God’s Word for You
Acts 3:24-26 The end of prophecy
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, September 19, 2019
24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came afterward on down, foretold these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God gave to our fathers, saying to Abraham: ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”
The prophets spoke a unified message. They did not contradict one another but spoke everything in full agreement. Their message, from Moses to Malachi, unfolds and reveals God’s word to God’s people. They proclaim one way and only one way to eternal life. By saying, “You are the sons of the prophets,” Peter continues to hold out the gospel to those who were listening to him. The covenant of the forgiveness of sins is yours, even for those who rejected him and condemned him to death.
Verses 25-26 are a neat summary of the whole proclamation of the Bible. He proves in simple language that the whole Old Testament is nothing else than a preparation for the New Testament. The prophets proclaimed the coming of Christ and no other Savior, no other Messiah, no other Suffering Servant of God. They proclaimed and prophesied Jesus Christ. Peter includes these things:
1, God gave the message through human authors
2, Abraham received the gospel promise
3, The promise was that Abraham’s descendant (seed) would bless the world.
4, That seed of Abraham, Jesus, came to the Jews first.
5, Jesus’ message was a blessing, turning men to God through repentance.
Peter is straining and yearning for the Jews of Jerusalem to repent of their idolatrous sins, to reverse their rejection of the Savior, and to turn back to God’s holy word and forgiveness. Luther described Peter here this way: “He is praying for his people, whom the enemies of Christ, their ungodly teachers, were wretchedly destroying in spirit, so that Christ could have no place, no honor, and no festive occasion in them, as he once had when the synagogue was standing. Then he dwelled in them spiritually as he now dwells in the church, But they have destroyed and still destroy such a tabernacle for him” (LW 10,431).
Peter’s sermon announced the end of Old Testament prophecy. There were a few prophets who came after Malachi, such as Simeon in the temple, and John the Baptist, who functioned as the last real prophets. And this is what Jesus himself said, that “All of the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John” (Matthew 11:13).
Since prophecy pointed ahead to Christ, there is no reason to look for more of it today, until the very last days when his return is imminent. Yet Peter showed at Pentecost that the prophecy of Joel 3 was fulfilled then and there (Acts 2:16-21). Therefore today we look for preaching, not prophesying. We look for explanation, not prediction. We preach the gospel as something fulfilled in Jesus, knowing that there is no more to be done for our sins. “In him we have redemption through his blood” (Ephesians 1:7). The payment is made (Isaiah 40:2). You are at peace with God.
Pastor Timothy Smith