Wednesday, August 5, 2020
“Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:9,10 KJV).
Some have cried out, “This world is going to hell in a handbasket!” Others have exclaimed, “We have lost our country!” Surely, surely, they are all correct!
Upon first glance, we marvel at Stephen’s graphic death in Acts chapter 7. His Jewish nation picked up rocks and murdered him in cold blood! However, the experienced Bible student expected this. Draw your attention to the verses that immediately preceded his demise: “ 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.”
Firstly, Israel had just demanded Jesus Christ’s death by crucifixion a year prior (verse 52). Secondly, they had previously permitted King Herod Antipas to execute Christ’s forerunner, John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12). Therefore, Stephen’s homicide was absolutely predictable. Re-read Acts 7:51,52. Stephen indicts his Jewish nation for repeating the sins of their patriarchs. “As your fathers did, so do ye.” “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?” “…[A]nd they have slain them [the prophets]….” In other words, prior to those three deaths (John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, Stephen), the nation Israel had an anti-God attitude throughout the Old Testament. The Jews mercilessly mistreated or killed every preacher the LORD God sent to them—and, as Stephen said, “like fathers, like sons.” Despite her beautiful religious outward appearance, Israel could not hide her internal sickness of sin….
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