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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 1 - Verse 2
In which he was taken up. In which he ascended to heaven. He was taken up into a cloud, and is represented as having been borne or carried to heaven, Ac 1:9.
After that, etc. This whole passage has been variously rendered. The Syriac renders it, "After he had given commandment unto the apostles whom he had chosen by the Holy Spirit." So also the Ethiopic version. Others have joined the words "through the 'Holy Ghost" to the phrase "was taken up," making it mean that he was taken up by the Holy Ghost. But the most natural and correct translation seems to be that which is in our version.
Through the Holy Ghost. To understand this, it is necessary to call to mind the promise that Jesus made before his death, that after his departure, the Holy Ghost would descend to be a guide to his apostles. See Joh 16:7-11, See Barnes "Joh 16:7".
It was to be his office to carry forward the work of redemption in applying it to the hearts of men. Whatever was done, therefore, after the atonement and resurrection of Jesus, after he had finished his great work, was to be regarded as under the peculiar influence and direction of the Holy Ghost. Even the instructions of Jesus, his commission to the apostles, etc., were to be regarded as coming within the department of the sacred Spirit, within the province of his peculiar work. The instructions were given by Divine authority, by infallible guidance, and as a part of the work which the Holy Spirit designed. Under that Spirit the apostles were to go forth; by his aid they were to convert the world, to organize the church, to establish its order and its doctrines. And hence the entire work was declared to be by his direction. Though in his larger and more mighty influences, the Spirit did not descend until the day of Pentecost, Lu 24:49; comp. Ac 2 yet in some measure his influence was imparted to them before the ascension of Christ, Joh 20:22.
Had given commandments. Particularly the command to preach the gospel to all nations, Mt 28:19; Mr 16:15-19. It may be worthy of remark, that the word commandments, as a noun in the plural number, does not occur in the original. The single word which is translated "had given commandments" is a participle, and means simply having commanded. There is no need, therefore, of supposing that there is reference here to any other command than to that great and glorious injunction to preach the gospel to every creature. That was a command of so much importance as to be worthy of a distinct record, as constituting the sum of all that the Saviour taught them after his resurrection.
The apostles. The eleven that remained after the treason and death of Judas.
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