Acts 3:19
Repent 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;
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(19) Repent ye therefore, and be converted.—The latter word, though occurring both in the Gospels and Epistles, is yet pre-eminently characteristic of the Acts, in which it occurs eleven times, and, with one exception, always in its higher spiritual sense. The use of the middle voice for “be converted,” gives the word the same force as in the “turn yourselves” of the older prophets (Ezekiel 14:6; Ezekiel 18:30; Ezekiel 18:32).

That your sins may be blotted out.—This is the only passage in which the verb is directly connected with sins. The image that underlies the words (as in Colossians 2:14) is that of an indictment which catalogues the sins of the penitent, and which the pardoning love of the Father cancels. The word and the thought are found in Psalm 51:10; Isaiah 43:25.

When the times of refreshing shall come.—Better, “that so the times of refreshing may come.” The Greek conjunction never has the force of “when.” The thought is that again expressed both by St. Peter (2Peter 3:12) and by St. Paul (Romans 11:25-27); that the conversion of sinners, especially the conversion of Israel, will have a power to accelerate the fulfilment of God’s purposes, and, therefore, the coming of His kingdom in its completeness. The word for “refreshing” is not found elsewhere in the New Testament, but the cognate verb meets us in 2Timothy 1:16. In the Greek version of Exodus 8:15, it stands where we have “respite.” The “times of refreshing” are distinguished from the “restitution of all things” of Acts 3:21, and would seem to be, as it were, the gracious preludes of that great consummation. The souls of the weary would be quickened as by the fresh breeze of morning; the fire of persecution assuaged as by “a moist whistling wind” (Song of the Three Children, Acts 3:24). Israel, as a nation, did not repent, and therefore hatred and strife went on to the bitter end without refreshment. For every church, or nation, or family, those “times of refreshing” come as the sequel of a true conversion, and prepare the way for a more complete restoration.

Acts 3:19-21. Repent ye, therefore, &c. — Let it, therefore, be your principal and immediate care to secure an interest in the benefits procured by his death; and in order thereto, repent of this and all your other iniquities; and be converted — That is, be turned from sin and Satan to God, (chap. Acts 26:20,) in the way of sincere and universal obedience. The term, converted, so common in modern writings, rarely occurs in Scripture, at least in the sense we now use it, for an entire change of heart and life. That your sins may be blotted out — That you may be delivered from the heavy burden of your guilt, and may obtain peace with God through the sacrifice and intercession of him you crucified; when the times of refreshing shall come — Rather, that they may come; times when God shall largely bestow his refreshing grace; from the presence of the Lord — To you also. To others, those times will assuredly come, whether ye repent or not. Erasmus and Piscator render this clause, Seeing times of refreshment are come; but the authorities produced in favour of this version seem not sufficient to justify it. The blotting out of the sins of penitents, however, was not deferred to any distant time, and divine refreshment would, no doubt, immediately follow a sense of pardon to them, attended with a lively hope of eternal felicity to succeed in due time. But “the following clause seems to intimate, that Peter apprehended the conversion of the Jews, as a people, would be attended with some extraordinary scene of prosperity and joy, and would open a speedy way to Christ’s descent from heaven, in order to the restitution of all things.” — Doddridge. And he shall send — Greek, και αποστειλη, and that he may send; Jesus — That, in consequence of your complying with this important counsel, you may not only be received to all the joys of a state of pardon and acceptance with God, but he may, at length, send unto you Christ, which before was preached unto you — By his disciples, both before and since his resurrection. But Tertullian, and several of the fathers, in quoting this passage, instead of προκεκηρυγμενον, before preached, read, προκεχειρισμενον, before appointed; that is, exhibited and set forth in a variety of types, and other symbols, namely, under the Old Testament dispensation, as the great Saviour of lost sinners. 1st, You shall have Christ in his spiritual presence; he that was sent into the world shall be sent to you, in and by his Spirit accompanying his word. The apostle meant, 2d, That God would send Christ to destroy the unbelieving and persecuting Jews, the enemies of God and his truth and cause, and so would deliver his true servants, both ministers and people, and give them a quiet possession of the gospel, with its privileges and blessings, which would be a time of refreshing to all that received it. For then had the churches rest, Acts 9:31. So Dr. Hammond. There is also, 3dly, A reference in these words to the general conversion of the Jews, to take place after the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in, of which there are many express predictions and promises in the writings of the prophets, which, when it takes place, will be a time of refreshment indeed, both to them and the whole Church of Christ through all the world. Whom the heavens must receive — Whom you must not expect to appear immediately in person among you, for as he has ascended to heaven, he must remain there, until the times of restitution of all things — The long- expected happy times, when God will rectify all the seeming irregularities of his present dispensations, and make the cause of righteousness and truth for ever triumphant and glorious: which God hath spoken of, &c. — That is, concerning which great events (namely, that such a Saviour should be raised up, and should at length extend his righteous reign over all the world) God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets — That is, by the mouth of the generality of them; for the word παντων, all, is not found in some of the best MSS. and versions; since the world began — Since the beginning of time. See note on Luke 1:70, where the same original phrase, απαιωνος, occurs. In these times of restitution, the apostle here comprises at once the whole course of the time of the New Testament between our Lord’s ascension and his coming to glory. The most eminent of these times are the apostolic age, and that of the spotless church, which will consist of all the Jews and Gentiles united, after all persecutions and apostacies are at an end. It is well known that Dr. Thos. Burnet, Mr. Whiston, and some other learned writers, have urged this text in proof of a restoration of a paradisiacal state of the earth, which they have endeavoured to show will take place, but certainly without any clear warrant from Scripture; and this passage, in particular, may be so well explained of regulating the present disorders of the moral world, and the seeming inequalities of God’s providential dispensations, that it can with no propriety be pleaded in vindication of such an hypothesis.

3:19-21 The absolute necessity of repentance is to be solemnly charged upon the consciences of all who desire that their sins may be blotted out, and that they may share in the refreshment which nothing but a sense of Christ's pardoning love can afford. Blessed are those who have felt this. It was not needful for the Holy Spirit to make known the times and seasons of these dispensations. These subjects are still left obscure. But when sinners are convinced of their sins, they will cry to the Lord for pardon; and to the penitent, converted, and believing, times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord. In a state of trial and probation, the glorified Redeemer will be out of sight, because we must live by faith in him.Repent ye - See the notes on Matthew 3:2.

Therefore - Because of your sin in putting Jesus to death, and "because" he is the Messiah, and God through him is willing to show mercy to the chief of sinners.

And be converted - This expression conveys an idea not at all to be found in the original. It conveys the idea of "passivity," be "converted," as if they were to yield to some foreign influence I that they were now resisting. But the idea of being "passive" in this is not conveyed by the original word. The word means properly to "turn; to return to a path from which one has gone astray; and then to turn away from sins, or to forsake them." It is a word used in a general sense to denote "the whole turning to God." That the form of the word here ἐπιστρέψατε epistrepsate does not denote passivity may be clearly seen by referring to the following places where the same form of the word is used: Matthew 24:18; Mark 13:16; Luke 17:31; 1 Thessalonians 1:9. The expression, therefore, would have been more appropriately rendered "repent and turn, that your sins," etc. "To be converted" cannot be a matter of obligation, but to "turn to God" is the duty of every sinner. The crimes of which he exhorted them to repent were those pertaining to the death of the Lord Jesus, as well as all the past sins of their lives. They were to turn from the course of wickedness in which they and the nation had been so long walking. That your sins, etc. In order that your sins may be forgiven. Sin cannot be pardoned before man repents of it. In the order of the work of grace, repentance must always precede pardon. Of course, no man can have evidence that his sin is pardoned until he repents. Compare Isaiah 1:16-20; Joel 2:13.

May be blotted out - May be forgiven, or pardoned. The expression "to blot out sins" occurs also in Isaiah 43:25; Psalm 51:1, Psalm 51:9; Jeremiah 18:23; Nehemiah 4:5; Isaiah 44:22. The expression "to blot out a name" is applied to expunging it from a "roll," or "catalog," or "list," as of an army, etc. Exodus 32:32-33; Deuteronomy 9:14; Deuteronomy 25:19; Deuteronomy 29:29, etc. The expression to "blot out sins" is taken from the practice of creditors charging their debtors, and when the debt is paid, cancelling it, or wholly removing the record. The word used here properly refers to the practice of writing on tables covered with wax, and then by inverting the stylus, or instrument of writing, smoothing the wax again, and thus removing every trace of the record. This more entirely expresses the idea of pardoning than blotting does. It means wholly to remove the record, the charge, and every trace of the account against us. In this way God forgives sins.

When the times ... - The word ὅπως hopōs, rendered "when," is commonly rendered that, and denotes the "final cause," or the "reason" why a thing is done, Matthew 2:23; Matthew 5:16, Matthew 5:45, etc. By many it has been supposed to have this sense here, and to mean, "repent order that the times of refreshing may come," etc. Thus, Kuinoel, Grotius, Lightfoot, the Syriac version, etc. If used in this sense, it means that their repentance and forgiveness would be the means of introducing peace and joy. Others have rendered it, in accordance with our translation, "when," meaning that they might find peace in the day when Christ should return to judgment, which return would be to them a day of rest, though of terror to the wicked. Thus, Calvin, Beza, the Latin Vulgate, Schleusner, etc. The grammatical construction will admit of either, though the former is more in accordance with the usual use of the word.

The objection to the former is, that it is not easy to see how their repenting, etc., would be the means of introducing the times of refreshing. And this, also, corresponds very little with the design of Peter in this discourse. That was to encourage them to repentance; to adduce arguments why they should repent, and why they might hope in his mercy. To do this, it was needful only to assure them that they were living under the times graciously promised by God the times of refreshing, when pardon might be obtained. The main inquiry, therefore, is, What did Peter refer to by the times of refreshing, and by the restitution of all things? Did he refer to any particular manifestation to be made then, or to the influence of the gospel on the earth, or to the future state, when the Lord Jesus shall come to judgment? The idea which I suppose Peter intended to convey was this: "Repent, and be converted. You have been great sinners, and are in danger. Turn from your ways, that your sins may be forgiven."

But then, what encouragement would there be for this? or why should it be done? Answer: "You are living under the times of the gospel, the reign of the Messiah, the times of refreshing. This happy, glorious period has been long anticipated, and is to continue to the close of the world. The period which will include the restitution of all things, and the return of Christ to judgment, has come, and is, therefore, the period when you may find mercy, and when you should seek it, to be prepared for his return." In this sense the passage refers to the fact that this time, this dispensation, this economy, including all this, had come, and they were living under it, and might and should seek for mercy. It expresses, therefore, the common belief of the Yews that such a time would come, and the comment of Peter about its nature and continuance. The belief of the Jews was that such times would come.

Peter affirms that the belief of such a period was well founded a time when mercy may be obtained. That time has come. The doctrine that it would come was well founded, and has been fulfilled. This was a reason why they should repent, and hope in the mercy of God. Peter goes on, then, to state further characteristics of that period. It would include the restitution of all things, the return of Christ to judgment, etc. And all this was an additional consideration why they should repent, and turn from their sins, and seek for forgiveness. The meaning of the passage may therefore be thus summed up: "Repent, since it is a true doctrine that such times would come: they are clearly predicted; they were to be expected; and you are now living under them. In these times; in this dispensation, also, God shall send his Son again to judge the world, and all things shall be closed and settled forever. Since you live under this period, you may seek for mercy, and you should seek to avoid the vengeance due to the wicked, and to be admitted to heaven when the Lord Jesus shall return."

Times of refreshing - The word rendered "refreshing," ἀνάψυξις anapsuxis, means properly "breathing," or "refreshment," after being heated with labor, running, etc. It hence denotes "any kind of refreshment, as rest, or deliverance from evils of any kind." It is used nowhere else in the New Testament, except that the verb is used in 2 Timothy 1:16, "Onesiphorus ...oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain." He administered comfort to me in my trials. It is used by the Septuagint in the Old Testament nine times: Exodus 8:15, "But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite"; that is, cessation or rest from the plagues, Hosea 12:8; Jeremiah 49:31; Psalm 69:11, etc. In no place in the Old Testament is the word applied to the terms of the gospel. The idea, however, that the times of the Messiah would be times of rest, ease, and prosperity, was a favorite one among the Jews, and was countenanced in the Old Testament. See Isaiah 28:12, "To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing," etc. They anticipated the times of the gospel as a period when they would have rest from their enemies, a respite from the evils of oppression and war, and great national prosperity and peace. Under the idea that the happy times of the Messiah had come, Peter now addresses them, and assures them that they might obtain pardon and peace.

Shall come - This does not mean that this period was still future, for it had come; but that the expectation of the Jews that such a Messiah would come was well founded. A remarkably similar construction we have concerning Elijah Matthew 17:11, "And Jesus answered and said, Elias truly shall first come, and restore," etc.; that is, the doctrine that Elijah would come was true, though he immediately adds that it had already taken place, Acts 3:12. See the notes on that place.

From the presence of the Lord - Greek: "From the face of the Lord." The expression means that God was "its author." From the face of the Lord means "from the Lord himself:" Mark 1:2, "I send thy messenger before thy face," that is, before thee. Compare Malachi 3:1; Luke 1:76; Luke 2:31.

19. when the times of refreshing shall come—rather, "in order that the times of refreshing may come"; that long period of repose, prosperity and joy, which all the prophets hold forth to the distracted Church and this miserable world, as eventually to come, and which is here, as in all the prophets, made to turn upon the national conversion of Israel. Repent ye therefore, and be converted; this is the true end, use, and application, both of the preceding miracle and sermon, to persuade unto repentance and conversion.

That your sins may be blotted out; alluding to the manner of writing upon tables in those times, and not much disagreeing from what is in use amongst us, who write upon paper or parchment. There is a book of remembrance, and a record of all our sins kept: The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond, Jeremiah 17:1. When sin is pardoned, it is said to be blotted out, Isaiah 44:22; and not to be found any more, though it should be sought for, Jeremiah 50:20.

Times of refreshing; or times of cooling; as afflictions are called a fiery trial, so deliverance from them is a season of refreshing or cooling. Such a time of refreshing shall come in this life, commonly from many troubles; but when this life ends, a deliverance comes from all afflictions to them that truly fear and serve God.

Shall come from the presence of the Lord; God’s presence is the cause and ground from whence all the refreshment his people take do arise; heaven would not be heaven (a place of bliss and glory) without it: and as God is the object of our beatitude, so he is the giver of all comfort, and his Spirit is the only Comforter.

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.

Repent 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.
Acts 3:19. Οὖν] infers from Acts 3:17 f.

μετανοήσατε] see on Acts 2:38. The ἐπιστρέψατε (comp. Acts 26:20), connected with it, expresses the positive consequence of the μετανοεῖν. “Significatur in resipiscente applicatio sui ad Deum,” Bengel.

εἰς τὸ ἐξαλειφθ. κ.τ.λ] contains the aim (namely, the mediate aim: the final aim is contained in Acts 3:20) which repentance and conversion ought to have. The idea of the forgiveness of sins is here represented under the figure of the erasure of a handwriting. See on Colossians 2:14. Comp. Psalm 51:9; Isaiah 43:25; Dem. 791. 12 : ἐξαλήλιπται τὸ ὀφλημα. Baptism is not here expressly named, as in Acts 2:38, but was now understood of itself, seeing that not long before thousands were baptized; and the thought of it has suggested the figurative expression ἐξαλειφθ.: in order that they may be blotted out (namely, by the water of baptism). The causa meritoria of the forgiveness of sins is contained in Acts 3:18 (παθεῖν τὸν Χ.). Comp. Weiss, Petr. Lehrbegr. p. 258. The causa apprehendens (faith) is contained in the required repentance and conversion.

Acts 3:19. ἐπιστρέψατε: “turn again,” R.V.; cf. also Matthew 13:15, Mark 4:12, and Acts 28:27 (Luke 22:32), in each of these passages, as in the text, A.V., “should be converted,” following the Vulgate, convertantur. But the verb is in the active voice in each of the passages mentioned; cf. LXX, 1 Kings 8:33, 2 Chronicles 6:24; 2 Chronicles 6:37, Isaiah 6:10 (“turn again,” R.V.), Tob 13:6ἐπιστρέψατε ἁμαρτωλοί: this passive rendering in the Vulgate and A.V. testifies to the unwillingness in the Western Church to recognise the “conversion” to God as in any degree the spontaneous act of the sinner himself—men have enlarged upon Lamentations 5:21, but have forgotten Jam 4:8 (Humphry, Commentary on the R. V., pp. 31, 32).—πρὸς τὸ ἐξαλειφθῆναι: in the LXX the verb is found in the sense of obliterating ἀνομίας, Psalms 50 (51):1, 9; Isaiah 43:25, Sir 46:20, Jeremiah 18:23, with ἁμαρτίας, 2Ma 12:42, with ἁμάρτημα (cf. 3Ma 2:19, ἀπαλείφειν with ἁμαρτίας), and in N.T.; cf. Colossians 2:14. For other instances of its use in the N.T., cf. Revelation 3:5, with Deuteronomy 9:14, Psalm 9:5, etc., and see also Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:4. In Psalms of Solomon it is used twice—once of blotting out the memories of sinners from off the earth, Psalm 2:19; cf. Exodus 17:14, etc., and once of blotting out the transgressions of Saints by the Lord, Psalm 13:9. Blass speaks of the word as used “de scriptis proprie; itaque etiam de debita pecunia”; cf. Dem., 791, 12 (Wendt), and see also Wetstein, in loco. The word can scarcely be applied here to the Baptism (as Meyer), for which a word expressing washing would rather be required, cf. Acts 22:16, although no doubt, as in Acts 2:38, Baptism joined with Repentance was required for the remission of sins.—ὅπως ἄν: not “when” (as if ὅπως = ὅτε), but “that so there may come,” R.V., ἄν with ὅπως indicates that the accomplishment of the purpose is dependent upon certain conditions; here dependent upon the repentance. In the N.T. there are only four instances of this use of ὅπως ἄν, all in pure final clauses, viz., in the text, Luke 2:35, and in two quotations from the LXX, Acts 15:17 (where ἄν is wanting in LXX, Amos 9:12), and Romans 3:4 = LXX, Psalms 50 (51):4, so that this usage is practically peculiar to St. Luke in the N.T. Viteau, Le Grec du N. T., p. 80 (1893); Blass, Grammatik des N. G., p. 207, and Burton, N.T. Moods and Tenses, p. 85.—καιροὶ ἀναψύξεως: the word ἀνάψυξις, used only by St. Luke, means refreshing or refreshment. In the LXX it occurs in Exodus 8:15 (but cf. Aq. on Isaiah 28:12, and Sym. on Isaiah 32:15), where it is translated “respite,” although the same Hebrew word רְוָחָה, in the only other place in which it occurs, Lamentations 3:56, may have the sense of “relief” (see Dr. Payne Smith, in loco, Speaker’s Commentary, vol. v.). In Strabo ἀνάψυξις is found in the sense of recreation, refreshment, 10, p. 459; see also Philo, De Abr., 29, and cf. the verb ἀναψύχω in 2 Timothy 1:16 (cf. Romans 15:32, ἀναψύξω μεθʼ ὑμῶν, DE, refrigerer vobiscum, Vulgate, and Nösgen on Acts 3:19). Rendall would render it here “respite,” as if St. Peter urged the need of repentance that the people might obtain a respite from the terrible visitation of the Lord. But the καιροὶ ἀναψ· are identified by most commentators with the ἀποκατα. πάντων, and ἀναψ· need by no means be rendered “respite”. Nösgen, connecting the words with the thought of ἀνάπαυσις (cf. the various renderings in Romans 15:32), would see here a fulfilment of Christ’s promise, κἀγὼ ἀναπαύσω ὑμᾶς, Matthew 11:28, to those who turned to Him in true repentance, and so in his view the expression applies to the seasons of spiritual refreshment which may be enjoyed by the truly penitent here and now, which may occur again and again as men repent (Isaiah 57:16); so J. Lightfoot, Hor. Heb., interprets the word of the present refreshing of the Gospel, and God’s present sending of Christ in His ministry and power, and in the same manner ἀποστείλῃ, i.e., not at the end of the world, when Christ shall come as Judge, but in the Gospel, which is His voice. But the context certainly conceives of Christ as enthroned in Heaven, where He must remain until His Second Advent, although we may readily admit that there is a spiritual presence of the enthroned Jesus which believers enjoy as a foretaste of the visible and glorious Presence at the Parousia, Briggs, Messiah of the Apostles, p. 31 ff.—ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ Κ. πρόσωπ., lit[145], face, often used as here for “the presence”; cf. Hebrew, מִפְּנֵי, frequently in LXX, and see above on Acts 2:28, here of the refreshment which comes from the bright and smiling presence of God to one seeking comfort (so Grimm). The phrase occurs three times in Acts 5:41; Acts 7:45, elsewhere in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, and three times in Apoc. On St. Luke’s fondness for phrases with πρόσωπον (ἀπό, πρό, κατά), see Friedrich (Das Lucasevangelium, pp. 8, 9, 89). The Lord is evidently God the Father, the καιροί are represented as present before God, already decreed and determined, and as coming down from His presence to earth (Weiss, Wendt). Christ speaks, Acts 1:6, of the seasons which the Father hath set in His own power, and so St. Chrysostom speaks of God as αἴτιος of the seasons of refreshment.

[145] literal, literally.

19. Repent ye therefore] i e. because you see the greatness of your offence.

and be converted] Lit. turn again, i.e. from the evil of your ways. The word convert has received much ongrowth of meaning since the A. V. was made. The same word is well rendered (Acts 11:21), “a great number believed and turned unto the Lord.”

when the times of refreshing shall come] ὅπως ἂν cannot be translated when the times … shall come, but that the times … may come. These particles indicate a purpose, the accomplishment of which still lies in doubt. So the Apostle’s argument is, Repent, that your sins may be blotted out, that in this way (i.e. by your penitence) the times of refreshing may come. The particles are rendered in this sense Acts 15:17, “that the residue of men might [better may] seek after the Lord.”

times of refreshing] The Greek word signifies “appointed times,” i.e. which God hath appointed and which He keeps in His own power, but which the penitence of men will hasten. They are called “times of refreshing,” i.e. peace and blessedness, for the Apostle describes them afterwards as the coming of the Christ. But by the prophecies which he quotes he shews that the refreshing is for those only who repent (Acts 3:23) and hear the prophet whom God sends. The anticipation of a speedy return of Christ from heaven was common among the first believers. St Peter here does not directly state this opinion, but we can see how current it was from St Paul’s second Epistle to the Thessalonians, where he finds it necessary to warn the Christians of that Church against the disquiet which the immediate expectation of the second Advent was causing among them.

Acts 3:19. Μετανοήσατε οὖν καὶ ἐπιστρέψατε, repent therefore and be converted) Here, and in ch. Acts 26:20, repentance is put before conversion; whereas in Jeremiah 31:19, conversion is put before repentance, “Surely after that I was turned (converted), I repented.” Conversion is put first, when there is signified the recovery of a man from sin and the return to his right mind [senses, Luke 15:17]: it is put after repentance, when there is signified in the person repenting the applying of himself to GOD.—εἰς τὸ ἐξαλειφθῆναι, that your sins may be blotted out) The allusion is to the water of baptism.—τὰς ἁμαρτίας, your sins) even that sin which ye perpetrated against Jesus,—ὅπως ἂν, that) [“when”]. So ὅπως ἂν, Matthew 6:5; Luke 2:35 : and (for the Hebrew למען) Acts 15:17; Romans 3:4 : ἂν being the potential particle, if, viz. ye exercise repentance (ye repent), does not make the whole sentence conditional, but is intended to stimulate the hearers to do their part.—ἔλθωσι, may come) even (also) to you. For those times of themselves were about to be, even though those hearers did not give ear to the Gospel (comp. Zechariah 6:15, where similarly there is a particular condition); but in relation to the hearers, those times might be more or less hastened forward. On this account they are called καιροὶ, times [not the times], without the article.—καιροὶ, times) Comp. Acts 3:21, note.—ἀναψύξεως, of refreshing) The allusion is to the refreshing breeze (air) of the New Testament, full of grace, before which all heat retires.—ἀπὸ προσώπου, from the face [presence]) All joy is pure from the face of the Lord, when He regards us with a look of mercy. Psalm 44:3, “The light of Thy countenance;” Numbers 6:25.

Verse 19. - Turn again for be converted, A.V., with no difference in sense; that so there may come seasons of refreshing for when the times of refreshing shall come, A.V. Turn again. The turning to God is the consequence of the change of mind (μετάνοια). That so there may come; rightly for the A.V. "when," etc., which the Greek cannot mean. What Peter conceives is that if Israel turns to God at once in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, then there will come at once those times of refreshing, those blessed days of righteousness, and peace, and rest, and universal joy, which are the characteristics of Christ's kingdom as foretold by the prophets. Those days are delayed by the unbelief of Israel. Seasons of refreshing. The A.V." times of refreshing" is manifestly right, though there is no article in the Greek. "Seasons of refreshing" seems very vague and vapid (see Alford, 1:1, who very appropriately and conclusively cites the phrase καιροὶ ἐθνών, "the times of the Gentiles"(Luke 21:24). Meyer also compares the παράκλησιν τοῦ Ἰσραήλ of Luke 2:25, and so in ver. 21, χρόνων ἀποκαταστάσεως is rendered "the times of restoration." Acts 3:19Be converted (ἐπιστρέψατε)

Not a good rendering, because the verb is in the active voice. Better as Rev., turn again. See on Luke 22:32.

Blotted out (ἐξαλειφθῆναι)

Forgiveness of sins under the figure of the erasure of hand-writing. The word is used thus in Psalm 51:1. (Sept. 50), Psalm 51:1; Isaiah 43:25. Also at Colossians 2:14. In classical Greek the verb is opposed to ἐγγράφειν, to enter a name. So Aristophanes: "They do things not to be borne, entering (ἐγγράφοντες) some of us, and others, erasing (ἐξαλείφοντες) up and down, twice or thrice" ("Peace," 1180). More especially with reference to an item in an account.

When (ὅπως ἄν)

Wrong. Render in order that, or that (so there may come), as Rev.

Times (καιροὶ)

Better, seasons. See on Acts 1:7.

Of refreshing (ἀναψύξως)

Only here in New Testament. The word means cooling, or reviving with fresh air. Compare the kindred verb, to wax cold, Matthew 24:12, and see note.

Presence (προσώπου)

Lit., the face.

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