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Bible Commentaries
Acts 5

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

The Sin and Shocking Death of Ananias and Sapphira V. 1-10

1) "But a certain man named Ananias," (aner de tis Hananias onamati) "Subsequently a responsible man (male) named Ananias;" In direct contrast with what Barnabas did with the proceeds of his land sale, this story of attempted deceit is unfolded, confirming the Biblical axiom or rule, "be sure your sin will find you out," or overtake you, Numbers 32:23.

2) "With Sapphira his wife," (sun Saphore te gunaiki autou) "In colleague with his wife Sapphira," with joint ownership and joint collusion in what they proposed to do with the proceeds of their property. "No man liveth or dieth to himself" alone; and how much more nearly real is this truth concerning husbands and wives in joint action, Romans 14:7.

3) "Sold a possession," (epoiesen ktema) Sold a possession," a piece of jointly owned property - - perhaps land with a building, Acts 5:3.

Verse 2

1) "And kept back part of the price," (Kai enosphisato apo tes times) "And appropriated (held back) from the price," purloining or stealing for covetous satisfaction or momentary pleasure, much like Achan did, with similar consequences, Joshua 7:19-26; condemned of the Lord, Titus 2:10. He hid or concealed a part of the income from men, but not from the Lord.

2) "His wife also being privy to it," (suneiduies kai tes gunaikos) "His wife also party to (the) collusion," a deliberate calculated act to deceive in a religious matter. It was an act of selfish hypocrisy, excelled by none, lest it were that of the Pharisees, Matthew 22:14; Matthew 22:33.

3) "And brought a certain part," (kai enegkas meros ti) "And bringing a certain part," ostentatiously, with public display, to gain a reputation as a liberal giver, a philanthropist; The Lord beholds "how" men cast into the treasury, of the financial need of His church, even today Mark 12:41; Hebrews 7:8; "The eyes of the Lord (as judge) are still in every place beholding the evil and the good," Proverbs 15:3.

4) "And laid it at the apostles’ feet," (para tous posas ton apostolon etheken) "Placed it at the feet (disposal) of the apostles," in public display, to rival what Barnabas had done, yet the strong contrast of the motives and integrity of the two parties are set forth clearly, Acts 5:35; Acts 5:37. Ananias presented his "part," pretending that it was all of his part, at the apostles’ feet, solely for their distribution for the common good of all the needy.

Verse 3

1) "But Peter said," (eipen de Petros) "Then Peter said," or responded to Ananias who came in pious hypocrisy, deception, selfishness, and covetousness, to make a reputation, of liberality for himself.

2) "Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart," (hanania dia ti eplerosen ho satanas ten kardian sou) "Why (have you permitted) Satan to fill your heart?" or "how is it that?" indicating that it was in his power, volition, or choice to have prevented such a thing, Luke 2:49; James 4:3; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Peter 5:9. It is such sin that responsible children of God are to resist steadfastly in the faith. Satan, the father of lies, incites such in the carnal nature of one, John 8:44.

3) "To lie to the Holy Ghost," (pseusasthai setopneuma to hagion) "To deceive (lie to) the Holy Spirit;” When a pledge, vow or holy commitment vow has been made for the cause of Christ, it is to be kept or honestly and openly confessed, not covered up, Deuteronomy 23:21; Numbers 30:2; Ecclesiastes 5:4-5.

4) "And to keep back part of the price of the land?" (kai nosphisasthe apo tes times tou choriou) "And to appropriate (to yourself) from the price of the land?" The greater sin was not keeping a part of the price, but lying, deceiving, bartering for a reputation, so sinfully, Acts 5:4; Galatians 6:7-8; Sin finds men out both here and hereafter if and when unconfessed and unforsaken, Numbers 32:13; Proverbs 28:13. Men can not prosper with covered sins!

Verse 4

1) "Whiles it remained, was it not thine own?" (ouchi menon soi emenen) "Not remaining to thee, it still remained to thee, did it not?" To you it remained to decide what to do with all of it, did it not? The "all things in common," in the Jerusalem church, for a temporary time, to meet a temporary need, was solely voluntary, not by any Divine mandate. Each person is a steward over what he possesses, not the church.

2) "And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?" (kai prathen en te se eksousia huperchen) "And when it was sold was it not in your authority?" or your right of honest disposition or disposal? Both the land and the price were of his choosing; and he had the right to give all, a part, or none. But he did not have a moral or ethical right to lie about it or try to build a reputation by deceit. As a steward of all that a Christian has in his control, he must one day give account to God for his use or management of it all, 2 Corinthians 4:2. The church is not a steward to manage all one possesses; Individuals are.

3) "Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart?" (ti hoti ethou en te kardia sou to poagma touto)’.’Why was this (kind of) action put in your heart?" or why did you permit such invited action to be put in your heart? This indicates, by necessary inference, that Divine power was available to resist such temptation if Ananias had sought it, 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 4:7.

4) "Thou hast not lied unto men," (ouk epseuso anthropois) "You have not (only) lied to men," but also against the divine light and leading of the Holy Spirit that had come to empower the church, Acts 2:1-4. In his lying he had departed from walking in the light and truth as revealed in Jesus Christ, John 8:12.

5) "But unto God," (alla to theos) "But (also) to God; and at such God shall one day sit in derision of judgement, Proverbs 1:26.

Verse 5

1) "And Ananias hearing these words," Jakou non de ho Hananias tous logous toutous) "And when Ananias was hearing these words," while these words still rang in his ears, judgement fell, Proverbs 29:1.

2) "Fell down and gave up the ghost:" (peson eksepsuksen) "Falling down he expired," he died instantly, died by the visitation of God’s disapproval and judgement for his willful, presumptuous sin, 1 Corinthians 11:31; Hebrews 10:27-29; Peter did not inflict the punishment or perhaps even anticipate it. See also Acts 5:10; Acts 12:23 where a similar judgement fell on Herod.

3) "And great fear came," (kai egeneto phobos mega) "And there came (to exist) great fear," a great reverential awe and respect for honesty before God came like an heavy cloud, as on other occasions of Divine, miraculous intervention, Luke 1:65; Luke 7:15-16; Acts 2:43; Acts 5:11.

4) "On all them that heard these things," (epi pantas tous akousontas) "Upon all those who had heard of these things," the dishonesty of Ananias in his estate matters in comparison with the absolute integrity of Barnabas in the matter of his estate disposal, Acts 4:36-37. See similar responses to Divine interventions, Acts 19:13-17.

Verse 6

1) "And the young men arose," (anastantes de hoi neoteroi) "And the young men rising up," or arose to the occasion, to meet the need. The term "young men" seems to refer to those recently reached their manhood, maturity, not to any official position in the church. Beyond this the scriptures seem to disclose no further information.

2) "Wound him up," (sunesteilan auton) "Wound or wrapped him up," by winding his clothes, similar to formal burial of the times," though they likely used only the clothes he was then wearing, in which to bury him. This body was wound in a less formal way than was given honorable burials of the day, such as Nicodemus and Joseph of Aramithea gave our Lord, John 19:40.

3) "And carried him out and buried him," (kai eksenegkantes ethapsan) "And carrying him forth (out of the presence of the apostles) they buried him," outside the city wall, the usual place for burial. Only kings and prophets had their graves in the city. This was for both sanitary purposes and to avoid defilement that the burial was made almost immediately, as often done, Numbers 19:11; Numbers 19:14; Deuteronomy 21:23.

PARENTAL FALSEHOOD

Father tells wrong stories; don’t he, Emery? Didn’t you hear him say to Mr. Ballard, yesterday morning, that he paid two hundred dollars fir the new horse, when he told mother the night before that it only cost him one hundred and twenty five? And don’t you know he told him, too, he should be obliged to ask him sixty dollars an acre for that farm land, which was just what it cost him a year ago; when I saw father pay money for it, and know it was only forty? And then to shut us up here because I told him we came directly from school, when he happened to see us stopping by the way side. Oh! didn’t he look stern when he said he would not have any lying boys about him? I wanted to ask him why he told Mr. Wells, this morning, he was such a faithful friend to him and would do anything to favor him, and then turn right around, the moment he was gone, and say he despised the man, and would not do him a good turn to save his life; when mother remonstrated a little, he said, "Oh! policy, my dear; Mr. Wells is a man of influence."

Verse 7

1) "And it was about the space of three hours after

(egenteo de hos horon trion disatema) "And there was an interval (a period) of about three hours," or about three hours after the instant death and immediate burial of Ananias, outside the city. The third, sixth, and ninth hours of the day, three hours apart, seem to have been hours set aside for prayer, with business affairs between, Psalms 55:17; Daniel 6:10.

2) "When his wife," (kai he gune autou) "And his wife," or his wife also.

3) "Not knowing what was done," (me eiduia to gegonos) Not knowing (of) the thing that had happened," or unaware of what had occurred to her husband, when he came with his gift and lied about it and about his sudden death and immediate burial, Acts 5:2-6.

4) "Came in," (eiselthen) "Came in or entered of her own will and accord," came of her own choice or desire. It is likely, though not specifically stated, that the gifts for the common needs of the disciples were brought and laid at the apostles’ feet at the approach of the hour of prayer, every three hours; She came in to the place where her husband had gone to meet with the apostles, make his deceitful, hypocritical, lying gift, and meet his death, Acts 4:23; Acts 5:1-5.

Verse 8

1) "And Peter answered unto her," (apekrithe de pros aute Petros) "Then Peter inquired, or made a judgement inquiry, toward her," gave her a chance to avoid becoming a future party to the lying Ananias. She disregarded, with him, the Proverb "whoso covereth his sins shall not prosper," Proverbs 28:13.

2) "Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much?"(eipe moi ei tosoutou to chorion apedosthe) "Tell me (the truth) if (or did you all) sell the land for so much?" It is supposed that Peter named the specific amount that Ananias and she had in collusion connived to tell was the full price received, Acts 5:1-5. Our Lord had instructed "take heed and beware of covetousness," and it may be honestly stated and concluded that all lying is a by-product of a covetous heart or will, Luke 12:15.

3) "And she said, Yea, for so much," (he de eipen nai tosoutou) "And she replied, yes, for so much." She thus backed his lie with hers. Two lies can never make the total of one truth, no matter what the circumstances of the lies. How much more dreadful to lie to God and the Holy Spirit about Divine matters!

This is a loathesome account of the fatal nature of covetousness, selfishness, pride, and idolatry. Against such, every Christian is to be engaged in mortal conflict of resistance. The carnal fleshly nature is turned toward self, selfishness, egotism, pride, and covetousness, the desire to have one’s own will or way, without serious regard for God or others. This disposition is to be continually resisted by every saint, James 4:6-8; 1 Peter 5:8-9; 1 Corinthians 9:27; Ephesians 6:11

Verse 9

1) "Then Peter said unto her," (ho de Petros pros auten) "Then Peter responded to her," after Peter had made a specific judgement inquiry of her, regarding the total sale price of their land possession, he further indicted her, James 4:17.

2) "How is it that ye have agreed together," (ti hoti sunephonethe humin) "Why is it agreed (with you two) or why did you and your husband conspire to enter a collusion to orchestrate this lie?" They supposed that even the Holy Spirit might be deceived. A willful falsehood is like a cripple - - it cannot stand an honest test alone, so one having lied is tempted to tell another to prop it up, Proverbs 23:23.

3) "To tempt the Spirit of the Lord?" (periasai to pnema kuriou) "To tempt (or test) the Spirit of the Lord?" Such is tantamount to the equivalent of testing or challenging the veracity or truthfulness of God, Acts 15:10. It is men who are tempted when drawn away of lust, James 1:14. And they, for coveting lust and its fruit, do suffer the chastening hand of just judgement from God, 1 Corinthians 11:31-32.

4) "Behold, the feet of them which have buried," (idou hoi podes ton thapsanton) "Behold the feet of those (the young men) who have buried;” her husband - - young men perhaps ministering in some appointive physical capacity to the church and the apostles even, before election of deacons, Acts 6:1-15.

5) "Thy husband are at the door," (ton andra sou epi te thura) "Your husband (Ananias)(are) at the door," waiting for you to reap what you have covetously and deceitfully sown, Galatians 6:7-8.

6) "And shall carry thee out," (kai eksoisousin se) "And they will (also) carry you forth," carry you out for burial. Peter had read the deceitful lying heart of Ananias and by that same Spirit now projected to her immediate doom, Proverbs 29:1. Fraud, deceit, and dishonesty are always devoid of God’s blessings, though His mercy lingers longer with some liars and deceivers than with others, but His mercy will not linger forever, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Numbers 32:23.

Verse 10

1) "Then fell she down straightway," (epesen de parachrema) "Then she fell down at once (instantly)," before them, the apostles, at Peter’s feet in particular, as Ananias had done in his death, Acts 5:5. There is a "sin unto death," a deliberate, presumptuous sin that leads to instant death, 1 John 5:16. Both Ananias and Sapphira committed it.

2) "At his feet," (pros tous podas autou) "Toward his feet," in particular, as he had questioned both her and her husband, Ananias; Acts 5:1-9. Tho three hours had passed since Ananias lied, then died at Peter’s feet, it appears that his wife fell doomed at the very same place.

3) "And yielded up the ghost:” (kai eksepsuksen) "And she expired," or died at once, atthat place and moment, in a similar or identical manner to that of Ananias; Tho God mingles demonstrations of justice and mercy upon willful liars, all impenitent liars will have to confess their lying, be chastened as children of God for it, or die and be cast into hell as impenitent unbelievers, 1 John 1:8-9; Revelation 21:8.

4) "And the young men came in," (eiselthontes de hoi neaniskoi) "Then the (same) young men came in," those who had buried her husband, Acts 5:6; Acts 5:9.

5) "And found her dead," (heuron auten nekran) "And found her (to be) dead," found her corpse-body, dead body, as one who had joined her husband in committing -sin unto death," Acts 5:5; Herod committed it, Acts 12:21-23; Nebuchadnezzar did it, Daniel 5:22-23; Daniel 5:30.

6) "And, carrying her forth," (kai eksenegkantes) "And carrying her (out) forth," from the feet of Peter and the apostles, taking her unclean body out of the place where Peter and the apostles received alms and charity gifts from the brethren, Acts 4:35; Acts 4:37; Acts 5:2.

7) "Buried her by her husband," (ethapsan pros ton andra autes) "They buried her to, at, or beside her husband;” to await the resurrection and final hour of judgement, when every work with every secret thing shall be brought into judgement, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Matthew 12:36; Romans 2:16.

Verse 11

Result of the Death of Ananias and Sapphira, V. 11-16

1) "And great fear came," (kai egenteo phobos megas) "And there came great fear," great reverence for holy matters and honest testimony in religious matters, as when the seven sons of Sceva sought to work miracles in the name of the Lord, but lied about it and were almost beaten to death by the demon possessed man, Acts 19:11-17.

2) "Upon all the church," (eph’ holen ten ekklesian) "on or over all the church," those who were of the membership of the church, lest they too be chastened to the point of death for calculated, premeditated lying, as an expression of covetous and selfish depraved desires, 1 Timothy 6:10; Psalms 34:9; Psalms 86:11; Ecclesiastes 3:14.

3) "And upon as many as heard these things," (kai epi pantas tous akouontas tauta) "As well as upon those having heard these things," the things spoken by Ananias and Sapphira before Peter and the apostles, Acts 2:43; Acts 12:20-24; Acts 19:17-20.

A LIE STICKS

A little boy, to sell his paper, told a lie. The matter came up in the Sabbath-school. "Would you tell a lie for three cents?" asked the teacher of one of the boys. "No ma’am." "For a dollar?" "No, ma’am." "For a thousand dollars?" Dick was staggered. A thousand dollars looked big. Oh, would it not buy a lot of things? While he was thinking, another boy cries out, "No, ma’am," behind him. "Why not?" asked the teacher. "Because, when the thousand dollars are gone, too, the lie is there all the same," answered the boy. Ah, yes? That is so. A lie sticks. Everything else may go, but that will stay, and you will have to carry it around with you, whether you will or not, a hard and heavy load.

Verse 12

1) "And by the hands of the apostles," (dia de ton cheiron ton apostolon) "Subsequently through the hands of the apostles," the instrumentality of the apostles as holders of special Holy Spirit Gifts, temporary credentials of the credibility of their testimony and witness, till the Bible was completed, 1 Corinthians 12:1-28; Ephesians 4:7-14.

2) "Were many signs and wonders wrought," (egineto semeia kai terata polla) "Many signs and wonders occurred," Acts 4:29-30; Acts 19:11-12; Acts 28:1-6; Romans 15:18-19, By both Peter and Paul as above cited, as well as by other apostles, inclusive of Stephen, Acts 6:8; Hebrews 2:3-4.

3) "Among the people;” (en to lao) "Among the people," or in the midst of the people, by Paul while he was in his missionary witnessing journeys, in Ephesus in Asia Minor, Acts 28:1-6.

4) “(And they were all with one accord," (kai hesan homothumadon pantes) "And they were all of one theme, in harmony, or unity," following the direct judgement demonstration of God’s chastening hand before them, 1 Corinthians 10:30-32; Hebrews 12:5-11. A parenthetical statement. Acts 5:12-14.

5) "In Solomon’s Porch," (en to sota Solomontos) "in the porch of Solomon," on the east side of the temple, where the masses met for fellowship, prayer, and teaching. Acts 3:11.

Verse 13

1) "And of the rest," (ton de loipon) "And of the rest, those remaining," those among the unbelievers, John 3:19-20.

2) "Durst no man join himself to them:” (oudeis etolma kallasthai autois) "Not even one dared or ventured to be joined to them;” The unbelievers were momentarily driven back with fear and religious awe. This fear of judgement repelled hypocrites, but drew believers closer together and closer to the Lord, John 3:18.

3) "But the people magnified them," (all’ emegalunen autous ho laos) "But the people (the masses) of the believers magnified them," praised, extolled or looked upon the apostles with wonder and awe, Acts 4:21, as they did Peter and John upon the healing of the lame man.

Verse 14

1) "And believers were the more added to the Lord," (mallonde prosetithento pisteuontes to kurio) "Then more (the greater numbers of) believers were added to the Lord;” Unbelievers are lost, aliens, afar off from God, but they may be made nigh, added to, and in fellowship with the Lord by repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ, Luke 19:10; Ephesians 2:11-13; Romans 5:1; Acts 20:21.

2) "Multitudes both of men and women.)," (plethe andron te kai gunaikon) "Even multitudes of both men and women," The term "multitudes" means simply a number of people or mass of people, so large that it was not possible to keep an accurate record of names and numbers. Divine chastisement, discipline, or purging from the number of professors to purify a congregation, produces fruits of holiness in believers and respect for the Word and message of God among unbelievers.

Is it not both reasonable and possible that multitudes more would be saved and added to the Lord and His church if His church would be more consistent in exercising excluding discipline upon members who walk in open defiance of moral and ethical principles of Christ and who live as hypocrites in formal church attachment? The church is not to kill people today for lying and base, immoral, unethical behaviour, but it does have divine injunction to purge itself of leaven, putrefaction, and known moral uncleanness that repels the unbelieving world, 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Corinthians 5:7-13; Romans 16:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15. This verse concludes the parenthetical interlude or interruption begun in Acts 5:12.

Verse 15

1) "Insomuch that," (hoste kai) "So that even," to the extent that even or also - - This returns to the parenthetical interruption of Acts 5:12, where the report of apostolic signs and wonders was being given, and is now, here continued.

2) "They brought forth the sick into the streets," (eis tas plateias ekpherein tous astheneis) "They went into the streets, (into every street) to bring out the ailing, sick, or afflicted," the "they" refers to the masses of people of the city of Jerusalem, for the empowered church was obeying God in being witness to Jesus first "in Jerusalem," Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8.

3) "And laid them on beds and couches," (kai tithenak epi klinarion kai krabaton) "Even to put (them) upon pallets and mattresses," much as the lame man at the gate beautiful was brought and laid helplessly thereto ask alms the day Peter and John were used to heal him, Acts 3:1-11; And as the palsied was brought to Jesus, Mark 2:1-12.

4) "That at least the shadow of Peter passing by," (hina erchomenou Petrou kan skia) "in order that even the shadow of Peter passing by," or influence of his power as he passed by. There is no evidence that such were healed, but at least it indicates that Peter was God’s healing instrument of the moment, Matthew 14:36.

5) "Might overshadow," (episkiase) "Might overshadow or pass over," to touch, contact or make them whole in some supernatural manner, much as the unclean woman was made whole, when by faith she touched Jesus, Matthew 14:35-36; Mark 5:25-34.

6) "Some of them," (tini auton) "Some of them," hospital-type patients, the afflicted of many orders, types of diseases, even as Jesus had done, Matthew 4:23-24; Mark 1:32-34.

Verse 16

1) "There came also a multitude," (sunerchero de aki to plethos) "Subsequently also the multitudes came together of their own accord or choosing," voluntarily they came, out of care and compassion for others, the infirm in body, the deranged in mind, and the obsessed in wickedness of spirit, they came, bringing them to find a change by the word and power of Jesus, John 1:41-45.

2) "Out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem," (ton periks poleon lerousalem) "Out of the cities around about Jerusalem," by foot and on donkeys, the primary method of travel in that day, they came. Those weary in travel and heavy laden in sin and bodily sickness found rest and relief from their burdens and were made whole, even as Jesus had done for the masses, Luke 4:40-41; Luke 8:1-3.

3) "Bringing sick folks," (pherontes astheneis) "Bearing or carrying ailing, sick or afflicted ones," those who were not ambulatory, not able to even rise and take two steps or more without aid. This means there were multitudes of believers strong in faith as well as in body, else they would not have brought the helpless and needy to the apostles, Mark 2:1-5.

4) "And them that were vexed with unclean spirits:”(kai ochloumenos hupo pneumaton akatharton) "And those who were tormented (obsessed) by unclean spirits: The term "unclean" means "morally and ethically unclean," which is indicated from the Gk. term “akatharton." This refers to very wicked people, Matthew 4:14; Mark 1:32-34.

5) "And they were healed every one," (oitines etherapeuonoto hapantes) "Who were all healed," made well, or whole, as promised by the Lord, Mark 16:17. The disciples and apostles were promised that they should one day be enabled and do greater works (greater in number) than He had done. And they did, as reported in the book of Acts, John 14:12.

Verse 17

The Second Public Persecution Against the Church V. 17-28

1) "Then the High Priest rose up," (anastas de ho archiereus) "Then the High Priest rose up," in anger, to do battle, to attack and harm the church. They "rose up," not merely from their seats, but in excited frustration when they saw what little effect their threats against the apostles had meant. The High Priest was leader of the sect of the Sadducees, Acts 4:1-3; Acts 4:5-8.

2) "And all they that were with him," (kai pantes hou sun auto) "And all those in colleague (or even collusion) with him," in council and oppression against the apostles and the church, which were witnessing so effectively in Jerusalem and the cities and suburbs round about, Acts 4:5-7; Acts 4:17-18; Acts 4:21; Acts 5:14-16.

3) "Which is the sect of the Sadducees," (he ousa hairesis ton Saddoukaion) "Those who were (existed as) the sect of the Sadducees," holding or embracing the heresy of the Sadducees - - that,

1) There is not and never will be any resurrection of the dead,

2) That there are, never were, or will exist any angels, and,

3) That there is no Holy Spirit, never was, or ever will be, Acts 23:8.

4) "And were filled with indignation," (eplesthesan zelou) "Were being filled with or controlled (by) jealousy," they were inflamed, hot with jealous fury, that these witnessing followers of Jesus were by word, and Holy Spirit empowered gifts, able to perform miracles that attested their testimony of Jesus Christ as the risen Savior, Lord, and coming judge of all men, Hebrews 2:3-4.

Verse 18

1) "And laid their hands on the apostles,"(kai epebalon tas cheiras tous apostolous) "And they laid their hands (harshly) heavily on the apostles," with anger and in disrespect, the religious mob of rulers, elders, and high priests, Acts 4:1-3; Acts 4:5; Acts 4:8. They demonstrated the divine principle truth stated by Jesus, "He that is not with me is against me," Matthew 12:30; and that the same religious mob would persecute the church John 15:20.

2) "And put them in the common prison," (kai ethento autous en teresei demosia) "And placed them in custody publicly," in a public prison for the masses to pass by and gaze upon, as objects of public derision and scorn and an example to any who would embrace to espouse their teachings - - While the Sadducee council was made up primarily of skeptics who denied any resurrection, angel, or spirit, the Pharisees, a majority of the religious Jews, believed in all three and therefore were more inclined to give credence to the testimony of the disciples regarding:

1 ) "The resurrection - - even of Jesus Christ.

2) The angels - - who talked to them about Christ as He went up.

3) The Holy Spirit which had empowered them with gifts on Pentecost as Jesus had promised.

In common prison they experienced the blessed presence of the Lord which He had promised them under such experience as He endured, Matthew 5:11-12; John 15:20; For “all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution," 2 Timothy 3:12.

UNSEEN HOSTS

The affairs of men are not bounded by what we can see, and measure, and add up. There are invisible agencies over which we have no control. All the stars fight for God; all the angels of heaven assist the good man. They have always identified themselves with Christian effort. They were with Christ in all the crises of His life; and now they were with Christ’s servants in theirs. Men can shut us up; angels can deliver us. Men can do the destructive work upon our persons and ministry, whether in the pulpit, in the home, or in business; but God can do constructive work, and set up again what has been shattered by violence. To know this is power, emancipation. The great difficulty is to realize the invisible.

- Parker.

Verse 19

1) "But the angel of the Lord," (angelos de kuriou) "Then an angel of the Lord," intervened, appeared as a sentry guard, to aid, assist, or give help to the imprisoned apostles, Hebrews 1:14; Psalms 34:7. Encamping, encircling, sentry angels seem to be divinely appointed from Michael’s protectorate host of angels to minister to every servant of God from salvation to the resurrection, Daniel 12:1; Revelation 12:7-10.

2) "By night," (dia nuktos) "Throughout the night, or during the night." It appears that guardian angels (sentry angels) over God’s children protect them continuously, or stand by to help in every hour of need. Tho they do not prevent trouble, sorrow, and woe, they minister to help in such by day and night, Acts 27:23.

3) "Opened the prison doors," (enoikse tas thuras tes phulakes) "Opened the entrance of the prison," or opened the doors of the prison, did what was necessary to release or liberate them, much as later occurred to Peter alone, as recounted, Acts 12:1-11. The three Hebrew children attributed their deliverance from the fiery furnace to none other than the angel of the Lord, as verified by the words of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 3:17-18; Daniel 3:28.

4) "And brought them forth, and said," (eksagagon te autous eipen) "And led them out of the prison and said," much as they led Lot, his wife and two daughters out of Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 19:15-16; and as the angel of the Lord shut the mouths of lions so that they did no harm to Daniel until he was released, Daniel 6:21-22.

Verse 20

1) "Go," (poreuesthe) "Go ye wherever ye choose, "to a legal place or way that you choose. God’s good delivering and protecting angels never give instructions that conflict with the Word of God. Both the church as an institution and her members were directed or authorized to witness boldly first in Jerusalem, Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8.

2) "Stand and speak," (kai stanthentes laleite) "And standing (taking a stand) speak out;” The God who sends to bear His message and to stand and witness for Him has promised -lo I am with you alway, even to the ends of the world of age," and His promises have been verified for near two thousand years to His church and His own people, Matthew 28:20; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 13:5.

3) "In the temple to the people," (en to heirs to lao) "in the temple area proper to the people," the masses of the laity, as Peter and John had done in Solomon’s porch. Ministers are commanded to go where the people are, be they few or many, and there witness to them about Jesus Christ, and His saving power, Romans 1:14-16; Mark 16:15; John 20:21.

4) "All the words of this life,"(panta ta hermata tes zoes tautes) "All the rhetoric testimony of this life," speak words of testimony and praise of this life in Christ, the resurrected redeemer, John 11:25-26. This message was to be with all boldness, such as Paul showed at Corinth and Rome, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 1:14-16; and at Mars Hill, Acts 17:22-34.

The three charges of the angel to the apostles are so relative to the true people of God today. They must:

1) Go.

2) Stand.

3) Speak.

The words of life that Jesus left, the words that may lead

men to Him, the one source of eternal life, John 14:6; John 10:27-29; 1 John 5:13.

Verse 21

1) "And when they heard that," (akousantes de) "And when they had heard these angelic directions," or divine instructions that were in harmony with their Lord’s commission, John 20:21; Acts 1:8.

2) "They entered into the temple early in the morning and taught," (eiselthon hupo ton orthon eis to heiron kai edidaskon) "About the time of dawn (following) they entered of their own accord into the temple proper and taught," about the time of sun-rise of the morning devotions for the people and the time of the first daily sacrifice or oblation, Matthew 28:18-20.

3) "But the high priest came," (paragenomemos de ho archiereus) "Then when the high priest had come," early in the morning, leading the way for a prejudiced trial or indictment, that day against all the apostles, Acts 4:5-6.

4) "And they that were with him," (kai hoi sun suto) "And those in close affinity with him, "’Annas, Caiphas, John, and Alexander, Acts 4:6; Acts 5:17-18.

5) "And called the council together," (sunekalesan to sunedrion) "They called together the Sanhedrin, the council of seventy," Acts 5:17.

6) "And all the senate of the children of Israel," (kai pason ten gerousian ton huion Israel) "Even all the senate of the sons of Israel," inclusive of their elders, perhaps one from each tribe in addition to those of the 70 of the Sanhedrin, Acts 4:1-2; Acts 4:5-6; Acts 5:17.

7) "And sent to the prison," (kai apesteilan eis to desmoterion) "And sent (by commission authority) to the jail," where they had imprisoned and detained them, Acts 5:18-21.

8) "To have them brought," (achthenai autous) "To have them (the apostles) brought," before them, set in their midst for questioning as they did formerly to Peter and John, Acts 4:7; Acts 4:14-15; Acts 4:21.

Verse 22

1) "But when the officers came," (hoi de paragenomenoi huperetai) "But when the attendants (or officers) had come," had come to the jail, the place of public custody, perhaps the captains of the temple who had arrested them, Acts 5:26; Acts 4:1; Acts 4:3; Acts 5:18.

2) "And found them not in the prison," (ouch heuron autous en te phulake) "They found them not (to be) in the prison," that they were certainly not in the prison where they had placed them in common prison the previous day, Acts 5:18.

3) "They returned, and told," (anastrepsantes de apengeilan) "They then returned (and) gave out the report," that the apostles were not in prison, had escaped, much as Peter was later, on another occasion, released from prison by an angel, Acts 12:3-11.

Verse 23

1) "Saying, the prison truly found we shut," (legontes hoti to desnoterion heuromen keklesmenon) "Repeatedly saying that we found the jail having been shut," no evidence that it had been broken into or out of," in a state of perfect security.

2) "With all safety," (en pase aphaleia) "in a state or condition all secure," of all security, "in all safety," as safe as human hands could make a place of security.

3) "And the keepers standing without before the doors:" (kai tous phulakas hestotas epi ton turon) "And the guards (aII) standing upon, at, or before the doors," as faithful, alert sentry guards, neither sitting down nor sleeping on duty, and probably not aware of what had happened.

4) "But when we had opened," (anoiksantes de) "Yet when we were having opened," the doors, the entrances, looked in and gone thru the prison. Imagine the consternation of both the officers and keepers of the prison.

5) "We found no man within." (eso oudena heuromen) "We found inside not one, - no one at all," though they looked and searched the apostles were not there to be found. Their delivering, encamping angels had taken care of that, Psalms 34:7; Deuteronomy 32:30.

Verse 24

1) "Now when they heard these things," (hos de ekousan tous logous toutous) "Then as these heard the word," for the report was returned, a frustrating report, by the temple officers, Acts 5:22-23.

a) "The high priest," (ho archiereus) "The high priest," Acts 5:17, who had led in the imprisonment of the apostles.

b) "And the captain of the temple," (ho te strategos tou hierou) "Both the commandant (captain) of the temple proper," and his officer assistants, Acts 5:22.

c) "And the chief priests," (kai hoi archiereis) "And the chief ’priests," Annas and Caiphas, with John and Alexander, close relatives of the high priest, Acts 4:1; Acts 4:5-6.

2) "They doubted of them," (dieporoun peri auton) "They were in doubt (disturbed) concerning them," they were frustrated and fearful regarding these twelve sign and wonder working witnessing apostles whom they had harshly detained, and in a state of prejudice, imprisoned, Acts 5:17-18. They feared the public influence, how this miracle would affect the mind of the public.

3) "Whereunto this would grow," (ti an genoito touto) ’What might come to occur regarding this kind of thing," in addition to the healings and helps that the apostles had been to the afflicted masses in Jerusalem and the cities nearby, Acts 5:12-18; Hebrews 2:3-4; Acts 4:18; Acts 4:21.

The witness of Jesus when received turns one’s world upside down, Acts 17:2. This is what it is supposed to do; Ephesians 2:11-13; Ephesians 4:17-24; It turned Paul from an enemy to a soldier of Jesus Christ, Acts 9:5-7; Acts 26:9-23; Romans 1:14; Romans 1:16; as well as Thessalonian brethren and each of us, 1 Thessalonians 1:9.

Verse 25

1) "Then came one and told them, saying," paragenomenos de tis apengeilen autois) "And having come someone reported to them," an officer perhaps who received a message from some gathered around the apostles nearby in Solomon’s porch, where they formerly witnessed and as redirected by the angel of the nighttime, Acts 5:12; Acts 5:19-20.

2) "Behold, the men whom ye put in prison," (hoti idou hoi andres ous ethesthe en te phulake) "That, lo and behold, the men (apostles) whom you all placed in prison," Acts 5:18.

3) "Are standing in the temple," (eisen en to hiero estotes) "They are standing up in the temple area proper," in the teaching place of Solomon’s porch, just as the delivering servant angel of nighttime had directed them, Psalms 34:7; Acts 5:12; Acts 5:19-21. They were doing the very thing for which they had been put in prison, teaching the Word of the Lord.

4) "And teaching the people," (kai didaskonteston laon) "And teaching the laity," the masses, like they did before they were placed in confinement. They were following the mandate of their Lord as obedient witnesses and teachers, Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; John 20:21; Acts 5:20; even as Paul did in Ephesus, Acts 20:20-27.

Verse 26

1) "Then went the captain with the officers," (tote apelthon ho strategos sun tois huperetais) "Then, at an instant the commandant (captain) in colleague with the officers went after them," or for them in Solomon’s porch where they were teaching the people on the East porch of the temple, as the angel had bidden them, Acts 3:8-11; Acts 4:1-3; Acts 5:12; Acts 5:20.

2) "And brought them without violence:” (egen autous ou meta bias) "And led them (or brought them) but not with force," or not with violence," such as they had shown when they had formerly imprisoned and threatened Peter and John, Acts 4:17; Acts 4:21; and with less public indignation than when they "laid hold" and imprisoned them, Acts 5:17-18.

3) "For they feared the people," (ephobounto gar ton lain) "For they feared the masses of people, "did not want a riot, such as later occurred with the stoning of Stephen, Acts 7:59; These Sanhedrin officers had already indicated a fear of the majority sentiment of the people for the apostles and disciples, Acts 3:9-11; Acts 4:17; Acts 5:28. They did not want themselves to be stoned by the people.

4) "Lest they should have been stoned." (me lithasthosin) "Lest they (themselves) the officers might have been stoned," as Stephen was later, Acts 7:59; and as Paul was later stoned in Lystra, Acts 14:19, all of which happened because of the Jews who incited the masses to mob violence against God’s witnesses, 2 Timothy 3:12; Matthew 5:11-12.

Verse 27

1) "And when they had brought them," (agagontes de sutous) "And having brought them from where they had been teaching in the temple," Acts 3:9-11; Acts 5:12; Acts 5:20; Acts 5:26.

2) "They sent them before the council:” (estesan en to sunedrion) "They stood them up in the council," before the Sanhedrin, judges of Jewish Law. The council was seated, but the witnesses and speakers always stood, Mark 14:57; Mark 14:60; Acts 4:7; Acts 5:27; Acts 5:34; Acts 6:13; Acts 23:9.

3) "And the high priest asked them," (kai eperotesen autous ho archiereus) "And the high priest questioned them," made deriding inquiry of them, in rhetorical style as follows: Annas was the presiding, questioning high priest, Acts 4:6.

Verse 28

1) "Saying, Did not we straitly command you," (logon paramgellia parengeilamen humin me) "Saying, (with intense feeling) we charged you with a charge strictly (very plainly) did we not?" as if they had been indicted for a crime and broken probation.

2) "That ye should not teach in this name?" (didaskein epi to onomati touto) "Not to teach in (upon) the authority of this name?" The name of Jesus any more at all, Acts 4:18-21. Yet, they had their commission from a higher source - - that mandate was to make, baptize, and teach disciples in the name of Jesus only, Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Acts 4:12; Colossians 3:17. It was not necessary to explain what was meant by "this name," Acts 4:12.

3) "And, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem," (kai idou peplerokate ten lerousalem) "And behold you all have filled the Jerusalem area," a compliment, for it was the very place they were mandated to begin their Holy Spirit empowered world-wide and age-long witnessing ministry, Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8.

4) "With your doctrine," (tes didaches humon) "With your teaching or doctrine;” Note that the doctrine or teaching of Jesus had become, was embraced by, and being obediently received and spread by the apostles and the church, their enemies themselves bearing witness, Acts 17:5-6; Proverbs 21:30.

5) "And intend to bring this man’s blood upon us," (kai boulesthe epagagein eph’ hemas to haima tou anthropou toutou) "And you all intend (or are determined in mind) to bring this man’s blood upon us," Acts 3:14-15, or lay blame for His death on us, Acts 2:36; but notice they did not even call His name because they disdained or despised Him so much, Isaiah 53:3; Matthew 27:25; Matthew 27:30-31.

Peter sought their salvation, not the revenge of the people upon them for their part in the crucifixion of Christ. He preached with fervor that the blood of Christ was shed for their redemption and that they were personally responsible for receiving it for their sins, 2 Peter 3:9.

Verse 29

The Apostles Answer Charges of the High Priest, V. 29-33

1) "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said," (apokritheis de Petros kai hoi apostoloi eipan) "And replying Peter and all the apostles responded;” When the true witnessing, teaching, or preaching motives of God’s people are impugned with derision, they are to endure it, knowing a divine blessing and reward awaits them for their faithfulness in testimony, Isaiah 55:11-12; Matthew 5:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:12.

2) "We ought to obey God," continually or always, to give heed to God; for to obey Him has always been honorable, better than formal or pious worship and sacrifice, 1 Samuel 15:22; Mark 7:1-11; John 14:15; John 15:14.

3) "Rather than men," (mallon he anthropois) "Rather than men," rather than to men, when there is a clear conflict between the charges of God and men on religious and Divine matters, as in the instance of the three Hebrew children, and of Daniel, when civil rulers sought to direct and control their worship obligations and their praying, Daniel 3:12-25; Daniel 6:7-18, and when this council had forbidden teaching and preaching in the name of Jesus, Acts 4:18-21; Colossians 3:17.

In civil matters, obedience to rulers is divinely required, but on religious, personal, spiritual matters the word of and allegiance to God has priority, Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-15.

This verse is the magna charta of personal liberty of conscience that every person has before God.

Verse 30

1) "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus," (ho theos ton pateron hemon egeiren lesoun) "The true God of our fathers (our family race) raised Jesus," up from the grave, Acts 2:24; Acts 2:32; Acts 4:2; Acts 4:30; Romans 8:11. The God of their fathers was the covenant-making and promise keeping God who had sent Jesus Christ into the world to save men, John 3:16; John 20:21; Luke 19:10.

2) "Whom ye slew," (hon hemeis diecheirisasthe) "Whom you al slew," killed, put to death. That Jesus was slain, put to death by the Jewish religious order of the day is Biblically established beyond successful contradiction, Acts 10:39; Acts 13:28-30.

3) "And hanged on a tree," (kremasantes epi ksulou) "Even hanged upon a tree, until He died, Acts 2:23; Acts 4:10; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24. Crucifixion by which the Jews of Israel killed Jesus, was done by nailing the body to a cross made of wood, and raising it perpendicular, dropping it into a hole in the ground until the victim died, Deuteronomy 21:22-23; Joshua 8:29; John 19:31-32.

Verse 31

1) "Him hath God exalted," (touton ho theos hupsosen) "This one is the one God has exalted," carried upon high, into heaven, to an high position of honor and dignity, Philippians 2:9. He has become God’s servant, extolled or exalted to glory and honor heights, Isaiah 52:13.

2) "With His right hand," (te deksia autou tou) "To His right hand," Hebrews 1:3; Ephesians 1:20-21; Colossians 3:11; There as High Priest He now continuously makes intercession for His own, Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2.

3) "To be a Prince and Saviour," (archegon kai sotera) "As a Ruler and Saviour," now and to be hereafter forever, Isaiah 9:6-7; Acts 3:15; Luke 2:30-32; Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 4:1-2; Ephesians 1:22. He is the Royal Prince of Peace, and Saviour, Deliverer, who is yet to come to change our vile bodies like unto His own, Philippians 3:20-21; Revelation 1:5; 1 John 3:1-2.

4) "For to give repentance to Israel, "(dounai meta noion tou Israel) "To dole out (give freely) repentance to Israel," at the time of her refreshing, her time or opportunity of personal and national repentance, Acts 3:19-26; Acts 15:15-18; 2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 37:21-23; Ezekiel 37:26-28; Ezekiel 39:25-29.

5) "And forgiveness of sins," (kai aphesin hamartion) - And forgiveness (pardon) of sins," Isaiah 55:6-7; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 8:10-12; Hebrews 10:16-17. This appears to occur thru the repentance of the remnant of Israel, while morning and evening sacrifice oblations are offered in repentance and prayers for forgiveness, during the first half of the seventieth (70th) week of the time of Jacob’s trouble (travail) during which at least 144,000 of natural Israel shall be saved and witness for and to the Lord, Daniel 9:26-27; Revelation 7:3-4; Revelation 11:1-4; Revelation 12:13-14; Revelation 14:1-5.

Verse 32

1) "And we are His witnesses of these things;” (kai hemeis esmen martares ton hramaton touton) "And we are (exist as) testators (witnesses) of these words;” The "we" referred to are the twelve Apostles and the church, chosen, commissioned, empowered of their Lord to do His work, carry forth His new covenant program of worship, service, and soul-winning and teaching till He comes again, Matthew 28:18-20; John 15:16-17; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Acts 1:20-21.

2) "And so is also the Holy Ghost," (kai to pneuma to hagion) "As well as (is) the Holy Spirit," who reproves, rebukes, convicts, and pricks the hearts (seat of emotions) unbelievers, calling them to repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ, John 16:8-11; Acts 2:37; Acts 7:51; Acts 7:54-55; Acts 9:3-6.

3) "Whom God hath given to them that obey Him," (ho edoken ho theos tois peitharchousin auto) "Whom God doled out (freely gave) to those who were persuaded to Him," the Holy Spirit convicts, woos, calls, and enlightens sinners to see their lost state; but each, under such a divine call, must ask for pardon for himself, repent of his sins for himself, call upon God for mercy for himself, as the publican did, Luke 18:12-13; as Paul did, Acts 9:5-6. When one calls upon the Lord for forgiveness he obeys God, at which point the Holy Spirit quickens his soul, imparts to and implants in him a new (Divine) nature, makes him a child of God, John 6:63; Romans 5:5; Romans 10:8-13; Hebrews 3:7; Hebrews 4:7; Revelation 22:7; John 1:11-12.

Verse 33

1) "When they heard that," (ho de akousantes) "Then those having heard," that the saving, life-giving power of the Holy Spirit had saved them, thru faith in Christ, and called and empowered them in their witnessing of the living resurrected, ascended Savior, as they had been commanded to do, John 20:21; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8.

2) "They were cut to the heart," (dieprionto) "They were cut," in emotions, "to the heart," to the seat of their affections, deeply enraged, Acts 7:51; Acts 7:54; Acts 9:3-6 and as Felix and Agrippa were, for good or bad, Acts 24:24-25; Acts 26:22-32; Proverbs 1:22-27.

3) "And took council to slay them," (kai eboulonto anelien autous) "And they intended (had in their mind) to kill them," to kill the apostles, in a vicious, violent, vengeful manner, even as they often took council how they might slay the Lord, Mark 3:6; John 11:53. It is here verified that he that is not "with" the Lord is (exists) against Him, with carnal enmity, Romans 8:7; Luke 11:23; John 15:20; 2 Timothy 3:12.

Verse 34

Gamaliel’s Warning to the Sanhedrin, V. 34-39

1) "Then stood there up one in the council," (anastas de tis entosunedria) "Then a certain (very special) one stood up in the council meeting," confronted the whole Sanhedrin council, regarding their consideration of slaying, killing all the apostles, Acts 5:33. While the High Priest of the era was President of the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees also had practically a predominating influence in the council, as Gamaliel did, Acts 23:6-8.

2) "A Pharisee named Gamaliel," (parisaiois onomati Gamaliel) "A Pharisee by name (of) Gamaliel," a teacher of Paul, who taught according to the strict law of the fathers of Israel, Acts 22:3.

3) "A doctor of the law," (nomodidaskalos) "Who was a doctor (teacher or instructor) of the law," the law of Moses, one accepted as a proficient and definitive teacher and keeper of the Mosaic Law, Romans 10:14.

4) "Had in reputation among all the people," (timios panti to lao) "Esteemed by all the people," held in honor or reputation by the masses of Israel and of the reputation by the masses of Israel and of the Sanhedrin council, which he addressed concerning their collusion to put the apostles to death, as they had Jesus, Acts 2:36; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15.

5) "And commanded to put the apostles forth a little space," (ekeleusen ekso brachu tous anthropous poiesai) "He ordered the council to put the men outside (the council) a little way," out of ear-shot of what he was about to say to the council, much as Peter and John had once been sent outside while the council deliberated on what to do with them, Acts 4:15-17.

Verse 35

1) "And said unto them," (eipen te pros autous) "Then he addressed them," as follows:

2) "Ye men of Israel," (andres Israelitai) "Ye men of Israel, men of responsible age," men of official positions to interpret and influence morals and ethics in Israel; Men of zeal, but lacking, blind, in knowledge, Romans 10:1-4; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.

3) "Take heed to yourselves," (prosechete heautois) "Hold yourselves together," control yourselves; to yourselves take heed, caution; The persecutor always injures himself more than others. Gamaliel even seemed to be more concerned about the council than the apostles. Men must take heed both "what" and "how" they hear, Mark 4:24; Luke 8:18; Romans 10:17.

4) "What ye intend to do as touching these men," (epi tois anthropois toutois ti mellets prassein) "What you all intend (purpose or are about) to practice upon these men," to do to the apostles. They had lynching, and murder in their hearts against the apostles, Matthew 5:11-12; 2 Timothy 3:12.

PICTURES OF WICKLIFFE’S BIBLE

There is a picture frontispiece in Wickliffe’s [sic] Bible which was issued contrary to the commands of the Church authorities. There is a fire burning and spreading rather rapidly, representing true Christianity. Around this spreading fire are congregated a number of significant individuals, all trying to devise methods whereby they can put the fire out. One with horns and tail represents Satan. Another is the Pope with his red-coated cardinals, who forbade the promulgating of the Bible among the common people. Another represents infidelity. At length one suggests that they all make a united effort to blow in the fire till they blow it out. "The resolution is adopted, and there they are, with swollen cheeks and. extended lips, blowing upon the fire with all their might, but, instead of blowing it out, they are blowing it up, and they only blow themselves out of breath. The fire is inextinguishable."

- Richard Roberts.

Verse 36

1 ) "For before these days rose up Theudas:’(pro gar touton ton hemeron aneste Theudas) "For before these days (of the witness of the apostles) there stood up Theudas," as a public figure, but beyond this not identified.

2) "Boasting himself to be somebody;" (legon einai tina heauton) "Advertising himself to be (as) someone (special)," causing a civil and religious commotion, much as the false prophets described, 2 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Peter 2:17-19; Judges 1:4; Judges 1:10; Judges 1:12-13.

3) "To whom a number of men," (ho andron arithmos) "To whom numerous men of responsible age," attached themselves.

4) "About four hundred joined themselves:" (hos tetra kosin proseklithe) “About four hundred were aligned or attached," as if to follow with allegiance, John 5:43.

5) "Who was slain;” (hos anerethe) "Who was killed," whether in a riot or by established civil order is not clear.

6) "And all, as many as obeyed him," (kai pantes hossi epeithonto auto) "And all, even as many as were persuaded to follow or give heed to him," obeyed his leadership in rebellion against the established order of law.

7) "Were scattered and brought to nought," (dieluthesan kai egeneto eis ouden) "Were dispersed, (scattered) and came to not one thing," his boasting or self-promotion of himself to be somebody special, was vain or empty, like clouds and wind without rain, Proverbs 25:14; 2 Peter 2:17; Judges 1:12.

Verse 37

1) "After this man rose up Judas of Galilee," (meta touton aneste loudas ho Galilaios) "After this (the days of Theudas) there stood up Judas of Galilee," also a self-appointed public leader, an insurrectionist. This is a second specific example of public windbags and empty clouds to which Gamaliel calls the attention of the council. To infer that if the apostles were of like order their plaudits from men would also soon fade away.

2) "In the days of the taxing," (en tais hemerais tes apographes) "in the days of the enrollment," the time of tax assessment, perhaps referred to as the taxing under Caesar Augustus, Luke 2:1. This Judas was of the territory of Galilee. This was under Cyrenius Governor of Syria.

3) "And drew away much people after him:" (kai apestesen laon opiso autou) "And caused many people to stand up after (following after) him," in a tax rebellion in Syria, Galilee, and Judea, Luke 2:1-5.

4) "He also perished;” (kakeinos apo; eto) "And that man (Judas of Galilee) also perished," lost his life, came to nothing in comparison with his crusading promises, as a false prophet in Israel, 2 Peter 2:1-13.

5) "And all, even as many as obeyed him," (kai pantes hosoi epeithonto auto) "And all (those) as many as were persuaded to stand up (with him)," To stand up with and follow holy men is an holy thing, 1 Corinthians 11:1-2; But to follow the blind, deaf, dumb leader is to fall into the ditch, to come to sudden loss, Proverbs 25:14.

6) "Were dispersed," (deskorpisthesan) "Were (also) scattered or dispersed," driven out of Galilee, out of the country; God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble, 1 Peter 5:6; James 4:7-8; James 4:10.

Verse 38

1) "And now I say unto you," (kai ta nun lego humin) "And now and hereafter I say to (advise or counsel) you all," in your conduct, decisions, and actions on such matters, instructed by these examples.

2) "Refrain from these men," (apostate apo ton anthronpon touton) "Stand off (you all back away) from these men," these apostles and from what you have had in your mind to do to them as a purpose to harm or kill them, Acts 5:33.

3) "And let them alone:”(kai apheteautous)"And leave them," to themselves, or leave them alone; free from the harm and persecution and malice you have generated against them - - let them be, (exist), withhold your hate and malice. Gamaliel embraced the concept that murder was not a divine remedy for religious conflict, Matthew 15:13; God will be fin-al judge of civil and religious life at last, 1 Corinthians 3:9.

4) "For if this counsel or this work be of men,"(hoti ean e eks anthropon he boule haute) "Because if this counsel (that they give) be of (exist of human depravity) of man," (e to ergon touto) "Or this work," of miracle healing, be of depraved schemes and claims of men, such as they had done in Solomon’s porch, the temple area, and in the city of Jerusalem, Acts 1:8; Acts 3:11; Acts 4:2; Acts 5:12; Acts 5:20-21; Acts 5:25; Acts 5:42.

5) "It will come to nought:” (kataluthesetai) "it will be destroyed," come to nothing, without your meddling, like that of Theudas and Judas of Galilee, Proverbs 21:30. Such was the wise counsel of Gamaliel. Had they asked wisdom from God, rather than take the matter in their own hands, the council would never have plotted to kill the apostles as they had done to their Redeemer, Acts 2:36; Acts 3:14-15; James 1:5.

Verse 39

1) "But if it be of God," (ei de ek theou estin) "Moreover if it is (exists) of God," as the apostles had affirmed repeatedly, Acts 4:8-12; Acts 5:29-32; Isaiah 46:9-10.

2) "Ye cannot overthrow it;” (ou dunesthe katalusai autois) "You all will not be able (powerful or dynamic enough) to destroy them," the apostles, the church and their labors, Matthew 16:18; Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 3:21.

3) "Lest haply ye be found," (mepote hai theomachoi) "Lest it occur you all be found to be rebels (fighters) even against God," (heurethete) "You all (of the Sanhedrin council) be found," to be public enemies against God, Romans 8:7; Acts 7:51-54; as Pharaoh was, and Belshazzar was, and Nebuchadnezzar was, and Herod was, to resist or fight against God, Proverbs 19:20-21.

4) "Even to fight against God," (kai theomachoi) "Also or even to do battle against God," not only to try to kill men but also to be identified as slayers of God, in the person of His Son, Acts 9:5; and to incur His wrath and judgement punishment, Romans 2:4-9; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Matthew 12:30.

Verse 40

Beating of the Apostles, V. 40-42

1) "And to him they agreed," (epeithesan de auto) "Then they were persuaded to (respond to) him," to his reasoning and appeal; Gamaliel’s influence prevailed in the Sanhedrin council that day, even over the high priest, the presiding officer of the council, Acts 5:17-18; Acts 5:27-28; Acts 5:33.

2) "And when they had called the apostles," (kai proskalesamenoi rous apostolous) "And when they had called the apostles back into the council to face them," from the nearby holding place they had sent them for detainment while the council heard Gamaliel and considered the matter of killing them, Acts 5:34.

3) "And beaten them, they commanded," (deirantes parengeilan) "While beating them they charged, threatened;" To their former threats they then added the public whipping or beating, Acts 4:17-18; Acts 4:21. Their Lord had endured such humiliation before them and foretold theirs, Matthew 10:17; Matthew 27:26; John 15:20. For what were they beaten? For His namesake.

4) "That they should not speak in the name of Jesus," (me lalein epi to onomati tou lesou) "That they were not to speak thereafter in the name or upon the authority of Jesus," what Jesus had told them to do after they were or had been empowered by the Holy Spirit, Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 4:17-18; Acts 4:21; Colossians 3:17; Acts 4:12.

5) "And let them go," (kai apelusan) "And they (the Sanhedrin council) released them," set them free or let them go from their arrest and detainment to exercise their freedom and liberty in Christ, John 8:36; Galatians 5:13.

Verse 41

1) "And they departed from the presence of the council," (hoi men oun eporeuonto apo prosopou tou sunedriou) "They therefore went forth from the face or confrontation of the council," which had ordered their arrest and imprisonment and held them for questioning by the council, threatenings, and beating; and they went forth "being not weary in well doing" Galatians 6:9, and "abounding (going on) in the work of the Lord," 1 Corinthians 15:57-58.

2) "Rejoicing that they were counted worthy," (chairontes hoti kateksiothesan) "Rejoicing continually, with bubbling joy, because they were deemed worthy," as their Lord had indicated they should do, Matthew 5:10-12; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15; 1 Peter 4:13-14. True people of God, serving His will, may rejoice in heart even while suffering humiliation and pain from evil men.

3) "To suffer shame for His name," (huper tou onomatos atimasthenai) "To be dishonored on behalf of the name," of Jesus Christ, 2 Timothy 3:12; James 1:12; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Philippians 1:29; Hebrews 10:34. Suffering Christians should endure such without shame, holding the attitude that such should be a matter of high honor and holy price, not merely demeaning and humiliating, as when one suffers punishment for criminal, moral, and ethical wrong, 1 Peter 4:16.

Verse 42

1) "And daily in the temple," (pasan te hemeran en to

hiero) "And every day in the temple area or temple proper. Stripes and threats did not keep them silent, because they held steadfastly their allegiance to the call and commission from the Lord, John 20:21; Acts 1:8.

2) "And in every house they ceased not," (kai kat’ oikon ouk epauonto) "And according to (the) where they were they ceased not," did not refrain from their calling and commission from the Lord; The idea of door knocking and personal visitation from one house to another, known in America today, was unknown and seems not to have been practiced in Judea in those days. This passage does affirm that wherever they were, they witnessed, in every house or gathering place or group.

3) "To teach and preach Jesus Christ," (didaskontes kai euangellizomenoi ton Christon lesoun) "Indoctrinating (teaching, informing) and preaching Jesus Christ," as the Saviour, Redeemer, Lord, and coming judge and King. They simply preached Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and/or for all men who would receive Him, John 1:11-12; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Romans 1:14-16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; and they taught, instructed or indoctrinated to service, fidelity, and usefulness those who believed, Matthew 5:13-15; John 14:15; John 15:14; 1 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 2:10; James 1:22; 2 Timothy 4:2.

THE CHRISTIAN IN PERSECUTION

Unless a grain of mustard seed be bruised, the extent of its virtue is never acknowledged. For without bruising, it is insipid, but if it is bruised, it becomes hot, and it gives out all those pungent properties that were concealed in it. Thus every good man so long as he is not smitten, is regarded as insipid, and of slight account. But if ever the grinding of persecution crush him, instantly he gives forth all the warmth of his savor, and all that before appeared to be weak or contemptible is turned into godly fervor, and that which in peaceful times he had been glad to keep from view within his own bosom, he is driven by the force of tribulation to make known. ---Gregory.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Acts 5". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/acts-5.html. 1985.
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