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THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES - Chapter 1 - Verse 8

Verse 8. But ye shall receive power, etc. Literally, as it is translated in the margin, "ye shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you." This was said to them to console them. Though they could not know the times which God reserved in his own appointment, yet they should receive the promised Guide and Comforter. The word power here refers to all the help or aid which the Holy Spirit would grant; the power of speaking with new tongues; of preaching the gospel with great effect; of enduring great trials, etc. See Mr 16:17,18. The apostles had impatiently asked him if he was then about to restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus by this answer rebuked their impatience; taught them to repress their ill-timed ardour; and assured them again of the coming of the Holy Ghost.

Ye shall be witnesses. For this purpose they were appointed; and for this design they had been with him for more than three years. They had seen his manner of life, his miracles, his meekness, his sufferings; they had listened to his instructions, had conversed and eaten with him as a friend; they had seen him after he was risen, and were about to see him ascend to heaven; and they were qualified to bear witness to all these things in all parts of the earth, They were so numerous, that it could not be pretended that they were deceived; they had been so intimate with him and his plans, that they could testify of him; and there was no motive but conviction of the truth, that could lead them to all these sacrifices in making known the Saviour. The original word here is (marturev)—martyrs. From this word the name martyrs has been given to those who suffered in times of persecution. The reason why this name was given to them was that they bore witness to the life, instructions, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, even in the midst of persecution and death. It is commonly supposed that nearly all of the apostles thus bore witness to the Lord Jesus: of this, however, there is not clear proof. See Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, vol. i., pp. 55, p56. Still the word here does not necessarily mean that they should be martyrs, or be put to death in bearing witness to the Lord Jesus; but that they should everywhere testify to what they knew of him. The fact that this was the design of their appointment, and that they actually bore such testimony, is abundantly confirmed in the Acts of the Apostles, Ac 1:22; 5:32; 10:39,42; 22:16.


In Jerusalem. In the capital of the nation. See Ac 2. The great work of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost occurred there. Most of the disciples remained in Jerusalem until the persecution that arose about the death of Stephen, Ac 8:1,4. The apostles remained there till Herod put James to death. Comp. Ac 8:1, with Ac 12:1,2. This was about eight years. During this time, however, Paul was called to the apostleship, and Peter had preached the gospel to Cornelius, Philip to the eunuch, etc.

In all Judea. Judea was the southern division of the Holy Land, and included Jerusalem as the capital. See Barnes "Mt 2:22"; See Barnes "Ac 8:1".


And in Samaria. This was the middle portion of Palestine. See Barnes "Mt 2:22".

This was fulfilled by his disciples. See Ac 8:1, "And they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, (Ac 1:4,) everywhere preaching the word;" Ac 8:15, "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them " Ac 1:14; 9:31.

And unto the uttermost part of the earth. The word earth, or land, is sometimes taken to denote only the land of Palestine. But here there does not seem to be a necessity for limiting it thus. If Christ had intended that, he would have mentioned Galilee, as being the only remaining division. But as he had expressly directed them to preach the gospel to all nations, the expression here is clearly to be considered as including the Gentile lands as well as the Jewish. The evidence that they did this is found in the subsequent parts of this book, and in the history of the church. In this way Jesus replied to their question. Though he did not tell them the time when it was to be done, nor did he affirm that he would restore the kingdom to Israel, yet he gave them an answer that implied that the work should advance—should advance much farther than the land of Israel; and that they would have much to do in promoting it. All the commands of God, and all his communications are such as to call up our energy, and teach us that we have much to do. The uttermost parts of the earth have been given to the Saviour, (Ps 2:8) and churches should not rest until He whose right it is shall come and reign, Eze 21:27.

{1} "power" or "the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you" {a} "ye shall be witnesses" Mt 28:19; Lu 24:47-49

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