ACTS CHAPTER 3:18-26  


Acts 3:18

1. But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer:

The title, His Christ, refers to the Messiah. The Greek word, christos, is transliterated into all languages, but means anointed one. It is the counterpart for the Hebrew word, meshiyach, which also means anointed, and is the basis for our English word, Messiah. The significance of the term is that the one in view is designated by God for a special rank and function, through a formal ritual of anointing with oil. The term was used for the kings of Israel, but ultimately always looked to the future messiah savior who would not only make atonement for iniquity, but also reign on the earth as the Divine King of Righteousness.

The word, SUFFER, is a summary word for the first advent of the Messiah. The Old Testament summary passage is Isaiah 53:1-12, which addresses His ministry, persecution, saving work, death and resurrection.

2. He has thus fulfilled: This is an aorist active indicative of plāroō, which indicates that NOW, at this moment in history, the prophesied first coming of the Messiah has been fulfilled. Accordingly, the salvation provision taught in Isaiah 53 is at the present time, a spiritual reality for each individual to claim.

Acts 3:19

1. Repent therefore: the word, metanoeō, means to change the mind. It does not mean to change behavior, but to change one's thinking. As a result of changing the mind about Jesus as the Messiah, one will turn to God and receive the blessings of forgiveness of sins (salvation) and the quality of life that is characterized by peace and joy (times of refreshing).

2. and return: this verb is epistrephō, and means to change one's direction or action. This then, logically follows the change of MIND.

Without the action that follows that change of mind, any claim of a change is under suspicion. That is why John told the people to "bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance" (Mat. 3:8). Jesus told the people to "repent and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15). Faith is the ACTION part of trusting God. Repentance (change of mind) is the recognition of one's need and acceptance of the Father's verdict through the convicting of the Holy Spirit concerning "sin righteousness and judgment" (John 16:9-11). That is why Paul's evangelistic ministry is summed up by proclaiming "repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). Since Judaism, and by way of application, any NON-Christian belief system, is diametrically opposed to true Christianity, TRUE faith must be characterized by a TURNING AWAY from that false belief system and by demonstrating overtly an acceptance of Christ as Savior. Jeremiah talks about this action of walking in the right way as he quotes God, saying, "Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you shall find rest for your souls" (Jer. 6:16). A summary of Paul's evangelistic message showing this emphasis tells the people to "repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance" (Acts 26:20). However, this is not an act of WORKS that is in view, but simply an OBVIOUS rejection of one's present belief system, for without that rejection, it is just as OBVIOUS that there has been no true embracing of total trust in Christ. This ACTION is only a SIGN or TOKEN of the saving faith that was expressed and is not the SAME AS faith, nor does it accomplish what faith accomplishes. It is faith and faith only that brings forgiveness of sins and the imputation of God's righteousness (justification).

3. that your sins may be wiped away: the word, wiped away, is an aorist passive infinitive of exaleiphō, which means to blot out, introduced by the preposition, EIS. It is used only here in reference to forgiveness of sins, but parallels the other words that communicate total and complete removal of the sin debt from the one who believes in Jesus (Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 1:18; 43:25; Rev. 1:5).

Although Peter mentions a TURNING AROUND idea, it is only repentance AND the faith expressed through that change of mind that brings about forgiveness (Luke 24:47; Acts 10:43; 13:38-39). It is the "times of refreshing" that comes as a result of ACTION after salvation.

4. in order that: This is HOPōS with AN, used to indicate a temporal purpose that results from forgiveness of sins and the salvation relationship that is given at that time.

There are two stages to the temporal purpose that God has for Israel. The first one is the personal and INDIVIDUAL experience of spiritual prosperity through learning and using God's word. The second result is the NATIONAL deliverance that will occur when Jesus returns.

5. times of refreshing:
Times is kairos in the plural and has no "the" in front of it. The word, refreshing, is anapsuxis, which means relaxation and relief. It only occurs here and speaks of the spiritual REST that the believer experiences as he begins to live the Christian life. Many claim that this refers to the future millennial rest that Messiah will bring to the world when He sets up His earthly kingdom, and that this serves as a SECOND offer of the kingdom to the nation of Israel. But the language does not require such an idea, nor is such an idea consistent with the revealed plan of God. Also, the ORDER is wrong, for the millennium will come AFTER the return of Jesus and not before, which is the order we find here. Thus, the idea of TIMES does not refer to an eschatological future time period, but rather to the immediate experience of a quality of life characterized by peace and joy.

Furthermore, this teaching SUPPOSES that during the ministry of Jesus, there was a FIRST offer of the kingdom to Israel, but this is not the case. Israel was offered participation in the SPIRITUAL kingdom through trust in Jesus as the Messiah. There was never any hint in the teachings of Jesus that He was offering to set up His earthly kingdom over Israel.



There is the INITIAL relief and peace when one first trusts in Christ (Mat. 11:28), because of the knowledge of forgiveness of sins. But perpetuation of peace and joy comes through learning and living the standards of divine viewpoint as found only in the bible (Mat. 11:29-30; Jer. 6:16). Jesus called this ABUNDANCE at John 10:10, and explained it later as peace (John 14:27; 16:33) and joy (John 15:11).

At Romans 14:17, Paul relates the experience of peace and joy as a present TEMPORAL reality of participation in the kingdom of God, and as an extension of righteousness. At verse 15:13, he tells us that such is experienced by believing the standards of God's viewpoint. Later, at Philippians 4:6-7, he relates the experience of true Christian peace to trusting God in all the affairs of life. And finally, the writer of Hebrews teaches us about the life of spiritual REST as we learn and claim the promises of God so that we can relax with total confidence in God's character and plan (Hebrews 3-4).

6. may come from the presence of the Lord: This simply indicates that the source for this SPIRITUAL REST is God. It is a provision available to all believers and fulfills many promises found in the Old Testament as related to the nation. But the focus here is NOT on the nation, but on individuals who will experience true peace and joy (rest) as they become believers in Christ and then begin to live for Him (Jer. 6:16; Isaiah 26:3-4).


Acts 3:20

The next factor concerning the progress of God's plan for Israel is the second coming of the Messiah. This involves two phases. The ARRIVAL phase is when He arrives in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory to deliver living believers from the earth and give them resurrection bodies, as well as all the believers of the past. The DESCENT phase is when He comes down to the earth at the battle of Armageddon to defeat the armies of the beast, rescue His people, and set up His earthly kingdom. The people of Israel have the option to trust in Jesus during their lifetime BEFORE His ARRIVAL, and become fellow citizens with the saints of all ages (Eph. 2:13-20). This will result in blessing when Jesus comes. This is expressed by the words, "and that He may send Jesus. . ."

According to the sequence of events, Israel as a nation will not embrace Jesus until after His arrival in the clouds. Then, after the judgment of the beast's kingdom, Jesus will rescue the nation and lead them into His earthly kingdom. This is not teaching that when these individuals believe, Jesus will come back, but rather, when the NATION, as a collective unity embraces Jesus as the Messiah, then God will send Him to rescue them from the reign of the beast. This SENDING of Jesus refers to His physical descent at Armageddon, but not the second advent proper, which occurs several months earlier, when He comes in the clouds of the sky. This should not be considered a SECOND ADVENT passage, but rather a promise of a future deliverance for the nation of Israel, that will be triggered when the nation collectively trusts in Jesus as the Messiah.

Peter makes it clear so that there is no misunderstanding, that Jesus MUST remain in heaven until the time of restoration of all things. This is taught in the Old Testament as the earthly kingdom of the Messiah. When it is GOD'S TIME for the kingdom, then He will send Jesus - but ONLY those who have trusted in Him as the Savior will be recipients of blessing. Others will be the recipients of judgment. The application to the Jewish believers who are addressed, is that they are informed that when the nation as a collective unity embraces Jesus as the Messiah, then He will come to them (physical descent) and set up His earthly kingdom.

1. and that He may send Jesus: This "sending" of Jesus is technically, NOT the second coming proper, but rather the physical descent of Jesus at Armageddon to rescue the Jews who have trusted in Him since the second coming. However, that physical descent is based on the fact that first, Jesus will come in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. At this time, He will rescue believers through the rapture, and then begin to pour out His wrath on the kingdom of the beast through the trumpet and bowl judgments. At the end of this time of judgment, when the nations of the world are gathered in Megiddo, Jesus will descend from His cloud (Rev. 14:14; 19:11) and after destroying them, will set up His earthly kingdom.

2. the Christ appointed for you: The focus is on the nation. Paul writes at Romans 11:26 that there will come a time when all Israel will be saved, and then makes reference to Isaiah 59:20, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob." When Isaiah speaks about this, he has both the ARRIVAL phase and the DESCENT phase combined, as is often the case with the Old Testament prophets. Paul's reference is specifically to the DESCENT phase, when Israel as a nation will be delivered and then cleansed before entering into the kingdom.


Acts 3:21

1. whom heaven must receive: This refers to the ascension of Jesus which Hosea makes reference to at Hosea 5:15,

"I will go away and return to My place
Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face;
In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me."

See Topic: Ascension and Session of Christ

2. until {the} times of restoration of all things: this refers to the TIME PERIOD when the final eschatological events will take place. It is DURING this "end times" context that Jesus will return in the two phases already described. It refers to the 2nd set of God's purpose for the 490 years allotted to Israel listed at Daniel 9:24. The first set of 3 purposes was fulfilled at the Messiah's first advent through His sacrifice for sin on the cross. The second set will be fulfilled at the end of the 70th week of Daniel when God will (1) bring in everlasting righteousness (Messiah's righteous reign), (2) seal up vision and prophecy (fulfill God's prophetic plan for the world), and (3) anoint the most holy (establish the new temple in the Messiah's kingdom).

When it is TIME for these things to BEGIN to take place, then Jesus will come back, "which He (God) will manifest at His own time" (1 Tim. 6:15).

The nation does not receive the benefit of Christ's ARRIVAL phase because they are still COLLECTIVELY in unbelief. But that arrival will generate a positive response from the nation (initiated by the conversion of the 144,000) so that several months later, when Armageddon takes place, they will be rescued by the physical descent of Jesus and be ushered into His earthly kingdom.

3. about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time:

The millennial glories have been proclaimed all throughout the Old Testament, but Peter focuses on the one spoken by Moses, because in the Judaistic belief system, it is MOSES who holds the greatest influence upon the people (John 5:45-47; 9:28).

Acts 3:22
Old Testament documentation concerning the arrival of the Messiah is found at Deuteronomy 18:15-19.


There is very little information about this prediction by Moses, and nothing that connects it directly to the Messiah except Peter's reference to it here. It appears that even the Pharisees did not make the connection between THE PROPHET and the Messiah (John 1:21-25). but some of the people did make the connection.

A. At John 6:14, after one of His many signs, the people said, "This is of a truth, the prophet who is to come into the world."

B. At John 7:40-41, some of the people used the term "the prophet," but others in the crowd separated that designation from Messianic, and simply said that He was the Christ.

C. And at Matthew 21:11, when Jesus came into Jerusalem, the people were designating Him as, "the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee."

D. But still, others simply assigned PROPHET status to Jesus without connecting it to the prediction of Moses (Mark 6:15; Luke 7:16; John 4:19).

2. TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED in everything He says to you:

This indicates that HE will have full spiritual authority in every area of life.

Acts 3:23

And it shall be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people:

Of course, for all those who reject Jesus, the wrath of God abides upon them and they will perish in the lake of fire (John 3:16, 36). But more specifically, for the nation of Israel in that end-times context, those who reject Jesus will undergo the judgment of rejection by Him during the "fat and lean sheep" evaluation after Armageddon (Ezek. 34:17-22), and they will not go into the earthly kingdom.

Acts 3:24

And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and {his} successors onward, also announced these days.

All the prophets have centered their teachings around the career of the Messiah, and ultimately upon His righteous reign during His earthly kingdom. Jesus summarized this at Luke 24:44, when He said that "all things which are written about Me in the law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

Acts 3:25

It is you who are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.

Peter appeals to their religious heritage and frame of reference because he wants them to realize that that heritage is fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus. The promise made to their fathers is that there would be spiritual blessing for ALL peoples THROUGH them. Later, Paul clarifies that this promise is a proclamation of the good news of salvation when he writes to the Galatians, "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, proclaimed the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'All the nations shall be blessed in you'" (Gal. 3:8).

Then Peter mentions a PRIORITY factor that should elicit some national pride from the people and help them focus on the fact that God is truly interested in their welfare - but it is a SPIRITUAL welfare that is the most important.

Acts 3:26

For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one {of you} from your wicked ways.

The promise of forgiveness of sins is offered to the Jews first, NOT from a QUALITY standpoint, but because the foundation of the church is to be built upon the promise to Abraham. Paul writes to the Romans that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, "to the Jew first and also to the Greeks" (Rom. 1:16). Even Jesus' ministry was primarily directed to Israel rather than to Gentiles, just as He instructed His disciples, not to go in the way of the Gentiles or of the Samaritans; but rather "go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mat. 10:5-6). This of course, was only a timing factor, for Jesus ministered to many non-Jewish people (John 4:1-42; 12:20ff).

However, because of the failure of the nation COLLECTIVELY to embrace Jesus as the Messiah, the emphasis will be removed from Israel and placed upon the Gentiles. The reason for this is twofold.

(1) There needs to be a formal evangelistic agent functioning on the earth to carry God's truth to the world. Since Israel's rejection of Jesus removed the nation from that function, God needed to establish a new NATION, to carry out His plans. The new nation, called the church (comprised of individuals from all races), temporarily takes over the SPIRITUAL purpose of Israel and becomes the evangelistic agency to take the gospel to the world (Mat. 21:33-45; 23:29-39; 1 Pet. 2:9-10).

However, because "the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable" (Rom. 11:29), He still has a future plan for Israel, and this REPLACEMENT is only TEMPORARY.


(2) God has not abandoned either the nation or ANY individual. However, since a hardness of heart has fallen upon the Jewish people, there needs to be a NEW conviction factor employed to try to reach them. Through a FORMAL rejection of the nation, God instigates a spirit of jealousy that serves as a further goad to individual Jews and woos them to Christ. God prophesied 1500 years earlier through Moses that this would be the case, at Deuteronomy 32:21.

"They have made Me jealous with what is not God;
They have provoked Me to anger with their idols.
So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people;
I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation."

Thus, Paul writes at Romans 11:11-14,

"I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall did they?
Definitely not! But by their transgression salvation has come
to the Gentiles , to make them jealous . . .
I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy
my fellow countrymen and save some of them."

We have a demonstration of this with the Jews at Pisidian Antioch as is recorded at Acts 13:14-47. After the normal Saturday meeting at the synagogue, many Jews and Gentiles gathered with Paul and Barnabas to be taught more. The result was that on the next Saturday, practically the whole city was gathered together to hear the word of God. And the presence of the Gentiles had the desired effect upon the hardhearted Jews, for when they "saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy.

So Paul tells them that, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first" (Acts 13:46). It was necessary in order to establish the basis for building a new SPIRITUAL nation out from among all peoples, but with emphasis on the Gentiles, as Paul continues at verse 46,

"since you repudiate it, and judge yourselves unworthy
of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles."

This rejection of the Jews is only a NATIONAL rejection (and temporary at that), but not a rejection of individuals. Just as Paul wrote at 2 Corinthians 3:15-16,

"But to this day whenever Moses is read,
a veil lies over their heart;
but whenever it (a heart) turns to the Lord,
the veil is taken away."

and at Ephesians 2:17-18,

"And he came and proclaimed peace
to you who were far away (Gentiles)
and peace to those who were near (Jews);
for through Him we both have our access
in one Spirit to the Father."



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