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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 13 - Verse 33

Verse 33. God hath fulfilled. God has completed, or carried into effect, by the resurrection of Jesus. He does not say that all the promise had reference to his resurrection; but his being raised up completed or perfected the fulfillment of the promises which had been made respecting him.

In the second psalm. Ps 2:7.

Thou art my Son. This psalm has been usually understood as referring to the Messiah. See Barnes "Ac 4:25".


This day have I begotten thee. It is evident that Paul uses the expression here as implying that the Lord Jesus is called the Son of God because he raised him up from the dead; and that he means to imply that it was for this reason that he is so called in the psalm. This interpretation of an inspired apostle fixes the meaning of this passage in the psalm; and proves that it is not there used with reference to the doctrine of eternal generation, or to his incarnation, but that he is here called his Son because he was raised from the dead. And this interpretation accords with the scope of the psalm. In Ps 2:1-3, the psalmist records the combination of the rulers of the earth against the Messiah, and their efforts to cast off his reign. This was done, and the Messiah was rejected. All this pertains, not to his previous existence, but to the Messiah on the earth. In Ps 2:4,5, the psalmist shows that their efforts should not be successful; that God would laugh at their designs; that is, that their plans should not succeed. In Ps 2:6,7, he knows that the Messiah would be established as a King; that this was the fixed decree, that he had begotten him for this. All this is represented as subsequent to the raging of the heathen, and to the counsel of the kings against him, and must, therefore, refer not to his eternal generation, or his incarnation, but to something succeeding his death; that is, to his resurrection, and establishment as King at the right hand of God. This interpretation by the apostle Paul proves, therefore, that this passage is not to be used to establish the doctrine of the eternal generation of Christ. Christ is called the Son of God from various reasons. In Lu 1:35, because he was begotten by the Holy Ghost. In this place, on account of his resurrection. In Ro 1:4, it is also said, that he was declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead. See Barnes "Ro 1:4".

The resurrection from the dead is represented as in some sense the beginning of life, and it is with reference to this that the terms Son, and begotten from the dead, are used, as the birth of a child is the beginning of life. Thus Christ is said, Col 1:18, to be "the first, born from the dead" and thus in Re 1:5, he is called "the first-begotten of the dead," and with reference to this renewal or beginning of life he is called a Son. In whatever other senses he is caned a Son in the New Testament, yet it is here proved,

(1.) that he is called a Son from his resurrection; and,

(2.) that this is the sense in which the expression in the psalm is to be used.

This day. The day, in the mind of the psalmist and of Paul, of his resurrection. Many efforts have been made, and much learned criticism has been expended, to prove that this refers to eternity, or to his pre-existence. But the signification of the word, which never refers to eternity, and the connexion, and the obvious intention of the speaker, is against this. Paul understood this manifestly of the resurrection, This settles the inquiry, and this is the indispensable interpretation in the psalm itself.

Have I begotten thee. This evidently cannot be understood in a literal sense. It literally refers to the relation of an earthly father to his children; but in no such sense can it be applied to the relation of God the Father to the Son. It must therefore be figurative. The word sometimes figuratively means to produce, to cause to exist in any way. 2 Ti 2:23: "Unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender [beget] strifes." It refers also to the labours of the apostles in securing the conversion of stoners to the gospel. 1 Co 4:15: "In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." Phm 1:10: "Whom [Onesimus] I have begotten in my bonds." It is applied to Christians, Joh 1:13, "Which were born [begotten] not of blood, etc., but of God." Joh 3:3: "Except a man be born [begotten] again," etc. In all these places it is used in a figurative sense to denote the commencement of spiritual life by the power of God attending the truth; raising up sinners from the death of sin; or so producing spiritual life as that they should sustain to God the relation of sons. Thus he raised up Christ from the dead; imparted life to his body; by his own power restored him; and hence is said figuratively to have begotten him from the dead, and hence sustains towards the risen Saviour the relation of Father. Comp. Col 1:18; Re 1:5; Heb 1:5.

{b} "thou art my Son" Ps 2:7.

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