν τε ὀφθήσομαί σοι] ὧν is to be resolved into τούτων ἅ; but ὀφθήσομαι is not, with Luther, Bengel, and others, including Bornemann, to be taken as causative (videre faciam), but purely passive (I shall be seen). The contained in ὧν is equivalent to διʼ ἅ, on account of which; see Stallb. ad Plat. Symp. p. 174 A; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 374; especially Soph. Oed. T. 788, where ὧν μὲν ἱκόμην is likewise to be resolved into τούτων διʼ ἃ ἱκόμην. Consequently: and of those things, on account of which I shall appear to thee (tibi videbor). Comp. Winer, p. 246 [E. T. 329], who, however, without reason contradicts himself, p. 135 [E. T. 178].

ἐξαιρούμενός σε] is an accompanying definition to ὀφθήσομαί σοι: rescuing thee (as thy deliverer) from the people (i.e. κατʼ ἐξοχήν, the Jewish nation) and from the Gentiles, from their hostile power. On ἐξαιρ., comp. Acts 7:10, Acts 12:11, Acts 23:27; Galatians 1:4, LXX. and Apocr.; Dem. 256. 2, al. Calvin appropriately says: “Hic armatur contra omnes metus, qui eum manebant, et simul praeparatur ad crucis tolerantiam.”

εἰς οὕς] is not, with Calvin, Grotius, and others, to be referred merely to τῶν ἐθνῶν, but, with Beza, Bengel, Heinrichs, Kuinoel, de Wette, to τοῦ λαοῦ κ. τ. ἐθνῶν together, which is required by the significant bearing of Acts 26:19-20.

ἀποστέλλω] not future, but strictly present.

ἀνοῖξαι ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν] contains the aim of the mission. And this opening of their eyes, i.e. the susceptibility for the knowledge of divine truth (the opposite: Acts 28:27; Romans 11:8), which was to be brought to them by the preaching of the gospel (Acts 26:23), was to have the design: τοῦ ἐπιστρέψαι (that they may turn themselves; on account of Acts 26:20, less admissible is the rendering of Beza and Bengel: ut convertas) ἀπὸ σκότους εἰς φῶς, from darkness to light, i.e. from a condition, in which they are destitute of saving truth and involved in ignorance and sin, to the opposite element, καὶ (ἀπὸ) τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ Σατανᾶ κ.τ.λ. The two more precise definitions of ἐπιστρέψαι apply to both, to the Jews and Gentiles; but the latter has respect in its predominant reference to the Gentiles, who are ἄθεοι ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ (Ephesians 2:12), under the power of Satan, the ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, Ephesians 2:2.

τοῦ λαβεῖν αὐτοὺς ἄφεσινεἰς ἐμέ] This now contains the aim of τοῦ ἐπιστρέψαι κ.τ.λ., and so the ultimate aim of ἀνοῖξαι ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν.

κλῆρον ἐν τοῖς ἡγιασμ.] See on Acts 20:32.

πίστει τῇ εἰς ἐμέ] belongs to λαβεῖν. Faith on Christ, as the subjective condition (causa apprehendens) of the forgiveness of sins and the attainment of the Messianic salvation, is with great emphasis placed at the close; the form also of the expression has weight.

Acts 26:16. ἀλλὰ ἀνάστηθι: “Prostravit Christus Paulum ut eum humiliaret; nunc eum erigit ac jubet bono esse animo,” Calvin; for the expression cf. Ezekiel 2:1-2.—προχειρ., cf. Acts 3:14, Acts 22:14, Acts 9:15, σκεῦος ἐκλογῆς.—ὑπηρέτην καὶ μάρτυρα ὧν τε εἶδες, so like the Twelve, and cf. also αὐτόπται καὶ ὑπηρέται τοῦ λόγου, Luke 1:1; in Cor. Acts 4:1 St. Paul speaks of himself as ὑπηρέτης.—ὧν τε εἶδές με, see critical note, “wherein thou hast seen me,” R.V., cf. 1 Corinthians 9:1, quite in harmony with the stress which the Apostle there lays upon “seeing the Lord”.—ὧν τειὀφθ. = τούτων ἅ: “and of the things wherein I will appear to thee,” so A. and R.V. Cf. Acts 18:9; Acts 22:18; Acts 22:21; Acts 23:11, 2 Corinthians 12:2. ὀφθ., future passive (Grimm-Thayer), cannot be rendered “I will make thee to see,” or “I will communicate to thee by vision,” as if = ἐγὼ ὑποδείξω, Acts 9:16. For construction see Page, and Blass, in loco.

16. to make [R. V. appoint] thee a minister] The verb is that which in Acts 22:14 is rendered “have chosen” (R. V. appointed), and implies a deliberate selection and appointment. Saul was “a chosen vessel” (Acts 9:15).

and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen] Rev. Ver. “a witness both of the things wherein thou hast seen me,” with a certain amount of MS. authority, though A.V. is well supported. St Paul dwells not unfrequently in his Epistles on his having seen Jesus. Cp. 1 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Corinthians 15:8, &c., and he makes this the ground of his independence in the Apostolic work, so that he can say he is not a whit behind any of the other Apostles.

and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee] St Paul was more favoured than the rest of the Apostles, as far as we gather from the N. T. records, with visions from God to guide and comfort him at critical points in his work. Cp. Acts 18:9; Acts 23:11; and 2 Corinthians 2:2. It was specially important that Paul should have seen Jesus, so that he might bear independent witness to the truth of his resurrection.

Acts 26:16. Ὧν τε ὀφθήσομαί σοι) and of those visions which I will hereafter impart to thee [“of those things, in the which I will appear unto thee”].

Verse 16. - Arise for rise, A.V.; to this end have I, etc., for I have, etc., for this purpose, A.V.; appoint for make, A.V.; the things wherein thou hast seen me for these things which thou hast seen, A.V. and T.R.; the things wherein for those things in the which, A.V. For to this end have I appeared, etc. On comparing this statement with those in Acts 9:6 and Acts 22:10, 14, 15, it appears that in this condensed account given before King Agrippa, St. Paul blends into one message the words spoken to him when the Lord first appeared to him, and the instruction subsequently given to him through Ananias, and the words spoken to him in the trance (Acts 22:17-21). This may especially be inferred from Acts 9:6, and again from comparing Acts 22:15 with this verse. Acts 26:16Have I appeared (ὤφθην)

See on Luke 22:43.

To make (προχειρίσασθαι)

Better, as Rev., appoint. See on Acts 3:20.

A minister and a witness

See on Matthew 5:25; and Acts 1:22.

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