Acts 7:56-60
Acts 7:56 (KJB)
And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Then Stephen makes known to them the vision that he is seeing. He tells them that the heavens are opened and the Son of Man is standing at the right hand of God. Stephen uses the name that the Sanhedrin were familiar with and that is the Son of man instead of Jesus. If they had any familiarity with Ezekiel, they would have been familiar with that rendering also but during the earthly ministry of Jesus they would have known Him as the Son of man. (Mat 26:64-65 KJV) Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. {65} Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. When the High priest heard Jesus using that term at His trial, he had accused Him of blasphemy and now the same term is being used and the High priest, along with the entire Sanhedrin would have a stark reminder of their sin of condemnation and murder.
Acts 7:57 (KJB)
Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
Stopped their ears - They held or restrained themselves from hearing
Ran - Rushed on him
(Mat 8:32 KJV) And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. Matthew 8:32 gives us insight about how they rushed Stephen. The words “ran violently” is the same word in the Greek for “ran” in our verse. What they did was they ran violently at Stephen at such a pace as to equal the swine running down the steep cliff. They did not want to hear any more of what Stephen had to say because they deemed him to be a blasphemer also since he said the same thing about Jesus that Jesus did at His mock trial.
Acts 7:58 (KJB)
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.
They had grabbed hold of Stephen and cast him out of the city and there they stoned him. This was in violation of Roman law which forbade anyone from being sentenced to death without their approval. However, the Jews had taken advantage of the political situation which was happening. Pilate had fallen out of favor with the Roman government because of him being a weak Governor and it seemed that the Jews had capitalized on that situation by stoning Stephen without their approval. Pilate was removed from the Governorship of Judaea in 36 A.D., only three years later. (Deu 17:7 KJV) The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you. The hands of the witnesses were to touch the condemned and then what they did was to remove their outer garments so they would be able to throw the stones with much more strength. This verse is the first mention of the Apostle Paul who persecuted the church which he later spoke about. (Phil 3:6 KJV) Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. No doubt he had much input into the condemnation of Stephen.
Acts 7:59 (KJB)
And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
While they were stoning Stephen, he had called upon God and saying to the Lord Jesus to receive his spirit. He knew that his home going was at hand and he would be in Heaven in his spirit essence. His body would be resurrected at the last day and reunited with his spirit to receive his glorified spiritual body.
Acts 7:60 (KJB)
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.
Stephen not only witnessed a good confession while he was before the Sanhedrin but in his last minute on earth, he cries out to the Lord that He should not lay this sin to their charge. Stephen knew that where he was going was far better because he had a glimpse into Glory and there is a peace which surrounds this event. Even though Stephen was violently stoned to death, he kneeled down and peacefully went to sleep. There have been many stories of martyrs who were in the flames and felt nothing as they went to glory. It is possible that Stephen was being stoned and maybe the Lord did not allow him to feel anything after a certain point and that is why he fell asleep.