Acts 4:23-31 – The Sovereign Lord vs. Nations in Opposition

Apostles hope for national Revival, but Sanhedrin is unwilling.

Acts 4:5-22 and Psalm 118

Psalm 118 used in:

1.    Matthew 21:9-10, Palm Sunday crowd

2.    Matthew 21:42, Jesus at the end of the Parable of the Tenants

3.    Matthew 23:37-39, The House Left Desolate until the quote Ps. 118 to Jesus in the future

4.    Acts 3:11, The Stone the builders Rejected


4:23 – “sovereign” (“despota” also in Lk. 2:29 and Rev.6:10) in comparison to Sanhedrin’s

power under God’s permissive and known will


Use OT words of liturgy which defined God as the creator:

Ex. 20:11; Neh.9:6; Ps.146:6; Is.42:5


4:25 – Quote Psalm 2:

1.    The nations will conspire against God. This is known and allowed. It is a principle in the world we live in. It was true in David’s day 1000 BC. It was true in 30 AD in Acts chapter 4. It is true in our age and in our time. It will be true at Armageddon.

2.    Jews had began applying this Psalm chapter 2 to the Messiah by 100 BC

3.    Ps.2:7 are the words used at Jesus’ baptism by God (see Acts 10:38 where Jesus was anointed by God at his baptism.

4.    Ps.2 is text proof of the nation’s sinful attitude toward God’s will

5.    The nations attitude manifest at the crucifixion with a sign on the cross mocking Jesus as “King of the Jews” when it was written in three languages:

a.    Greek, the language of World Culture

b.    Latin, the language of Rome which was the World Power

c.    Hebrew, the language of God’s revealed Religion

6.    Ultimate fulfilled at Armageddon when Jesus returns to Mount Zion (rev.14:1) to set up his kingdom (Joel 3:1 and 5:16, 17)


Psalm 2



8-9 – Trumpets



2:28-30 – Signs before

14:1 – Lamb on Zion

2:6 – Son on Zion


3:1 – Restore Judah



25:31 – Son seated in Glory

      to judge nations from Zion

3:2 – Judge nations near Zion




3:9 – Prepare for War with


14:14 – Grain Harvest



3:13 – Grain Harvest

14:17 – Grape Harvest



3:14 – Grape Harvest

16:10 – Sun Darkened, 5th Bowl



3:15 – Sun Darkened

16:16 – Gathered nations for    




(nations had been invited to prepare for war in 3:9)

19:11 Armageddon




5:16 – Lord roars from Zion to

           fight nations




5:17 – Israel realizes the Lord

             dwells in Zion



Zechariah. 12-14 – Israel

        sees, believes the Lord

       and fountain is open to

       purify  them

5:18 – fountain will flow


4:29-30 – Sanhedrin’s threats could result in:

1.    Intimidation and Silence of the Apostles

2.    Apostles would be bold and proclaim the truth since they know this principle:

a.    The Lord is Sovereign

b.    The Nations are in Rebellion


The Apostles call themselves “slaves” (douloV) not “servants” (piaV) like Jesus.

“Jesus your servant” connects Jesus of Nazareth the the OT promises of the coing Servant of God


The Prayer:

1.    Recognize that the Sanhedrins threats were real but accepted in the Plan of God. They were not going to go away. So, they did not pray for conversion of the Sanhedrin

2.    Apostles only real fear was that they would fail because of fear of these threats.. So, they pray for boldness to teach boldly in the face of the opposition.

3.    God’s sign and support. TheShaking may indicate the shaking of Judaism to remove it and the establishment of something more secure. See Hebrews 12:25-29