Come Follow Me LDS- Acts 6-9 Part 1

'Stephen & Stones'
- Stephen as an Abinadi figure
- Abraham's Lech Lecha
- The Creation Story as a temple script
- Harming in the name of God




in this episode we're gonna talk about

Steven and stones and a little about

Abraham and a little about Moses here we

go alright so setting the stage here as

you recall last week we had a number of

different conversions that we're talking

about several thousands of individuals

were converted to the gospel to the

fullness of the gospel and that is a

trend that has continued and we're

talking about really about the first few

years after the death and resurrection

of Jesus Christ and the gospel the

church is expanding very very quickly

and of course that is cause for growing

pains and certainly the leaders of the

church here the Apostles end up having

some of these problems and so he's

recalled in last week we had a

discussion about the law of consecration

and right off the bat here in the next

chapter starting with chapter 6 acts 6

we see a concern here already about

what's happening with a law of

consecration right here in verse 1 it

says and in those days when the number

of the disciples was multiplied there

arose a murmuring of the Grecians

against the Hebrews this would be Greek

speaking Jews the Hellenists as compared to

probably those that are in Judea or in

the surrounding areas of Judea because

their widows were neglected in the daily

ministration so the daily administration

would be temporarily taking care of them

so of all things that should be taken

care of in the church you would think it

would be the widows especially in

ancient times when it was very difficult

for them to be able to find say for

example employment right and so

they're failing at this already and you

can see already how the law of

consecration here I think this is just

kind of a notice that it's we're being

put on as the readers here that the law

of consecration is going to go through

very difficult times and is not going to

last it's not going to make it and so

they start going through something

similar to what Moses went through where

you recall back in the time of Moses

he's trying to judge all of the

situations there he's trying to make

decisions on every conflict and every

problem and his father-in-law Jethro

finally comes them and says hey you need

to create an organization here a

hierarchical structure to be able to get

all these things down and captain's

attend and captains of 50 and captains

of 100 etc and so what they go through

here is a little bit of something like

that where the Apostles decide look pick

they say to the members of the

church pick from among yourselves seven

worthy men that can help with this

because the way they term it we can't go

around serving tables and basically what

that means is we can't take care of

every little thing where there's only

twelve of us and so the church starts to

grow the priesthood truck starts to grow

and a hierarchical structure will begin

to unfold here among the church to try

and meet its demands as struggles

continually come up and so the people

the members of the church choose seven

and one of those seven is a man called

Stephen and once these seven are

chosen then the Apostles lay their hands

on their heads and they ordain them they

call them to their positions here and

verse seven is kind of interesting it

says and the Word of God increased and

the number of the disciples multiplied

in Jerusalem greatly all right again the

church is growing very very quickly the

Jews don't know what to do there's a

major conflict happening here they're

losing people from what they believe is

the true religion the Jews and from

losing their control that they would

have over a number of these

people so again the conflict here

again we always see the major conflicts

here typically are not between just good

and bad or evil and sinners and

non centers although that is true but

the main conflict is typically one of

doctrine and control and we're

told here that a great company of the

priests were obedient to the faith so a

number of the priests that would be from

the tribe of Levi the sons of Aaron went

over to be in being were converted and

became Christians this was a common

thing actually this happened before back

in the time of Lehi when Jerusalem had

for the most part changed its doctrine

its theocracy it's its loss of Christ as

what I think happened a number of the

priests reportedly left to Jerusalem and

they went to what they termed at that

time Arabia and they ended up in fact

fighting or willing to fight with the

Babylonians against Jerusalem because

what they saw was a takeover right there

was a coup both a spiritual and

theocratic coup that took over at the

time of Lehi and a political coup that

took over and so they left and or were

kicked out and were willing to fight

against what had happened in Jerusalem

at the time so here again we see a lot

of the priests converting over to

Christianity at this time and we're told

in verse 8 that Stephen was full of

faith and he did many miracles and

wonders so he is a very impressive

person someone obviously that has is

filled with the Holy Ghost and is very

close to the Lord and is well he has a

great faith that he relies on and there

is a synagogue or at least a gathering

of people that are known as the

synagogue of The Libertines and

Cyrenians and Alexandrians

and of them of Cilicia

and of Asia disputing with Stephen so a

couple of things here The Libertines

this is probably freed slaves people

that would have been in bondage at some

point and they've been freed another

thing to look at here is these are not

people from Jerusalem or maybe

originally they were but these are

groups from other areas from the

Diaspora Jews that live in other parts

and perhaps this is where they meet at

times or their representatives here in

Jerusalem from other places or they

return from those other places and they

gather together here in this synagogue

or at least in this this assembly this

group we might say so they've got

disputes with Stephen and what he's

saying and with what he's doing

Stephen is obviously not out just

helping with the widows he is preaching

the Word of God and performing miracles

and making a fuss with a lot of the

Jews in the area this is that they were

not able to resist the wisdom and the

spirit by which he spoke we might think

about a been a die in this circumstance

think of Stephen going out and preaching

about Jesus as being resurrected as

being divine in the Son of God and that

he is the Messiah that Isaiah spoke of

this is what a Bennett I did with King

Noah and the priests it's a very similar

type of a situation and in ever a number

of these people here came together and

said listen we spoke we've listened to

Stephen and he has spoken blasphemous

words and this is interesting

against Moses and against God this is

important to understand the way that

this is being set up Luke here is is

giving us a clue as to what the

theocracy theology of the Jews is at

this time and what their priorities are

we've spoken many times about this where

there is a conflict between Moses and

Jesus this is how it works this is what

is going on the Jews had removed Christ

not Jesus they didn't know who Jesus was

obviously but centuries before they had


a divine Redeemer from their theology

from their doctrine they had lost


because obviously they had it before and

in place of that of course something

something has to be at the top

you can't just remove something and

everything just stays the same something

has to move to the top and what moved to

the top was Moses and so Moses obviously

with the giving of the law the lower law

is what made sense to have come up to

the top for them and so they're pretty

upset if somebody's dissing on Moses

because to them Moses is the guy he's as

if he was a Christ-like figure and maybe

the only person that you could blaspheme

against besides God or Jehovah and so

these individuals stir up the people and

the elders and the scribes and they came

upon him and caught him and brought him

to the council and they end up setting

up false witnesses to accuse him again

of speaking blasphemous words against

the holy place and the law so looking at

this as a holy place this is just like

King Noah and his priests did the same

thing they believed they were a

righteous people and against the law

remember about Bennett I goes through

and he talks about the whole law of

Moses and the Ten Commandments and how

they really didn't believe in it they

didn't even follow it themselves that

they don't even get the rest of it which

is the higher law but even the lower law

because there's no higher law around is

corrupted and it's wrong and they and

they don't follow it that's what Stephen

is saying here it's the exact same thing

that I've been and I was doing with King

Noah and these individuals make the

accusation against Stephen in verse 14

for we have heard him say that this

Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this

place and shall change the customs which

Moses delivered us so that's true both

of those things are true but when you

are so religiously fanatic and

ideologically possess

you cannot keep an open mind if you have

been given information especially when

it's religious it goes down into your

core and you have certain beliefs when

people go against that you start to

believe that any means are justified for

an end that supports your doctrine in

your beliefs this happens in politics

all the time by the way if you are so

ideologically possessed on the left or

on the right then you start to believe

any means are necessary you lose

civility you then can go beyond that you

could get physical and you do things

because you've allowed it to

become such a core part of you this

ideology this is the same type of thing

it's how and where do we put our beliefs

in our belief systems and last down here

in verse 15 we get another parallel to a

vein and I says and all that's sad in

the council looking steadfastly on him

saw his face as it had been the face of

an angel so just like Abinadi his face

is basically shining right same thing

happened with Moses as he came down from

Sinai and so then the high priests in

charge here in this council they come

back and they say hey Stephen is this


are you blasphemy against Moses and

against God and against our land and

against the law of Moses here and this

is what Stephen does which is pretty

interesting he's going to go into a

little bit of a biography of Abraham and

then a biography of Moses now why these

two well think about what they've been

talking about here that he's been

blaspheming against Moses he wants to

explain himself so he's gonna back up to

the two greatest prophets that they've

had and he's going to explain a couple

of things and he's going to show how the

higher law and Christ are what Abraham

and Moses were following and that what

he has converted to Stephen

here into what would later be

called Christianity this sect of Jews

was simply trying to live by the

restored gospel and identifying Jesus as

Jehovah and as the Messiah so he starts

off by saying the god of glory appeared

unto our father Abraham when he was in

Mesopotamia I'm not sure if that's true

and Mesopotamia by the way but that's a

side note before he dwelt in is this

here Quran which is it basically it's

her on and said unto him get thee out of

thy country and from thy kindred so this

is the luckily right you've got to be on

the road get out from thy kindred and

from my people from my country which is

something that all of us have to do we

all have to leave where we're at and

this is kind of what Steven and the

Apostles and the new Christians are

doing exactly what Abraham did they had

to leave a place because of idolatry

they had to in other words where the

values weren't set properly where Christ

had been removed and something else was

put up in its place many other things

eventually were put up in its place in

the place of the true idea of a

suffering servant of a suffering god of

the atonement so leca leca which is

move on or leave or walk away is

something that the original

Christians had to do and all people with

the truth especially brand new a

bringing following of the truth is gonna

require this the leca leca so a

parallel is set here by Stephen from

about Abraham and about the new

Christians that's I think is what he's

trying to get across here to start off

with and so Stephen proceeds to go

through kind of this biography of

Abraham where he leaves her on he goes

into the toward the promised land he

then has to sojourn down into Egypt and

he speaks of Abraham being given the

covenant of circumcision which Joseph

Smith ties with baptism and then he

begets Isaac and Isaac begins Jacob and

Jacob has the

twelve patriarchs or the twelve the

heads of the 12 tribes of Israel and

they go all into Egypt during a time of

famine and find Joseph who's been sold

there by his brothers who is in charge

and who is second only to the Pharaoh in

the land of Egypt and they live there in

peace until a new Pharaoh comes along

that does not know Joseph and his people

and then they're put into bondage and

then eventually comes Moses this is what

it says about Noah Moses which is kind

of interesting you would Stephen

says he says in verse 20 here and which

time Moses was born and was exceeding

fair and nourished up in his father's

house three months I don't think that

Stephen really cares to talk to the

council here about how Moses's looks

were about how you know he was a really

good looking dude that's not what

they're saying here think about what is

said about Mary especially in the Book

of Mormon where Nephi has his vision of

Mary the Virgin Mary and then of Jesus

Christ being born to her we're told that

she was exceedingly fair and white this

has nothing to do with her appearance to

be honest with you her skin color may

have been darker than any Europeans it

has nothing to do with her skin it has

nothing to do with race it has to do

with the spirit it has to do with the

way that they used to talk about those

that may have had the spirit with them

or that were noble and virtuous and

living uprightly that's what they're

saying about Moses here then we get the

biography the biography of Moses where

he lives forty years there and knows the

ways of Egypt which definitely helped

him when he took the Israelites out of

Egypt and helped him with the temple

honestly helped him with administration

helped him with leadership etc and then

he comes out after 40 years and he kills

the man that is beating one of the Jews

one of the slaves and both the Jews

reject him and the Egyptians want him

and so he flees out of Egypt

I believe he knew exactly where he was

going and he went to Midian where he

found Jethro who became his

father-in-law and Moses ends up marrying

his daughter Zipporah but you get this in

this story right here with a slave

that is being beaten and with Moses

killing the Egyptian you get already

here a an allusion to Moses as being the

one who is going to free them from their

captors and yet be rejected for quite

some time by the Israelites anyway

that's kind of what happens there with

that story

he is freeing them from his oppressors

and the Jews aren't happy about it and

that theme carries on throughout the

entire Exodus in verse 30 we get a

little nugget here that's important it

says and when 40 years were expired

there appeared to him in the wilderness

of mount Sinai an angel of the lord in a

flame of fire in a bush

if you read Deuteronomy you're gonna get

the idea that not only did the people

were they not allowed to see him that

was by choice by the way but the Moses

could not see God he couldn't actually

see him and there was just the burning

bush we get something different right

here where it says that the angel of the

Lord which is the Lord was there in a

flame of fire in a bush you can also

think about the symbolism of the Tree of

Life here but that's an important thing

to understand this is different from

what the Jews would have believed at

this time they would not believe that

there was actually a personage that

would represent Jehovah they did not

believe that Moses or anybody else could

have seen God that that was it that was

not allowed but it was not allowed

because they had rejected the higher law

previously where they would be able to

see God it's a representation of

actually going through the veil and

having the higher law and the higher

priesthood but that was rejected by the

Israelites at Sinai so they couldn't see

God so they have to excuse it

say it's not permitted at all and so

then Stephen makes the point here of

saying that this Moses whom the

Israelites refused who said 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 this is a theme that

Stephens about to go through that the

prophets that are sent to Israel are

rejected continually and he says right

here this is that Moses which said unto

the children of Israel this is verse 37

which said unto the children of Israel a

prophet shall the Lord your God raise up

think of the brazen serpent unto you of

your brethren like unto me him shall ye

hear so this is a very strong anchor

point for the early Christians that

Moses who the Jews Revere the most above

all people prophesied about Jesus Christ

so they bring that connection all the

time including the brazen serpent the

reference to the brazen serpent with

Moses and he gives the example then of

how the Israelites rejected Moses and

he's talking directly to them he's

basically saying to the council here you

are rejecting God just as Abraham had to

get out of Dodge

Leca leca right from his can and from

everybody else because they were idle

worshiping in other words when we say

idol worship being what the

representation of that is even though

it's true the representation of that is

is that they have removed Christ they

have moved the Son of God from their

theology and they're worshipping other

gods and other things in other words

they have put other things up in their

values hierarchy higher than a loving

suffering God that connects that with

each of them individually and gives them

an eternal potential and progression so

they've put that aside and they've

but they've elevated other things higher

than that including idols and so he

brings up the fact that they made a

golden calf and that they turned their

hearts back to go to Egypt and they were

rejecting Moses well what is Moses doing

here was exactly what he said number one

the rejection is of the higher law they

rejected the higher law and part of that

higher law is Christ and that's exactly

what Stephen is saying right here that

Christ is the one Jesus Christ is the

one that Moses spoke of and that's part

of the rejection and he's saying to the

council here this is you too this is

still the way it is and he says here

specifically in verse 40 Stephen says as

an example of Moses who says that the

people were 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 want not what has become

become of him in other words while he

was up for forty days with his vision

and communing with Jehovah and in 42

he says then God turned and gave them up

to worship the host of heaven basically

what he's saying there when they talk

about the hosts of heaven this is not

the Lord of hosts this is the host of

heaven would be the astral God's we

would say right like we think of with

the Romans with Mars and Jupiter etc

this is what became common among all

people and then in verse 44 something is

brought up here that I think is an

important point that confirms what we've

spoken of previously with Moses Steven

talks about the temple and of course the

temple goes right in with Moses right

because this is what happened on Sinai

and Moses comes back down and eventually

they build the tabernacle which is the

first model of what they were going to

build on a temple and then eventually

hundreds of years later finally the

Temple of Solomon is built which is

built after the model of the tabernacle

but it says here in verse 44 our fathers

had the tabernacle of witness in the

wilderness that's the tabernacle of

a large tent as he had appointed

speaking unto

poses that he should make it according

to the fashion that he had seen this is

a very important point to understand the

second interpreter right that I have

that we go through his temple imagery

and drama this is important to

understand what happened on Sinai what

happened on Sinai was a vision and we go

to the beginning of Genesis what we have

there in the creation story is simply

Temple liturgy this is not a history of

the world we think that that's kind of

what's happening because we open up the

Bible and it starts off and says in the

beginning but actually what in the

beginning means is in the pre-existence

but not just in the pre-existence but it

means in the Holy of Holies that's what

they're talking about the Holy of Holies

is that representation of where God is

and so what we get through the creation

story and then with it the story of Adam

and Eve is we get a vision of the temple

of not just of how principles that that

are there about creation and about

organization and about hierarchy and

priesthood but the temple is built after

this vision day one is the holy of

Holy's day two is the Vail etc etc etc

we'll go over that another time but when

we look at Genesis it's a much easier to

understand those stories in there does

it mean some of what that is some of

that shouldn't be some of that shouldn't

be taken literally but it's

not science

it is not a history it's not even a

chronology it is simply a vision a

spiritual symbolic vision that was given

to Moses remember before that with

Abraham the other example here that

Stephen is going over Abraham has a

creation story also in the Book of

Abraham why because if you read The Book

of Abraham you realize that he is having

a vision he sees the same vision that

Moses does

and he sees this vision because he's

going to need to create the temple also

and the ordinances that are within that

Abraham was at the head of a

dispensation he had to have that

information and it also explains the

crazy verbiage and cosmology that Abraham

gives with Kolob and oplish or I can't

remember exactly what the name of the

second planet is but all of these crazy

things that we read about in there this

is not some model of the universe I've

seen a number of different takes on this

it's I guess that Abraham had a an

earth-centered cosmology and this is

just based on what his understanding is

well well that part might be true but it

has nothing to do with explaining what

the universe is not in physical terms it

is a vision that he is having he is

being explained something about

priesthood about hierarchy about the

spirit and about the temple that's what

that is

and that's how we need to look at those

things it takes away the conflict of

science and evolution and geology and

creationism that we get in the Bible

understand that even though the

principles are there of creation that

this is about the temple and what as

we're told here by Stephen the temple

the tabernacle and the temple are built

after as a model of what Abraham of what

Moses and other prophets saw in this

vision that they had so an important

point and something that goes directly

to that point number two or that

interpreter number two that we follow

here of the four interpreters and then

Stephen seems to go on here but he

quotes the prophets and says he's stiff

necked and uncircumcised in heart and

ears you do always resist the Holy Ghost

you resist the higher law you're stiff

necked and you're hard-hearted as your

father's did so do ye

also talking directly to the council you

are stiff naked you are hard hearted and

you resist the Holy Ghost you resist the

higher law and in verse 52 which of the

prophets have not your father's

persecuted and they have slain them

which showed before of the coming of the

just one that would be Christ of whom

you have been now the betrayers and

murderers so what is Stephen laying out

here he's going back and he's showing

the history of here you've got Abraham

and Moses that you look up to but these

were followers of Christ and they

prophesied about Jesus Christ about

Jehovah coming down and taking on the

sins of the world and you rejected him

just like your fathers have always

rejected the prophets and this is an

important theme in the Old Testament

what happens to the prophets they're

constantly killed many of them are

stoned it said that Isaiah was cut

asunder he was cut in half by a King

Manasseh Lehi was about to be killed for

the very same reason for the same reason

that Stephen is bringing up here not

because he's preaching just against them

being wicked it's because he's talking

about the Messiah about the Son of God

that's why they're gonna kill the high

and what is the reasoning behind what

they're talking about in accusing

Stephen here it's the same thing they

were accusing Lehi of it is blasphemy

that's what laman and lemuel were

accusing their father of a visionary man

blasphemy so what's happening all over

again and he's showing this pattern and

here it is happening exactly now with

Stephen they're accusing him of

blasphemy and just like the prophets of

old they're about to stone him for the

exact same reasons because they are

hard-hearted they will not listen what

puts a people or an individual in a

position where I mean they're doing this

because they're they think they're

they're right they're justifying what

they're doing not for gain maybe

ultimately there's power and other

things that are behind this

but out in front of why they're doing

this it's blasphemy what puts an

individual what puts you what puts me

what puts a group a society of people in

a position where they are lockstep in an

ideology believing that their moral and

that they're right and that they can

justify the means of actually killing


or being violent against someone so that

they can protect their beliefs and their

doctrine and do it in the name of God

that's what's happening here

and we can have that again we can have

this especially in religion this can

happen a lot of what we get in the

scriptures is not just with a good

against the evil but it's the evil

within right it is the evil within and

how easy it is to lose goodness that's

what happens over and over in the Book

of Mormon right is in it's the inward

struggle the Lamanites they always

take care of but in word it's the

breaking up of the people it's that it's

the chaos that eventually comes into the

groups of people and they all become

-ites right they become different sects

different people's this is the problem

that happened with the Catholics and the

Protestants to the point where there was

murder and there was death because of a

moral superiority that was believed in

and it was done in the name of God now

that's not the environment that we

currently live in but I think to a

smaller degree we can all be subject to

that kind of an ideology or a belief

system where we are too rigid

in our beliefs we want to be firm we

want to be faithful in steadfast but

part of that I think is always having

the Holy Ghost because we're not always

going to be right and we're not always a

hundred percent positive on maybe our

own personal beliefs and in our doctrine

and our behaviors but if we're tying

ourselves to the Holy Ghost we stand a

much better change

of not letting a situation even in a

small degree like this come up in and

and take us down the wrong path or help

us or cause us to make a wrong decision

with someone but the council here will

have nothing to do with the Holy Ghost

and he says here just like a Ben and I

in 53 you guys have received the law by

the disposition of angels and you

haven't kept it so again they're

fighting for the law and for Moses but

they don't even keep it themselves

because they can't you cannot keep a

lower law in place without the looking

forward to the higher law to Christ and

the atonement it can't work you cannot

live in just a physical world you cannot

live in just a task-oriented world you

cannot live in a world just with rules

and Commandments it will eat itself

alive and that's what has happened with

the Jews at this time and then

miraculously you know when he said these

things it says that they were cut to the

heart I love that phrase being cut to

the heart I've had that happen to me

sometimes maybe you have to it's

it's tough right the truth can be harsh

as Nephi says to his brothers sometimes

and that they gnashed on him with their

teeth but he being full of the Holy

Ghost this is verse 55 looked up

steadfastly into heaven and saw the

glory of God and Jesus standing on the

right hand of God so he has this vision

there and again why is Jesus there why

does he see Jesus there at this point

it's because that's what this is all

about just like with a Bennett eye this

is all about Christ and so here he is

coming back and saying basically thank

you for witnessing for me because that's

what he's been doing as he goes through

this biography of Abraham and his

biography of Moses and the history of

this counsels people and so then he says

as a witness now behold I see the

heavens opened

and the son of man standing on the right

hand of God then they cried out with a

loud voice and stopped their ears and

ran upon him with one Accord 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

and then in 59 and they stoned Stephen

calling upon God and saying Lord Jesus

receive my spirit we've heard this

somewhere before 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 or we might say

he gave up the ghost so this is very

similar verbiage to what went on with

Jesus when he was on the cross where

he's saying don't blame them which is

really very interesting it's a very

interesting concept he is being stoned

to death by them they're outraged by him

they wants to kill him they hate him

there is rage in them and he's saying

forgive them don't blame them for this

why does he say that is he just trying

to be good I really think there's a

clearer understanding to Stephen as

there was to Christ about how the world

works we don't know what we would do in

a point in history in a certainly a

circumstance with a certain environment

around us and certain teachings that

have been given to us our whole lives

somehow we are thrown into this melting

pot into this laboratory at a different

point in geography and in time and

in culture and doctrine and we're

supposed to do as best we can within

those circumstances and sometimes many

times most of the time those

circumstances are very negative and the

teachings can be very negative so he's

basically saying they're not guilty

because of Adam's sin so to speak or

they're not guilty because of their

fathers and their great

fathers and their great-grandfather sins

or at least take these things into

consideration Lord with them don't blame

them I think that's some I think it's

not only incredibly noble and beautiful

and wonderful and strong but I think

it's very tuned in to how the world

works now we mentioned Saul these

clothes were laid at the feet of someone

called Saul Saul was one of those from

Cilicia that was mentioned at the

synagogue so just like Alma was at the

trial of a Ben a die and fled here is

there is a similar type of a trial Abinadi

was burned Stephen was stoned but

with Saul slash Paul the same thing

didn't happen he doesn't flee he is

still enraged and possessed

ideologically but shortly we're gonna

learn a lot more about this man so

Stephen goes down in history as the

first martyr we know of the early

Christians and I hope we can see this

event now a little bit differently as a

pivotal point with these early

Christians like just like we would with

an invented eye or just like we would as

a Joseph Smith or somebody who is

preaching in a very poignant moment

Stephen is originally called to take

care of widows of those whose husbands

are dead who have passed on and he ends

up very quickly losing his own life for

the greatest cause that there is I'll

talk to you next time


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