Wednesday, March 26, 2014
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh”(Ezekiel 36:26 KJV).
The Great Physician must perform this surgery if His beloved patient is to live!
Recall the Holy Spirit’s words to Israel as He spoke them through the Prophet Stephen in Acts 7:51-53: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 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: who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”
These specific words certainly caught Israel’s attention. “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on [Stephen] with their teeth” (verse 54). Israel’s religious leaders were greatly angered: “How dare Stephen liken us to Gentiles [‘stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears’] and how dare he call us ‘betrayers and murderers!’” They became so berserk they began chewing on Stephen! His next few words (verses 55,56), even more “offensive,” caused them to cry out, close their ears, run upon him, throw him out of Jerusalem, and stone him to death (verses 57-60)!
As Stephen stated before he died at their hands, throughout the Old Testament, Israel repeatedly broke God’s laws. Through His (their) prophets, God warned them of coming judgment. Nevertheless, Israel’s fathers persecuted—imprisoned and/or murdered—JEHOVAH’S prophets because they hated His Word the prophets spoke. Here in Acts chapter 7, Israel has not only betrayed and murdered Jesus their Messiah (God the Son), their unbelief has culminated to rejecting God the Holy Ghost and murdering His spokesman Stephen (cf. Matthew 12:31,32).
Let us proceed to discover how Stephen’s final comments (quoted above) enlighten us as to the meaning of Israel’s physical circumcision, and how it explains the necessity of Israel’s heart transplant….