Acts 1:1 ¶ The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 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: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Acts 1:6 ¶ When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. 12 ¶ Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.
“Luke, the beloved physician,” (Col. 4:14), undertakes the huge task of writing the Book of Acts as a letter to assure his friend Theophilus of the truth of the resurrected Christ. For he states that he had perfect understanding of all things from the very first. He mentions the “former treatise,” which was the Book of Luke; which ‘treatise’ was also written for the benefit of this friend.
Luke 1:1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2 Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
We must bow our heads in thanksgiving to the Lord for raising up such a qualified writer, and for making sure that his personal writings have been preserved for us these 2000 years later! We are most blessed to have such ancient writings available to us today. Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
He mentions that the resurrected Lord Jesus was seen of them forty days between his resurrection and his ascension. And we appreciate the significance of that as the Apostle Paul, in writing of the resurrection to the Corinthian church twice, states that all this was done according to the scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3,4) Therefore let us go back to the writings of Moses and see the importance of these forty days.
Leviticus 23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD’S passover. 15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. And we know that he was instituting the observance of the Lord’s Passover.
And we know that the Passover was celebrated with the shed blood of a male lamb. Leviticus 23:12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD. Therefore from the Passover until Pentecost was 50 days. For Pentecost was to be the day after the seventh sabbath. Seven weeks is 49 days, plus the morrow after the seventh sabbath would be 50 days.
Christ was the Lamb slain to afford all believers God’s mercy in passing over them when his blood was applied for the redemption of their souls. Exodus 12:13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. For Christ alone is the believer’s Passover! 1 Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
Now we clearly see that as Passover represented the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, so Pentecost is the day of the sending of the Holy Spirit! Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, (languages) as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And as we read that the two wave loaves were from the firstfruits, so we read that Christ also is the firstfruits from the dead. Leviticus 23:17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the LORD. 1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
Therefore the Lord Jesus allowed himself forty days after his sacrifice (Passover), before he ascended back to the Father. Then Pentecost with the receiving of the Holy Spirit came 10 days later on the 50th day. And in these 40 days there was given unquestionable evidence, or infallible proof that he was the resurrected Christ!
And as we have already mentioned the Apostle Paul wrote of this to the believers at Corinth. We have it as the 15th chapter of his First Corinthian letter. For he gives in enlightening detail all the witnesses who saw the resurrected Messiah. And we know that the Lord, after “his passion,” that is after his redemptive sufferings, proclaimed that the world of unbelievers would see him no more. John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. And that held true.
You can read of Judas (not Iscariot) asking the Lord how this would be accomplished in John 14. John 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? And the Lord’s answer was that it would be done by the revelation of the love of God within the soul’s for whom he died. 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
For having the love of God implanted within one’s soul is to receive the new birth! 1 John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Therefore having the invisible working of the Holy Spirit within one’s heart, unseen by the world, would be the means of God’s revelation! John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
But the detailed list which the Apostle Paul gives would stand up in any court of law, as to those who did see him. Here is what he wrote: 1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, (that is, Peter) then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
In that verse six the Lord is reported to have been seen of five hundred brethren at once. And although some of them had already died, the greater part were still alive at the time of this writing. What an Infallible Proof! Hundreds of witnesses could be sworn to tell the truth in a court of law who would all give the exact same witness and testimony! They could all honestly witness that they had personally seen and heard the person of Jesus of Nazareth, very much alive, after his crucifixion!
For as Paul told King Agrippa, this thing was not done in a corner. Acts 26:26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
And here is what the Apostle John wrote as the testimony of the apostles. 1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
In Acts 1:4 the Lord Jesus commanded them that they should wait for the promise of the Father, which ye have heard of me. And he had instructed them of this on several occasions! John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 15:26 ¶ But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 16:7 ¶ Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
And dear Reader, just as his word was true concerning the sending of the Holy Spirit, so his word of his personal return to earth in the glory of his Father shall also be accomplished! It shall also be just as the angels informed the disciples upon his ascension. Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Consider also these passages: John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
2 Thessalonians 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
And what is the condition of hearts and minds of the citizens of this nation at present? It is a total ignoring of the Person of God and all things spiritual! I did not say, “religious,” but “spiritual.” And THAT is exactly the mind set of the population in Noah’s and Lot’s days. The population was only concerned about their personal needs and desires!
Luke 17:26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. Proverbs 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
Pastor Gene Breed
August 13, 2021