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Acts 2:39

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

For the promise is unto you - Jews of the land of Judea: not only the fulfillment of the promise which he had lately recited from the prophecy of Joel was made to them, but in this promise was also included the purification from sin, with every gift and grace of the Holy Spirit.

To all that are afar off - To the Jews wherever dispersed, and to all the Gentile nations; for, though St. Peter had not as yet a formal knowledge of the calling of the Gentiles, yet, the Spirit of God, by which he spoke, had undoubtedly this in view; and therefore the words are added, even as many as the Lord our God shall call, i.e. all to whom, in the course of his providence and grace, he shall send the preaching of Christ crucified.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For the promise - That is, the promise respecting the particular thing of which he was speaking - the influences of the Holy Spirit. This promise he had adduced in the beginning of his discourse Acts 2:17, and he now applies it to them. As the Spirit was promised to descend on Jews and their sons and daughters, it was applicable to them in the circumstances in which they then were. The only hope of lost sinners is in the promises of God, and the only thing that can give comfort to a soul that is convicted of sin is the hope that God will pardon and save.

Unto you - To you Jews, even though you have crucified the Messiah. The promise had special reference to the Jewish people.

To your children - In Joel, to their sons and daughters, who would, nevertheless, be old enough to prophesy. Similar promises occur in Isaiah 44:3, “I will pour my Spirit on thy seed, and my blessing on thine offspring”; and in Isaiah 59:21, “My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed‘s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever.” In these and similar places their descendants or posterity are denoted. It does not refer merely to children as children, and should not be adduced as applicable exclusively to infants. It is a promise I to parents that the blessings of salvation shall not be confined to parents, but shall be extended also to their posterity. Under this promise parents may be encouraged to train up their children for God; they are authorized to devote them to him in the ordinance of Christian baptism, and they may trust in his gracious purpose thus to perpetuate the blessings of salvation from age to age.

To all - To the whole race; not limited to Jews.

Afar off - To those in other lands. It is probable that Peter here referred to the Jews who were scattered in other nations; for he does not seem yet to have understood that the gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles. See Romans 10:12, Romans 10:14-20; 11. The Gentiles are sometimes clearly indicated by the expression “afar off Ephesians 2:13, Ephesians 2:17; and they are represented as having been brought nigh by the blood of Christ. The phrase is equally applicable to those who have been far off from God by their sins and their evil affections. To them also the promise is extended if they will return.

Even as many … - The promise is not to those who do not hear the gospel, nor to those who do not obey it; but it is to those to whom God in his gracious providence shall send it. He has the power and right to pardon. The meaning of Peter is, that the promise is ample, full, free; that it is suited to all, and may be applied to all; that there is no defect or lack in the provisions or promises, but that God may extend it to whomsoever he pleases. We see here how ample and full are the offers of mercy. God is hot limited in the provisions of his grace; but the plan is applicable to all mankind. It is also the purpose of God to send it to all people, and he has given a solemn charge to his church to do it. We cannot reflect but with deep pain on the fact that, although these provisions have been made - fully made; that they are adapted to all people; but that yet they have been extended by his people to so small a portion of the human family. If the promise of life is to all, it is the duty of the church to send to all the message of mercy.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
From the first delivery of that Divine message, it appeared that there was Divine power going with it; and thousands were brought to the obedience of faith. But neither Peter's words, nor the miracle they witnessed, could have produced such effects, had not the Holy Spirit been given. Sinners, when their eyes are opened, cannot but be pricked to the heart for sin, cannot but feel an inward uneasiness. The apostle exhorted them to repent of their sins, and openly to avow their belief in Jesus as the Messiah, by being baptized in his name. Thus professing their faith in Him, they would receive remission of their sins, and partake of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. To separate from wicked people, is the only way to save ourselves from them. Those who repent of their sins, and give up themselves to Jesus Christ, must prove their sincerity by breaking off from the wicked. We must save ourselves from them; which denotes avoiding them with dread and holy fear. By God's grace three thousand persons accepted the gospel invitation. There can be no doubt that the gift of the Holy Ghost, which they all received, and from which no true believer has ever been shut out, was that Spirit of adoption, that converting, guiding, sanctifying grace, which is bestowed upon all the members of the family of our heavenly Father. Repentance and remission of sins are still preached to the chief of sinners, in the Redeemer's name; still the Holy Spirit seals the blessing on the believer's heart; still the encouraging promises are to us and our children; and still the blessings are offered to all that are afar off.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 57

God declares: “I will sow her unto Me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not My people, Thou art My people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.” Hosea 2:23. “And He said, It is a light thing that Thou shouldest be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give Thee for a light to the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6. 8T 57.1

God has poured out richly of His Holy Spirit upon the believers in Battle Creek. What use have you made of these blessings? Have you done as did the men upon whom the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost? Then “they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” Acts 8:4. Has this fruit been seen in Battle Creek? Have the church been taught of God to know their duty, and to reflect the light which they have received? 8T 57.2

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 43

Now they heard the disciples declaring that it was the Son of God who had been crucified. Priests and rulers trembled. Conviction and anguish seized the people. “They were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Among those who listened to the disciples were devout Jews, who were sincere in their belief. The power that accompanied the words of the speaker convinced them that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. AA 43.1

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” AA 43.2

Peter urged home upon the convicted people the fact that they had rejected Christ because they had been deceived by priests and rulers; and that if they continued to look to these men for counsel, and waited for them to acknowledge Christ before they dared to do so, they would never accept Him. These powerful men, though making a profession of godliness, were ambitious for earthly riches and glory. They were not willing to come to Christ to receive light. AA 43.3

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 9

For the believers at Ephesus the apostle prayed, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and ... what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe.” Ephesians 1:17-19. The ministry of the divine Spirit in enlightening the understanding and opening to the mind the deep things of God's holy word, was the blessing which Paul thus besought for the Ephesian church. GC ix.1

After the wonderful manifestation of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, Peter exhorted the people to repentance and baptism in the name of Christ, for the remission of their sins; and he said: “Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:38, 39. GC ix.2

In immediate connection with the scenes of the great day of God, the Lord by the prophet Joel has promised a special manifestation of His Spirit. Joel 2:28. This prophecy received a partial fulfillment in the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost; but it will reach its full accomplishment in the manifestation of divine grace which will attend the closing work of the gospel. GC ix.3

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 530

Study the first and second chapters of Acts. Light has been given me that our work must be carried forward in a higher and broader way than it has ever yet been carried. The light of heaven is to be appreciated and cherished. This light is for the laborers. It is for those who feel that God has given them a message, and that they have a sacred responsibility to bear in its proclamation. FE 530.1

The message of present truth is to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord. Let us understand this, and let those placed in responsible positions come into such unity that the work shall go forward solidly. Do not allow any man to come in as an arbitrary ruler, and say, You must go here, and you must not go there; and you must do this, and you must not do that. We have a great and important work to do, and God would have us take hold of that work intelligently. The placing of men in positions of responsibility in the various conferences, does not make them gods. No one has sufficient wisdom to act without counsel. Men need to consult with their brethren, to counsel together, to pray together, and to plan together for the advancement of the work. Let laborers kneel down together and pray to God, asking Him to direct their course. There has been a great lack with us on this point. We have trusted too much to men's devisings. We cannot afford to do this. Perilous times are upon us, and we must come to the place where we know that the Lord lives and rules, and that He dwells in the hearts of the children of men. We must have confidence in God. FE 530.2

Wherever you may be sent, cherish in your hearts and minds the fear and love of God. Go daily to the Lord for instruction and guidance; depend upon God for light and knowledge. Pray for this instruction and this light, until you get it. It will not avail for you to ask, and then forget the thing for which you prayed. Keep your mind upon your prayer. You can do this while working with your hands. You can say, Lord, I believe; with all my heart I believe. Let the Holy Spirit's power come upon me. FE 530.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 31-33

The Lord God is bound by an eternal pledge to supply power and grace to everyone who is sanctified through obedience to the truth. Christ, to whom is given all power in heaven and on earth, co-operates in sympathy with His instrumentalities—the earnest souls who day by day partake of the living bread, “which cometh down from heaven.” John 6:50. The church on earth, united with the church in heaven, can accomplish all things. 7T 31.1

On the Day of Pentecost the Infinite One revealed Himself in power to the church. By His Holy Spirit He descended from the heights of heaven as a rushing, mighty wind, to the room in which the disciples were assembled. It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now heaven rejoiced in being able to pour upon the church the riches of the Spirit's power. And, under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession were mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven. Words of thanksgiving and of prophecy were heard. All heaven bent low to behold and to adore the wisdom of matchless, incomprehensible Love. Lost in wonder, the apostles and disciples exclaimed: “Herein is love.” 1 John 4:10. They grasped the imparted gift. And what followed? Thousands were converted in a day. The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief. 7T 31.2

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