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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 1 - Verse 11
Verse 11. Ye men of Galilee. Galilee was the place of their former residence; and this was the name by which they were commonly known. There is no evidence that the angel intended this name in any way to reproach them.
Why stand ye, etc. There is doubtless a slight degree of censure implied in this, as well as a design to call their attention away from a vain attempt to see the departed Saviour. The impropriety may have been,
(1.) in the feeling of disappointment, as if he would not restore the kingdom to Israel.
(2.) Possibly they were expecting that he would again soon appear; though he had often foretold them that he would ascend to heaven.
(3.) There might have been an impropriety in their earnest desire for the mere bodily presence of the Lord Jesus, when it was more important that it should be in heaven. We may see here, also, that it is our duty not to stand in idleness, and to gaze even towards heaven. We, as well as the apostles, have a great work to do, and we should actively engage in it without delay.
Gazing up. Looking up.
This same Jesus. This was said to comfort them. The same tried Friend, who had been so faithful to them, would return. They ought not, therefore, to look with despondency at his departure.
Into heaven. This expression denotes into the immediate presence of God; or into the place of perpetual purity and happiness, where God peculiarly manifests his favour. The same thing is frequently designated by his sitting on the right hand of God, as emblematic of power, honour, and favour. See Barnes "Mr 16:19
Shall so come. At the day of judgment. Joh 14:3, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again," etc.
This address was designed to comfort the disciples. Though their Master and Friend was taken from them, yet he was not removed for ever. He would come again with similar majesty and glory, for the vindication of his people, and to tread all his enemies under his feet. The design for which he will come, will be to judge the world, Mt 25. There will be an evident fitness and propriety in his coming.
(1.) Because his appropriate work in heaven as Mediator shall be accomplished; his people shall have been saved; the enemy subdued; death shall have been conquered; and the gospel shall have shown its power in subduing all forms of wickedness; in removing the effects of sin, in establishing the law, in vindicating the honour of God; and shall thus have done all that will be needful to be done to establish the authority of God throughout the universe. It will be proper, therefore, that this mysterious order of things shall be wound up, and the results become a matter of record in the history of the universe. It will be better than it would be to suffer an eternal millennium on the earth, while the saints should many of them slumber, and the wicked still be in their graves.
(2.) It is proper that he should come to vindicate his people, and raise them up to glory. Here they have been persecuted, oppressed, put to death. Their character is assailed; they are poor; and the world despises them. It is fit that God should show himself to be their Friend; that he should do justice to their injured names and motives; that he should bring out hidden and obscure virtue, and vindicate it; that he should enter every grave and bring forth his friends to life.
(3.) It is proper that he should show his hatred of sin. Here it triumphs. The wicked are rich, and honoured, and mighty, and say, "Where is the promise of his coming?" 2 Pe 3:4. It is right that he should defend his cause. Hence the Lord Jesus will come to guard the avenues to heaven, and to see that the universe suffers no wrong, by the admission of an improper person to the skies.
(4.) The great transactions of redemption have been public, open, often grand. The apostasy was public, in the face of angels and of the universe. Sin has been open, public, high-handed. Misery has been public, and has rolled its deep and turbid waves in the face of the universe. Death has been public; all worlds have seen the race cut down and moulder. The death of Jesus was public; the angels saw it; the heavens were clothed with mourning; the earth shook; and the dead arose. The angels have desired to look into these things, (1 Pe 1:12,) and have felt an intense solicitude about men. Jesus was publicly whipped, cursed, crucified; and it is proper that he should publicly triumph, that all heaven rejoicing, and all hell at length humbled, should see his public victory. Hence he will come with clouds—with angels—with fire—and will raise the dead, and exhibit to all the universe the amazing close of the scheme of redemption.
(5.) We are in these verses presented with the most grand and wonderful events that this world has ever known—the ascension and return of the Lord Jesus. Here is consolation for the Christian; and here is a source of ceaseless alarm to the sinner.
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