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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 3 - Verse 22
Verse 22. For Moses truly said. The authority of Moses among the Jews was absolute and final. It was of great importance, therefore, to show not only that they were not departing from his law, but that he had actually foretold these very things. The object of the passage is not to prove that the heavens must receive him, but that he was truly the Messiah.
Unto the fathers. To their ancestors, or the founders of the nation. See De 18:16-19.
A prophet. Literally, one who foretells future events. But it is also used to denote a religious teacher in general. See Ro 12:6. In De 18, it is evidently used in a large sense, to denote one who should infallibly guide and direct the nation in its religious affairs; one who should be commissioned by God to do this, in opposition to the diviners Ac 3:14 on which other nations relied. The meaning of this passage in Deuteronomy is apparent from the connexion. Moses is stating to them Ac 3:11-18 the duty and office of the priests and Levites. He then cautions them against conforming to the surrounding nations, particularly on the subject of religious instruction and guidance. They, said he, consult, in times of perplexity, with enchanters, and charmers, and necromancers, and wizards, etc., Ac 3:11-14 but it shall not be so with you. You shall not be left to this false and uncertain guidance in times of perplexity and danger; for the Lord will raise up, from time to time, a prophet, a man directly commissioned in an extraordinary manner from heaven, like me, who shall direct and counsel you. The promise, therefore, pertains to the series of prophets which God would raise up; or it is a promise that God would send his prophets, as occasion might demand, to instruct and counsel the nation. The design was to keep them from consulting with diviners, etc., and to preserve them from following the pretended and false religious teachers of surrounding idolatrous people. In this interpretation most commentators agree. See particularly Calvin on this place. Thus explained, the prophecy had no exclusive or even direct reference to the Messiah, and there is no evidence that the Jews understood it to have any such reference, except as one of the series of prophets that God would raise up and send to instruct the nation. If then it be asked on what principle Peter appealed to this, we may reply,
(1.) that the Messiah was to sustain the character of a prophet, and the prophecy had reference to him as one of the teachers that God would raise up to instruct the nation.
(2.) It would apply to him by way of eminence, as the greatest of the messengers that God would send to instruct the people. In this sense it is probable that the Jews would understand it.
(3.) This was one of those emergencies in the history of the nation when they might expect such an intervention. The prophecy implied that, in times of perplexity and danger, God would raise up such a prophet. Such a time then existed. The nation was corrupt, distracted, subjected to a foreign power, and needed such a teacher and guide. If it be asked why Peter appealed to this, rather than to explicit prophecies of the Messiah, we may remark,
(2.) That in order to do this, he sets before them clearly the obligation to obey him; and in doing this, appeals to the express command of Moses. He shows them that, according to Moses, whoever would not obey such a prophet should be cut off from among the people. In refusing, therefore, to hear this great prophet, and putting him to death, they had violated the express command of their own lawgiver. But it was possible still to obey him, for he still lived in heaven; and all the authority of Moses, therefore, made it a matter of obligation for them still to hear and obey him. The Jews were accustomed to apply the name prophet to the Messiah, Joh 1:21; 6:14; 7:40; Mt 21:11; Lu 4:24; and it has been shown, from the writings of the Jewish Rabbins, that they believed the Messiah would be the greatest of the prophets, even greater than Moses. See Barnes "Joh 1:21".
The Lord your God. In the Hebrew, "Jehovah, thy God."
Raise up unto you. Appoint, or commission to come to you.
Of your brethren. Among yourselves; of your own countrymen; so that you shall not be dependent on foreigners, or on teachers of other nations. All the prophets were native-born Jews. And it was particularly true of the Messiah that he was to be a Jew, descended from Abraham, and raised up from the midst of his brethren, Heb 2:11,16,17.
On this account it was to be presumed that they would feel a deeper interest in him, and listen more attentively to his instructions.
Like unto me. Not in all things, but only in the point which was under discussion. He was to resemble him in being able to make known to them the will of God, and thus preventing the necessity of looking to other teachers. The idea of resemblance between Moses and the prophet is not very strictly expressed in the Greek, except in the mere circumstance of being raised up. God shall raise up to you a prophet, as he has raised up me—wv eme. The resemblance between Moses and the Messiah should not be pressed too far. The Scriptures have not traced it farther than to the fact that both were raised up by God to communicate his will to the Jewish people; and therefore one should be heard as well as the other.
Him shall ye hear. That is, him shall you obey, or you shall receive his instructions as a communication from God.
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