Ye are the children of the prophets - This is the argumentum ad hominem: as ye are the children or disciples of the prophets, ye are bound to believe their predictions, and obey their precepts; and not only so, but ye are entitled to their promises. Your duty and your interest go hand in hand; and there is not a blessing contained in the covenant which was made with your fathers but belongs to you. Now, as this covenant respected the blessings of the Gospel, you must believe in Jesus Christ, in order to be put in possession of all those blessings.
Ye are the children of the prophets - Greek: “Ye are the sons of the prophets.” The meaning is, not that they were literally the “descendants” of the prophets, but that they were their “disciples,” “pupils,” “followers.” They professed to follow the prophets as their teachers and guides. Teachers among the Jews were often spoken of under the appellation of fathers, and disciples as sons, Matthew 12:27. See notes on Matthew 1:1. As they were the professed disciples of the prophets, they should listen to them. As they lived among the people to whom the prophets were sent, and to whom the promises were made, they should avail themselves of the offer of mercy, and embrace the Messiah.
And of the covenant - Ye are the sons of the covenant; that is, you are of the posterity of Abraham, with whom the covenant was made. The word “sons” was often thus used to denote those to whom any favor pertained. whether by inheritance or in any other way. Thus, Matthew 8:12, “The children (sons) of the kingdom”; John 17:12, “the son of perdition.” The word “covenant” denotes properly “a compact or agreement between equals, or those who have a right to make such a compact, and to choose or refuse the terms.” When applied to God and man, it denotes a firm promise on the part of God; a pledge to be regarded with all the sacredness of a compact, that he will do certain things on certain conditions. It is called a covenant only to designate its sacredness and the certainty of its fulfillment, not that man had any right to reject any of the terms or stipulations. As man has no such right, as he is bound to receive all that his Maker proposes, so, strictly and literally, there has been no compact or covenant between God and man. The promise to which Peter refers in the passage before us is in Genesis 22:18; Genesis 12:3.
In thy seed - Thy posterity. See Romans 4:13, Romans 4:16. This promise the apostle Paul affirms had express reference to the Messiah, Galatians 3:16. The word “seed” is used sometimes to denote an individual Genesis 4:25; and the apostle Galatians 3:16 affirms that there was special reference to Christ in the promise made to Abraham.
All the kindreds - The word translated “kindreds” πατριαὶ patriaidenotes “those who have a common father or ancestor,” and is applied to families. It is also referred to those larger communities which were descended from the same ancestor, and thus refers to nations, Ephesians 3:15. Here it evidently refers to “all nations.” Be blessed - Be made happy.
Be blessed - Be made happy.
The disciples of Christ had a deep sense of their own inefficiency, and with humiliation and prayer they joined their weakness to His strength, their ignorance to His wisdom, their unworthiness to His righteousness, their poverty to His exhaustless wealth. Thus strengthened and equipped, they hesitated not to press forward in the service of the Master. AA 57.1Read in context »
A short time after the descent of the Holy Spirit, and immediately after a season of fervent prayer, Peter and John, going up to the temple to worship, saw a distressed and poverty-stricken cripple, forty years of age, who had known no other life than one of pain and infirmity. This unfortunate man had long desired to go to Jesus and be healed, but he was almost helpless, and was removed far from the scene of the Great Physician's labors. Finally his earnest pleadings induced some kind persons to bear him to the gate of the temple. But upon arriving there he discovered that the Healer, upon whom his hopes were centered, had been put to a cruel death. SR 248.1Read in context »
Their Saviour had been rejected and condemned, and nailed to the ignominious cross. The Jewish priests and rulers had declared, in scorn, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.” But that cross, that instrument of shame and torture, brought hope and salvation to the world. The believers rallied; their hopelessness and conscious helplessness had left them. They were transformed in character, and united in the bonds of Christian love. Although without wealth, though counted by the world as mere ignorant fishermen, they were made, by the Holy Spirit, witnesses for Christ. Without earthly honor or recognition, they were the heroes of faith. From their lips came words of divine eloquence and power that shook the world. TM 67.1
The third, fourth, and fifth chapters of Acts give an account of their witnessing. Those who had rejected and crucified the Saviour expected to find His disciples discouraged, crestfallen, and ready to disown their Lord. With amazement they heard the clear, bold testimony given under the power of the Holy Spirit. The words and works of the disciples represented the words and works of their Teacher; and all who heard them said, They have learned of Jesus, they talk as He talked. “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” TM 67.2
The chief priests and rulers thought themselves competent to decide what the apostles should do and teach. As they went forth preaching Jesus everywhere, the men who were worked by the Holy Spirit did many things that the Jews did not approve. There was danger that the ideas and doctrines of the rabbis would be brought into disrepute. The apostles were creating a wonderful excitement. The people were bringing their sick folk, and those that were vexed with unclean spirits, into the streets; crowds were collecting around them, and those that had been healed were shouting the praises of God and glorifying the name of Jesus, the very One whom the Jews had condemned, scorned, spit upon, crowned with thorns, and caused to be scourged and crucified. This Jesus was extolled above the priests and rulers. The apostles were even declaring that He had risen from the dead. The Jewish rulers decided that this work must and should be stopped, for it was proving them guilty of the blood of Jesus. They saw that converts to the faith were multiplying. “Believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.” TM 67.3Read in context »