- Acts 7:1-5
- Acts 7:1 (KJB)
- Then said the high priest, Are these things so?
- Stephen now stands before the high priest and the high priest asks him
if the charges of blasphemy against the customs and law of Moses is true as
the witnesses had stated. It is not certain if everyone on the council knew
that these witnesses were false and had been bought for the purposes of
bringing false testimony. From what Gamaliel had said previously, it would
not seem in character for him to have approved of false witnesses, so maybe
there were only a few in league who had continued to try and quash the
spread of the Gospel. Since the high priest had now given Stephen the
opportunity to defend himself, they would not be ready for the apologetic
which Stephen was about to deliver.
- Acts 7:2 (KJB)
- 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,
- Stephen had addressed the Council with respect by calling the Men who
were his brethren, he was still identifying himself as an Israelite, one who
was a descendant of Abraham. He then addresses them as fathers, which means
he was showing respect unto the Council and the establishment of Israel
concerning the leadership. Stephen must have been well versed in the Hebrew
Scriptures because he now begins his defense by giving the Council a history
of Israel which will eventually culminate in the coming of the Lord Jesus
Christ. Abraham was in Mesopotamia when God had called him. He was probably
a worshipper of the Moon god Hurki. Ur of the Chaldees was known as the
“Great Moon City” and was the center of Moon worship. It was here that God
called Abraham and they left and went into Canaan and dwelt in Haran.
(Gen 11:31 KJV) And Terah took Abram his son,
and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his
son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to
go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.
- Acts 7:3 (KJB)
- And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred,
and come into the land which I shall show thee.
- (Gen 12:1 KJV) Now the LORD had said unto
Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy
father's house, unto a land that I will show thee:
Abraham had showed great faith in God because at this time Abraham did not
know what country God would be leading him to. It was here that Abraham had
separated from the rest of his family. God was calling Abraham and not Terah
or the others. This happens all the times in families, God may call one or
two and not the others. Those whom God calls are looked on as religious
fanatics and may be the center of ridicule by other members of the family.
God was now separating Abraham from the rest of his family since they
probably remained worshippers of the Moon god and now Abraham was a
worshipper of the LORD. God had a specific calling for Abraham and the other
members of the family might have made it hard for Abraham to obey and that
is why God separated them.
- Acts 7:4 (KJB)
- 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.
- Then after Abraham had received the command by God, he and his family
had left Ur of the Chaldees and had settled in Haran. This was a pretty long
trip because Ur to Haran was approximately 650 miles (1046 km). Haran was
also the center of Moon god worship in western Mesopotamia. Ancient Jewish
tradition states that Terah was a maker of idols of the Moon god. Abraham
had lived in Haran until his father, Terah died. Now came the fulfillment of
the command of God. Once Terah was dead, Abraham had now moved out of Haran
and away from all the influence of the Moon god worship. He now split off
from the rest of his family.
- Acts 7:5 (KJB)
- 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.
- Abraham had come out of Ur of the Chaldees and Haran to the land which
God showed him. However, he would receive no inheritance in that land, not
even a square foot to place his foot. Abraham was a shepherd but he was also
a merchant in gold, silver, and spices. The Canaanites were in possession of
the land that God promised Abraham. According to Canaanite law, Abraham
would have been allowed to trade and travel in their land but their law
forbade the purchasing of land. This is another reason why Abraham had great
faith because God promised him that the land of Canaan would become a
possession of his for his seed after him, that is, his descendants. Of
course, it would be quite a few years until Isaac would be born of Sarah, so
there were no physical descendants of Abraham at present. Yet Abraham had
walked the perimeter of the land. (Gen
12:6 KJV) And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto
the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.