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Stephen Speaks to the Sanhedrin
1Then the high priest questioned Stephen. "Is what these people are saying true?" he asked.
2"Brothers and fathers, listen to me!" Stephen replied. "The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham. At that time Abraham was still in Mesopotamia. He had not yet begun living in Haran. 3'Leave your country and your people,' God said. 'Go to the land I will show you.' (Genesis 12:1)
4"So Abraham left the land of Babylonia. He settled in Haran. After his father died, God sent Abraham to this land where you are now living. 5God didn't give him any property here. He didn't give him even a foot of land. But God made a promise to him and to all his family after him. He said they would possess the land. The promise was made even though at that time Abraham had no child.
6"Here is what God said to him. 'Your family after you will be strangers in a country that is not their own. They will be slaves and will be treated badly for 400 years. 7But I will punish the nation that makes them slaves,' God said. 'After that, they will leave that country and worship me here.' (Genesis 15:13,14)
8"Then God made a covenant with Abraham. God told him that circumcision would show who the members of the covenant were. Abraham became Isaac's father. He circumcised Isaac eight days after he was born. Later, Isaac became Jacob's father. Jacob had 12 sons. They became the founders of the 12 tribes of Israel.
9"Jacob's sons were jealous of their brother Joseph. So they sold him as a slave. He was taken to Egypt. But God was with him. 10He saved Joseph from all his troubles. God made Joseph wise. He helped him to become the friend of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. So Pharaoh made Joseph ruler over Egypt and his whole palace.
11"There was not enough food for all Egypt and Canaan. This brought great suffering. Jacob and his sons couldn't find food. 12But Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt. So he sent his sons on their first visit. 13On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was. Pharaoh learned about Joseph's family.
14"After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family. The total number of people was 75. 15Then Jacob went down to Egypt. There he and his family died. 16Some of their bodies were brought back to Shechem. They were placed in a tomb Abraham had bought. He had purchased it from Hamor's sons at Shechem for a certain amount of money.
17"In Egypt the number of our people grew and grew. It was nearly time for God to make his promise to Abraham come true. 18Another king became ruler of Egypt. He knew nothing about Joseph. 19He was very evil and dishonest with our people. He beat them down. He forced them to throw out their newborn babies to die.
20"At that time Moses was born. He was not an ordinary child. For three months he was taken care of by his family. 21Then he was placed outside. But Pharaoh's daughter took him home. She brought him up as her own son. 22Moses was taught all the knowledge of the people of Egypt. He became a powerful speaker and a man of action.
23"When Moses was 40 years old, he decided to visit the people of Israel. They were his own people. 24He saw one of them being treated badly by a man of Egypt. So he went to help him. He got even by killing the man. 25Moses thought his own people would realize that God was using him to save them. But they didn't.
26"The next day Moses saw two men of Israel fighting. He tried to make peace between them. 'Men, you are both of Israel,' he said. 'Why do you want to hurt each other?'
27"But the man who was treating the other one badly pushed Moses to one side. He said, 'Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?' (Exodus 2:14) 29When Moses heard this, he escaped to Midian. He lived there as a stranger. He became the father of two sons there.
30"Forty years passed. Then an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush. This happened in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31When Moses saw the bush, he was amazed. He went over for a closer look. There he heard the Lord's voice. 32'I am the God of your fathers,' the Lord said. 'I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.' (Exodus 3:6) Moses shook with fear. He didn't dare to look.
33"Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals. The place you are standing on is holy ground. 34I have seen my people beaten down in Egypt. I have heard their groans. I have come down to set them free. Now come. I will send you back to Egypt.' (Exodus 3:5,7,8,10)
35"This is the same Moses the two men of Israel would not accept. They had said, 'Who made you ruler and judge?' But God himself sent Moses to rule the people of Israel and set them free. He spoke to Moses through the angel who had appeared to him in the bush. 36So Moses led them out of Egypt. He did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and for 40 years in the desert.
37"This is the same Moses who spoke to the people of Israel. 'God will send you a prophet,' he said. 'He will be like me. He will come from your own people.' (Deuteronomy 18:15) 38Moses was with the Israelites in the desert. He was with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai. Moses was with our people of long ago. He received living words to pass on to us.
39"But our people refused to obey Moses. They would not accept him. In their hearts, they wished they were back in Egypt. 40They told Aaron, 'Make us a god who will lead us. This fellow Moses led us out of Egypt. But we don't know what has happened to him!' (Exodus 32:1) 41That was the time they made a statue to be their god. It looked like a calf. They brought sacrifices to it. They were glad because of what they had made with their own hands. 42But God turned away from them. He left them to worship the sun, moon and stars. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets. There it says, " 'People of Israel, did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
for 40 years in the desert?
43You lifted up the place where Molech was worshiped.
You lifted up the star of your god Rephan.
You made statues of them to worship.
So I will send you away from your country.' (Amos 5:25-27)
God sent them to Babylon and even farther.
44"Long ago our people had with them in the desert the holy tent where the tablets of the covenant were kept. Moses had made the holy tent as God had commanded him. It was made like the pattern he had seen. 45Our people received the tent from God. They brought it with them when they took the land of Canaan. God drove out the nations that were in their way. At that time Joshua was Israel's leader.
"The tent remained in the land until David's time. 46David was blessed by God. So David asked if he could build a house for the God of Jacob. 47Instead, it was Solomon who built it for him.
48"But the Most High God does not live in houses made by human hands. As God says through the prophet,
49" 'Heaven is my throne.
The earth is under my control.
What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord.
Where will my resting place be?
50Didn't my hand make all these things?' (Isaiah 66:1,2)
51"You people! You won't obey! You are stubborn! You won't listen! You are just like your people of long ago! You always oppose the Holy Spirit! 52Was there ever a prophet your people didn't try to hurt? They even killed those who told about the coming of the Blameless One. And now you have handed him over to his enemies. You have murdered him. 53The law you received was brought by angels. But you haven't obeyed it."
Stephen Is Killed
54When the Sanhedrin heard this, they became very angry. They ground their teeth at Stephen. 55But he was full of the Holy Spirit. He looked up to heaven and saw God's glory. He saw Jesus standing at God's right hand. 56"Look!" he said. "I see heaven open. The Son of Man is standing at God's right hand."
57When the Sanhedrin heard this, they covered their ears. They yelled at the top of their voices. They all rushed at him. 58They dragged him out of the city. They began to throw stones at him to kill him. The witnesses took off their coats. They placed them at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59While the members of the Sanhedrin were throwing stones at Stephen, he prayed. "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," he said. 60Then he fell on his knees. He cried out, "Lord! Don't hold this sin against them!" When he had said this, he died.
1And the high priest said, Are these things then so? 2And he said, Brethren and fathers, hearken. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, 3and said to him, Go out of thy land and out of thy kindred, and come into the land which I will shew thee. 4Then going out of the land of the Chaldeans he dwelt in Charran, and thence, after his father died, he removed him into this land in which ye now dwell. 5And he did not give him an inheritance in it, not even what his foot could stand on; and promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when he had no child. 6And God spoke thus: His seed shall be a sojourner in a strange land, and they shall enslave them and evil entreat them four hundred years; 7and the nation to which they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God; and after these things they shall come forth and serve me in this place. 8And he gave to him the covenant of circumcision; and thus he begat Isaac and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac Jacob, and Jacob the twelve patriarchs. 9And the patriarchs, envying Joseph, sold him away into Egypt. And God was with him, 10and delivered him out of all his tribulations, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he appointed him chief over Egypt and all his house. 11But a famine came upon all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and great distress, and our fathers found no food. 12But Jacob, having heard of there being corn in Egypt, sent out our fathers first; 13and the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren, and the family of Joseph became known to Pharaoh. 14And Joseph sent and called down to him his father Jacob and all his kindred, seventy-five souls. 15And Jacob went down into Egypt and died, he and our fathers, 16and were carried over to Sychem and placed in the sepulchre which Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.
17But as the time of promise drew near which God had promised to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt, 18until another king over Egypt arose who did not know Joseph. 19He dealt subtilly with our race, and evil entreated the fathers, casting out their infants that they might not live. 20In which time Moses was born, and was exceedingly lovely, who was nourished three months in the house of his father. 21And when he was cast out, the daughter of Pharaoh took him up, and brought him up for herself to be for a son. 22And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds. 23And when a period of forty years was fulfilled to him, it came into his heart to look upon his brethren, the sons of Israel; 24and seeing a certain one wronged, he defended him, and avenged him that was being oppressed, smiting the Egyptian. 25For he thought that his brethren would understand that God by his hand was giving them deliverance. But they understood not. 26And on the morrow he shewed himself to them as they were contending, and compelled them to peace, saying, Ye are brethren, why do ye wrong one another? 27But he that was wronging his neighbour thrust him away, saying, Who established thee ruler and judge over us? 28Dost thou wish to kill me as thou killedst the Egyptian yesterday? 29And Moses fled at this saying, and became a sojourner in the land of Madiam, where he begat two sons.
30And when forty years were fulfilled, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai, in a flame of fire of a bush. 31And Moses seeing it wondered at the vision; and as he went up to consider it, there was a voice of the Lord, 32I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob. And Moses trembled, and durst not consider it. 33And the Lord said to him, Loose the sandal of thy feet, for the place on which thou standest is holy ground. 34I have surely seen the ill treatment of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groan, and have come down to take them out of it; and now, come, I will send thee to Egypt. 35This Moses, whom they refused, saying, Who made thee ruler and judge? him did God send to be a ruler and deliverer with the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36He led them out, having wrought wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years. 37This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, A prophet shall God raise up to you out of your brethren like me him shall ye hear. 38This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers; who received living oracles to give to us; 39to whom our fathers would not be subject, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, 40saying to Aaron, Make us gods who shall go before us; for this Moses, who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we know not what has happened to him. 41And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
42But God turned and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, Have ye offered me victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 43Yea, ye took up the tent of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, the forms which ye made to do homage to them; and I will transport you beyond Babylon. 44Our fathers had the tent of the testimony in the wilderness, as he that spoke to Moses commanded to make it according to the model which he had seen; 45which also our fathers, receiving from their predecessors, brought in with Joshua when they entered into possession of the lands of the nations, whom God drove out from the face of our fathers, until the days of David; 46who found favour before God, and asked to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob; 47but Solomon built him a house. 48But the Most High dwells not in places made with hands; as says the prophet, 49The heaven is my throne and the earth the footstool of my feet: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord, or where is the place of my rest? 50has not my hand made all these things?
51O stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers, ye also. 52Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain those who announced beforehand concerning the coming of the Just One, of whom ye have now become deliverers up and murderers! 53who have received the law as ordained by the ministry of angels, and have not kept it.
54And hearing these things they were cut to the heart, and gnashed their teeth against him. 55But being full of the Holy Spirit, having fixed his eyes on heaven, he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56and said, Lo, I behold the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God. 57And they cried out with a loud voice, and held their ears, and rushed upon him with one accord; 58and having cast him out of the city, they stoned him. And the witnesses laid aside their clothes at the feet of a young man called Saul. 59And they stoned Stephen, praying, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60And kneeling down, he cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And having said this, he fell asleep.