ACTS – CHAPTERS 6 &7 (2022)


Tuesday Morning Bible Study

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

March 1989; Feb. 27. 2000; Jan. 15, 2011; March 8, 2022


In chapter 6, we meet one of my favorite bible heroes, Stephen.  I am going to deviate from my verse-by-verse teaching and tell the story of the man chosen by God for the grand historical terminating point of the continuous period of Gabriel’s seventy weeks in A.D. 34.  This date is marked by the martyrdom of Stephen, and the formal rejection of the gospel by the High Priest and the Jewish Sanhedrin.  What soon follows was the separation of Judaism and Christianity, with the subsequent persecution of Jesus’ disciples and the turning of the apostles to all nations.


In chapters 1-7, which covered 3-1/2 years from Jesus’ crucifixion, we have been studying Messiah’s exclusive ministry to “the Jew first.” “All that Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts. 1:1) from His throne of grace (by the Spirit).   


After the fulfillment of Daniel’s seventieth week, Philip, Peter, and John preached and ministered at Samaria.  Saul of Tarsus who was present at the stoning of Stephen was converted.  The Holy Ghost was poured out upon the household of Cornelius.  The center of Christianity moved from Jerusalem (Daniel’s “city”) to Antioch, Paul’s launching pad (Acts 11-15).   These events could only have taken place when that uninterrupted, specified period (490) years) cut off for the Jews and allotted to them as a peculiar people had expired.


Daniel 9:27:  He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week, He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations, He shall make it desolate even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. 


Daniel 9:27: NIV: He will confirm a covenant with many for one “Seven.”  In the middle of the “seven,” He will put an end to sacrifice and offering.


 In the beginning of verse 27, “He” is Messiah the prince!  Jesus Christ is the one who “confirmed the covenantal promises of Jeremiah’s New Covenant.


Threescore and two weeks (434 more years {Dan. 9:25-26}) takes us from 408 B.C. to A.D. 27.  One year must be added when going from B.C. to A.D.  In A.D. 27, Jesus Christ the Messiah was 30 years of age (having been born around 4 B.C).   We have Daniel’s prophetic preciseness of 483 years from 457 B.C. to A.D. 27.


The Messiah would confirm this New Testament in His own blood with “many” of the lost sheep of the house of Israel for one week, or seven years.   The first three and one-half years of the seventieth week (Jesus’ public ministry), our Lord gathered together His Jewish generals (the apostles and a Jewish remnant).  In the “midst,” “of half, middle,” of Daniels’ seventieth week, Jesus rent the veil from top to bottom (3-1/2 years of his earthly ministry).  He pronounced “desolation” upon the old order of Judaism.  In person, Jesus came to the Jews (“thy people”) and Jerusalem (“thy holy city.”)  Through His disciples and by His outpoured Spirit from the throne (Mk. 16:20; Gal. 4:6) for the remaining three and a half years---He confirmed the New Covenant with many elect Christian Jews for the rest of the seventieth week (A.D.31-34). 


The everlasting covenant was confirmed with the Jews for seven years before God turned to all nations.


That brings us to Acts chapters 6 and 7.


Because the needs of the Hellenistic widows had been overlooked, there arose a complaint against the disciples.  The appointment of the “Seven” has been traditionally understood as the establishment of a permanent order of deacons in the church devoted to its material needs.


Acts 6:2-7: The twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “it is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.  Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.  This saying pleased the whole multitude.  They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Phillip,  Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed; they laid hands on them.  The Word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.


Stephen is particularly noted as a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.  Verse 7, denotes the zenith and the end of the prosperous period of the evangelization of Jerusalem.  Until now no one had been taught that Christians must give up their Jewish customs.


The coming storm centered around Stephen.


  Acts 6:8-9:  Stephen full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.  There arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen.  They were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.  They secretly induced men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.”


The Lord was proving the truth of the gospel of the name of Jesus Christ by working miracles in His name through Stephen.   



It is now becoming apparent that the Christian kerygma is proclaiming the Law of Moses and the Old Covenant to no longer be the way, but Jesus Christ is the Messiah.  


6:11: “Hellenistic fanatics were successful in spreading a false report accusing Stephen of four crimes of blasphemy:


  1. By making Christ greater than Moses.
  2. Christ will destroy the Jewish Temple.
  3. Christ is greater than the Temple and the law.
  4. Christ abolished the law and made a New Covenant.


All of which is truth.


Not only was Stephen full of the Holy Spirit, but he was full of scripture.  He knew the Word.  The Spirit and the Word became life in his mouth.


God chose Stephen to create the division between Judaism and the church.  He used the great mind of this man (the Mind of Christ) to frame the last appeal to Israel, as a nation, to consider Jesus as the Messiah.  His arguments are so irrefutable and unanswerable, that it will produce the final break.  The city of Jerusalem will now be turned against the Christians.


This was Christ’s own prophecy before the same tribunal. 


Mt. 26: 64-66: Jesus says to him (the high priest) “…I say to you, Hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.  The high priest rent his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now you have heard His blasphemy.”


Hebrews 9:11:  Christ being come a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place having obtained eternal redemption for us.


Acts 7:47-49: The Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:  Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool; what house will you build Me? Says the Lord; or what is the place of My rest?  Has not my hand made all these things?  You stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did so do you.


  Hebrews 8:13:  In that he said, a New Covenant, he has made the first old now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away.



Verse 37 is the clincher against the charge of blasphemy of Moses.  7:37: This is that Moses, which said to the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up to you of your brethren, like to me; him shall you hear.


This was the greatest honor God put upon Moses was to prophesy of Jesus and that He would change the customs of the ceremonial law.  Christ told them himself, “If they had believed Moses, they would have believed him.”  Moses told them that this prophet would bring a better hope, as the mediator of a better covenant.  The greatest honor they could do for Moses would be to “hear ye him”.


The message is clear.  Moses delivered the law, but Jesus delivered, the Spirit, forgiveness, redemption, justification, and eternal Life. 


2 Cor. 4: 4-6: …the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, less the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”


The martyrdom of Stephen is the second formal rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ by the High Priest and the Jewish Sanhedrin!  (Acts. 6:9; 7:1). 


The glory had departed from Jerusalem; and was centered at the right hand of God where Stephen saw the Son of Man standing to receive him.  The relation between the vision and the theme of the speech must not be missed.  Stephen began his speech with the visitation of the Glory of God to Abraham (7:2).  Stephen’s theme is that God has continually revealed Himself in Glory, not only by what He proclaims through the prophets, but what He has done in history.


 Stephen’s hearers were to understand the diversity of God’s self-revelation as the God of glory and to see their own crime in the behavior of national leaders who had repeatedly rejected both divine visitation and the men God had raised up to further His divine purpose.


Stephen’s sermon of the history and restoration of Judah to the land and law of Moses was not only a fulfillment of the prophetic word, but was God’s divine design to hold the Jews in the land until the birth of the Messiah according to the prophecy of Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27).


The theme of Stephen’s speech was the glory of God.  That the Glory of God appeared to him in vision is God’s witness to His speech. 


Acts 7:55-60: “But he, (Stephen) being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the Glory of God, and Jesus standing on 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.  They cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord. They cast him out of the city and stoned him.  The witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.  They stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”  When he said this, he fell asleep.  


The Lord of Glory stood up to receive Stephen.  The prophecy has now been fulfilled.  The worship and sacrifices at the Temple have ended for Christians who follow the Nazarene. 

After the death of Stephen, there was a grand historical paradigm shift of that which is in Heaven will be heavenly on earth.  In the Old Covenant, Moses was instructed to build the earthly tabernacle according to the pattern of the Heavenly and the Lord came and dwelt in the temple.  Now the Pattern Son (in whom dwells all of the Godhead bodily) had himself become the perfect offering.  The proof that His sacrifice was accepted was the fact that He is at God’s right hand in the throne of God.  


The Old Testament blood could only “cover” the sin, which is the basic meaning of the word “atonement.”  But the better blood of Jesus Christ, the blood of the New Covenant, did more than cover our sin; His blood, the blood of the lamb of God took away sin!  He removed it. Jesus Christ is the atonement.


I was fourteen years old the first time I heard the story of Stephen preached.   My Sunday School teacher at Sumach Methodist Church, Mary lee Wilburn, told the story to us with tears running down her cheeks.  Mary Lee was the first person I ever knew to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  I didn’t know exactly what that was, but I knew she had been touched by the Lord in a special way.  Even though there were some young teenage boys in the class who thought they were “bad,” even they knew the Lord was speaking to us that day.  It is a Sunday school class I will never forget.  We were not able to resist the wisdom and Spirit by which she spoke.


What soon followed was the consequent persecution of Jesus’ disciples, and the turning of the apostles to the nations.   The time of “to the Jew first” was now ended.

For 3-1/2 years after Jesus’ death, the gospel was still being preached to the Jew first.  The Apostle Paul summed it up:


Acts 13:46: ...It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you, but seeing you put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo we turn to the Gentiles.


Stephen, elect of God for Kingdom destiny, appears in the Book of Acts for this brief moment.  His reward will not be on how long he was on the job, but that he did the job. (Mt. 20: 8-10).  Jesus’ earthly ministry was fulfilled in 3-1/2 years.


In chapter 7:2, he identifies The God of Glory as His Father:  Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; the God of Glory appeared to our father Abraham.


In Stephen’s vision, he saw The Father, The Son, and The Glory of God.  Many years ago, the Lord spoke to me.  Carolyn, the Holy Spirit is the Glory of God.”  Those who reject the Holy Spirit reject His glory.  Stephen saw the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


The theme of the revealed presence of the Glory of God to the Jews throughout Stephen’s sermon is to emphasize the vision given to Stephen of the Glory with Jesus at the right hand of God.    The self-revelation of the God of Glory is very clear in the reference to the flames of a burning bush which turned Horeb into holy ground (7:30).


Stephen is himself a flame of glory with the presence of God shining on him.  Like Smith Wigglesworth once said, “Let us all set ourselves aflame and burn for Christ.”



The Glory of God left the temple made by human hands as documented by Stephen’s vision.  Today the Glory of God shines in our Spirit as we allow Jesus to rule and reign in our heart.  When Jesus was walking the earth, the Glory of God was in him.  Now through the Holy Spirit, we are the Temple of the Holy Ghost and His Glory is in us.


That which is in Heaven is heavenly on earth.  The fullness of the temple, sacrifices, prophet, priest and king abides in each of us as we abide in Jesus.


Rev. 21:2-3: I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”


This is not future.  This is now.  The Lord said, “Carolyn, teach New Jerusalem as purity.”


Hebrews 12:22: “You have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things that than of Abel.”


Preached by:  Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.

Scripture from K.J.V and N.K.J.V. I entered into the labors of  F. F. Bruce Bible Commentary, E. H. Trenchard.  Teaching by:   Pastor Carolyn Sissom Acts 6 & 7, 2/27/2000; 2011; Daniel 9:25,26, 27; Sissom 2012; “Whose Right It Is by Kelly Varner.”  Comments and conclusions are my own as given to me by the Holy Spirit and not meant to reflect the views of those from whom I have gleaned.  I have an in- depth teaching on Daniel 9: 25, 26, 27, for further study. 

Connect with us