Brought in with Jesus - That is, with Joshua, whom the Greek version, quoted by St. Stephen, always writes Ιησους, Jesus, but which should constantly be written Joshua in such cases as the present, in order to avoid ambiguity and confusion.
Possession of the Gentiles - Των εθνων, of the heathens, whom Joshua conquered, and gave their land to the children of Israel.
Our fathers that came after - None of the generation that came out of Egypt were permitted to enter into the and of Canaan except Caleb and Joshua, Numbers 14:22-24; Numbers 32:11-12. Hence, it is said that their fathers who “came after,” that is, after the generation when the tabernacle was built. The Greek, however, here means, properly, “which also our fathers, having “received,” brought,” etc. The sense is not materially different. Stephen means that it was not brought in by that generation, but by the next.
With Jesus - This should have been rendered “with Joshua.” Jesus is the Greek mode of writing the name “Joshua.” But the Hebrew name should by all means have been retained here, as also in Hebrews 4:8.
Into the possession of the Gentiles - Into the land possessed by the Gentiles, that is, into the promised land then occupied by the Canaanites, etc.
Whom God - That is, he continued to drive them out until the time of David, when they were completely expelled. Or it may mean that the tabernacle was in the possession of the Jews, and was the appointed place of worship, until the time of David, who desired to build him a temple. The Greek is ambiguous. The “connection” favors the latter interpretation.
This chapter is based on Acts 17:1-10.
After leaving Philippi, Paul and Silas made their way to Thessalonica. Here they were given the privilege of addressing large congregations in the Jewish synagogue. Their appearance bore evidence of the shameful treatment they had recently received, and necessitated an explanation of what had taken place. This they made without exalting themselves, but magnified the One who had wrought their deliverance. AA 221.1Read in context »
As Stephen stood face to face with his judges to answer to the charge of blasphemy, a holy radiance shone upon his countenance, and “all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” Many who beheld this light trembled and veiled their faces, but the stubborn unbelief and prejudice of the rulers did not waver. AA 99.1
When Stephen was questioned as to the truth of the charges against him, he began his defense in a clear, thrilling voice, which rang through the council hall. In words that held the assembly spellbound, he proceeded to rehearse the history of the chosen people of God. He showed a thorough knowledge of the Jewish economy and the spiritual interpretation of it now made manifest through Christ. He repeated the words of Moses that foretold of the Messiah: “A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear.” He made plain his own loyalty to God and to the Jewish faith, while he showed that the law in which the Jews trusted for salvation had not been able to save Israel from idolatry. He connected Jesus Christ with all the Jewish history. He referred to the building of the temple by Solomon, and to the words of both Solomon and Isaiah: “Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 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? Hath not My hand made all these things?” AA 99.2
When Stephen reached this point, there was a tumult among the people. When he connected Christ with the prophecies and spoke as he did of the temple, the priest, pretending to be horror-stricken, rent his robe. To Stephen this act was a signal that his voice would soon be silenced forever. He saw the resistance that met his words and knew that he was giving his last testimony. Although in the midst of his sermon, he abruptly concluded it. AA 100.1Read in context »
Stephen was questioned as to the truth of the charges against him, and took up his defense in a clear, thrilling voice that rang through the council hall. He proceeded to rehearse the history of the chosen people of God in words that held the assembly spellbound. He showed a thorough knowledge of the Jewish economy, and the spiritual interpretation of it now made manifest through Christ. He began with Abraham and traced down through history from generation to generation, going through all the national records of Israel to Solomon, taking up the most impressive points to vindicate his cause. SR 264.1
He made plain his own loyalty to God and to the Jewish faith, while he showed that the law in which they trusted for salvation had not been able to preserve Israel from idolatry. He connected Jesus Christ with all the Jewish history. He referred to the building of the temple by Solomon, and to the words of both Solomon and Isaiah: “Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” “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? Hath not my hand made all these things?” The place of God's highest worship was in heaven. SR 264.2Read in context »