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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
1And the chief priest said, ‘Are then these things so?’
2and he said, ‘Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken: The God of the glory did appear to our father Abraham, being in Mesopotamia, before his dwelling in Haran,
3and He said to him, Go forth out of thy land, and out of thy kindred, and come to a land that I shall shew thee.
4‘Then having come forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, he dwelt in Haran, and from thence, after the death of his father, He did remove him to this land wherein ye now dwell,
5and He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a footstep, and did promise to give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him — he having no child.
6‘And God spake thus, That his seed shall be sojourning in a strange land, and they shall cause it to serve, and shall do it evil four hundred years,
7and the nation whom they shall serve I will judge, said God; and after these things they shall come forth and shall do Me service in this place.
8‘And He gave to him a covenant of circumcision, and so he begat Isaac, and did circumcise him on the eighth day, and Isaac [begat] Jacob, and Jacob — the twelve patriarchs;
9and the patriarchs, having been moved with jealousy, sold Joseph to Egypt, and God was with him,
10and did deliver him out of all his tribulations, and gave him favour and wisdom before Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he did set him — governor over Egypt and all his house.
11‘And there came a dearth upon all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and great tribulation, and our fathers were not finding sustenance,
12and Jacob having heard that there was corn in Egypt, sent forth our fathers a first time;
13and at the second time was Joseph made known to his brethren, and Joseph's kindred became manifest to Pharaoh,
14and Joseph having sent, did call for his father Jacob, and all his kindred — with seventy and five souls —
15and Jacob went down to Egypt, and died, himself and our fathers,
16and they were carried over into Sychem, and were laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a price in money from the sons of Emmor, of Sychem.
17‘And according as the time of the promise was drawing nigh, which God did swear to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt,
18till another king rose, who had not known Joseph;
19this one, having dealt subtilely with our kindred, did evil to our fathers, causing to expose their babes, that they might not live;
20in which time Moses was born, and he was fair to God, and he was brought up three months in the house of his father;
21and he having been exposed, the daughter of Pharaoh took him up, and did rear him to herself for a son;
22and Moses was taught in all wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was powerful in words and in works.
23‘And when forty years were fulfilled to him, it came upon his heart to look after his brethren, the sons of Israel;
24and having seen a certain one suffering injustice, he did defend, and did justice to the oppressed, having smitten the Egyptian;
25and he was supposing his brethren to understand that God through his hand doth give salvation; and they did not understand.
26‘On the succeeding day, also, he shewed himself to them as they are striving, and urged them to peace, saying, Men, brethren are ye, wherefore do ye injustice to one another?
27and he who is doing injustice to the neighbour, did thrust him away, saying, Who set thee a ruler and a judge over us?
28to kill me dost thou wish, as thou didst kill yesterday the Egyptian?
29‘And Moses fled at this word, and became a sojourner in the land of Midian, where he begat two sons,
30and forty years having been fulfilled, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai a messenger of the Lord, in a flame of fire of a bush,
31and Moses having seen did wonder at the sight; and he drawing near to behold, there came a voice of the Lord unto him,
32I [am] the God of thy fathers; the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. ‘And Moses having become terrified, durst not behold,
33and the Lord said to him, Loose the sandal of thy feet, for the place in which thou hast stood is holy ground;
34seeing I have seen the affliction of My people that [is] in Egypt, and their groaning I did hear, and came down to deliver them; and now come, I will send thee to Egypt.
35‘This Moses, whom they did refuse, saying, Who did set thee a ruler and a judge? this one God a ruler and a redeemer did send, in the hand of a messenger who appeared to him in the bush;
36this one did bring them forth, having done wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years;
37this is the Moses who did say to the sons of Israel: A prophet to you shall the Lord your God raise up out of your brethren, like to me, him shall ye hear.
38‘This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the messenger who is speaking to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers who did receive the living oracles to give to us;
39to whom our fathers did not wish to become obedient, but did thrust away, and turned back in their hearts to Egypt,
40saying to Aaron, Make to us gods who shall go on before us, for this Moses, who brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, we have not known what hath happened to him.
41‘And they made a calf in those days, and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands,
42and God did turn, and did give them up to do service to the host of the heaven, according as it hath been written in the scroll of the prophets: Slain beasts and sacrifices did ye offer to Me forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
43and ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan — the figures that ye made to bow before them, and I will remove your dwelling beyond Babylon.
44‘The tabernacle of the testimony was among our fathers in the wilderness, according as He did direct, who is speaking to Moses, to make it according to the figure that he had seen;
45which also our fathers having in succession received, did bring in with Joshua, into the possession of the nations whom God did drive out from the presence of our fathers, till the days of David,
46who found favour before God, and requested to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob;
47and Solomon built Him an house.
48‘But the Most High in sanctuaries made with hands doth not dwell, according as the prophet saith:
49The heaven [is] My throne, and the earth My footstool; what house will ye build to Me? saith the Lord, or what [is] the place of My rest?
50hath not My hand made all these things?
51‘Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and in ears! ye do always the Holy Spirit resist; as your fathers — also ye;
52which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? and they killed those who declared before about the coming of the Righteous One, of whom now ye betrayers and murderers have become,
53who received the law by arrangement of messengers, and did not keep [it].’
54And hearing these things, they were cut to the hearts, and did gnash the teeth at him;
55and being full of the Holy Spirit, having looked stedfastly to the heaven, he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
56and he said, ‘Lo, I see the heavens having been opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.’
57And they, having cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and did rush with one accord upon him,
58and having cast him forth outside of the city, they were stoning [him] — and the witnesses did put down their garments at the feet of a young man called Saul —
59and they were stoning Stephen, calling and saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit;’
60and having bowed the knees, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lord, mayest thou not lay to them this sin;’ and this having said, he fell asleep.