Acts 2:23      Being Delivered by the Determined Counsel and Foreknowledge of God     5/11/2008

 

 

 

 

#1.       Four Signs, Only One Time (Acts 2:2-4,7-8,14)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Prophecy of Joel (Acts 2:16-21, Joel 2:28-32, Eph 1:4-5, Matt 3:11, Rev 14:11, Matt 24:29)

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       The Determinate Counsel of God (Acts 2:22-23, Psalm 76:10, Rom 9:6-8, Phil 3:3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4.       Who Crucified Christ? (Acts 2:36, John 19:37, Zech 12:10, Gal 4:25)

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Leviticus, Lev 23:15 (2X). Today we are remembering the feast of Pentecost. The feast of Pentecost was already known as an OT feast, which was the Feast of Weeks, which was one of the feasts that God commanded to Moses. We want to see its connection to the NT feast day, so that we can tell our Jewish friends what the day of Pentecost actually is.

Le 23:15-16 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete:      Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD.

We begin to count from the first Sabbath after the wave offering, which according to Josh 5:11 is actually the first Sabbath after the Passover. Fifty days later, or seven Sabbaths and one day later is the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of Pentecost. The name Pentecost indicates the number five, or fifty. Is it not amazing how God’s providence arranged it about 1500 years earlier, so that all the events in the NT fall into place exactly at the right time? Please turn in your Bibles to the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 2:1 (2X). When we speak of the counsel of God, we refer to the plan that the Triune God designed for this creation before He even created the first speck of dust. When we speak of the providence of God, we speak of the outworking of His plan that God causes to come to pass. God’s providence caused Christ to be nailed to the cross at the right time. And thus we read here in Acts 2 that Christ was delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God. Therefore the title of this sermon is, Being Delivered by the Determined Counsel and Foreknowledge of God. We read here in Acts 2:1-24,

Ac 2:1 ¶  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

A 2:2-20  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.     And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.   And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.       Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.  And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans?     And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?   Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,    Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.      And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?     Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:  For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;    And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:    And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:    And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:      The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

Ac 2:21  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Ac 2:22-24  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:     Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:     Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Here we can see how God works out His providence through the sins of man. God says in verse 23, “ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain Him”. Even though this came to pass by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, your sin of crucifying and killing the man Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, shall be accountable to God. Drop down to verse 36,

Ac 2:36  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

God made this same Jesus Lord over heaven and earth, and crowned Him as Messiah, the Anointed One. He is the Son of man of Dan 7:13 who has received everlasting dominion and glory, and who will be Judge over the living and the dead. And what was the result of Peter’s sermon? We read in Act 2:41,

Ac 2:41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

This day marked the beginning of the NT church. Amazingly, a harvest of about 3000 souls was added to the church. Look at the power of God the Holy Spirit in converting 3000 sinners into saints. It was a power of God that proved to be greater than the power of sin that had taken possession of these 3000 souls before they were converted by the Holy Spirit. But we also wonder in amazement at the mercy and grace and love of the Lord Jesus Christ when He took hold of all the sins of all these 3000 souls 53 days earlier, and paid the penalty for all these sins, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell.

#1.       Four Signs, Only One Time (Acts 2:2-4,7-8,14)

When we consider the power of God at the time of the first NT Pentecost, which was accompanied by mighty signs and wonders, we see that this day was unique; there was no other day like this. God displayed on this day four signs, of which only one continued thereafter for about 65 years. We read in:

Ac 2:2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

This was the first sign. It was the sound of a hurricane, or a tornado; not the wind, but only the sound of it. Thus we understand that this drew a great crowd to the house where this sound was generated, for tornados or hurricanes were unknown in the little country of Palestine. The second sign is in verse 3.

Ac 2:3  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

Do we read now that there were twelve cloven tongues like as of fire? NO! Verse 1 says that they were all with one accord in one place, which means that all the 120 which were present in Acts 1:15 were also present here in the house on the day of Pentecost. All 120 received a cloven tongue like as of fire above their head. Why do some religions picture saints as having halos above their heads? There are no halos anywhere in the Bible. If they had tongues of fire above their head it would be more true to the Biblical picture. And so, we see that we should pay attention to the word “all”. The third sign, Acts 2:4

Ac 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

All 120 of them began to speak with other tongues, which means they began to praise God in other languages that they have never learned, as God the Holy Spirit gave them utterance, for other tongues in the Bible means other languages. This was the only sign that continued to exist for about 65 years. But there was a fourth sign that is often overlooked. We read in Acts 2:7-8,

Ac 2:7-8  And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans?          And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

Who are all these in verse 7? It is remarkable that the Greek word translated “all” in verses 1 and 4 has the Strong’s Concordance number 537, whereas the word twice translated “all” in verse 7 is number 3956, a somewhat different Greek word. Why did God do that? Then we realize that all the 12 apostles were Galileans, whereas not all the 120 in the upper room were Galileans. Not all of those who were saved during Jesus’ ministry and came together in the upper room were Galileans. Certainly Mary and Martha and Lazarus were Judeans. And so we see again that God is not a respecter of persons. But who were all these in verse 7? Verse 14 gives us the answer, for there we read, “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice”. In other words, all these in verse 7 were all the apostles, all 12 of them. And here is the remarkable fourth sign that is often overlooked: In verses 9-11 we read of the presence of at least 16 different ethnic groups, who were hearing most likely more than 16 different languages. But there were only 12 apostles who were speaking to them. In other words, the apostles spoke to them in Hebrew or in Greek, but God converted their words in mid-air to the language of the hearers, so that they heard them speak in their own language. This is a remarkable sign that has never been repeated. Before we go on in the day of Pentecost, let us spend a few more minutes on:

Please turn one page back to chapter 1, Acts 1:8 (2X). Before He went to heaven, the Lord Jesus prophesied of the events in Acts chapter 2. He said in Acts 1:8,

Ac 1:8 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.

Four places are mentioned here: Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost part (singular) of the earth. The first one, in Jerusalem, is mentioned in Acts 2. Please turn a few pages to your right to the tenth chapter of Acts, Acts 10:44 (2X). The scene unfolds in Caesarea. We have here the second place, in Judaea. Some of you might object that Caesarea is not in Judaea but in Samaria, according to maps that have been created in the back of your Bible. However, according to the Bible, and according to true historical accounts, the Samaritans had nothing to do with Caesarea. Caesarea was the harbor city of Jerusalem. King Herod the Great built a magnificent harbor there for Jerusalem and for Judaea. Caesarea contained the headquarters for the Roman forces of Judaea and it contained the residence of the governors of Judaea: Pilate, Felix and Festus. The Jewish war, which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, had its origin in a Jewish riot in Caesarea. It was in Caesarea that Vespasian was proclaimed emperor of Rome in the year 69 AD while he was engaged in the Jewish war. Caesarea was definitely a Jewish city, and was part of the territory of the governors of Judaea. Here in Caesarea Peter preached in the house of a Roman Centurion named Cornelius. And then we read in Acts 10:44,

Ac 10:44 ¶  While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

Ac 10:45  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Ac 10:46  For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.

The Gentiles spoke in languages that they had not learned, perhaps in Hebrew, but these were languages that the Jews clearly understood, for they heard them magnify God. The third place that the Lord Jesus mentioned was Samaria. Please turn 2 or 3 pages back to the eighth chapter in Acts, Acts 8:14 (2X). Here we read that the Gospel was also heard by the most hated Samaritans. We read in:

Ac 8:14-17  Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:   Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)     Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

No mention is made of speaking in tongues by the Samaritans, but the context clearly indicates that there was an outward sign accompanying their receiving of the Holy Ghost. The only outward sign that is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles is the sign of speaking in tongues, or the sign of speaking in other languages that were not learned before. And so, we must conclude from the context that the Samaritans also spoke in other languages. The fourth place that the Lord Jesus mentioned was the uttermost part of the earth. Please turn to the 19th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 19:4 (2X). The apostle Paul is meeting here with twelve Ephesian disciples who had never heard of the Holy Spirit. And since Ephesus is way out there in Gentile country, it qualifies as the uttermost part of the earth. We read in Acts 19:4-6,

Ac 19:4-6  Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.       When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.        And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

And so, the prophecy of the Lord Jesus in Acts 1:8 was fulfilled. You want to notice that in all four cases no interpreters were needed. This then is a distinctly different phenomenon than the unintelligent babbling that goes on in churches today. Where do they believe this babbling comes from? They say it comes from the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is God. We must remember what God says in 1Co 14:33,

1Co 14:33  For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

God ended all the confusion when He came to the end of the Bible, about 65 years after the first NT Pentecost, when He declared that He has completed His divine revelation to mankind. God said in:

Re 22:18-19  For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:   And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

In other words, after this date when Rev 22:18 was written, anyone who claims to have received an additional divine revelation from God is lying, and will be subject to the plagues written in this Book. And one of those plagues is that the smoke of their torment shall ascend up forever and ever. Likewise, anyone who promotes the theory of evolution has in fact assigned the first four chapters of Genesis as mythology, and thus he will fall under the curse of Rev 22:19. There are many more such applications of Rev 22:18-19, but today we want to move on in Acts 2:16-21 where the Prophecy of Joel is quoted.

#2.       The Prophecy of Joel (Acts 2:16-21, Joel 2:28-32, Eph 1:4-5, Matt 3:11, Rev 14:11, Matt 24:29)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Joel, Joel 2:28 (2X). When the Lord Jesus Christ paid on the cross for all the sins of all His people, referring to all the elect whom He chose from before the foundation of the world, according to Eph 1:4-5, He paid only for their sins, and for no one else. And thus at the cross the number of all the elect was fixed. Not one could be added, not one could be forgotten. Was the Lord not aware of all the other people in the world? Of course He was aware of them. We must be careful not to insult the Lord by making Him ignorant. And so, when we consider the time of the cross as the First Judgment Day, for on this day the Lord Jesus was judged on behalf of all His elect, we see that the rest of mankind was actually judged also on this day, for if the Lord did pass them by when He paid for our sins on the cross, then it is a certainty that they will have to pay for their own sins on the Second Judgment Day at the end of the world. It is for this reason that God writes of the First Judgment Day as if it is also the Second Judgment Day. And so, God arranged the phenomena accompanying the time of the cross to be similar to phenomena on the Last Day. This is what we see here in the prophecy of Joel, and in many more places in the Bible. It is as if both judgment days have merged into one. We r

Joe 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions

Joe 2:29  And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

Joe 2:30  And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

Joe 2:31-32  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.       And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

This passage was quoted in Acts 2:16-21. Verses 28-29 are plainly teaching what came to pass on the day of Pentecost. But then, verse 30 speaks of “blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke”. What is this referring to? This language speaks of both the First and the Second Judgment Day. At the cross there was blood, but was there fire also? John the Baptist spoke of this when he said in Matt 3:11, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire”. It means that the Lord Jesus would wash our sins with the Holy Spirit at the time that we would be born from above, and He would wash our sins with fire at the time that He paid for our sins on the cross when He suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. The pillars of smoke then are symbolically referring to the sign of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the blood, and the fire, and the pillars of smoke also refer to the sufferings of the unsaved in Hell when “the smoke of their torment shall ascend up forever and ever”, Rev 14:11. Likewise verse 31 speaks of the darkness of three hours when the Lord Jesus hung on the cross, and of the moon eclipse that could be seen on that Passover night, and of the great and notable day of the Lord when He arose from the tomb on Sunday morning. But verse 31 just as well speaks of the Last Day when the sun shall turn to darkness and the moon shall not give her light (Matt 24:29) before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. Then paraphrased verse 32 says, “It shall come to pass that whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered from this earthly body”. This is when the rapture shall take place for the remnant chosen by grace. For in mount Zion, the place where God resides, in the souls of all the remnant, and in Jerusalem, referring to the New Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ, shall this deliverance of the rapture take place, for it is only the remnant chosen by grace who shall call on the name of the Lord.

#3.       The Determinate Counsel of God (Acts 2:22-23, Psalm 76:10, Rom 9:6-8, Phil 3:3)

Please turn again to the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 2:22 (2X). We have seen so far that the Spirit of God caused everything to fall into place: Lev 23, and Joel 2, and Acts 2, and the language fitting both the First Judgment Day and the Second Judgment Day. Is it not amazing how the providence of God carried out by His Holy Spirit is using the sins of men to accomplish what He intended to come to pass in the first place? Now let us see what God says about the atonement of Christ, and about God’s hand in orchestrating the death of Christ at the right time and in the right place. We read in Acts 2:22-23,

Ac 2:22  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by

miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Ac 2:23  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Literally the Greek text says in verse 23, “This One given (to you) by the before-determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, (you) having taken through lawless hands, having crucified (Him), you put (Him) to death”. God gave Him to us as a gift. The counsel of God before time began already decided that Christ would be given to His elect. But we have taken Him and crucified Him and killed Him. Our wicked hands and minds have done that. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us” has forgiven us this sin, for He granted us “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace”, and He has given us faith from above so that “we who believe on the name of the Son of God may know that we have eternal life”. He was delivered up at the right time and at the right place to atone for my sins and for the sins of all those whom He has chosen from before the foundation of the world. Certainly there were others who also contributed to the death of Christ, and who never become saved. God used their sin of crucifying Christ as expressed in the words of Psalm 76:10, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee”. But to whom is this passage addressed? Verse 22 starts out with the words, “Ye men of Israel”. Is this passage addressing the Jews only? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 9:6 (2X). If Acts 2:22-23 are addressing the Jews, then most of us here are not responsible for the death of Christ. But let us now consider the NT Israel, the Israel of God. God has many things to say about the NT Israel. We read in Rom 9:6-8,

Ro 9:6-8  Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For 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 counted for the seed.

Clearly, God says that we must not interpret the NT Israel to consist of the physical descendants of Abraham, for only the children of the promise are counted as the seed of Abraham. And who are the children of the promise? The remainder of Rom 9 lists 7 examples of who the children of the promise are and who are not. God summarized it for us in Phil 3:3, where He says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh”. In other words, all those “who believe on the name of the Son of God” are the ones who are called the NT Israel, and to us is this passage in Acts 2:22-23 addressed. Let us now return to Acts 2:23 (2X).

If God foreknew that the nation of the Jews would deliver up Jesus to Pontius Pilate to have Him crucified, does that free them from the guilt of crucifying the Lord of glory? Absolutely not! When God says in Acts 2:23, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain”,

God is clearly saying that their wicked hands and minds have committed this sin voluntarily. God did not tempt anyone to this sin. Man sins voluntarily, and that is why God can hold man accountable for his sin, and that is why God can cast people into Hell, because they sin voluntarily and deliberately. Do not think for a moment that the scribes and Pharisees did not know what they were doing. They deliberately handed Jesus over to Pontius Pilate to have Him crucified. But the foreknowledge of God tells us that God knew their heart better than they knew it themselves, so that God knew that they would kill the Lord Jesus. But God orchestrated all the events in such a way that the crucifixion of Christ occurred exactly at the same time that the Passover lambs were killed in the temple. And just like Judas Iscariot was used by Satan to betray the Lord, his sin was not Satan’s sin but Judas’ sin, for we read in Matt 26:24,

Mt 26:24  The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

But since Christ was crucified for an atonement of all the sins of all the elect, salvation has come to the remnant of the Gentiles as well as to the remnant of the Jews. Please turn to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 1:11 (2X). That Christ had to suffer and die on the cross and be accursed by God in our place did completely fit within the plan of God, or the counsel of God, even though wicked man thought that they were carrying out their own plan. God’s plan to save a people for Himself included that God’s righteousness must first be satisfied on behalf of the sins of those people, which meant that Christ must come to pay for their sins to the full satisfaction of the righteousness of God. We read in Eph 1:11,

Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

The counsel of His own will determined that we were predestinated according to His purpose. And to this end He caused our soul to be regenerated by His Holy Spirit, and to give us faith. We read in V.9,

Eph 1:9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

This means that He made known to us the Gospel, the Good news that Christ has died for us, and only for us. He saved us entirely according to His good pleasure. Let us now go back to the question:

#4.       Who Crucified Christ? (Acts 2:36, John 19:37, Zech 12:10, Gal 4:25)

Ac 2:36  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Who represents “all the house of Israel?” When we know that the NT Israel consists of all the elect, both of the Jews and of the Gentiles, then did we crucify Him? In the Gospel According to John we read that a Roman soldier pierced the side of Jesus on the cross, and out gushed blood and water. We read:

Joh 19:37  And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

Notice that God uses here the plural pronoun, “whom they pierced”. Did we also pierce the side of the Lord Jesus? This verse refers to a passage in Zechariah. Please turn to the Prophecy of Zechariah, Zech 12:10 (2X). You find the Prophecy of Zechariah just before Malachi, at the end of the OT. We have here a verse, quoted by God in the Gospel of John at the time that the Lord Jesus was pierced in His side. And thus we know that this verse in Zechariah refers to the time of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus and not to the end of time. We read here in Zech 12:10,

Zec 12:10  And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

First of all we must have the proper perspective of the word Jerusalem. At the moment that the Lord Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place was torn from the top to the bottom, so that the holiest place in the temple was now exposed. This meant that God no longer dwelt in the Holy of Holies. This meant that the temple was no longer the house of God. This meant that Jerusalem was no longer the holy city. This meant that the nation of Israel was no longer the favorite nation of God. The soldier pierced the side of Jesus after He died. At that time Jerusalem was no longer the holy city of God. And so, when we read in Zech 12:10 that God will pour upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace, we know that this cannot refer to the physical city of Jerusalem, for the physical city of Jerusalem remained a wicked city. According to Gal 4:25 God says that “Jerusalem which now is”, referring to the wicked city of Jerusalem as the symbol of the nation of the Jews, “is in bondage with her children”, which means that the nation of the Jews is still in bondage to sin and Satan. They are not saved unto this day. And thus, the Jerusalem which is above is really in view in Zech 12:10, for all the inhabitant of this city are blessed with the spirit of grace and of supplications at the time of the cross in AD 33. And thus, who is represented by the house of David in that verse? It is the house of Christ, for Christ is often named as David, for He was a descendant of David. And thus “the inhabitants of Jerusalem” refers to all the elect, who belong to the house of Christ. And then the text continues, “And they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced”. Christ was pierced and all the elect are guilty of piercing Him. Why is that so? It is so because we were the reason why the Lord Jesus had to die on the cross. If there were no elect in the world the Lord Jesus did not have to come to suffer the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, and He did not have to be pierced in His side either. It was for our sakes that He endured the sufferings both in His body and in His soul. And thus we are guilty of piercing Him. And then the text continues, “And they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn”. Clearly, only the elect shall mourn for Christ, for we now see Him as our Kinsman who sticks closer than a brother. And we love Him because He loved us first, and He endured Hell for us to keep us out of Hell. Therefore we mourn for Him, for God sent His only begotten Son to die in our place. This is all a gift of grace, and all we can do is be grateful for it.                AMEN.            Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.