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Summary: Moses promised that there would come after him another Prophet and warned Israel to take special care to listen to this coming Prophet. But just like Israel rejected Moses, they rejected Jesus, who is the Prophet Moses spoke of....

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January 25, 2014

By: Tom Lowe

Lesson II.E.3: Stephen’s Sermon (7:1-53)

Part 3: verses 37-53

Series: Stephen's Sermon

Commentary

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.

This is that Moses which said unto the children of Israel.

Steven acknowledges Moses as the Lawgiver, but he shows by Moses’ own words that the Law pointed to a more perfect thing, that is to say, to the prophetical office, of which Christ is both the chief Prophet and the head of all Prophets.

This is that Moses who was rejected by his people, and who was chosen by God to be a prince and a savior. What he said is recorded here and in Deuteronomy 18:15[1], and in Deuteronomy 18:18[2], and in Acts 3:22[3]. Moses said it in the first two places and Peter in the third on the occasion of the healing of the lame man.

This is that Moses, which said - A prophet, etc. - This very Moses, so highly esteemed and honored by God,

A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.

What was behind this statement by Stephen? It may have been said for one or all of the following reasons:

Stephen said it to remind them of the promise of a Messiah; to show his faith in that promise; and "particularly" to remind them of their obligation to hear and obey Him.

This was quoted to remind his Moses-worshipping judges of the wonderful testimony of their faithful lawgiver, that he himself was not the last and grand object of the Church's faith, but only a humble predecessor and lesser model of Him to whom they owed total submission.

Steven intended to show his audience that while they boast that Moses is their teacher now that he is dead, that they refused to believe him when he was alive.

Moses promised that there would come after him another Prophetand warned Israel to take special care to listen to this comingProphet.But just like Israel rejected Moses, they rejected Jesus, who is theProphet Moses spoke of. But they went further than Moses’ persecutors did, and put Jesus to death.

This is the greatest honor God ever put upon him, that he gave notice to the children of Israel of the great Prophet that would come into the world; he raised their expectation of him, and required them to receive him.He was not guilty of blaspheming Moses, but instead did him the greatest honor imaginable, by showing how the prophecy of Moses was accomplished, which was made so clear by Christ when He told them himself, “If they had believed Moses, they would have believed him” (John. 5:46).

Moses, in God’s name, told them that, in the fullness of time, they would have a prophet raised up among them, one of their own nation, that would be like him (Deuteronomy 18:151, 182), a ruler and a deliverer, a judge and a lawgiver, like him, who would therefore have authority to change the customs that he had delivered, and to bring in a better hope, as the Mediator of a better testament.

He charged them to hear that prophet, to receive his dictates, to accept the change he would make in their customs, and to submit to Him in everything.

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:

This is he that was in the church in the wilderness.

Stephen probably didn’t use the word“church”in the same way it is used in the New Testament, but more like it is commonly used today, to signify a congregation. In Stephen's time it could hardly have become widely known as the designation for the congregation of believers in Christ. In the New Testament, the church is the collective body of God's chosen people; therefore, it is used to denote the whole body of the faithful under the Gospel. Steven was, without a doubt, making reference to the Jewish people he led out of Egypt and for forty years of wandering through the wilderness. The word "church" means literally "the people called out," and is applied correctly to the assembly or multitude called out of Egypt, and separated from the world. It was not, however, necessarily our idea of a church, but means the "assembly," or people called out of Egypt and placed under the oversight of Moses.Israel was never called a church after entering the Promised Land, but while in the wilderness, Israel was a true church, but very different from The New Testament church.

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