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Acts i. 4. wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye Galilee.
have heard of me :
baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things
and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning mex
understand the Scriptures.
behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the
third day :
preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Je
And ye are witnesses of these things.
you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be
Jerusalem, gives them their final Commission, blesses
he shall come to judge the Living and the Dead.
50-53, ACTS i. 6–12 4. Lu. xxiv.50. And he led them out as far as to Bethany",
however, to believe, that what is related in this, and the follow-
40 The arrangement of the contents of this section has been
ii Cranfield is of opinion, that from ver. 18. of Matt. xxviii.from ver. 15 to 19. of Mark xvi.mand from ver. 50 to 52. in Luke xxii. must be referred to the address of our Lord to his disciples, on the occasion of his ascension into heaven. The speech of our Lord in St. Matthew, he observes, begins thus : “ All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth.” Somo barmonists have made this clause to bave been spoken on the mountain in Galilee, separating it from the remaining part of the speech; but, whenever it was uttered, the rest of the speech
Acts i. 6.
When they therefore were come together, they asked of Galilee.
'must have been spoken on the same occasion, by reason of the connective particle sv. Our Lord here declares all power in heaven and on earth to be given to him at his resurrection; in consequence of which power, he proceeds to tell his disciples, that he had the authority and right to commission them lo con. vert, baptize, and instruct the world : “ Go ye therefore," that is, in consequence of this power, or absolute authority. On the above clause our Lord founds his authority to commis. sion his disciples: it was therefore rather unskilful to destroy the force of the argument by dismembering the speech. Now, as we learn from St. Mark, that our Lord did not commission. his disciples till he led them out to his ascension, so, as we are not aware of any reasons to the contrary, we think it best to consign this passage in St. Matthew to the time of the ascension. Indeed, the passage itself furnishes internal evidence that it was spoken on this occasion: it implies that the disciples were fully instructed, and that our Lord was now going to take his final leave of them. We say, final leave ; for the words,
Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,” can have no other meaning than this, “ Though I am going now to ascend with my body into heaven, and therefore will be no longer visibly upon earth; yet will I be always spiritually with you, and your sticcessors, and direct the Church, even unto the end of the world.” This seems to me a strong indication that the passage in question can have been spoken on no other occasion than that of the ascension.
It is observable, that the Evangelists were more careful in giving us the words of our Lord, than in noting on what particular occasions they were spoken. The speech in St. Matthew, for instance, one might think, at first view, was given on the mountain in Galilee. He indeed says, that our Lord spoke then unto his disciples; but I cannot apprehend that be would commission them so soon, and give them to understaud that he was tben about to take his final leave of them, and ascend into heaven. For the ascension did not take place till what we may call long after the appearance on the Galilean mountain. St. Matthew then, not thinking it material to notice what particular words our Lord spoke on the mountain in Galilee, only says, “ That Jesus came up and spake unto his disciples." This was enough to show us, that he of consequence removed the doubts of those of his disciples who had not beheld him till then after his resurrection. We may render, and point the 18th verse in the following manner: Then Jesus came up, and spake unto them.
We may understand this clause as the ending of the transaction on the mountain in Galilee, so far as we have it recorded. And as our translators have rendered, in innumerable instances, the participle as if it were a verb, so we may be allowed the same liberty here, especially when the true meaning of the Evangelist, and the just method of harmonizing, seem to require it: and render deywv, not literally, Saying, but, He saith. Tbis therefore may begin a new paragraph, continued on till the end of his Gospel; which paragraph we are under the necessity of supposing was meant by St. Matthew to relate to the ascension. Had the Evangelist written kau, deyel, the matter would not be capable of dispute. But, on the other hand, when we discover sufficient reasons to assure us that this paragraph refers to our Lord's last appearance to his disciples, and, consequently, that its place should not be regulated by the
Acts i. 6. him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the Galilee.
kingdom to Israel ?
times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own
power. 8. But
ye shall receive power “, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and
unto the uttermost part of the earth. Daily Mar.xvi.15. And he said unto them, Mtxxviii18. saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19. Go ye therefore, , Mar.xvi.15. Go
into all the world,
and of the Holy Ghost;
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have
commanded you ; Mar.xvi.16.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but
And these signs shall follow them that believe : In my
new tongues ; 18.
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them : they shall lay hands
on the sick, and they shall recover. Mtxxviii19. and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the
world. Amen. Mar, xvi.19. So then after the Lord had spoken to them,
Acts i. 9. And when he had spoken these things, Lu.xxiv.50. he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
51. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, Acts i. 9. while they beheld,
word deywv; and when we also take into account the manner of
(a) Cranfield's Observations on Townson. &c. sect. xii. p. 75, 76.
42 We must not understand dúvajiv, which we translate power, in this verse, as we do éžovoia, which is translated by the same word in the preceding verse. In the former, the infinite authority of God over all times and seasons is particularly pointed out : in the other, the energy communicated by bim to his disciples, through which they were enabled to work miracles, is particularly intended.
Lu.xxiv.51. he was parted from them,
Galilee. Acts i. 9. he was taken up; Lu.xxiv.51. and carried up into heaven. Acts i. 9. and a cloud received him out of their sight. Mar.xvi.19. he was received up into heaven, and sate on the right hand
of God “3.
43 In each of the three dispensations a visible ascension of the body has taken place. Some holy personage bas been visibly taken up into heaven. In the first of these periods, between the Creation and the Deluge, Enoch was translated : “ He was not,” says the Scriptures," he did not die;" for, he walked with God, and God took him.” During the second period, from the Deluge to the Advent of our Saviour, Elijah was visibly taken up into heaven : “ It came to pass as he and Elisha still went on and talked, that behold there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. During the third period, which has continued nearly two thousand years, in which we and the whole Christian Church now live, and which will be concluded only by the day of judgment, Christ, our Lord, while in the act of blessing his disciples“and while they beheld, was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight.” He ascended into heaven, and be now sitteth, till he shall again come to judge the living and the doad, at the right hand of God. Whatever were the sundry ways and divers manners in which God, by bis prophets appealed to the Jewish world; whatever reception we ourselves may give to the precepts and the sanctions of his Evangelists and Apostles, who have more especially written for the Christian dispensation, tbis is undeniable: that God, in every age has made most abundant provision to prove and demonstrate to all the certainty of another life, and anotber state of being. In the great mercy of our Almighty Creator, this solemn truth has beeu enforced by three visible ascensions into heaven, an earnest to the world of the certainty of that great day, when all the Church of God, from the days of Adam, till the sounding of the trumpet of the Archangel, shall assemble before the judgment seat of Christ. As surely as Enoch, and Elijah, and our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, so also shall we ascend from our graves, to give an account of the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad.
Where is now the body of Christ, which ascended in a visible and tangible shape? Wherever body exists, it must exist in reference to place, and heaven cannot therefore be merely a state or condition. There must be, then, in some part of the universe of God, a place in which the glory of the Deity is more immediately and peculiarly manifest, wbere the body of Christ now is, the real " holy of holies,” the true Christian beaven. There is the seat of that happiness which is peculiarly prepared and destined for the faithful followers of Christ. There is tbe abode of angels; there, are the spirits of the just made perfect; there is God, the Judge of all. To that place, and to the state and condition of happiness which is enjoyed there, every son of man may arrive, to whom the invitation of divine mercy has been extended. There is our home, here is our pilgrimage. There is our Father, here we are pilgrims of strangers. There is the Son of God, our Brother, and our Friend, here we live among fallen creatures, a cold and selfish world. There is peace, and repose, and rest, here is vexation, turbulence, and sorrow. Frail indeed is the veil or
La.xxiv.52. And they worshipped him,
Galilee. Acts i. 10. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven, as he
went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel ;
ing up into heaven ? this same Jesus, which is taken up
have seen him go into heaven.
called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath-day's
mortality which separates us from that holy mansion of God our
44 The difficulty of this verse, when collated with the ac-
1. In Luke xxiv. 50. we read, “ He led them out as far as Bethany," and in this passage (Acts i. 12.) that when the disciples came back from the place where our Lord bad ascended,
they returned from Mount Olivet, distant from Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey.” But now the town of Bethany was about fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem, John xi. 18. and that is double a sabbath day's journey.
2. Josephus tells us, that Mount Olivet was but five furlongs from the city, and a sabbath day's journey was seven furlongs and a half." Antiq. lib. xx. cap. vi. 'O rai TnS Tolewç ävtikpus κείμενον, απεχει στάδια πέντε ; which being situated in front of the city, is distant five furlongs.
These things are all true. 1. That the Mount of Olives lay but five furlongs distant from Jerusalem. 2. That the town of Bethany was fifteen furlongs: 3. That the disciples were brought by Christ as far as Bethany. 4. That when they returned from the Mount of Olives, they travelled more than five surlongs. And, 5. Returning from Bethany, they travelled but a sabbath day's journey. All which may be easily reconciled, if we would observe, that the first space from the city was called Bethpage, which part of the mount was known by the name “ to the length of about a sabbath day's journey,” till it came to that part which is called Bethany. There was a Bethany, a tract of the mount, and also the town of Bethany. The town was distant from the city about fifteen furlongs, i. e. about two