Key Verse: “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.”
WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT was imparted to the eleven apostles on the Day of Pentecost, they began to see and understand details of God’s plans previously kept secret—“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints.” (Col. 1:26) As large crowds gathered in the streets of Jerusalem for the Passover celebration, the eleven found that, as they spoke to these multitudes from every nation, the Holy Spirit caused each to understand in their own language.
Comprehending the power of the Holy Spirit for the first time, Peter addressed the crowds by quoting the Prophet Joel: “It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.” (Acts 2:17) Peter was eager to begin preaching the Gospel of Christ to those whose ears might now be opened to hear and understand. He reminded the crowd that they had seen with their own eyes God’s approval of Jesus “by miracles and wonders and signs,” and that he was delivered to crucifixion “by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” and that “God hath raised [him] up” from the dead.—vss. 22-24
In order to impress upon his Jewish audience the arrival of the long awaited Messiah, Peter draws their attention to the testimony of the patriarch David. He quotes Psalm 16:10, which says, “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Peter continues, saying that David could not have been speaking of himself because “he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.” (Acts 2:29) Peter declares that David spoke as a prophet to proclaim the one who would one day sit upon his throne and rule over an eternal kingdom, and because the Jewish leaders had killed the Messiah, he must first be raised from the dead in order to sit on that throne. “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”—vss. 30-32
God had indeed sworn to David that he would raise up one from his own lineage to sit on his throne. Jesus had arrived, having lineage traced directly back to David. He had demonstrated he was the Son of God through wonders and miracles, and now he had been raised from the dead in order that he might complete God’s plan of establishing an everlasting kingdom which would bless all the families of the earth. Peter states it was Jesus, not David, who ascended to heaven. Indeed, Peter says, David himself had declared, “The Lord [God] said unto my [David’s] Lord [Jesus], Sit thou on my right hand.” (vs. 34) Finally, says Peter, the long awaited son of David had been made “both Lord and Christ,” and would make his “foes” his “footstool.” (vss. 35,36) Of his resurrection, the glorified Jesus would later declare, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”—Rev. 1:18