Notes on Acts Chapter 1

Note: words in parenthesis are exact translations from the literal Greek.

Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.

Luke is the writer of the Book of Acts and the former treatise he refers to is the Gospel which he also wrote.

The name Theophilus means “friend of God.” Theophilus could be a real person with that name, or Luke could have something mystical in mind. In John 15:14 Jesus told His disciples, “Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” Those who walk in the teachings of the Lord are His friends. Therefore, it is more likely that Luke is writing this account for all those who are friends of God. For this reason this writing of Luke was placed in the Bible and divinely held in store for all friends of God in all ages.

The Gospel of Luke was the former treatise of all that Jesus began both to do and teach. The Book of Acts is the account of all that Jesus continued to do and teach through His apostles and the Early Church. And the wonderful thing is, He still continues to do and teach all those who are His friends. He continues to do and teach in us and through us.

Acts 1:2-3 Until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen:
3 To whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion by (in) many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God:

Jesus showed Himself alive during the forty days between His crucifixion and His ascension. That is one of the things that He began to do and is still doing. To those He has chosen He reveals Himself alive and speaks to them of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. This He continues to do “through the Holy Spirit” and will continue to do.

The King James Bible says that He showed Himself alive “by many infallible proofs.” The preposition “by” is incorrect. The New Testament Scriptures were originally written in Greek, and in the Greek it is “in many infallible proofs.” It is important to understand the difference. What made the proofs infallible is the fact that He, spiritually speaking, was in them. His life was in the proofs.

Acts 1:4 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.

The disciples had been trained for ministry during the time of Jesus’ ministry on earth. Can you imagine the instruction and training they received from the Lord Himself? No seminary or Bible college could have come anywhere close to what they had received. Yet they were still not ready. It was necessary for them to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. So He tells them, “Don’t leave until you receive.” It would be wisdom for everyone who wanted to go into the ministry to do the same thing, but many of them go before they are ready.

Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with (in) the Holy Spirit not many days hence.

Water baptism is good and necessary, but it is not enough. The Apostle Paul sheds more light on this in his account of the twelve disciples he met at Ephesus. And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s Baptism. Then Paul said, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on (into) Him which should come after him, that is, on (into) Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in (into) the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve. Acts 19:1-7. The water baptism of repentance is not enough. They needed to believe into Jesus Christ. Many Christians believe on Jesus Christ; that is, they believe He is the Christ but do not believe into Him. Our faith and our believing must be of the sort that takes us into His life.

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?

The disciples still did not understand what the coming of Christ really meant. They thought the Lord might restore the kingdom of Israel. They did not realize that He was creating a new Israel, one that would be formed by people of every nation. And it remained for the Apostle Paul to be the primary table-setter; he would bring forth the revelation of the new order of the Kingdom of the Lord. They are not all Israel, which are of Israel; neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are accounted for the seed. Romans 9:6-8. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law…That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith…Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ…For ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ…There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abram’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:13, 14, 16, 26, 28-29. The new Israel is Christ and His many-membered Body – His Church. Messianic Jew is a term floating around today; there is no such animal! If one is in Christ, he is no longer a Jew, no longer a Greek (Gentile), no longer bond or free, and no longer male or female; all labels will discarded.

Acts 1:7 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.

The Greek word for “power” here is exousia, which more accurately means “authority.” I make note of this primarily because the word “power” in the next verse is translated from a different Greek word with a different meaning.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The Greek word for “power” in this verse is dunamis. We get our word dynamite from it. After you receive the Holy Spirit you shall receive dynamite power. Now it doesn’t say how long after you receive the Holy Spirit. It just says after. Most of the Christians I have seen, who had received the Holy Spirit, either did not have the dynamite power or didn’t know how to use it. My next question would be: What is the purpose for this dynamite power? God doesn’t give us anything so we can look super-spiritual.

I believe it has to do with being witnesses of the Lord. He said, “After the Holy Spirit is come upon you, you shall be witnesses unto (of) Me.” The Greek word for “witnesses” is martus. Our word “martyr” is derived from it. The purpose of the dynamite power is to help us become spiritual martyrs of the Lord. The Christian who wants to become as the Lord needs the dynamite power to blow up the tree stumps of his self-life. Some of the most difficult stumps to remove are selfishness, self-centeredness, pride, lust, anger, and the rest of the works of the flesh. You shall receive power after you receive the Holy Spirit, not so you can look super-spiritual but so you can overcome the flesh and blast it our of your life.

Acts 1:9 And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

The cloud is most likely the Shekinah-cloud of Glory, which would involve the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1).

Acts 1:10-11 And while they looked steadfastly 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.

The fulfillment of these verses are usually placed somewhere in the future. The first fulfillment of it, however, took place a few days later on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit of the Lord came out of heaven into man. Many Christians miss the coming of the Lord in them because their doctrines only concern a bodily return in the last days of time. See II Thessalonians 1:10.

Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren.

Jesus had told His disciples to not leave Jerusalem until they had received the promise of the Father (verse 4). So they gathered together with the women and with His mother and brothers praying with oneness of heart for the will of God.

Acts 1:15a, 16, 17, 20 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said…
16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
20 For it is written in the Book of the Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishopric let another take.

The psalm Peter refers to concerning Judas’ situation is Psalm 69:25. It was necessary for someone to finish out the ministry of Judas. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (irrevocable). Romans 11:29. When God gives a gift or ministry He doesn’t take it back. If the person He gives it to forsakes it, then it remains for someone else to finish it.

Acts 1:21-22 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us.
22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that He was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection.

It was necessary for the one who took over the ministry of Judas to have been one who had followed the ministry of the Lord and had been a witness of His resurrection. Joseph and Matthias were considered and the Lord chose Matthias to be numbered with eleven disciples.

Copyright © 2007 by Henry DuBose