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199: Explanation of Acts 2:38 – Lesson 2 Part 3 Book 17

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 17

EXPLANATION OF ACTS 2:38

We were in Acts 2:23. But I want you to look at the two words in the middle of that verse:

Acts 2:23a

“Him (Jesus), being delivered by the determinate counsel (that word counsel is spelled with an “se” so it denotes a meeting of minds? When you have that kind of counsel that’s what you are doing.) determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,…”

What does that mean? Well Peter has just accused Israel of killing their Messiah. But was God taken by surprise? Long before anything was ever created, the Godhead (and it didn’t take a 30 minute committee meeting) determined in a split second decision, if I may call it that, that They would create the human race knowing the human race would sin and need a Redeemer. It was all preplanned. Those of you who have heard me teach these past four years on television, may have raised your eyebrows when I made reference to the fact that when Christ came the first time, Israel was given the opportunity to have The King and the Kingdom. But in the foreknowledge of God, what did He know? That they would reject Him (but nevertheless that offer was still valid, because of free will). And it had to be that way in order to bring about the Crucifixion. That also was in the predeterminate counsel of God. So the whole Godhead is involved in this tremendous work of redemption. The other word I like to point out is His foreknowledge. Back in eternity past, they put the whole plan together, and the reason they could put it together was their foreknowledge. Let me show you what I’m talking about. Come to I Peter Chapter 1:

I Peter 1:1,2a

“PETER an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers (always realize to whom a particular Scripture is written. Peter here is basically writing to Jews out in the dispersion) scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect (believing Jews) according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,…”

And you see that makes all the difference in the world. God in His foreknowledge knew what everyone who has ever lived or will live, would do with His offer of Salvation. So He knew what Israel would do. He knew as He brought the little nation on the scene with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob exactly what they would do. And then in His foreknowledge, everything would come together according to His plan. But it wasn’t that He took away their choice. God never does that, but He knew what they would do with their choice. Yes, God knew in His foreknowledge which of these Jews would be believers that Peter is writing to. In His foreknowledge, He knew you and I would be believers. And knowing that we would be believers, He could reserve a place of service in the Body for us. And all of this is based on His foreknowledge. Back to Acts Chapter 2. So Peter tells them that they didn’t take God by surprise when they crucified Him, He knew they would. And it was all decided before anything ever happened.

Acts 2:23,24

“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:” And I’m glad we don’t have to sit under that accusation Sunday after Sunday, hearing someone tell us that we killed The Messiah. But here Peter is accusing these Jews that they killed Him. Verse 24:

“Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”

He couldn’t be held by it, because He was God. But Peter is making the point that even though they had killed their Messiah, their King, they didn’t stop God, because God raised Him from the dead. And they knew from Psalms 110:1 that God had called Him back to heaven. Ready yet to return and still able to give them the Kingdom. We understand this as we study these early chapters of Acts. Peter is absolutely going to confirm His death, burial, and Resurrection. He merely states it as fact. But I maintain Peter never uses this as the Gospel for these Jews to believe for their Salvation. If you can prove this from Scripture let me know. Peter is still using the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Baptism of John, but also remember this is all that has been revealed to him. Now verse 25:

Acts 2:25,26

“For David speaketh concerning him (Christ), `I foresaw The Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:'”

David here is quoting Christ you might say. So Peter quotes the Psalms in verse 27:

Acts 2:27,28

“Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (the three days and nights He was in Paradise), neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.” Now Peter comes back to his own first person speaking and he says:

Acts 2:29-31

“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David (whom Peter had just been quoting out of the Psalms) that he (David) is both dead and buried (David wasn’t saying that death couldn’t hold him), and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.”

“Therefore being a prophet (most people don’t think of prophecy coming out of the Psalms, but there is much prophecy in the Psalms), and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;” Now who sits on a throne? A King. And Peter is driving home the point that their King that they crucified and killed can still be their King, since God has raised Him from the dead.

“He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ (David wasn’t speaking concerning himself, he was speaking concerning Christ. That death and hell couldn’t hold Him), that his (Christ) soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.”

This throws a curve at some people. Why didn’t Mary recognize Jesus on that early Resurrection morning? Because it was in the predawn darkness, for one thing, and secondly all Mary could remember about Jesus was how horrible His body looked while hanging on the Cross. Not only had He been whipped with blood running down His body, but in addition the load of sins for the whole world had been placed on Him, causing His body to be marred and disfigured more than any human being ever or since. And that was the last picture that Mary had of Jesus. But when she sees Him on that Resurrection morning He had been healed of all that abuse. He looked normal, but He still had the nail prints of course. And Mary couldn’t put all of that together. But it was the same Christ, only now with that glorious resurrected body.

Acts 2:32

“This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”

Remember if there is one proof of Resurrection that stands out above all others, it is Peter himself. Peter, you see at the night of the arrest and conviction, was fearful for his life. He denied Jesus three times; the eleven scatter in fear for their lives, and I can’t blame them. But after the Resurrection, they have a boldness that no one can shake. And why? The proof of Resurrection! We are living in a time where I’m afraid that even here in our beloved America, we as Bible believing believers could find ourselves under a lot of pressures. We could find ourselves under a lot of persecution and it can come very fast. Are we ready? Are you so bound in the hope and power of Resurrection that you’re not afraid of what they might do to this body of flesh? That’s where we should be. We should have no fear of death, because death is going to be so temporary, because of Resurrection power. And this is where these twelve men are now. Nothing scares them. Rome or the Jews don’t scare them. And because of the power of the Resurrection. Now verse 33, and Peter is referring to Christ.

Acts 2:33

“Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost (that goes back to John 14, where they were promised a Comforter), he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.”

What are they seeing and hearing? The power and manifestation of the descended Holy Spirit. That these uneducated Galileans can speak every language and dialect of the then-known world. And that was only part of it! They will continue on with all the other signs and wonders that Jesus performed. Again to prove that God was in all of this.

Acts 2:34,35

“For David is not ascended into the heavens (the Psalms were referring to Christ rather than David); but he saith himself, `The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,'”

“Until (now what kind of word is that? A time word. He is not going to sit at the Father’s right hand forever. There is coming a day when He is going to arise from that seated position. Why? He’s going to leave heaven, and come back to earth. And is yet going to be The King of that promised Kingdom on the earth) I make thy foes thy footstool.”

We are getting close to a portion of Scripture that I think has been totally confused by almost all groups, and we’re just going to take it for what it says. We’re not going to spiritualize it, or allegorize, it we are going leave it right where it is. Verse 36:

Acts 2:36a

“Therefore (because of all that has just taken place. Israel has had The Messiah for three years, performing signs and miracles, they crucified Him, God raised Him from the dead, and sent the Holy Spirit, and everything is falling into place) let all the house of Israel…”

Now you can’t put us Gentiles in this verse, unless you force it. Peter is speaking to Jews on Covenant grounds. It’s the fulfilling of the Covenant which God made with Abraham. Let’s pause for a moment and go to Chapter 3, so you’ll know what I’m talking about. And again Peter is preaching to a Jew-only crowd.

Acts 3:24,25

“Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” What days? Everything that has just taken place. According to Peter, the Crucifixion, Resurrection, ascension and coming of the Holy Spirit was prophesied. Look at verse 25:

“Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant (only the Nation of Israel. All prophecy is directed to the Nation of Israel, they are the ones that will be at the core of these prophetic events. Even the horrible events in Revelation will be directed primarily at the Jew. But the whole world will also reap the fallout from these events. Jeremiah 30 tells us it’s the time of Jacob’s trouble) which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, `And in thy seed (through the Nation of Israel) shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.'”

So Peter is on Covenant ground. He’s still on the basis that everything that has been since Abraham, that is: the Nation of Israel was to receive the Redeemer, The Messiah, The King and the Kingdom, and it would be through Israel that God would gather the Gentiles. I never like to leave people with the idea that God had cast off the Gentiles. Oh, not at all. But He was going to use the Nation of Israel on Covenant grounds to bring them to Salvation. Even right here God has never said a word to anybody that He’s setting the Covenant promises aside for awhile. He hasn’t told anybody yet that they don’t have to keep Temple worship, or keep the Law. He hasn’t told people they must believe in His death, burial and Resurrection for their Salvation. Not a word about that as of yet. You can’t find it here. And that is what I try to tell people to understand. Don’t take my word for it. Search the Scriptures, but be sure you understand that the Scripture is putting Salvation on His death, burial, and Resurrection. Remember, there is never any reason to force anything into Scripture. Just leave them where they are. You can’t put a square peg in a round hole without doing a lot of damage. So here Peter is still on Covenant ground. Back to Acts 2:36:

Acts 2:36

“Therefore let all the house of Israel (He’s talking to Jew only) know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Now we have to compare Scripture with Scripture. Come to the Book of Galatians, and just look at the difference in the language. We just saw Peter accusing the Nation of Israel of killing their Messiah, and now look what Paul tells us here in the Church Age.

Galatians 1:3,4a

“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins,…”

And that’s Paul’s theme all through his writings. It’s as different as day from night with Peter’s message. Peter’s sermon just doesn’t fit Paul’s doctrine at all. And it wasn’t supposed to. God hadn’t revealed Paul’s message yet. It’s still a secret kept in the mind of God. Now back to Acts verse 37:

Acts 2:37

“Now when they heard this (heard what? That they were guilty of crucifying their Messiah. And remember, Peter isn’t just talking to 40 or 50 people. He’s got thousands out in front of him listening out there in that Temple complex. This is the feast of Pentecost and they have come from everywhere as we seen in verses 9-11) they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, `Men and brethren what shall (what’s the pronoun?) we do?'”

Remember Peter is addressing this great crowd of Jews on Covenant ground. He has accused them of killing their Messiah, and now they are so convicted that I suppose in one way or another word gets up to Peter as he is speaking. And they say, “Well, Peter, what in the world are we (and remember that pronoun) supposed to do?” Now that is the question coming from the Nation of Israel.