Acts 7:30 MEANING

Acts 7:30
(30) There appeared to him in the wilderness.--With the exception of the substitution of Sina, or Sinai, for the less familiar Horeb, the fact is stated in nearly the same words as in Exodus 3:2. The reference to this revelation, besides the bearing it had on the main argument of the speech, was indirectly an answer to the charge that he had spoken "blasphemous words against Moses." Both in the Hebrew and the LXX. the word "angel" is, as here, without the article.

In a bush.--The Hebrew word seneh is used for a species of thorny acacia, which still grows in the wilderness of Sinai. The Greek word, in the LXX. and here, was used commonly for the bramble, or any prickly shrub.

Verse 30. - Fulfilled for expired, A.V.; an angel appeared for there appeared... an angel, A.V.; an angel for an angel of the Lord, A.V. and T.R.; Sinai for Sina, A.V.

7:30-41 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.And when forty years were expired,.... "Forty other years" the Arabic version reads; for so long the Jews (g) say Moses kept Jethro's flock, and so many years he lived in Midian; and so the Syriac version, "when then he had filled up forty years"; which agrees exactly with the account of the Jewish writers observed on Acts 7:23 who say, that he was forty years in Pharaoh's court, and forty years in Midian; so that he was now, as they (h) elsewhere justly observe, fourscore years of age:

there appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai; the same with Horeb, Exodus 3:1 where it is said, "Moses came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb"; where he saw the sight of the burning bush, and out of which the angel appeared to him: and Stephen is to be justified in calling it Mount Sinai; the account which Jerom (i) gives of it is this;

"Horeb is the Mount of God in the land of Midian, by Mount Sinai, above Arabia, in the desert, to which is joined the mountain and desert of the Saracenes, called Pharan: but to me it seems, that the same mountain was called by two names, sometimes Sinai, and sometimes Horeb;''

and in which he was right. Some think the same mountain had two tops, and one went by one name, and the other by another; or one side of the mountain was called Horeb, from its being dry and desolate; and the other Sinai, from the bushes and brambles which grew upon it. So "Sinin", in the Misna (k), signifies the thin barks of bramble bushes; and the bush hereafter mentioned, in the Hebrew language, is called "Seneh"; from whence, with the Jews, it is said to have its name.

"Says (l) R. Eliezer, from the day the heavens and the earth were created, the name of this mountain was called Horeb; but after the holy blessed God appeared to Moses out of the midst of the bush, from the name of the bush "(Seneh)", Horeb was called Sinai.''

Some say the stones of this mountain, when broken, had the resemblance of bramble bushes (m) in them. Add to this, that Josephus (n) calls this mountain by the same name as Stephen does, when he is reciting the same history. Moses, he says,

"led the flock to the Sinaean mountain, as it is called: this is the highest mountain in that country, and best for pasture, abounding in good herbage; and because it was commonly believed the Divine Being dwelt there, it was not before fed upon, the shepherds not daring to go up to it.''

Here Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law; for to such a life did he condescend, who for forty years had been brought up in the court of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Here appeared to him

an angel of the Lord, and who was no other than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as appears from Acts 7:32 and was the second person in the Trinity, the Son of God, the angel of the divine presence, and of the covenant, an uncreated angel. And this is the sense of many of the Jewish writers, who interpret it of the angel the Redeemer, the God of Bethel (o); though Jonathan the paraphrast seems to understand it of a created angel, whose name he calls Zagnugael (p), and some say it was Michael, and some Gabriel (q).

In a flame of fire in a bush; and which yet was not consumed by it. This bush was a bramble bush, or thorn; so Aben Ezra (r) says it was a kind of thorn, and observes, that in the Ishmaelitish or Turkish language, the word signifies a kind of dry thorn; and so Philo the Jew says (s), it was a thorny plant, and very weak; and therefore it was the more wonderful, that it should be on fire, and not consumed. Josephus (t) affirms, that neither its verdure, nor its flowers were hurt, nor any of its fruitful branches consumed, though the flame was exceeding fierce. The Jerusalem Targum of Exodus 3:2 is,

"and he saw and beheld the bush burned with fire, and the bush "became green"; or, as Buxtorf renders it, "emitted a moisture", and was not burnt.''

This sight, the Arabic writers (u) say, Moses saw at noon day. Artapanus (w), an ancient writer, makes mention of this burning, but takes no notice of the bush; yea, denies that there was anything woody in the place, and represents it only as a stream of fire issuing out of the earth: his words are,

"as he (Moses) was praying, suddenly fire broke out of the earth, and burned, when there was nothing woody, nor any matter fit for burning in the place.''

But Philo better describes it; speaking of the bush, he says (x),


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