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7
Stephen’s Address: The Call of Abraham
1Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?”
2And he said, #Acts 22:1“Brethren and fathers, listen: The #Ps. 29:3; 1 Cor. 2:8God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in #Gen. 11:31, 32Haran, 3and said to him, #Gen. 12:1‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.’ 4Then #Gen. 11:31; 15:7; Heb. 11:8–10he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was #Gen. 11:32dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell. 5And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, #Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 15:3, 18; 17:8; 26:3He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him. 6But God spoke in this way: #Gen. 15:13, 14, 16; 47:11, 12that his descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into #Ex. 1:8–14; 12:40, 41; Gal. 3:17bondage and oppress them four hundred years. 7#Gen. 15:14‘And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will #Ex. 14:13–31judge,’ said God, #Ex. 3:12; Josh. 3:1–17‘and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place.’ 8#Gen. 17:9–14Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision; #Gen. 21:1–5and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; #Gen. 25:21–26and Isaac begot Jacob, and #Gen. 29:31—30:24; 35:18, 22–26Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.
The Patriarchs in Egypt
9#Gen. 37:4, 11, 28; Ps. 105:17“And the patriarchs, becoming envious, #Gen. 37:28sold Joseph into Egypt. #Gen. 39:2, 21, 23But God was with him 10and delivered him out of all his troubles, #Gen. 41:38–44and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house. 11#Gen. 41:54; 42:5Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers found no sustenance. 12#Gen. 42:1, 2But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. 13And the #Gen. 45:4, 16second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to the Pharaoh. 14#Gen. 45:9, 27Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob and #Gen. 46:26, 27; Deut. 10:22all his relatives to him, seventy-five people. 15#Gen. 46:1–7So Jacob went down to Egypt; #Gen. 49:33; Ex. 1:6and he died, he and our fathers. 16And #Gen. 50:13; Ex. 13:19; Josh. 24:32they were carried back to Shechem and laid in #Gen. 23:16the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.
God Delivers Israel by Moses
17“But when #Gen. 15:13; Ex. 2:23–25; Acts 7:6, 7the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, #Ex. 1:7–9; Ps. 105:24, 25the people grew and multiplied in Egypt 18till another king #Ex. 1:8arose who did not know Joseph. 19This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, #Ex. 1:22making them expose their babies, so that they might not live. 20#Ex. 2:1, 2At this time Moses was born, and #Heb. 11:23was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father’s house for three months. 21But #Ex. 2:3, 4when he was set out, #Ex. 2:5–10Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. 22And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was #Luke 24:19mighty in words and deeds.
23#Ex. 2:11, 12; Heb. 11:24–26“Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. 24And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. 25For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. 26And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?’ 27But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, #Ex. 2:14; Luke 12:14; Acts 7:35‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29#Heb. 11:27Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he #Ex. 2:15, 21, 22; 4:20; 18:3had two sons.
30#Ex. 3:1–10; Is. 63:9“And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. 31When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him, 32saying, #Ex. 3:6, 15; (Matt. 22:32); Heb. 11:16‘I am the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and dared not look. 33#Ex. 3:5, 7, 8, 10‘Then the Lord said to him, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. 34I have surely #Ex. 2:24, 25seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will #Ps. 105:26send you to Egypt.” ’
35“This Moses whom they rejected, saying, #Ex. 2:14; Acts 7:27‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer #Ex. 14:21by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36#Ex. 12:41; 33:1; Deut. 6:21, 23; Heb. 8:9He brought them out, after he had #Ex. 7:8, 9; Deut. 6:22; Ps. 105:27; John 4:48shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, #Ex. 14:21and in the Red Sea, #Ex. 16:1, 35; Num. 14:33; Ps. 95:8–10; Acts 7:42; 13:18; Heb. 3:8and in the wilderness forty years.
Israel Rebels Against God
37“This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, #Deut. 18:15, 18, 19; Acts 3:22‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. #Matt. 17:5Him you shall hear.’
38#Ex. 19:3“This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with #Is. 63:9; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, #Ex. 21:1; Deut. 5:27; John 1:17the one who received the living #Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12; 1 Pet. 4:11oracles to give to us, 39whom our fathers #Ps. 95:8–11would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40#Ex. 32:1, 23saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 41#Ex. 32:2–4; Deut. 9:16; Ps. 106:19And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and #Ex. 32:6, 18, 19rejoiced in the works of their own hands. 42Then #Ps. 81:12; (2 Thess. 2:11)God turned and gave them up to worship #Deut. 4:19; 2 Kin. 21:3the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:
#Amos 5:25–27‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness,
O house of Israel?
43You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch,
And the star of your god Remphan,
Images which you made to worship;
And #2 Chr. 36:11–21; Jer. 25:9–12I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’
God’s True Tabernacle
44“Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses #Ex. 25:40; (Heb. 8:5)to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, 45#Deut. 32:49; Josh. 3:14; 18:1; 23:9which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, #Neh. 9:24; Ps. 44:2whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the #2 Sam. 6:2–15days of David, 46#2 Sam. 7:1–13; 1 Kin. 8:17who found favor before God and #1 Chr. 22:7; Ps. 132:4, 5asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob. 47#1 Kin. 6:1–38; 8:20, 21; 2 Chr. 3:1–17But Solomon built Him a house.
48“However, #1 Kin. 8:27; 2 Chr. 2:6; Acts 17:24the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:
49‘Heaven#Is. 66:1, 2; Matt. 5:34 is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
What house will you build for Me? says the Lord,
Or what is the place of My rest?
50Has My hand not #Ps. 102:25made all these things?’
Israel Resists the Holy Spirit
51You #Ex. 32:9; Is. 6:10stiff-necked and #Lev. 26:41uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52#2 Chr. 36:16; Matt. 21:35; 23:35; 1 Thess. 2:15Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of #Acts 3:14; 22:14; 1 John 2:1the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53#Ex. 20:1; Deut. 33:2; Acts 7:38; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.
Stephen the Martyr
54#Acts 5:33When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55But he, #Matt. 5:8; 16:28; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27; Acts 6:5being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the #(Ex. 24:17)glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56and said, “Look! #Matt. 3:16I see the heavens opened and the #Dan. 7:13Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
57Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And #Acts 22:20the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, #Ps. 31:5receive my spirit.” 60Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, #Matt. 5:44; Luke 23:34“Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
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.