Tuesday, June 7 2016
Acts 7: The Stoning Of Stephen - Why Are Witnesses Called Martyrs?
"And they stoned Stephen ... 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"
The English-language word "martyr" originated from the Greek word pronounced mar-toos, which actually meant witness. As shown below, various Bible versions translate the same original word interchangeably as "martyr" or "witness" because eventually, for a very bloody reason, "martyr" came to mean the savage death of many of God's "witnesses" - almost always at the hand of foolish people who claimed to be doing the will of their God.
"2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth." (Revelation 2:12-13 KJV)
"2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: 'The words of Him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
2:13 'I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; you hold fast My Name and you did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells." (Revelation 2:12-13 RSV)
Stephen's witness to the spiritually-blind religious "authorities" was an answer to their question to him, "Are these things so?" He began with a review of their national history - that led to their loss of awareness of the genuine prophesied Messiah (see The Religion And Politics Of The Messiah's Assassination).
"7:1 Then said the high priest, Are these things so?
7:2 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,
7:3 And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee.
7:4 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.
7:5 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.
7:6 And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years.
7:7 And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.
7:8 And he gave him the covenant of circumcision: and so Abraham begat Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat the twelve patriarchs.
7:9 And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,
7:10 And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.
7:11 Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance.
7:12 But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.
7:13 And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph's kindred was made known unto Pharaoh.
7:14 Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.
7:15 So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers,
7:16 And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.
7:17 But when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt,
7:18 Till another king arose, which knew not Joseph.
7:19 The same dealt subtilly with our kindred, and evil entreated our fathers, so that they cast out their young children, to the end they might not live.
7:20 In which time Moses was born, and was exceeding fair, and nourished up in his father's house three months:
7:21 And when he was cast out, Pharaoh's daughter took him up, and nourished him for her own son.
7:22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
7:23 And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.
7:24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:
7:25 For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.
7:26 And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another?
7:27 But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?
7:28 Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?
7:29 Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons.
7:30 And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush.
7:31 When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him,
7:32 Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold.
7:33 Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.
7:34 I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.
7:35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.
7:36 He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
7:37 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.
7:38 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:
7:39 To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,
7:40 Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
7:41 And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
7:42 Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets,
O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?
7:43 Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon.
7:44 Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.
7:45 Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;
7:46 Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob.
7:47 But Solomon built him an house.
7:48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
7:49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
7:50 Hath not my hand made all these things?
7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
7:52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
7:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it." (Acts 7:1-53 KJV)
The response of the "high and mighty" ones (see Truly Uplifting) was just as it had been for the Messiah (see Why Was The South A Dangerous Place?). They descended into a murderous frenzy: "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." His involvement in the martyrdom of Stephen would soon begin to haunt Saul for the rest of his life. Not long afterward, the LORD converted Saul into a witness himself - known thereafter as the apostle Paul (see The Meeting Of Paul And Barnabas).
"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.
7:57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
7:58 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.
7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
7:60 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." (Acts 7:54-60 KJV)
Fact Finder: Why does the Word of God describe death as "he fell asleep" (verse 60, above)?
See The Sleep Of Death and The Postponement Of Death
This Day In History, June 7
421: Roman Emperor Theodosius II married Aelia Eudocia at Constantinople. The city in Turkey was re-named after the Roman Emperor Constantine - the primary inventor of the Church of Rome and the false-Christian "Sunday" worship (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy, A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad and Why Observe The True Sabbath?).
1099: The armies of the First Crusade (1096-99) reached Jerusalem (again, see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1329: Robert the Bruce, who seized the Scottish throne in 1306, died. He was succeeded by David II.
1494: After the first discoveries by Christopher Columbus and others, the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed; Spain and Portugal agreed to divide "the New World" between them.
1498: Christopher Columbus departed on his third voyage of exploration to the New World. Despite all of what has lamentably become little more than nationalistic fantasies and propaganda that now pose as "history," all of the voyages of Columbus to "America" were actually limited to the islands of the Caribbean Sea (see the map and Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).
1546: The Peace of Ardes ended the war between France and England.
1628: The Petition of Right, a major English constitutional document, became law after Royal Assent by Charles I.
1654: Louis XIV was crowned king of France.
1677: Olivier Moriel de la Durantaye claimed the Lake Huron to Lake Erie area for France.
1692: 1,600 people were killed and 3,000 were injured when an earthquake struck Port Royal, Jamaica.
1863: French troops captured Mexico City.
1886: Elzear-Alexandre Taschereau was appointed Canada's first cardinal by Pope Leo XIII.
1929: The Papal State was revived when the Vatican was established in Rome. It had not existed since 1870.
1939: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the parents of the present-day Queen Elizabeth I) crossed from Canada to the U.S. to become the first British monarchs to visit the former colonies.
1942: During the Second World War, Japanese forces occupied the U.S. islands of Attu and Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska.
1944: During the D Day invasion of Normandy, the Nazi SS troops murdered 23 Canadian prisoners of war.
1967: Day 3 of the "6 Day War" - Israeli forces took The Old City, thereby securing the entire city as Israel's capital (see A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).
1981: To stop (as it is now known, non-existent) Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction" (Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that has nuclear "weapons of mass destruction" - as proven by the later invasion of Iraq), Prime Minister Menachem Begin sent Israeli warplanes to bomb a French-built nuclear reactor that was only capable of generating electricity for Baghdad.
1991: Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted, sending a plume of ash 7 kilometers (over 4 miles) into the atmosphere.
1998: In Texas, James Byrd, Jr., was murdered by "white supremacists" who dragged him behind their pickup truck along an asphalt road.
2000: The United Nations defined the "Blue Line" as the border between northern Israel and Lebanon.