Acts 4:25-30
Acts 4:25 (KJB)
Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
Did…rage - To be haughty or arrogant
Imagine - Devise or meditate upon
Vain things - Futile things, ineffective, or worthless
(Psa 2:1 KJV) Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? Peter quotes David from Psalm 2 which is a prophecy of the situation they are now in. The true Gospel is going forth and the opposition is coming. According to the Scripture that Peter is preaching, even though the heathens gather against the Christians who are preaching the true Gospel, it is a very futile thing to meditate upon ways to stop the spread of the Gospel. The Roman Empire tried ten major persecutions against the Christians and all that it did was to increase Christianity in the Empire:
Nero (64 A.D.)
Domitian (c. 90-96 A.D.)
Trajan (98-117 A.D.)
Hadrian (117-138 A.D.)
Marcus Aurelius (161-181 A.D.)
Septimus Severus (202-211 A.D.)
Maximus the Thracian (235-251 A.D.)
Decius (24-251 A.D.)
Valerian (257-260 A.D.)
Diocletian (303-311 A.D.)
After all the suffering the Christians went through from these persecutions, God honored their sacrifices by increasing the number of Christians. The Roman Empire tried a vain thing by killing the Christians and it did not work.
Acts 4:26 (KJB)
The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
(Psa 2:2 KJV) The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Peter continues his quotation from Psalm 2 as he is stating that the rulers of these nations have gathered together against God and also against the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the way it is going to be to the last day, Satan will use political kingdoms to try and stop the worldwide preaching of the Gospel. (Prov 11:21 KJV) Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered. The same principle is shown in Proverbs 11:21, that even though the wicked make alliances with each other and seem to have great strength, they will not prevail. The world will not hate Buddha, Mohammed, the Pope, Confucius, or other world religious figures, their single aim is the Lord Jesus Christ and Christians.
Acts 4:27 (KJB)
For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
The principle of evil alliances was already alive and well when they had arrested the Lord Jesus Christ. (Luke 23:11-12 KJV) And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. {12} And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves. Not only were two enemies made friends over the hatred for the Lord Jesus Christ, but in alliance with them were the leaders of Israel who had stirred up the majority of the people against Christ. So what Peter is enunciating here is that Christ had faced a conspiracy of hatred and because these are disciples, they too will face this same conspiracy of hatred, albeit, from different people and in different ways, nevertheless, it will be there and will have its origin in Satan’s kingdom. (John 15:20 KJV) Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
Acts 4:28 (KJB)
For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
Peter now speaks of the fact that these unbelievers could only do what God had predetermined them to do. They may have thought that they were working independently and that the situation was in their hands but little did they know that God was directing the entire situation. The Lord Jesus Christ had to die for the sins of His people or else no one could be saved and that included the Old Testament Saints. Now Peter mentions this because they are in the same situation knowing that nothing can happen to them or for them unless God is the one who is directing whatever event is happening. They know that the Will of God will sometimes be challenging.
Acts 4:29 (KJB)
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
Boldness - Fearlessness, courage, or frankness
One of the key strategies of Satan is to use threats to try and stop the spreading of the Gospel. If a threat is considered and the Christians step back, then Satan will have won a victory over the Christians. (Phil 1:28 KJV) And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. Philippians 1:28 counsels the Christians to never become terrified by any threat of the adversary. The Christian is to continue on and realize that the enemy is going to do what he can through his human agents to try and quell the Gospel. Now this is an interesting second half to this verse. Notice that Peter asks the Lord to continue preaching the word in all boldness. The modern Christian, after being threatened, would probably have a meeting and try to do the work in a much more subdued manner such as handing out tracts. Peter and the other disciples prayed for boldness to proclaim the true Gospel and they were not concerned about the results of their obedience to God. They wanted to be bold witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ and not secret disciples. How many times do we pray for boldness of speech in our witness or do we ask God to open a less intimidating way to witness? I wonder how many Pastors receive letters from the IRS threatening them with loss of tax exemption and then pray for boldness or do they rethink their preaching subjects?
Acts 4:30 (KJB)
By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
In a figure Peter is stating that just by God stretching forth His hand, greats signs and wonders would be able to be done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, as was done to the crippled man at the temple. When Peter states that God stretched forth His hand, he was also stating that this was God extending His power to confirm the ministry of the disciples by means of certain signs. The healing of the lame man was considered a great miracle because thousands had seen it and it could not be denied. Today’s charismatic movement always speaks of signs, wonders, and miracles, yet when you ask for a definite healing like a resurrection or a limb being restored, it is always told that it took place 10,000 miles away and it was always third or fourth hand information. In other words, the miracles which Jesus did in the open are not being done today by any so called “faith healer.” These miracles were done before the Bible was completed but once it was completed, there would be no further need for miracles because the Bible, the Word of God, would be sufficient to carry out the Great Commission of evangelism to the ends of the earth. The ministry of miraculous confirmation would begin to wane by the end of the seventh decade as there were times Paul could not heal because a transition was taking place from signs, wonders, and miracles to the Bible alone.
(Phil 2:25-27 KJV) Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. {26} For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. {27} For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.
(1 Tim 5:23 KJV) Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
Here we have two examples in the ministry of Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus. Both of them were sick and yet Paul did not heal them which meant the sign gifts began to wane already. Faith by means of the Scriptures was now beginning to overtake faith by means of signs.