Acts 4:2 Being grieved that they taught the people
The murderer is always so disappointed when his wicked plan goes awry. So the elders of the people had thought that killing Jesus of Nazareth would make the last few years seem like a bad nightmare. This whole movement would certainly spontaneously dissolve if only Jesus could be killed, or so they thought. How truly disappointed they must have been to see Peter performing such dramatic miracles and proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus! For them, the nightmare was starting all over again. Like the murderers of Joseph Smith, they thought killing the leader would end the movement. They couldn't have been more wrong. Certainly, this pattern was repeated in this dispensation.
George Q. Cannon
"The enemies of the work of God had done their worst in murdering the Prophet in cold blood, and they supposed that in killing him and taking him away their actions would prove a death-knell to what they called 'Mormonism;' but they little knew or understood that God had left the same power on the earth which Joseph wielded with such potent effect. The reins had been transferred to others, who were prepared to wield that power, and to step forward and take the responsibility upon them of carrying forward the work of God. Hence, there was no diminution of hatred, slander and persecution on the part of mobs and those who wished to shed the blood of the Saints.
"After the death of Joseph, while the Twelve were in the East, there was seemingly a slight relaxation of bitterness towards the Saints, on the part of the enemies of truth; but it was only for a few days. When the Twelve returned, and it was found that the same power which Joseph had held still existed, persecutions on the part of mobs recommenced with renewed vigor and bitterness, and they swore out several charges against the brethren of the Twelve. So warm did this persecution become, that the houses of President Young and his brethren had to be guarded, and each had to take care of himself, as his blood, and particularly President Young's was sought with just as great eagerness and blood-thirstiness as Joseph's had previously been. This ought to have been an evidence as to who held the authority." (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 13: 50.)
"...no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent..." (History of the Church, 4: 540.)
Acts 4:6 Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander
"Annas was a Jewish high priest in the days of Jesus. He was the son of Seth, was appointed to the priestly office at age thirty-seven, and held the office when John the Baptist commenced his call for repentance (Luke 3:2). He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, high priest during the time of Jesus' crucifixion and Peter and John's difficulties with the Sanhedrin (John 18:18, 24; Acts 4:6). He was a man of powerful influence among the Jews, and five of his sons served as high priests.
"The full name of Caiaphas was Joseph Caiaphas. He was high priest of the Jews during the reign of the emperor Tiberius (Matt. 26:3,57; John 11:49; 18:13, 14, 24, 28; Acts 4:6). Before him appeared both Jesus and the apostles Peter and John. He was the son-in-law of Annas, high priest before him, and he served some eighteen years in this important post.
"Nothing more is known of John and Alexander beyond this one reference." (Institute Manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & his Apostles, 2nd ed., p. 244-245)
Acts 4:11 the stone which was set at nought of you builders
In this reference, the building up of the kingdom of God is likened unto the building of a house which should have been built up by the ecclesiastical authorities of the day. They had the most experience, training, and knowledge. In laying the foundation, they should have been able to look amongst all the rocks and boulders and select a rock of supreme quality. They would need a perfect stone, one that could support all the weight of the building, one that would make a 'sure foundation' (Jacob 4:16).
Ironically, as they surveyed the scene, they missed this most important stone 'because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark' (Jacob 4:14). Instead of making it their chief cornerstone, they stumbled over it as Isaiah prophesied they would (Isa 8:14). They tripped on it and fell flat on their faces. Angered by their own bruised elbows and scuffed up knees, they cursed and kicked and 'set at naught' this 'rock of offence'. With this blunder of eternal proportions, God himself had to step in to finish the work. God himself would have to take over the construction project. These blind and wounded contractors were fired and the Father placed Christ in his rightful position as the 'head stone of the corner' (Ps. 118:22). We are left to conclude with the psalmist, 'This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes' (Ps 118:23).
Acts 4:12 there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved
As a missionary, I once had a long conversation with a Buddhist about the process of salvation. He contended that as many roads lead to Rome, there are just as many ways that one can reach heaven. He had asked me if it was possible for a Buddhist who never converted to Christianity in his lifetime could be saved. I responded that he could, but there were qualifications. In discussing these qualifications, this doctrine, that there is no other name whereby man can be saved, was discussed. This is not what the Buddhist man wanted to hear. He thought that this Christian doctrine was narrow-minded and ethno-centric, and he would be right if it wasn't the truth. And so we parted ways-with him thinking how narrow-minded my doctrine was-and with me thinking that the day would come when he would finally confess the name of Jesus Christ.
We understand from the scriptures that salvation comes only in and through the name of Jesus Christ. This applies to the Buddhist as well as to the Muslim. It applies to the Jew as well as to the Hindu. It applies to the atheist as well as the agnostic. There is no way around this doctrine, for every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (Mosiah 27:31).
David O. McKay
"'There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.' (Acts 4:12.) It was a most dramatic scene when that sentence was uttered, and so you have this thought expressed as follows: The world's hope and destiny, the world's hope and destiny are centered in the Man of Galilee, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
"In your moment when you are fighting out the battle of the day, will you look introspectively and see whether you really believe that? Paul Kane once asked this question: 'Is Jesus only a legendary figure in history, a Saint to be painted in the stained glass of church windows, a sort of sacred fairy not to be approached and hardly to be mentioned by name, or is he still what he was when he was in the flesh, a reality, a man of like passions with ourselves, an elder brother, a guide, a counselor, a comforter, a great voice calling to us out of the past to live nobly, to guide bravely, and keep up our courage to the last.'
"What is he to you, my fellow laborer? When you kneel down to pray at night, do you feel his nearness, his personality hearing you, do you feel a power that operates perhaps as the radio or a greater power so that you feel that you are communing with him? You are not just saying your prayers, you are praying. Do you know tonight that he is real, our Savior, the Head of the Church? I know he is, and I know, too, that a whole nation right tonight is trying to teach a million boys that Christ is but a myth and there is no God." (Conference Report, October 1954, General Priesthood Meeting 84.)
David O. McKay
"If men ever reject the fact that Christ is our Lord and Savior; . . . if the majority of nations fail to recognize him as the only 'name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved' (Acts 4:12); if doubting men reject the possibility of obtaining that spiritual assurance of Christ's divinity;
". . . if the acts of men generally be in accordance with such rejection rather than in accordance with their acceptance of him as the Divine One, then this world will continue to be torn by contention, made miserable by hideous warfare, and ignominiously wrecked on the shoals of materialism, selfish indulgence, and disbelief and hatred.
"Without Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified Christ, the Risen Lord, the traits of the jungle will hold the human family in bondage." (October 1965 general conference address, The Improvement Era, Dec. 1965, p. 1099.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Believe in God and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, His only begotten in the flesh, the Savior and the Redeemer of the world, 'for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.' (Acts 4:1, 12) Out of that belief will come a sense of brotherhood and a sense of dignity and a sense of kinship among the peoples of the earth. There will come a realization of that divinity which burns within each of us that will give strength to our characters and fiber to our lives and cause us to walk in decency and kindness and appreciation. We then shall be the kind of men and women who will reflect honor to the Church of which we are members." (January 3, 1962, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1962, p. 6.)
Acts 4:13 when they saw the boldness of Peter and John...they marveled
Spencer W. Kimball
"We stand in awe before the great Peter, who had so completely received his total assurances and who had so graciously donned the robe of leadership and the mantle of authority and the courage of the inspired and assured. What strength he had come to have as he led the saints and faced the world with all its persecutors, unbelievers, and difficulties. And, as he rehearsed over and over his absolute knowledge, we glory in his stamina as he faced mobs and prelates, officials who could take his life, and as he boldly proclaimed the resurrected Lord, the Prince of Peace, the Holy One and the Just, the Prince of Life, the Prince and Savior. Peter certainly now was sure, impregnable, never to falter. We should gain much sureness by his certainty." (Conference Report, April 1969, Afternoon Meeting 28.)
Acts 4:13 they...perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men
Jeffrey R. Holland
"Of course, the tidal wave of conversion that swept Jerusalem under Peter's direction aroused the anger and fear of both Sadducee and Pharisee. But Peter's compelling declarations could not be silenced. In prison he overwhelmed his accusers with a piercing testimony of Jesus and found himself set free by angels as well as mortal men. Such powers stunned Jewish lawyers, who marveled at these 'unlearned and ignorant men.' (Acts 4:13.) They did not understand that in the gospel of Jesus Christ those have never been synonymous terms." (However Long and Hard the Road [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 96.)
David O. McKay
"Unlearned they were; but not ignorant; for by their wisdom and preaching, they overthrew the whole edifice of human wisdom, and led the world to the light of truth." (Ancient Apostles [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964], 35.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Thus the absence of a commanding physical presence-or, in modern political terms, the absence of charisma-can cause people to disregard or dismiss one actually sent of God, even though the substance of the individual or his message is exceedingly important.
"A pseudo-sophisticated society is especially likely to dismiss someone who does not have impeccable educational credentials. Impressive as Peter and John were, they were still labeled: Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).
"As always, the adversary manages to have it both ways. Educated and articulate Paul, learned by worldly standards, gave a great discourse before King Agrippa, yet Agrippa turned Paul's learning against that prophet by saying, 'Much learning doth make thee mad' (Acts 26:24).
"Prophets can be dismissed or discounted in many ways. If their faults can be focused upon, their message can be dismissed. Or, if they can be labeled, they need not be listened to (winebibber, Sabbath breaker, unlearned, ignorant, and so forth). Or, if they can be denigrated in some other way, their message can be discounted." (Sermons Not Spoken [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985], 46.)
Acts 4:20 we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard
Robert L. Backman
"The Apostles who there stood with the Son of God responded to this call with faith, boldness, and power. We read that they were 'all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.' (Acts 4:31.) They had seen a resurrected being, had eaten with him, had felt his hands and feet. They knew, and knowing, they testified: 'For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.' (Acts 4:20.)
"Does that commission extend to us as his disciples? Perhaps we have not seen, in person, the risen Lord. But the testimony of his chosen witnesses is etched into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We know, and knowing, we too must testify. Is there any question in the mind of any of us that this is one of the chief responsibilities we enjoy by reason of our membership in his Church? I began with Mormon's declaration, 'I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.' (3 Ne. 5:13.) Such is the calling of each of us." ("Jesus the Christ," Ensign, Nov. 1991, 8)
Acts 4:29 grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word
Spencer W. Kimball
"Now is the moment in the timetable of the Lord to carry the gospel farther than it has ever been carried before-farther geographically, and farther in density of coverage. Many a person in this world is crying, knowingly and unknowingly, 'Come over ... and help us.' He might be your neighbor. She might be your friend. He might be a relative. She might be someone you met only yesterday. But we have what they need. Let us take new courage from our studies and pray, as did Peter, 'And now, Lord, grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.' (Acts 4:29.)" (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 593.)
Acts 4:32 them that believed were of one heart and of one soul
Cheiko N. Okazaki
"Both the New Testament and the Doctrine and Covenants talk about the importance for members of the Church to be 'of one heart and of one soul' or of 'one mind.' (Acts 4:32; D&C 45:65-66). Sometimes we think this means that we have to look alike, sound alike, talk alike, dress alike, and have the same number of children. I think what it really means, above all, is that we need to love the Savior with all our hearts. At that point, we will have the 'mind of Christ' (1 Cor. 2:16) to unite us in soul with others. As we think about situations and problems, the frustratingly complex ethical and moral dilemmas will become clearer and simpler because we will know what Jesus would do in a given case, and we can do what he would do, just as he was able to do what the Father would have done in his place." (Chieko N. Okazaki, Disciples [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 155.)
"In speaking with a gentleman recently on some of the difficulties between the English and the Irish people, I told him that it was lamentable that such a feeling should exist. Well, said he, they are two different races and they cannot affiliate, one being Celtic and the other Anglo-Saxon, and their sympathies and feelings are dissimilar. Their ideas and feelings differ; their education and their instincts differ. That is very true so far as it goes. But what of us? We are gathered here under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and that as I before said, produces a unity of feeling and spirit, a oneness and sympathy that does not exist in the world and Jesus has said, 'By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.' (John 13:35.) . . . . And how is it, brethren? Are we Scandinavians; are we English; are we Scotch, Swiss or Dutch, as the case may be? No; the Spirit of God, which we obtained through obedience to the requirements of the gospel, having been born again, of the water and of the Spirit, has made us of one heart, one faith, one baptism; we have no national or class divisions of that kind among us." (Journal of Discourses, 24:2)
"If we were one, we should then prove to heaven, to God our Father, to Jesus Christ our Elder Brother, to the angels, to the good upon the earth, and to all mankind that we are the disciples of the lord Jesus Christ. If we are not one, we are not in the true sense of the word the disciples of the Lord Jesus.
"...The Church of Jesus Christ could not exist, and be divided up into parties. Where such disunion exists in any government, it ultimately becomes the means of the utter overthrow of that government or people, unless a timely remedy is applied. Party spirit once made its appearance in heaven, but was promptly checked.
"That perfect union, which must ultimately be enjoyed by the Latter-day Saints, can only be brought about by every man and woman living so as to keep their minds pure and unspotted like a piece of clean, white paper, being constantly free from the love of the world, that the spirit of revelation may easily indite upon the heart whatever is the mind and will of the Lord. We cannot be truly the members of Christ's mystical body without living in this way, that the Spirit may indite as easily upon the heart the things of God, as these brethren, our reporters can write with ink on paper.
"Perfect Oneness Will Save a People-We must become of one heart and mind, in order to fully enjoy the blessings we anticipate.
"If we are united, we are independent of the powers of hell and of the world. 5:257." (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 281.)
"In order to conduct the affairs of the Kingdom in righteousness, it is all important that the most perfect harmony, kind feeling, good understanding, and confidence should exist in the hearts of all the brethren; and that true charity, love one towards another, should characterize all their proceedings. If there are any uncharitable feelings, any lack of confidence, then pride, arrogance and envy will soon be manifested; confusion must inevitably prevail, and the authorities of the Church set at naught; and under such circumstances, Kirtland cannot rise and free herself from the captivity in which she is held, and become a place of safety for the Saints, nor can the blessings of Jehovah rest upon her." (History of The Church, 4:165-66)
Acts 4:32-37 they had all things common
Sterling W. Sill
"The scriptures speak about an interesting religious practice that has sometimes been used over the ages to promote the economic welfare of people. This program has been known by various names, such as the United Order, the Order of Enoch, the Law of Consecration. It is based on the philosophy of an ideal economic order in which everyone works to the full limit of his ability, and each member has the privilege of withdrawing from the total accumulation according to his need rather than according to his ability to contribute. In the ideal operation of this program, no one has that which is above another, and those who are sick or have large families or other kinds of problems share in the total-not according to any equity, but according to what their needs may be.
"We hear of this unique arrangement first in the days of Enoch, one of the greatest prophets who ever lived on this earth...He gathered his people together in the city of Enoch, about which the scripture says: 'And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.' (Moses 7:18.)
"We might try to imagine a society in which there were no poor, no slums, no idlers, and no sinners. Apparently this idea worked pretty well in the entire city of Enoch, for all its people were eventually translated and taken up into heaven.
"This economic order was also practiced for a time in the days of Jesus. In Acts 2:44 we find this reference: 'And all that believed were together, and had all things common.' The scripture also says: 'And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common.' (Acts 4:32.)
"There was also a period of great righteousness among the Nephites. Of them the record says: 'And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.' (4 Ne. 3:14)
"This program would mean a utopia among us if we had the righteousness and self-control to make it work...But because of human weaknesses, this system has never seemed to work very well for very long. We have too much selfishness and too many idlers to make any common program work very well. There are too many people who want to take more out of life than they put in.
"To make this higher law really work, everyone would need to be ambitious, virtuous, and love his neighbor as himself. It would be necessary for each one to live as near to the top of his condition as possible. Because we haven't been able to qualify for the United Order, the Lord has instituted some lesser laws, including tithing, fast offerings, and other welfare programs. However, because of our personal weaknesses and lack of faith, even these lesser laws are not obeyed very well." (The Wealth of Wisdom [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 208 - 210.)
Orson F. Whitney
"The Zion of old-Enoch's commonwealth-was sanctified and translated through obedience to the Law of Consecration, a heaven-revealed principle subsequently practiced by the followers of Christ, both Jews and Nephites. The modern Zion, 'the perfection of beauty,' 'the joy of the whole earth,' is to be brought forth upon precisely the same principle-'every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.' (DC 82:19)
"Equality and Unity.-As a preliminary to the wonderful achievement in prospect, the Latter-day Saints were required to consecrate all their properties to the Lord. This was done, not to enrich any man nor any set of men, but to establish equality in material possessions, as a prerequisite to the unity and power necessary for the mighty undertaking. Equality-not of intelligence and capacity, of course, but of ownership and of opportunity to advance and achieve-this was the purpose in view. The members of the community were to be equal in earthly things, that they might be 'equal in obtaining heavenly things.' (DC 78:6)
"A Celestial Law.-It was a law of the Celestial Kingdom-the Zion of Eternity-that the Saints were required to obey, to the end that the Lord's will might be done on earth even as it is done in heaven-that Earth might become a heaven, in fact, and they who made it so be prepared for 'a place in the celestial world.'
"Stewardships.-It was not proposed to take from the people their possessions, and demand all their time and service, without making ample provision for their support. They were not to be pauperized, but enriched, through obedience to God's law. The properties they consecrated-farms, printing offices, mills, work-shops, money, etc.-were to be returned to them as 'stewardships,' differing, as talents, aptitudes, and the ability to handle much or little differ, but all to be managed in the interest of the common cause. All earnings were to go into a general fund, from which each steward would derive a maintenance, 'every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just.'" (Saturday Night Thoughts [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1921], 179.)
Acts 4:36 Barnabas...the son of consolation
"Paul, the zealous convert who evidently seized every opportunity to preach, joined the steady and long-time member Barnabas, or "Son of Consolation." Barnabas is first mentioned in the book of Acts as a willing participant when the united order was introduced among the early saints. He joined others in selling his home and property "and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet." (Acts 4:36.)
"A Levite from Cyprus, Barnabas was probably large and impressive in stature, for he was later once mistaken for Jupiter, the most powerful of the Roman gods.(14:12.) He is described as 'a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and faith.' (Acts 11:24.)
"Although both Paul and Barnabas are referred to as apostles, Barnabas was not one of the Twelve, according to the LDS Bible Dictionary." (Apostle Paul Prepared Well for Missions, LDS Church News, 1991, 07/06/91)