Acts 13:30

Well, at least not when the guy said it. Quote about Vermont at Vermont state capitol.

Tuesday, 10 January 2023

But God raised Him from the dead. Acts 13:30

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

Paul has been speaking on the Sabbath to the Jews in the synagogue of Antioch of Pisidia. He just spoke of the fulfillment of all that was written concerning Jesus, at which time they “took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.” But that is not the end of Paul’s speech. Rather, those words lead to his next thought, the greatest words ever spoken, saying, “But God raised Him from the dead.”

Paul first and foremost proclaims this because of what it signifies about Jesus Christ. The wages of sin is death. Though this is stated by Paul in Romans, it is not something foreign to the Hebrew scriptures. It is implied in the Lord’s words to Adam at the very beginning –

“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16, 17

God could have just not put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden. Or He could have allowed the man to eat of it. If there was something inherently wrong with the fruit of the tree that would negatively affect the man, He could have changed either the fruit or the man to make it acceptable to eat.

But these things were not the issue at all. The issue was obedience to the Lord’s command. In other words, the issue was the giving of law. God gave Adam a command. In violating that command, death would result. If the law had not been given, nothing would have happened to the man. The same is true with any other tree. God could have made a list of the trees man could eat and which ones he could not eat.

Fig (but only June 6th through August 27th)

Star Fruit
Fig (from August 28th to June 5th)
Jack Fruit

Violating the law, not the nature of the fruit itself, is what brings death. In eating the fruit, which is contrary to the law, the disobedient act calls for the set punishment to be rendered. Jesus was under the Law of Moses, the Lord’s set standard for Israel. In that law, a provision is made for absolute obedience to bring life. That is found in Leviticus 18 –

“You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 18:5

It is said by various scholars that Leviticus 11:44 contains the central theme of the book of Leviticus, “…you shall be holy; for I am holy.” This is an acceptable postulation. With that in mind, Leviticus 18:5 certainly contains the main logical reason for it.

It is such an important verse, that it is what is revealed in the thought of Genesis 2 & 3, and it is substantially repeated several times in both the Old and New Testaments. In Genesis 2, as noted above, the Lord gave a command which promised death if disobeyed. The implication then is that life would result through obedience.

In Genesis 3, because of man’s disobedience to the Lord’s law, access to the tree of life, by which man could live forever, was denied. Death entered the world. In Leviticus 18:5, a promise is made that through obedience to the Law of Moses the man shall live. Many pass this off as meaning “live happily,” have a “higher life,” possess “true life,” etc. This is not at all what is being relayed here. It is a promise that if a man keeps the requirements of the law, he will live and not die. On the flip side, if one does not keep the requirements of the law, he will die and not live.

The Lord dwelt among Israel. Access to Him was restricted because of the sin-nature of man, but also because of the law itself. However, in fulfillment of the law, access would naturally be granted once again. It could not be otherwise. The law is given to give life. If life is promised, then it must be granted.

If one doesn’t die, then he continues to live. If he lives forever, then he has eternal life. This is the implication of the words, and it is solidified by the using of a definite article in front of the word “man.” The text actually doesn’t say “if a man does.” It says, “if the man does.” This verse anticipates Christ. He is the Man who, in fact, did keep the ordinances and judgments of the Lord. Thus, God raised Him from the dead. He now possesses eternal life.

This is because in His fulfillment of the law, the law was made obsolete. It was annulled and set aside. As the law is done away with, there is nothing to ever bring about death again.

This is exactly explained in the book of Romans and elsewhere in the New Testament as well. Christ fulfilled the law, and thus the law is fulfilled. In Him, life is granted. If you are looking for access to restored paradise, and to the Tree of Life, you need to look no further than Jesus Christ. He is “The Man who did.”

Nehemiah 9:29 refers to Leviticus 18:5 after the people’s return from the punishment of exile. Ezekiel 20 repeats it three times showing that failure to keep the Lord’s law is what resulted in that punishment. Paul then cites the same verse twice, in Romans 10:5 and in Galatians 3:12, to show that Christ, who fulfilled the Law of Moses, is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes in Him. It is faith in His completion of this law that grants eternal life. He did the work; we must do the believing.

The second point that Paul is making in his words to the synagogue is the contrast between Israel’s rulers and God. Paul just said in verse 13:27 that “those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, … did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets.” Now, in verse 13:30, Paul says that “God raised Him from the dead.”

The contrast is clear. The stewards of the law did not know their Messiah, but God knew Him. And more, those stewards of the law obviously did not know the law, but Jesus did. And, in turn, they then did not know the Giver of that law, but Jesus did. This is all to be understood from Paul’s words to those at the synagogue, and thus to us who are reading the recorded words.

Life application: It is violating God’s law that brings about death. And the more law that is given, the more burdensome the weight is. Take the example above concerning the list of fruit. That is but a few of the fruits in the world. Suppose the list included every fruit on the planet and it was equally long in what was acceptable and what was unacceptable. Any slip-up would be a violation of the law.

Now suppose that the restrictions for the fig – about certain times of the year making the fruit acceptable or unacceptable – applied to every fruit. And more, each fruit had a different set of days that were ok or that were forbidden. Imagine the weight of the law! And now, let us add in a set time of the day when each fruit cannot be eaten. The burden increases with each law added. This is what Paul is telling the people in Galatians 3:19. The law “was added because of transgressions.” Later, he says that “the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ” (Galatians 3:24).

If all men fell in Adam because of one law, imagine the burden of meeting God’s perfect standard! Now consider the magnitude of what the words “But God raised Him from the dead” mean! Jesus! God’s grace is found in the giving of Jesus for our sins. He prevailed over the huge burden of the law. Why would any person on this planet want to go back under the Law of Moses where only death, condemnation, and eternal separation from God are found? Let us consider carefully where we will hang our hats. Let us come to God through Jesus Christ our Lord because God raised HIM from the dead!

Lord God, thank You for the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! Hallelujah and Amen.