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infallible proofs, being seen of them 4 And being assembled together forty days, and speaking of the things with them, commanded them that pertaining to the kingdom of God: they should not depart from Jeruof “forty days,” and to hear him dis- legible in the judgment, they were becourse on familiar topics, as here indi- sieged and closed up in Jerusalem, at a cated by the historian, but they also Passover; as, at a Passover, they had handled him, and he ate and drank slain and crucified the Lord of life.” with them. 'Luke xxiv. 39-43 ; John Lightfoot. | Speaking of the things, xx. 27; xxi. 9-13. Indeed the state &c. His conversation, after as well as of their minds was such, that nothing before his crucifixion and resurrection, short of infallible proofs would have was chiefly devoted to the great object sufficed to convince them that he who of his mission. To his former instruchad been dead was again alive. It was tions he added yet more, that his discian event which they did not expect; ples might be the better prepared to because, through a misapprehension of preach the gospel to all nations, and his true character, their faith in him as turn their fellow-men from darkness to the Messiah was absolutely crushed by light, and from the service of sin to the his death; and when they heard that service of God. This fact may be rehe had risen, the account appeared so garded as one of the infallible proofs of improbable, that it was rejected as an his identity. Jesus spake as none other idle tale. Yet, that they were finally ever spake; and no impostor could have convinced and made certain of his res- counterfeited the matter and manner of urrection, their subsequent conduct af- his conversation so successfully as to fords undeniable testimony. Neither deceive those who had been so intimatehope, nor fear, nor persecution, nor the ly associated with him for many months. pain of death itself, could induce them If they had not fully understood his to waver for one moment in their attes- instructions, and if they did not even tation of this glorious truth; and most then fully understand, they must cerof their number sealed their testimony tainly have been able to distinguish with blood. If any faith may be between the voice of a stranger and the placed in human testimony, the apos- true shepherd; and no impostor could tles were not themselves deceived, and have deceived them. | Kingdom of they did not deceive others. See this God. See note on Matt. iii. 2. argument more fully stated in the note 4. Being assembled together with them. at the end of Matthew. Being seen The peculiar form of this phrase has of them forty days. It does not appear occasioned some perplexity to that Jesus was constantly with his mentators. Some have suggested that disciples during this period of time; this meeting was in Galilee, whither but he occasionally associated and con- Jesus commanded his disciples to repair, versed with them, and did not wholly promising to meet them; and that they absent himself from them by ascending were all thus assembled together, agreeto his father, until forty days after his ably to appointment. Others have preresurrection. They had abundant time ferred to render the participle actively, and opportunity for reflection, and for and drop the preposition, translating satisfying every doubt which may have the phrase thus, "having assembled arisen in regard to the reality of his them together.” It would seem from the appearance. The following remark context that this meeting was in Jerumay be somewhat fanciful, yet perhaps salem, not in Galilee; and it does not not altogether so: Forty years after elsewhere appear that Jesus had comthis, a year for a day, was Jerusalem manded his disciples to assemble at destroyed, and the nation of the Jews this particular time and place. The rooted out; because they would not only important fact, however, is suffibelieve in Christ, who had so mightily ciently manifestt namely, that Jesus declared himself to be the Son of God and his disciples were all together, by his resurrection from the dead, and whether by previous appointment or who had so plainly declared his resur not, and that he instructed them. I rection from the dead by so many ap- Should not depart from Jerusalem, &c. pearings and infallible proofs for forty See note on Luke xxiv. 49. Our Lord days. And, that the sin might be fully did not choose that his apostles should
salem, but wait for the promise of 5 For John truly baptized with warm the Father, which, saith ħe, ye have ter; but ye shall be baptized with the heard of me.
Holy Ghost not many days hence.
commence the work of their ministry, to all believers. These were, chiefly, until they were fully prepared; nor the ability to perform miracles, to speak would he have them disperse, and com- in languages which they had never mence preaching, each by himself, at learned, and both to remember all the a distance from Jerusalem, as suspi- instructions of their Master, and to recions might be excited if they first ceive from on high, and impart to manproclaimed the resurrection of their kind, additional communications of Master at a distance from the place truth. That the phrase was used, not where it was alleged to have occurred. in its general but in this peculiar sense, But here, where he had been unjustly is evident, because the purifying procondemned, mocked, buffeted, and ig- cess, indicated by baptism with the nominiously crucified between two Holy Ghost, in its general sense, was thieves; here, where his enemies were not accomplished in the apostles at the now triumphing and exulting in the time implied in the phrase, “not many hope that they had utterly crushed him days hence.” Much of moral imperand his cause; here, where an immense fection cleaved to them long afterconcourse of people from distant re- wards; and near the close of life, the gions could witness the marvels con- survivor of them all testified, “ If we sequent on the descent of the Holy say that we have no sin, we deceive Spirit upon the disciples, enabling them ourselves, and the truth is not in us. to speak with various tongues, or in 1 John i. 8. Nor can it be said that divers languages; here, where the best such a purifying process commenced at possible opportunity and means existed that period; for it had commenced long for detection of imposture, had any been before. It is not for one moment to be been attempted; here, in Jerusalem, he believed that they had so long enjoyed would have them remain, until they the personal instructions and admoniwere empowered by the Spirit to give tions and faultless example of their a convincing and overwhelming testi- Master, without any moral improvemony to the truth; and here, in the ment. Whatever may have been true midst of his powerful enemies, would in regard to the traitor, it will not be he have them first proclaim his resur- denied that the eleven faithful apostles rection, that the power of God might had been, partially, at least, turned openly triumph over human power. away from their iniquities. And, as † Wait for the promise, &c. That is, matter of fact, we cannot perceive, in for the fulfilment of the promise, which the history, any indication of a surprisJesus had made in his Father's name; ing moral change wrought in the aposnamely, that the Father would send or tles by this baptism on the day of Penimpart unto them the Holy Spirit, who tecost. Except that their former timshould teach them all things and bring idity was succeeded by unshrinking all his own instructions to their remem- boldness (which may be accounted for brance. John xiv. 26. See also John by their certainty that Jesus had risen xv. 26 ; xvi. 7--15. This promise was and ascended), they seem to have been shortly afterwards fulfilled; and some in a similar condition, as men, after as of the outward and marvellous mani- before the outpouring of the Spirit. festations of it are detailed in the suc- But, as apostles, a visible and marvelceeding chapter.
lous change was wrought in them. 5. John truly baptized with water, &c. They were forth with enabled to speak The reference is evidently to the lan- foreign languages intelligibly, to heal guage of John the Baptist, Matt. iii. 11. the sick, and to perform many won| Baptized with the Holy Ghost. Con- ders and signs. Acts ii. 4, 43; iii. 1—9. cerning the meaning of this phrase, in They doubtless shared the moral or its general sense, see note on Matt. iii. spiritual purification resulting from
In this place, it seems to be used baptism with the Holy Ghost, in comin a peculiar sense, indicating certain mon with all who are thus baptized ; gifts which should speedily be imparted but there seems no reference to this to the apostles, which are not imparted / subject here. A different operation and 6 When they therefore were saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time come together, they asked of him, restore again the kingdom to Israel ?
It is very
manifestation of the Spirit, peculiar to he would rise from the dead, because the apostles and sundry chosen asso- their confidence in him, as the Messiah, ciates in the first age of the church, is was destroyed. They did not now exclearly indicated. Not many days pect he would ascend from the earth, hence. Generally supposed to be not because their faith in him was renewed, more than ten or twelve. The promise and their expectation of an earthly was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. kingdom was revived. Nothing short
6. When they therefore were come to- of ocular demonstration would suffice gether. This would seem to be not the to convince them that he had taken his same meeting mentioned in ver. 4, 5 : final departure from the earth; and they that was probably in Jerusalem, but were not likely to be deceived in this this on the mount of Olives. Perhaps, matter. I Wilt thou at this time restore however, it was a continuation of the again, &c. “That temporal dominion same meeting, the place having been over all other nations which the Jews changed. Luke tells us that Jesus con- then expected being never before grantversed with his disciples in Jerusalem, ed to them, the word here cannot well admonishing them to abide in that city be rendered restore, but rather grant, or until they should be endued with establish. Ingenious here is the conceit power from
on high. And he led of Dr. Lightfoot, that the reason of the them out as far as Bethany; and he question, Wilt thou do it at this time? lifted up his hands and blessed them. arose from their reflection on the indige And it came to pass, while he blessed nities the Jews had done to Christ," them, he was parted from them, and &c.-Whitby. The conceit, here refercarried up into heaven." Luke xxiv. red to, is thus expressed : 4951. The natural import of this apparent, that the apostles had the passage is, that Jesus led the disciples same fanciful conceptions about the to Bethany, and ascended in their sight, earthly reign of Christ with the rest of immediately after commanding them that nation; but yet they seem here a to await the fulfilment of the promise little to doubt and hesitate, either as to in Jerusalem. If so, then we may un- the thing itself, or at least as to the derstand the phrase here used to be time; and that, not without cause, conequivalent to while they continued to- sidering some things which had so lategether, though they had evidently pas-ly fallen out. 'Lord, wilt thou restore sed from Jerusalem to the Mount of the kingdom to those that have dealt Olives, ver. 12, on the slope of which so basely and perfidiously with thee ? mount the village of Bethany was situ- What! to this generation, that lies under ated. See note on Matt. xxi. 1. How- the actual guilt of thy bloodshed ?. Or, ever this be, the disciples were now indeed, to this nation at all, which, by evidently enjoying their last interview the perpetration of the late wickedness, on earth with their Master; for “ while had made itself unworthy of so great á they beheld, he was taken up, and a kindness ?'”—Lightfoot. The ingenucloud received him out of their sight;" ity of this conceit may be admitted ; ver. 9. 1 They asked, &c. It is sin- yet its soundness may well be questiongular that the only question which they ed. It never entered the thoughts of are recorded to have proposed, on this the disciples, that those Jews who had occasion, should furnish evidence that persecuted Jesus were to be advanced they still continued to expect an earth- to posts of honor in the expected kingly kingdom, and to anticipate its honors dom; but they were to be punished and glory.' This fact is important, be severely for their misconduct. The cause it shows the improbability of their twelve thrones and the authority to being deceived in regard to the ascen-judge the twelve tribes of Israel had sion. This, as well as many previous been promised to the apostles ; and to events, was contrary to their expecta- the fulfilment of this promise they tions. They did not believe Jesus would looked forward with some degree of die, because they expected the Messiah impatience. It is inconsistent with the would reign on earth for ever, as an uniform. character of their language on earthly prince. They did not believe this subject to suppose they intended
7 And he said unto them, It is 8 But ye shall receive power not for you to know the times or after that the Holy Ghost is come the seasons which the Father hath upon you: and ye shall be witnesput in his own power.
ses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and here to dissuade our Lord from an im- ticulars of God's designs. It was suffimediate establishment of this earthly cient that he had revealed his purpose; kingdom. They intimated their dis- they need not inquire too curiously appointment that he had not done it, concerning the precise time when all even after the Jews had filled the cup should be accomplished. Even he himof their iniquity, Luke xxiv. 21; and self did not profess to know the day nothing had since occurred to lead and hour when the old world or dispenthem to desire further delay. On the sation should cease, and the new world contrary, their hopes were highly excit- commence, or the kingdom of heaven ed by the resurrection of Jesus; and be established. See Matt. xxiv. 36 ; they could not repress the inquiry Mark xiii. 32. And if this was not whether he would now establish his made known to the Son, his disciples kingdom, punish his enemies, and grant might well content themselves without a suitable recompense to his faithful learning precisely when the prediction followers. They seem to have had no should be fulfilled. The times or the doubt that such a kingdom would be seasons. This phrase may be regarded established. All the instructions of their as equivalent to the day and hour menMaster, his distinct affirmation that his tioned in Matt. xxiv. 36; times and day kingdom was not of this world, and his denoting a longer period, and seasons repeated declaration that he should and hour, a shorter. The meaning is, soon return to his Father, to dwell no that future events, whether near or more bodily on the earth, --- all this remote, whether a long or a short time availed nothing to eradicate their hopes be required for their accomplishment, of an earthly kingdom, or dispel their are known with exactness by God only: fond dreams of its splendor and glory. If he reveal the fact, it is in general Their only doubt was, whether the time terms, not in detail. T In his own power. for its establishment' had come ; shall Or, authority. The future is entirely it be at this time? This was the point within the control of divine authority. of their inquiry. And the inquiry ex- We may confidently expect the fulfilhibits both the inveteracy of their pre- ment of the Father's promises ; for he judice, and their impatience of any cannot lie. But we need not concern further delay in the consummation of ourselves as to the precise time when their hopes. It may be added, that this any promised event shall be accomis the last instance in which they man- plished, unless it is definitely revealed. ifested any expectation of an earthly For example, the disciples were assured kingdom. Within a few days, the that, during the lifetime of some of Spirit was poured out upon them, and their number, the kingdom of God they were enabled not only to remem- should be established, and men rewardber the language of their Lord, John ed according to their works. So far as xiv. 26, but to understand its true spir- the promise had respect to the duration itual import. They then understood of human life, it was definite; but the that his was a spiritual kingdom, for precise day and hour were not specithe full establishment of which in the fied; and when the disciples inquired hearts of men they were ready to de- concerning these, their curiosity was vote their utmost exertions, and even checked by the assurance that such tneir lives.
exact information had not been com7. It is not for you to know, &c. Our municated to their Master himself. It Lord did not choose to correct their is not well to push our inquiries beyond mistake, as to the character of the the word of revelation. · We may betkingdom: he had previously spoken ter be content with the general assurwith sufficient plainness. He preferred ances given us, and believe that God now to pursue the same course as on will bestow the promised blessings at another occasion, recorded by Matthew, the best time, and in the best manner. chap. xxiv. He admonished them that 8. Ye shall receive, &c. Literally, they might not expect to know the par- ye shall receive the power of the Holy
in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Ghost coming upon you. The meaning apostles should there first elevate the is similar to that expressed in the as- banner of their Lord, and commence surance to the disciples, Luke xxiv. 49, that mighty work which was destined that they should be endued with to extend its triumphs, until the kingpower from on high.” The power of doms of this world should become the the Holy Ghost, or from on high, or the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.“ power communicated by the Spirit, was Rev. xi. 15. It was fitting that their manifested immediately in the apostles. Master's deepest humiliation should be They had power to speak with tongues, succeeded by the first display of his to heal the sick, and to perform many exaltation in the same city, and in view wonders and signs. They had power of the same people.. It was also in acto remember the instructions of their cordance with the divine plan that salMaster, and to proclaim his resurrection vation should first be offered to the and his gospel in a manner which none Jews. Matt. x. 5, 6; xv. 24; Acts iii. could gainsay or resist. Such was the 25, 26. See note on ver. 4. All Judivine power manifested in their words dea. The southern portion of the Holy and actions, that their adversaries Land. When the kingdom was divided, quailed before them, and thousands in the days of Rehoboam, the two were converted in a day.. | Ye shall tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained be witnesses, &c. The original: word together, constituting the kingdom of here used is stures (uáptupes), or, in Judah, and the ten revolted tribes were its English form, martyrs. It is applied denominated the kingdom of Israel ; to those who sacrificed their lives in and a similar distinction thenceforth attestation of the truth, as in Acts xxii. prevailed between the two sections, as 20. But this is only a technical use of the land of Judah or Judea, and the the word. Its original and general sig- land of Israel. But after the captivity, nification is properly expressed by the the principal portion of the Jews who word witness, one who testifies concern- returned from Babylon settled at and ing facts within his own knowledge. near Jerusalem ; and the territory forThus, “In the mouth of two or three merly belonging to the ten tribes rewitnesses every word may be establish- mained chiefly in possession of the ed;" Matt. xviii. 16. See also Matt. Samaritans, Idumeans, Arabians, and xxvi. 65; Luke xxiv. 48; Acts xxvi. Philistines. Although' the Jews were 16; 1 Tim. v. 19; 2 Tim. ii. 2. Such extensively spread over the Holy Land is its meaning here. The apostles had in the days of our Saviour, yet even long before been selected from the com- then the name Judea was applied to pany of believers, for this very purpose ; only a small portion of the territory they had been admitted to the most in- originally assigned to the children of timate intercourse with Jesus for years, Israel. | Samaria. The country lyhad heard his instructions, seen his ing between Judea on the south and mighty works, and been convinced by Galilee on the north; being the central infallible proofs of his resurrection from portion of the land of Canaan. When the dead. They were, therefore, com- our Lord first sent forth his disciples, petent witnesses, fully qualified to tes-he forbade them to enter into any city tify concerning him. See note at the of the Samaritans, Matt. x. 5; for, end of Matthew. And they were about although they claimed Abraham for to be invested with additional power, their father, yet a deadly enmity existby the gift of the Holy Spirit, bringing ed between them and the Jews, and distinctly to their remembrance all the disciples were to avoid them as they which they had seen and heard, and avoided the Gentiles. But now their enabling them to communicate the commission was enlarged. They were truth to all men, to each in his own to go into all the world, and teach all language, and to confirm the word with nations. Matt. xxviii. 19; Mark xvi. signs following. Mark xvi. 20; Acts 15. And, as Samaria was before excluii. 43 ; v. 12; Heb. ii. 4. 1 Unto me. ded by name, it was peculiarly proper That is, concerning me; or the whole that it should be specially named in phrase may be understood as equiva- this enlarged and general commission. tent to, “Ye shall be my witnesses.” I Uttermost part of the earth. The 1 In Jerusalem. It was well that the earth sometimes indicates