BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.Acts 2:27(NASB)
The birth of the Church at Pentecost, with the descent of the Holy Spirit, began a new dispensation in God's administration. Before the Cross, the only way to approach God was through Israel and their sacrificial system, as laid down in the Mosaic Law. Following Christ's sacrifice on the Cross, where Jesus voluntarily took upon Himself the sin of the world, God changed the way He met with humanity. While His plan of redemption never altered, God began dealings with man through the principles and practices given to the Church - through Christ's holy apostles and prophets, rather than the Law given through Moses.
Just as Christ's early ministry began with His baptism in the Spirit, when the heavens opened and God declared, "this is My beloved Son", in the same way, the Church was inaugurated with the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Just as Christ was indwelt and empowered by the Spirit of God, so the Church is indwelt and empowered by the same Spirit. Just as Christ only did those things He heard from the Father, so the Church - which is His mystic Body, is to obey the law of the Spirit of God in Christ Jesus.
It was on that Day of Pentecost that Peter stood up and gave a sermon to the men of Judah. They were confounded by the supernatural happenings on that special day, and Peter presented Jesus of Nazareth to the astonished crowd in his sermon. "Men of Israel", he cried, "listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs, which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know. This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross, by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power."
Peter was speaking to Jews and Jewish proselytes from around the world, who had come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover - as required by the Jewish Law. They were familiar with the Scriptures and had witnessed Christ's signs and wonders. The Pharisee's plot to dispose of Jesus quietly, backfired, and news of His crucifixion was being spread abroad. Peter took the opportunity to proclaim the gospel and used various passages from the Old Testament to validate his teaching. He used three ways to prove that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God - His miracles, His Resurrection, and His Ascension into heaven.
Peter's second quote was from David, who said of Him, "I saw the Lord ever before me; because He is at my right hand. I will not be shaken - therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced - because You will not leave me in Hades or allow Your Holy One to see decay. You have revealed the paths of life to me. You will fill me with gladness in Your presence."
Peter's audience knew that the Messiah was to come through King David, They all knew that the Scriptures recorded David's death and burial. They all knew his tomb was visited regularly by pilgrims, and yet this quote clearly stated that God would not leave his soul in Hades, nor would allow His Holy One - the Messiah, to decay into dust. This verse spoke of the bodily resurrection of God's Anointed, yet David was still in the tomb and his body had decayed. So Peter opened their understanding and pointed to Christ, great David's greater Son, Who was condemned to death by wicked men, but rose from the dead to life eternal and has ascended to the throne of the most-High God.
King David's prophetic words pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ. He authenticated His Messianic role through His signs and wonders but also fulfilled the Scriptures by rising from the dead and ascending into heaven, to the right hand of the Majesty on High. Many in that crowd believed and were saved by grace through faith in Christ - but some would not believe and remained dead in their sin and eternally condemned.
In the flyleaf of my mother's old Scholfield reference Bible, which she received in 1939, at the age of 15, is written the following, in her 15 year old handwriting, "There are 300 prophecies in the Old Testament referring to Christ's first coming and they were all literally fulfilled. There are 500 prophecies in the Old Testament relating to Christ's second coming - should we not accept that these will also be fulfilled!"
Whether or not she recorded the exact number of prophecies that are yet unfulfilled, is of little import, but the truth behind her observation remains valid - if all the prophecies for His first advent were fulfilled, surely we must believe that the prophecies of the Rapture of the Church and Christ's Second Coming to set up His Millennial Kingdom will also be literally fulfilled.
The miracles Christ performed, His sacrificial death, His glorious Resurrection, and His Ascension into heaven to sit on the right hand of God the Father, are a few of the prophecies within Peter's sermon, when he quoted David's words about Christ - that God would not abandon His soul to Hades, nor would He allow Christ Jesus, the Holy One of God, to decay in the grave. Instead, He rose from the dead in a physical body of flesh and bone, for His blood had been shed at Calvary, in full and final payment for the sin of the whole world.
Praise God that because HE rose we too will rise to life-immortal. May we be ready to witness to those souls that are lost and remain dead in trespasses and sins, so that they TOO may hear the good news of the Gospel of Grace and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and become part of that redeemed multitude that has been saved by grace through faith in Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the prophetic witness in Scripture concerning Christ's first advent, and the many passages that were literally fulfille as witness to this truth. Thank You that Jesus is coming again, and for the many prophetic passages the remind us of His soon return. May I be ready to meet Him, when He returns in the clouds for His Church, and help me to witness to those who do not yet know Him as their Saviour and Lord, so that they will have an opportunity to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. This I ask in Jesus' precious name, AMEN.
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