Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Analysis and Annotations
The Witness to Jerusalem.
The Advent of the Spirit and the Formation of the Church.
The Offer to Israel and its Rejection.
1. The Introduction (Acts 1:1-3). 2. The final words of the risen Lord (Acts 1:4-8). 3. The ascension (Acts 1:9-11). 4. The waiting company (Acts 1:12-14). 5. Matthias chosen in the place of Judas (Acts 1:15-26).
2. The final words of the risen Lord (Acts 1:4-8).
3. The ascension (Acts 1:9-11).
4. The waiting company (Acts 1:12-14).
5. Matthias chosen in the place of Judas (Acts 1:15-26).
The introductory words prove that Luke is the writer. In the former treatise, Luke had addressed to Theophilus (the Gospel of Luke) the beginning of the teaching, and acts of our Lord were reported. The Book of Acts reveals the same wonderful person witnessed to by the Holy Spirit. Eight things are mentioned concerning our Lord in the beginning of this book. 1. His earthly life of doing and teaching. 2. He gave them commandment. 3. He had suffered. 4. He had showed Himself after His passion by many infallible proofs. 5. He was seen by them for forty days. 6. He spoke of the things which concern the Kingdom of God. 7. He was taken up. 8. He will come again. Once more He gave to them the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1:5 we read “ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.” John the Baptist had spoken also of a baptism with fire. The Lord omits the word fire, because the baptism with fire is a judgment act linked with His second coming (See Matthew 3:12). The question they asked of Him concerning the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel was perfectly in order. This is the Hope of Israel; the Hope of the church is not an earthly kingdom, but a heavenly glory; not to be subjects in the kingdom on earth, but to reign and rule with the King. The answer they received assured them that the kingdom was to be restored to Israel; the times and seasons for that, however, rested with the Father.
Then they saw Him ascending. What a sight it must have been! Their Lord was “received into Glory.” Gradually in majestic silence He must have been lifted out of their midst. Lovingly His eyes must have rested upon them, while their eyes saw only Him. Then a cloud received Him out of their sight. “And then a cloud took Him in (literal rendering) out of their sight.” The cloud was not a common cloud of vapor, but the glory-cloud. It was the cloud of glory which had filled Solomon’s temple, which so often in Israel’s past history had appeared as an outward sign of Jehovah’s presence. Then angels announced His coming in like manner. And thus He will come, even back to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4).
However, we must beware of confounding this event given here with that blessed Hope, which is the Hope of the church. The Coming of the Lord here is His visible Coming as described in the prophetic books of the Old Testament; it is His coming to establish His rule upon the earth. it is the event spoken of in Daniel 7:14 and Revelation 1:7. When He comes in like manner as He went up, His Saints come with Him (Colossians 3:4; 1Thessalonians 3:13). The Hope of the church is to meet Him in the air, and not to see Him coming in the clouds of heaven. The coming here “in like manner” is His Coming for Israel and the nations. The Coming of the Lord for His Church, before His visible and glorious manifestation, is revealed in 1Thessalonians 4:16-18. It is well to keep these important truths in mind. Confusion between these is disastrous. He left them to enter into the Holy of Holies, to exercise the priesthood which Aaron exercised on the day of atonement, though our Lord is a priest after the order of Melchisedec. And when this promise of the two men in white garments is fulfilled, He will come forth to be a priest upon His throne.
Then we see them as a waiting company. They are not the church. Their waiting for the Coming of the Holy Spirit ended ten days after, when the Holy Spirit came. Since then He is here. To wait for another outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as so often done by well meaning people, is unscriptural. Among the waiting ones were “Mary the mother of Jesus and His brethren.” The one chosen by God’s grace to be the mother of our Lord; Mary, who had conceived by the Holy Spirit, is waiting with the other disciples. This proves that she has no place of superiority among God’s people. When the Holy Spirit came she too was baptized by the Spirit into the one body of which, through the Grace of God, she is a member like any other believer in our Lord. After this she is not mentioned again in the Word of God. Mary, the mother of Jesus, has absolutely no relation with the redemption work of the Son of God. His brethren, according to John 7:5, were unbelieving. Since then they had also believed on Him.
The action of Peter in proposing to place another in Judas’ place was not a mistake as some claim. Peter acted upon the Scriptures and was guided by the Lord. Some hold that Paul was meant to be the twelfth apostle. This is incorrect. Paul’s apostleship was of an entirely different nature than that of the twelve. Not till Israel’s complete failure had been demonstrated in the stoning of Stephen was he called, and then not of men, but by revelation of Jesus Christ. There is positive proof that the Holy Spirit sanctioned this action of the disciples. See 1Corinthians 15:5-8. Furthermore, twelve apostles were needed as a body of witnesses to the entire nation. How strange it would have been if Peter and the ten, eleven men in all, instead of twelve, had stood up on the day of Pentecost to witness to Christ in the presence of the assembled multitude.