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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Peter therefore affirmed that God had raised him from the dead; and shown him openly, not to the public in general, but to certain witnesses previously chosen for the purpose, even to the apostles, who could not possibly have been deceived, because they ate fish and bread with him, and drank with him, after he rose from the dead.

These things they heard and believed.

The next thing he declared to them was, that God has commanded them to preach to the people Israel, and to testify, that Jesus was he that is appointed of God to be the Judge of the living and the dead.

Now, said Peter, and this was the fellowship of the mystery, "To him give all the prophets witness, that whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins through his Name".

This was new doctrine to Gentiles.

They had heard of it before as preached to Jews; but they heard it now for the first time, that "whosoever believed," whether Jew or Gentile, should receive remission of sins through his Name.

Peter had made a very straightforward and simple statement of truth to them.

This he called preaching "repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus".

There was no sermonizing, or text-weaving; no scratching of itching ears; every thing was delivered in a concise and dignified manner, which carried the impress of truth upon its very front.

But, he not only opened the mystery of the Gospel of the Kingdom to these Gentiles, but he "preached the gospel to them with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven"; for, "while he yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them who heard the Word".

When the six Jewish Christians, who accompanied Peter, saw this, they were astonished, because that on the Gentiles was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit as on the apostles themselves on the day of Pentecost.

They could make no mistake about this, for "they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God".

Here, then, was the Word preached, and the Word confirmed by the Lord working with Peter.

No one that heard the account of these things could doubt for a moment, whether "God had purified their hearts by faith," and accepted them.

But still there was something wanting.

Peter had told them of remission of sins through the name of Jesus to every one that believes in him; but he had not informed these believers, how they could avail themselves of this omnipotent Name.

How were they to be washed, sanctified, and justified by this Name?

How were they to take it upon them?

In what manner was it to be named upon them?

The apostle says, that when the Spirit fell upon them, he had only "begun to speak".

If he had not been interrupted by this extraordinary effusion, he would doubtless have fully explained himself upon this point; for, he was not only commanded to preach the name of Jesus, but to command believers to be immersed "into the Name (eij" to; o[noma) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit".

Here, then, is a great matter.

The name of Jesus is placed in the institution of immersion, based on an intelligent, childlike belief of "the things of the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ".