ACTS – Chapter 7
verses for this week: Col 3:23
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not
unto men; Col 3:24 Knowing
that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for
ye serve the Lord Christ.
Chapter 6, we saw Satan attacking the first church in Jerusalem from
both outside persecution, and from the inside as some were upset
with how the widows of the Grecians were being treated.
The Apostles showed great wisdom as they chose out certain
men to put in charge of this task (the first deacons of the church
we believe), and they stopped the problem before it began.
At the end of the chapter, we saw Stephen being questioned by
the Sanhedrin, and a man named Saul watched as Stephen put forth the
continue with his defense in the meeting in Chapter 7.
To get the context, let’s go back and read the last three
verses of Chapter 6 beginning with verse 12.
Stephen Addresses the Council
6:12 And they stirred
up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him,
and caught him, and brought him to the council,
6:13 And set up false
witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous
words against this holy place, and the law:
6:14 For we have heard
him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and
shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
6:15 And all that sat
in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had
been the face of an angel.
7:1 Then said the high
priest, Are these things so?
7:2 And he said, Men,
brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our
father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in
7:3 And said unto him,
Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the
land which I shall show thee.
7:4 Then came he out of
the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence,
when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye
We see that Stephen begins with the Glory of God in verse 2 and
ends wit hit in verse 55.
Acts 7:55 But he, being
full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw
the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
Stephen uses his knowledge of the Old Testament to tell them
about how God appeared unto Abraham wheile he wst still in
Mesopotamia. Abraham is
a good example of how God can use anyone in His service when we
accept Christ as our Savior.
Before he was called of God, he was an idolater.
Josh 24:2 And Joshua
said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your
fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even
Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they
served other gods.
After Abraham was called, he came into the land of Haran and
dwelt there until his father died.
The word Terah means delayed.
Abraham was delayed in Haran about five years.
After the death of Abraham’s father, he took Lot,
his nephew, and went into the land of Canaan where they
dwelled together until a disagreement came up between them
At that point, Lot separated from Abraham and pitched his
tent towards the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
God told Abraham to lift up his eyes and look upon the land
that He would give him.
Gen 13:14 And the LORD
said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now
thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and
southward, and eastward, and westward:
Gen 13:15 For all the
land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for
Gen 13:16 And I will
make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number
the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
Gen 13:17 Arise, walk
through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I
will give it unto thee.
7:5 And he gave him
none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet
he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to
his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.
7:6 And God spake on
this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that
they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four
7:7 And the nation to
whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that
shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.
7:8 And he gave him the
covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and
circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob
begat the twelve patriarchs.
Abraham died without ever possessing any of the land of Canaan save
the grave in which he buried his wife, Sarah. God promised that Abraham’s seed would possess this land
before Abraham had any children.
Abraham had an excellent attitude towards God’s promise,
even though he was very old at this time.
(about 100 years old.)
Rom 4:17 (As it is
written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom
he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those
things which be not as though they were.
Rom 4:18 Who against
hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many
nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
Rom 4:19 And being not
weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was
about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's
Rom 4:20 He staggered
not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith,
giving glory to God;
Rom 4:21 And being fully
persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
We see in verse 8 that the convenant of circumcision was
given to Abraham. (Gen
The Egyptian Bondage
7:9 And the patriarchs,
moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,
7:10 And delivered him
out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the
sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt
and all his house.
7:11 Now there came a
dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction:
and our fathers found no sustenance.
7:12 But when Jacob
heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.
7:13 And at the second
time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph's kindred was
made known unto Pharaoh.
7:14 Then sent Joseph,
and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore
and fifteen souls.
7:15 So Jacob went down
into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers,
7:16 And were carried
over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for
a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.
Stephen goes back and reminds the council of how that God permitted
the people of Israel to go down into the land of Egypt where they
eventually were taken into bondage and slavery. Joseph’s brothers, who sold Joseph into slavery, were now
reaping what they had sown.
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived;
God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also
Gal 6:8 For he that
soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that
soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
We see in verse 9 how that God was with Joseph, even while he was
in the prison there in Egypt.
We know from our prior study of Hebrew History that Joseph
told his brothers that God had used his bad fortune to bring him to
a place where he could be used to save many lives.
What a wonderful thing to know that God can take even the bad
times of our lives and use it to bring about good.
Gen 45:5 Now therefore
be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither:
for God did send me before you to preserve life.
Gen 45:6 For these two
years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five
years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
Gen 45:7 And God sent me
before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save
your lives by a great deliverance.
Gen 45:8 So now it was
not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father
to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all
the land of Egypt.
We know that God promoted Joseph to second in command to Pharoah,
the Prime Minister of Egypt. Stephen
reminds them of how Jacob was buried in the cave where Sarah
and Abraham were buried.
Stephen Tells of the Deliverance of the People through Moses
7:17 But when the time
of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people
grew and multiplied in Egypt,
7:18 Till another king
arose, which knew not Joseph.
7:19 The same dealt
subtly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that
they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.
Stephen remembers how that God multiplied the people while they
were in Egypt. From the
beginning of time, God’s plan has been for his people to be
fruitful and to multiply.
His instructions to Adam and Eve were very plain.
Gen 1:28 And God blessed
them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and
replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish
of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living
thing that moveth upon the earth.
The promise he mentions in verse 17 is the promise of deliverance.
Than another king arose that knew not Joseph, and the people
of Israel fell out of favor.
This new king was called an Assyrian in Isaiah 52:4
Exo 1:8 Now there arose
up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
Isa 52:4 For thus saith
the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn
there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.
The new king in Egypt feared that the children of Israel, being a
large number, would join in with the enemies of Egypt and overthrow
7:20 In which time
Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his
father's house three months:
7:21 And when he was
cast out, Pharaoh's daughter took him up, and nourished him for her
7:22 And Moses was
learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words
and in deeds.
7:23 And when he was
full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren
the children of Israel.
Stephen recounts how that God raised up Moses to deleiver the
people. Moses’ life
is divided into three sections of 40 years each.
He spent his first forty years learning the wisdom of the
Egyptians right in Pharaoh’s court.
His second fourty years were spent on the back side of the
desert where God taught him patience and wisdom.
True wisdom from God was given to Moses while being away on
the back side of the desert.
7:24 And seeing one of
them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was
oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:
7:25 For he supposed
his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would
deliver them: but they understood not.
7:26 And the next day
he showed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them
at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to
7:27 But he that did
his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler
and a judge over us?
7:28 Wilt thou kill me,
as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?
7:29 Then fled Moses at
this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he
begat two sons.
We see after those 40 years went by, at the tender age of 80,
God speaks to Moses in the burning bush and calls him out to lead
the people out of Egypt.
7:30 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.
7:31 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,
7:32 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.
7:33 Then said the Lord
to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou
standest is holy ground.
7:34 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.
7:35 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.
7:36 He brought them
out, after that he had showed wonders and signs in the land of
Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
7:37 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.
The next forty years, God
used Moses to lead the people through the wilderness because the
spies came back with an evil report of the promised land. All of those men who were 20 years and older all died
before entering the promised land except the two spies who came back
with a positive report, Joshua and Caleb.
Num 14:37 Even those men
that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the
plague before the LORD.
Num 14:38 But Joshua the
son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men
that went to search the land, lived still.
The Children of Israel would not obey Moses
7:38 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:
Moses was blessed of the Lord and was given the lively
oracles and was instructed to give them unto the children of Israel.
7:39 To whom our
fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their
hearts turned back again into Egypt,
7:40 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.
We see the children of Israel would not listen to Moses, but
turned their backs on him and desired to be back in Egypt.
78:40 How oft did they
provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!
78:41 Yea, they turned
back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
78:42 They remembered
not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.
see the reason they did this in verse 37
78:37 For their heart
was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.
7:41 And they made a
calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and
rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
7:42 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
7:43 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
We see that when Moses was away, they demanded that Aaron make them
‘gods’ to worship that brought them out of the bondage of Egypt.
And Aaron responded and made a golden calf.
They worshipped Moloch, the fire-god of the children of
Ammon, and Remphan, and idol they worshipped while in the
wilderness. This false
idol worship was why God allowed them to be taken away into
Stephen Charges his Audience of Following the pattern of
7:44 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.
7:45 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;
7:46 Who found favour
before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.
tells of how Moses built the tabernacle, and then how Solomon was
allowed to build the temple.
7:47 But Solomon built
him an house.
7:48 Howbeit the most
High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
7:49 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?
7:50 Hath not my hand
made all these things?
We know that
God dwells not in temples made with hands…
(Matt: 28:18-20 and Matt 18:20)
Today, the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of the Christian.
1 Cor 6:19
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy
Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your
1 Cor 6:20
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your
body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
7:51 Ye stiffnecked and
uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost:
as your fathers did, so do ye.
7:52 Which of the
prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them
which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have
been now the betrayers and murderers:
7:53 Who have received
the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
heavy accusations against these religious leaders.
They have resisted the Holy Spirit as did their fathers.
He points out how that they had persecuted the prophets that
foretold of the coming of Jesus. And perhaps the hardest for them to take, he accuses them of
betraying and crucifying the Lord Jesus Christ. He calls them betrayers and murderers, resisting the
law given by disposition of angels.
The Death of Stephen
7:54 When they heard
these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him
with their teeth.
7:55 But he, being full
of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the
glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
7:56 And said, Behold,
I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right
hand of God.
7:57 Then they cried
out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with
7:58 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.
7:59 And they stoned
Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my
7:60 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.
We see that they did not even let Stephen finish his speech,
but rush headlong into him and gnashed upon him with their teeth.
Stephen was blessed in his last moments here on earth as he
saw the heavens open up and he saw Jesus standing at the right hand
of the Father. In
Heb. 10:12, the bible speaks of how after Jesus poured His blood
upon the perfect mercy seat for our sins, He sat down on the right
hand of God signifying that the job was forever finished.
For him to be standing was perhaps a great tribute to Stephen
as He welcomed this great saint home.
The religious leaders put Stephen to death by stoning him.
Stephen’s last words were like the Lords.. “Lord Jesus,
receive my spirit.” And “Lord lay not this sin to their
23:34 Then said Jesus,
Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they
parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Verse 58 is important in that they laid their clothes at the feet
of Saul, the great persecutor of the church.
This was a moment that never left Saul (who was later renamed
Paul after he was saved and became a great worker and apostle for
the Lord.) This
showed how that all this was done at his direction and leadership.
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