Bible: Acts 7

Stephen’s Defense Before the Council

7:1 Then the high priest said, “Are these things true? 1  7:2 So he replied, 2 Brothers and fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our forefather 3  Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he settled in Haran, 7:3 and said to him, ‘Go out from your country and from your relatives, and come to the land I will show you.’ 4  7:4 Then he went out from the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God 5  made him move 6  to this country where you now live. 7:5 He 7  did not give any of it to him for an inheritance, 8  not even a foot of ground, 9  yet God 10  promised to give it to him as his possession, and to his descendants after him, 11  even though Abraham 12  as yet had no child. 7:6 But God spoke as follows: ‘Your 13  descendants will be foreigners 14  in a foreign country, whose citizens will enslave them and mistreat them for four hundred years. 15  7:7 But I will punish 16  the nation they serve as slaves,’ said God, ‘and after these things they will come out of there 17  and worship 18  me in this place.’ 19  7:8 Then God 20  gave Abraham 21  the covenant 22  of circumcision, and so he became the father of Isaac and circumcised him when he was eight days old, 23  and Isaac became the father of 24  Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. 25  7:9 The 26  patriarchs, because they were jealous of Joseph, sold 27  him into Egypt. But 28  God was with him, 7:10 and rescued him from all his troubles, and granted him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made 29  him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. 7:11 Then a famine occurred throughout 30  Egypt and Canaan, causing 31  great suffering, and our 32  ancestors 33  could not find food. 7:12 So when Jacob heard that there was grain 34  in Egypt, he sent our ancestors 35  there 36  the first time. 7:13 On their second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers again, and Joseph’s family 37  became known to Pharaoh. 7:14 So Joseph sent a message 38  and invited 39  his father Jacob and all his relatives to come, seventy-five people 40  in all. 7:15 So Jacob went down to Egypt and died there, 41  along with our ancestors, 42  7:16 and their bones 43  were later moved to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a certain sum of money 44  from the sons of Hamor in Shechem.

7:17But as the time drew near for God to fulfill the promise he had declared to Abraham, 45  the people increased greatly in number 46  in Egypt, 7:18 until another king who did not know about 47  Joseph ruled 48  over Egypt. 49  7:19 This was the one who exploited 50  our people 51  and was cruel to our ancestors, 52  forcing them to abandon 53  their infants so they would die. 54  7:20 At that time Moses was born, and he was beautiful 55  to God. For 56  three months he was brought up in his father’s house, 7:21 and when he had been abandoned, 57  Pharaoh’s daughter adopted 58  him and brought him up 59  as her own son. 7:22 So Moses was trained 60  in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful 61  in his words and deeds. 7:23 But when he was about forty years old, it entered his mind 62  to visit his fellow countrymen 63  the Israelites. 64  7:24 When 65  he saw one of them being hurt unfairly, 66  Moses 67  came to his defense 68  and avenged the person who was mistreated by striking down the Egyptian. 7:25 He thought his own people 69  would understand that God was delivering them 70  through him, 71  but they did not understand. 72  7:26 The next day Moses 73  saw two men 74  fighting, and tried to make peace between 75  them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why are you hurting one another?’ 7:27 But the man who was unfairly hurting his neighbor pushed 76  Moses 77  aside, saying, ‘Who made 78  you a ruler and judge over us? 7:28 You don’t want to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’ 79  7:29 When the man said this, 80  Moses fled and became a foreigner 81  in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.

7:30After 82  forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the desert 83  of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning bush. 84  7:31 When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and when he approached to investigate, there came the voice of the Lord, 7:32 I am the God of your forefathers, 85  the God of Abraham, Isaac, 86  and Jacob.’ 87  Moses began to tremble and did not dare to look more closely. 88  7:33 But the Lord said to him,Take the sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. 89  7:34 I have certainly seen the suffering 90  of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to rescue them. 91  Now 92  come, I will send you to Egypt.’ 93  7:35 This same 94  Moses they had rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge? 95  God sent as both ruler and deliverer 96  through the hand of the angel 97  who appeared to him in the bush. 7:36 This man led them out, performing wonders and miraculous signs 98  in the land of Egypt, 99  at 100  the Red Sea, and in the wilderness 101  for forty years. 7:37 This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, 102 God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers.’ 103  7:38 This is the man who was in the congregation 104  in the wilderness 105  with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors, 106  and he 107  received living oracles 108  to give to you. 109  7:39 Our 110  ancestors 111  were unwilling to obey 112  him, but pushed him aside 113  and turned back to Egypt in their hearts, 7:40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go in front of us, for this Moses, who led us out of the land of Egypt 114  – we do not know what has happened to him! 115  7:41 At 116  that time 117  they made an idol in the form of a calf, 118  brought 119  a sacrifice to the idol, and began rejoicing 120  in the works of their hands. 121  7:42 But God turned away from them and gave them over 122  to worship the host 123  of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘It was not to me that you offered slain animals and sacrifices 124  forty years in the wilderness, was it, 125  house of Israel? 7:43 But you took along the tabernacle 126  of Moloch 127  and the star of the 128  god Rephan, 129  the images you made to worship, but I will deport 130  you beyond Babylon.’ 131  7:44 Our ancestors 132  had the tabernacle 133  of testimony in the wilderness, 134  just as God 135  who spoke to Moses ordered him 136  to make it according to the design he had seen. 7:45 Our 137  ancestors 138  received possession of it and brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our ancestors, 139  until the time 140  of David. 7:46 He 141  found favor 142  with 143  God and asked that he could 144  find a dwelling place 145  for the house 146  of Jacob. 7:47 But Solomon built a house 147  for him. 7:48 Yet the Most High 148  does not live in houses made by human hands, 149  as the prophet says,

7:49Heaven is my throne,

and earth is the footstool for my feet.

What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,

or what is my resting place? 150 

7:50 Did my hand 151  not make all these things? 152 

7:51You stubborn 153  people, with uncircumcised 154  hearts and ears! 155  You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors 156  did! 7:52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors 157  not persecute? 158  They 159  killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, 160  whose betrayers and murderers you have now become! 161  7:53 You 162  received the law by decrees given by angels, 163  but you did not obey 164  it.” 165 

Stephen is Killed

7:54 When they heard these things, they became furious 166  and ground their teeth 167  at him. 7:55 But Stephen, 168  full 169  of the Holy Spirit, looked intently 170  toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing 171  at the right hand of God. 7:56 Look!” he said. 172 I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God! 7:57 But they covered their ears, 173  shouting out with a loud voice, and rushed at him with one intent. 7:58 When 174  they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him, 175  and the witnesses laid their cloaks 176  at the feet of a young man named Saul. 7:59 They 177  continued to stone Stephen while he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit! 7:60 Then he fell 178  to his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” 179  When 180  he had said this, he died. 181 

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