Taken from The Bible Treasury Number 312 - May 1882
Such was the preface of the Apostle's discourse: e denial of the carnal, not to say immoral, excitement imputed, and an affirmation of the power οf the Spirit, then manifested in the gift of tongues, end prophesying, according to the prophet Joel.
Now he enters on the foundation of their hopes as God's chosen people, and sets forth the facts just accomplished in the light of His word, mainly as we shall see Pea. xvi. ox. and cxxxii.
"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man shown forth from God to you by mighty works, and wonders and signs which God wrought by Him in your midst, as yourselves know—Him given up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by hand of lawless men did crucify and slay; whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death, inasmuch as it was not possible that he should be held fast by it. For David saith as to Him, I kept the Lord in view always before me, because He is on my right hand that I may not be shaken. On this account my. heart was cheered and my tongue was exceeding glad'; yea more my flesh also shall dwell in hope [that, or] because thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades nor give thy Holy (or Gracious) One to see corruption. Thou didst make known to me ways of life; thou wilt make me full of joy with Thy countenance. Brethren, one may speak with freedom unto you about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is amongst us unto this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God swore with an oath to him of the fruit of his loins to seat upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was He left in Hades nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus did God raise up whereof all we are witnesses. Having therefore been exalted by the right hand of God and received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured forth this which ye see and hear. For David ascended not into the heavens, but saith himself, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on My right hand till I make Thine enemies [the] footstool of Thy feet. Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom ye crucified." (Verses 22-36.)
The Apostle addresses them according to their due national title as the chosen theocracy; and, while he in no way hides the name of humiliation, he claims for his Master the indubitably proved character of Messiah. It was God, he affirms, who had shown him forth to them by mighty works and wonders and signs; it was God who by Him thus wrought in their midst. They could deny neither the actual display of divine power in every form of goodness and mercy, nor that Israel had so expected the Anointed of God according to the living oracles. The eyes of the blind were opened, the ears of the deaf were unstopped, the lame leaped as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sang. Had all this come without the person to whom Scripture attaches it all? If not yet with vengeance, surely in mercy unequivocally divine? Granted that the parched ground has not become a pool, nor the thirsty lands springs of water, and that the way of holiness is invisible save to faith; granted that the unclean abound and are bold, as the lion and the ravenous beasts are still objects of terror, because the people are apostate from their King when He came, as they once gave up Jehovah for every vain idol of the nations. But God had failed in no attestation that could commend His servant whom He upheld, His elect in whom His soul delighted; and they themselves knew it, though tempted by Satan to impute it to the enemy, in order to escape the submission of their conscience to the truth. To the enemy! when Christ's every word and every work directly tended to destroy i Satan's evil power and wiles. But what will not the deluded mind of man think or at least say to avoid the grace that pities and would save Him if he bowed to God and His Christ?
Did any Israelite stumble at the cross as invalidating His claims? Yet: on the cross, man—the Jew—being what he is, God had ordered it all marvellously to His own glory. Unbelief and rebellion and blasphemy on the one hand were allowed to work their unimpeded way, when the fit moment arrived; and Jesus was rejected ignominiously by His own people, and the Gentiles were urged by them to crucify Him; that He on the other hand might become a propitiation for the sins of His own that believed, yea, for the whole world. If that was man's inexcusable iniquity, this was God's sovereign grace. If they were the instruments of their own spite, He gave One that has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Thus in that cross met creature will of man and of Satan in deadly enmity to God, divine love turning the otherwise hopeless sin to the shedding of that precious blood which cleanseth from all sin, impossible without the glorious person who is God no less than man, impossible save by His once in atonement suffering for our sins, Just for unjust. "Him given up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by hand of lawless men did crucify and slay." The cress therefore, dreadful as it is as the proof of man's blind guilt and of Satan's power, now that it is seen to be not only necessary that Scripture be fulfilled, but the indispensable and only possible door of deliverance for the sinner in God's grace, is owned as an essential and morally the deepest part of God's ways, as it is the highest moral glory of the Lord Jesus. As Himself said on the eve of it, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him."
But the resurrection!—what did God say therein? In vain the lie that the disciples came by night and stole Jesus away, while the soldiers slept. Peter does not even notice such an unworthy subterfuge, but simply asserts the grand truth on which the gospel rests: "whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death, inasmuch as it was not possible that He should be held fast by it. For David saith as to him, I foresaw the Lord," &c. The word of God by David pointed to the resurrection of the Messiah; and God showed Him openly when risen to witnesses chosen of Him beforehand. But indeed it was not possible that He should be held fast by death, to which He, the Holy One, had submitted for sin to God's glory. Nor was it possible that the Scripture could be broken which said, "Thou wilt not leave My soul in Hades, nor give [i.e. suffer] Thy Holy One to see corruption." Even according to the ancient Jewish interpretation these words of Psa. xvi. can only apply to the Messiah (Schöttgen, 664-8). Here Peter, and in chap. xiii. Paul, declare that it was fulfilled in God's raising Jesus from the dead, not in David, still less in any other. Thus was He shown the path of life through death with fulness of joy in the presence of God His Father.
The Apostle in his reasoning on this next cites Psa. cxxxii., the great psalm of the Kingdom settled for ever in the son of David. "Brethren, one may speak freely unto you about the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is amongst us unto this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God swore with an oath to him of the fruit of his loins to seat upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ that neither was He left in Hades nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus did God raise up whereof all we are witnesses." This, and this only, explains the peculiarly glorious character of the Kingdom even in its earthly relations. Even now the King is risen from the dead. This stamps perpetuity as nothing else could: yet is it the kingdom of a man. Only it is man risen from the dead: though here it is Christ only, first-born from the dead, for in all things He must have the pre-eminence.
But in fact resurrection was the immediate steppingstone, not to the Kingdom which still awaits His appearing in glory, but to His going up into the presence of God on high; and this for reasons most nearly affecting God's glory now as well as those who enjoy His favour, as we shall hear presently. "Having therefore been exalted by the right hand of God and received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured forth this which ye see and hear. For David ascended not into the heavens, but saith himself, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on My right hand till I make Thine enemies the footstool of Thy feet. Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom ye crucified." Again, from that most fruitful treasury of God's words is a sentence drawn to prove that the facts of Christ's life, including His resurrection and ascension, were not only facts of the deepest import, the ground of truths needed for every day and for eternity, but parts of God's infinite scheme for manifesting His own glory and giving effect to His goodness towards us. It Psa. cxxxii. secures the risen son of David for the everlasting King on His throne in Zion, with the abundant and suited privileges peculiar to His Kingdom on earth and in Israel, the citation from Psa. cx. testifies to His present exaltation in heaven. Of this there was the most conclusive proof in the now accomplished promise of the Father, the gift of the Holy Spirit, of whose outpouring there was indubitable evidence to their eyes and ears. That gift Christ had received for the second time. Once a man on earth He was sealed, the holy and acceptable One of God's delight: now a man in heaven a second time did He receive that same Spirit, as the One who, having finished the work of redemption, had gone on high, the guarantee and glorious witness of the acceptance of all who, believing in His name, are justified and delivered, that they might be united in one, the body of the ascended Head. And on this rests the perpetuity of that gift, the presence of the Holy Ghost, so essential to the Church of God. Not only is the outpoured Spirit the fruit of His accepted work in all its unchanging and everlasting value, but He is therefore given again to Christ, though for us. Christ received of the Father the promised Spirit and poured forth what was seen and heard at Pentecost: how could the Holy Spirit but abide in honour of Him and of His work? No wonder, whatever be the humiliating and deplorable provocations on our part, whatever the deep griefs on His part as feeling for Christ's injured name, that He abides in us and with us forever. He is come to testify to God's exalting Jesus, made both Lord and Christ, whom men, yea Jews, crucified.