This was the first time a Jewish believer was brought before a tribunal for the express purpose to conduct an inquiry whether he had departed from the Jewish faith, in particular, to face charges of blasphemy. This chapter showed Stephen dealing with this Jewish inquisition head on squaring off with his accusers. Under the Law, departing from the Jewish faith could result in severe consequences, which included excommunication from the Jewish community and even the death penalty. This was only applicable to the Jews and the proselytes. Here the guardians of the Jewish faith exercised their power to show who were in charged of the Jewish faithful. Once again, the man in charged, the high priest, kicked start the session by asking a question.

Acts 7:1: Then said the high priest, Are these things so?

Was this man really interested in the truth? This was not the first time the Jewish authorities had to deal with this troublesome but popular Jesus sect movement that was gaining ground everyday turning the Jewish people to follow them including their own colleagues who were priests. Of course this high priest had no interest in knowing the truth on the faith of the Messiah. The pertinent question was whether Stephen had blasphemed Moses and against their holy place. He was there to hear charges and impose punishment. Before he could determine what to do with Stephen, Stephen would have to speak to defend himself against such charges.

Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? (John 5:71)

Acts 7:2: And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,
Acts 7:3: And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.
Acts 7:4: Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.

The beauty about the Book of Acts is that there are short surveys of the Old Testament within the covers of this book. Any new believers in Christ can get a quick crash course on the Old Testament by reading through this book on the history of the early churches. Tremendous amount of information could be unearthed about God’s dealings with His people in the past that offers valuable lessons for Christians in any age.

Here Stephen began his address like the apostles previously before the council by calling these people his own people. Indeed they were his kindred and in him flowed the Jewish blood, waiting for the promise of their fathers like anyone else over there that day. The only difference was that Stephen had already found the Messiah and was known of this Jewish Messiah but his audience unfortunately did not yet know this Messiah who had already come. Stephen was a polite and respectful man who addressed some of these men fathers as well.

So Stephen began his defence with a sermon by bringing his audience back to the days of their founding fathers beginning with Abraham whom they all could relate to. It was indeed the Creator God who personally called Abraham to leave his own country and kindred with a promise to give him an inheritance in another place. Abraham only finally entered the land God promised him after the death of his father who also went along with him right to the border of the Promised Land and resided there. This land was the land that these Jews were now residing which they called their own homeland, their country, albeit with only partial sovereignty under the occupations of the Romans.

Acts 7:5: And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.
Acts 7:6: And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years.
Acts 7:7: And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.
Acts 7:8: And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.

When Abraham reached the land God promised him, he simply just sojourned as a pilgrim and stranger and did not keep it permanently concerning those cities and real estates. This was the land these Jews were residing in during that time. But God did promise to give this land to Abraham and to his seed after him when he was still not a father. Abraham was also told about his descendants who would sojourn in a strange land, which was Egypt, and they would be in bondage for four hundred years. After that God would deliver them and judge that nation which was already history and they very well knew. These descendants of Abraham would return to this land that the Jews were now living to serve the God of Abraham. The sign that Abraham received was the circumcision that God gave to him to seal this covenant of God’s promise to him. From there, Abraham got his son of promise Isaac and through Isaac came Jacob and then the twelve sons of Jacob who were regarded as patriarchs of the children of Israel. This was the famous three mentioned many times together with Jehovah God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Holy Bible.

Acts 7:9: And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,
Acts 7:10: And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.
Acts 7:11: Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance.
Acts 7:12: But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.
Acts 7:13: And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph’s kindred was made known unto Pharaoh.
Acts 7:14: Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.
Acts 7:15: So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers,
Acts 7:16: And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.

The sermon continued with the lives of their forefathers; their family’s squabble over Joseph, Joseph’s tragedy and subsequent exoneration and exaltation in Egypt, the providential famine that brought their fathers into Egypt and the eventual death of Jacob and his burial back in the Promised Land. All this history set the foundation for Stephen’s sermon in the defence of his Jewish faith. From here he could build upon his own case to deal with the charges he was now facing.

Acts 7:17: But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,
Acts 7:18: Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph.
Acts 7:19: The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.
Acts 7:20: In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father’s house three months:
Acts 7:21: And when he was cast out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.
Acts 7:22: And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.

The affliction of the children of Israel in Egypt, the genocidal program initiated to exterminate all the male children of the Jewish race, the birth of Moses and the amazing and miraculous deliverance of Moses to be raised by the daughter of Pharaoh and the privileged position of Moses in Egypt were rehearsed to the audience and the council. These men were still patiently listening to Stephen’s preaching and perhaps even felt elated over the recollection of the proud heritage of their fathers. Had Stephen continued in this line of preaching, he could probably get away with the charges of blasphemy.

Acts 7:23: And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.
Acts 7:24: And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:
Acts 7:25: For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.
Acts 7:26: And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?
Acts 7:27: But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?
Acts 7:28: Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?
Acts 7:29: Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons.

Now Stephen delved into the character most revered by these people concerning whom Stephen was now facing charges of blasphemy against this great man of the Jews, Moses. This man Moses, though brought up in the court of Egypt endowed with power and privileges, had never forgotten who he really was. At forty years of age, Moses attempted to be the leader of the Hebrews under bondage seeking ways and means to deliver them but ended in failure as the Jews misunderstood him and rejected him. This resulted in Moses’ self-imposed exile in the wilderness to live as a shepherd where two sons were born unto him.

Moses’ great fall from power and fame to hitting the ground in the company of sheep in the wilderness was of course known to these people of Israel. From the greatness and pomp in the court of Egypt to the lowliness and loneliness of the wilderness was an experience Moses badly needed and a training he could not avoid in order to be the leader he was destined to be. Moses’ forefathers were strangers and pilgrims and he likewise had to become a stranger to understand what a stranger should be. So Moses first appearance to his brethren was met with rejection from his own people. Hence, Moses went to wilderness college to pursue his higher education to prepare himself for the calling of God he felt so strongly initially, albeit in the mood of despair and resigning to the fate of defeat and confusion.

Acts 7:30: And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.
Acts 7:31: When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him,
Acts 7:32: Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold.
Acts 7:33: Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.
Acts 7:34: I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.
Acts 7:35: This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.
Acts 7:36: He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.

Another forty years was needed for Moses to be trained in the finer skills of leading a rebellious and stiff-necked people that he did least expect. Moses’ grand graduation with this diploma in sheep management was officiated by none other than the God of his forefathers. The convocation of course took place in the wilderness but in a special place of a holy ground on earth far away from any prying eyes of the sons of Adam. God identified Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to give Moses a charge to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt.

The first time Moses was rejected by his brethren but Moses was made a ruler and a judge to the children of Israel whether they liked it or not. In fact God sent him to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders. This was perhaps the glorious history these Jewish rulers were relishing and reminiscing in regarding the glorious past of the children of Israel. The audience was still giving Stephen undivided attention and it seemed Stephen could get off the hook concerning the charges of blaspheming against Moses and the holy place. So far Stephen had nothing negative to say about Moses. Every point brought up was acknowledged by those present. No one interrupted Stephen in his discourse on the rich and glorious historical past of the children of Israel.

Under Moses leadership, the children of Israel wandered forty years in the wilderness because of their own rebellion for refusing to trust God to enter the Promised Land. The Promised Land was so near right before their eyes and yet so far when they refused to enter because of unbelief. This was indeed a black mark in the early history of the nation of Israel. No one quarreled with Stephen so far and he continued preaching unopposed to bring the context of their past history to become more applicable to their present time.

Acts 7:37: This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.
Acts 7:38: This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
Acts 7:39: To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,
Acts 7:40: Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
Acts 7:41: And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
Acts 7:42: Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?
Acts 7:43: Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.

From here onwards, Stephen would raise the tempo of his preaching and bring his message closer home. The glorious calling of their forefathers was now turning into sharp rebuke for their obstinacy and rebellion. The greater Prophet like unto Moses was brought up. In fact, when John the Baptist showed up, these rulers questioned whether he was that Prophet and John denied he was this Prophet. When the Lord Jesus Christ came and showed signs and wonders like Moses in the past, they rejected Him and sent Him to the cross.

What Moses told the children of Israel all came to pass. This Moses was in the church in the wilderness. This revelation showed that the church is a called out people; a people called out of Egypt, a type of the world. This is the only time in the New Testament where the congregation of the children of Israel having left Egypt is termed a church more specifically, the church in the wilderness. This church was led by a shepherd, Moses, who spent forty years learning how to feed sheep in the wilderness. No one would be more qualified than Moses to led the children of Israel in the wilderness for forty long years as he had personally experienced what it was like in the wilderness for forty years. Paper qualifications from the court of Egypt were insufficient for the task at hand and on-the-job training in the wilderness equipped him to succeed in leading these rebellious people in the wilderness.

In fact, Moses was not only rejected forty years ago by his brethren, he was rejected again not long after their deliverance from Egyptian bondage when the people sought another leader to bring them back into Egypt. Moreover, they fell into idolatry in the process fashioning the Godhead into a golden call. How silly one could imagine when these people saw with their own eyes the signs and wonders when they were delivered from Egypt under Moses. So the propensity of the children of Israel rebelling against Jehovah God who delivered them was so frequent that God eventually gave them up and banished them to Babylon during the times of their kings.

At this point, a reality check for the audience would be in order. Could his audience make the connection between Moses and Jesus of Nazareth, the Prophet Moses prophesied who would come? Moses came with signs and wonders to deliver the children of Israel and their rebellious forefathers rejected him. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Prophet greater than Moses, came with signs and wonders and the present rebellious children of Israel likewise rejected Him as well. If this was not clear to them, they must be very poor listeners indeed.

Now that Stephen was bringing up the rebellion of the children of Israel, his audience would be getting agitated soon in response to such hell fire and brimstones preaching. It was getting a little hot sitting for quite a while now hearing Stephen defend charges of blasphemy against Moses. Their patience with Stephen would soon wear thin as Stephen gave no indication and offered no evidence in which he had blasphemed Moses except to point out the fact to them concerning their constant rebellion against the prophets God sent them.

Acts 7:44: Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.
Acts 7:45: Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;
Acts 7:46: Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.
Acts 7:47: But Solomon built him an house.
Acts 7:48: Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
Acts 7:49: Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
Acts 7:50: Hath not my hand made all these things?

It was about time Stephen dealt with the charges against him concerning the holy place. After all he was accused of preaching and teaching the people that Jesus of Nazareth would destroy the holy place and change the custom of Moses. In the beginning, what the children of Israel had was the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness. This tabernacle was brought into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua who was called Jesus here driving out the Gentiles from this land. The Scriptures clearly teach that Joshua was a type of Christ to bring the children of Israel into their inheritance promised them by God to their fathers. This truth is consistently so even in another Scripture showing the same way the name is translated.

Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (Hebrews 4:6-9)

In fact the spelling in Greek text clearly recorded Jesus and not Joshua. Unfortunately, the NIV, NASB and even the NKJV tried to help God out by changing the name Jesus to Joshua in both places sacrificing accuracy for clarity thus destroying a biblical truth concerning the connection of Joshua being a type of Christ leading God’s people into rest.

Since, the holy place was so important to the children of Israel, Stephen continued to elaborate on this issue. The tabernacle was still the holy place for the children of Israel even up to the time of David who wanted to build a house for God. But his son Solomon built a temple for God. Notwithstanding, God’s attitude towards holy place and men’s perception were somewhat different. The truth of the matter is, God does not dwell in a house or a temple and such man-made structure cannot contain God or house Him. God simply does not rest in a man-made building. In fact, heaven is God’s throne and the entire earth is God’s footstool what house can men build for Him? Can men build a temple bigger than the entire universe to house God and provide Him rest? In addition, it is God who made all these material things on earth for men to assemble a structure that they thought was good enough for God. How absurd to say the least. Men’s focus is totally and incorrigibly wrong when they think they can do something for God when they are altogether undone before the Creator God.

When this matter concerning the holy place should bring the children of Israel to their senses and the religious authorities to the right perspectives, it seemed Stephen was gunning for the grand finale for his final point in driving home his message for those people that day. The points he made up till here were still not directly personal enough although the audience could probably felt the applications of this sermon was aiming at them. Stephen was doing very well in response to the charges he was facing. So here Stephen pointed out what was the big deal concerning an earthly temple.

Moreover, the temple Solomon build was destroyed in the past when the children of Israel turned away from Jehovah God. That present temple would surely suffer the same fate for turning away from this Prophet greater than Moses, the Messiah of Israel whom they had crucified. Focusing on a man-made temple on earth instead of directing their devotion on the true and living God was indeed a futile exercise. Nonetheless, the temple in Jerusalem was a political symbol binding the Jewish religious mass together against their foreign occupiers. This item would surely be a convenient tool to exterminate any of their internal enemies daring to rock the boat and change the status quo of the political arrangement during that time.

Acts 7:51: Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Acts 7:52: Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Acts 7:53: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

Finally, Stephen hit the nail on the head with his home run. He accused these Jewish rulers and people as stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears associating them with their rebellious fathers in the past. To accuse these men for being uncircumcised, though in heart and ears, was an insult they could not tolerate as the Jews’ attitudes towards the uncircumcised were as good as dogs. Their fathers rebelled against God and resisted the Holy Ghost and that present bunch of Jews were just as rebellious if not even more so for rejecting their Messiah who was their King and putting Him to death. Their rebellious forefathers persecuted and killed the prophets of God and they likewise had not ceased to persecute the servants of the living God. In fact, the Lord Jesus Christ also labeled these same charges against these Jews in no uncertain terms.

Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. (Luke 11:47&48)

Moreover the Lord continued to expose these rebellious Jews on their consistent traits of persecuting and killing the saints of God in which Stephen was a case in point.

Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. (Luke 11:49-51)

All those prophets in the past had prophesied to the people the coming of the Lord but they had killed them instead. These Jews present were just as guilty and were now shown to be betrayers for betraying their Messiah and turning Him over to the Romans to be crucified and murderers as they killed the prophets and the Lord as well. They had not kept the Law they so adored as given to them by the disposition of angels. Moreover they dared to use the Law to persecute the saints of the Most High God where Stephen was now put on the stand to defend himself against these rebels who could care less about the Law by bearing false witness against him. Stephen was originally being charged but now he turned the table on his accusers and their partners in crime and charged them for being murderers and betrayers. No doubt the blood of the saints would be required from this wicked and rebellious generation.

Acts 7:54: When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.

The wound Stephen inflicted on these rebels were too deep and painful and the response these Jews manifest was nothing less than raging madness motivated by the devil for they gnashed on Stephen with their teeth. Indeed these religious hypocrites were worthy of their devilish traits for the gnashing of teeth would be the sole pastime of these rebels in the world of darkness and hell fire reserved for them as revealed in the gospels.

And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:50; 24:51)

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. (Luke 13:28)

It is interesting to note these self-righteous religious hypocrites who were forbidden to eat flesh with blood were turning themselves into cannibals. These people had given themselves wholly to the power of darkness for rejecting the gospel light shone on them by the apostles and disciples of Christ and they were now biting the flesh off from Stephen. That ancient hatred of the devil against the saints of light was fully manifest that day. They could no longer hold back their dignity of this tribunal pretending to uphold the Law and be defenders of the faith of their forefathers. They were completely exposed for whom they really were when Stephen charged them with divine precision leaving them no room to back away from their hatred towards the holy things of Almighty God.

Acts 7:55: But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
Acts 7:56: And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

To add insult to injury, Stephen being filled with the Holy Ghost was given the privilege of catching a glimpse far beyond this sky to look into heaven beholding the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God. That private invitation into that moment of glory in the third heaven was not kept private in the last moment of Stephen on earth. He preached and declared what he saw to those rebels and enemies of all righteousness that heaven had opened and the Son of man now standing ready to return or to receive this faithful servant of the living God.

These rebels were already completely enraged and how could they handle the truth that the Messiah whom they had rejected and crucified was now in the heaven and not in the grave but standing ready to return? They were getting beyond the limits of hysterical madness and could take it no more from Stephen.

Acts 7:57: Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
Acts 7:58: And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
Acts 7:59: And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
Acts 7:60: And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

When they rejected their Messiah, they thought they could do it with such political finesse that they used the secular authority to put Christ to death. Even when the Roman governor told them to judge their own King, they would not do it as capital punishment could only come from the Roman authority. They blackmailed Pilate into crucifying Christ by walking with those in the corridor of power. This time however, they could not wait for the Romans to deal with this heretic Stephen. They could not resist his wisdom and spirit in the past and now they could not take his preaching and charged of betrayers and murderers of God’s servants and their own King. They had to stop their own ears and would listen no more especially when Stephen told them of their Messiah standing up in heaven with the doors of heavens wide opened to receive this saint.

So they took Stephen out of the city and stoned him, witnessed by a young man Saul whose approval was also sought concerning this private execution outside of the Roman authority. Notwithstanding, with how much anguish of soul Stephen preached to his own kindred declaring their crimes and infidelity towards the God of Israel hoping to turn the nation back to their Messiah, he prayed his last prayer on earth to the Lord to receive his spirit and not to lay this sin of rebellion to the charge of all those present before entering into glory received into the arms of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. National repentance had been shown to be impossible with this rebellions nation. Hence, the gospel wind would be blowing out of Jerusalem to Samaria and towards the uttermost part of the earth as prophesied.

The promise of the return of the Messiah of Israel was indeed getting very near. National repentance was hoped for from the apostles and disciples labouring day and night to reach the Jews when they preached the resurrection of the Lord to those who crucified Him. The Messiah of Israel was alive and waiting to return was the central theme of the gospel message preached to them during that time. It was in line with this hope for the Kingdom to be restored to Israel that Stephen was brought before this court to be charged for the coming era where the temple standing in Jerusalem during that time would not suffice to house this coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The custom of Moses concerning the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God would give way to a new covenant should they repent and receive their Messiah as a nation. Thus the Kingdom promised to Israel would have to be postponed till the fullness of the Gentiles is complete. The lamentation of the Lord Jesus Christ was ringing loud and clear that day when Stephen was put to death.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Luke 13:34&35)

Indeed the glorious temple in Jerusalem did not last for perpetuity and was destroyed by the Romans within a generation in 70AD. This temple is still yet to be built in Israel today. Until the time when the nation of Israel looks to the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ and says, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” the prophecy of Hosea will continue to be remind them for what they did to their King and the servants of the living God.

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: (Hosea 3:4)

What the apostles and disciples of the Lord was hoping and labouring for concerning Israel before the Lord’s ascension back into heaven was reaching a turning point that day.

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:6-8)

The Kingdom would not be restored unto Israel anytime soon and the gospel activities would be leaving Jerusalem and this city would no longer be the center of focus as the Lord builds His church raising servants to reach the Gentiles and setting Israel aside till this day.

Chapter 6 Chapter 8