I. A PROPHET LIKE MOSES.
A. This comes from the prophecy of Moses in Deut. 18
and has been considered a prophecy of the Messiah.
1. Even the Jews to the present day consider this to be a prophecy of the Messiah.
2. Interestingly enough they quote it to try to eliminate Jesus as the promised Messiah.
a. They say if He is to be a prophet like Moses, Moses was man, and made no claim to be the Son of God. The fact that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God thus disqualifies Him as the Messiah.
b. They declare that the Messiah will be a man, just as Moses was a man.
c. The natural question would then be, "How will you recognize the Messiah?"
d. Their answer is, "He will lead us in the rebuilding of the temple."
e. The Jews are looking today for a man that will lead them in rebuilding the temple, and are ready to acclaim him as their messiah.
3. The interesting thing is that the Bible predicts just such a man shall come. In Daniel 9
he speaks of the prince of the people that shall come who will make a covenant with the nation, but after 3 1/2 years will break that covenant and set up the abomination that will cause the desolation or great tribulation when the wrath of God will be poured out upon this earth.
a. Jesus speaking of this man declared, "I came in My Father's name and you did not receive Me. Another shall come in his own name and him you will receive."
b. Paul tells us that this man will ultimately stand in the Holy of Holies in the rebuilt temple and show himself to be God and will demand to be worshipped as God.
c. The book of Revelation tells us that this will be a time of great satanic worship.
And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who [is] like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?
4. It should be stated that there are many prophecies in the Old Testament that indicate that the Messiah will be the Son of God.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou [art] my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go [to be] with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.
I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took [it] from [him] that was before thee:
But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.
But unto the Son [he saith], Thy throne, O God, [is] for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness [is] the sceptre of thy kingdom.
II. LIKE UNTO MOSES.
A. Stephen is showing a very interesting likeness to Moses.
1. He related the story of Moses to them from the miraculous preservation of his life when he was adopted by the Pharaoh's daughter as a three month-old infant when the commandment was to kill all the boy babies. It is interesting that at the birth of Jesus, Herod ordered the killing of all the babies in Bethlehem from two-years old and under.
2. He spoke of his excellent education that continued till he was 40 years old.
3. How that at that time he went out and saw an Egyptian abusing an Israeli slave, and how Moses killed the Egyptian and buried his body. The next day as two Israeli's were fighting he went to break up the fight protesting that they were brothers. They then said to him, "Who made you a judge over us, will you kill us as you did the Egyptian yesterday?"
4. Stephen told them that Moses supposed his brothers would have understood how that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand.
5. The first time Moses came to deliver them they did not receive him as their deliverer.
6. Forty years later God sent Moses to deliver them from their slavery, this time they did receive him.
7. They rejected Jesus the first time He came, when He comes again, they will recognize Him as the Messiah.
8. Their prophet said,
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for [his] only [son], and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for [his] firstborn.
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
B. He is thus a prophet like unto Moses for He was, as Moses, rejected by them as their deliverer the first time He came, but will be recognized as the deliverer when He comes again.
C. Like unto Moses for Moses gave to the people the word of God.
1. When God spoke to Moses in the mount it was with an awesome demonstration of power. There were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud. The mountain was on fire and the smoke ascended as out of a blast furnace. The whole mountain was shaking. There was a sound like a trumpet blast that got louder and louder.
2. Then God spoke to Moses and he in turn came to the people to give them the words of God.
3. The people said to Moses, you go up and talk to Him and then come down and tell us what He said, but we do not want Him talking to us for we fear that we will die.
The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
And the LORD said unto me, They have well [spoken that] which they have spoken.
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
4. This is the testimony of John the Baptist concerning Jesus:
For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure [unto him].
The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his and.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
5. This is the testimony of Jesus concerning Himself.
Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
III. THE LAW CAME BY MOSES, BUT GRACE AND TRUTH BY JESUS CHRIST.
A. When Moses came down from the mount, he gave to the people the ten commandments which were God's rules for the good life.
1. Through the years there came to be tremendous additions to the ten commandments till they were hardly recognizable. Much like our Constitution.
2. Through interpretation the laws had become intolerable and onerous. People had developed a wrong concept of God.
3. God intended the law to show them their sins and cause them to come to Him to receive His grace and mercy. But they had made the law the standard for righteousness, and through their interpretation they were able to keep it and thus became very self righteous, and completely intolerant towards those who did not keep the law as they did.
B. Jesus came to give to them the proper interpretation of the law. What the law was basically commanding was for them to love God supremely, and their neighbor as themselves. If you do this you have kept all the law and the commandments.
1. When you fall short, there is not immediate judgment, but a place for repentance and forgiveness.
a. The woman taken in adultery which the Pharisees wanted to stone.
b. The prostitute that washed His feet with her tears.
2. The people loved this new understanding of God, however the religious leaders saw it as a threat to the power that they had held over the people, thus they rejected Him as the Messiah and crucified Him.
3. Their problems are going to become so severe, that the day is coming when they will say, "Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord." And as Moses, He will come the second time to lead them into the kingdom of God.
C. The words of Stephen caught their mark, for we read that when they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and gnashed on him with their teeth, and drug him out and stoned him till he died.
D. It is interesting how the truth will affect different people. Some receive it gladly, others rebel so severely that they seek to destroy the messenger.