Today, we are continuing our Book of Acts Bible study and we are going to look at Acts 7, 30 through to 60.
We learned that Stephen was selected as one of the seven deacons of the early church and he had a debate with various religious groups from the synagogue.
They couldn’t stand the wisdom and the spirit by which he debated them, so they paid people to lie about him. He was arrested and locked up and then interrogated. What follows is Stephen’s defense.
In his defense, he is going to highlight a behavior concerning the Jewish people that was similar to a behavior, the Jewish people displayed toward Moses. So, they displayed that behavior toward Moses and towards Jesus Christ.
How Did The Lord Capture Moses’ Attention?
The Lord has very unique methods to get our attention to initiate our training after we’ve been called. Here he used a burning bush to get the attention of Moses.
The bush was burning but it wasn’t being consumed by the fire. Of course, that got Moses’s attention and as he drew near the Lord spoke to him.
Now, what did the Lord use to get Samuel’s attention? A link is in the description because I spoke about that too.
What does the Lord use to get your attention? Has he called you; has he used something to get your attention so that you can realize your calling? Let me know in the comment below.
What Did Stephen Preach About Traditions?
So let’s continue now at Acts 7:30 and as I always do, I’m going to read from the Scriptures. Right? So this part is about the Scripture reading.
“And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.” Acts 7:30
“When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him.”Acts 7:31
The God of our forefathers should be our God too. If our forefathers walked with God, I want us to keep that tradition.
“Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold.”Acts 7:32
What Made The Ground Holy?
“Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.”Acts 7:33
Now, if Moses had gone to that spot before the angel got there, would that spot still be holy? Of course not! The ground was holy because the angel was there, that made that spot holy.
Below, the Scriptures revealed that the Lord was aware of Israel’s suffering and that he deployed Moses to be a ruler and a judge over them.
The Lord informs us:
“I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.”Acts 7:34
The First Forty Years of Moses’ Life
Then the Lord acknowledged that He has heard the cry of the Israelites and now he’s come down and he’s deploying Moses to release them.
So who was the Lord speaking to in that verse? Moses of course. He called Moses during the first forty years of his life.
One place that we’ll find this is in Acts 7 verse 23. I did a Bible study on the first forty years of Moses’ life, and you could read about it via the link above.
Your Calling Is Not Your Assignment!
Then, he was in training for forty more years, Acts 7:30. So the Lord called him at the age of forty and trained him for forty years.
However, after forty years expired, then he was deployed to fulfill the calling or assignment. So eighty years after the Lord called Moses, he sent him to liberate Israel from slavery.
One place we could find that is in Acts 7:34. I also did a Bible study on the second phase of Moses’s life, and here is a link to it.
And to think that today many Christians jump into the ministry of the word of God without calling or training, it’s preposterous!
I’ll continue the Bible reading, Acts 7:35, this is where I reach.
“This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.”Acts 7:35
He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.”Acts 7:36
Third Phase of Moses’ Life
“This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.”Acts 7:37
So up to this point, Deacon Stephen has not said anything much about Jesus Christ, except for the verse I just read. Now, Moses may be the only prophet of God that I know who openly declares that he’s a prophet.
Why am I saying that? Because most times we learn that a prophet is a prophet after he has been dead and long after, not while he’s alive.
But Moses here is telling, us that he is a prophet of God.
Three Characteristics of a Prophecy
Now, since I’m speaking about prophecy, allow me a few minutes to shine a spotlight on an essential feature of prophecy. No prophecy of God is partial.
The Bible says, and I’m quoting,
“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.”1 Corinthians 13:9
This is not addressing our prophecy relating to any topic, this scripture is speaking about our ability as Christians to see, comprehend and prophesy about the complete works of God from start to finish, and nobody knows that.
So, that, we know in part, and we could only prophesy about it in part. But when we talk about a prophecy, we’re talking about a specific topic, person, or event that the Lord is providing information about.
So the person will say the Lord says or the Lord told me this or that and it will happen in the future those two things you should be mindful of when a person prophesies.
Finally, the person prophesying must be a servant of the Lord.
Which Prophecy of God Is Incomplete?
Every prophecy of God is complete. Think about this topic, the birth of Jesus, was that prophecy in part? No! It was complete.
We knew that he was a male, he would be born of a virgin, we know his name, we know where he will be born.
We know all these things. So the prophecy about the birth of Jesus was so complete. To the extent when Herod heard about it, he called all the high priests together to inquire of them, where Christ should be born.
The prophecy was so complete that it told them the exact city where the King of the Jews would born.
“When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”Matthew 2:3
“And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.“Matthew 2:4
“And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,”Matthew 2:5
An Example of Complete Prophecy
“And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel,“Matthew 2:6
So it was so precise that they knew exactly where he would be born. So don’t let anybody tell you that a prophecy of God is partial, it is not!
It is always complete. However, the next thing that we need to know concerning prophecy is that because of the nature of the Bible and understanding the Bible, you will hardly find one prophet giving complete detail on a topic in one place.
For example, the birth of Jesus. You’ll have to go to different prophets and put together all that the prophets have said about the birth of Jesus.
Biblical Hermeneutics – How to Understand the Bible?
So you’re talking about biblical hermeneutics, the steps people use to understand the Bible. So you put things together like that and when you put them together you will know.
This person said he would be born in Bethlehem, that one said he would be born of a virgin and then you put them together.
It’s word upon word, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little, so let nobody tell you that.
So for that reason, we require at least two references to attest to any topic. Two witnesses we need, and I did a Bible study on that too, a link will appear in the description below.
Anyone who uses one reference from the Bible to teach any doctrine doesn’t understand what they’re doing, doesn’t.
You need at least two, that is word upon word. This one must testify to that one, this attests to that one, okay.
What 4 Things Did Stephen Preach About Jesus Christ?
Moses revealed four features about Jesus Christ. One, he said he is a prophet from the Lord. Two, he would be Jewish, and three, he would be similar to Moses. Four, the Jews should listen to him.
According to Acts 7:37, what Stephen was doing really was repeating what Moses had said about Jesus. This is the major thing that Stephen preached about Jesus Christ.
He would be a prophet from the Lord, he would be a Jew, he would be similar to Moses, and the people should listen to him.
This Is That Moses!
So let’s resume, in Acts 7:37 Deacon Stephen declares: “This is that Moses,” that’s how he started that verse, this is that Moses.
Similarly, in Acts 7:38, it starts by saying, “This is he,” because he wants us to know that he’s talking about Moses and not Jesus. He’s speaking about:
“This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:”Acts 7:38
Note that Moses was in the church in the wilderness and not Jesus and Moses was in mount Sina and the angel spoke to him and not Jesus.
Finally, he spoke to the forefathers of Deacon Stephen and not Jesus.
Acts 7:37-38 is about Moses and not Jesus Christ. So too is the following verse of scripture:
“To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt.”Acts 7:39
They Rejected Moses & Jesus
Here Deacon Stephen is saying our forefathers rejected Moses in their hearts and wished that they were back in Egypt.
“Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.”Acts 7:40
“And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.”Acts 7:41
“Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?”Acts 7:42
Did Stephen Preach Jesus Was in the Wilderness?
“Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.”Acts 7:43
Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.”Acts 7:44
“Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;”Acts 7:45
Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.”Acts 7:46
“But Solomon built him an house.”Acts 7:47
As Stephen Preach He Ask This Question That Made Them Mad!
“Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,”Acts 7:48
“Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?”Acts 7:49
“Hath not my hand made all these things?”Acts 7:50
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”Acts 7:51
“Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers,”Acts 7:52
“Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it”Acts 7:53
As Stephen Preached Where Did He Look?
“When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth..”Acts 7:54
“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.”Acts 7:55
“And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”Acts 7:55
“And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”Acts 7:56
“Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,”Acts 7:57
Stephen Preach To The Jews Saying What?
“And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.”Acts 7:58
And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”Acts 7:59
“And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”Acts 7:60
This is a bit lengthy, so let me conclude.
This Old Testament discourse of Deacon Stephen made scant reference to Jesus Christ; he was utilizing Moses’ speech to the children of Israel.
As a result, this too was the only significant thing that Stephen preach about Jesus Christ. However, he made a heart-wrenching comparison between the Jews’ attitude to Moses and their behavior toward Jesus Christ.
In his last sermon, Deacon Stephen accused the Jews of betraying and murdering the Just One, who is, Jesus Christ, instead of listening and obeying him as Moses advised them.
Before, their forefather had rejected and refused Moses as a leader and a deliverer over them.
What Was The Last Thing Stephen Preach About Jesus Christ?
Or, was it because of their guilty consciences?
They stone him to death for this!
In closing, his preaching was focused on Moses and the Jews’ attitude toward him, then and now.
In the desert, they rejected and refused Moses, yet, now they also rejected, betrayed, and murdered that prophet that Moses prophesied would come and that they should obey.
They have come full circle in rejecting the Holy Ghost who has given them the law by the disposition of angels and they have not kept it!