The Early Church in Jerusalem, 1:1-5:42

i] The Ascension


Again addressing Theophilus, Luke summarises the forty days following the resurrection of Jesus, and goes on to narrate his ascension.


As with the incarnation, so also with the ascension, Luke introduces us to a theologically significant mystery. Christ must begin his reign in glory, for only then can the Spirit be poured out on God's elect people to enable them to communicate the gospel to the ends of the earth.


i] Context: Gospel outreach to the ends of the earth.

Luke's acts of Jesus is followed up with his acts of the apostles, or more properly, some of the apostles. In his Acts of the Apostles, Luke records the extension of the gospel (the proclamation of the realisation / inauguration of the kingdom of God in the reign of Christ) from Jew to Gentile, from Jerusalem to Rome / the ends of the earth, and thus consequently, the transition from Law to grace. These acts unfold as follows:

iGospel outreach in Jerusalem, chapters 1-5: From chapter 1 through to chapter 5, Luke deals with the birth of the Christian church / assembly of believers. This community of believers begins in Jerusalem as a gathering of believing Jews, Jews who follow in the way of the risen Christ.

iExpansion into Palestine, 6-12: Luke's story tells of the spread of the way from Jerusalem into Judea and Samaria where the gospel touches God-fearers.

iThe mission from Antioch, 13-15: The gospel moves outward from Antioch, finally reaching Gentiles. It is as Gentiles become members of the way that Luke focuses on the ministry of Paul.

iThe Aegean Mission, 16-20: Expansion into Greece. Although it is always Jew first and then Gentile, Paul's gospel ministry is now primarily focused on Gentiles.

iJerusalem to Rome, 21-28: Luke now focuses on Paul's arrest and his appeal to Caesar.

So, the sect of the way has its foundation in Jerusalem; its roots are firmly fixed in the historic people of Israel, such that it is the "hope of Israel", 28:20. Yet, as Luke unfolds his story of the way he will relate how it extends to Gentile unbelievers and how this creates a divisive tension between Jerusalem and Rome / Law and grace.


The opening section, Beginning in Jerusalem, 1-5, presents as follows: Chapter 1 covers the period from Jesus' crucifixion leading up to the Day of Pentecost, which feast was held 50 days from the first Sabbath after the Passover. Chapter 2 recounts the fulfilment of Israel's hope in the outpouring of the promised Spirit of God and the emergence of God's renewed community / church. In chapter 3 we witness the continuation of Christ's messianic signs to Israel, but also the continuation of Israel's unbelief. The life of the Jerusalem church is further detailed as we move into chapter 5, with the chapter ending on the theme of Israel's unbelief.


ii] Background:

iThe baptism / filling of the Spirit - See Excursus

iLuke's message is the gospel:

God has raised up a mighty Saviour;
The day of salvation is upon us.

This message was related to the apostles by Jesus along with the command to take it to the ends of the world. With a particular focus on Paul the apostle, and his gospel of grace, Luke relates how the gospel message moves from Jerusalem to the centre of the world, namely Rome. So, the book of Acts is Luke's account of the unfolding realisation of Christ's charge to his disciples:

You will be my witnesses in both Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth

The future tense of this text from Acts 1:8, probably serves as an imperative, an imperative backed up with divine assistance, namely the empowering of the Holy Spirit for mission; "you will be (and you will be able to be) my witnesses."


This map of the Mediterranean world, and the movement of the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome, is taken from the Cambridge Bible Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, and is used with appreciation.



iii] Structure: The ascension of Christ:

A review of the concluding events of the "first book", v1-3;

"He appeared to them over forty days .........."

The promise of the Spirit, v4-5;

"wait for the gift my Father promised .... "

The commission, v6-8;

"you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem ......

The ascension, v9-11.

"Jesus .... will come in the same way as you saw him go ...."


iv] Interpretation:

Luke begins his story about the evolution of the Way by tying it to his first book. Through the victory of the cross, Jesus has fulfilled the long awaited covenant promises, and in so doing has realised the kingdom of God. This reality is evident in the resurrection of Christ, confirmed over a period of forty days during which time Jesus further instructed his disciples about the kingdom, v1-3. The fact that the kingdom is a now reality will be confirmed to the disciples in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and to this end, Jesus instructs his disciples to remain in Jerusalem for the Father's promised gift, v4-5. It is the Spirit who will equip the disciples for the mission Jesus now sets before them, namely to be his "witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth", even the centre of the world, Rome. "The church's primary task is to represent God faithfully, including witnessing to God's work in Jesus through the Holy Spirit", Bock.

In v6 the disciples evidence a continued lack of understanding when they align the kingdom of God with the kingdom of Israel. They have yet to understand that Jesus' kingdom "is not of this world." Jesus responds with a "correction (v8) of the false perspective, or misleading emphasis articulated in v6", Dunn. A false perspective, on the part of the disciples, is probably what we are dealing with. The disciples dream of the day when the nation of Israel will be re-established as it was in the days of Solomon. They dream of themselves as the chief executives in the new kingdom, cf., Mk.10:35ff. Yet, the future state of the nation Israel is not their worry. It remains in the sovereign will of God, cf., Mk.13:32.

Jesus is non-committal over Israel's future; he knows only too well that things are about to be put right; Israel will soon be judged. As for the timing of that coming day, it is not for the disciples to know. Their focus must be on a spiritual kingdom "not of this world". What the disciples need to be concerned about is the task Jesus has set them.

The special task given the apostles by Christ is to proclaim the gospel, the message of God's sovereign grace in Christ. Christ's kingdom is realised when this message is proclaimed, heard, and acted on in repentance. They must proclaim this message from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. To carry on this work, the work Christ himself was engaged in, they will be "anointed" as Christ was anointed. They will receive an empowering of the Holy Spirit to enable them to carry out the work of witness-bearing, v8.

The narrative moves naturally into the ascension of Jesus. In fact, there is a sense where v1-11 serve as the final chapter of Luke's first book, while at the same time serving to tie his first book to the second. Although we love the image of Jesus rising upward, the "lifted up" is likely indicating destination rather than describing a visible "lifted up." The ancients viewed heaven as above so obviously, for Luke, Jesus must be "lifted / taken up." The scene is more likely describing Jesus being enveloped in a cloud and "hid from their sight."

The obvious distress of the disciples is countered by a word from "two men" dressed in "white robes" (no mention of wings!). Their comment to the disciples carries a touch of rebuke. There is no point standing around star-gazing, Jesus has ascended to the Father and now sits at his right hand, reigning in power and glory. What they can be sure of is that he "will come" in like manner to his "going". "The ascension of Jesus thus fulfils a double role in Luke's narrative: it both brings the epoch of Jesus' own ministry on earth to a close, and it points forward to the equivalent closure of the interim period of the church's witness in the return of Jesus", Dunn.


Jesus' eleusetai, "will come", in like manner to his poreusmenon, "going", v11. Jesus leaves in cloud and glory and will come in like manner, ie., in the same resurrection body, and in the cloud of the Shekinah-glory. New Testament commentators are divided on what "coming" the angels are referring to. Is this Jesus' coming as the Spirit of Christ at Pentecost, or is this his coming to earth in the last day, or is this his coming with his saints to the Ancient of Days?

The parousia, from Ezekiel's perspective, is a coming "into heaven" / an appearing with the "angels / messengers" (saints?) of Jesus. Yet, at the same time, this coming entails a coming in judgment upon the earth. The extension of human history within the moment of Jesus' ascension and enthronement is beyond our understanding. It is possible to understand something of this moment of divine grace (the moment we experience between Christ's going and coming) when we realise that only the created order is limited by time. Jesus left his disciples enveloped in the Shekinah-glory while appearing in like manner before the Ancient of Days, an appearing his disciples will experience at the resurrection of the saints. Somehow all flesh sees it, saw it, will see it, and weep! The generation which has grown up with Dr. Who is well able to understand such a rubbery notion of time. Those locked into a linear view of time will find it hard to grasp.

What is clear from the ascension is that Jesus has "ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things", Eph.4:10.


v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 1:1

The ascension of Jesus, v1-11: i] A review of the concluding events of the "first book", v1-3. Luke opens his second book by linking it to the first, and so indicates to the reader their association, although not necessarily that they should be read as a whole. As with the gospel, the logoV, "word = literary composition" is addressed to Theophilus, a prominent believer who needs "assurance" and who has possibly financed the Luke's literary project, ie., his patron.

men "-" - indeed / on the one hand. Often used to introduce an adversative comparative construction, men .... de ..., "on the one hand ........, but on the other ...." If the comparison is between the first book and the second book, then we have something like "on the one hand I wrote a first book about ......., but on the other hand I wrote a second book about ....." Barrett suggests that Luke has in mind his second book but doesn't get around to spelling it out, ie., we have an anacoluthon. Yet, as Culy notes, Luke sometimes uses men on its own to introduce a major section and that surely is the intention here.

prwton adj. "former [book]" - [theophelus, i wrote the = my] first [word, account = book]. Attributive adjective limiting the accusative object "word". Used in Koine Gk. with the sense of proteroV, "former, earlier", although in classical Greek it would mean "first in a series."

peri + gen. "about" - about [all = everything]. Expressing reference / respect; "with respect to ...."

w|n gen. pro. "that" - which [jesus]. Genitive by attraction to "everything".

hrxato (arcw) "began" - began. The verb is completed by the two complementary infinitives "to do" and "to teach." Possibly just used here as a helper verb without any weight on the commencement of the action.

te kai ".... and" - both [to do] and [to teach]. Forming a correlative construction.


The sentence is somewhat complex with variant readings related to the Western text. Luke, having referred to the ascension in his gospel, again refers to it in his second book, so indicating that it serves as a hinge between the acts of Jesus and the acts of the apostles.

acri + gen. "until" - until [day]. Expressing time up to.

h|V gen. pro. "-" - of which [he was taken up to heaven]. Genitive by attraction, or intended as adjectival, idiomatic / temporal, "the day when he was taken up." To introduce the relative clause "of which he was taken up", the pronoun "which" should follow its antecedent "day". Its placement before the antecedent in the Gk. is probably emphatic, "until the very day", Culy.

enteilamenoV (entellw) aor. mid. part. "after giving instructions" - having given commands, instructions = commissioned. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV.

dia + gen. "through [the Holy Spirit]" - through, by means of [the holy spirit]. Expressing agency. This prepositional phrase sits between the commissioning of the apostles and their selection, presumably modifying both. The commissioning takes place just before the ascension, Lk.24:48-49, while the selection obviously refers to the call of the disciples, Lk.6:13. The Holy Spirit partners Jesus in his ministry, both in the selection and commissioning of the apostles, and he will now go on to partner the apostles in their ministry.

toiV apostoloiV (oV) dat. "to the apostles" - to the apostles. Dative of indirect object after the participle "having given commands."

ou}V acc. pro. "-" - [he had chosen] whom. Accusative direct object of the verb "to choose"; "whom he had chosen"


Luke makes the point that Jesus' appearance to the disciples is evidentiary, a "convincing proofs." The word tekmhrion, a once only use in the NT, is used in rhetoric as a form of proof, such that Jesus' presence with the disciples is evidentiary, a proven fact. Only Luke mentions the forty day stay, a number with significant OT parallels, Ex.34:28, Deut.8:2, ... The focus of Jesus' instruction is the gospel, the announcement of God's eternal reign in Christ.

meta to + inf. "after [his suffering]" - [and = also] after he the [to suffer]. This preposition + the accusative articular infinitive serves to introduce a temporal clause, antecedent time. The accusative subject of the infinitive is auton, "he", but see Culy. "For forty days after his death he showed himself to them in many ways", TEV.

oi|V dat. pro. "to them" - [he presented himself] to whom. Dative of indirect object.

zwnta (zaw) pres. part. "that he was alive" - living. The participle serves as the accusative complement of the direct object "himself" standing in a double accusative construction and asserting a fact about the object; "he presented himself as alive", Cassirer.

en + dat. "-" - in / by [many proofs, signs]. Instrumental use of the preposition expressing means.

optanomenoV (optanomai) pres. part. "he appeared" - appearing. The participle is adverbial, instrumental, expressing means, "by appearing to them", or modal, expressing manner, "appearing to them over forty days", Moffatt.

di (dia) + gen. "over a period of [forty days]" - throughout, during. Temporal use of the preposition.

legwn (legw) pres. part. "[and] spoke" - [and] saying [things]. The participle is adverbial, as above, means or manner; "and discussing", Moffatt.

ta + gen. "-" - the things [about]. The article serves as a nominalizer turning the prepositional phrase "about the kingdom of God" into a substantive, accusative object of the participle "saying". The preposition peri expresses reference / respect.

tou qeou "[the kingdom] of God" - [the kingdom] of god. The genitive is adjectival, either possessive, "God's kingdom", or if taken as "the righteous reign of God", then it would be verbal, subjective. Possibly ablative, source / origin, "from God." The "kingdom" is best defined as the righteous reign / rule / kingship of God, now open to all people, in and through the ministry of the messiah. The gathering of this people, and the exercise of this reign, is inaugurated, and comes to fruition, in the person and work of Jesus. Its reality is imaged in the Old Testament, particularly in the historic kingdom of Israel, before finding its fulfilment in Jesus. For the people of Israel, the term "the kingdom of God" was highly charged, in that it encapsulated the messiah's establishment of the eschatological reign of God over Israel, in defiance of all secular powers, which powers will bow in adoration before God's mighty intervention in human affairs. There is, of course, debate over whether the kingdom is a time / space reality, or just a descriptor of divine rule. The kingdom as "the righteous reign of God" has more going for it, but as Wanamaker points out, the kingdom is both "domain and dominion." So, the kingdom of God is the dynamic now / not yet reign of God through Christ, the realisation of which brings eternal peace.


ii] The promise of the Spirit, v4-5. Luke follows up with the record of the instruction Jesus gave to the disciples in the gospel, namely "remain in the city" for the "promise of my Father", Lk.24:49. The promise is the gift of the Holy Spirit, the covenant blessing promised to Abraham and his descendants (ultimately, the children of faith), cf., 3:25-26.

sunalizomenoV (sunalizw) pres. part. "on one occasion, while he was eating with them" - [and] eating together. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV. The word "sharing salt with", in this context probably means "eating with", although some have suggested "staying with."

autoiV "them" - [he commanded, instructed] them. Dative of direct object after the para prefix verb "to command."

mh cwrizesqai (cwrizw) pres. inf. "do not leave" - not to depart. The infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Jesus commanded / instructed.

apo + gen. "-" - from [jerusalem]. Expressing separation; "away from."

alla "but" - but. Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction, "not ...., but ...."

perimenein (perimenw) pres. inf. "wait for" - to await. The infinitive as for cwrizesqai.

tou patroV (hr roV) gen. "the gift my father [promised]" - [the promise] of the father. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, identifying the possession of a derivative characteristic, "the Father's promise", Cassirer, or verbal, subjective, "the promise given by the / my Father." "The Father's promised gift", Barclay.

mou gen. pro. "me" - [which you heard] of me. The genitive is ablative, expressing source / origin; "from me."


Luke picks up on the Baptist's prophecy concerning the one who will baptise with the Spirit and fire, cf., Matt.3:11, Lk.3:16. Mark drops the fire, and Jesus doesn't mention the fire here, although Luke certainly depicts the Spirit's coming in the terms of a downward flow of fire. The Baptist's mention of fire is usually taken to express the fire of suffering, judgment. So, as the Baptist immersed people in water so Jesus will immerse people in/with the Spirit.

oJti "for" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why the disciples should not leave Jerusalem, but wait.

men .... de "..., but" - [john] on the one hand [baptised in / with water] but on the other hand. Forming an adversative comparative construction.

meta + acc. "in [a few days]" - [not] after [many days]. Temporal use of the preposition. The statement is presented as a litotes where the negative is actually expressing a positive, as NIV.

en + dat. "with [the Holy Spirit]" - [you will be immersed = baptised] in / with [holy spirit]. As with the dative uJdati, "in water", the preposition may be instrumental, expressing means, "with water", "with the Holy spirit", so Fitzmyer, but it may also be local, "in". Barrett suggests that Luke has used the simple dative as a locative, "in water", and the preposition as instrumental, "with the Holy Spirit". Dunn opts for a local sense for both water and the Spirit; "immersed in."


iii] The commission, v6-8: The disciples may dream of the restoration of the state of Israel, but such is well outside God's purpose. In fact, the political state of Israel will soon be annihilated. What the disciples need to focus on is the mission Christ has set them, namely, to communicate the gospel message to the ends of the earth. For this task they will "receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on" them.

men oun "so / then" - for on the one hand. This transitional construction establishes an inferential connection with the previous verse by the use of oun, while indicating a forward move in the narrative by the use of men, which move is usually introduced by de. So, the construction serves to open "a new section of the narrative, (while) connecting it with the preceding section", Bruce.

oiJ .... sunelqonteV (sunercomai) aor. part. "when they met together / then they gathered around him" - the ones having come together, gathered together. The NIV has treated the participle independent of the article oiJ, so adverbial, temporal, so Barrett, "once, when they were all together", Barclay, but it is probably serving as a substantive, "those who were gathered together", so Culy.

hrwtwn (arwtaw) imperf. "they asked" - they were asking, questioning [him]. The imperfect is used for a question since the action is durative; it continues until the question is answered.

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "-" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle, redundant. This participle, as with legwn, is usually classified as attendant circumstance expressing action accompanying the main verb. In the translation of the sentence, it is often treated as redundant, or at least semi-redundant, serving as a Semitic construction introducing direct, and sometimes indirect, speech. As such, it will often function in much the same way as a recitative oJti. Culy and company make the point that an attendant circumstance participle should express a separate but related action to the main verb, not the same action. So Culy will often classify such a participle as adverbial, serving to modify the main verb, usually expressing manner, or sometimes means.

kurie (oV) "Lord" - lord, master, sir. Vocative of address, probably here used as a respectful title.

ei "-" - if. Here used instead of oJti to introduce a direct question, although when serving as an interrogative, ei is more regularly used for an indirect question.

en + dat" at [this time]" - in [this time]. Here adverbial, temporal, serving to pinpoint the time, although the particular word for "time" here often means "a period of time." So, rather than "during this age", the sense is probably "at this point of time."

apokaqistaneiV (apokaqistanw) pres. "are you .... going to restore" - are you restoring, returning. The word is often used in a technical way in Jewish theology of God's restoration of all things in the last day. In that day God sets things right. So, it is "restore" in the sense of "set right." So, the disciples' question is "at this point of time are you going to set right the state of affairs now prevailing in the kingdom of Israel?"

tw/ Israhl dat. "to Israel" - [the kingdom] to israel? Dative of interest, advantage. It is very likely that the disciples have in mind a political restoration of the state of Israel.


It is not for the disciples to know the time-frame for God's setting things right; such is a mystery. So, Jesus doesn't address their limited understanding of the kingdom. They look for the restoration of Israel, but God will set things right, and this time the right is not peace, but judgment - the destruction of Jerusalem.

uJmwn pro. gen. "for you" - [but/and he said toward them, it is not] of you. The genitive is adjectival, probably possessive; "the times, or dates, are not your concern."

gnwnai (ginwskw) aor. inf. "to know" - to know. Epexegetic infinitive explaining the content of what "is not yours", namely, to know the times or dates. Of course, it could also be treated as the subject of the main verb, here the verb to-be; "to know the times or dates is not for you to know."

cronouV h kairouV "times or dates" - times or seasons. Accusative direct objects of the infinitive "to know." The distinction between these two times is hard to draw, possibly an interval of time, duration, as compared to a point of time, punctiliar. So, "the ages" and "the periods by which these ages may be marked", Milligan. Probably a bit over-defined, so, "you don't need to know the times of these events", CEV.

eqeto (tiqhmi) aor. "has set" - [which the father] has set, put, placed / appointed, made. The sense "placed" under the authority of the Father seems best; "the Father has reserved for his own decision", Barrett.

en + dat. "by [his own authority]" - in = by [his own authority]. Here probably instrumental, "by", as NIV, although local, expressing the sphere of divine authority may well be the intention; "within his own authority", Culy.


This verse is often viewed as establishing the theme of Acts. The disciples are ouc, "not", to be concerned about issues like the restoration of Israel, and the dates and times "the Father has set by his own authority", alla, "but", they are to be concerned with the communication of the gospel, of giving testimony (martureV, "witness") in Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth, for which task they will be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

alla "but" - but [you will receive]. This strong adversative stands within a counterpoint construction; "it is not for you to know ......, but ....".  

dunamin (iV ewV) "power" - power, strength, authority. Accusative direct object of he verb "to receive." Possibly "authority", but more likely divine strength to complete a divine task, here being "witnesses." The Holy Spirit is the facilitator of this power.

epelqontoV (epercomai) aor. part. "when [the Holy Spirit] comes" - [the holy spirit] having come upon. The genitive participle with its genitive subject, "the Holy Spirit", forms a genitive absolute construction, best treated as temporal, as NIV. The disciples will be "clothed with heavenly power", Bruce.

ef + acc. "on [you]" - upon, on, at, to [you]. Typical repetition of a prepositional prefix, here for the participle epelqontoV.

martureV (uV uroV) "witness" - [and] you will be witnesses [of me]. The word is used of a person who bears witness of events which they know about, although not necessarily having experienced them personally. Only the disciples can testify to the historicity and meaning of Jesus' life, death, resurrection and ascension, and it is their testimony upon which we base our own.

te .... kai .... kai .... kai "and ......" - both [in jerusalem] and [in all judea] and [samaria] and. Forming a correlative construction, "both ..... and ...."

eJwV "to" - until / up to. Either spatial, "as far as the ends of the earth", or temporal, "until at last it reaches Rome", Bruce.

escatou neu. adj. "the end" - last = end [of the earth]. The sense of "last" may imply Rome rather than the extremities of the known world. Obviously not masculine, "the last man." Luke's eschatology might have motivated the choice of this word, but in the end, the sense is "the utmost parts of the earth", namely, "everywhere", with the centre being Rome. All things come to an end at Rome. Today we would say something like, "and everywhere in the world", CEV.


iv] The ascension, v9-11: After speaking with his disciples, a cloud envelops Jesus and he disappears from their sight. This cloud is a reminder of the transfiguration and represents the Shekinah-glory - the sign of God's presence. In the Church Year, the day of Ascension is celebrated 40 days after Easter. On this day the Christian church celebrates Christ's entry into glory and the taking up of his heavenly reign at the right hand of the Father. The disciples naturally look upward for Jesus, seeing he was going heavenward. When the cloud clears, two angelic messengers stand before them. Being "dressed in white" and "in dazzling apparel", is the usual fashion statement for angelic visitors, Lk.24:4. The angels, following their prime directive, convey a message to the disciples: Jesus now leaves in a cloud, and his coming will be in like manner. So, the apostles hurry back to Jerusalem to wait for the promised anointing.

eipwn (eidon) aor. part. "after he said [this]" - [and] having said [these things]. The participle is adverbial, probably introducing a temporal clause, as NIV. The aorist tense expresses punctiliar action; Jesus has finished speaking.

ephrqh (epairw) aor. pas. "he was taken up" - he was taken up. Possibly a divine passive, where the passive implies that God is the agent of the action. The verb may be descriptive of a literal lifting up, or it may just be indicating the destination of Jesus; he is being taken to heaven. The Superman style up, up, and away is unlikely. It is more likely that, when Jesus finishes speaking, he is surrounded by the Shekinah-glory, which then drifts from the disciples' sight as Jesus is taken from them.

blepontwn (blepw) gen. pres. part. "before their very eyes" - [they] looking. Genitive participle and its genitive subject "they", forms a genitive absolute construction, usually translated as an independent temporal clause; "on saying this he was lifted up while they looked on", Moffatt.

nefelh "cloud" - [and] a cloud. Nominative subject of the verb "to take up." the image of a cloud serves to illustrate the presence of the divine. It images the Shekinah-glory, at times manifested in Solomon's temple.

upelaben (upolambanw) aor. "hid" - took up, lifted up [him from the eyes of them]. Often taken to mean "received", as NIV, although that is not the sense of this compound verb. Movement needs to be conveyed, so "took him from their sight", NJB.


wJV "-" - [and] as, while. A temporal use of the conjunction serving to introduce a temporal clause; it was "while" they were gazing at the sky.

atenizonteV hsan "they were looking intently" - they were gazing [into heaven]. The present participle and the imperfect verb to-be forms a periphrastic imperfect construction. Possibly serving to emphasise durative aspect: a continued gazing with fixed eyes. "While they were still gazing up into the sky", Barclay.

poreuomenou (poreuomai) gen. pres. part. "as [he] was going" - [he] going. The genitive participle and its genitive subject "he" forms a genitive absolute construction, best expressed as a temporal clause, as NIV; "as he went away", Barclay.

kai idou "when suddenly" - and behold [two men]. Expressing an immediate unexpected action, "but just then", Moffatt.

en + dat. "dressed in [white]" - in [clothing white]. As it stands, the preposition is local, expressing space, although given the assumed sense "dressed in white clothing", the preposition could be viewed as adverbial, expressing manner. The clothing serves to identify their supernatural origin, ie., they are angels.

autoiV dat. pro. "them" - [had been present with] them. Dative of direct object after the para prefix verb "to stand by."


The address of the angels reminds us that the first disciples were Galileans, a point that Luke seems to stress, cf., 22:59, 23:5. The designation andreV, "men", can be inclusive of women, since Luke often uses the word in public discourse. Jesus' going is like his coming, Ezekiel's coming of the glorious Son of Man to the Ancient of Days, a coming in the cloud.

eJsthkate (iJsthmi) perf. "[why] do you stand" - [who and = also said, men of galilee, why] have you stood. Standing around and gazing into heaven is not the way to fulfil Christ's mission.

embleponteV (emblepw) pres. part. "looking [into the sky]" - gazing [into the heaven]? The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of their standing.

oJ analhmfqeiV (analambanw) aor. pas. part. "who has been taken" - [this jesus] the one having been received into, taken up into, brought along with, carried away, carried off. The NIV takes this participle as adjectival, attributive, limiting "Jesus". Again, if upward movement is being expressed, it is only in relation to the intended destination - heaven above the sky. None-the-less, an upward ascent makes for a spectacular stained glass window!

af (apo) + gen. "from [you]" - from [you into heaven]. Expressing separation; "away from."

ouJtwV adv. "" - thus, in this way. Here as a modal comparative, "the one having been taken up ...... in like manner will come."

eleusetai (ercomai) fut. "will come back" - will come, go. The verb does not necessarily mean "come back"; better, "he will come." It is unclear what coming is in mind - come back to earth / come to the Ancient of Days (both??).

o}n tropon "in the same way" - which way, manner [you saw him going into heaven]. This relative phrase is used adverbially with the meaning "in the same way", as NIV; "in the same way as you saw him go into heaven", ESV.


Acts Introduction


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Exegetical Commentaries


[Pumpkin Cottage]