Lesson 10 - Chapter 3:17-26

Lesson 10 - Chapter 3:17-26

Lesson for July 3, 2016

The Book of Acts

Chapter 3:17-26

Verses 17-21

“And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.”

And now, brethren was a reference to racial brethren: Jews. Peter softened the blow a little by saying I know that you acted in ignorance. This was probably true of most of the Jews. But the masses of religious people were caught by a religious system, and they are victims of that system. Religion is Satan’s “ace trump” when dealing with mankind. Even their religious leaders were ignorant of Who they were condemning to death having been blinded by Satan.

Peter had already given them the facts: they betrayed Christ, they delivered up the Prince of life; but when it came to judging their motivation he backed off. No matter who the people are or what they have done—and there is no one more obnoxious than the religious Jews who cried Crucify Him—they can be forgiven, they can be cleansed, they can have eternal life. And so at this point when he was going to bring home the issue of the Gospel, he must do so by “letting them off the hook.” He did not judge them; he showed them the way of salvation. Peter did not make an issue of their personal sins; he made an issue of the Person of Christ.

Verse 18 tells us that Jesus Christ was clearly revealed in the books of the Old Testament. There is practically no book in the Old Testament which somehow does not reveal Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the only Savior. He was revealed through the animal sacrifices, and we understand this from John 1:29. He was revealed through the various types of feasts which were held in the Old Testament, and this is confirmed in I Corinthians 5 where Jesus is called “Christ our Passover.” But since Jesus Christ had not died historically, most of the revelation concerning Him was in typology. This is confirmed by Hebrews 10:1 where the type spoke of the Son of God who finally came in the flesh.

But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets refers to the doctrines pertaining to the Lord Jesus Christ: how He must come the first time and die on the Cross for the sins of the world, and how He must be resurrected, how He must ascend and then how He will return at a later date. Peter gives us an excellent synopsis of the origin of the Word of God in II Peter 1:16-21. Remember that much of what Peter wrote was taught to him directly by Jesus Christ. Peter was an eyewitness to Christ’s ministry on earth. Peter was at most major events recorded in the Gospels. (Matthew 16:28; 17:1-8)

In II Peter 1:20, Peter revealed the fact that all Scripture originates with God and is not someone’s private inspiration or interpretation. This means that God the Holy Spirit so directed the writers of Scripture that without changing their personalities, their literary style, their vocabularies or their personal feelings, God’s complete and coherent message was permanently recorded, with perfect accuracy, in the original languages of Scripture. (II Timothy 3:16)

The Bible is the recorded “mind of Christ,” which existed in eternity past before it was reduced to writing. Before the written Word of Scripture came into existence through Moses, God the Holy Spirit revealed it to certain people in the Old Testament. Revelation of Scripture also came through the spoken word of prophets and others, through dreams and visions, and through angels (often the Angel of the Lord, Jesus Christ). In this dispensation God speaks to us only through His Word. (Isaiah 6:8-10; Daniel 10:9; Isaiah 1:1; Psalms 68:17)

That His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled is a reference to His death on the Cross; everything that the prophets of the Old Testament discussed about Christ’s suffering were fulfilled on the Cross. In other words, Peter was announcing now to the Sanhedrin, to the religious people, to those who came into the temple as a result of the healing ministry, that Jesus Christ had come and had actually fulfilled every declaration regarding His suffering and death portrayed in the Old Testament. The Passover Lamb had been once and for all slain. The ministry of Christ had been fulfilled as far as salvation is concerned. The reason why so many people responded to this message was because Peter related the ministry of Jesus Christ in its historical fulfillment to the prophecies of the Old Testament. And since many of these people had accepted the Old Testament as the Word of God without accepting the Person who was revealed, they now had the final link of the chain: the Person Who was revealed in the Old Testament was Jesus Christ. Peter had declared this and this was the breakthrough for many. Notice that Peter did not spend a lot of time condemning religion. He showed them that they put Christ on the Cross, but made the issue clear from their own frame of reference from the Old Testament Scripture. The issue was faith alone in Christ for salvation.

In verse 19 Peter told them how to be saved – therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away. Many times in the book of Acts the word “repent” is used instead of “believe” for the principle of salvation. The reason for that is very simple. Many times in the book of Acts the dealing is with religious Jews, and these religious Jews had already understood from the Old Testament Scripture that Messiah, the Christ, would come. Now, whenever the word “repent” was used it meant to change your mind about Jesus Christ. It never meant to feel sorry for sins. The Greek word for repent is “metanoeo” and it always means a complete change of mental attitude, it has absolutely no emotional connotation connected with it. Peter used this word because “repent” and “believe” are two sides of the same coin. Repent and believe are the same thing. When Paul speaks to a Gentile jailer in Acts chapter 16, he said “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” But when Peter was speaking to religious Jews he said, “Repent.” They are saying the same thing but they are dealing with different people, with a different culture, with a different frame of reference. Whichever way it is expressed it is saying the same thing. The object of repentance in this case was the Lord Jesus Christ. When Peter said to repent, this was an imperative. The imperative mood is a command. But, every person had to make the decision for himself.

In order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord refers the filling of the Holy Spirit, and the filling of the Holy Spirit is a reference to times of refreshing. May come refers to the point at which anyone believes in Jesus Christ because the moment we believe we are not only indwelt by the Holy Spirit but we are also filled with the Holy Spirit.

In verses 20-21 Peter said, “And that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time,” which meant Jesus Christ was coming back. In the previous verse we have the result of His first coming; here in this verse, Jesus Christ is going to be sent again, reference to the Second Coming. When Christ returns there are four things which have to be accomplished. First, the unconditional covenants to Israel will be fulfilled. Second, Jesus Christ will terminate the fifth cycle of discipline of Israel. Third, Israel will be regathered from all over the world. Fourth, the Temple will be restored in Jerusalem. The period of restoration is referring to the Millennium which begins at the Second Coming of Christ.

Verses 21-26

“Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”

Then Peter once again quotes from the Old Testament with regard to this event. (Deuteronomy 18:18-19) The prophet is the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom Moses spoke. Will raise up means to bring on the scene, reference to Christ’s first coming. This is God the Father sending God the Son; from your brethren not only meant that Christ would be from the Jewish race, but He would also be God’s Prophet as was Moses. to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people. He is declaring to them judgment for rejection of Jesus Christ as Savior.

These Jews were the recipients of the Old Testament Scriptures, and they had the heritage of the Old Testament Scriptures. They have enough information by simply reading their Bible to be saved, but now Peter was helping them by explaining these things to them. He was actually saying that these people could go home and read their Bibles and find Christ. (Acts 4:4) This does not mean that they all believed in the temple as soon as Peter finished. Undoubtedly many of the people believed right where they stood listening to what Peter said. Others perhaps went home and read the Scriptures and found the Lord. All this passage is saying is that as a result of that one sermon 5000 people were saved.

Remember Abraham had a physical seed (Israel) and also a spiritual seed (believers). Here is the spiritual seed of Abraham. Jesus Christ Himself is the seed of Abraham, and as the seed of Abraham He is the source of blessing to all of the earth. All the nations are blessed through the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. In verse 26 when Peter said all the nations of the earth will be blessed, he was saying Gentiles will be saved, as well.

Abrahamic Covenant

(Genesis 12:1-4; 13:14-17; 15:1-7; 17:1-8)

This unconditional covenant was given to Abraham in seven parts;

  1. “I will make of thee a great nation” – The Jewish nation was a great and mighty nation at various times in history.
  2. “I will bless thee” – Abraham was blessed with physical prosperity, as well as spiritual prosperity.
  3. “And I will make thy name great” – Considered the Father of the Jew, he has a very recognizable name among all nations of the earth.
  4. “And thou shall be a great blessing” – Because of Abraham’s seed (the Lord Jesus Christ), he has been a great blessing to millions of people that have come to know Christ as Savior.
  5. “I will bless them that bless thee” – Seen throughout history, those that protect and ally with Israel are always blessed.
  6. “And I will curse him that curses thee” – In like manner, those that oppose Israel have eventually been destroyed.
  7. “In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” – This refers to the coming of Messiah through the linage of Abraham and the blessings that accompany the Hypostatic Union of Christ for all mankind.

Nothing was required on the part of Abraham in order to enjoy the promises of this covenant. The Abrahamic Covenant coincided with the Age of Promise in the Dispensation of Israel.