ACTS CHAPTER FOUR

OBSERVATION STAGE

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic .which largely limits the observer to the content offered by the books of Luke and Acts. Other passages must have a relationship with the context at hand, such as a Scriptural quotation or reference in the passage at hand. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

****** EXCERPT FROM ACTS CHAPTER 3 ******

OR SKIP TO THE BEGINNING OF CHAPTER 4

(Acts 3:22-26) PETER FURTHER CORROBORATED HIS TESTIMONY OF WHO JESUS WAS BY SPEAKING OF MOSES' ADDRESS TO THE FATHERS - THE ANCESTORS OF THE JEWS PETER WAS ADDRESSING: "THE LORD YOUR GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN," WHOM PETER CONCLUDED WAS JESUS - WHOM MOSES INDICATED WOULD BE AN EVEN GREATER PROPHET THAN MOSES WAS. FOR MOSES DECLARED THAT IN ALL THINGS, WHATEVER THIS PROPHET WILL SAY, WILL BE OF SUCH GREAT AND VITAL IMPORT THAT EVERY SOUL WHO REFUSED TO HEAR WHAT THIS PROPHET HAD TO SAY "SHALL BE UTTERLY DESTROYED FROM AMONG THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL." PETER ADDED THAT ALL THE PROPHETS FROM SAMUEL ON ANNOUNCED THE DAYS OF THIS PROPHET'S ARRIVAL. PETER CONCLUDED THAT THE JEWS OF HIS TIME WERE SONS OF THE PROPHETS AND OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT GOD MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS IN WHOSE SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH WILL BE BLESSED, WITH THE JEWS BEING FIRST RECIPIENTS. FOR GOD HAVING RAISED UP HIS SERVANT JESUS, SENT HIM TO BLESS THE JEWS FIRST IN TURNING EACH ONE OF THEM FROM THEIR INIQUITIES THROUGH A MOMENT OF FAITH IN HIS ATONING SACRIFICE UNTO ETERNAL LIFE IN THE ETERNAL KINGDOM OF GOD

(Acts 3:22 NKJV) ''' "For Moses truly said to the fathers, 'The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. (Acts 3:23 NKJV) And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet [in the sense of willfully refusing to listen to what He has to say] shall be utterly destroyed from among the people [Israel].' (Acts 3:24 NASB) And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. (Acts 3:25 NKJV) You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' (Acts 3:26 NKJV) To you first, God, having raised up His [Servant] Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of your iniquities." ''' =

Peter further corroborated his testimony of Who Jesus was by speaking of Moses at the time when Moses addressed the fathers, i.e., the ancient people of Israel of Moses' time; hence the fathers, i.e., the ancestors of the people of Israel to whom Peter was speaking. Peter spoke of Moses' prophesy of the Prophet Who was to come. Moses told them, "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren [i.e., that He will be an Israelite and that He will be a representative for what God has to say to His people, Israel]. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you." Peter concluded that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was that Prophet to come - the One Who would be even greater a prophet than Moses was: For Moses declared that in all things, whatever this Prophet to come will say will be of such great and vital import that every soul who refused to hear what this Prophet had to say shall be utterly destroyed from among the people of Israel. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem - for their unfaithfulness - were utterly destroyed, and the rest of the Jews dispersed in A.D. 70, by Titus, the Roman Emperor, (Mt 23:37-39; Lk 21:20-24).

[Compare Dt 18:15-19]:

(Dt 18:15 NIV) "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me [Moses] from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.

(Dt 18:16 NIV) For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die."

(Dt 18:17 NIV) The LORD said to me: "What they say is good.

(Dt 18:18 NIV) I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.

(Dt 18:19 NIV) If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.' " (Dt 18:15-19); (Acts 3:22-23).

When God spoke to the Israelites at Horeb (Sinai), (Ex 20:18-21; Dt 4:11ff; 5:22-31), the Israelites were so fearful of the LORD's direct communication with them that they requested a prophet. So in response, God appointed Moses to represent what God has to say to them - to be voice of the LORD to them. Thereafter, Moses indicated that the people of Israel would continue to have prophets to communicate God's words to them, (Dt 18:20-22). Furthermore, Moses assured a future generation of Israelites that God would raise up for them a Prophet greater than himself. He would be an Israelite. He would be the voice of the LORD like no other prophet before Him. And Moses said that the Israelites must listen to this Prophet in the sense of obeying Him. For there would be consequences for those who do not. And it is in Him Whom Moses and all the prophets believed in as the One to come through the seed of Abraham Who would provide for forgiveness of sins unto eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God. And He would come to restore all things, from the kingdom of Israel to the Eternal Kingdom of God, (Dt 18:15-19). And Peter declared that that Prophet is Jesus Christ, (Acts 3:12-21); (Acts 3:22-23).

Peter indicated that all the prophets who had spoken from Samuel and his successors onward, (evidently Samuel was the next prophet after Moses), also announced the days when the Prophet Whom Moses spoke of would come amongst His people Israel, implying the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel as an eternal kingdom, through Whom the Jews and all the peoples of the world would be blessed. Note that this does not say that Scripture contains all the statements made by all the prophets which stipulate this. Since this is the most significant subject of all prophecy to the LORD, then all of the prophets undoubtedly spoke of the coming of God's Son, (Acts 3:24).

Peter exhorted the people of Israel at Solomon's Portico with, "You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed' " - that is to say, all the families of the earth would be blessed through the Seed, Jesus Christ, in the sense of salvation unto eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God through a moment of faith in Him; (cf. Gen 12:2-3; 15:18-21; 17:1-8; 22:15-18; 26:1-5, 28:13-15; Acts 2:38; 3:12-21, etc.). The point was made that the Jews were heirs - inheritors of the prophets and of the Abrahamic Covenant that God made with His people, Israel; which God confirmed over and over again through His prophets throughout the age. But just as Abraham did, so they must do as Peter had already urged them to do: "Therefore repent and turn ...[to Christ in faith, (v. 16)], so that your sins may be blotted out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the LORD, and that He [God the Father] may send Jesus Christ, Who was preached to you before, Whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began," (Acts 3:19-21). Note the context of Peter's sermon in Acts chapter 3 was to Israel. It's focus was neither upon the Gentiles nor the church, except to include them both as part of the families of the earth to be blessed - each individual through a moment of faith alone in the Seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ:

[Compare Gen 26:1-5]:

(Gen 26:1 NKJV) "There was a famine in the land besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.

(Gen 26:2 NKJV) Then the LORD appeared to him and said: 'Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you.

(Gen 26:3 NKJV) Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.

(Gen 26:4 NKJV) And I will make your [Isaac's] descendants [seed] multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed [that is to say, in Isaac's seed, i.e., His Descendant, Jesus Christ, Acts 3:25-26)] all the nations of the earth shall be blessed;

(Gen 26:5 NKJV) because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.' "

Peter declared that Israel would be blessed first: "To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities," ''' in the sense of having paid the penalty for their sins so that a moment of faith alone in Him alone would result in forgiveness of sins unto eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God, (Acts 3:12-21). The phrase rendered, "To you first," is first in the verse, hence in an emphatic position. It implies that first must come the blessing of the Jews - those of whom repented / believed in Jesus for forgiveness of sins. There will be the restoration of the kingdom of the people of the LORD - Israel: For when all of a generation of Israel repents / believes in Jesus for forgiveness of sins, the LORD will have returned to commence the Eternal Kingdom of God, (cf. Acts 3:25-26).

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM ACTS CHAPTER 3 ******

I) [Acts 4:1-37]:

(Acts 4:1 NKJV) '''Now as they [were speaking] to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them,

(Acts 4:2 NKJV) being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

(Acts 4:3 NKJV) And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.

(Acts 4:4 NKJV) However, many of those [having heard] the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

(Acts 4:5 NKJV) And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,

(Acts 4:6 NKJV) as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

(Acts 4:7 YLT) and having set them in the midst, they were inquiring, "In what power, or in what name did [you] do this?"

(Acts 4:8 YLT) Then Peter, having been filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them: "Rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

(Acts 4:9 YLT) if we today are examined concerning the good deed to the ailing man, by whom he [has] been [made well],

(Acts 4:10 NKJV) let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

(Acts 4:11 NKJV) This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' [Psalm 118:22]

(Acts 4:12 YLT) and there is not salvation in any other, for there is no other name under the heaven that [has] been given among men, [by which we must] be saved."

(Acts 4:13 NKJV) Now [seeing] the boldness of Peter and John, and [having] perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, [lit., laymen] they [were were marveling (at such preaching)]. And they [were realizing] that they [were] with Jesus.

(Acts 4:14 NKJV) And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it;

(Acts 4:15 YLT) and having commanded them to go away out of the Sanhedrin [Jewish Ruling Council] they [conferred] with one another,

(Acts 4:16 NKJV) saying, "What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.

(Acts 4:17 NKJV) But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name."

(Acts 4:18 YLT) And having called them, they charged them not to speak at all, nor to teach, in the name of Jesus.

(Acts 4:19 NKJV) But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.

(Acts 4:20 YLT) For we cannot but speak what we did see and hear."

(Acts 4:21 NKJV) So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.

(Acts 4:22 NKJV) For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

(Acts 4:23 NKJV) And [having been] let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.

(Acts 4:24 NKJV) So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,

(Acts 4:25 NKJV) who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: 'Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things?

(Acts 4:26 NKJV) The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ [His Anointed One].'

(Acts 4:27 NASB) For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your Holy Servant Jesus, Whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel,

(Acts 4:28 NKJV) to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

(Acts 4:29 NKJV) Now, LORD, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,

(Acts 4:30 NKJV) by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus."

(Acts 4:31 NKJV) And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they [were speaking] the word of God with boldness.

(Acts 4:32 NKJV) Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.

(Acts 4:33 NKJV) And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all,

(Acts 4:34 YLT) for there was not any one among them who did lack, for as many as were possessors of fields, or houses, selling [them], were bringing the prices of the thing sold,

(Acts 4:35 NKJV) and [were laying] them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.

(Acts 4:36 NKJV) And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,

(Acts 4:37 NKJV) having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.

A) (ACTS 4:1-4) AS PETER AND JOHN WERE SPEAKING TO THE PEOPLE, THE PRIESTS, CAPTAIN OF THE TEMPLE AND THE SADDUCEES CAME UPON THEM, BEING GREATLY DISTURBED THAT THEY TAUGHT THE PEOPLE AND PREACHED IN JESUS THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD. AND THEY LAID HANDS ON THEM, AND PUT THEM IN CUSTODY UNTIL THE NEXT DAY, FOR IT WAS ALREADY EVENING. HOWEVER, MANY OF THOSE [HAVING HEARD] THE WORD BELIEVED; AND THE NUMBER OF THE MEN CAME TO BE ABOUT FIVE THOUSAND

(Acts 4:1 NKJV) "Now as they [were speaking] to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, (Acts 4:2 NKJV) being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. (Acts 4:3 NKJV) And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. (Acts 4:4 NKJV) However, many of those [having heard] the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand." =

In chapter 3, author Luke reported that Peter and John were entering the temple at the "Beautiful Gate" about 3 PM, where they encountered a lame man from birth; whereupon Peter successfully pronounced his healing in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Thereafter, Peter preached a sermon to a large crowd that had followed Peter, John and the miraculously healed lame man into Solomon's Portico, (Acts 3:1-26 ). About 5,000 men believed, (Acts 4:4). Then, both Peter and John continued to speak to the people for about 3 hours until evening, (Acts 4:3); when the priests, the captain of the Temple, (commanding officer of the Temple police force), and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that the apostles "taught the people" in the Temple - an activity that the Temple authorities - especially the Sadducees - viewed as encroachment upon their own authority, especially in view of the apostles' success and popularity which upset the status quo of the authorities. Most of the priests were Sadducees; the temple police force was composed entirely of Levites; the captain of the temple guard was always a high-caste Sadducee, and so were each of the high priests. Since there were thousands of people congregating around Peter and John, it was evidently viewed by the Temple authorities as a mob - potentially a serious problem which could jeopardize their positions, vis-å-vis, the Roman Authority. Furthermore, the authorities were disturbed that the apostles preached in Jesus for resurrection from the dead, in the sense of a moment of faith in Jesus Christ of Nazareth unto resurrection to eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God, cf Acts 2:38 ; Acts 3:17-21 .). The Jewish authorities, primarily Sadducees, not only objected to unauthorized teaching in the Temple, but especially of the doctrine of resurrection from the dead through faith in Jesus. For the Sadducees were of a sect of Judaism which believed that the age of God's promise had begun with the Maccabean heroes and was continuing on under their supervision. For them, the Messiah was an ideal, not a Person, and the Messianic Age was a work in progress, not a cataclysmic or even datable event. Furthermore, as political rulers and wealthy, dominant landlords, to whom a grateful nation had turned over all political and economic powers during the time of the Maccabean supremacy, they stressed, for entirely practical reasons, cooperation with Rome and maintenance of the status quo. Furthermore, the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection from the dead:

1) [Compare Lk 20:27]:

(Lk 20:27 NKJV) '''The some of the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection came to.Him [Jesus, v. 8)]

(Lk 20:28 NKJV) saying: "Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife, and he dies without children, his brother should take his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.

(Lk 20:29 NKJV) Now there were seven brothers. And the first took a wife, and died without children.

(Lk 20:30 NKJV) And the second took her as wife, and he died childless.

(Lk 20:31 NKJV) Then the third took her, and in like manner the seven also; and they left no children, and died.

(Lk 20:32 NKJV) Last of all the woman died also.

(Lk 20:33 NKJV) Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife."

(Lk 20:34 NKJV) Jesus answered and said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage.

(Lk 20:35 NKJV) But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;

(Lk 20:36 NKJV) nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

(Lk 20:37 NKJV) But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the LORD 'the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'

(Lk 20:38 NKJV) For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him."

(Lk 20:39 NKJV) Then some of the scribes answered and said, "Teacher, You have spoken well."

(Lk 20:40 NKJV) But after that they dared not question Him anymore.'''

Nor did the Sadducees believe in the existence of angels and spirits, nor in an after life, nor especially in God's intervention in humanity to bring in an Eternal Kingdom of God through His Son, the Messiah, (Greek: "Ho Christos" - the Christ). And they did not believe in many of the traditions of the Pharisees - often being at odds with them, (cf. Acts 23:8; Mt 22:23 ).

Needless to say, the Sadducees did not believe in Jesus being anyone authoritative in spiritual matters; especially since they had denied His Messiahship, (Acts 3:14), and had just crucified Him, (cf. Acts 3:13-15; 4:10). Yet once again, miracles were occurring in the Temple in Jesus' name; and great crowds were forming, showing great enthusiasm, declaring that these supernatural events came from the LORD - many even believing in Jesus Christ unto eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God. And they were being taught the same doctrines that Jesus taught before He was executed on the cross. The Jewish authorities wanted to stop it all from happening further.

So the Jewish authorities laid their hands upon Peter and John and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening - too late to arrange a meeting of the rulers in order to hold a trial.

On the other hand, many of the Jews who heard the word in the sense of the words of God which Peter preached, repented unto a moment of faith alone in the resurrected Jesus Christ unto eternal life in the restoration of all things: the Eternal Kingdom of God, (cf. Acts 3:17-21 ). Author Luke reported that the number of men that believed came to about 5,000, (not to mention the women and children), (Acts 4:1-4).

B) (ACTS 4:5-7) ON THE NEXT DAY, RULERS, ELDERS, SCRIBES, ANNAS THE HIGH PRIEST, CAIAPHAS, JOHN AND ALEXANDER, THE FAMILY OF THE HIGH PRIEST GATHERED TOGETHER AND SET PETER AND JOHN IN THEIR MIDST. THEY WERE INQUIRING, "IN WHAT POWER, OR IN WHAT NAME DID YOU DO THIS?"

(Acts 4:5 NKJV) "And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, (Acts 4:6 NKJV) as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. (Acts 4:7 YLT) and having set them in the midst, they were inquiring, 'In what power, or in what name did [you] do this?' " =

On the next day the rulers of the Jews, the elders, scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander and the whole family of the high priest were gathered together at Jerusalem - a formal meeting of the Sanhedrin, a prestigious group of individuals - the rulers of the Jews - who were gathered together to confront Peter and John - simple fishermen in the midst of the highest leaders in the land! Though the Sadducees had among them the nation's titular rulers, they were actually a minority party and could govern only through the Sanhederin, where they dominated. This body was the Jewish ruling council comprised of 71 members which included the high priest, who by virtue of his office was in effect the ruler of Israel; senior priests, largely members of priestly families, who conducted worship and were in charge of the daily functioning of the temple; and others who were temple wardens, treasurers, and former high priests; and finally there were the scribes and Pharisees. Luke named Annas the high priest, so far as the Jews were concerned, and Caiaphas, Annas' son-in-law, the Roman designated high priest; as well as John, probably Annas' son, Alexander, a leading Sadducee; and the rest of the relatives of the high priest who were in the city. Hence the Jewish rulers - with the Sadducees present in force, were taking the work of Peter and John and the rest of the disciples extremely seriously, especially considering that thousands had already become believers.

They set Peter and John in their midst, evidently surrounded them on all sides with the most prestigious power that Israel could produce. And they asked them two important questions, "In what power, or in what name did [you] do this?" The Jewish authorities were referring to the miraculous healing of the lame man who was present with them. Notice that the rulers never denied that a true miracle had been performed. Instead they tacitly admitted to it by asking "In what power, or in what name did you do this?" So the force behind the miracle in their minds might have included something outside of God, such as idolatry or black magic - and it certainly was done without their permission - and in the Temple grounds. And they demanded to know the name in which they healed the lame man, perhaps thinking of a demon or a false god. It is evident that they did not consider that the God they purported to worship had something to do with it, despite the fact that all the people who had witnessed it in the Temple glorified God for what had been done, (Acts 4:5-7).

C) (ACTS 4:8-12) PETER, HAVING BEEN FILLED (CONTROLLED) WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, ADDRESSED THE RULERS AND ELDERS WITH CONFIDENCE, "IF WE TODAY ARE EXAMINED CONCERNING THE GOOD DEED TO THE AILING MAN, BY WHOM HE [HAS] BEEN [MADE WELL], LET IT BE KNOWN TO YOU ALL, AND TO ALL THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, THAT BY THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH, WHOM YOU CRUCIFIED, WHOM GOD RAISED FROM THE DEAD, BY HIM THIS MAN STANDS HERE BEFORE YOU WHOLE." WHEREUPON HE REFERRED TO JESUS AS THE "STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED BY YOU BUILDERS, WHICH HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE," ALLUDING TO PSALMS 118:22, HENCE IMPLYING, JUST AS THE BUILDERS (THE NATIONS) REJECTED THE STONE MEANING ISRAEL WITH BESEIGING BRUTALITY, YET WITH THE LORD'S WILL SHE WILL BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE OF THE WORLD IN THE ETERNAL KINGDOM OF GOD; SO THE BUILDERS - THE NATIONS, ESPECIALLY THE JEWS IRONICALLY, REJECTED THE STONE MEANING JESUS OF NAZARETH WITH CRUCIFIXION, YET WITH THE LORD'S WILL, HE WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD AND WILL BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE OF THE WORLD IN THE ETERNAL KINGDOM OF GOD AS KING OF ISRAEL AND THE WORLD

(Acts 4:8 YLT) "Then Peter, having been filled with the Holy Spirit, said unto them: "Rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, (Acts 4:9 YLT) if we today are examined concerning the good deed to the ailing man, by whom he [has] been [made well], (Acts 4:10 NKJV) let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. (Acts 4:11 NKJV) This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' [Psalm 118:22] (Acts 4:12 YLT) and there is not salvation in any other, for there is no other name under the heaven that [has] been given among men, [by which we must] be saved." =

Then Peter, author Luke reports, was filled by the Holy Spirit, in the sense of his choosing to be controlled by the directives of God the Holy Spirit Who dwelt within him.

Note that author Luke had quoted Jesus as saying that the apostles will indeed have hands laid upon them, and be persecuted; but they will receive instruction in how to respond:

1) [Luke 21:12-19]:

(Lk 21:12 NKJV) "But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute.you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.

(Lk 21:13 NKJV) But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.

(Lk 21:14 NKJV) Therefore settle it in your hearts not to mediate beforehand on what you will answer;

(Lk 21:15 NKJV) for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

(Lk 21:16 NKJV) You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.

(Lk 21:17 NKJV) And you will be hated by all for My name's sake.

(Lk 21:18 NKJV) But not a hair of your head shall be lost.

(Lk 21:19 NKJV) By your patience possess your souls."

Hence Peter began his answer with great confidence, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel, if we today are examined concerning the good deed to the ailing man, by whom he [has] been [made well]. Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole." There was great irony in Peter's response: He asked them if he and John were on trial for doing a good deed. By doing this, Peter was appealing to the rulers' judicial and theological conscience, proposing that they consider the character and cause of the healing of the lame man from birth who was now over 40 years old, and stood before all of them, (cf. Acts 4:22). From the manner in which they considered this healing amongst themselves and the way they questioned Peter and John, they had evidently considered the possibility of the healing being supernatural, but were unwilling to admit that it was from God, (cf. Acts 4:7, 14, 16, 21-22). Notice that Peter declared that the lame man being made completely whole was by the name, i.e., the Person, power and authority, of Jesus Christ of Nazareth; Whom the Jewish rulers crucified; and Whom, Peter declared, was raised from the dead. Note that the passage is inconclusive as to whether or not the lame man received eternal life, as some contend.

Peter then referred to Psalms 118:22 to corroborate from Scripture Who Jesus was:

"This [Jesus Christ] is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Peter referred to Jesus Christ as the "Stone which was rejected by you builders," i.e., Jesus' rejection and crucifixion was by the Jews. And then Peter said that Jesus "had become "the chief cornerstone," (Ps 118:22) - the most vital point of the foundation upon Whom rests salvation - both temporal, such as physical healing or deliverance from harm such as Israel's national deliverance; and resurrection to eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God. Note that the term rendered "chief cornerstone," in the time of Peter - the first century - was also used to refer to the stone placed on the summit of the Jerusalem temple.

And Peter emphasized that there was no name in the sense of person, power or authority under heaven given among men by which we must be saved, in the sense of temporal and eternal salvation unto eternal life in the Kingdom of God. So many of those of Israel who hoped for the Messiah to come and bring salvation unto eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God, had something remarkable to consider with the miraculous healing of the lame man - to which many attested to had come from God, (cf. Acts 4:21); and to which Peter attributed to a moment of faith in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, (cf. Acts 2:38; 3:12-21). Peter's message was especially significant when he concluded, "And there is not salvation in any other, for there is no other name under the heaven that [has] been given among men, [by which we must] be saved," in the sense of being resurrected unto eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God, (Acts 4:8-12).

2) [Compare Ps 118:1-29]:

(Ps 118:1 NKJV) "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for.He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

(Ps 118:2 NKJV) Let Israel now say, His mercy endures forever.

(Ps 118:3 NKJV) Let the house of Aaron now say, His mercy endures forever.

(Ps 118:4 NKJV) Let those who fear the Lord now say, His mercy endures forever.

(Ps 118:5 NKJV) I called on the Lord in distress; The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.

(Ps 118:6 NKJV) The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

(Ps 118:7 NKJV) The Lord is for me among those who help me; Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.

(Ps 118:8 NKJV) It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in man.

(Ps 118:9 NKJV) It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in princes.

(Ps 118:10 NKJV) All nations surrounded me, But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.

(Ps 118:11 NKJV) They surrounded me, Yes, they surrounded me; But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.

(Ps 118:12 NKJV) They surrounded me like bees; They were quenched like a fire of thorns; For in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.

(Ps 118:13 NKJV) You pushed me violently, that I might fall, But the Lord helped me.

(Ps 118:14 NKJV) The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.

(Ps 118:15 NKJV) The voice of rejoicing and salvation Is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.

(Ps 118:16 NKJV) The right hand of the Lord is exalted; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.

(Ps 118:17 NKJV) I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the LORD.

(Ps 118:18 NKJV) The LORD has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death.

(Ps 118:19 NKJV) Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the LORD.

(Ps 118:20 NKJV) This is the gate of the LORD, Through which the righteous shall enter.

(Ps 118:21 NKJV) I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation.

(Ps 118:22 NKJV) The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.

(Ps 118:23 NKJV) This was the LORD's doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.

(Ps 118:24 NKJV) This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

(Ps 118:25 NKJV) Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.

(Ps 118:26 NKJV) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.

(Ps 118:27 NKJV) God is the LORD, And He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.

(Ps 118:28 NKJV) You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You.

(Ps 118:29 NKJV) Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."

a) (118:1-4) Psalm 118 Is A Psalm Of Celebration And Praise To The LORD, In The Light Of The LORD's Faithful Deliverance And Restoration Of Israel: "Oh Give Thanks To The LORD For He Is Good! His Mercy Endures Forever." Let Israel, The House Of Aaron, Those Who Fear The LORD, Now Say Each In His Turn, "His Mercy Endures Forever."

(Ps 118:1 NKJV) "Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for.He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (Ps 118:2 NKJV) Let Israel now say, His mercy endures forever. (Ps 118:3 NKJV) Let the house of Aaron now say, His mercy endures forever. (Ps 118:4 NKJV) Let those who fear the LORD now say, His mercy endures forever." =

Psalms 118, a psalm of declarative praise of the LORD, with David most likely the author, is the climax of a group of six psalms, (Pss 113-118). The psalms are called the Passover psalms or Hallel psalms, after the Hebrew word transliterated "hallel," for praise. The word "Hallelujah" comes from this Hebrew word. The songs were sung / recited to celebrate the LORD's faithfulness in deliverance of His people, Israel; not the least of which was the return of the people of Israel from the Exile in Babylon, their restoration in the land of Israel, and the rebuilding of the Temple. Note that Sukkot - the Feast of Tabernacles - was the first sacred occasion observed after the resumption of sacrifices in Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity, at which time this psalm was sung, (Ezra 3:2-4). The first four verses suggest that the words were to be sung or spoken by the congregation in response to the prompt of a worship leader who would sing the first person singular verses throughout the psalm. On the days when Hallel was sung / recited, this psalm was recited in its entirety, with the final ten verses being recited twice each. The theme was of the LORD God saving and reestablishing His nation in her land, of His triumph over the enemy nations surrounding and beseiging Israel and their plans against His sovereignty; and the future establishment of Israel as the chief cornerstone in the Eternal Kingdom of God.

The psalm begins with a command, evidently by the worship leader, "Oh give thanks to the LORD for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." The LORD is declared to be good in the sense of the ultimate good, i.e., Absolute Righteousness; hence the LORD is the source of all godliness. Furthermore, it is declared that His mercy - His love and compassion - endures forever. This indicates that one can rely upon the LORD in all circumstances. Whereupon the psalmist commanded all those of Israel to respond and repeat together this last phrase: "His mercy endures forever;" and then to the house of Aaron (the Priesthood of Israel), to repeat, "His mercy endures forever;" and then to those who fear the LORD in the sense of those who have a reverential fear of Him - referring to the Gentiles who lived in Israel who feared the LORD, to repeat together, "His mercy endures forever," (Ps 118:1-4).

b) (118:5-7) The Psalmist Recalls When He Called Upon The LORD In Distress: "The LORD Answered Me And Set Me In A Broad Place. The LORDIs On My Side; I Will Not Fear. What Can Man Do To Me? The LORD Is For Me Among Those Who Help Me; Therefore I Shall See My Desire On Those Who Hate Me."

(Ps 118:5 NKJV) "I called on the LORD in distress; The LORD answered me.and set me in a broad place. (Ps 118:6 NKJV) The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Ps 118:7 NKJV) The LORD is for me among those who help me; Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me." =

The next three verses which are in the first person singular, (vv. 5-7), are evidently to be sung / recited by a single voice. They are the psalmist's recollection of his experience - and Israel's; and the reason for the praise called for in the previous verses. For he had called upon the LORD in his distress - evidently referring to his enemies who had entrapped him on all sides, (in the sense of Israel being surrounded as well; for he was also speaking of Israel). Note that this group of Psalms may have been originally written for the king of Israel, perhaps King David, to recite the first person singular parts; but after that the function of the psalm was to be read during Temple worship, with first person singular parts being read by a priest or a selected individual - speaking in essence for all of Israel. And so the LORD set him [Israel] in a broad place, in the sense of being relieved from the restriction of being surrounded by enemies close by to being put into a broad, wide open place, with surrounding threats dispensed with through the LORD. Consequently, the psalmist declared that the LORD was on his side; so he did not fear what man could do to him. For the LORD was his Helper. Therefore, the psalmist wrote, "I shall see my desire on those who hate me," in the sense that the psalmist's desire to see the downfall of his enemies would be realized. They would receive just punishment at the hands of the LORD, (Ps 118:5-7).

c) (118:8-9) The Congregation, Reciting Together, Summarizes The Psalmist's Personal Account Of Being Delivered From Distress By The LORD, "It Is Better To Trust In The LORD Than To Put Confidence In Man. It Is Better To Trust In The LORD Than To Put Confidence In Princes."

(Ps 118:8 NKJV) "It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. (Ps 118:9 NKJV) It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes." =

Verses 8 & 9 are evidently for the congregation to sing or recite together, for they concluded and corroborated the previous section, (vv. 5-7): "It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes, [i.e., rulers of men]." For Israel's history and the psalmist's testimony has made it clear that the sinful nature of man - the whimsical and evil nature of rulers cannot be trusted, (Ps 118:8-9).

d) (118:10-14) The Psalmist's Testimony Resumes: Surrounded By Nations, Yet In The Name Of The LORD, He Declared That He Would Destroy Them. Although He Was Surrounded With Enemy Nations Like Bees, Those Nations Were Quenched Like A Fire Of Thorns. Though Pushed Violently That He Might Fall, The LORD Helped Him. So The Psalmist Declared, "The LORD Is My Strength And Song, And He Has Become My Salvation."

(Ps 118:10 NKJV) "All nations surrounded me, But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. (Ps 118:11 NKJV) They surrounded me, Yes, they surrounded me; But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. (Ps 118:12 NKJV) They surrounded me like bees; They were quenched like a fire of thorns; For in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. (Ps 118:13 NKJV) You pushed me violently, that I might fall, But the LORD helped me. (Ps 118:14 NKJV) The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation." =

Then the next five verses, (vv. 10-14) resume the psalmist's testimony with the first person singular: "All nations surrounded me, But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them. They surrounded me, Yes, they surrounded me; But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them. They surrounded me like bees; They were quenched like a fire of thorns; For in the name of the Lord I will destroy them. You [referring to his enemies] pushed me violently, that I might fall, But the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation." In verses 10-12, the psalmist repeated four times that he was surrounded by his enemies - an emphatic means of portraying Israel's extreme and ongoing perilous situation such during the restoration after the Babylonian captivity - a portrayal of multiplied attacks from enemies which surrounded them, (cf. Nehemiah 2:11-6:19). The writer stated that in the name of the LORD, he [speaking for Israel] declaring three times that he would be successful and destroy them. Like angry swarming bees, he declared, his enemies surrounded him. But the psalmist wrote that in the name of the LORD they were quickly destroyed - as a fire of thorns is quickly burned out to destruction.

The psalmist declared that the nations violently pushed against him so that he might fall, but the LORD helped him just in time. It is evident that the psalmist was speaking of himself and Israel. And by trusting in the LORD, Israel was able to fend off / destroy her enemies on all sides. The psalmist then declared, "The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation," (in the sense of being delivered from temporal destruction, about Whom he sings, (Ps 118:10-14).

e) (118:15-16) The Chorus / Congregation Responds To The Psalmist's Account Of His Deliverance By The LORD: The Voice Of Rejoicing and Salvation Is In The Tents Of The Righteous; The Right Hand Of The LORD Does Valiantly. The Right Hand

(Ps 118:15 NKJV) "The voice of rejoicing and salvation Is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. (Ps 118:16 NKJV) The right hand of the Lord is exalted; The right hand of the Lord does valiantly." =

The next two verses, (vv. 15-16), with its reiteration and summary statements are best taken as sung by the chorus or the congregation. For the verses give support and conclusion to the psalmist's single voice of the previous section, (vv. 10-14). Verses 15-16 declared that the voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous referring to those whom the LORD has declared righteous, which according to previous Psalms is through their expression of a moment of faith in the LORD's provision of atonement for their sins as their Redeemer, (cf. Ps 78:35, 79:9).

i) [Compare Ps 78:35, 79:9]:

(Ps 78:35 NKJV) "Then they remembered that God .was their Rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer."

(Ps 79:9 NKJV) "Help us, O God of our salvation, For the glory of Your name; And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, For your name's sake!"

The phrase, "The voice of rejoicing and salvation Is in the tents of the righteous," expresses that as a result of the salvation / deliverance from harm of Israel by the LORD, the voices of rejoicing and of thanksgiving and praise to the LORD for His salvation / deliverance will be heard from the tents - the dwelling places or perhaps from the tents raised up for the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles for the righteous - those who have trusted in the LORD for salvation unto eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God. The phrases "the right hand of the LORD is exalted" and "The right hand of the LORD does valiently," of which the latter is repeated twice, portray the sense that the power and the might of the LORD is exalted as supreme - having repeatedly and successfully proved Himself out to His people, (Ps 118:15-16).

f) (118:17-21) The Psalmist Continued His Testimony, "I Shall Not Die, But Live, And Declare The Works Of The LORD. The LORD Has Chastened Me Severely, But He Has Not Given Me Over To Death. Open To Me The Gates Of Righteousness; I Will Go Through Them, And I Will Praise The LORD. This Is The Gate Of The LORD, Through Which The Righteous Shall Enter. I Will Praise You, For You Have Answered Me, And Have Become My Salvation," Referring To The Gates Into The Temple Sanctuary Into Where The Righteous - Those Who Have Been Declared Righteous Through Faith In The LORD's Provision For Atonement For Ones Sins - Enter To Praise And Worship The LORD.

(Ps 118:17 NKJV) "I shall not die, but live, And declare the works of the LORD. (Ps 118:18 NKJV) The LORD has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death. (Ps 118:19 NKJV) Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the LORD. (Ps 118:20 NKJV) This is the gate of the LORD, Through which the righteous shall enter. (Ps 118:21 NKJV) I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation." =

And as a result of the LORD having repeatedly and successfully proved Himself out to His people, the psalmist declared in the next five verses - returning to the single voice: "I shall not die, but live," in the sense of being saved / delivered from untimely physical death; corroborating that the salvation referred to in verse 15 refers to temporal / physical salvation. The psalmist announced that he would continue to "Declare the works of the LORD" in his extended mortal lifetime out of a sense of gratitude, thanksgiving and praise. Hence, in corroborating this point, the psalmist went on to declare, "The LORD has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death," in the sense of an untimely physical death. The psalmist then wrote, "Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the LORD." In verses 20-21, the first person single continues, and the gate to the sanctuary in the Temple is in view: "This is the gate of the LORD, Through which the righteous shall enter" implying that those who enter the gate into the sanctuary of the Temple where the congregation attended are to be those who have been declared by God to be righteous in order to worship and praise the LORD there. To be declared to be righteous by God unto eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God is through a moment of faith in the LORD's provision of atonement for his sins, (cf. Ps 78:35, 79:9). Especially in view, the psalmist declared, was his praise and worship of the LORD for the answers to his prayers to the LORD for [Israel's] deliverance / salvation from destruction, (Ps 118:17-21).

g) (118:22-24) The Congregation Recites How The Stone - [The Nation Israel] - Which The Builders - [The Nations Of The World] - Rejected, Has Become The Chief Cornerstone - [The Chief Nation Of The World - Looking To The Future Eternal Kingdom Of God]. This Was The LORD's Doing. It Is Marvelous In Our Eyes. This Is The Day The LORD Has Made; We Will Rejoice And Be Glad In It.

(Ps 118:22 NKJV) "The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. (Ps 118:23 NKJV) This was the LORD's doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. (Ps 118:24 NKJV) This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." =

Verses 22-24, which are in the second person plural point of view, are most likely recited together by the congregation. Verse 22 reads "The stone [referring to Israel] which the builders [referring to the nations of the world] rejected [in the sense of having no worldy significance causing Israel to be repeatedly beseiged, attacked, dominated, taken into captivity, resuling in great destruction] Has become the chief cornerstone" i.e., the chief nation of the world. And this was as a result of the sovereign and saving work of the LORD. For the psalmist wrote, in verses 23-24, "This was the LORD's doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the LORD has made; We rejoice and be glad in it." The phrase rendered, "This is the day," evidently refers to the day of the festival of the Feast of Tabernacles, in which believers were to rejoice and be glad; celebrating the deliverances of Israel by the LORD, as well as His future deliverance of Israel as the chief cornerstone of the nations of the world in the Eternal Kingdom of God. In view of Israel's restoration and the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the psalmist declared that Israel's destiny will be as the ruling nation of the world. Because of the Majesty and the Almighty power of the LORD, an insignificant nation as Israel, compared to the nations and great empires of the world relative to their populations, power and prestige, etc., will become through the sovereign work of the LORD, the "chief cornerstone" - the key nation of the world forever in the Eternal Kingdom of God, (Ps 118:22-24).

h) (118:25) The Psalmist Earnestly Prays To The LORD For Prosperity

(Ps 118:25 NKJV) "Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity. " =

The psalmist then wrote in verse 25, in the first person singular, a prayer for the return to Israel of prosperity - the repetition conveying an earnest / emphatic entreaty: "Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.

i) (118:26-29) The Congregation Or Chorus Of Priests Declares, As The Procession Of People Enter Into The Sanctuary Of The Temple, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! [Referring To The Leader Of The Procession] We have blessed you from the house of the LORD. God is the LORD, And He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. [Referring To A Celebratory Sacrifice] You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You. Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever."

(Ps 118:26 NKJV) "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We have blessed you from the house of the LORD. (Ps 118:27 NKJV) God is the LORD, And He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. (Ps 118:28 NKJV) You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You. (Ps 118:29 NKJV) Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever." =

The last section of Psalm 118 and of the Hallel, (118:26-29), is evidently to be voiced by the chorus of priests, who evidently welcome the procession entering into the sanctuary with a solemn pronouncement upon them of benediction, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! [referring to the leader of the procession] We have blessed you [plural] from the house of the Lord, [referring to those following the leader and are coming into the sanctuary in the Temple in the name of the LORD to worship Him, as well]. God is the Lord, And He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. [There was evidently to be a celebratory animal sacrifice to be performed which would portray to the congregation the future atoning sacrifice for sins that the LORD would provide for His people whom He had delivered unto restoration and declared those who believed righteous in His sight, (cf. Ps 78:35, 79:9)]. You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You."

The last verse repeats the first verse - with the congregaion saying it all together: "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever," (Ps 118:25-29).

It is evident that the Apostle Peter's quotation from Psalms 118 was not intended to be viewed as a prophetic fulfillment in Jesus Christ in every detail. For the context of Psalms 118 was about the LORD's deliverance of Israel from "distress," such as her exile in Babylon and her consequent restoration in her land, with the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. On the other hand, Peter referred to Psalms 118, quoting verse 22, to draw a comparison:

Just as Israel, which was a "stone" amongst the "builders" - the ruling nations of the world - which those nations of the world rejected to the extent of Israel being constantly beseiged, attacked, dominated, destroyed, taken into captivity - not the least of which was when her population was conquered and exiled into Bablyon as slaves, with Jerusalem and the Temple leveled - the Judean countryside destroyed; yet that stone, as indicated in Psalms 118:22, will become - at the time of the Eternal Kingdom of God - the chief cornerstone, i.e., the chief and ruling nation of the world as a result of the sovereign and saving work of the LORD;

so Jesus was the "Stone" that the builders - the nations of the world, especially the Jews and the Romans - rejected to the extent of being beseiged, attacked, taken into captivity, and executed on the cross; yet that "Stone" was raised from the dead and will come to commence the Eternal Kingdom of God - the chief cornerstone, as the King of Israel and of the world - the King of kings and LORD of Lords.

So Peter boldly preached to the Jewish authorities the same message that he gave to the Jews in Solomon's Portico, albeit, shorter in length: He preached to them of the resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, despite the potentially deadly consequences, and salvation unto eternal life through a moment of faith in Him. The word "saved" in the context of Peter's statement to the Jewish authorities in verse 12, refers to salvation unto eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God, implying resurrection from the dead, (cf. Acts 2:38; 3:12-21); (Acts 4:8-12).

D) (ACTS 4:13-18) NOW [SEEING] THE BOLDNESS OF PETER AND JOHN, AND [HAVING] PERCEIVED THAT THEY WERE UNEDUCATED AND UNTRAINED MEN, [LIT., LAYMEN] THEY [WERE WERE MARVELING (AT SUCH PREACHING)]. AND THEY [WERE REALIZING] THAT THEY [WERE] WITH JESUS. AND SEEING THE MAN WHO HAD BEEN HEALED STANDING WITH THEM; THEY COULD SAY NOTHING AGAINST IT; AND HAVING COMMANDED THEM TO GO AWAY OUT OF THE SANHEDRIN [JEWISH RULING COUNCIL] THEY [CONFERRED] WITH ONE ANOTHER, SAYING, "WHAT SHALL WE DO TO THESE MEN? FOR, INDEED, THAT A NOTABLE MIRACLE HAS BEEN DONE THROUGH THEM IS EVIDENT TO ALL WHO DWELL IN JERUSALEM, AND WE CANNOT DENY IT. BUT SO THAT IT SPREADS NO FURTHER AMONG THE PEOPLE, LET US SEVERELY THREATEN THEM, THAT FROM NOW ON THEY SPEAK TO NO MAN IN THIS NAME." AND HAVING CALLED THEM, THEY CHARGED THEM NOT TO SPEAK AT ALL, NOR TO TEACH, IN THE NAME OF JESUS

(Acts 4:13 NKJV) '''Now [seeing] the boldness of Peter and John, and [having] perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, [lit., laymen] they [were were marveling (at such preaching)]. And they [were realizing] that they [were] with Jesus. (Acts 4:14 NKJV) And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it; (Acts 4:15 YLT) and having commanded them to go away out of the Sanhedrin [Jewish Ruling Council] they [conferred] with one another, (Acts 4:16 NKJV) saying, "What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. (Acts 4:17 NKJV) But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name." (Acts 4:18 YLT) And having called them, they charged them not to speak at all, nor to teach, in the name of Jesus." ''' =

The Jewish authorities perceived Peter and John to be uneducated and untrained men, relative to Jewish theology, the Law, i.e., rabbinic training; and being adept and authoritative at presenting their case in such matters. So the Jewish authorities marveled at their expertise and confidence in the way they did present their case - both Peter and John. It was evident that Peter and John responded positively to the words prompted within their minds by the Holy Spirit as a result of their being filled by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which implies voluntary submission to be controlled by the Spirit, (cf. Acts 4:8; Lk 12:11-12). It is implied that the rulers and elders did not immediately make the connection that Peter and John were disciples of Jesus - that they had spent considerable time with Him; despite Peter's authoritative declaration that the lame man was healed "in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth Whom you crucified, Whom God raised from the dead." But Peter's words reflected Jesus' expertise in teaching which eventually became the catalyst to the authorities' arriving at the conclusion that Peter and John were disciples of Jesus. And this prompted their memories of miracles which Jesus had performed; and His great wisdom and teaching, (cf Mk 1:22); and His astounding answers to their accusatory interrogations. And now, after having crucified Jesus in order to be rid of Him, Peter and John were now standing before them preaching Jesus' resurrection from the dead and the same message of the gospel that Jesus preached - with the same authority and expertise - authenticating that message as coming from God with miracles as Jesus had done - with the healed lame man standing before them as evidence.

Note that the evidence of Jesus' resurrection was compelling. Thousands of Jews had already believed in Jesus for eternal life, (cf. Acts 2:38-41; 3:12-21); thousands more glorified God when the lame man was healed in Jesus' name, (cf. Acts 4:21); yet the rulers and elders largely refused to believe in the resurrection, much less in Jesus Christ of Nazareth for eternal life; perhaps for no other reason except that it did not suit their temporal purpose under Roman authority, i.e., they simply did not want to believe and risk suffering the temporal consequences, (Acts 4:13).

Since the rulers and elders saw the lame man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against Peter and John relative to denying that a miracle had occurred. For there were thousands of Jews who had become believers and many more who had marveled, even glorified God, at how the lame man was healed when Peter pronounced the name of Jesus Christ for the healing, (cf. Acts 3:12-16; 4:21). Nor could they refute Peter's declarations that the miraculous healing was done through a moment of faith in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, Whom they crucified and Whom God raised from the dead. Since the Jewish authorities were accountable to the Roman authorities, they needed to be careful with how they handled Peter and John. They could not afford to rouse a crowd of Jews against them and thereupon be subject to Roman discipline - putting their positions of power in jeopardy. Their concerns had nothing to do with whether or not the healing and teaching of Peter and John were genuine or from God. Their sole interest was to preserve their positions of power under the Romans, (Acts 4:14).

So they commanded Peter, John and the man they healed to go aside, out of the council, so that they could confer amongst themselves. They said, "What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it." The rulers and elders could find no logical, legal or theological basis for refuting the miraculous healing of the lame man, nor Peter's claim of Jesus' resurrection from the dead, nor refute Peter's message of the gospel of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Hence they determined amongst themselves as follows, stating: "But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name." Notice that the authorities could not mention the name of Jesus, but kept referring to Him indirectly.

Notice that the Jewish authorities, when they had Peter and John and the lame man before them, did not question whether or not a miracle was performed nor if it was done in the name of Jesus. They had declared amongst themselves that it was a "notable miracle," and remarked that it was known throughout Jerusalem. And that all the people there in Jerusalem glorified God for what had been done, (cf. Acts 4:21). As a result of this, they determined that they could not deny that it happened, or discredit the name of Jesus being connected to it. On the other hand, they were determined to stop the performance of further miracles and the spreading of the new faith in Jesus. They did not care whether or not the miracle came through the power of God, nor whether Jesus had risen from the dead. They determined to severely threaten Peter and John - that they no longer speak to others about Jesus or of anything in His name, (Acts 4:15-17).

So they called Peter and John to them and commanded them: "not to speak at all, nor to teach, in the name of Jesus." Since the Sanhedrin was the supreme authority in such matters as this, and since they had already dispensed with Jesus on this same matter rather severely - executing Him by crucifixion; and since they noted how bold and proficient Peter and John were in declaring their message, authenticating it by a miracle, their communication to them was emphatic, and attached to it was a severe and deadly warning!

Note that author Luke's observations of what was said at this meeting of the Jewish authorities were not fabricated as some contend, for they could have been obtained through a number of those in the ruling council who had become believers, such as Nicodemus or Paul - for he was as a Pharisee as well; or by the disciples' Peter and John overhearing of the rulers' conversation, or by their discernment based upon what they were ordered to do afterward, (Acts 4:18).

E) (ACTS 4:19-22) BUT PETER AND JOHN ANSWERED AND SAID TO THEM, "WHETHER IT IS RIGHT IN THE SIGHT OF GOD TO LISTEN TO YOU MORE THAN TO GOD, YOU JUDGE. FOR WE CANNOT BUT SPEAK WHAT WE DID SEE AND HEAR." SO WHEN THEY HAD FURTHER THREATENED THEM, THEY LET THEM GO, FINDING NO WAY OF PUNISHING THEM, BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE, SINCE THEY ALL GLORIFIED GOD FOR WHAT HAD BEEN DONE. FOR THE MAN WAS OVER FORTY YEARS OLD ON WHOM THIS MIRACLE OF HEALING HAD BEEN PERFORMED.

(Acts 4:19 NKJV) '''But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. (Acts 4:20 YLT) For we cannot but speak what we did see and hear." (Acts 4:21 NKJV) So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. (Acts 4:22 NKJV) For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed." ''' =

Peter's answer to the Jewish authorities' charge to never speak at all, nor to teach in the name of Jesus was to pose a question which provided the answer by implication: "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak what we did see and hear." Peter attempted to appeal to the rulers' consciences to objectively determine the truth of the matter and to do right before God. Peter's response was anything but submissive. It was bold and confrontational. It conveyed the message that the Jewish authorities were commanding Peter to listen more to what the Jewish rulers were saying than to what God was conveying to him, in the sense that he should act against what God was telling him. Peter was making the point that the Jewish rulers were obligated to justify themselves in a manner which was consistent with the evidence of the miraculous healing of the lame man, and with Peter's testimony about Jesus, His resurrection and his declaration of the gospel of faith in Jesus for resurrection unto eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God. When Peter said, "For we [himself and John] cannot but speak what we did see and hear," it implied that he was confident that what he and John were saying and doing was from God. In essence, it was a matter of examining the evidence in a truthful, objective manner before God, which Peter maintained would prove his case relative to what he had told the rulers earlier: "There is not salvation in any other, for there is no other name under the heaven that [has] been given among men, [by which we must] be saved," (Acts 4:12).

Clearly, Peter was not afraid of what the rulers and elders might do to him. For they had done their worst to Jesus by crucifying Him, and God had raised Him from the dead, proving out the resurrection and faith in Jesus for eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God. So with the sure hope of the resurrection through Jesus Christ, and by the filling of the Holy Spirit, they did not fear death.

Notice that author Luke implied participation by John as well as Peter. For what Luke and the other gospel writers reported was only a small portion of what had occurred - their writings being brief but significant observations of events surrounding the LORD and the promulgation of His gospel. The Jewish authorities further threatened Peter and John and then let them go because they could find no way of punishing them without jeopardizing themselves because of all the people having glorified God for what had been done. Whereupon author Luke remarked that the lame man who was healed was over 40 years old. This made the miracle all the more outstanding. For since the man had not walked for so long, his leg muscles would have been shriveled up, and his ankles without sufficient strength to stand up, so that he was completely incapable of walking aside from an absolute miracle; hence the astounding reaction of all the people praising and glorifying God for his healing. But the Jewish authorities just did not want to acknowledge that God was the Agent of the lame man's healing, especially through the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth Whom they had crucified.

Had the Jewish authorities brought some kind of punishment upon Peter and John, it was thought that there might be widespread negative reaction by the Jews, which might cause Roman reprisal upon the Jewish rulers. Whether or not the miracle was from God, or that Jesus Christ was risen and faith in Him was what caused the miraculous healing was never a consideration. Note that the effect of Peter and John being freed was to send the message to the people that the authorities could find no fault in what they said or did sufficient to punish them - for the moment. Hence their freedom authenticated the veracity of their message - that God was with them and that a moment of faith alone in Jesus Christ of Nazareth alone would provide resurrection from the dead, and eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God. Nevertheless, the authorities had set up a legal precedent for imposing on them severe punishment, even death with the Romans which they could act upon later, should Peter, John or others continue to preach in the name of Jesus, (cf. Lk 5:12-16); (Acts 4:19-22).

F) (Acts 4:23-28) AND [HAVING BEEN] LET GO, THEY WENT TO THEIR OWN COMPANIONS AND REPORTED ALL THAT THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND ELDERS HAD SAID TO THEM. SO WHEN THEY HEARD THAT, THEY RAISED THEIR VOICE TO GOD WITH ONE ACCORD AND SAID: "LORD, YOU ARE GOD, WHO MADE HEAVEN AND EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM, WHO BY THE MOUTH OF YOUR SERVANT DAVID HAVE SAID: 'WHY DID THE NATIONS RAGE, AND THE PEOPLE PLOT VAIN THINGS? THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND, AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST [HIS ANOINTED ONE].' FOR TRULY IN THIS CITY THERE WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST YOUR HOLY SERVANT JESUS, WHOM YOU ANOINTED, BOTH HEROD AND PONTIUS PILATE, ALONG WITH THE GENTILES AND THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, TO DO WHATEVER YOUR HAND AND YOUR PURPOSE DETERMINED BEFORE TO BE DONE."

(Acts 4:23 NKJV) "And [having been] let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. (Acts 4:24 NKJV) So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, (Acts 4:25 NKJV) who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: 'Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? (Acts 4:26 NKJV) The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ [His Anointed One].' (Acts 4:27 NASB) For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your Holy Servant Jesus, Whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, (Acts 4:28 NKJV) to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done." =

When Peter and John were released from captivity, they went right away to their own companions in the sense of fellow believers. They reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. And when they all heard what had happened, all of the believers raised their voices in one accord - as one voice up to God in prayer, evidently being led by a prayer leader. They prayed, "LORD, You are God Who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them." The Greek words, "Despota, su ho Theos" rendered "Lord, You are God," literally "O Master, You are God," are the first words of their prayer. It establishes their recognition of the power and sovereignty of God over them and the whole universe: As Creator of the universe and all that is in every part of it, He is absolutely Sovereign, by His right of creation, (Acts 4:23-24).

Whereupon the believers referred in their prayer to David in Psalms 2, the servant of the LORD, through whom the LORD said, "Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ [His Anointed one]," reflecting upon how the Gentile nations raged against the LORD in David's time and against him, the king of Israel, God's Anointed one - as all kings of Israel are - leading to the final and forever King, Jesus Christ. So the second subject of their prayer was Scripture: Psalms chapter 2, wherein they based the subject of their prayer upon the words of God's Word, especially relative to the subject at hand: the Sovereignty of God in all things, especially what men and nations do. Despite their actions against Him, what God has foreordained will nevertheless come to pass. Their specific reference was to Jesus Christ - His atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, which came to pass as foreordained by God, despite the actions and intentions of Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles and the people of Israel.

The believers then reflected upon what had occurred in their present time relative to what David had spoken of in the past in Psalms chapter 2:

"For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your Holy Servant Jesus, Whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done."

For just as in king David's time, the Gentile nations raged, the people plotted, the kings took their stand, the rulers gathered together against the LORD and His Anointed one, (king David); so in Jesus' time, Herod and Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles (Romans) and the people of Israel themselves, acting like the raging Gentile nations, were gathered together against the LORD and His Anointed One, Jesus Christ, Who will be the eternal King of Israel. And so it was that the sovereignty of the LORD would prevail: They would "do whatever the hand of the LORD and His purpose determined beforehand to be done." And so, in accordance with the sovereignty of the LORD and His predetermined purpose, they would willfuly choose their own course against God, bearing the consequences, and crucify His Anointed One, Jesus as God's foreordained atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world; whereupon He was raised from the dead by God and lives - exalted in heaven, awaiting His return to commence His Eternal Kingdom of God, as King of Kings and LORD of Lords:

2) [Compare Ps 2:1-12]:

(Ps 2:1 NKJV) '''Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?

(Ps 2:2 NKJV) The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed [One], saying,

(Ps 2:3 NKJV) "Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us."

(Ps 2:4 NKJV) He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.

(Ps 2:5 NKJV) Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure:

(Ps 2:6 NKJV) "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.

(Ps 2:7 NKJV) I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.

(Ps 2:8 NKJV) Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

(Ps 2:9 NKJV) You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'

(Ps 2:10 NKJV) Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth.

(Ps 2:11 NKJV) Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling.

(Ps 2:12 NKJV) Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him." '''

a) (Ps 2:1-3) Why Do The Nations Rage, And The People Plot A Vain Thing? The Kings Of The Earth Set Themselves, And The Rulers Take Counsel Together, Against The LORD And Against His Anointed [One] Saying, 'Let Us Break Their Bonds In Pieces And Cast Away Their Cords From Us

The Psalmist asks why are the nations of the world in a rage, and the people are plotting a vain thing, in the sense of the futility of it all. He goes on to write that the kings of the earth have set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed One, saying, 'Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.' The LORD's Anointed is His chosen one to be the ruler of Zion, i.e., the people of Israel, His chosen people, with David, the first king in view, (Ps 2:2, 6). All of this rage, plotting, setting oneself against, and scheming against the LORD and His Anointed One is vanity - futility - especially in view of God's Almighty power and sovereignty. The nations, peoples, kings and rulers of the world were evidently aware of the LORD and His Anointed ruler of the people of Zion. And they were enraged and consorted with one another to defeat God's sovereignty over them. It was their view that they were in bondage to the LORD and His king, (Ps 2:2-3).

b) (Ps 2:4-12) He Who Sits In The Heavens Shall Laugh; The LORD Shall Hold Them In Derision. Then He Shall Speak To Them In His Wrath, And Distress Them In His Deep Displeasure: 'Yet I Have Set My King On My Holy Hill Of Zion. I Will Declare The Decree: The LORD Has Said To Me, 'You Are My Son, Today I Have Begotten You. Ask Of Me, And I Will Give You The Nations For Your Inheritance, And The Ends Of The Earth For Your Possession. You Shall Break Them With A Rod Of Iron; You Shall Dash Them To Pieces Like A Potter's Vessel.' Now Therefore, Be Wise, O Kings; Be Instructed, You Judges Of The Earth. Serve The LORD With Fear, And Rejoice With Trembling. Kiss The Son, Lest He Be Angry, And You Perish In The Way, When His Wrath Is Kindled But A Little. Blessed Are All Those Who Put Their Trust In Him.

The Psalmist declares that the LORD in heaven will laugh and hold those who oppose Him in derision. He will speak to them via His wrath and distress them via action that reflects His deep displeasure, (Ps 2:4-5).

The LORD declares that He has set His anointed king on His holy hill, Zion. The word Zion here refers to Jerusalem which indicates that the LORD's chosen people are Israelites whose Anointed / Chosen one is their king. Zion was originally a Canaanite city which was being conquered by David. The name Zion later on was used to refer to the temple area and then to the entire city of Jerusalem. The term 'Holy hill' is a synonym for the temple mount in Jerusalem. And the LORD declares that His Anointed / Chosen One has been begotten of God as His Son. The phrase "You are My son" in Ps 2:7, comes from the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7:14). It is appropriated in Psalm 2 to show the legitimate God ordained right of the king to rule. The phrase 'Today I have begotten You' refers to the day of one being Anointed / Chosen by God to be king of Israel, i.e., the day of the coronation of the king, and his adoption as a son of God into the family of God in an eternal life familial relationship with God, (Ps 2:6-7).

In view of the fact that physical sonship is not reversible, so much the more is sonship to God irrevocable; and it is eternal because God is eternal. It is implied that the Anointed king of Israel, being declared to be a son of God, has the reception of eternal life and will receive an eternal kingdom inheritance to rule the nations to the ends of the earth in the future eternal kingdom: For God goes on to say to His Anointed, "Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel." This also implies that the rebellion of the nations of the world toward the LORD and His Anointed One, will finally be put down.

In view of the lack of complete fulfillment of the prophecies in verses 1 through 9, through king David or any king after him so far, the context must jump out of the time of David to a future King of Israel, "the Anointed One, "the Christ," from the Greek, "ho Christos," Who will inherit the nations of the world, and the ends of the earth, evidently as an eternal inheritance and possession. So the Future Anointed of God, "the Christ," will meet the enraged nations, peoples, kings and rulers of the world in conflict and "break them with a rod of iron" and "dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel," despite the warning of the LORD through the Psalmist in verses 10-12, "Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him." Notice that individual's throughout the world are blessed when they put their trust in the Anointed One of the LORD = "the Christ." This Anointed One is far more than a temporal king of Israel; for throughout the world one may trust in Him to be blessed. No temporal king can say or do that. Nor can the wrath of a king over all the nations of the earth be so powerful unless He is God Himself, (Ps 2:8-12), (Acts 4:23-28).

G) (ACTS 4:29-37) THE BELIEVERS' PRAYER CONTINUED WITH A REQUEST FOR A BOLD RESPONSE IN THE FACE OF THREATS FROM THE JEWISH RULERS FOR GOD'S SERVANTS - THE APOSTLES; AND FOR HEALING, SIGNS AND WONDERS THROUGH THE NAME OF THE LORD'S HOLY SERVANT JESUS. WHEREUPON THE PLACE WHERE THEY WERE ASSEMBLED WAS SHAKEN AND THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, SPEAKING OUT THE WORD OF GOD WITH BOLDNESS. ALL OF THE THOUSANDS OF BELIEVERS WERE OF ONE HEART AND SOUL, WITH POSSESSIONS AND ALL THINGS IN COMMON. WITH GREAT POWER, THE APOSTLES GAVE WITNESS TO THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD. GREAT GRACE WAS UPON THEM ALL. NO ONE LACKED, FOR THOSE WITH POSSESSIONS WERE SELLING THEM AND BRINGING THE PROCEEDS TO THE APOSTLES TO DISTRIBUTE AS THERE WAS NEED. JOSES, NAMED BARNABAS, SOLD HIS LAND AND LAID IT AT THE APOSTLES' FEET.

(Acts 4:24 NKJV) So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, (Acts 4:25 NKJV) who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: 'Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? (Acts 4:26 NKJV) The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ [His Anointed One].' (Acts 4:27 NASB) For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your Holy Servant Jesus, Whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, (Acts 4:28 NKJV) to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. (Acts 4:29 NKJV) Now, LORD, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, (Acts 4:30 NKJV) by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus." (Acts 4:31 NKJV) And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they [were speaking] the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:32 NKJV) Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. (Acts 4:33 NKJV) And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all, (Acts 4:34 YLT) for there was not any one among them who did lack, for as many as were possessors of fields, or houses, selling [them], were bringing the prices of the thing sold, (Acts 4:35 NKJV) and [were laying] them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. (Acts 4:36 NKJV) And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, (Acts 4:37 NKJV) having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet." =

The believers' prayer continued: they asked the LORD for God's servants - referring in the third person plural to the apostles - for boldness in speaking the word of God in the face of the threats of those who opposed them. Note that the apostles up to this time were the only ones who were speaking God's Word out to others, especially to people in the temple areas. The word rendered "their," in the phrase "Now, LORD, look on their threats," in verse 29 refers to those who had gathered together against God's Holy Servant Jesus, (vv. 27-28): "For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your Holy Servant Jesus, Whom You anointed,both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done." So the believers prayed for the LORD's hand in granting His servants boldness in speaking out His word - especially relative to Jesus Christ's resurrection and thereby ones resurrection unto eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God through a moment of faith in Him; and in stretching out His hand to heal and produce signs and wonders through the name of the LORD's Holy Servant Jesus. These healing, signs and wonders were evidently to establish the veracity of God's word when it was spoken, and to provide further opportunities to speak God's word. Note that the Greek word "hagiou" in the phrase "tou hagiou paidos sou IEsou" rendered "of Your Holy Servant Jesus," refers to Jesus being set apart to God for the work that He was foreordained to do - referring to His atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, being raised from the dead to be exalted in heaven by God, and coming back to earth to become the KING of kings, and LORD of Lords of His Eternal Kingdom of God on earth, (cf. Ps 2:1-12; Acts 4:29-30).

When the believers finished their prayers, the place where they were assembled was shaken - evidently a sign to them that God had answered their prayers; whereupon all the believers were filled in the sense of being voluntarily controlled by the directives of the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness - evidently choosing to act as directed by the Holy Spirit, hence under His control. Note that the filling of the Holy Spirit was evidently bestowed sovereignly upon the believers by God, such that they were endowed with boldness and given the word of God. On the other hand, the believers must still choose to be controlled by the directives of God the Holy Spirit Who dwelt within them. Although, up to this time, the apostles were the sole witnesses of Jesus Christ's resurrection and faith in Him unto eternal life in the Eternal Kingdom of God, (cf. Acts 2:38; 3:12-21); it is evident that all believers were being trained by the teaching of the apostles, and as directed by the filling of the Holy Spirit, (Acts 4:31).

Author Luke indicated that the body of believers were of one heart and one soul in the sense of being of one mind and purpose in life - that of proclaiming the gospel and living for that purpose - for Jesus Christ, their LORD and Savior. Author Luke wrote also that the believers were of a mind that their possessions were not viewed as solely their own in the sense that they willingly shared them with others in need, (cf. Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-37), (Acts 4:32).

Luke declared that with great power, implying the performing of miracles, the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the LORD Jesus and a moment of faith in Him for one to receive Eternal Resurrected life in the Eternal Kingdom of God. Whereupon, Luke declared that God's grace was upon all of the believers. Note that at this time, it is evident that the apostles were the primary witnesses and channels of the miraculous power of God. This implies that the thousands of believers were still dependent upon the apostles for teaching and doing the work of God in evangelizing the lost. On the other hand, verse 32 does indicate that the grace of God was upon all the believers. And as an example of this grace of God upon all the believers, Luke reported that "There was not any one among them who did lack, for as many as were possessors of fields, or houses, selling [them], were bringing the prices of the thing sold, and [were laying] them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need." Notice that the word rendered "selling [them] is a nominative present participle signifying that over a period of time and as the need arose the believers that owned property were selling a portion of their possessions. The rest of the verse is the imperfect tense corroborating this ongoing action. So the Greek text of Acts 4:34 does not stipulate that the believers sold all of their properties and gave the proceeds to the group as if under a communal or communist living arrangement where nobody owns anything, as some contend. Notice that the task of distributing these funds was left to the apostles, giving them multiple tasks to provide for the needs and the training of thousands of fellow believers, as well as being the sole witnesses of Jesus Christ to unbelievers, (Acts 4:34-35).

Luke then gave an exemplary example of this sharing with fellow believers in Barnabas: "And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated son of encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet." The Greek word "IOsEs" is a Greek form of the name "Joseph," a very common name among the Jews. But the apostles gave him another name, "Barnabas," which means "son of encouragement." This special name described a noteworthy aspect of his character - of being an encourager to others, as exemplified by his response to the needs of fellow believers by his having sold an agricultural field, (Greek: "agrou"), which he owned he brought the money to the apostles to distribute. Although Levites were prohibited from owning property literally "in their land," referring to the Promised Land - Israel, according to Numbers 18:20, 24; the land that Barnabas sold might well have been located in his native land, Cyprus. Nevertheless, Barnabas sold it and gave the proceeds to the apostles for the needy, (Acts 4:36-37).

Acts chapter 5