Acts 13:33 reads as follows: “God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. ” What day is “this day”?
Acts 13:33 occurs during a message of the Apostle Paul. The message is about Jesus’ death and His return to life. Then Paul explains that Jesus is God.
And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, “YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.” As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: “I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.” (NASB) Acts 13:32-34
Paul uses two phrases that are important to understand. The first one answers your question.
In order to understand the phrase “this day” (KJV) or “today” (NASB) we need to go back to Psalm 2:7. Acts 13:33 is a quote from Ps. 2:7. Here is the Psalm.
I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” (NASB) Ps. 2:7
Psalm 2 is about the coming King – Jesus Christ. God had promised King David that one of his offspring would sit on his throne forever (2 Sam. 7:13-14), and this is a re-statement of the promise. It is also a prophecy. The Hebrew and Greek verb tenses imply that this is a statement of fact. The Hebrew verb translated as “have begotten” is in the perfect tense, and the Greek verb in Acts 13:33 is also in the perfect tense. This tells us that the decision to have Jesus fulfill the role as the son of David was made in eternity past. Therefore, the word “today”is merely an expression denoting an action that was completed in the past. It is not an actual “day.” God knew in eternity past that He would make this promise to King David. “This day” refers to an event before the creation of the world.
It is also important to note that the word “begetton” does not refer to someone being born. It has the idea of priority one – one that is most important. While Jesus is a descendant of David, Jesus is also the most important One. Some day everyone will honor Him. Some day we will all bow down to Him.
Jesus was the Son of Man so that He could physically die for our sins. He was the Son of God because He was, is, and will always be God. Jesus is the priority One who will reign as King some day in the future and with Whom we will spend eternity. Praise God.
Reference Links:What does Son of Man and Son of God mean?
What does the Bible mean when it says Jesus is the only begotten Son?