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Acts 7

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BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:59

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 4, 2022 7:25


Saturday, 4 June 2022   And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Acts 7:59   The words of this verse are important to consider in their greater context. They are tied directly to verses 55 & 56 and can be understood more clearly by presenting them in this manner –   “But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!' ... 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'” Acts 7:55, 56, & 59   There are several points of importance concerning what is said now. The first is that the word “God” is inserted by the translators. The Greek reads –   “And they were stoning Stephen, he was calling and saying...”   As such, there are various ideas about how to rightly translate it. For example, the Pulpit Commentary (among other similar commentaries) says inserting God “is certainly not justified by the context, because the words which follow, ‘Lord Jesus,' show to whom the invocation was made, even to him whom he saw standing at the right hand of God.”   As such, there are various translations of the words –   While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, (NIV) And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, (NKJV) They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, (NASB)   Some stick with the action and leave out the implied object. Some say “God.” Some say “Lord.” And so on. What is obvious is that Stephen is praying to Jesus. That is understood from the previous verses, and it is obvious from the final clause of this verse. To leave the object out is fine. It expresses the Greek. To say “Lord” is clear and precise and it is an exacting expression of what the intent is.   However, the commentaries (such as the Pulpit above) that say that translating this as “God” are incorrect fail to consider the intent of the translators. Jesus is the Lord and Jesus is God. By making such a statement, they fail to understand the meaning of “the right hand of God.”   As noted in previous commentaries, this is a statement that confirms Jesus is God, not the other way around. The right hand of God is not a physical position, as if He is sitting (or standing) next to God. It is a way of saying that He is at the position of all of the authority and power of God. By inserting the word “God,” it is thus an acknowledgment of this.   With this understood, and regardless of the three general translations noted above, Stephen continues with, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” This is the second main point of importance. Prayers are to be made to the Lord YHVH, meaning “God” (such as in Psalm 39:12), or simply to God (such as in Psalm 54:2). Any observant Jew would know this. To hear any other prayer would be considered blasphemy –    “And in all that I have said to you, be circumspect and make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth.” Exodus 23:13   “Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, 7 and lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them, 8 but you shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day.” Joshua 23:6-8   By invoking the name of Jesus, as he is being stoned, he is explicitly acknowledging that Jesus is the Lord God. The fact that he is being stoned means that the Jews have rejected this notion. Regardless of that, this is the intent of Stephen's words, and thus it makes this a direct and explicit reference to the deity of Jesus.   The record says that Jesus is the glory of God and that He is at the position of all of the power and authority of God. Stephen then acknowledged that. Stephen then appeals to Jesus in the presence of all of the Jews, invoking His name and calling for Him to do something that only God can do, meaning receive his spirit.   Life application: Those who deny the deity of Christ are without excuse. The record of the Bible leaves no other option than the Father is God, the Son is God, and that the Holy Spirit is also God. As such, there is a Godhead that forms the Trinity.   Stephen's words now clearly confirm that he understood that Jesus is God, and his calling out His name at the ending of his life is a final, forceful acknowledgment of that. It is another witness against those of his people who disbelieve, and it is a witness against anyone who denies the intent of what he says.   Even if you do not fully grasp the idea of the Trinity, and nobody fully does, you should – by faith – accept that it is what the Bible teaches. Be clear in your thinking and be steadfast in your acknowledgment that Jesus is God.   Glorious God Almighty, You have revealed Yourself in the Person of Jesus. In seeing Him, we are seeing the complete expression of who You are in a manner that we can understand. Thank You for this eternally available view into Your very nature. You have done it! Thank You for what You have done. Thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:58

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 3, 2022 9:29


Friday, 3 June 2022   and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. Acts 7:58   The previous verse saw the council in a tizzy, and they ran at Stephen with one accord. With that remembered, it now says, “and they cast him out of the city.”   The verb is an aorist participle and should read, “And having cast him out of the city.” One action is taken before the next in a lively description of what occurred. As for the act itself, offenders were to be taken outside of the gates of the city to be stoned. This is not stated in every instance where stoning was outlined as the punishment, but it is generally understood that it was to be so.   This was to show the heinous nature of the crime. It was as if the person was cut off from the community's favor, blessing, and protection. There are exceptions to this, such as Deuteronomy 22:21 where a certain infraction required a young woman to be stoned at the door of her father's house. In the case of perceived blasphemy, being taken outside of the city was the appropriate spot for this to take place. As such, it says they cast him outside the city “and stoned him.”   Here, the verb is imperfect. It more correctly reads, “and they were stoning him.” Again, the presentation by Luke is lively and active, detailing it as if the reader is there watching the events unfold.   As for the process of stoning, there are some rabbinic commentaries on the method of stoning that was prescribed, but they may or may not match what Scripture actually says and should be avoided for this reason. When a person was stoned, the general practice would follow that stated in Deuteronomy 13 –   “If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,' which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, 7 of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, 8 you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; 9 but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. 10 And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 11 So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you.” Deuteronomy 13:6-11   There are variations to the practice (as noted above concerning Deuteronomy 22:21), but the general idea was to symbolically excommunicate the person from the congregation by taking him out of the gates. This would also keep the city from defilement. From there, those who were personally aware of the offense were to be the first to cast the stones, and then all of the people were to join in until the offender was dead.   This could be the accusation that Jesus wrote with His finger in John 8. When they brought the woman caught in adultery to be stoned, they asked Him what should be done. He simply stooped down and wrote. It can only be speculated what He wrote, but it could have been this very law. They had failed in two ways. First, they only brought the woman, not both of them. Secondly, they brought her to the temple, not out to the gates of the city –   “If a young woman who is a virgin is betrothed to a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry out in the city, and the man because he humbled his neighbor's wife; so you shall put away the evil from among you.” Deuteronomy 22:23, 24   With the reason for mentioning that Stephen was taken outside the city understood, the narrative continues, saying, “And the witnesses laid down their clothes.”   The word “clothes” should read “garments.” It is a long flowing outer garment that would inhibit the casting of stones. In other words, these witnesses – meaning those who were to cast the stone first – wanted to ensure they got the maximum amount of effect out of their toss. And so, they would take the outer garment off. The laying down of the clothes is specifically noted to introduce the next person. It is obvious they laid them down in order to cast, but it says they laid them down “at the feet of a young man.”   Vincent's Word Studies notes that the term “young man” used by Luke “gives no indication of his age, since it is applied up to the age of forty-five. Thirty years after Stephen's martyrdom, Paul speaks of himself as the aged (Plm 1:9).”   All we can know is that the person standing there watching over the garments is a man less than forty-five years old “named Saul.” This is the first time Saul, later called Paul and who will become the apostle to the Gentiles, is named in Scripture. This act of guarding the clothes of those stoning Stephen is alluded to in Acts 22:20, where Paul speaks of what is now recorded by Luke –   “And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.”   By guarding the clothes of these men, he was agreeing to the execution.   Life application: As you read the Bible, pay attention to the introduction of names or events that seem disconnected from the continuing narrative. Quite often, what is introduced at one point, and which seems to have nothing to do with what is said at the time, is a vital key to knowing where the narrative will soon take place. An example of this is found in Genesis 22.   There, the account of Abraham taking Isaac to be a whole burnt offering to the Lord is given. At the very end of the chapter, it suddenly says –   “Now it came to pass after these things that it was told Abraham, saying, ‘Indeed Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor: 21 Huz his firstborn, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, 22 Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.' 23 And Bethuel begot Rebekah. These eight Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham's brother. 24 His concubine, whose name was Reumah, also bore Tebah, Gaham, Thahash, and Maachah.” Genesis 22:20-24   This family line comes after the account of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah and before the record of Sarah's death and burial in Genesis 23. But then the reason for it is realized in Genesis 24:15 when Rebekah is suddenly reintroduced into the ongoing narrative. This instance is not unique, but it happens again and again in the ongoing biblical account.   Pay attention to these introductory clues. The reason for them will be made manifest as you continue along with your reading. The Bible is showing us that it is a logical, orderly, and planned out document that leads in a steady fashion to its ultimate purpose – the coming of the Messiah. Everything in it makes sense when it is taken with that in mind.   What a wonderful treasure of wisdom and order is Your precious word, O God. Thank You for how it is presented, and how it leads slowly and inevitably to the revealing of what is most important of all, meaning the coming of Jesus. Thank You for such wisdom and detail that fills us with the surety that we are truly dealing with Your word. Yes, thank You for this wonderful word. Amen!

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:57

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2022 5:23


Thursday, 2 June 2022   Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; Acts 7:57   Stephen had just called out, stating that he saw the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. It was all the council could take. Stephen was claiming that the Man they had betrayed and handed over to the Romans for crucifixion was now in the position of all authority and power. It would mean that He was the One spoken of by Daniel who would judge them all.   With this, Luke next records, “Then they cried out.” This was probably done for two reasons. The first was to snarl at Stephen some more while accusing him of blasphemy. Secondly, it would have been to drown out any more words from him. Hence, they cried out “with a loud voice.”   One can almost imagine the ruckus of seventy-plus people wildly howling out. It would turn very quickly from a ruling council to an out-of-control mob. Along with crying out in a loud manner, it says they “stopped their ears.”   The verb means “held together.” In other words, they would have folded the bottom of their ears up and tightly held them in place so that they wouldn't hear any more words. This, together with their crying out, would completely drown out the sound of Stephen's words. It was a way of demonstrating that they believed his words were blasphemous and they would no longer tolerate hearing anything he said. In this frenzied state, it next says, “and ran at him with one accord.”   The entire council got up from their seats and came forward as a single tidal wave, rushing upon him and seizing him. Their minds were made up and they would move to take action against the “offender.” But Stephen had seen the heavenly vision. Thus, he was certain that whatever was to happen had divine sanction. He would be unmoved by whatever was to come.   Life application: The early church was heavily persecuted by the leaders of Israel. As Acts continues, it will be seen that the believers were subjected to being arrested, imprisoned, and even executed. This has continued on throughout the church age and throughout the world. The gospel is a point of liberty for the human soul. But leaders often want control over their people. Someone who is free in his soul is not a person that can be easily manipulated into perverse obedience.   This hostility towards believers is quickly rushing upon the people of the United States. Believers are being purged from the military through planned contrivances. This will make the military easier to manipulate. Believers are being openly attacked in their churches because of their opposition to murdering the unborn. Society is being deadened to such things by an unsympathetic news media.   Soon, to stand before others and proclaim the message of Jesus may be a cause for being openly executed, even without a trial. As far-fetched as that sounds, it is no more far-fetched than the current administration openly violating public law with no repercussions for their actions. And yet, it is happening daily. Be ready to take your stand now. Be firm in your convictions, and be prepared to hold fast to your faith, even if the inevitable outcome is death. This may be necessary, so prepare yourselves now for what may lie ahead.   Lord God, it is sad to think that those nations that once proudly proclaimed the good news of Jesus are now almost at complete enmity with that message, but that day has arrived. Give Your people the inner strength to work against this unholy tide and to stand firm on their faith in Your word. It sure is needed in this darkened hour. Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:56

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 1, 2022 7:29


Wednesday, 1 June 2022   and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” Acts 7:56   The previous verse contained Luke's words describing the situation surrounding Stephen. This verse now describes Stephen's own words about that situation. When taken together, they read –   “But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!'” Acts 755, 56   It is Stephen who saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at his right hand, with that vision, he exclaimed, “Look!”   The word can be variously translated depending on the surrounding words, but in this instance, it signifies “Behold!” His eyes so clearly saw the vision before him that he must have felt certain everyone else could see it as well if they just directed their eyes in the same direction. To help them along, he then called out, “I see the heavens opened.”   It was as if what he was looking at was right in front of him. There is no doubt that what he saw was as real as the council members he had been speaking to. And yet, only he would have had the vision. The door to this otherwise unseen realm had been opened wide for him to behold. With this heavenly sight before him, he then says, “and the Son of Man standing.”   This is a term frequently used by Jesus when speaking of Himself. It is most commonly used in the books of Matthew and Luke, but all four gospels use it frequently. And yet, despite it being so commonly spoken by Jesus concerning Himself, this is the only time that the exact term is used outside of the gospels.   In Revelation, John uses the term twice without the article (a Son of Man rather than the Son of Man). Hebrews uses the term in a general way when citing the psalms as well. The term “the Son of Man” speaks more of Jesus' deity than His humanity, even though it refers to His humanity. In other words, it is a way of saying that despite Him being a human being, He is also fully God.   Hence, this is the reason for Stephen's proclamation now. He is telling the council just what Jesus had told them on the night before they crucified Him –   “‘Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.' 70 Then they all said, ‘Are You then the Son of God?' So He said to them, ‘You rightly say that I am.' 71 And they said, ‘What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.'” Luke 22:69-71   The council understood perfectly what Jesus was saying. In claiming that He was the Son of Man, they took it to mean that He is the Son of God – deity. The reference came from their own Scriptures –   “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13, 14   Stephen now confirms this to the council, implying that the Man whom they crucified is also the Lord their God, and He now stood in a vision before Stephen “at the right hand of God!”   As noted in the previous commentary, God does not have parts. To say Jesus is at the right hand of God is to say that He is God, with all of His authority, position, and power. The Creator of all things, the One who breathed life into man, the Lord who spoke forth the law at Mount Sinai, and the Son of Man named Jesus who this council had betrayed and sentenced to His death, is the Risen Messiah who stood from His position of authority to greet the man who would be His first of many martyrs.   Life application: As noted in the previous commentary, the care of the Lord Jesus for His people is wholly and perfectly evident in His standing up to receive Stephen's martyrdom. Stephen faithfully witnessed to what he knew was true, and he was willing to boldly speak out his words despite whatever the council would decide to do to him.   Are we willing to do the same for the witness of Jesus? How sure are you of your faith in Christ? And how capable are you of telling others about Him? If you received the gospel and were saved, was your life changed? That is a witness all by itself. It is something that testifies to the power of the gospel message.   And what about explaining the weightier matters of your faith? Can you accurately tell people why you believe Jesus is God? Can you explain difficult verses that people use against that notion? Stephen believed with all of his being that Jesus is God. He could not have said what he said otherwise.   Be ready to defend your faith. Be ready to tell others about the wonder that Jesus has brought about in your own life. And be ready to do so even if it will cost you your life. Your faithfulness will receive a full reward when you are brought before this wonderful, tender, caring Savior. He is Jesus.   Lord God, what a sure and blessed hope we possess! Thank You that our faith in Jesus is not dubious or unexplainable. We have a certain hope, and it is one that can be explained to any person, in any culture, and of any language. The gospel has a universal application because it speaks to the very heart of man. Thank You for this wonderful message of hope and reconciliation. Amen.  

Daily Liturgy and Scripture
May 31: Psalm 79 and 82, Ezekiel 5, and Acts 7:35-8:3

Daily Liturgy and Scripture

Play Episode Listen Later May 31, 2022 9:55


Stephen's sermon ends almost abruptly by mentioning Jesus, probably because he knew that bringing up the topic would abruptly end his speech. This is certainly what happened. Before this Jewish audience, though, he has laid out more of what Jesus is than most of them probably realize. He is the new temple, he is the new priest. He is the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham, and he is the answer to the prayers of the people from captivity.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:55

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 31, 2022 12:05


Tuesday, 31 May 2022   But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, Acts 7:55   The words of the previous verse said that upon hearing the words of Stephen, those who heard them “were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.” With that said, Luke next notes, “But he.”   It is referring to Stephen. He is set in contrast to those who were like enraged animals snarling at him. Instead, it says of him, “being full of the Holy Spirit.”   This was just as promised by Jesus. First, it is a reminder that everything Stephen had said has been under the influence of the Spirit and in accord with His intents –   “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Luke 12:11, 12   Also, it is an indication that Stephen was covered in the peace that can only come from being filled with the Holy Spirit –   “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:26, 27   As this is so, it also confirms that this council of leaders did not have the Holy Spirit to guide them. Instead, they stood as enemies of God because of their rejection of Christ. Stephen had said, “You always resist the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51). This truth is borne out in the filling of Stephen, of whose words they rejected. As Jesus said –   “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:15-18   Next, in this state of being filled with the Holy Spirit, Luke says that Stephen “gazed into heaven.” It is the natural reaction of someone who is at his wit's end. As humans, we may look away from something in disgust, we may look down in dejection, or we may look to heaven in hope of relief or to refocus our thoughts on higher things. It is the state that David wrote about –   “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.” Psalm 5:3   Stephen, finding no reassurance in the reaction from the council, lifted his eyes unto heaven “and saw the glory of God.”   It is the hope of the human soul. We look to heaven in hopes of discernment, relief, and stabilization of our thoughts, but we do so not really expecting to see anything but the roof of the building we are in or the expanse of the sky under which we stand. However, Stephen was given the relief for his soul that countless others of the past had hoped to find –   “Unto You I lift up my eyes, O You who dwell in the heavens. 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the Lord our God, Until He has mercy on us. 3 Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us! For we are exceedingly filled with contempt. 4 Our soul is exceedingly filled With the scorn of those who are at ease, With the contempt of the proud.” Psalm 123   In his looking up and beholding the glory of God, we are then given an insight into the exaltation of the Lord Jesus through what Stephen saw. Luke records that he saw the glory of God “and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”   Several key points can be determined from this. One is that seeing the glory of God does not mean that a person has seen God. Both Paul and John confirm this –   “I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:13-16   “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” 1 John 4:12   Stephen saw the glory that let him know that God is there, even if He cannot be seen. Another point we can learn from this is one that has already been revealed earlier in Acts where Peter said, “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear” (Acts 2:33).   To be at the right hand is not a physical location. God does not have parts. Rather, it signifies being at the position of all power and authority. It is a confirmation of the deity of Jesus. He is the physical manifestation of who God is. Through Him, the unseen God becomes knowable and understandable.   Thirdly, it says that this Jesus, who appears in the position of authority and power as He dwells in the glory of God, is standing. Acts has already said that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God (Acts 2:34). It is also recorded several times in the gospels, in Ephesians, and in Hebrews. This then reveals to us that a change has taken place. A potentate will sit on his throne as a sign of rule and authority. For him to rise to a standing position will signify the bestowal of an honor, such as the knighting of a person or the crowning of an authority figure under him. It may even occur as a sign of welcoming someone to whom the king is intimately connected –   “Bathsheba therefore went to King Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne and had a throne set for the king's mother; so she sat at his right hand.” 1 Kings 2:19   Jesus, who is at the position of all authority and power, sitting at the right hand of God while dwelling in His glory, arose. It is a sign of welcoming family, of the closest friendship, and of honoring His subordinate. It is to confer a crown – the crown of life – upon him, and to welcome him into his new home. It is the mark of honor to the person whom Scripture will reveal is the church's first martyr.   Life application: If any set of verses in Scripture shows us the affection of the Lord for His people, it is these verses concerning the coming death of Stephen. The Lord rose to acknowledge the one who would be His first recorded martyr. He will rise again someday when the last saint of the church age is brought into the number to be saved. At that moment, the call will go forth, and the church will be brought to Him.   Jesus is aware of every single person who is His. The deaths of His saints are not only known to Him, but they are being carefully recorded and tallied. Each brings us one count closer to the moment that our faith in Him has promised will come –   “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18   For the Lord to descend from heaven, He must first arise from the place of His sitting. Arise, Lord! Come for Your people. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.   Heavenly Father, You have sent Your Son to complete a mission and to call Him back to Your throne in heaven. But someday, He will arise from that throne to gather His people together. We long for that day, and may it be soon. Until then, give us patience as we live out our lives in hopeful anticipation of that glorious day. Amen.  

Daily Liturgy and Scripture
May 30: Psalm 77, Ezekiel 4, and Acts 7:17-34

Daily Liturgy and Scripture

Play Episode Listen Later May 30, 2022 7:33


As Stephen boldly continues his speech, he comes to the time of Moses and the Exodus. This is not by mistake. God said that he would set the people free, and this initiative was of God's doing. Moses was an important part, but it was still God's work. Not to spoil the next point in Stephen's sermon, but what Jesus did was the same: God came to do the work of redemption, and it was God's own work to do.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:54

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 30, 2022 4:53


Monday, 30 May 2022   When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. Acts 7:54   Stephen has been quite clear in his words to the council, and they have perfectly understood what he meant. Because of this, a strong reaction has been elicited from them. As it now says, “When they heard these things they were cut to the heart.”   It is the same word introduced into Scripture in Acts 5:33, diaprió. This is the second and last use of it in the Bible. It comes from two words signifying “through” and “cut with a saw.” Hence, it signifies “sawn in two.” It is a state where a person feels he has been cut right in two, right down the middle, when overcome with grief or rage. At this time, it is a state of rage.   One can imagine a saw cutting through their minds as bits fly off in different directions. The more words they heard, the more their minds would be drawn apart. In this case, being reminded that they resisted the Spirit, were the murderers of the Messiah, and who were the stewards of the law, and yet they themselves did not keep it, their minds had become completely enraged and disjointed. In this state, Luke next says, “and they gnashed at him with their teeth.”   The Greek word translated as “gnashed” is found only here in the Bible, bruchó. Of this word, Vincent's Word Studies notes, “Originally to eat greedily, with a noise, as wild beasts: hence to gnash or grind the teeth.” In their case, it is also a sign of rage. They were like wild animals clenching their teeth and snarling at Stephen. Things don't look good for him at this point.   Life application: Speaking out the truth of the word can, and quite often will, get people riled up. Sometimes you can present it as a challenge, sometimes as a warning, sometimes as a point of correction for someone's conduct, and so on. Depending on who is being addressed and what the circumstances are, these things may be taken well, or they may be taken as an offense. But as long as you are presenting your words with the proper intent and in the proper context, you are doing your job.   Stephen is addressing Israel's leaders. They should have known better, and he has been as direct as Jesus was concerning their failings. There is nothing wrong with this approach. Quite often people get too caught up in the thought, “You need to do this in love.” That is often a means of silencing you. Stephen's words are true, they are direct, and they are biting. The psalms are often written in such a manner. We must take God's word as it is presented and accept that stern warnings or open chastisement are a part of how it is presented.   Let us remember this and present our words as the occasion necessitates. Don't let others shut you down when you are doing exactly what you should be doing. Present your words and let the chips fall where they may.   Lord God, help us to be wise and discerning in how to present Your word, and how to present correction to others when necessary. It is not always an easy task, so be with us and help us to glorify You in all such situations. May it be so! Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:53

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 29, 2022 8:30


Sunday, 29 May 2022   who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” Acts 7:53   Stephen's words of this verse should be taken in connection with the previous verses to get the full context –   “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.”   Understanding the context, this verse begins with, “who have received the law.” The word translated as “who” is “Stronger than the simple relative who, and emphasizing their sin by contrast with their privileges: inasmuch as ye were those who received, etc.” (Vincent's Word Studies).   Stephen is clearly pointing his finger at the council and pointing out their hypocrisy. They have been entrusted with the law and they are the guardians of it. As such, they are responsible to ensure others keep it accordingly. It is the law, as he next says, given “by the direction of angels.”   Here, Stephen introduces a word into the Bible, diatagé, that is found only here and in Romans 13:2. It signifies an ordinance or disposition. Reading it in Romans 13 will help understand the meaning –   “Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13:2   As for the meaning, it is quite common for scholars to cite Jewish references that claim the Law of Moses was received from God through angels as if they mediated the law to the people of Israel. This is not found in the account of Exodus, nor anywhere else. To simply cite Jewish commentary in this manner is not responsible because it does not match what the Bible says.   Rather, and quite simply, the word translated as “angels” means “messengers.” This is the same as the Hebrew where the word translated as “angel” means just the same thing as in the Greek. It can refer to a supernatural angel (see Zechariah 1:9, for example), the Angel of the Lord, meaning the eternal Christ – Jesus (see Numbers 22:22, for example), the coming Messiah (see second use of the word “Messenger” in Malachi 3:1, for example), or even mere human beings who bring messages (such as John the Baptist – see the first use of “messenger” in Malachi 3:1 and in Mark 1:2).   In this case now presented by Stephen, it is a clear reference to Moses and Aaron, the “messengers” who were designated to receive the law and transmit it to the people. They acted as the angels, or messengers, of the Lord. Later during the time of the law, it is seen that angels, such as Gabriel and Michael, also spoke out words to certain people though. Further, prophets and seers continued to receive the word, passing it along to the people.   The point of what is being said here is that the law was “received by the direction of angels.” The Lord spoke, and His chosen messengers – be it Moses and Aaron, the prophets, or heavenly angels – relayed His word to the people. This same thought is seen in Galatians 3:19 and in Hebrews 2:2. Despite this, Stephen accuses those in the council. They had received this law “and have not kept it.”   The council sits in authority over Israel. The words he speaks are not just pointing at the men sitting before him, but they refer to this council over the entire dispensation of the law. He says that in the entire history of Israel, this council had failed to uphold the law and to administer it properly. The Scriptures themselves testify to this fact, and it was no less so now when they had dismissed, rejected, and crucified the very One that those Scriptures testified to.   These men were just the recipients of the final expression of what God was doing under the law. As such, they were more accountable than any others for failing as they had. They had turned their responsibilities into a point of shame, and they would turn their nation into a people set for destruction, as warned in the very law they administered.   Life application: The dispensation of the law was intended to teach Israel that they, as a people, needed God's grace and mercy. If nothing else, the sacrificial system that accompanied the law should have taught them this. Though the law is based on works, including the mandatory sacrifices, the fact that sacrifices were given for sins committed under the law are their own mark of grace. And the fact that the entire nation, without exception – including Israel's high priest – needed to observe the Day of Atonement, told them that they had failed to meet the demands of the law. Hence, they needed the grace and mercy offered on that day.   But because of a perceived self-righteousness that came from having the law, they could not see this. They thought (and still think to this day) that the law elevated them as a people to a special status that brought them an inherent righteousness. What does one need the sacrifice of the Messiah for if the law has been given? Without seeing that the law only pointed to Jesus, it became a supposed means to an end.   This is the problem with churches that mandate the law (in part or in whole) today. “I give ten percent.” “I don't eat pork.” “I observe the Feasts of the Lord.” “I observe the Sabbath.” The focus of each of these is on the subject, “I.” That is the problem with such doctrine. It makes the same error as is held by Israel. It is not about us. It is about Jesus. Despite all of the “I haves” or “I ams” that Israel possesses, they are no closer to God than the worst pagan without the grace and mercy of God.   Come to God through His full, final, and forever offer of Jesus. Then you can do acceptable good stuff all day long. Get things in the proper order and never rely on “I” to get you to heaven. You will never make it. Come to Jesus, and you are guaranteed to make it.   Lord God, thank You for Jesus Christ our precious Savior. Amen.  

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:52

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 28, 2022 8:42


Saturday, 28 May 2022   Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, Acts 7:52   Stephen's last words were concerning the stiff necks and uncircumcised hearts and ears of those in the council. He also noted that they always resist the Holy Spirit, just as their fathers did. Now he asks them a direct question that somewhat mirrors the words of Jesus, “Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?”   It is reflective of what Jesus said to the leaders in Matthew 5 (and also in Luke 13) –   “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers' guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” Matthew 5:31-36   Jesus' words were an affirmative statement. Stephen's words are put in the form of a question, but one that begs the answer, “Your fathers have persecuted them all.” The Scriptures themselves testify to the truth of the matter. But that question was only asked to connect what the fathers had done to what this very council would do. He is showing that there is an unbroken line of hatred by them to the very people who proclaimed the coming of the Messiah. This is seen in Stephen's continued words, saying, “And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One.”   The title, the Just One, is not directly proclaimed by the prophets, but the intent behind it is seen in the words of the prophets. A close thought to it is found in Isaiah 11 –   “But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist.” Isaiah 11:4, 5   The title was understood well enough that it is used here. Likewise, 1 John 2:1 uses a similar title saying, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” The word John uses is the same Greek word meaning both just and righteous. The title is also similar to that already stated by Peter in Acts 3:14.   As for the continued words of Stephen, what he says still refers to the fathers, meaning those leaders who had come before. At the time when the prophets were proclaiming the coming of the Messiah, these leaders of Israel were busy killing those same prophets. The prophets called the people to turn from their wicked ways while also proclaiming that the Messiah was coming. Because of their words of correction concerning holiness and living according to God's standards, the fathers had persecuted and killed those prophets of God. And, following in their unrighteous footsteps, Stephen says of those before him, “of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers.”   There is no article before “betrayers” in the Greek. Because of the way he says it, the statement bears an emphasis, “you betrayers and murderers have become.” The council both conspired against God's Messiah, and they were directly involved in His killing. One example of the conspiracy is found in Matthew 27:3, 4 –   “Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.' And they said, ‘What is that to us? You see to it!'”   As for acknowledging guilt in the murder, that is also found in Matthew 27. In verse 27:20 it acknowledges that the chief priests and elders were present at this time. Then in verses 27:24, 25 it says –   “When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.' 25 And all the people answered and said, ‘His blood be on us and on our children.'”   The weight of Stephen's words may not be pleasant to the ears of the council, but they are words of truth that cannot be denied from the written eyewitness record of what occurred.   Life application: To this day, those who call the people to turn from wickedness are persecuted and even killed for their stand. The message of Jesus is not one of tolerance, even if it is one of acceptance. Jesus will accept any who come to Him, but the expectation is that in coming to Him there will be lives lived out in holiness. There will be judgment upon all – both saved and unsaved – for unholy living. The difference is that those who never come to Him are destined for an eternal swim in the Lake of Fire. Those who do come to Him will be judged for loss of rewards.   It is best to come to Jesus and then put Him first in our lives. Let us endeavor to learn the word, apply it to our lives, and live out our days in right conduct and holy living. May it be so to the glory of God who has saved us.   Lord God, thank You for the salvation that is found in the giving of Your precious Son for us. Help us to live out our lives in holiness rather than in pursuit of the things of the flesh. It is a tempting world, a world filled with trials and stresses, and a world that calls out for us to join it in earthly pursuits. But, Lord, help us as we keep our eyes on Jesus, striving for that which lies ahead of us. Help us in this, O God. Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:51

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2022 8:29


Friday, 27 May 2022   “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Acts 7:51   Stephen has carefully and methodically laid out his analysis of the worship of Israel and their attitude toward the Lord throughout their history. With his words now finished concerning the Lord in relation to the temple, his complete disappointment in the ability of the leaders to perceive what is good and right concerning the Lord comes forth.   Citing Scripture, he has shown that the Lord is not confined to a building of stone that has been fashioned by men's hands. Because of their inability to perceive this basic truth, he next calls out to them, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears!”   He uses two words that are only found here in Scripture:   sklérotrachélos – This comes from two separate words, skléros, meaning hard, stiff, stubborn, and so on. It describes people that simply won't budge. And trachélos, meaning the neck or throat. Together, they obviously signify stiff-necked. It speaks of a people who are contrary and obstinate.   aperitmétos – This comes from the negative particle a being united to peritemnó, or to circumcise.   The second word, uncircumcised, is then defined by the words “in heart and ears.” Being uncircumcised would signify that the people were both outside of the covenant of Abraham and outside of the Law of Moses. Stephen is using this as an example of being in that state, not legally but morally. They were circumcised in the flesh, but that did not mean they were right with the Lord. This concept is found in both testaments of Scripture going back as far as Moses –   “Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.” Deuteronomy 10:16   “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:6   “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, And take away the foreskins of your hearts, You men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My fury come forth like fire, And burn so that no one can quench it, Because of the evil of your doings.” Jeremiah 4:4   “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” Romans 2: 28, 29   To be uncircumcised in the heart is to lack reasoning towards God, resulting in being disobedient towards Him. It would be a person who lives for the flesh and not for the spiritual things laid out by the Lord. To be uncircumcised in the ear is to fail to hear (both hearing and then applying) the word of the Lord to one's life. The word “hearken” gives a good sense of this. One can hear and not do. Or one can fail to hear at all and be incapable of doing. One who hearkens will both hear and do.   In this state, Stephen continues by saying, “You always resist the Holy Spirit.” Again, he uses a word that is only found this one time in Scripture, antipiptó. It is an especially strong word signifying “to fall against.” As such, it means active resistance. HELPS Word Studies says it is “like someone trying to crush an adversary in battle.”   These people hadn't just resisted the Holy Spirit by ignoring Him. Rather, they were actively working against Him. It is He who inspired Scripture, and thus the meaning is that they were actively working against what He had provided in the word by actively trying to crush anything concerning Jesus, who is the Subject of Scripture. But this attitude was nothing new. He says that this is “as your fathers did, so do you.”   This is certainly referring to the examples given in verses 7:39-43. He is equating those sitting before him with those who actively rejected Moses, made a golden calf, turned their hearts back to Egypt, offered sacrifices to the idol, and who continued to do such things ever since. The rebellious streak of the fathers was still being openly evidenced in the council of leaders to that very day.   Life application: Israel was crushed, destroyed, and exiled because they rejected Jesus. This is what the Bible, even by the words of Jesus Himself, teaches. They purposefully and willfully continued to do so even after the resurrection and the witness of the apostles.   As such, they were exiled in accord with the Law of Moses, and the punishments laid out there have been brought upon them for the past two millennia. To this day, they actively work against any notion of Jesus being the Messiah, and they are – for the most part – intolerant of Him within their culture and community.   Though they are back in the land, this is not because they are right with the Lord, but it is the Lord's way of bringing them to a right standing with Him. Jesus lays all of this out in the gospels, such as in Matthew 24.   As this is so, it means that His coming for His people in the church is probably not far off. We have a great hope that we will be delivered from this world of wickedness and into our heavenly home. Israel, along with the rest of the unbelieving world, will enter into the tribulation where most will not survive. Now is the time to tell people about the goodness of God in Christ, and to convey to them the gospel. Be sure to get this word out while you can.   Lord God, help our hearts to be softened towards those who have not yet come to You through Jesus. Help us to be caring enough to share this good news while we can. Direct our steps to those whom You know will favorably respond to the call when it is given. Time is winding down, Lord. Help us to take full advantage of it while we can. Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:50

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 26, 2022 6:56


Thursday, 26 May 2022   Has My hand not made all these things?' Acts 7:50   Stephen is in the process of quoting Isaiah 66:1, 2. He will finish his citation with this verse which is only the first clause of Isaiah 66:2. His entire citation says –   “Heaven 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? 50 Has My hand not made all these things?” Acts 7:49, 50   With this context remembered, he finishes with, “Has My hand not made all these things?” The Hebrew is very close, saying, “For all those things My hand has made.”   The previous words spoke of the position of authority and the state of having all of the earth in a state of subjection. The words now bring in the fact that not only is this so, but that the Lord is the Creator of them as well. What is implied in this is that if He is the Creator of them, then He is also the Sustainer of them. This is stated explicitly in the continued words of Isaiah (not cited by Stephen) that say, “And all those things exist.”   They came into being because of Him (existence from creation), but they remain now only because He purposes it to be so (continued existence). This concept is mentioned by Paul and by the author of Hebrews –   “And he is before all, and all things subsist together by him.” Colossians 1:17 (Darby)   “...has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power.” Hebrews 1:2, 3   As these things are so, then it must be that a temple fashioned by human hands is both insufficient to contain Him, and that what occurs at that temple is actually for our benefit, not His. He needs nothing as all things are from Him and all things belong to Him. Further, true righteousness and holiness cannot come from such a temple and its rites and rituals. Rather, they are intended to school those to whom they are given that only such a state can come from the work of God.   What man does is already tainted with unholiness. The thought of what Stephen is saying through the words of Isaiah is that a right standing before God will come through what God does. That is actually seen in the finishing words of Isaiah 66:2 –   “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.”   The word of God is a reflection of who He is. It is true that the rites and rituals used in the worship of the temple were set forth by the Lord, but they are only types and shadows of what is more perfect. To demonstrate this, the Lord's word prophesied the coming of the Messiah who would perfectly fulfill all things that Israel imperfectly lived out. This will be seen as Stephen continues. He has clearly set forth his case, and he will show how Israel failed to recognize the time of their visitation.   Life application: In worshipping Jesus, we are worshipping the fullest expression of who God is in a form that we can understand. The Holy Spirit intends for us to see God revealed in Christ. The influence of the prophets was for them to prophesy. The overshadowing of Mary so that she would conceive was given to bring forth the incarnate Word of God. The influence of the Spirit on the apostles was to remind them of the work of the Lord and to testify to it. The sealing of the Spirit now is given as an acceptance of faith (belief in) the gospel of the Lord Jesus.   Everything is centered on Christ Jesus. Let us fix our eyes on Him as we await the wondrous day when we are brought into the presence of God and of the Lamb for all eternity. Let us thank God for His favor, His grace, and His mercy towards us in Christ.   Lord God, all praise, glory, and honor belong to You. We give You our hearts and our devotion as we await the day when You renew all things and bring us into the pure and undefiled state that will allow us perfect union with You for all eternity. Glory to You in the highest! Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:49

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2022 7:51


Wednesday, 25 May 2022   ‘Heaven 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? Acts 7:49   Stephen had just said that “the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands.” To support this, he now cites Isaiah 66. His citation of Isaiah 66:1 and the corresponding Hebrew are listed in order here –   “Heaven 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?”   “Thus says Yehovah: ‘The heavens are My throne, And the earth is the footstool for My feet. Where is this – the house which you will build to Me? And where is this – the place of My rest?'” (CG)   Stephen begins by saying, “Heaven is My throne.” The translation should contain the articles that are found in the Greek – “The heaven is My throne.” It is as if heaven is the place where the Lord sits in authority and judgment over all things, looking down upon His subjects below, evaluating them, and directing them.   It is the place of His hosts, and it is from there that He directs them as they then direct the course of human governments, accomplishments, and achievements. Stephen next says, “And earth is My footstool.”   Again, the article should be translated, “And the earth a footstool of the feet of Me.” It speaks of the earth being totally subject to Him. The place of the foot is the place where authority is exercised. As the feet of the Lord rest upon the earth, it signifies that He possesses all authority over it. Everything that happens on it is at His discretion and is subject to His will. With this understood, Stephen next says, “What house will you build for Me? says the Lord.”   The Greek word translated as “what” signifies “what manner.” It is as if the Lord says, “You are down there on earth. What manner of house could you possibly build for Me that could contain Me? Your human hands are insufficient to do such a thing!” This is based on the previous two declarations. If the Lord is ruling from heaven, and if His rule is over all the earth, then what earthly house would be sufficient to contain Him? With that, Stephen says, “Or what is the place of My rest?”   Again, the question begs for an obvious answer. Isaiah was quoting the Lord at the time when the first temple stood. Stephen is quoting Isaiah while the second temple was still standing. How could the people truly believe that the temple could contain the substance of the Lord in His fulness? It again calls to mind Solomon's proclamation when the temple was dedicated –   “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!” 1 Kings 8:27   How could the Lord find rest in such a place? But there is a dwelling in which the Lord could find His rest. It is one not made with human hands. It is this that Stephen is trying to convey to the council.   Life application: The Bible is using anthropomorphism to make a point about the nature of God. This is not saying that God has body parts that are actually sitting on a throne in heaven with His feet resting on the earth. As John Gill says, “...these things are not to be literally understood, but are images and figures, representing the majesty, sovereignty, and immensity of God; who is the maker of all things, the governor of the universe, and is above all places, and not to be contained in any.”   It is good practice to actively remind yourself of this type of speech when reading the Bible and to think about what is being conveyed. What idea does each body part that is mentioned express? For example, the hand signifies that which accomplishes things. The right hand is the position of authority. The finger is that which directs and participates in the hand's accomplishments. The arm signifies reach of authority and ability. And so on.   All the way through Scripture, God is using terms, ideas, and concepts that man should be aware of in any culture and in any language. So, think about the analogy and why it is used in the particular passage. What is the surrounding context asking you to consider?   When reading the Bible in this way, you will more fully grasp the intent of its words. Again, be careful to understand that these things are to be taken as anthropomorphisms and not as literal terminology. In misunderstanding this, you may become a flat earther. Forget the tinfoil hat, understand the terminology, and consider the greatness of God as it is expressed to you in His precious word.   Lord God, Your word resonates with people all over the world and from every culture and language. As You created man, You have found a way to express Yourself to him in a way that is universally understood. The simplicity of the overall message simply cannot be missed! Jesus. It is all about Your work in and through Jesus. Thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord who makes You understandable to us. Amen.  

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:48

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 24, 2022 7:32


Tuesday, 24 May 2022   “However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says: Acts 7:48   Stephen has been speaking of the tabernacle, David's desire to build a house for the Lord, and then acknowledging, “But Solomon built Him a house.” Now, as a clear indication that such a building is only a type of something greater, he substantially conveys the thought of Solomon at the dedication of the temple, beginning with, “However, the Most High.”   The term “Most High” (or “Highest”) is used more than fifty times in Scripture, usually in poetical verses, and mostly in the psalms, but it is also used quite often in Daniel. It speaks of God as being above all else. In Hebrew, the term is El Elyon God Most High. The word elyon refers to that which is at the highest point; that which is uppermost. This term was first used by Abraham –   “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.” Genesis 14:18   It is used to refer to the Lord God being above all other “gods” and of the absolute preeminence –   “Let all be put to shame who serve carved images, Who boast of idols. Worship Him, all you gods. 8 Zion hears and is glad, And the daughters of Judah rejoice Because of Your judgments, O Lord. 9 For You, Lord, are most high above all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods.” Psalm 97:7-9   Daniel uses it in relation to the absolute power and authority of the Lord. Of the Most High, Stephen logically states that He “does not dwell in temples made with hands.”   Paul uses the same sentiment in Acts 17 when making his case concerning God while speaking at the Areopagus –   “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.” Acts 17:24   The author of Hebrews shows that the tabernacle/temple was only a type, or representation, of the true dwelling of God, heaven itself –   “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Hebrews 9:24   The words of Stephen, and which are agreed upon in both testaments, is that the temple itself, though a representation of who Jesus is and of what He would do, is a temporary point of worship until the coming of Christ. As noted above, his words are perfectly in line with what Solomon said at the dedication of the temple –   “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!” 1 Kings 8:27   As this is so, then a different type of worship will come when the Messiah has fulfilled the types and shadows seen in the rites and rituals of the temple. Jesus stated as much when He noted that true believers will worship God in spirit and in truth. Stephen's statement now is a defense against the charge made against him in Acts 6:13 –   “This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law.”   Stephen is carefully making his case that what has been said about him is untrue. But more, he is showing the council that it is they who have misunderstood the significance of the rites, rituals, and edifices that have made up the history of their people. In doing so, they were unable to see Jesus for who He is when He came among them. This verse now finishes in the middle of a thought with, “as the prophet says.” Stephen will next cite Isaiah to confirm that Scripture bears out what he is conveying.   Life application: Like the nation of Israel, who failed to see that all of their biblically instituted rites and rituals were only types and shadows of the coming Messiah (see Colossians 2:17), the same is true today with them. But more, this truth permeates churches as well.   To some extent or another, churches fall back on mandating rites and rituals that are made null and void in Christ. Circumcision, Sabbath worship, tithing, observance of certain feast days, dietary restrictions, and so on. All such things do not bring a person any closer to God. In fact, they bring in a wall that separates them from God.   Because Christ is the fulfillment of these things, mandating them essentially says, “I trust in my own observance of these things to make God happy instead of trusting in Christ who fulfilled these things.”   To mandate something means it is more than simple instruction. If a church wants to have a Passover ceremony to show what it was like before Christ's coming, that is fine and acceptable. But to mandate observance of the same as a ritual observance sets aside its greater fulfillment in Christ. Be wise and discerning. A little yeast leavens the whole lump.   Trust in Christ, rest in Christ, and look to Christ alone for your righteousness.   Lord God, thank You that Jesus has done all we need to be reconciled to You. We shall fix our eyes on Him and give You glory through this. Surely, we thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:47

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 23, 2022 7:52


Monday, 23 May 2022   But Solomon built Him a house. Acts 7:47   The previous verse referred to David, saying, “who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob.” With that, Stephen now notes, “But Solomon built Him a house.”   It was David's intent to build a house for the Lord to dwell in, but he was a man of war and so that honor was denied him –   “Then he called for his son Solomon, and charged him to build a house for the Lord God of Israel. 7 And David said to Solomon: ‘My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the Lord my God; 8 but the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. 9 Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.”'” 1 Chronicles 22:6-10   As David could not build the house, Solomon was given charge to do so. But David had prepared all that was necessary for the task in advance. That is recorded in the same chapter –   “Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the Lord one hundred thousand talents of gold and one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and you may add to them. 15 Moreover there are workmen with you in abundance: woodsmen and stonecutters, and all types of skillful men for every kind of work. 16 Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the Lord be with you.” 1 Chronicles 22:14-16   But there is more than just the “house” which is the temple that is referred to in the original promise made to David as is recorded in 2 Samuel 7. The Hebrew word bayith, or house, is used again and again in that chapter. There, it has two main meanings. The first is a literal structure, a temple, where the Lord would dwell. The second refers to a family, such as saying “the house of David.”   Both ideas are found in one paragraph of 2 Samuel 7 –    “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15 But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” 2 Samuel 7:12-16   The words “He shall build a house for My name” immediately refer to Solomon, as Stephen indicates in Acts. However, the words go further, referring to the work of Christ who is the One to build the true house of God. Peter, using the same word that Stephen uses, says –   “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5   This is the same thing that Paul refers to as well. In his words, the edifice he refers to is a temple, but it is the same idea as the “house” that Peter refers to –   “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22   Stephen's words are intended to wake the council up to the truth that what man has made is not, nor can it be, the final home of God. It is simply a perishable structure that meets a temporary purpose. He will confirm this in his words ahead. It is the apostles who then explain this so that we can understand just what the Lord is referring to in using the word “house” when speaking of a holy dwelling place as well as an eternal family in His words to David. What He says goes beyond the line of Solomon and the temple which Solomon built by referring to what Christ would do in building the true house of God through David's greater Son, Jesus.   Life application: Let us remember that no matter where we worship, the true church is not a building. Rather, it is the people of God. If you attend an online church, you are as much a part of the “church” as a person who has sat in the same pew for 45 years. Paul shows us this several times in his epistles, such as –   “To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, 2 to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:” Philemon 1:1, 2   The church meets in a building; the building is not the church. Wherever you are, you are a living stone in the true house that God is building. Be confident in this and don't worry if the latte machine in the corner of the building is broken. It will not affect your salvation at all. Be assured of your position in Christ. He has you safely cared for as a member of His true church.   Heavenly Father, thank You for the knowledge that we are accepted members of Your church because of the work of Jesus. We are accepted, and we are being built into a house that will endure forever. Thank You for Your kind care for each one of us. Glory to You in the highest. Amen.  

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:46

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 22, 2022 6:16


Sunday, 22 May 2022   who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob. Acts 7:46   The previous verse mentioned that the fathers who entered Canaan had received the tabernacle. This continued until the days of David. With that, Stephen now says, “who found favor before God.”   This is referring to David. Saul had dropped out of favor with the Lord and was told that his dynasty would not continue. Instead, David was chosen. Because of his faithful heart, he was promised an everlasting dynasty. It was at this same time that he “asked to find a dwelling.”   The word used is the same as that of the tabernacle. It is a tent for the ark to be brought into. The intention of David was to bring the ark to Jerusalem and to eventually build a permanent house for it. The passage of bringing it to Jerusalem is found in 2 Samuel 6. Eventually, it was his intent to have it taken from the temporary tent to a permanent house.   The tabernacle built at the time of Moses was the central point of worship from Moses until David, but David determined to eventually build a temple for a permanent edifice in which the ark could be housed for the “God of Jacob.”   This is a referenced in the words of Psalm 132 –   “Lord, remember David And all his afflictions; 2 How he swore to the Lord, And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob: 3 ‘Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house, Or go up to the comfort of my bed; 4 I will not give sleep to my eyes Or slumber to my eyelids, 5 Until I find a place for the Lord, A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.'” Psalm 132:1-5   Life application: Take time to read 1 Samuel 6 and 7 today.  With Jerusalem subdued and under David's control, he intended to bring the ark there. When it came, it was placed in another temporary tent while David determined to build a temple. This will not come about at David's time, but the promise of an everlasting dynasty was made. Also, he was told that a temple for the Lord would come about through his seed.   Stephen's words are dealing with the matter of blasphemy that he has been accused of. What is the proper means and mode of worship for God's people? Did it come through the tabernacle constructed in the wilderness? Did it come about through the tabernacle of David? Will it come about through the temple built by Solomon as will be noted in the next verse?   These are edifices produced by the work of man's hands. What type of worship is God ultimately expecting from His people? Each step of the process, the people thought that what they had was the final piece of the puzzle, or that (as in David's case) it was leading to the erection of a final temple.   We can get so caught up in our own type and style of worship that we put God into a box and secret Him away, just as the ark was secreted away in a tent or house. But we are being taught through Stephen the same truth that Jesus told to the woman at the well –   “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23, 24   God is not to be limited to our own preconceived notions about Him. Our attention and devotion are to be on Jesus, and our hearts are to be conformed to that. Everything else is simply a temporary form of expression that we have developed in order to, hopefully, help others express that attention and devotion properly. Jesus is the true and final expression of what these Old Testament types and pictures only anticipate. Keep yourself from the legalism that so easily entraps us when we gather together to worship Jesus.   Glorious God Almighty, You have given us the final expression of who You are to us in the Person of Jesus. It is through Him that we will forever worship You. Help us to remember this and to not get caught up in legalistic expressions that take our eyes off of this fact. Help us to remain focused on You, through Jesus, all our days. Amen.  

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:45

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 21, 2022 7:56


Saturday, 21 May 2022   which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David, Acts 7:45   The previous verse referred to the tabernacle in the wilderness, and that Moses was instructed to make it according to the pattern he had seen. Having seen a pattern, it then conveys to us an obvious truth. If there is a pattern, then what is copied is not the actual thing that has been copied. Stephen will explain that in a few verses. For now, he explains more about the earthly tabernacle, beginning with, “which our fathers, having received it in turn.”   The Greek word translated as “having received it in turn,” is found only here in Scripture. It speaks of the succession of the tabernacle. It was fashioned at the time of Moses and it was the central point of worship for those who constructed it. Eventually, that generation died off, and the next generation received it in turn.    This is because the first generation was disobedient and failed to enter into Canaan when it was offered to them. They did not believe the Lord, and they were condemned to die in the wilderness. Only when that generation had died off would the people enter. Two exceptions to this were Joshua and Caleb who believed the Lord. It is this next generation that is being referred to. From there, Stephen continues by saying, “also brought with Joshua.”   Joshua is explicitly noted as being with the next generation. As the leader of the people, but as one of the previous generation, Stephen ensures that this distinction in him is made. He was of faith, and because he was, he led the next generation of Israel into Canaan. It was this generation, with Joshua leading them, that brought the tabernacle “into the land possessed by the Gentiles.”   Here, Stephen uses the same word found in Acts 7:5 where it speaks of promising the land of Canaan to Abraham “for a possession.” This is now its only other use in Scripture. The Greek literally reads, “in the possession of the nations.” Because of this, translations vary. Some see this as the act of possessing the land. But the word “possession” is a noun. It is, therefore, most probably speaking of the land that was possessed by the nations, and who would then be disposed from the land.   Also, it is to be noted that some earlier translations say “Jesus” in this verse instead of “Joshua.” The names of both in the Greek are the same. It is obvious that Joshua brought Israel into the land. But the similarity of the names is still important.   In reading the Greek, the mental connection to both is made. It is certainly historically accurate to translate this as Joshua, but in typology, it is good to know that the Greek names Joshua and Jesus are the same. Joshua brought the tabernacle of the Lord into the land possessed by the Gentiles. Jesus, the Lord, is the one who brought the knowledge of the Lord into the Gentile world.   It is this presence of the Lord as indicated by the tabernacle being brought by the next generation of Israel, and as led by Joshua, “whom God drove out before the face of our fathers.”   The Greek actually reads just the opposite, saying “from the face of our fathers.” It is the same expression used in the Greek translation of Deuteronomy 11:23. It is the Lord who does the work, removing the Gentiles from before Israel. Israel participated in the wars, but without the Lord, they could never have succeeded in accomplishing the task.   This process of removing the Gentiles, with the presence of the tabernacle among them, is carefully recorded in Joshua, and the battles in the land continue on through Judges. Saul, the first king of Israel dealt with this as well. This continued on, according to Stephen, “until the days of David.”   What this is referring to is not the removing of the Gentiles until the time of David, but of the presence of the tabernacle until the time of David. The removing of the Gentiles is a fact that occurred because of the presence of the tabernacle, but the main subject is the tabernacle itself. That will be seen in the next two verses.   Life application: The tabernacle is noted above as a copy of something else. As such, it is not the real thing, but only a type or shadow of the real thing. It is important to understand this because it was telling Israel that the One who dwelt in that tabernacle was not limited to it.   It is God in Christ that this tabernacle was modeled after. Until one sees this, he cannot fully appreciate that what God is doing is larger than just what is spoken of concerning Israel. To this day, people get excited about events surrounding the coming temple in Jerusalem, such as finding a suitable red heifer for sacrifice.   And, indeed, it is exciting in the sense that prophecy is being fulfilled, but it should not be exciting to think that Israel is going to build a temple for worship. As Jesus is the fulfillment of these things, it means that Israel has not yet learned this lesson. The sacrifice of a red heifer cannot do anything for Israel. Only what that red heifer anticipated, meaning the work of Jesus, can cleanse them.   Let us remember this. It is not good to send money to fund temple projects in Israel. In doing so, we are participating in Israel's rejection of Christ! Be understanding of these things. We need to get out the word about Jesus, not about Israel's return to an obsolete law.   Heavenly Father, we pray that Israel's eyes will be opened to the truth of what You have done through Jesus. May their hearts be turned to You through Him. The law was ineffective in bringing them to a right standing with You. Only in Jesus' fulfillment of it can that happen. Help them to see this, O God. Amen.  

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:44

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 20, 2022 9:16


Friday, 20 May 2022   “Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, Acts 7:44   In the previous verse, Stephen completed his citation of Amos 5. In that citation (verse 7:42), he mentioned “the tabernacle of Molech.” Now, he contrasts that with the words of this verse, saying, “Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness.”   This is the edifice detailed in Exodus which was the central part of the sanctuary where the Lord dwelt. The sanctuary was enclosed by hangings forming a courtyard. Within that was kept the brazen altar and the laver. Those led to the tabernacle (also called “tent” when a different word is used) which was a tent where the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place were. It is known by various names in the books of Moses, such as the tabernacle of witness, the tabernacle of the testimony, the tabernacle of the congregation, the tabernacle of meeting, the tabernacle of the Lord, and so on.   Within the Most Holy Place was the ark of the covenant where the presence of the Lord dwelt. This was “in the wilderness.” This edifice was constructed at Sinai and was carried from there to the doorstep of Canaan where the people rebelled. When they were turned back because of their faithlessness, it was carried throughout the wilderness wanderings, and it was eventually taken across the Jordan and into Canaan. This was a temporary, mobile edifice that was constructed “as He appointed.”   The Lord gave Moses explicit and detailed instructions concerning exactly what materials to use, what colors the fabrics were to be, how much certain implements would weigh, how long things would be, and so on. Everything was according to His word and was presented to Moses. The Lord was “instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen.”   This was first said to Moses in Exodus –   “And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.” Exodus 25:8, 9   This is further explained in Hebrews where it says –   “For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. 4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, ‘See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.' 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” Hebrews 8:3-6   The author of Hebrews says that this sanctuary was a “copy and shadow of the heavenly things.” In every detail and in every respect, it anticipated the Person and work of Jesus. As such, it was only a shadow of the good things to come in Christ. As an explicit example of this, the author of Hebrews says of the veil that hangs between the holy and the most holy place pictured the flesh of Jesus –   “Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh.” Hebrews 10:19, 20   As this is so, and it is fully confirmed in the gospels through typology that it is, it tells us that their rejection of the law that was given to them, and which detailed those things concerning the tabernacle, was a rejection of what those things only anticipated, the coming Messiah. When He came, it was no wonder that they rejected Him. The same spirit of disobedience worked in them all along.   Life application: A proper study of the Bible takes a lifetime, and even then, we won't know all that is contained there. But in order to rightly know what is said, one has to have a right translation. Otherwise, a misunderstanding of important concepts will come about. Therefore, it is important to weed out mistranslations, errors, and contradictions that come about through faulty translational work.   As an example of this, notice the difference between these three sets of verses from the KJV and the NKJV. To make it simple, the error is highlighted. Which version is in error and why? See if you can identify and explain it –   KJV: According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the PATTERN of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. Exodus 25:9   “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the PATTERN shewed to thee in the mount.” Hebrews 8:5   “It was therefore necessary that the PATTERNS of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” Hebrews 9:23   NKJV: “According to all that I show you, that is, the PATTERN of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.” Exodus 25:9   “who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, ‘See that you make all things according to the PATTERN shown you on the mountain.'” Hebrews 8:5   “Therefore it was necessary that the COPIES of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.” Hebrews 9:23   Now that you have thought it through, you can see that the KJV botched up its translation of Hebrews 9:23, forming a contradiction in the text. The exact opposite of what the Bible says is what they have said. It is the earthly things are COPIES of the heavenly things, which are the pattern.   By translating this as PATTERNS, they have brought error into their translation. As such, don't just rush through your reading of Scripture, but think about what is said. Mull it over. When such an obvious error is identified, do a thorough study. Read various translations, study the original Hebrew or Greek, if available, and find out what is correct. In this, you will not be left thinking the Bible has an error.   Instead, you can place the blame for such a botched-up job right where it belongs, meaning with the human translators of God's infallible word. When such an error is identified, make sure to then make a margin note correcting the error. When the Bible transfers to someone else, they won't have to go through all the pains of checking that you did.   Lord God, Your word is too precious to just rush through. Help us to carefully contemplate it and to revel in its perfection all the days of our lives. Thank You for Your wondrous word! Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:43

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2022 8:10


Thursday, 19 May 2022   You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch, And the star of your god Remphan, Images which you made to worship; And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.' Acts 7:43   Stephen had just begun to quote Amos 5 in the previous verse. He now continues with that here. His citation does not completely match the Hebrew, which says –   “‘You also carried Sikkuth your king And Chiun, your idols, The star of your gods, Which you made for yourselves. 27 Therefore I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus,' Says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.”   Noting these differences, Stephen begins with, “You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch.” A tabernacle is a tent in which an entity dwells. This would have been carried by the people in a procession as was common among the pagans, and which is seen even in parts of the world today. Moloch is the god of the Ammonites. In the Old Testament, he is noted as Molech.   Worship of Molech was expressly forbidden five times in the book of Leviticus. Solomon made a high place to Molech in 1 Kings 11:7. Also, in Jeremiah 32:35, it says –   “And they built the high places of Baal which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I did not command them, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”   Despite the differences in the English, the translation of the Hebrew is exceedingly close to Stephen's words. The name Sikkuth is spelled similarly to Succoth, or “tabernacle.” And the words “your king” are closely associated with Molech, which comes from the Hebrew word meaning “king.”   The reason for saying “tabernacle” here is certainly because he is making a play on words, connecting the thought to what is coming in verse 44. There, he will refer to the “tabernacle in the wilderness,” showing a contrast between this tabernacle and that one.   Stephen next says, “And the star of your god Remphan.” This clause can be seen to be quite different from the Hebrew. The explanation for the difference is provided by the Pulpit Commentary –   “Rephan, or Raiphan, or Remphan, as it is variously written, is the LXX. translation of the Hebrew Chiun in Amos 5:26. The best explanation of this is that Rephan is the Coptic name of the planet Saturn, well-known of course to the LXX., and that Chiun is the Hebrew and Arabic name of the same star, which they therefore translated by Rephan.”   Stephen next says, “Images which you made to worship.” Stephen returns to the thought of verse 7:41 which referred to the golden calf and which said, “and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.” Israel had a proclivity to fashioning gods instead of trusting in the uncreated God. In this, they were completely disobedient to Moses, and thus to the Lord.   Stephen finishes with, “And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.” Although this seems completely contradictory to the Hebrew that reads “Damascus,” it is evident that if one is carried beyond Babylon, he has been carried beyond Damascus. John Gill provides a thorough account of this –   “...in Amos it is beyond Damascus, and so some copies read here, which was in Babylon; and explains the sense of the prophet more fully, that they should not only be carried for their idolatry beyond Damascus, and into the furthermost parts of Babylon, but beyond it, even into the cities of the Medea, Halah, and Habor, by the river Gozan; and here is no contradiction: how far beyond Damascus, the prophet does not say; and if they were carried beyond Babylon, they must be carried beyond Damascus, and so the words of the prophet were fulfilled; and Stephen living after the fulfilment of the prophecy, by which it appeared that they were carried into Media, could say how far they were carried; wherefore the Jew (i) has no reason to cavil at Stephen, as if he misrepresented the words of the prophet, and related things otherwise than they were.”   Life application: Stephen is talking to the lead council of Israel, and he is citing things that are a part of their history. Though the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament do not appear to match, the differences are settled by including both the Greek Old Testament and analysis of the customs, cultures, and languages of the surrounding countries that the people of Israel were fully aware of.   Throughout Acts 7, the council is not seen to stop Stephen and correct him. This would have occurred if what he said was not considered acceptable. Luke is simply chronicling what was said and what happened. And more, if the record of what Luke had said was not compatible with what was considered a reasonable understanding of the citation of the Old Testament, such as that found here, there would have been countless critiques of it throughout the years, starting immediately after Acts was published.   On the other hand, scholars have analyzed every word of the book of Acts and have been able to reasonably settle any difficulties. As this is so, we can be content that we have a reliable record of what was said, and that it is fully in accord with an acceptable interpretation of the passages set before the council.   When people attempt to disparage your faith by disparaging the Bible, and they will, be ready to defend it. There are difficulties in it, but there are reasonable explanations for each of them if you are willing to put in the time and effort to understand them. Don't be shy about this. Stand up for the word. It is the basis for our faith in the Lord. As Paul says, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”   Lord God, thank You for those scholars who have come before us, and who have carefully analyzed the Bible, seeking out its mysteries and finding reasonable solutions to very difficult passages that arise at times. Their work helps us to have greater confidence when we speak to others, and it helps us to want to go further in opening up the treasures that are still awaiting us in Your word. We are surely blessed as this stream of effort continues, even to this day. Amen.  

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:42

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2022 9:27


Wednesday, 18 May 2022   Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets: ‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? Acts 7:42   The previous verse said, “And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.” Now Stephen continues to describe the conduct of Israel, saying, “Then God turned.”   The idea here is that in forsaking the Lord, the Lord will forsake them. It is the warning Joshua gave to the people –   “But Joshua said to the people, ‘You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.'” Joshua 24:19, 20   In God's turning, Stephen next says, “and gave them up.” Instead of continuing to appeal to Israel to do what is right and to worship Him, the Lord essentially says, “Ok. Have it your way. If you will not worship me, we'll see if the gods you do serve will help you. That is the same thought found in the Song of Moses –   “He will say: ‘Where are their gods, The rock in which they sought refuge? 38 Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, And drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise and help you, And be your refuge.'” Deuteronomy 32:37, 38   The Lord allowed Israel to follow their own gods, and when times of trouble came, they had no one to turn to. The gods they trusted in were out “having a party” and too busy to help apparently. In actuality, they didn't exist because they were not gods at all. Stephen next says that God gave them up “to worship the host of heaven.”   It is a term describing the sun, moon, planets, and stars. The word “host” signifies an army. Their regular movements and the way they are set in the heavens is as if they are arrayed for battle. The worship of this host is seen, for example, in 2 Chronicles –   “Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2 But he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. 3 For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he raised up altars for the Baals, and made wooden images; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4 He also built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem shall My name be forever.” 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 33:1-5   These and other such verses refer to Israel serving and worshipping the created “hosts of heaven” rather than the Creator of those hosts. To support his words to the council, Stephen next quotes Scripture, saying, “as it is written in the book of the Prophets.”   The Hebrew Bible of today is divided into three sections, commonly referred to as the Tanakh. It is an acronym combining the first letters of those sections, the Torah (the books of Moses also known as the Pentateuch or simply “the Law”); the Nevi'im (the Prophets); and the Ketuvim (the Writings). A similar division is referred to by Jesus in Luke 24 –   “Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.'” Luke 24:44   As for Stephen's words noting the book of the Prophets, he specifically cites the book of Amos, saying –   “Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?”   The words are specifically being remembered from Amos 5:25 –   “Did you offer Me sacrifices and offerings In the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?”   The words of Stephen will continue to cite Amos, but the question of Amos 5:25 begs a negative answer. Israel was out worshipping other gods, failing to give the Creator of the heavenly host credit for His handiwork. But right in the same chapter of Amos, the Lord is directly credited with the creation of these things –   “He made the Pleiades and Orion; He turns the shadow of death into morning And makes the day dark as night; He calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the face of the earth; The Lord is His name.” Amos 5:8   The Pleiades and Orion were, and still are, known constellations. It is He who made them. Their structure and placement are according to His wisdom alone. Why worship the lesser? The Lord is the Creator.   Life application: The Bible does not deny that there is structure and order in the alignment of the stars. On the contrary, it acknowledges it. These heavenly bodies tell their own stories. This is acknowledged in several places in both testaments. An example of this is found in Jacob's blessing upon his son, Judah –   “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” Genesis 49:10   The words here are believed to be the heavenly sign that the Magi understood to refer to the coming of the Messiah. When Leo, Regulus, and the moon were in a particular alignment, the coming of Messiah was known to have occurred. Likewise, Peter has already spoken in Acts 2 of the moon turning to blood. That refers to an eclipse. Such events are placed or timed according to God's purposes.   Having said that, there is no reason why we should try to predict the future based on such events. This is as common as holes in a donut shop, but it is not a sound way of determining the future. Only after the event takes place should we expect to understand that it has been fulfilled. Eclipses come and go, the movement of the planets and stars continue to take place with their set precision, and we are to be about worshipping the Creator of those things. His wisdom in how such things align is up to Him and we will understand it after those things are revealed.   Heavenly Father, You have truly displayed wisdom in how You have structured all things. We can see it in the movement of the sun, moon, planets, and stars. And yet, we err when we look to them to reveal to us our destinies. Rather, we should look to You, the Creator of them, for our hope, our joy, and our delight. May we never substitute that which is less for the joy that is found in You alone. Amen.  

IBC Daily
The New Testament | Acts 7 | May 16

IBC Daily

Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2022 15:43


Shannon Pugh, Special Needs Director Connect with us at www.irvingbible.org/new  

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:41

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2022 9:12


Tuesday, 17 May 2022   And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Acts 7:41   Included among other words in the previous verse, Stephen quoted the people of Israel saying, “Make us gods to go before us.” He continues with that now, saying, “And they made a calf in those days.”    The word translated as “they made a calf” is found only here, moschopoieó. It is not used in the Greek Old Testament. It comes from moschos (a calf, heifer, or bull) and poieó (to construct or make). Stephen coins a new word to show the disdainful nature of what occurred. The event is recorded in Exodus 32 –   “And Aaron said to them, ‘Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.' 3 So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!'” Exodus 32:2-4   The reason for making this calf is not perfectly evident without understanding the symbolism. It said in Exodus 32:39 that “their hearts turned back to Egypt.” Vincent's Word Studies explains how the calf is so intimately connected to Egypt –   ---------------   This was in imitation of the Egyptian bull-worship. Several of these animals were worshipped at different places in Egypt. Apis was worshipped at Memphis. Herodotus says: "Now this Apis, or Epaphus, is the calf of a cow which is never afterward able to bear young. The Egyptians say that fire comes down from heaven upon the cow, which thereupon conceives Apis. The calf which is so called has the following marks: He is black, with a square spot of white upon his forehead, and on his back the figure of an eagle. The hairs in his tail are double, and there is a beetle upon his tongue" (iii., 28). He was regarded by the Egyptians, not merely as an emblem, but as a god. He was lodged in a magnificent court, ornamented with figures twelve cubits high, which he never quitted except on fixed days, when he was led in procession through the streets. His festival lasted seven days, and all came forward from their houses to welcome him as he passed. He was not allowed to reach the natural term of his life. If a natural death did not remove him earlier, he was drowned when he reached the age of twenty-five, and was then embalmed and entombed in one of the sepulchral chambers of the Serapeum, a temple devoted expressly to the burial of these animals.   Another sacred bull was maintained at Heliopolis, in the great Temple of the Sun, under the name of Mnevis, and was honored with a reverence next to Apis. Wilkinson thinks that it was from this, and not from Apis, that the Israelites borrowed their notions of the golden calf. "The offerings, dancing, and rejoicings practised on the occasion, were doubtless in imitation of a ceremony they had witnessed in honor of Mnevis during their sojourn in Egypt" ("Ancient Egyptians," 2 sen, vol. ii., p. 197). A third sacred bull, called Bacis, was maintained at Hermonthis, near Thebes. It was a huge, black animal, and its hairs were said to grow the wrong way. Other bulls and cows did not hold the rank of gods, but were only sacred.   ---------------   With this symbol of Egypt now before them, Stephen next says that the people “offered sacrifices to the idol.”   Sacrifices were made as offerings of devotion, for appeasement, for atonement, for fellowship, and so on. In offering sacrifices, they were aligning themselves with this idol as a representation of the Lord (YHVH). Aaron stated this explicitly. This was in violation of the covenant they agreed to when the Lord spoke out the Ten Commandments. Rather than obtaining favor, they were bringing wrath down upon themselves. Stephen then finishes the verse with “and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.”   The thought of this and the previous clause are found in Exodus 32 –   “So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.' 6 Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Exodus 32:5, 6   The thought of rejoicing in the work of their own hands means that they fashioned their own god, and they were thus participants in their own supposed reconnection to the divine. This is what Adam and Eve did when “they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings” (Genesis 3:7). They were attempting to reestablish the connection to God that had been lost, covering over their sinful state in order to restore a propitious relationship with Him. But the Lord rejected that. It is not through our effort, but through His that a covering is provided and restoration is realized.   Israel made the same mistake, rejecting the Lord and attempting to obtain their own path to appeasement, atonement, and fellowship.   Life application: The same concepts come up again and again in Scripture, attempting to help us think through what is going on. In the case of salvation, Paul says that it is by grace through faith. It is not of ourselves, but rather it is the gift of God.   If you ask almost any teacher or preacher if that is so, they will immediately agree with it. They could do no less. The words are clear, precise, and unambiguous. And yet, no sooner do many avow that this is true, than they immediately turn around and inject their own works back into the equation. They may do it by saying you can lose your salvation. They may do it by saying you must submit to the law of Moses or certain precepts from it. They may say that you need to give up your sin before you can be saved, and so on.   Such things either directly contradict the notion of salvation being a gift that comes by grace through faith, or they put the cart before the horse by claiming you must do something before receiving the gift (which is contradictory as well).   Be sure to keep simple what is simple. Don't allow anyone to rob you of the very basics of theology and be sure not to rob others of them as well. Grace! Grace! We are saved by God's grace! Why should we take such a pure and simple message and tarnish it? Hold fast to the grace of God that is found in Jesus Christ our Lord.   Lord God, forgive us for always trying to fashion our own path to salvation by rejecting the simple message of grace that Your word speaks of. Help us to never add to the glory of what You have done through the giving of Jesus. His cross! His death! His burial! His resurrection! What could we ever add to that? Only after receiving it will we attempt to please You with lives lived in holiness. Amen.

Ancient Ways for Modern Days
VCF Bible Reading Plan May 16| Acts 7

Ancient Ways for Modern Days

Play Episode Listen Later May 16, 2022 9:13


May 16 Devotion from Acts 7 Find the VCF Reading Plan here bit.ly/3q9iXU6 Follow us on Faithlife bit.ly/3rloDKr

The Listening Plan

Click For Today’s AudioOr Read the Passage Here CoffeeTime Video DevotionalCheck out the CoffeeTime Video Devo on YouTube with Pastor Miles, on YouTube.Helpful ResourcesEnduring Word Commentary with Pastor David GuzikRead the Scriptures at Blue Letter BibleDownload the Blue Letter Bible App For iOS or AndroidAdditional Daily DevotionalsMy Utmost for His Highest | Oswald ChambersMorning & […] The post Acts 7 appeared first on The Listening Plan.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:40

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 16, 2022 6:47


Monday, 16 May 2022   saying 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.' Acts 7:40   In the previous verse, Stephen noted that the fathers rejected Moses and “in their hearts they turned back to Egypt.” With that in mind, he continues by citing the words of the people, they were “saying to Aaron.”   Aaron is Moses' older brother and the person who had been with him as they confronted Pharaoh numerous times. He personally spoke for Moses as his mouthpiece. He saw the signs, wonders, and miracles that led to the Exodus. If anyone would be expected to wait for and support Moses, it would certainly be him. And yet, the people came to him with a demand, saying, “Make us gods to go before us.”   The verb is future, and the wording is more precise. The Greek reads, “Make us gods which shall go before us.” The idea is that they were to fashion their own gods that would be used as emblems to be carried before them as they marched. With this understood, Stephen continues with the words of the people, saying, “as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt.”   The people acknowledged that it was Moses who conducted them out of Egypt. As Moses spoke on behalf of the Lord, it is thus a rejection of the Lord. The agreement for him to serve in this capacity had already been made and they were bound to it. And yet, they ignored this in their rush to hurry into making their own future. As this is so, they continue by saying, “we do not know what has become of him.”   It is a pathetic excuse for their situation. Moses had ascended the mountain. The presence of the Lord was clearly visible upon the mountain. If they didn't believe Moses, they could have simply walked up the mountain and checked on his state. However, if they believed that they were accountable to the Lord and would be punished by Him for going up the mountain, then it meant that they knew the Lord was there.   Either way, they were completely without excuse for their words. Stephen's inclusion of this account is a clear presentation to the council that they were doing exactly the same thing. They, like Aaron, were there to transmit the words of Moses. They knew what he expected and what the word prophesied concerning the Lord. And yet, they turned their back on Moses, and thus they turned their back on the Lord. They did this by looking to fashion their own gods to lead them – gods of self, legalism, and so on. They were following the same pattern as their fathers in their actions towards the Lord.   The words of Stephen in this verse are found in Exodus 32 –   “Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, ‘Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'” Exodus 32:1   Life application: As is apparent, whether we have a visible manifestation of the Lord right in front of us or not, our inclination as people is to reject Him. How often do we hear others say (or personally think ourselves) that they would believe if they just had a sign from God? “Why doesn't He clearly show Himself so that we can believe?”   Two things can be considered from this type of thinking. First, “No. No, you wouldn't.” Even if God wrote His name in the stars, people would certainly ignore it and claim the form of the letters in the alphabet were derived from the pattern of the stars. Thus, the stars came before the alphabet, being the basis for it. Or they would find some other reason to disbelieve.   Secondly, however, God has revealed Himself in the stars, in the sun, in the flower, and in the workings of the bumblebee. The wisdom of God is found throughout the universe, from the smallest particle we can contemplate to the overall structure of the universe itself. It is seen in the complexity of the human brain and in the intricate fashioning of the hand of man. God's power, intellect, and glory are seen in all such things. And yet, we ascribe all of this to random chance and evolution.   Expect no sign. It is very likely that you wouldn't believe it anyway. You have already been given ten billion times ten billion signs. If you cannot believe based upon what He has done, you will not believe anything else He might do. Rather, by simple faith, accept that He is God, that He has given us His word, and that He has sent His Son to bring us back to Himself. This is what God finds pleasing. Have faith and be pleasing to Him.   Lord God, You look for faith in Your faithless creatures, so a little bit will do. And when we have faith, help us to increase it daily by thinking about You and what You have done for us in the giving of Christ Jesus. Thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:39

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 15, 2022 5:23


Sunday, 15 May 2022   whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, Acts 7:39   Stephen is still referring to Moses. He just noted that it was he to whom the Angel spoke on Mount Sinai, having received the living oracles which were then given to the people. Now he says of him, “whom our fathers would not obey.”   In the Greek, the word “obey” is an adjective. It should be rendered, “to whom our fathers were not willing to become obedient.” Obedience to Moses is to obey the Lord who gave the law through Moses. But they were unwilling to be obedient, as Stephen says, “but rejected.”   The specific events by which they rejected obedience to Moses, and of which Stephen is referring to, will be detailed in the coming verses. They are centered on what occurred in Exodus 32 in the incident of the golden calf.   For now, there is a casting off of what the Lord commanded. In this, they have cast off obedience to Moses who was chosen by the Lord to lead them. In rejecting this leadership, Stephen next says, “And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt.”   This is something that is specifically recorded in both Exodus 16 and Numbers 14. For example, in Exodus 16, it says –   “Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 And the children of Israel said to them, ‘Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.'” Exodus 16:2, 3   Even though not explicitly stated in Exodus 32, the same attitude is seen there. They rejected the Lord whose presence was seen atop the mountain, and they rejected Moses who was there conferring with the Lord. Instead, they turned their hearts back to Egypt in the sense that they longed for a physical, tangible idol that they could worship.   Life application: Israel turned its heart back to Egypt when they faced lack, such as in Exodus 16. The people turned their heart back to Egypt when they faced the idea of entering Canaan and having to deal with the inhabitants there that had fortified cities and strong defenses as in Numbers 14. They turned their heart back to Egypt in desiring gods that are not God as in Exodus 32. Each of these incidents demonstrates a lack in the people. That lack is faith.   They did not have faith that the Lord would provide for their physical needs, they did not have faith that the Lord would go before them and defeat their foes, and they lacked faith in God if they could not see Him right there among them.   People would rather trust a deaf and mute idol that they have fashioned with their own hands than to trust the unseen God who created all things. We must rise above this type of thinking and trust God through hardship and ease, through victory and possible defeat, and in not seeing the One who has made all that we see.   If we can just remember that He is there and that He has a plan that is being worked out for our ultimate benefit, then the temporary trials can be put in their proper perspective. There is no guarantee of living a life without pains, sadness, or loss. In fact, we should expect all of these things. But we can know that what we experience is temporary and will have a good end in the restoration of all things that God, who cannot lie, has promised to His people. Have faith in this.   Lord God, You are looking for faith in Your faithless creatures. Help us to be people of faith even when it seems beyond our ability to control anything around us. While the whirlwind swirls and destroys, may we remember that the calm and tranquil joy of heaven awaits us because of our hope in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:38

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 14, 2022 7:22


Saturday, 14 May 2022   “This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us, Acts 7:38   Following in the same thoughts as Peter from Acts 3, Stephen implicitly tied Jesus in with the “Prophet like Moses” from the previous verse. He did this by noting that Moses had admonished Israel to hear that coming Prophet. Now, he continues with his words about Moses, saying, “This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness.”   In the Hebrew Old Testament, two main words are used to define those in the wilderness: qahal – assembly, and edah – congregation. The two words are similar in meaning but are distinct enough that a good translation will render them consistently as “assembly” and “congregation” to show the difference between the two. The word Stephen uses is the Greek word ekklésia. It can signify either word from the Hebrew. It refers to a group that is assembled, whether religious or secular (such as in Acts 19:32).   His use of the word simply indicates that the people of Israel had been called together as a people, assembling for a purpose. In this case, the assembly is defined by the next words, saying, “with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai.”   The congregation of those assembled met with the Angel of the Lord, meaning a visible/audible manifestation of God. As God is Spirit, it is a reference to the Lord Jesus who is the Angel (Messenger) of the Lord seen at that time and throughout the Old Testament.   The people were called together to hear the law spoken forth. They agreed to the conditions set forth, and they accepted the rule of the Lord over them. As such, they accepted Moses as the Lord's representative. With this understood, Stephen confirms that not only Moses, but the people had heard this, saying, “and with our fathers.”   The people as an assembly had gathered at the foot of Sinai. They had heard the words of law, and they were overcome with terror at what they had heard. This is found just after the giving of the Ten Commandments –   “Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. 19 Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.'” Exodus 20:18, 19   The people agreed that hearing the voice of the Lord was too much for them. And so, they asked Moses to speak out the words of law and they would hear – meaning obey – them. This is then reflected in the final words of the verse, saying, “the one who received the living oracles to give to us.”   This refers again to Moses. The people accepted that Moses would receive and transmit the word of the Lord to them. These are then called “the living oracles.” Some translations incorrectly say, “lively oracles,” “words of life,” or “life-giving.” Such translations are not the intent. It is a verb and signifies that the oracles are alive and active.   In Deuteronomy 33:2, Moses says, “From His right hand, fire-law for them” (CG). The meaning is that the law is alive and both purifying and consuming. This is the intent of what is given. These oracles are what work in Israel to either purify them as a people in their obedience or to consume them in their disobedience.   Life application: In Hebrews, it says –   “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:11-13   This is the same thought as that of what Stephen presents to the council as he speaks to them. It is the same thought that we are to remember as well. Assuming the person is saved by faith in Christ, there is still the need to develop in Him. We are saved out of sin to live in holiness. This is what the Word of God is given for. We can learn what is pleasing to Him. We can learn how to walk properly before Him. We can avoid those things that are contrary to His nature.   Let us make use of this wonderful word. We will not lose our salvation if we don't learn the word, but our life will never be one that is properly conducted unless we apply it to our walk before Him. Read the word, think on it, and let it fill you so that it can guide your actions, your conduct, and your words all the days of your life.   Glorious God, thank You for the wonderful words that You have given to us in the pages of Scripture! It is a living and powerful word that can mold us into Your image if we will just learn it and apply it to our lives. Help us in this, O God. May we do so, and may we be pleasing in Your sight as we walk before You in holiness. Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:37

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 13, 2022 11:41


Friday, 13 May 2022   “This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.' Acts 7:37   The previous verse described Moses, by the hand of the Angel, bringing Israel out and showing wonders and signs in Egypt, in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. Stephen now says, “This is that Moses.”   The words are stated to emphatically show that it is the same Moses and none other. Stephen continues, noting that the same man who led Israel is the same man “who said to the children of Israel.” Again, the words are not without purpose. Just as it is the same Moses who did all the great things for Israel, so it is the same man who spoke out words of instruction to them in the law of Moses. And within that law, Moses said, “The Lord your God will raise up for you.”   What Moses says is law, it includes prophecy, and it is the word of the Lord. Therefore, when he wrote out the law, it became binding upon those who would receive it. It is as if Moses was still there with them in the council as Stephen spoke. Just because the man had died and been buried, the weight of his words continued as if he was sitting there speaking them out directly to this body of leaders.   As they were words of prophecy as well, when he said that an event would happen in the future, and when that event met up with the  of time, whatever that event was had to be considered as happening by the will of the Lord and treated as such. It was not to be neglected, overlooked, or dismissed as an aberration. As for the event now referred to by Stephen, it is an event already proclaimed to this same council by Peter as fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ. It is that God shall raise up “a Prophet like me from your brethren.”   The words are stated in Deuteronomy 18:18 and are explained in the commentary of Acts 3:22. In short, Moses was a prophet of the Lord, and after him came many more prophets whose words were often carefully recorded and maintained, becoming the basis for Israel's Scriptures. However, none of these were “like” Moses, apart from the fact that they were prophets. The difference between Moses and all others was that the words of Moses formed the basis of the law. He was the one who initiated the covenant.   And more, not only did he initiate the covenant, but he also performed the priestly role in its initiation, serving at the altar and ministering the blood. Though he was not to continue in the role of priest, he did serve in this function initially.   And further, not only did he serve in these ways, but he also served as the legislator of the covenant. No other prophet would be like Moses in all of these ways. His position in Israel was unique and distinct from all other prophets.   As Moses said that the Lord would raise up a Prophet like him, it meant that this prophet would – by default – be the Initiator, Priest, and Legislator of a New Covenant. This is carefully and minutely explained to Israel in the book of Hebrews where Jesus is said to be “greater than” Moses and Aaron in all ways. With this understood, Stephen repeats the words of Moses that were already spoken to this council by Peter, saying, “Him you shall hear.”   In the Hebrew of the referenced verse from Moses, there is an added stress in the word translated as “you shall hear.” This is indicated by the structure. It says, elav tishmaun – “Him you shall certainly hear.” Further, the sense of the word “hear” is not just to listen to the audible sounds, but to heed them and to obey them.   As such, there will be no excuse for rejection of this Prophet. The people must heed the words He speaks. It is a command of Moses, and it is a provision specifically directed by the Lord. Further, the people were to heed him, as Peter says, “in all things, whatever He says to you.”   The basis for these words is found also in Deuteronomy 18 –   “And the Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.'” Deuteronomy 18:17, 18   The words of the Prophet are equated directly to the words of the Lord. Therefore, to reject the Prophet's words is to reject both Moses and the Lord. What is said by Him is to be heard and complied with.   Because this is clearly to be understood from the law itself, no person of Israel – to whom the Law of Moses was given – could (or can) say that he was being obedient to Moses if he rejected this Prophet that Moses spoke of and that Peter now refers to. To reject Jesus is to reject Moses. Jesus said this explicitly to them –   “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:45-47   In rejecting Moses, the people would reject the Lord who commissioned Moses. The logical progression of thought is that only condemnation could result from a rejection of Jesus. The words of Peter in Acts 3, and the words of Stephen now, can be put side by side to see their parallel nature –   “For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.'” Acts 3:22, 23   “This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.'” Acts 7:37   The two testimonies before the council stand as witnesses to them. If they are rejected, they stand as witnesses against them. But more, the words of Moses that they have cited are their own witness. The apostles are simply confirming that these words do, in fact, point to Christ Jesus.   Life application: Israel of today is taught by their own rabbis that Ezekiel 36 is fulfilled in their return to the land. Ezekiel was a prophet under the law of Moses, and his words prophesied of events that would happen in confirmation of what Moses had already recorded –   “If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. 5 Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. 6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:4-6   “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.” Ezekiel 36:24-28   It is the epitome of hypocrisy to claim that the Lord has favored them and brought them back to the land while ignoring the very words of the Lord that say they were exiled for their rejection of Jesus. Even though these words of Acts are found in the New Testament, they are based upon the words of the Law of Moses, they have been witnessed and testified to, and the witness stands as a historical record, bearing authority as such.   Picking and choosing what applies and what does not from the word of the Lord does not solve anything. It only confuses things even further. This is what Israel has done and continues to do. It is, unfortunately, what innumerable denominations, churches, and individual pastors, preachers, and teachers do. What is not liked about the prescriptions from the word is simply ignored. This is not a healthy way of taking in what the Lord is saying, and it can only lead to sadness in the end.   Let us take all things in their proper context, adhere to what is prescribed in the proper dispensation, and be willing to accept what is presented for what it is – the word of God that is to guide our life and conduct before the Lord.   Lord God, help us to be responsible with our analysis and application of Your precious word. It is far too important to dismiss or only partially apply it to our lives. Rather, may we be willing to carefully adhere to Your word, allowing it to guide our steps all the days of our lives. Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:36

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 12, 2022 9:00


Thursday, 12 May 2022   He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years. Acts 7:36   The previous verse referred to Moses, who was rejected by his own brothers, being the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. Still referring to Moses, Stephen next says, “He brought them out.”   This refers to the leadership of Moses, bringing the nation out of the bondage of Egypt. From there, the NKJV incorrectly (following the blunder of the KJV) includes the word “after.” This is not in the Greek, and it needs to be ignored. Including the word “after” as they have done leaves the words impossible to reconcile with the sequence of events. Moses “brought them out, having shown wonders and signs.”   The words translated as “wonders and signs” have already been seen in Acts, such as in Acts 2:22. The wonders refer to an event that occurs that is beyond what is normal. Calling forth frogs, lice, locusts, and hail (and so forth) are wonders. Moses said these things would come, and then they came, just as prophesied.   A sign is something that anticipates something else. Moses was given three signs to present in order to validate that the Lord had commissioned him. These were the rod that turned into a snake, the hand that turned leprous, and the turning of water into blood. The sign may be a wonder, but it has a greater purpose by pointing to something else, validating what it points to. Stephen notes that these wonders and signs were accomplished in three specific locations. The first is “in the land of Egypt.”   These were documented in Exodus 5-12, culminating in the slaying of the firstborn of Egypt and the passing over of the firstborn of Israel. Stephen next says, “and in the Red Sea.”    This was not only the parting of the Red Sea, but of the presence of the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud, His protecting of them as they passed through the sea, and of His destruction of the Egyptians in the sea. Everything about the event was wondrous.   As a side note, this is the first of two times the Red Sea is mentioned in the New Testament, here and in Hebrews 11:29. The name Red Sea is derived not from the Hebrew, but from the Greek. The Hebrew calls it yam suph, or “Sea of ending,” coming from the verb suph, meaning to come to an end, or cease. This would refer to the sea from the perspective of the land of Israel, where its southern edge ends at the sea.   The origin of the Greek name, Erythra Thalassē, is unknown. Some think it might be because of red seaweed found there, while some because of the coast having a reddish appearance, and some find it etymologically connected to Edom (the Edom Sea) because the border of Edom ends at the sea. Edom means red, and so this is not an unlikely possibility. No matter where the name comes from, it is evident that the Greek name, from the Greek translation of Scripture, is where Stephen's word is derived from.   Finally, Stephen finishes with, “and in the wilderness forty years.” Obviously, passing through the Red Sea was at the time of bringing Israel out of Egypt, not before. And the time in the wilderness was after being brought out and through the sea, not before. As such, the use of the word “after,” as added in by the NKJV, confuses the timing of the events described in this verse.   As for the wonders and signs in the wilderness, they are recorded from Exodus 13 and continue through the book of Numbers. The name Etham, found in Exodus 13:20, means “Their Sign.” It was given based on the surrounding events.   From there, Israel had bitter waters made sweet, manna from heaven throughout the entire time they wandered, water from the rock, quail in abundance, the giving of the law, the punishment of offenders in unique and interesting ways, the snake on the pole, and on and on and on. The wonders and signs were there with Israel as God maintained them as a people. The Lord never failed them during their entire time of wandering.   Life application: It is not uncommon to hear people muse as to why some say we do not have signs and wonders today. The answer is right in the Bible. Paul says that we live by faith, not by sight. If we had sight, we wouldn't need faith. But think about it. Did the signs and wonders change anyone? For the most part, no.   Pharaoh saw them and continuously hardened his heart. Israel saw them and failed to believe the Lord and refused to trust Him. Jesus performed them among the people, and they crucified Him. The apostles demonstrated signs, wonders, and healings, and they were persecuted and rejected. To this day, they are still rejected.   And to say that a wonder does not exist in the world today is not completely true. Israel exists, despite all that it has gone through. This is exactly what the Lord said would be the case. And more, Israel the people are back in the land of Israel, exactly as the Lord – as testified to in His word – said would occur. And yet, the vast majority of the church rejects that this has anything to do with the workings of God. To them, it is an aberration that is to be rejected as such.   As you can see, things such as signs, wonders, and healings may be interesting, but without faith, they have no real meaning to the person who sees them. So, which is greater? What is it that God is looking for in you? He is looking for faith. If you want to experience a true wonder in your own home, try picking up your Bible and reading it.   God has authored it through chosen men. It took centuries to complete, and it details the history of the world and the process of redemption. It tells us of Jesus, the God/Man who has come to reconcile us to God. It tells of how we should live at this time, and it tells of the glories that lie ahead for those who simply believe the gospel. If you want a true wonder, right in your own home, try picking up the Bible and reading it.   Precious and glorious is Your word, O God. Thank You for the wonder that is there for us to search out and experience. We don't need to watch more movies to be entertained, and we don't need to see signs and wonders to be awed. Rather, we can find all the joy, excitement, emotion, and marvel we can imagine right in Your wonderful word. Thank you for this gift. Thank You for the Bible. Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:35

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2022 8:49


Wednesday, 11 May 2022   “This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?' is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. Acts 7:35   The previous verse referred to the Lord's words at the bush noting the oppression of His people and His coming down to deliver them. He completed the thought to Moses with, “And now come, I will send you to Egypt.” Stephen continues now, saying, “This Moses whom they rejected.”   What had happened forty years earlier is being reminded to the council again. Moses had appeared to his brother Israelites, coming to them as one of them, and yet they rejected him, “saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?'”   It is the words of verse 7:27 being called to mind. Moses had attempted to intercede by bringing harmony between the two who were fighting, but his attempts met with being pushed away and stinging words of rejection. Despite this, Stephen continues with his words about Moses, saying that this same Moses “is the one God sent.”   This refers to the words, “And now come, I will send you to Egypt,” of the previous verse. Despite having been rejected by his own people, it is he who was commissioned to be sent “to be a ruler and a deliverer.”   The word translated as “ruler” signifies one commanding with authority. It can be a governor, a leading man, a member of the elders, and so on. It is a general word that would rightly describe Moses over the people. The next word, translated as “deliverer,” is found only here in the Bible, lutrótés. It comes from the verb, lutroó, to release by paying a ransom, or to redeem. As such, it is more appropriately translated as “redeemer.”   In the choice of this word, Stephen is clearly tying the leadership of Moses in with the work of Christ. Moses worked on behalf of the Lord who redeemed Egypt –   “Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.'” Exodus 6:6   “'And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.' 16 It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.” Exodus 13:15, 16   The verb from which this noun comes is applied to Jesus three times in the New Testament: Luke 24:21, Titus 2:14, and 1 Peter 1:18. It says in 1 Peter –   “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18, 19   Stephen is showing that Moses, through the blood of the Passover, was a type and picture of the coming Christ. This is exactingly stated by Paul in Ephesians 1:7 where he notes that it is “In Him we have redemption through His blood.” It is Jesus who would be rejected by those he came to, and yet, he was appointed by God to be their Ruler and Redeemer. As for Moses, he was sent in this capacity “by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush.”   The Greek preposition, en, or “in,” is used – “in the hand.” The hand is a symbol of power and strength. Thus, it is a way of saying, “in the strength of the Angel.” Thus, it is the power of the Lord who led him and by which he performed the miracles, signs, and wonders before Pharaoh and the people of Egypt. The connection to Jesus, the Ruler of Israel and who performs in the strength of the Lord, is being called forth once again –   “‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.' 3 Therefore He shall give them up, Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; Then the remnant of His brethren Shall return to the children of Israel. 4 And He shall stand and feed His flock In the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God; And they shall abide, For now He shall be great To the ends of the earth; 5 And this One shall be peace.” Micah 5:2-5   Stephen is clearly and precisely showing the council that everything about the coming Messiah was clearly prophesied in advance and that the typology of their historical figures – along with the prophecies – is exactingly fulfilled in Jesus.   Life application: Studying what Jesus has done, as it was anticipated in Old Testament types and pictures, clearly reveals His deity. If you are struggling with this concept, or if you have someone telling you that it is not a proper doctrine, all you need to do is pick up your Bible and read it – cover to cover and again and again. The more familiar you are with it, the more obvious what is being said becomes.   Jesus Christ is clearly a Man, born of a woman. Jesus Christ is clearly God, born of the Holy Spirit. The pattern for all things reproducing after their own kind is found on the first page of the Bible. It is explicitly stated there for a reason. Be confident in your faith concerning Jesus Christ, the God/Man.   Glorious God Almighty, what You have done is incredible! We may struggle with the core doctrines concerning You and what You have done, but they are so clearly presented in Scripture that we would be foolish to deny them. And so, Lord, help us to have faith when our knowledge may be lacking. But also, Lord, lead us to those who can also firm up our knowledge. Thank You, O God. Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:34

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 10, 2022 9:46


Tuesday, 10 May 2022   “I have surely seen 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 send you to Egypt.” Acts 7:34   In the previous verse, the Lord instructed Moses to take his sandals off because the place where he stood was holy ground. Stephen now continues with the words of the Lord, saying, “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt.”   Stephen follows the wording and structure of the Hebrew. In Exodus 3:7, it reads, “seeing, I have seen, the oppression.” The Greek now reads, “having seen, I saw.” The structure is a Hebraism that displays emphasis. Thus, the Lord is emphatically stating that He is fully aware of the treatment being received by Israel from the Egyptians. Stephen continues with his words, paraphrasing what is said in Exodus, “I have heard their groaning.”   The groaning (or outcry) is specifically stated to be because of their taskmasters. Their lives were in bondage, and they suffered oppression in that state. As such, Stephen continues with, “and have come down to deliver them.”   The words “have come down” are an anthropomorphic way of saying that the Lord is attentive to their cries and intends to now deliver the people. It is as if a ruler has stepped down from His throne in order to assist those under Him, or as a person being called to help another in a time of crisis. In this, one cannot help but see the parallel to Jesus –   “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38   The Exodus account is being equated directly to the state of the world under law. It is a state of bondage because by the law is the knowledge of sin, and the wages of sin is death. The call of Moses to lead the people out of the bondage of Egypt is only a typological anticipation of Jesus' coming down to free the world from the bondage of sin. This is what Stephen is focusing on. With that, he next skips over several verses from Exodus and finishes the words of this verse with, “And now come, I will send you to Egypt.”    Moses is being called to go from a place outside of Egypt to the land of Egypt itself. It is he who is to be the Lord's instrument to bring the Israelites out to freedom from their oppression. Likewise, Jesus is the Lord's instrument to bring humanity out to freedom from their bondage. As Jesus said –   “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'” John 8:31, 32   In response to this, it next says –   “They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, “You will be made free”?'” John 8:33   And then, in His reply to them, we read –   “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:34-36   Stephen is taking the council back to school, tutoring them on what they had failed to see when Jesus came. What man needs is freedom from sin. Being free in a nation or in a society gives people a false sense of security. Only when the true oppressor is identified and removed can a human truly be considered free.   Notice how Stephen focuses on the negative aspect of bondage and skips over the benefit of having that removed when his words are placed side by side with the corresponding Exodus narrative –   “I have surely seen 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 send you to Egypt.”   “And the Lord said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8 So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.'” Exodus 3:7-10   Stephen left out the words concerning bringing the nation into the land of promise for a reason. The council sat there in that land. As such, they thought that they were in a right standing and favor with the Lord. But Stephen's words are intended to make them think. Canaan was only a typological representation of something far greater – freedom in Christ from the bondage of the human soul to sin. Heaven, a return to paradise, it is the benefit of that state.   Life application: The Bible is written for man's benefit. When we read about God in words like, “He came down,” “His right hand,” “His arm is not shortened,” and so on, we are reading anthropomorphisms that help us to see what the Lord is doing or what He is like in a way that we can understand. God doesn't have a right hand, nor does He sit on a throne. God is Spirit.   When the Bible says that the sun also rises, that is for man's benefit. The sun does not rise. The earth rotates. As it does, from man's perspective, the sun appears to come up and go down. The Bible refers to the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:2). The earth is a sphere. It doesn't have corners. However, the words are given for man's benefit as he stands on the ground.   This is actually very important to remember because there are people who claim the earth is flat. To justify this, they misuse Scripture – twisting it – in order to confuse people. Why would they do this? It isn't because they are religious at all. It is because by getting people to believe that they have been lied to, those who “understand the truth” can now wield authority over their newly made disciples. It is a return to bondage.   In the end, all such control tears people away from focusing on Christ Jesus. Be wise and be aware of what the Bible is saying and why. How easy it is for people to get pulled away from the truth, simply because they have failed to read, know, and understand the word.   Heavenly Father, thank You for the wisdom You have displayed in the creation. We live on a beautiful ball, suspended upon nothing, as it moves through space. We have the warmth of the sun and the soft light of the moon. The stars twinkle and shine to delight our eyes. Thank You for Your care of us through such wonderful detail. Amen.

Advent UMCSC Podcast
Episode 162: May 8, 2022, Seed, Acts 7:51-8:1

Advent UMCSC Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later May 9, 2022 22:18


Rev. Rachel Carosiello continues our sermon series, "Unstoppable".

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:33

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 9, 2022 10:06


Monday, 9 May 2022   ‘Then the Lord said to him, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.  Acts 7:33   The previous verse is where the Lord revealed Himself to Moses as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Stephen next says, “Then the Lord said to him.” Moses was terrified and would not look at the sight. Despite this, the Lord continues to speak to him. His words demand a state of humility in His presence, saying, “Take your sandals off your feet.”   There is much to be learned about shoes, their use, and their removal in the Bible. And this is true even though they are only mentioned about 35 times.    In this command, and it is a command, God is instructing Moses from One who is greater to one who is lesser. In essence, “Resign yourself to me.” He is the possessor of, and in authority over, the land. Moses' shoes, whether made by him or by someone else, were the work of man's hands. The footprints of Moses were created by God, implying God's mastery over him.    There is then a uniting of the created foot with the dust from which it was created. Nothing of human origin would be considered acceptable in the presence of such a place of holiness. This is also seen later in Exodus 20, where it says –   “And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.” Exodus 20:25   God made the stones, not man. If man's efforts are placed along with God's holiness, only defilement can take place. God calls, God sanctifies, and God glorifies. The process of holiness is of and by God and God alone.   Only twice in the Bible is someone told to take off their shoes because the ground is holy. Here, and in Joshua. To understand this better, that account needs to also be given –   “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?' 14 So He said, ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.' And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?' 15 Then the Commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.' And Joshua did so.”  Joshua 5:13-15   When two things, or two similar occurrences, are noted in the Bible, there is a reason for it. There will be a contrast between the two and yet they will confirm something. In the case of these two accounts, one is before Israel is delivered from bondage; one is after they have been safely led into the land of promise. He is the covenant-keeping Lord.   One is outside of Canaan; one is in Canaan. The Lord is God over the whole earth, over both Jew and Gentile. In one there is the Lord unseen and the voice of God from “over there.” In the other, there is the Lord visible, tangible, and in human form. The Lord is the incarnate Word of God; He is Jesus.    In one, He is the Lord who will give the Law – the Angel or Messenger of it; in the other, He is the Lord who defends the Law which is given – the Commander of the Lord's army. He is the Lord of the Law, its herald and upholder. For these, and certainly other reasons, we are given these two accounts to compare and ponder. Stephen finishes the verse, saying, “for the place where you stand is holy ground.”   In the Old Testament, the word for “holy” is qodesh. This was the first time it was used in the Bible. Over 2500 years of human history had been recorded, and yet it was the first mention of anything connected to God's holiness since the creation.    A parallel word to qodesh is qadash which means to sanctify. That was used just once in the Bible to this point, in the creation account in Genesis 2:3 where it said, “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” From this point in Exodus, the two terms will cumulatively be used about six hundred and forty times in the Old Testament.    The holiness of God was being introduced at the burning bush because Moses will become the human giver of God's law for His chosen people. Moses was being taught a lesson, right from the start, of God's holiness. It is a lesson he would carry with him all the days of his life.    He would even see on many occasions what it means to step over the bounds of propriety concerning that state of holiness in his Creator and Lord. This will be seen in others, both within the covenant community and without, and it will be seen in himself as well when he failed to take it to heart during a brief moment of anger.    For now, Moses stands on ground that has been rendered holy by the presence of God. As a final note, Stephen has cited the words of this verse and the previous one in opposite order –   “Then He said, ‘Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.' 6 Moreover He said, ‘I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.” Exodus 3:5, 6   This lends credence to the notion that it is truly the way Stephen presented it. Anyone simply copying the Exodus narrative would have done so in the order it was given there.   Life application: As noted above, Moses died outside of the Promised Land. The reason for this punishment is found in Numbers 20 –   “And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, ‘Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?' 11 Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. 12 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.' 13 This was the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel contended with the Lord, and He was hallowed among them.” Numbers 20:10-13   Moses was to speak to the rock, not strike it. This was to reveal the pattern of justification before God based on faith. Moses did not provide the word of faith, and he ruined the typology of Christ. But this was used by the Lord to show us another truth. The law cannot bring anyone into a right standing before God.   One must come to Him in faith, and by faith alone. Works of the law are excluded. If one attempts to merit God's favor by works, he is excluded. The credit for entry into the promise is solely through the merits of Christ. Be careful to remember this lesson. Stay away from those who would tell you that you must do something to be pleasing to God. Have faith in Jesus and in Him alone in order to be reconciled to Him!   Glorious God, thank You that You have done all that is necessary to reconcile us to Yourself. Thank You for the giving of Jesus our Lord and for all that means to us. We are reunited to You through a simple act of faith in what He has done. Help us to never diminish the glory of His work through our selfish attempts to “do better” through our own works. To Your glory alone! Amen.  

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7-32

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 8, 2022 5:49


Sunday, 8 May 2022   saying, ‘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. Acts 7:32    In the previous verse, Moses had approached the burning bush. As he drew near, “the voice of the Lord came to him.” With that stated, it now says, “saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers.'” This would bring to remembrance the promises passed down among the Hebrew people that God had promised to deliver them.   Despite being raised among the Egyptians, it is likely that Moses was not only aware of his heritage, but also of what that heritage meant according to the stories kept in the collective mind of the people. Of note, the Hebrew text says, “I am the God of your father.”   The singular is taken by some to be a collective designation. However, it could just as likely mean that the Lord is referring to Amram, the father of Moses, ensuring that it is understood that the same God of his own father is the one who was also there all along with each generation that had passed. Stephen, however, focuses on the collective line by saying “fathers.”   With His words now introduced, the Lord continues, saying, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” The words speak of the Lord's transcendence over time. He is the God of Moses' father and the same God who was worshipped by his ancestors, even 400 years earlier. Jesus uses this exact passage to make a theological point concerning the resurrection –   “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching. Matthew 22:31-33   Stephen's inclusion of these words, which would have been remembered by those who heard Jesus speak, provides suitable evidence that Jesus' resurrection was not a mere fantasy, but something that has a precedent right from the words of Moses as recorded in Exodus. The Lord is the God of things that actually exist. If these fathers were alive to Him, even though they were dead to Moses, it means that the Lord is outside of time as we understand it, and He is in control of the state of His people in a way that we do not fully understand.   In Moses hearing these words issue from the burning bush that is not consumed, Stephen next says, “And Moses trembled and dared not look.”   The verb is an aorist participle, and it is united with an adjective. As such, it should read, “And Moses, having become terrified, dared not look.” The immensity of what he had seen and heard was beyond his ability to grasp. He was overwhelmed to the point that he could not raise his eyes to behold the sight before him.   Life application: The hope of the resurrection is no more impossible than the fact that there are fish in the ocean. God is not limited in what He can do, and He is fully capable of keeping every promise He has spoken forth.   If trials or loss have arisen in your life and you are wondering how God will work it all out, just remember the words of Jesus concerning the fathers. God has everything perfectly under control. We can, and should, absolutely trust that this is so. Demonstrate faith and be pleasing to God as you do.   Lord God Almighty, surely You are faithful to Your word. We can trust that Your plan will unfold exactly as You have stated. No fear here! We trust You to carry us through to the good land which You have promised to Your people. And may that day be soon, Lord! Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7-31

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 7, 2022 5:10


Monday, 9 May 2022   ‘Then the Lord said to him, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.  Acts 7:33   The previous verse is where the Lord revealed Himself to Moses as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Stephen next says, “Then the Lord said to him.” Moses was terrified and would not look at the sight. Despite this, the Lord continues to speak to him. His words demand a state of humility in His presence, saying, “Take your sandals off your feet.”   There is much to be learned about shoes, their use, and their removal in the Bible. And this is true even though they are only mentioned about 35 times.    In this command, and it is a command, God is instructing Moses from One who is greater to one who is lesser. In essence, “Resign yourself to me.” He is the possessor of, and in authority over, the land. Moses' shoes, whether made by him or by someone else, were the work of man's hands. The footprints of Moses were created by God, implying God's mastery over him.    There is then a uniting of the created foot with the dust from which it was created. Nothing of human origin would be considered acceptable in the presence of such a place of holiness. This is also seen later in Exodus 20, where it says –   “And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.” Exodus 20:25   God made the stones, not man. If man's efforts are placed along with God's holiness, only defilement can take place. God calls, God sanctifies, and God glorifies. The process of holiness is of and by God and God alone.   Only twice in the Bible is someone told to take off their shoes because the ground is holy. Here, and in Joshua. To understand this better, that account needs to also be given –   “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?' 14 So He said, ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.' And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?' 15 Then the Commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.' And Joshua did so.”  Joshua 5:13-15   When two things, or two similar occurrences, are noted in the Bible, there is a reason for it. There will be a contrast between the two and yet they will confirm something. In the case of these two accounts, one is before Israel is delivered from bondage; one is after they have been safely led into the land of promise. He is the covenant-keeping Lord.   One is outside of Canaan; one is in Canaan. The Lord is God over the whole earth, over both Jew and Gentile. In one there is the Lord unseen and the voice of God from “over there.” In the other, there is the Lord visible, tangible, and in human form. The Lord is the incarnate Word of God; He is Jesus.    In one, He is the Lord who will give the Law – the Angel or Messenger of it; in the other, He is the Lord who defends the Law which is given – the Commander of the Lord's army. He is the Lord of the Law, its herald and upholder. For these, and certainly other reasons, we are given these two accounts to compare and ponder. Stephen finishes the verse, saying, “for the place where you stand is holy ground.”   In the Old Testament, the word for “holy” is qodesh. This was the first time it was used in the Bible. Over 2500 years of human history had been recorded, and yet it was the first mention of anything connected to God's holiness since the creation.    A parallel word to qodesh is qadash which means to sanctify. That was used just once in the Bible to this point, in the creation account in Genesis 2:3 where it said, “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” From this point in Exodus, the two terms will cumulatively be used about six hundred and forty times in the Old Testament.    The holiness of God was being introduced at the burning bush because Moses will become the human giver of God's law for His chosen people. Moses was being taught a lesson, right from the start, of God's holiness. It is a lesson he would carry with him all the days of his life.    He would even see on many occasions what it means to step over the bounds of propriety concerning that state of holiness in his Creator and Lord. This will be seen in others, both within the covenant community and without, and it will be seen in himself as well when he failed to take it to heart during a brief moment of anger.    For now, Moses stands on ground that has been rendered holy by the presence of God. As a final note, Stephen has cited the words of this verse and the previous one in opposite order –   “Then He said, ‘Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.' 6 Moreover He said, ‘I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.” Exodus 3:5, 6   This lends credence to the notion that it is truly the way Stephen presented it. Anyone simply copying the Exodus narrative would have done so in the order it was given there.   Life application: As noted above, Moses died outside of the Promised Land. The reason for this punishment is found in Numbers 20 –   “And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, ‘Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?' 11 Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. 12 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.' 13 This was the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel contended with the Lord, and He was hallowed among them.” Numbers 20:10-13   Moses was to speak to the rock, not strike it. This was to reveal the pattern of justification before God based on faith. Moses did not provide the word of faith, and he ruined the typology of Christ. But this was used by the Lord to show us another truth. The law cannot bring anyone into a right standing before God.   One must come to Him in faith, and by faith alone. Works of the law are excluded. If one attempts to merit God's favor by works, he is excluded. The credit for entry into the promise is solely through the merits of Christ. Be careful to remember this lesson. Stay away from those who would tell you that you must do something to be pleasing to God. Have faith in Jesus and in Him alone in order to be reconciled to Him!   Glorious God, thank You that You have done all that is necessary to reconcile us to Yourself. Thank You for the giving of Jesus our Lord and for all that means to us. We are reunited to You through a simple act of faith in what He has done. Help us to never diminish the glory of His work through our selfish attempts to “do better” through our own works. To Your glory alone! Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7-30

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 6, 2022 7:54


Friday, 6 May 2022   “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. Acts 7:30   The previous verse noted that Abraham had become a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons. Stephen now continues, going directly to the expiration of that time, saying, “And when forty years had passed.”   The verb translated as “had passed” signifies “to fulfill.” It is as if a divinely chosen interval of time had been fulfilled, and the events to follow were ready to be directed by the Lord. As such, Stephen continues, saying, “an Angel of the Lord appeared to him.”   The word translated as “angel” simply means a “messenger.” Here, it has no article before it. Who this messenger is must be determined from the surrounding text in the Exodus narrative. Stephen will explain it in the verses ahead.   As for the reason for the coming of this Messenger, it is to be remembered that the Lord had spoken out a timeline, in advance, to Abraham concerning the state of his descendants. The arrival of this Messenger means that the time for the fulfillment of those promises is at hand. As such, this Angel reveals Himself to Moses “in a flame of fire in a bush.”   The account is found as Exodus 3 opens –   “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, ‘I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.'” Exodus 3:1-3   The word used to describe the bush is batos. It signifies a bramble or thorn bush. This rightly corresponds to the Hebrew word used in Exodus, seneh. It too signifies a bramble, coming from an unused root meaning “to prick.” It is from this thorny bush that the angel will speak. The words of Stephen finish with, “in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.”   Again, the words of Moses correspond to the verses cited above. There, it said “Horeb,” but the name is used interchangeably with Sinai. Some believe it is two separate peaks of one mountain. Or it could be two separate names for the one mountain, regardless of the peaks. Either way, it is a word used synonymously with Sinai. This can be deduced from several verses where Sinai and Horeb are spoken of in the same context, such as –   “And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.” Exodus 19:11   “especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.'” Deuteronomy 4:10   &   “And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, He gave Moses two tablets of the Testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.” Exodus 31:18   “Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.” 1 Kings 8:9   These and other references show that the names are being used synonymously when speaking of the same mountain and area around it.   Life application: In the life application from the previous verse, it was noted that Moses was not yet ready to lead Israel when he was in Egypt. Therefore, he went to Midian and spent forty years in obscurity. In this verse, we can see that the Lord appeared to him in a bush at Sinai. It wasn't for Moses to decide when the Lord would act. Rather, it was the Lord who appeared and who will direct Moses.   It is not to be assumed that the Lord is going to appear to any of us and tell us what to do. It is even unscriptural to think that it could or will happen. The Bible says that we live by faith, not by sight. To have the Lord appear and direct us is not living by faith.   However, we can – and should – ask for the Lord to direct us. We can do this in various ways. One is to ask Him to direct your ways. “Lord, I am unsure of which way to go. I must make a choice, and so be with me to make the right one.”   In this, you are acknowledging His presence in your life and making a petition that He will be a part of the process that guides you.   Another way is to ask Him to not let anything happen contrary to His will. This is basically the same thing as before but in a negative petition. “Lord, please don't let this happen if it is not what is right for us or if it is contrary to what You would want us to do.”   You can add others in when making such petitions as well. “Lord, I pray that the decision I make will not negatively affect anyone else.” And so on.   The main point of this is that you are including the Lord in your every action and decision. It is an acknowledgment of faith that you believe He is there and that He is truly concerned about the actions you take and the decisions you make. This is why Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7).   Be sure to include Him in all you do. Acknowledge Him and He will be pleased with this.   Lord God, thank You for being ever-present with us. We know that You are there, and we pray that You direct our steps according to Your wisdom. Keep us from taking the wrong paths in life. Instead, may our steps always be in accord with what is right and proper, and by which we will keep from harming others and ourselves. Help us in this, O God. Amen.

BIBLE IN TEN
Acts 7:29

BIBLE IN TEN

Play Episode Listen Later May 5, 2022 7:11


Thursday, 5 May 2022   Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons. Acts 7:29   Moses, being challenged by one of the Israelites he encountered, was asked, “Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?” With that, Stephen continues the narrative with, “Then, at this saying, Moses fled.” The reason for this, which is left out by Stephen now, is found in Exodus 2 –   “So Moses feared and said, ‘Surely this thing is known!' 15 When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.” Exodus 2:14, 15   Moses thought that his killing of the Egyptian was done in secret. That was seen earlier in Exodus 2 where it said, “So he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand” (Exodus 1:12). He thought his act had gone unnoticed, but it had not. Soon, it became known even to Pharaoh who then sought Moses for punishment. That is when Moses fled. With this context more fully understood, Stephen's words continue with, “and became a dweller in the land of Midian.”   The location of Midian has never been exactly determined. Those who believe Mt. Sinai is on the Sinai Peninsula (once known as Arabia Petraea) would place it in the body of land going from the land of Moab and extending south along the eastern shore of the peninsula. Others believe Mt. Sinai is where Saudi Arabia is today. If so, Midian would have to be somewhere further east in that area.   Its location is less important than the fact that the Lord was always aware of where Moses was, and He interacted with him there. The Lord is not simply a local god that dwells in the land of Canaan, but He is the one true God who is not bound by physical limitations. He can and does deal with people in any location in order to meet His set purposes.    As for Moses dwelling in Midian, Stephen notes that is “where he had two sons.” While in Midian he married Zipporah. She was the daughter of Reuel, the priest of Midian. Their first son was named Gershom. This is recorded in Exodus 2 –   “Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. And they came and drew water, and they filled the troughs to water their father's flock. 17 Then the shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. 18 When they came to Reuel their father, he said, ‘How is it that you have come so soon today?' 19 And they said, ‘An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and he also drew enough water for us and watered the flock.' 20 So he said to his daughters, ‘And where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.' 21 Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses. 22 And she bore him a son. He called his name Gershom, for he said, ‘I have been a stranger in a foreign land.'” Exodus 2:16-22   The second son's name is Eliezer. He is first recorded in Exodus 18:4.   Life application: Moses was forty (Acts 7:23) at the time he killed the Egyptian and fled to Midian. He was then in Midian for forty years. After all that time, the Lord visited him on Mount Sinai in the burning bush (Acts. 7:30). The Lord determined when He would appear to Moses, and it was at an age when most people were on their way out (see Psalm 90:10). And yet, he was just starting the most productive third of his life.   We may not see the big changes coming that the Lord plans for our lives, but when they come, we should be willing to recognize His hand in what has occurred and use the events to bring Him glory in whatever capacity He has chosen for us.   Moses shepherded flocks for forty years, as can be deduced from Exodus 3:1. Some might see this as a dull existence, but it was a part of the Lord's plan for him. Today, he is one of the most well-known names in all of human history. Those forty years did nothing to detract from what we think of him. They were simply a part of what the Lord had determined.   No matter what our job is, where we live, or how simple we find our surroundings, let us consider that it is no different than what occurred with Moses. If the Lord keeps us there forever, or if He determines something great and exciting for the future, it really doesn't matter if we are living for Him. For those in Christ, the days of the life we now live will end, and there will be eternal days of wonder when we are in our true, heavenly home.   Lord God, help us to be encouraged in the lives we live. Whatever our station is, You have allowed it to be so. May we consider this and be willing to live for You no matter where we are or whatever our vocation may be. As long as we are honoring You with this life, we are doing what is good and proper. Help us in this, O God. Amen.