The Book of Acts | God’s Revelation of Transition
Session 23 | Acts 7:17-43
Acts 7:1-60 | Stephen’s Sermon, Israel’s Rejection of the Message
/Acts 7:17-43 | Exhibit C: Moses/
* Verses 17-18
* Thus far two exhibits have been given in the case that Stephen presents.
* Abraham received none of the promises, yet you honor him and have full expectation that every promise /will be/fulfilled.
* Joseph was rejected by his brothers but accepted the /second time/, and the full promises to all of Jacob’s sons are yet to be fulfilled.
* Now Stephen brings up Moses, who also did not fulfill his role until his /return/.
* The time of promise had a prophetic time-period attached to it, and thus Stephen alludes to Genesis 15:13.
* Before the time of promise God did a miraculous work to prepare the people for a national status by causing them to be multiplied in Egypt.
* This multiplication took place till another king arose. This king was brutal to the Hebrew people and wanted to erase them from the face of the earth.
* In the same way, Jesus says that if he is rejected, the Jewish people will accept another, who will be the Antichrist (John 5:43).
* Verse 19 –
* Just like another king arose that dealt subtly with the Jewish people, so will the Antichrist rise, use “the full extent of wisdom” (the Greek word being /katasophos/) to work evil with the goal that they might not live.
* Not only does “history repeat itself” but Biblical history is rich in typology. Stephen is a master at using this typology.
* Verses 20-24 –
* This historical note speaks of Moses in his “first coming.” During this time, he lived as “an outsider who was one of them.”
* In verse 23 we are told that he was a full forty years old(for some reason the NASB says /approaching forty/, which is nowhere found by accurate translation). The number 40 is a number of /earthly judgment/. At 40 years of age, it came into his heart (not mind, as in NASB) to visit his brethren.
* Verse 25 –
* The word supposed is a /law-based word/, νομίζω [nomizo]. It is a word that says, “according to their laws (and customs), the corresponding result should have been….” Instead, they understood not.
* This is a clear reference to the Jewish people in the manner in which they rejected Jesus Christ, and by now the Jewish officials surely understood where this defense was headed.
* Verses 26-29 –
* The response of the Hebrews to Moses was mirrored in Jesus - see Matthew 21:23.
* The Hebrew slave felt threatened by Moses, the Hebrew nation felt threatened by Christ.
* Following the brutal rejection of Moses, he left the nation and lived among gentiles. Christ has “fled” to the right hand of the Father and is dealing with gentiles today.
* Verses 30-36 –
* This recitation of the historical account reminds the religious leaders that God used the one they rejected to bring the freedom they desired (and absolutely required).
* Verse 37 –
* Stephen quotes Deuteronomy 18:15, They were instructed to hear this prophet, and Moses warned that whosoever will not hearkento the words of the One whom the Lord will raise up, I will require it of him (Deut. 18:18-19). Stephen was going to make it very difficult for the nation to reject Jesus.
* Verse 38 –
* This verse speaks of Moses as being in the church in the wilderness.
* There is a two-fold mistake often made by the use of the word church in this verse.
* Covenant theology uses this word to “prove” that “the church” has always existed, and thus mixes Israel with the church.
* Dispensational theology of the “normative” variety ignores this verse when they argue that Matthew 16:18 is prophecy about the church as we know it, or that Acts 2:47 or Acts 5:11 speaks of the church as we know it. Dispensationalism consistently declares that the church in the wilderness is not “the church” but “the assembly,” but then inconsistently insists that Acts 2 and 5 (as well as 8:3, 9:31, etc), are “the church” and not “the assembly.”
* Verses 39-40 –
* The basic message of these verses is, “don’t make the same mistake again.”
* Verse 41 –
* Again making a connection to the Jewish leadership of his own day, Stephen says that their forefathers rejoiced in the works of their own hands though those works were deadly to them and a rejection of God.
* Verses 42-43 –
* The host of heaven is not the /Lord God of hosts,/but rather the fake-gods Molech, and the star of your God Remphan, astrological guides and deities of Egypt.
* Stephen quotes Amos 5:25-27 as the basis for his hist