“Brethren, sons of Abraham’s family, and those among you who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent. For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him. And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead; and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; today i have begotten You.’ As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.’ For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay; but He whom God raised did not undergo decay. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. Therefore take heed, so that the thing spoken of in the Prophets may not come upon you: ‘Behold, you scoffers, and marvel, and perish; For I am accomplishing a work in your days, A work which you will never believe, though someone should describe it to you.’” As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath. Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God.”
Paul now recognizes his audience in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia. We have two different references to the human race. “Brethren, sons of Abraham’s family, and those among you who fear God” refers to fact that there were both Jews (brethren) and Gentiles (those who fear God) in the synagogue at Antioch. This word “fear” is used a number of ways in the Scripture. Sometimes it is used in the sense of awe or occupation with Christ. Sometimes it is used in its literal sense of being frightened of something. Here it is used in the sense of positive volition at the point of God-consciousness (awe). The positive volition is described by the Greek word “phobeo” which is translated fear. Their positive volition had brought them into the synagogue. They had not found the truth yet, they were still in the seeking stage.
“To us the message of this salvation has been sent.” The message of salvation is always sent to any individual who at the point of God-consciousness becomes positive and wants to know God, regardless of geographical or linguistic barriers. When a person reaches God-consciousness and makes a positive decision that he wants to know God, He (God) is then obligated to get truth to him. That person will be kept alive until truth can reach him. It may be weeks, months or years, but God is always faithful to bring them truth. (Deuteronomy 4:29; Psalms 9:10, 10:4; Jeremiah 29:13; John 7:17; Acts 17:22-31)
“For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him. And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed.” Paul now tries to warn the Jews in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia not to follow in the footsteps of religious Jews in Jerusalem who rejected Christ. Jesus Christ was thoroughly revealed in the Old Testament. Paul’s statement was a very dramatic illustration and was a special warning to the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia, some of whom were about to do the same thing the Jews of Jesus’s time had done.
After Jesus was illegally tried and illegally sentence to death by the Jewish religious hierarchy, He was sent to Pilate, the local Roman governor, because the Jews could not carry out the death penalty without the permission and assistance of the Romans. There were two trial sessions before Pilate, interrupted by another before Herod. (Matthew 27:2, 11-14,Mark 15:1-5, Luke 23:1-5; John 18:28-38)
Pilate directed his attention toward the priests, and called out, "What accusation bring you against this man?" The evasive answer was, "If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up unto you." Pilate was used to this kind of reply from these men. "Take him, and judge him according to your law." "We can't do it ourselves, for we want the death sentence!" Now Pilate demanded a formal charge against the prisoner. "We found this fellow perverting the nation and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a King." A political charge was needed, and so three were given (perverting the nation, failure to give tribute to Caesar and saying that He was a king). And each one, though without a foundation, in fact was a charge of treason against the government of Rome.
It was a Jewish custom that one criminal be freed at each yearly Passover. Pilate now offered to let Jesus be the one set at liberty. Placing Jesus before the people next to Barabbas, a hardened criminal, he appealed to their sympathies, and asked them which man they wanted released. "Which of the two do you want me to release for you?" Pilate was certain the crowd would choose Jesus. But Pilate was wrong. With a roar, the reply was "Barabbas, Barabbas, release unto us Barabbas." "And what shall I do then with Jesus Who is called Christ?" Pilate shouted. "Let him be crucified!" was the answer. The Old Testament prophets wrote many things about His rejection and crucifixion.
Even though they did everything to eliminate Messiah from the scene, God the Father has a plan, and God’s plan goes on in spite of the negative volition of mankind. The plan of God called for Jesus Christ to be glorified. To be glorified He had to be seated at the right hand of the Father. To be seated at the right
hand of the Father, Christ had to ascend; to ascend He had to be resurrected. So the Resurrection was a great demonstration of the principle that the plan of God goes on in spite of Satan, in spite of negative volition on the part of man, in spite of religion, in spite of everything that would seek to neutralize the grace of God. Nothing could stop it. Christ was raised from the dead and seen by hundreds walking and talking after He was raised.
There are eleven times recorded in the Bible where Jesus Christ was seen. Acts 1 tells us that Jesus Christ lived on the earth for forty days after the resurrection. Post-resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ: 1) to Mary Magdalene (John 20:14-17) 2) to other women (Matthew 28:9-10) 3) to Peter (Luke 24:34) 3) to believers on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-33; John 19:25) 5) to ten of His disciples (John 20:19-25) 6) to the eleven disciples (John 20:26-29) 7) to seven of the disciples by the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-23) 8) to more than 500 believers (I Corinthians 15:6) 9) to James (Galatians 1:19; I Corinthians 15:7) 10) to the eleven disciples on the mount near Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20) 11) to an unnumbered group of believers at the ascension (Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9-11)
“And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; today i have begotten You.’”The fulfilled promise refers to every time that Jesus Christ was declared in the Old Testament as Messiah (Savior). He was clearly revealed in Old Testament times. God completely fulfilled the plan which began in eternity past. We have the actual documentation from Psalm 2:7. My Son is a reference to the deity of Christ. Begotten you is a reference to the humanity of Christ.
“As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ (Isaiah 55:3) The body of Jesus Christ is no longer subject to physical death. The sure blessings of David refer to all of the promises that were given to David during his life time. David’s life was a pattern of grace. David was given the Davidic Covenant in which God promised David that he would have a son Who would reign forever. Bible doctrine was what sustained David and what made him great. It was the factor that overcame every failure on the part of David. The holy and sure blessings of David were grace benefits from God supplied to David. And these blessings were available in Paul’s day to the people of Antioch, as they are today for us.
“Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.’ (Psalm 16:10)For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay; but He whom God raised did not undergo decay.” Psalm 16 in part deals with the Lord Jesus Christ; it is a messianic promise concerning the resurrection of Christ. A comparison is made with David. Notice that the life of David was one of service, and this does not refer to the fact that he was the king of Israel; it refers to the fact that he was a believer with Bible doctrine in his soul. Because David knew Bible doctrine he was able to serve his generation and to fulfill the will of God. The will of God is the plan of God. This plan can be understood only by means of Bible doctrine. The more doctrine you know, the more you understand the plan of God for your life. The more you understand the plan of God for your life, the more you can stay in the will of God.
Sleep is a description of the physical death of the believer, and it is used to indicate that just as you go to sleep and wake up, so waking up is the resurrection body. Even though the physical body of David is in the grave the plan of God for David goes right on. David is absent from the body and face to face with the Lord, and therefore David’s life continues to be meaningful in phase three. There is no end to the plan of God, only a beginning. This brief interval of life on this earth is only a small part of the plan of God.
There is a contrast between David who does not have a resurrection body as yet, and the Lord Jesus Christ Who has His resurrection body. (I Corinthians 15:20) Jesus Christ is the “first-fruits” of them that slept, He is the first one to have a resurrection body.
“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.” Verses 38-39, Paul concludes his message with a presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek word translated forgiveness is “aphesis” meaning a dismissal, release and is a reference to the fact that when a person believes in Christ as Savior the penalty of sin is dismissed and they are released from the slave market of sin. The Greek word translated freed is a reference to the positional truth of justification. The Greek word for justification is “dikaiosis” and means “to declare righteous” or “to be acquitted from guilt.” Justification is the function or action of God’s integrity and righteousness is the principle or standard of God’s integrity. God’s justice carries out the judicial sentences pronounced by God’s righteousness.
At the moment of salvation, we are justified by God because His righteousness is credited to our account. Justification means vindication. Because of the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ, a believer is vindicated or set free from all charges against him. The penalty for all three categories of sin: personal sins, Adam’s original sin and inherent sin was paid by Jesus Christ so that the believer’s debt is now paid in full. The obligation that God’s righteousness demanded with regard to sin was satisfied by the justice of God at the Cross. (Romans 3:28, 5:1; II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:24)
Therefore take heed, so that the thing spoken of in the Prophets may not come upon you: ‘Behold, you scoffers, and marvel, and perish; For I am accomplishing a work in your days, A work which you will never believe, though someone should describe it to you.’” Verse 40 is Paul’s closing admonition or warning to those who reject Jesus Christ as Messiah (Savior). Verse 41 is a quotation from Habakkuk 1:5 which tells us what Paul means here. It deals with the 5 cycle of discipline to the Jews. The Jews were going to come under the 5 cycle of discipline primarily because they were taking the Mosaic Law and turning it into a system of salvation, which it was not. Salvation is by grace. The Jews were trying to keep the Mosaic Law for salvation. Because they were rejecting God by doing so, they were headed for the 5 cycle of discipline. This brought on legalism. While the word prophets refers to a section of the Old Testament canon, the word “scoffers” refers to those who had negative volition with regard to salvation.
Marvel refers to time when the 5 cycle of discipline would occur and would be a tremendous shock to them. The Scripture said that when it comes they will be just too shocked to believe it even though it had been and would continue to be communicated in detail. The people of Habakkuk’s generation did not believe the warning of the 5 cycle of discipline, therefore they were shocked. The same thing, Paul said, was going to happen again and their only hope was to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, the only way that cursing can be turned into blessing is by means of faith in Christ. Paul warned these Jews not to fall into the trap of the Habakkuk generation.
“As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath. Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God.” These people had already received Christ as Savior during the time of the message. The word urging indicates these new believers had learned some basic Bible doctrine regarding grace and kept on trying to persuade Paul and Barnabas to continue teaching them about the grace of God, a concept that was new to them. They were following him right out of the synagogue, wanting to hear more.