Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Until the day in which he was taken up.—We notice, as a matter of style, the same periodic structure that we found in the opening of the Gospel, made more conspicuous in the Greek by an arrangement of the words which places “he was taken up” at the close of the sentence. On the word “taken up,” see Note on Luke 9:51.
That he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments.—The words admit of two possible meanings—(1) that he work of “commanding” was left to the Holy Spirit, guiding the spirits of the disciples into all the truth; (2) that in His human nature the Lord Jesus, after, as before, His passion, spoke as one who was “filled with the Holy Ghost” (Luke 4:1), to whom the Father had given the Spirit not by measure (John 3:34). As the Apostles were still waiting for the promised gift, the latter aspect of the words is, we can scarcely doubt, that which was intended by the writer.Acts 1:3. See Luke 24:51.
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, Acts 1:9.
After that ... - This passage has been variously rendered. The Syriac translates 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 Spirit" to the phrase "was taken up," making it mean that he was taken up by the Holy Spirit. But the most natural and correct translation seems to be what is in our King James 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 Spirit would descend to be a guide to his apostles. See John 16:7-11, and the notes on that place. It was to be his office to carry forward the work of redemption in applying it to the hearts of people. Whatever was done, therefore, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, was to be regarded as under the unique influence and direction of the Holy Spirit. Even the instructions of Jesus and his commission to the apostles, were to be regarded as coming within the department of the sacred Spirit, or within the province of his unique work. The instructions were given by divine authority, by infallible guidance, and as a part of the work which the Holy Spirit was sent down to accomplish. Under the direction and guidance of that Spirit the apostles were to go forth; by his aid they were to preach the gospel, 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 (Luke 24:49; compare Acts 2), yet, in some measure, his influence was imparted to the apostles before the ascension of Christ, John 20:22.
Had given commandments - Particularly the command to preach the gospel to all nations, Matthew 28:19; Mark 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.The day in which he was taken up; that is, the day of his ascension. This is a translation from the former book (his Gospel) unto this, showing how far he had proceeded in setting down the doctrine of our salvation.
After that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen; which words may be referred, either to the commandments he gave, or the choice he made of the apostles; both being by the Holy Ghost. The apostles had their doctrine from God, and were appointed to publish it by God; especially to publish the gospel to the whole world, Matthew 28:19; and to continue at Jerusalem till the coming of the Holy Ghost, Luke 24:49.
after that he, through the Holy Ghost, had given commandments unto the apostles, whom he had chosen: our Lord having chosen twelve of his own free grace and goodness, and not according to their worth and merit, to be his apostles, a little before his ascension to heaven, gave them more express and explicit commands and orders where they should go, into all the world, to all nations; and what they should preach, the whole Gospel, salvation by faith in him, and particularly repentance and remission of sins; and what ordinances they should require believers to attend to; and how they themselves should conduct and behave in their work: the phrase, "through the Holy Ghost", may either be read in connection with "had given commandments", as the Vulgate and Arabic versions read, and as we do; and the sense be, that these commands which Christ gave to his apostles, were not merely his orders, as man, but were what the Holy Ghost was equally concerned in with him, and were from him as God, and so carried a divine authority with them; and at the same time that he gave them to them, he breathed into them the Holy Ghost, whereby they had a more clear view of his doctrines and ordinances, and were more qualified to minister them; and besides, had an intimation given them, that they might expect still greater gifts of the Holy Ghost: or it may be read with the latter clause, "whom he had chosen"; as in the Syriac and Ethiopic versions; and then the meaning is, that just before his being taken up to heaven, he gave some special orders and directions to his apostles, whom he had chosen to that office through the Holy Ghost, and not through human affection in him, or according to any desert of theirs; but as under the influence of the Holy Spirit, with which, as man, he was anointed without measure; and whose gifts and graces he communicated to his disciples, to fit them for the service to which they were appointed: or with the apostles; they being sent by the Holy Ghost, as well as by Christ.Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 1:2. Until the day on which He was taken up, after that He had commissioned by means of the Holy Spirit the apostles whom He had chosen, belonging to ὧν ἤρξατο κ.τ.λ.
ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας] a usual attraction, but to be explained as in Acts 1:22; Luke 1:20; Luke 17:27; Matthew 24:38.
ἐντειλάμενος] refers neither merely to the baptismal command, Matthew 28, nor merely to the injunction in Acts 1:4; but is to be left as general: having given them charges, “ut facere solent, qui ab amicis, vel etiam ex hoc mundo discedunt,” Beza.
διὰ πνεύμ. ἁγίου] belongs to ἐντειλ. τοῖς ἀποστ.: by means of the Holy Spirit, of which He was possessor (Luke 4:1; Luke 14:18; John 3:34; John 20:22), and by virtue of which He worked, as in general, so specially as regards His disciples (9:55). Yet it is not to be explained as: by communication of the Spirit (comp. Bengel), since this is not promised till afterwards; nor yet as: quae agere deberent per Spir. S. (Grot.), which the words cannot bear. Others (Syr. Ar. Aeth. Cyril, Augustine, Beza, Scaliger, Heumann, Kypke, Michaelis, Rosenmüller, Heinrichs, Kuinoel, Olshausen, de Wette) connect διὰ πνεύμ. ἁγ. with οὓς ἐξελέξατο, quos per Sp. S. elegerat. But there thus would result a hyperbaton which, without any certain example in the N. T. (Winer, p. 517 [E. T. 696]; Buttm. neut. Gr. p. 333 [E. T. 388]), would put a strong emphasis, and yet without any warrant in the context, on διὰ πν. ἁγίου (Plat. Apol. p. 19 D, al.; Dissen, ad Dem. de cor. p. 177 f.; and see on Romans 16:27).
οὓς ἐξελέξ.] is added with design and emphasis; it is the significant premiss to ἐντειλάμ, κ.τ.λ. (whom He had chosen to Himself); for the earlier ἐκλογή on the part of Jesus was a necessary preliminary to their receiving the ἐντολὴ διὰ πν. ἁγ.
ἀνελήφθη] Luke 9:51; Luke 24:51 (Elz.).Acts 1:2. ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας. In Matt. ἄχρι occurs once or twice, in Mark and and John not at all, in Luke four times, and in Acts sixteen; whilst the commoner μέχρι is found only once in the Gospels and twice in the Acts (Winer-Schmiedel, p. 227, and on the use of the form ἄχρι or ἄχρις see Grimm-Thayer, sub v.). It is seldom used in the LXX, but in 2 Maccabees 14 it occurs twice, Acts 1:10; Acts 1:15; cf. also Symm., 2 Kings 21:16; Theod., Job 32:11.—διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου. The older commentators, and Wendt, Holtzmann, Zöckler, Hilgenfeld, amongst moderns, connect the words with ἐξελέξατο, the reference to the choice of the Apostles through the Holy Ghost standing significantly at the opening of a book in which their endowment with the same divine power is so prominent. On the other hand, it is urged that there is no need to emphasise further the divine choice of the Apostles (cf. Luke 6:13, and see below on Acts 1:25), but that it was important to show that the instructions to continue the work and teaching of Jesus were a divine commission (Weiss), and to emphasise from the commencement of the Acts that Jesus had given this commission to His Apostles through the same divine Spirit Whom they received shortly after His Ascension (Felten). Spitta (who refers Acts 1:1-14 to his inferior source ), whilst he connects διὰ πνεύμ. ἁγ. with ἐντειλάμενος, curiously limits the latter to the command to the Apostles to assemble themselves on the Mount of Olives (so too Jüngst). For other connections of the words see Alford in loco.—ἐξελέξατο, always in N.T. ἐκλέγομαι, middle (except, perhaps, in Luke 9:35, but see R.V. and W.H). Another verb very frequent in LXX, used constantly of a divine choice: of God’s choice of Israel, of Jacob, Aaron, David, the tribe of Judah, Zion, and Jerusalem. The verb is also found in the same sense in the middle voice in classical Greek.—ἀνελήμφθη: the verb is used of Elijah’s translation to heaven in the LXX, 2 Kings 2:9-11, also in Sir 48:9 and 1Ma 2:58, and perhaps of Enoch in Sir 49:14 (A, μετετέθη). In addition to the present passage (cf. Acts 1:11-12) it is also used in Mark 16:9 and 1 Timothy 3:16 (where it probably forms part of an early Christian Hymn or confession of faith) of our Lord’s Ascension; cf. also Gospel of Peter, 19, in a doubtfully orthodox sense. It is to be noted that the word is here used absolutely, as of an event with which the Apostolic Church was already familiar. On the cognate noun ἀνάληψις, used only by St. Luke in N.T., and absolutely, with reference to the same event, in his Gospel, Luke 9:51, see Psalms of Solomon, Acts 4:20, ed. Ryle and James, p. 49. In the latter passage the word is apparently used for the first time in extant Greek literature, but its meaning is very different from its later technical use with reference to the Assumption of the Blessed; see instances, p. 49, ubi supra. St. Irenæus, i., 10, 1, whilst using the noun of our Lord’s Ascension, is careful to say τὴν ἔνσαρκον εἰς τοὺς οὐρανοὺς ἀνάληψιν; see especially Swete, The Apostles’ Creed, pp. 70–72, and below on Acts 1:11.
 Westcott and Hort’s The New Testament in Greek: Critical Text and Notes.2. the day in which he was taken up] The Gospel of St Luke closes with a very brief notice of the Ascension: of which event fuller details are given in this chapter, so as to form a connection between the two treatises and to indicate the purpose with which the latter was written. See below on Acts 1:8.
through the Holy Ghost] That the whole institution of the Christian Church might be Divine. The Spirit of the Lord was upon the Anointed Jesus in this as in His other works and words. Cp. Luke 4:18.Acts 1:2. Ἐντειλάμενος, having given commandment) They who depart are wont to give commandment and a commission, as is needed and what is sufficient for the occasion. In Acts 1:3, Luke expresses generally, what the Lord spake to the apostles during those Forty days: but in Acts 1:2; Acts 1:4, et seq., he declares what He said on that remarkable day, viz., that of His Ascension: with this comp. Acts 1:5 at the end, and Acts 1:9 at the beginning [which prove that Acts 1:4-9 refer to the one and the same day, namely, that of the Ascension]. For it was up to that very day that Luke had carried forward his Gospel: and with it he begins the Acts of the Apostles.—τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, unto the apostles) An appellation appropriate to the subject of the whole book: their term of discipleship was now expired.—διὰ, through) Construe this with having given commandment. He Himself who gave commandment had the Holy Spirit, Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me:” and He bestowed that Spirit upon the apostles in giving them His instructions, John 20:22, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost;” intending presently after to bestow it on them most abundantly. Thus before His ascension He gave them an earnest of Pentecost.—ἐξελέξατο) He had chosen out: Luke 6:13; John 6:70. Judas is treated of separately in Acts 1:16-17.—ἀνελήφθη) He was taken up.Verse 2. - Received for taken, A.V.; commandment for commandments, A.V.; after that he had given commandment through the Holy Ghost for after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments, A.V. The commandment or directions given by our Lord to the apostles between the Resurrection and the Ascension are recorded partly in Luke 24:44-49; Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15-18; John 21; and yet more fully in vers. 3-8 of this chapter. Through the Holy Ghost. The sense is certain. Jesus gave his charge to his apostles through the Holy Ghost. It was by the Holy Ghost abiding in him that he spake to the apostles. This is the repeated declaration of Holy Scripture. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me" (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38. See also Luke 4:1; Matthew 12:28; Hebrews 9:14; and for the construction, Acts 11:28; Acts 21:4). Received up (ἀνελήφθη); the stone word as is used in the Septuagint of Elijah (2 Kings 2:10, 11). In Luke 24:5 it is carried up. (ἀνεφέρετο)
Through the Holy Ghost
Construe with had given commandment: by means of the Holy Spirit, which inspired him. Not, as some interpreters, with whom he had chosen.
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