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1 Then said the high Priest, Are these things so?

2 And hee said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken: The God of glory appeared vnto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

3 And said vnto him, Get thee out of thy countrey, and from thy kinred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.

4 Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he remoued him into this lande wherein ye now dwell.

5 And he gaue him none inheritance in it, no not so much as to set his foote on: yet he promised that he would giue it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.

6 And God spake on this wise, that his seede should soiourne in a strange land, and that they should bring them into bondage, and intreate them euill foure hundreth yeeres.

7 And the nation to whom they shal bee in bondage, will I iudge, saide God: And after that shall they come forth, and serue me in this place.

8 And he gaue him the couenant of Circumcision: and so Abraham begate Isaac, and circumcised him the eight day: and Isaac begate Iacob, and Iacob begate the twelue Patriarchs.

9 And the Patriarchs moued with enuie, sold Ioseph into Egypt: but God was with him,

10 And deliuered him out of all his afflictions, and gaue him fauour and wisedome in the sight of Pharao king of Egypt: and he made him gouernour ouer Egypt and all his house.

11 Now there came a dearth ouer all the land of Egypt, and Chanaan, and great affliction, and our fathers found no sustenance.

12 But when Iacob heard that there was corne in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.

13 And at the second time Ioseph was made knowen to his brethren, and Iosephs kinred was made knowen vnto Pharao.

14 Then sent Ioseph, and called his father Iacob to him, and all his kinred, threescore and fifteeene soules.

15 So Iacob went downe into Egypt, and died, he and our fathers,

16 And were caried ouer into Sichem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a summe of money of the sonnes of Emor the father of Sichem.

17 But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworne to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,

18 Till another king arose, which knew not Ioseph.

19 The same dealt subtilly with our kinred, and euill intreated our fathers, so that they cast out their yong children, to the end they might not liue.

20 In which time Moses was borne, and was exceeding faire, and nourished vp in his fathers house three moneths:

21 And when he was cast out, Pharaohs daughter tooke him vp, and nourished him for her owne sonne.

22 And Moses was learned in all the wisedome of the Egyptians, and was mightie in words and in deeds.

23 And when he was full forty yeres old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.

24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and auenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:

25 For he supposed his brethren would haue vnderstood, how that God by his hand would deliuer them, but they vnderstood not.

26 And the next day he shewed himselfe vnto them as they stroue, and would haue set them at one againe, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren, Why doe yee wrong one to another?

27 But hee that did his neighbour wrong, thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a Iudge ouer vs?

28 Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?

29 Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begate two sonnes.

30 And when fourtie yeeres were expired, there appeared to him in the wildernes of mount Sina, an Angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.

31 When Moses saw it, he wondred at the sight: and as he drew neere to behold it, the voyce of the Lord came vnto him,

32 Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Iacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold.

33 Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shooes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest, is holy ground.

34 I haue seene, I haue seene the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I haue heard their groning, & am come downe to deliuer them: And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.

35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a Iudge? the same did God send to bee a ruler and a deliuerer, by the handes of the Angel which appeared to him in the bush.

36 He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signes in the land of Egypt, and in the red Sea, and in the wildernesse fortie yeeres.

37 This is that Moses which said vnto the children of Israel, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise vp vnto you of your brethren, like vnto mee: him shall ye heare.

38 This is he that was in þe Church in the wildernesse with the Angel, which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who receiued the liuely oracles, to giue vnto vs.

39 To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned backe againe into Egypt,

40 Saying vnto Aaron, Make vs gods to goe before vs. For as for this Moses, which brought vs out of the land of Egypt, we wote not what is become of him.

41 And they made a calfe in those dayes, and offered sacrifice vnto the idole, and reioyced in the workes of their owne hands.

42 Then God turned, and gaue them vp to worship the hoste of heauen, as it is written in the booke of the Prophets, O ye house of Israel, haue ye offered to me slaine beasts, and sacrifices, by the space of fourty yeeres in the wildernesse?

43 Yea, ye tooke vp the Tabernacle of Moloch, and the starre of your God Remphan, figures which ye made, to worship them: and I will carie you away beyond Babylon.

44 Our fathers had the Tabernacle of witnesse in the wildernesse, as hee had appointed, speaking vnto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seene.

45 Which also our fathers that came after, brought in with Iesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God draue out before the face of our fathers, vnto the dayes of Dauid,

46 Who found fauour before God, and desired to find a Tabernacle for the God of Iacob.

47 But Solomon built him an house.

48 Howbeit the most high dwelleth not in temples made with hands, as saith the Prophet,

49 Heauen is my throne, and earth is my footestoole: What house will ye build me, saith the Lord? Or what is the place of my rest?

50 Hath not my hand made all these things?

51 Ye stifnecked and vncircumcised in heart, and eares, ye doe alwayes resist the holy Ghost? as your fathers did, so doe ye.

52 Which of the Prophets haue not your fathers persecuted? And they haue slaine them which shewed before of the comming of the Iust one, of whom ye haue bene now the betrayers and murderers:

53 Who haue receiued the Lawe by the disposition of Angels, and haue not kept it.

54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.

55 But hee being full of the holy Ghost, looked vp stedfastly into heauen, and saw the glory of God, and Iesus standing on the right hand of God,

56 And said, Behold, I see the heauens opened, and the Sonne of man standing on the right hand of God.

57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their eares, and ran vpon him with one accord,

58 And cast him out of the citie, and stoned him: and the witnesses layd downe their clothes at a yong mans feete, whose name was Saul.

59 And they stoned Steuen, calling vpon God, and saying, Lord Iesus receiue my spirit.

60 And he kneeled downe, and cried with a loud voice, Lord lay not this sinne to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleepe.

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Commentary for Acts 7

Stephen's defence. (1-50) Stephen reproves the Jews for the death of Christ. (51-53) The martyrdom of Stephen. (54-60)1-16 Stephen was charged as a blasphemer of God, and an apostate from the church; therefore he shows that he is a son of Abraham, and values himself on it. The slow steps by which the promise made to Abraham advanced toward performance, plainly show that it had a spiritual meaning, and that the land intended was the heavenly. God owned Joseph in his troubles, and was with him by the power of his Spirit, both on his own mind by giving him comfort, and on those he was concerned with, by giving him favour in their eyes. Stephen reminds the Jews of their mean beginning as a check to priding themselves in the glories of that nation. Likewise of the wickedness of the patriarchs of their tribes, in envying their brother Joseph; and the same spirit was still working in them toward Christ and his ministers. The faith of the patriarchs, in desiring to be buried in the land of Canaan, plainly showed they had regard to the heavenly country. It is well to recur to the first rise of usages, or sentiments, which have been perverted. Would we know the nature and effects of justifying faith, we should study the character of the father of the faithful. His calling shows the power and freeness of Divine grace, and the nature of conversion. Here also we see that outward forms and distinctions are as nothing, compared with separation from the world, and devotedness to God.

17-29 Let us not be discouraged at the slowness of the fulfilling of God's promises. Suffering times often are growing times with the church. God is preparing for his people's deliverance, when their day is darkest, and their distress deepest. Moses was exceeding fair, "fair toward God;" it is the beauty of holiness which is in God's sight of great price. He was wonderfully preserved in his infancy; for God will take special care of those of whom he designs to make special use. And did he thus protect the child Moses? Much more will he secure the interests of his holy child Jesus, from the enemies who are gathered together against him. They persecuted Stephen for disputing in defence of Christ and his gospel: in opposition to these they set up Moses and his law. They may understand, if they do not wilfully shut their eyes against the light, that God will, by this Jesus, deliver them out of a worse slavery than that of Egypt. Although men prolong their own miseries, yet the Lord will take care of his servants, and effect his own designs of mercy.

30-41 Men deceive themselves, if they think God cannot do what he sees to be good any where; he can bring his people into a wilderness, and there speak comfortably to them. He appeared to Moses in a flame of fire, yet the bush was not consumed; which represented the state of Israel in Egypt, where, though they were in the fire of affliction, yet they were not consumed. It may also be looked upon as a type of Christ's taking upon him the nature of man, and the union between the Divine and human nature. The death of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, cannot break the covenant relation between God and them. Our Saviour by this proves the future state, #Mt 22:31|. Abraham is dead, yet God is still his God, therefore Abraham is still alive. Now, this is that life and immortality which are brought to light by the gospel. Stephen here shows that Moses was an eminent type of Christ, as he was Israel's deliverer. God has compassion for the troubles of his church, and the groans of his persecuted people; and their deliverance takes rise from his pity. And that deliverance was typical of what Christ did, when, for us men, and for our salvation, he came down from heaven. This Jesus, whom they now refused, as their fathers did Moses, even this same has God advanced to be a Prince and Saviour. It does not at all take from the just honour of Moses to say, that he was but an instrument, and that he is infinitely outshone by Jesus. In asserting that Jesus should change the customs of the ceremonial law. Stephen was so far from blaspheming Moses, that really he honoured him, by showing how the prophecy of Moses was come to pass, which was so clear. God who gave them those customs by his servant Moses, might, no doubt, change the custom by his Son Jesus. But Israel thrust Moses from them, and would have returned to their bondage; so men in general will not obey Jesus, because they love this present evil world, and rejoice in their own works and devices.

42-50 Stephen upbraids the Jews with the idolatry of their fathers, to which God gave them up as a punishment for their early forsaking him. It was no dishonour, but an honour to God, that the tabernacle gave way to the temple; so it is now, that the earthly temple gives way to the spiritual one; and so it will be when, at last, the spiritual shall give way to the eternal one. The whole world is God's temple, in which he is every where present, and fills it with his glory; what occasion has he then for a temple to manifest himself in? And these things show his eternal power and Godhead. But as heaven is his throne, and the earth his footstool, so none of our services can profit Him who made all things. Next to the human nature of Christ, the broken and spiritual heart is his most valued temple.

51-53 Stephen was going on, it seems, to show that the temple and the temple service must come to an end, and it would be the glory of both to give way to the worship of the Father in spirit and in truth; but he perceived they would not bear it. Therefore he broke off, and by the Spirit of wisdom, courage, and power, sharply rebuked his persecutors. When plain arguments and truths provoke the opposers of the gospel, they should be shown their guilt and danger. They, like their fathers, were stubborn and wilful. There is that in our sinful hearts, which always resists the Holy Ghost, a flesh that lusts against the Spirit, and wars against his motions; but in the hearts of God's elect, when the fulness of time comes, this resistance is overcome. The gospel was offered now, not by angels, but from the Holy Ghost; yet they did not embrace it, for they were resolved not to comply with God, either in his law or in his gospel. Their guilt stung them to the heart, and they sought relief in murdering their reprover, instead of sorrow and supplication for mercy.

54-60 Nothing is so comfortable to dying saints, or so encouraging to suffering saints, as to see Jesus at the right hand of God: blessed be God, by faith we may see him there. Stephen offered up two short prayers in his dying moments. Our Lord Jesus is God, to whom we are to seek, and in whom we are to trust and comfort ourselves, living and dying. And if this has been our care while we live, it will be our comfort when we die. Here is a prayer for his persecutors. Though the sin was very great, yet if they would lay it to their hearts, God would not lay it to their charge. Stephen died as much in a hurry as ever any man did, yet, when he died, the words used are, he fell asleep; he applied himself to his dying work with as much composure as if he had been going to sleep. He shall awake again in the morning of the resurrection, to be received into the presence of the Lord, where is fulness of joy, and to share the pleasures that are at his right hand, for evermore.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Acts 7

  • Brent Cairns
    Joe Montgomery. Verse 45 tells us that the Son of God, Jesus was present as Israel walked through the land of Moab, leading Joshua into the promised land. Jesus is the Captain of the Lord of Hosts and was worshipped by Joshua, prior to crossing the Jordan River and going over to the Canaanite cities of Gilgal, Jericho etc.
  • Tee Dee
    Verse 6: ...that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years.. HR 1242 115th Congress - 400 YEARS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY COMMISSION ACT Deuteronomy 28:66: And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee... Gennesis 15:13 - 14: ..and they shall afflict them four hundred years.. Time is up people.
  • Dina
    Joe Montgomery, my Spanish King James reads “Josué,” not “Jesus.” Josue translated to English is Joshua. And that makes sense because this verse is referring to Joshua taking Israel into the Promised Land. Hope this helps.
  • Joe Montgomery
    Verse 45: "Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles …." - I do not understand what this is saying. Will someone please explain?
  • Vanessa
    the star of Remphan, Irene is a pagan star, the Jewish state has the star of David. GB
  • ALEX
    MARK ISRAELS DESIRE TO KILL THE PROPHETS WENT BACK EVEN TO MOSES N AARON THEY HAD AARON MAKE A CALF OF GOLD AND WORSHIPPED IT AND THEY TURNED TO WORSHIP MOLOCK AND THE STAR OF THEIR GOD REMPHAN THEY WERE A MOST REBELIOUS PPL BUT MOSES STOOD IN THE GAP FOR ISRAEL AND MOSES WAS A TYPE OF CHRIST A SAVIOR FOR ALL THE WORLD BUT ALL THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT ISRAEL STONING THE PROPHETS ARE TOO NUMERIOUS.GBU

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