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7
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.
7
Stephen’s Speech
1Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?”
2#Ge 11:31; Ps 29:3He said, “Brothers and fathers, listen! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran, 3#Ge 12:1and said to him, ‘Leave your country and your relatives, and come to the land which I will show you.’#Ge 12:1.
4#Ge 12:4–5; 11:31–32“Then he departed from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Harran. When his father died, He removed him from there to this land in which you now live. 5#Ge 12:7; 17:8He gave him no inheritance in it, nor a foothold, and promised to give it to him as a possession and to his descendants after him while he had no child. 6#Ge 15:13God spoke in this way, ‘Your descendants shall be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who will enslave them and mistreat them four hundred years.#Ge 15:13. 7#Ex 3:12And I will judge the nation to whom they will be enslaved,’#Ge 15:14. said God. ‘After that they shall come out and worship Me in this place.’#Ex 3:12. 8#Ge 17:9–14; 35:23–26Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day. And Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs.
9#Ge 39:2; 45:4“The patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him, 10#Ge 42:6and delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who appointed him governor over Egypt and all his house.
11#Ps 105:16“Then a famine came over all Egypt and Canaan with great affliction, and our fathers found no sustenance. 12But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers the first time. 13During the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. 14#Dt 10:22; Ge 46:26–27Then Joseph sent and called for his father Jacob and all his kindred, seventy-five souls. 15#Ge 49:33; Ex 1:6Then Jacob went down into Egypt. And he and our fathers died, 16#Jos 24:32; Ge 23:16; Ex 13:19and were carried to Shechem and put in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a price of silver from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.
17#Ac 7:6; 13:17“When the time of the promise drew near, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt 18#Ex 1:8until another king rose up who did not know Joseph.#Ex 1:8. 19#Ex 1:9–22; Ps 105:25He dealt deceitfully with our people and mistreated our fathers, forcing them to put out their young children, that they might not live.
20#Heb 11:23“At that time Moses was born, and was fair in the sight of God. And he was reared for three months in his father’s house. 21When he was put out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up and reared him as her own son. 22#Isa 19:11; Da 1:4Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in words and in deeds.
23#Ex 2:11–12; Heb 11:24–26“When he was forty years old, it came to his heart to visit his brothers, the sons of Israel. 24But seeing one being wronged, he defended him, and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck the Egyptian. 25He supposed that his brothers would understand that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. 26On the next day he appeared to them as they fought and tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?’#Ex 2:13.
27#Ac 7:35; Lk 12:14“But the one wronging his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘Who appointed you a ruler and a judge over us? 28Will you kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’#Gk. 15 orguias, about 27 meters. 29Moses fled at this word and became a sojourner in the land of Midian,#Ex 2:11–15. where he became the father of two sons.
30#Ac 7:35; Ex 3:1–2“When forty years had passed, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush.#Ex 3:1–4. 31#Ex 3:3–4When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight. As he drew near to look at it, the voice of the Lord came to him, saying, 32#Ex 3:6; Mt 22:32‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’#Ex 3:6. Moses trembled and dared not look.
33#Ex 3:5; Jos 5:15“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the shoes from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.#Ex 3:5. 34#Ex 3:7–10I have indeed seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt. I have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. Now come, I will send you to Egypt.’#Ex 3:7, 10.
35#Ex 14:19; Nu 20:16“This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who appointed you a ruler and a judge?’#Ex 2:14. God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36#Ex 12:41; 14:21; 33:1He led them out after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and at the Red Sea, and for forty years in the wilderness.
37“This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. Him you shall hear.’#Dt 18:15. 38#Ro 3:2; Ac 7:53; Heb 5:12This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, who received living oracles to give to us, 39#Nu 14:3–4; Ex 16:3whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust away. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40#Ex 32:1; 32:23saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods to go before us. For we do not know what has become of this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt.’#Ex 32:1, 23. 41So they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their hands. 42#Jer 19:13; Eze 20:39But God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:
‘O House of Israel, have you offered to Me slain animals and sacrifices
for forty years in the wilderness?
43Yes, you even raised the shrine of Moloch,
and the star of your god Remphan,
idols which you made to worship;
therefore I will exile you beyond Babylon.’
44#Ex 25:40; 38:21“Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, telling Moses to make it as He had commanded, according to the pattern that he had seen, 45#Ps 44:2; Jos 18:1which our fathers, having received it, brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out in front of our fathers until the days of David, 46#Ps 132:1–5; Ac 13:22who found favor in the presence of God and asked to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. 47#1Ki 8:20; 2Sa 7:13But Solomon built Him a house.
48#1Ki 8:27“However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands. As the prophet says:
49#Mt 5:34–35; Ps 11:4 ‘Heaven is My throne,
and the earth is My footstool.
What house will you build for Me? says the Lord,
or what is the place of My rest?
50Has not My hand made all these things?’
51#Ex 32:9; Lev 26:41“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52#Mt 5:12; 2Ch 36:16Which of the prophets have your fathers not persecuted? They have even killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, of whom you have now become the betrayers and murderers, 53#Gal 3:19; Heb 2:2; Dt 33:2who have received the law by the disposition of angels, but have not kept it.”
The Stoning of Stephen
54#Ac 5:33; Job 16:9When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed their teeth at him. 55#Mk 16:19; Jn 12:41But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56#Mt 3:16and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
57Then they cried out with a loud voice, closed their ears, and rushed at him in unison. 58#Ac 22:20; Lk 4:29; Ac 8:1And they threw him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
59#Ps 31:5; Lk 23:46They stoned Stephen as he was calling on God, praying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60#Mt 5:44; Lk 22:41Then he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” Having said this, he fell asleep.