by Henry T. Vriesen
The word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem. And a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. At that time, when the contributions for benevolence were so plentiful, it became necessary to appoint seven men over this business. These seven men were called deacons. And they chose Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas. “Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain of the synagogue … disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes and came upon him, and brought him before the council … And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.”
Then said the high priest to Stephen, “Are these things so?” Stephen defended himself in a long speech and spake of the things which the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob had done for their fathers, and how their fathers always resisted the will of God. And in conclusion he said, “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 showed 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.”
“When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord; 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. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 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 … And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.”For further information on this resource, click here.