Acts 2:34

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

“For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Acts 2:34

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).

Peter just said that Jesus was exalted to (or by) the right hand of God. Peter is clearly implying that Jesus is God, thus it is signifying that God – through Jesus – has poured the Spirit out upon the believers. In order to substantiate what he is saying is not only possible, but is actually provable based on Scripture itself, he cites the 110th Psalm. It is a psalm cited by Jesus in all three of the synoptic gospels (Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36, and Luke 20:42). It is also cited in Hebrews 1:13.

Before citing the psalm, Peter begins with, “For David did not ascend into the heavens.” He has already noted that David had died, he was buried there in Jerusalem, and implied that his body had corrupted. The obvious meaning is that David was in Sheol (Hades) awaiting the resurrection of the dead. Therefore, what Peter will cite from the 110th Psalm, which was written by David, could not be referring to himself. Instead, it is a prophesy about the coming Messiah.

Peter confirms this line of thought by continuing with, “but he says himself.” This is referring to David. David wrote the psalm, David did not ascend into heaven, and yet, the psalm speaks of someone who has ascended into heaven. And so, David cannot be speaking of himself.

But more, David uses particular words that exclude any possibility at all that he could be referring to himself, even in metaphor or allegory. Peter now cites those words of David, beginning with, “The LORD.”

“The LORD” is the Hebrew name for God, Yehovah (Yahweh, YHVH, etc.), used over 6000 times in the Old Testament. It refers to Him and only Him. He is the I AM THAT I AM of Exodus 3, and the One that claims there is “no other god” in Isaiah 44 (and elsewhere) –

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
‘I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God.’” Isaiah 44:6

Peter continues the citation, saying, “said to my Lord.” Here, “my Lord” is the Hebrew word adoni. It means, “my master,” or “my lord.” In this case, David is subordinating himself to the One he is referring to. This is what Jesus was conveying to those before Him –

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?”
They said to Him, “The Son of David.”
43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:
44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”’?
45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore. Matthew 22:41-46

It was understood that David was obviously referring to the Messiah (the Christ). However, in the Bible, the father is always considered greater than the son. And yet, though the Messiah would descend from David (another precept clearly taught in Scripture), David still subordinates himself to his own Seed. “The LORD said to my Lord,” or paraphrased, “Yehovah said to my Master (the One greater than me).”

As this Son is greater than David, it implies that He was before David, even if He came after him. It is an implicit note of deity. Because of their inability to respond to Jesus’ question, they realized they were not as smart as they thought. What was presented to them was beyond their understanding.

Peter is taking what he learned from Jesus’ instructions of the Pharisees, and he is making his case that Jesus is – in fact – the incarnate Yehovah. It has been implied in the analysis of David’s words, and it continues to be supported by his next words, saying, “Sit at My right hand.”

Peter’s words earlier in the passage confirm that the Christ would die, He would be buried, and that He would resurrect. The words of this psalm confirm that He is greater than David. And more, they confirm that He not only resurrected, but ascended. To sit at the right hand of God means that He is in heaven at the position of all power and authority.

And more, He has taken the words of Joel, cited earlier, to directly equate Jesus with Yehovah. Joel, quoting the Lord (Yehovah) said, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh” (Acts 2:17). Peter said in Acts 2:33 that Jesus was the One who accomplished this.

The picture that Peter is painting is one that clearly portrays Jesus as the Christ, and that Christ is God. Any other analysis of his words would cause damage to what is being conveyed.

Life application: The Bible slowly and progressively reveals the beautiful thought that God loves the world, meaning humanity, so much that He was willing to do the incredible in order to restore us to Himself. He created man in His image. The implication is that He desired to bond with him in a unique way. But the Bible shows that this cannot be the case when sin is present.

But, without having sinned, man would not have had the knowledge of good and evil. Thus, we can see that God was willing to give man a conscience, and to use that conscience – even to his own harm – in order to make a full and mutual relationship with Him possible.

The sin still had to be dealt with though, and so, in due time, God entered into the stream of time and human existence in order to correct that part of the equation. In the coming of Jesus, He was able to do this. Now, God continues to give us the choice to accept Him or reject Him through His offer of peace. This is not forced, and so it is a mutual relationship.

To think on the enormity of what God has done in Christ leaves the mind bewildered. And yet, it is true. The message of God in Christ is one of wonder. Thank God for Jesus who has made our reconciliation with God possible. Yes, thank God for JESUS!

Lord God, thank You for the coming of Christ our Lord who has made all things new. We wait for the day when they will be realized. May Your glorious name be praised forever and ever! Amen.