1 CHRONICLES 19:1 – 21:30 and ACTS 1:1–26
1 Chr 19
This account is covered in 2 Sam 10. David did have battles to fight after taking Jerusalem against the Jebusites but in doing so he gained more ground and had increased favor with other nations. In this instance David was showing kindness to Hanun the son of Nahash who fought against Saul. David, during his time of exile, came into favor with the father of Hanun and now wanted to bestow a blessing to him. This is an interesting account because Nahash was cruel in his initial approach to the men of Jabesh-Gilead. He agreed to make a covenant provided they agreed to the thrusting out of the right eyes of the leaders. Saul was incensed upon hearing this and took Israel to victory over the Ammonites. This solidified Saul’s rule but it would be the last highlight of his reign. Sometime during the exile of David he came into contact with him and they must have become friends. The approach that David was now making to Hanun was not trusted by the Ammonites so they shamed David’s men. We then see the exploits of Joab and Abishai in battle. Soon afterwards, Israel came into a position of rest from their enemies seeing that the nations feared Israel.
1 Chr 20
It is interesting to note that between verse 1 and verse 2 the event of David’s sin with Bathsheba would have taken place. The account in Chronicles does not make mention of it here. In verse 2 and 3 David takes the crown from off the king and found it to weigh about 125 pounds of gold. This is referenced in 2 Sam 12:30-31. We see that David is back in battle once again and these battles will intensify due to his sin with Bathsheba. That transgression gave the enemy an opening by which he could afflict Israel.
2Sa 12:14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
In verses 4-6 the timeline jumps several years to other battles that came before Israel. This is now getting closer to the end of David’s life. The incident involving Absalom as well as other tragedies is not recorded here. This chapter moves quickly from the time David sinned till the end of his life. It by-passes his transgressions and close family tragedies, Perhaps it is a picture of how God will view things seeing that David found forgiveness and pardon. He paid a huge price. If no one knew the sin of David the Book of Chronicles would prove to be very kind to him. In the account of Chronicles there is considerable content concerning David in the lead up to his reign upon Zion. There is a fast track recording of events from Zion onwards towards the end; void of his sin and misdeeds. There is however the incident of the numbering of Israel which will be cited in the next chapter.
1 Chr 21
There is an interesting contrast between this account and that seen in 2 Sam 24:1 where the same event is mentioned. In 2 Sam 24:1 one would get the impression that it was God who told David to number Israel.
2Sa 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
Now look at the account in 1 Chronicles 21:1.
1Ch 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
It is important to note that God does not tempt any man to sin. What is happening is God is allowing David to take inventory of the numbers that comprised the people of Israel. In doing this David was putting stock in the vastness of his kingdom and not looking to God nor giving Him glory. This was something similar to what Nebuchadnezzar had done (Dan 4). He rested in the greatness of his kingdom making the statement “look at the might of this kingdom that my hands have built”. He was immediately judged for a period of 7 years. In David’s case it could have been a matter of pride that prompted him and allowed him to be activated to do this by Satan. There had to be an issue in his heart that would allow Satan to touch and influence. If David’s heart were to be clear there would be no opening for Satan to do his work. Joab even tried to dissuade David knowing that this was a wrong thing to do. In many ways it was an uncharacteristic act on David’s part, especially as he is nearing the end of his life. This event as well as the account of Ornan the Jebusite is covered in 2 Sam 24.
The gospel writer Luke is the one who records the Book of Acts. He makes reference to Jesus who both taught and did what he taught during His earthly ministry. He also makes reference that what He did was through the agency of the Holy Spirit. We have noted that Jesus spent considerable time teaching and speaking on the Holy Spirit in the latter part of His ministry. He did not want there to be an over-reliance upon Himself outside of His being the Son of God who was about to give His life for the sins of mankind. Jesus knew that He had to ascend to the Father so that the fullness of the Holy Spirit could be poured out. Luke makes mention of the Words of Jesus when He said that “John truly baptized with water but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence”. Luke also makes reference to the enquiring minds of the disciples when they asked Jesus as to when the kingdom would be restored (vs 6). He records the Words of the Lord when He said “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
The Lord was then taken up and disappeared out of their midst. There were two men (angels) who spoke to those who observed His ascension saying why gaze ye up to heaven (vs 11)? He shall return in the same manner you saw Him going up. This now begins a whole new realm of ministry and discovery for the disciples. What will they now do now that Jesus is no longer with them physically? They had much to ponder and think upon. The Lord went to great lengths to tell them what would take place but there was no sense of timing. We see the fruits of the Lord’s Prayer to His Father in John 17 as the brethren gather in an upper room in unity (vs 13-14). Jesus prayed that they would be one as the Father and Son were one. There was a unity evident amongst the disciples that were not seen before.
I would like to comment on verse 12 because it does give insight to the timing of the Lord’s return. The term; “a Sabbath’s day journey has the connotation of a distance of 2000 cubits. This is recorded immediately after the two angels spoke to those who witnessed the Lord’s ascension. The number 2000 speaks of the church age and it serves as a key in understanding something concerning the Lord’s return. This is validated in other areas of scripture. Let’s consider a verse from the Book of Joshua:
Josh 3:4 “Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.”
There was to be a gap of 2000 cubits that separated the Ark with the priests from the rest of the people. This appears to be another sign of the coming church age which would be for a period of 2000 years. There is one more sign we could consider as well. In the gospels (other than John’s) you have the account of the man who was delivered from the demon named Legion (Mark 5:9). A legion in a Roman army consisted of about 6000 men. The number 6000 speaks of the years given to man. There are approximately 4000 years from Adam to Christ. Then there are about 2000 years from Christ to the time of His 2nd coming or what we call the church age. The devils that came out of the man who was delivered challenged Jesus about judging them before the time.
Mat 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
In Mark’s account the approximate number of swine is given pointing to the church age.
Mar 5:12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
Mar 5:13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
When you put the various accounts together you see a sign come into clear view. There are 6000 years given to man. The 2000 years represents the church age. The two men (angels) who were speaking to the disciples in Acts 1:11 said that Jesus will return in the manner that He went up at the Mt. of Olives. The Sabbath’s day journey coupled with the other signs seen in scripture clearly indicates that there is a 2000 year period that separates Christ’s Ascension to His return. It will be at that time when Israel will look upon Him whom they have pierced and believe.
In verse 15 we see Peter and the disciples gathered together. The approximate number of believers on hand is 120. This number has significance. It speaks of the end of all flesh. It was the age that Moses lived to which we have divided in to 3 segments. The first 40 years of his life were in in Egypt where we can say He was “called”. The second portion of his life (40-80) was spent in the land of Midian which we can say were his “chosen” years. The last segment (80-120) was the years he led Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness. We can say these were the years he proved himself to be “faithful”.
Rev 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
We have noted the dedication of Solomon’s temple where the glory of the Lord filled the house. There are many parallels that can be drawn from the account here in Acts with Solomon’s dedication.
2Ch 5:12 Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:)
2Ch 5:13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;
Do you see the similarities? There were about 120 priests sounding their trumpets as one voice. This will be accentuated in chapter 2 when we see the disciples gathered together in one accord. We see the absolute need for unity in order for the Spirit of God to fall. The glory that came upon Solomon’s temple was phenomenal but it could not compare to what the disciples were about to experience in the upper room. The early church was about to be birthed and its effect would be felt on a worldwide scale over the next 2000 years. The glory that shall come upon the latter day house (our day?) will even exceed the previous outpourings (Hag 2:7-9). This is why we need to pay close heed to these events because it provides us of the last day church a window into what is coming.
The balance of chapter one covers the selection of Matthias to be included with the other 11 apostles. He fills the vacancy created by Judas in his betrayal of the Lord.