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Wednesday, June 29 2011
The Stoning Of Stephen
While some regard stoning as "barbaric" (does anyone really believe that hanging, the electric-chair, or a firing squad are any more "civilized"?), stoning has a surprising-to-many Christian-applied origin - not merely by Christian-professing people who copied it from others, but from Jesus Christ Himself.
First, consider Who "the LORD God" of the "Old Testament" actually was (and still is):
"10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea [see also Why Through The Sea?]; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
It was the "Rock" Who commanded that those who rebelled against Him were to be stoned for violating His Law, including (ironically?) the parts of it that were themselves written on tables of stone. Examples:
"20:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 20:2 Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones." (Leviticus 20:1-2 KJV)
"That Rock was Christ"
The stoning form of execution was commanded by the LORD for those who were genuinely guilty of violating God's Law, which included blasphemy. Consider then the incongruity that the "lawyers" (see Why Did The Lawyers Hate The Messiah?) attempted to stone the Messiah after they falsely accused Him of violating the very Law that He originally gave to them.
"10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication [see Christ's Hanukkah], and it was winter. 10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch [see also The Strait Gate]. 10:24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
The Son of God was prevented from being executed by stoning, however Stephen, a true man of God, was put to death in that way by the very same people who tried to stone the Christ. In the case of Stephen, it wasn't a matter of a mistaken judgment - they knew Stephen was innocent. They murdered Stephen after they "set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law" because "they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake." By stoning an innocent man, knowingly and deliberately, they exhibited of themselves the very reason why and to whom that sort of execution was intended by the LORD.
"6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 6:9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. 6:10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
Stephen's defence is found in Acts 7:1-53. Like Jesus Christ, Stephen merely spoke the Truth - to which they "stopped their ears" and "stoned him."
"7:54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Fact Finder: Who was the "Saul" (in the verses quoted above) who participated in the killing of Stephen? Why was he forgiven?
This Day In History, June 29
1194: Sverre became King of Norway.
1438: Albrecht II ("the Bear") was crowned king of Bohemia after being crowned king of Hungary and Germany earlier in the year.
1529: The Second Treaty of Barcelona, a peace settlement between Emperor Charles V and Pope Clement VII which made the Spanish Habsburgs dominant in Italy.
1613: The original Globe Theater in London burned down during the first performance of Shakespeare's Henry VIII.
1807: During the Russo-Turkish War, Admiral Dmitry Senyavin defeated the Ottoman fleet at the Battle of Athos.
1855: The Daily Telegraph was first published in London.
1880: France annexed Tahiti.
1925: King George V opened Canada House in Trafalgar Square in London. Canada House is the official building for Canada's High Commissioner and staff in Britain.
1937: Joseph Armand Bombardier patented the Bombardier snowmobile.
1943: Germany began to withdraw its U-Boats from the North Atlantic in anticipation of the Allied invasion of Europe.
1946: In response to murders and bombings by Jewish resistance in "Palestine," including the June 17 blowing up of 10 of the 11 bridges connecting the land of Israel to surrounding nations, the British conducted dawn raids and arrested over 2,700 Jews. The incident was later used as the pretext for the "Zionist" (see Anti-Zion Is Anti-Christ) bombing of the King David Hotel a little over 3 weeks later. Listen to the Sermons The Balfour Declaration, The Ottoman Empire and The European World Wars to understand why Britain was given to control much of the Middle East at that time, and how their presence there permitted the people of Judah (who once again failed to recognize their deliverer) to fulfill the prophecy about their return to the land of Israel.
1966: U.S. planes bombed Hanoi and Haiphong for the first time in the Vietnam War.
1967: Israel removed barricades to re-unify Jerusalem.
1974: Isabel Peron was sworn in as President of Argentina, taking over from her husband Juan Peron who became ill.
1995: A department store in Seoul collapsed, killing 502 people in South Korea's worst peacetime disaster.
1995: The U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis docked with the Russian space station Mir for the first time.
2002: South Korean and North Korean naval forces engaged in a brief firefight. Six South Korean sailors were killed and a North Korean vessel was sunk.
2006: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President George W. Bush's plan to try Guantanamo Bay prisoners in military tribunals violated U.S. and international law. The trials continued anyway.