- God's plan is, and always has been, progressive and changing. Whether in the calling of Abraham or the shift from the Land to Egypt to the desert and back to the Land, or whether in the giving of the Law and the shift from the tabernacle to the Temple, God's concern has been the advancement of His salvific program with His people.
- God's blessings aren't limited to the Land and the Temple. God blessed his people in many places and in many ways apart from the Temple and the Land. God desires the expansion of His Kingdom well beyond these narrow borders to the entire world and its people.
- Israel's history is one of rejection of what God is doing, and the Sanhedrin of Stephen's own day are in line with that history. By referring to them as "stiff-necked, with uncircumcised hearts and ears," Stephen is drawing on prophetic language to connect his judges to the ones who were judged by God rather than the faithful remnant.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Acts 7: Message and Martyrdom
Stephen's speech before the Sanhedrin is far more than simply a speech with a climactic denouncement of the Sanhedrin as men who have more in common with those who killed the prophets than with those who followed them. An amazing level of complexity is wrapped into a message which both answers the charges against him (from Acts 6:13-14) and presents a number of important truths along the way. Among Stephen's points are: