Seminary
Unit 17, Day 2: Acts 1:9–26

“Unit 17, Day 2: Acts 1:9–26,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)

“Unit 17, Day 2,” New Testament Study Guide

Unit 17: Day 2

Acts 1:9–26

Introduction

After instructing His disciples for 40 days, Jesus Christ ascended into heaven. The Apostles and others united in prayer and supplication. Through inspiration, Matthias was called to fill the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles left by the betrayal and death of Judas Iscariot.

Acts 1:9–12

The Savior ascends into heaven

Read the following statements about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and write whether each statement is true (T) or false (F) in the space provided. Use the accompanying scriptures to help you answer correctly.

  • ____ 1. Jesus Christ will return to the earth in the latter days. (See Moses 7:60.)

  • ____ 2. At His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will appear only to righteous people. (See D&C 101:23; Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:26)

  • ____ 3. Because Jesus Christ will be in disguise when He comes again, most people will not realize that the Second Coming has occurred. (See D&C 49:22–23.)

During His mortal ministry, Jesus Christ prophesied that in the last days some people would promote false teachings about His Second Coming (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22–25). We can know whether a particular teaching about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is true or false if we follow the Savior’s words and the words of His prophets. By doing this we can avoid being deceived (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).

As you study Acts 1:9–12, look for truths concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

The Savior instructed His Apostles for 40 days after His Resurrection (see Acts 1:3). Read Acts 1:9–12, looking for what happened after the Savior finished instructing them.

Imagine you had been there to witness the Savior ascending into heaven. What thoughts and feelings do you think you might have had?

Ascension, The

In ancient Israel, a cloud sometimes served as a visible representation of the presence and glory of God (see Exodus 40:34). The cloud mentioned in Acts 1:9 was a cloud of glory (see Bible Dictionary, “Cloud”). The two men mentioned in Acts 1:10 were angels.

Notice in Acts 1:11 what the angels told the Apostles. One truth we can learn from the angels’ statement is that at His Second Coming, the Savior will descend from heaven in glory.

Notice in Acts 1:12 that the Savior’s Ascension took place on the Mount of Olives. When the Savior comes again, one of His appearances will be when He descends and stands on the Mount of Olives (see Zechariah 14:4; D&C 45:47–53; 133:19–20). This will be before His great and grand appearance to the world (see Isaiah 40:5).

Ponder the following question: How can knowing the manner in which the Savior will return help us avoid being deceived while we await His Second Coming?

Acts 1:13–26

Matthias is chosen to fill the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

After the Apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, they gathered with some faithful men and women, including Mary, the mother of Jesus, to pray and worship. Read Acts 1:13, and count the number of Apostles listed.

Why were there only 11 Apostles at that time?

In Acts 1:15–20 we learn that Peter stood before 120 disciples and spoke about the death of Judas Iscariot. Because Judas had been one of the Twelve Apostles, the disciples gathered to choose a new Apostle.

Consider the different ways in which some of the following leaders are chosen: a team captain, a local government leader, a king or queen, and a president of a company. What might some of the qualifications for these leadership positions be?

Consider how an Apostle of Jesus Christ is chosen and what qualifies someone to serve as an Apostle.

Read Acts 1:21–26, looking for how a new Apostle was chosen after the death of Judas Iscariot.

In verse 26 the phrase “they gave forth their lots” refers to an ancient method of making a decision. Among the faithful, the hand of God would direct the outcome (see Proverbs 16:33).

McConkie, Bruce R.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “If they cast lots, it was an instance in which the Lord chose the result. More probably, however, ‘they gave forth their votes,’ presumably ‘sustaining votes’ to uphold him whom God had chosen to serve in the holy apostleship” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 2:32).

According to Acts 1:21–22, Peter said that the new Apostle would be chosen from among those who had known Jesus personally and were witnesses of His ministry from the beginning through His Resurrection.

What stands out to you about the Apostles’ prayer recorded in Acts 1:24–25?

One truth we can learn from this account is that Apostles of Jesus Christ are called by God through revelation. Consider writing this truth in your scriptures next to Acts 1:24.

Heber J. Grant

President Heber J. Grant

  1. Pencil Icon
    Answer the following question in your scripture journal: Why do you think it is important that an Apostle is called by God through revelation rather than being selected in a way similar to other leaders in the world?

For an example of how a modern Apostle was selected through revelation, read the following account from the life of President Heber J. Grant:

“President [Heber J.] Grant received revelations as President of the Church to guide the Church as a whole. One such revelation came just after he was set apart as President of the Church, when he sought the will of the Lord in appointing a new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. As he pondered this responsibility, his thoughts turned repeatedly to his lifelong friend Richard W. Young, a faithful Latter-day Saint and a proven leader. President Grant discussed this possibility with his counselors, who supported his decision. When he finally felt confident with this course of action, he wrote his friend’s name on a piece of paper and took the paper with him to the weekly temple meeting with the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. However, when he was about to present the name for the approval of his Brethren, he was unable to do so. Instead of presenting the name of Richard W. Young, he presented the name of Melvin J. Ballard, a man whom he hardly knew. President Grant later told of the impact this experience had on him:

“‘I have felt the inspiration of the living God directing me in my labors. From the day that I chose a comparative stranger to be one of the apostles, instead of my lifelong and dearest living friend, I have known as I know that I live, that I am entitled to the light and the inspiration and the guidance of God in directing His work here upon this earth’” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant [2002], 181–82).

Ponder how the truth taught in Acts 1:24 is illustrated in this account describing the calling of a modern-day Apostle.

How does the calling of an Apostle show that the Savior continues to direct His Church? (Remember the truth taught in Acts 1:2—Jesus Christ directs His Church by revealing His will to His Apostles through the Holy Ghost.)

  1. Pencil Icon
    Answer one or more of the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. When have you witnessed a new Apostle called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and what were your feelings as you sustained him in this calling?

    2. What experiences have helped you come to know that the living Apostles have been called by God?

    3. Why is it important to you to have a testimony that the living Apostles have been called by God?

    4. Do you know the names of all of the Apostles who are currently serving in the Church? List the names of as many of the current Apostles that you can remember. (To find out how well you did naming the current Apostles, look at the page containing the pictures and names of General Authorities in the most recent general conference edition of the Ensign or Liahona magazine or search LDS.org.)

  2. Pencil Icon
    Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Acts 1:9–26 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: