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A spatial shift in Luke-Acts: From the earthly to the heavenly sanctuary

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A spatial shift in Luke-Acts: From the earthly to the heavenly sanctuary

Alfredo G. Agustin Jr.

Alfredo G. Agustin Jr., PhD, is associate professor of New Testament, Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, Silang, Cavite, Philippines.

 

Luke’s two-volume work, Luke- Acts, comprises a well-crafted piece of literature. Scholars generally “share the view that Luke/Acts form a literary unity . . . to tell a single story.”1 Thus the “events in Acts clearly parallel those of the Gospel.”2

In addition, some scholars propose that the author has thematic and theological emphases. Although it is apparent from Luke’s introduction that he centers his writing on historical accounts, Donald Guthrie suggests that there is “an important distinction between this writing and history pure and simple,”3 because “the history [in Luke] concerned a unique person.”4 He also adds that Luke’s purpose in writing the history of Jesus is dominated by a theological motive.5 However, Howard Marshall, perhaps, comes more to the point: it is possible for Luke to be both a historian and a theologian simultaneously.6

While scholars in their own structural analysis have proposed several themes and theological emphases for Luke-Acts, one area that lacks consideration is Luke’s spatial shift of the locus of salvation ministry from the earthly sanctuary to the heavenly.

The purpose of Luke-Acts

Luke explicitly laid out his purpose in the introduction (Luke 1:1–4).7 His purpose? To write an orderly account to Theophilus: “that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught” (v. 4).8 Primarily, his purpose was to write a chronological sequence of what had been fulfilled among them in order to establish the certainty of these things (v. 1) in the mind of Theophilus, who already received instruction about the gospel of Jesus Christ.9 But why was such knowledge of the historical certainty of the things that he had been told and that had been fulfilled among them needed?

L. T. Johnson says, “If that historical people was not now in possession of the promised blessings, and someone else was, what did that signify for God’s reliability? Did God keep his word, or did he utterly betray Israel? And what were the implications for Gentile believers in this God? Could they rely on ‘the things fulfil among them’ any more that the Jews could? If God’s word failed Israel, could it not fail the Gentiles as well?”10

The plan of God

Apart from a theological motive, Luke has other important themes in view. According to John T. Squires, the theme of “the plan of God” (tēnboulēn tou Theou, Luke 7:30; Acts 2:23; 4:28; 5:38, 39; 13:36; 20:27) embraces the whole of Luke-Acts.11  He  adds, “A  variety of  thematic strands are  woven together to emphasize the certainty and consistency of the plan of God as it is worked in the life of Jesus and the history of the early church.”12 As Helmut Flender states, “For in the community, under the guidance of the Spirit the divine plan of salvation becomes a reality.”13 So to Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Luke works in a conceptual construct of “salvation history,” that is, human history remains guided by God’s salvific activity. Hence, Luke’s statement “the events that have been fulfilled among us” (Luke 1:1, NRSV) relates to Old Testament (OT) history and the realizations of God’s direction of history.14 Further, this is a divine plan where “ ‘ “all flesh will see the salvation of God” ’ ” (Luke 3:6); indeed, salvation “ ‘has been sent to the Gentiles’ ” (Acts 28:28).15

Thus, this article holds that the major theme of Luke, undergirding all other themes, is the plan of God that centers on salvation for all flesh. This plan, carried out as divine activity in human history, is called salvation his- tory, which, in part, is taken into account by Luke in Luke-Acts. This plan begins with the Jews but ultimately embraces all nations, kindred, and people.

The centrality of the temple in Luke

Luke also emphasizes the centrality of the Jerusalem temple. Cyprian Hutcheon asserts that the “temple is a ‘sign’ of critical importance for trying to understand Luke’s theology.”16 He also notes that Luke’s Gospel begins and ends in the temple.17 As Fitzmyer points out, it is not only a destination of what “Jesus began to do and teach” (Luke 1:1) but also the starting point of the spread of the Word of God, for the apostles were to go from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8; 23:11; 28:14).18

The narrative of the childhoods of John and Jesus begins and ends in the temple (1:5–2:52). This story begins with the annunciation of the birth of John by angel Gabriel and ends with the visit of Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem. The temptation of Jesus also ends at the temple in Jerusalem (4:1–13), although its Matthean parallel places the temptation at the temple in the middle of the narrative (4:1–11). Luke’s travel narrative also ends with Jesus entering the temple in Jerusalem (9:51–19:48). In addition, Luke ends the Gospel narrative at the temple with the disciples praising God for all the wonderful things they have witnessed (24:53). Also emphasized, as J. Bradley Chance notes, is the “prominent place that Luke assigns to the city of Jerusalem and the temple” in Luke-Acts.19

The shift of focus in Acts

The book of Acts begins with the birth of the church at Jerusalem (1:3–26). As Chance states, “The action of the first seven chapters of Acts is virtually confined to Jerusalem, and much of what takes place there is focused on the temple (3:1–4:4; 5:12–32, 42; 6:13, 14; 7:44–50).”20 However, while the Acts narrative begins in Jerusalem, it ends in Rome (1:3–28:31). Further, in Acts, the birth and ministry of the church began in the Jerusalem/temple, but the narrative shifts its focus to Stephen’s vision of the glory of God and Jesus in the heavenly Jerusalem/temple (2:1–7:60).21

The temple is central in the LukeActs theology of salvation, which proceeds from the temple where God reveals His glory, as in the OT. But this shift suggests a move of the locus of salvation; that is, from the earthly temple in Jerusalem (in Luke) to the heavenly temple (in Acts 7), where Jesus stands at the right hand of God.22

The vision and its implication to the shift

 The first evidence is Stephen’s (and also Luke’s) attitude toward the Jewish temple. Luke had a positive view of the temple of Jerusalem up until Acts 7:48, 49, when he highlighted Stephen, who quoted Solomon, saying, “ ‘The Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: “Heaven is My throne, and earth is the footstool of My feet; What kind of house will you build for Me?” says the Lord, “Or what place is there for My repose?” ’ ” Stephen made this statement in the context of his defense before the Sanhedrin (Acts 6:12). He was accused of speaking blasphemous words against “this holy place, and the Law” (v. 13).

Scholars are divided on how they view this statement,23 but there is evidence from Luke that Stephen, instead of looking to the earthly temple, where the glory of God was usually residing,24 “gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” Stephen said, “ ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God’ ” (7:56).25 At this juncture, contextual analysis would suggest that Luke emphasizes a shift of the locus of salvation ministry through Jesus to the heavenly sanctuary.

The second evidence is the statement “he [Stephen] gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God” (7:55a). The glory of Yahweh (kabôd YHWH) was usually associated with the earthly temple in the OT26 but now is associated with the heavenly temple,27 as emphasized in the New Testament (NT). The most explicit evidence is found in Revelation 15:8a,28 which says, “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power.”29 If these passages are verbally and thematically parallel with Acts 7:55, it is then plausible to say that the one in Acts is also in the setting of the heavenly temple. Further, such emphasis of the glory of God in the heavenly temple was postulated by David (Pss. 57:5, 11; 73:24; 108:5; 113:4) and also confirmed through a vision of Isaiah when he saw the Lord upon His throne high and lifted up (Isa. 6:1), a vision that has a heavenly locus (cf. Ezek. 1).

Furthermore, when Stephen quoted Isaiah 66:1, he was reminding the Jews that God cannot be confined to a house built by human hands (Acts 7:48), for heaven is His throne (v. 49). It is important to note that the OT earthly temple where the glory of the Lord usually resides with His people is only a replica of heavenly realities (i.e., a heavenly temple where the glory of the Lord ultimately dwells). The NT writers, on the other hand, never spoke of the earthly temple as the place where God’s glory is revealed as it was in the OT.

Third evidence: Stephen saw “Jesus standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55b). This phrase has several parallels in the NT. However, in most NT occurrences, Jesus is depicted as seated at the right hand of God (Luke 22:69; Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62; 16:19). Evidently, the phrase “sitting at the right hand of God” in the NT when Jesus ascended to His Father means power (Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69; Heb. 12:2), authority and honor (cf. Mark 10:37), and rulership (Mark 16:19; Acts 2:33; 5:31; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1).30

However, the usage of other similar phrases like “sitting at the right hand of God” or “right hand of God” in their various literary contexts also suggest the varied facets of Jesus’ ministry or responsibility at the throne of God.31 For example, Hebrews 1:3b, “When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” is not in the context of heavenly governance but rather in the context of sanctuary service or ministration. Similarly in Hebrews 8:1, “Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.”32 Here, the work of Christ as our High Priest is performed in the temple pitched by the Lord, not man (Heb. 8:2),33 making intercession for our sins before the Father (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34).

This analysis leads us to argue for the intercessory or mediatorial work of Jesus before the throne of God in the heavenly temple.34 To this shift of ministration in behalf of God’s people, from earthly to heavenly, Luke refers in his references “seated at the right hand of God.” It is no longer through the earthly priesthood and ministry, but through the superior priesthood of Jesus who ministers in the heavenly sanctuary.

Lessons from the forefather

Fourth evidence, there is also a possible connection between the prophecy of Daniel 9:24–27 and Acts 7. Evidence from the historical-literary context of chapter 7 says that Stephen presented God’s indictment just like the OT prophets did for His people for the last time (7:51–53).35 The speech of Stephen was set in the context of his defense before the Sanhedrin when he was accused of speaking “ ‘blasphemous words against this holy place and the law’ ” (6:13, NKJV). When he responded to his accusers (7:1), Stephen tried to show them that he did not reject the tabernacle and the law, but the children of Israel did when they persistently rejected God and His messengers. He pointed them to their rejection of Moses and the law (vv. 35, 39), which forced Aaron to make a calf and offer sacrifices to it (v. 41). They also worshiped the host of heaven aside from worshiping God and took up the tabernacle of Moloch (vv. 42, 43).

Further, Stephen pointed out that the tabernacle in the wilderness that was built by Moses was only a replica of the original one in heaven (7:44–55; cf. Heb. 8:1, 2). Thus, he confronted the Jewish people and their leaders that they are not any better than their forefathers. They, too, are as guilty as their forefathers who “killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One” by being His betrayers and murderers (7:51–53, NKJV). Like their forefathers, they also killed God’s last messenger to the nation of Israel (7:53–60).

So, looking at the subsequent narrative beginning with Acts 8, it is evident that no other messenger of God so explicitly confronted the leaders of Israel with the message of Jesus the Messiah. Thus, in my perspective, Acts 7 is very significant as far as the prophecy of Daniel 9:24–27 is concerned, in relation to the shift of the focus of Luke-Acts from the earthly sanctuary to the heavenly one.

Connection to Daniel 9

Historically, the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7 happened in a.d. 34,36 which was the end of the 70 weeks (490 days or years, prophecy of Daniel 9:24–27)37 allotted for God’s people to finish transgression (rebelliousness). Rejecting the Messiah, God’s last messenger for the nation of Israel, was the ultimate rejection of God’s plan for His special people. Consequently, as the chosen nation, literal Israel (as a nation) was rejected by God in favor of spiritual Israel—the church that includes both Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus (Rom. 9–11; Gal. 3:28, 29).

Acts 7 shows the theme of “rejection.” In Acts 7:9, the patriarchs rejected Joseph and sold him to Egypt, but God delivered him and made him ruler in Egypt. Israel in Egypt rejected Moses, but God sent him to be a ruler and deliverer (Acts 7:35). This same Moses who received the living oracles for Israel, which they could not obey, was rejected, and they made a golden calf to become their god (7:38–41). When Stephen directly applied to his hearers this theme of rejection in that they had crucified the Messiah, the mob stoned Stephen to death (7:52, 58). In essence, the thematic connection between Daniel 9:24–27 and Acts 7 was the killing of the “Just One,” or the Messiah. In Daniel 9:26, the author speaks of the Messiah as the Prince who will be cut off (“ ‘put to death,’ ” NJB; “ ‘will be killed,’ ” NLT), and Stephen in Acts 7 alluded to His coming, or the coming of the Just One38 and His death at the hands of His people (v. 52). Thus, this theme of “rejection” becomes significant as the probation for Israel expires (cf. Dan. 9:24).

Thus, if the Acts 7 event centers on the rejection of God’s messenger equating to the rejection of God, then Israel’s probation as a chosen people has expired. This, to me, has been the fulfillment of Daniel 9:24 (490 years of probation for Israel), the ending of the earthly temple, and the movement toward the high priestly ministry of Jesus in heaven.

Conclusion

Thus, the redirection of the focus of Luke-Acts from the earthly sanctuary to the heavenly is scripturally credible (Luke 1:5–2:52; 4:1–13; 9:51–19:48; 24:53; Acts 7:44–50, 55, 56; cf. Heb. 8:1, 2). Note again the route of the redirection. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus’ and John’s narratives begin and end with the temple (Luke 1:5–2:52). The temptation of Jesus, in contrast to Matthew’s narrative, ends with the temple (4:1–13). The travel narrative in Luke ends with the temple (19:47). The book itself begins and ends with the temple (Luke 1:5–21; 24:53). In Acts, the action of the first seven chapters is virtually confined to Jerusalem, and much of what takes place there focuses on the temple (Acts 3:1–4:4; 5:12–32, 42; 6:13, 14; 7:44–50). However, in Acts 7, Stephen speaks of the heavenly sanctuary as the real dwelling place of God (vv. 44–50), the permanent residence of God’s glory, as he subsequently saw in the vision (v. 55). And significantly, he also saw Jesus ministering before the presence of God (v. 56; cf. Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1; Heb. 7:25; Rev. 4; 5). So from here on, the focus of Luke is not the earthly localized temple anymore but the heavenly universalized tabernacle.

Daniel 9:24 speaks of the anointing of the “Most Holy place” (ESV, NASB, NET) within the 70-week prophecy. The anointing here may refer to the consecration of the sanctuary (see Lev. 8:10–12). But the sanctuary, inaugurated in Daniel 9:24, may prophetically refer to the inauguration of the heavenly sanctuary (cf. Heb. 9:8; 8:1, 2).

So, the historical and thematic connections of Daniel 9:24–27 and Acts 7 may suggest a spatial shift of the locus of the salvation ministry in Luke-Acts from the earthly to the heavenly sanctuary.

1 James Dawsey, “The Literary Unity of Luke-Acts: Questions of Style—a Task for Literary Critics,” New Testament Studies 35 (1989): 48. Cf. Robert C. Tannehill, “Israel in Luke-Acts: A Tragic Story,” Journal of Biblical Literature 104, no. 1 (1985): 69, accessed October 27, 2010, from Ebscohost.com. Although a few scholars challenge the consensus of a Luke-Acts literary unity, this paper accepts the overwhelming and explicit evidences presented by the scholars who favor their literary unity

2 LukeTimothy Johnson, The Writings of the NewTestament: An Interpretation,rev. ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1999), 220.

3 Donald Guthrie, NewTestament Introduction, 4th ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1990), 106.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid. Cf. I. Howard Marshall, Luke:Historian& Theologian (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1970), 52.

6 Marshall, Luke, 19.

7 Joseph Fitzmyer stresses that the aim of Luke-Acts has to be the stated purpose of Luke 1:4, a point generally recognized by many scholars today. See Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Luke I–IX,The Anchor Bible, vol. 28 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985), 9. For example, Luke’s usual reference to time and historical events in his Gospel account may refl t his purpose in writing an orderly or chronological account (1:5, 26; 2:1–3; 3:1, 2).

8 Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptural references are from the New American Standard Bible.

9  Although Luke explicitly states his purpose in the prologue, some scholars see secondary purposes in Luke. See Robert H. Stein, Luke:An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture, New American Commentary, vol. 24 (Nashville,TN: Broadman, 1992), 35–44.

10 Johnson, The Writings of the NewTestament,219.

11 JohnT. Squires, ThePlanofGodinLuke-Acts(Cambridge, UK: Cambridge, 1993), 1–3.

12 Ibid.

13 Helmut Flender, St. Luke:Theologian of Redemptive History,trans. Reginald H. and Ilse Fuller (London, SPCK, 1967), 143. He further notes,“The whole divine economy of salvation is designated by the term boulē. (Luke 7:30; Acts 20:27; and, in reference to Christ only, Acts 2:23; 4:28; 5:38).”Ibid.

14 Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., Luke theTheologian: Aspects of His Teaching (London: Geoff ey Chapman, 1989), 59–61. Cf.Walter A. Elwell and RobertW.Yarbrough, Encountering the NewTestament: A Historical and Theological Survey, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005), 105. Hans Conzelmann originally proposed the idea of “salvation history”in Luke-Acts. See The Theology of St. Luke (New York: Harper & Row, 1961), 137–69.

15 Guy Nave Jr., The Role and Function of Repentance in Luke-Acts (Atlanta, GA: SBL, 2002), 25.

16 Cyprian Robert Hutcheon,“‘God With Us’:TheTemple in Luke-Acts,” St.Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 44 (2000): 3, accessed December 4, 2007, from Academic Search Premier database.

17 Ibid., 4.

18 Fitzmyer, LukeI–IX, 168.

19 J. Bradley Chance, Jerusalem, theTemple, and the New Age in Luke-Acts(Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1988), 1, accessed October 17, 2010, from Google Scholar.

20 Ibid., 1.

21 In the OT imagery, aside from the familiar belief that God dwells   with His people in the Jerusalem temple/sanctuary (Pss. 5:7; 48:9; 65:4; 68:29; 79:1; 138:2), He was also sometimes seen in His temple in heaven (Ps. 11:4).

22 Cf. Davidson Razafi   ivony,“The Meaning of theTemple in Stephen’s Speech”(M.A. thesis, Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, Silang, Cavite, Philippines, October 1996), 122.

23 James P. Sweeney,“Stephen’s Speech (Acts 7:2–53): Is It Anti- Temple as Frequently Alleged?”Trinity Journal 23 (2002): 198, journal online, accessed October 27, 2010, from Ebscohost.com. Sweeney notes: Hence Bruce (NewTestament History [Garden City: Doubleday-Galilee, 1971], 222) talks of Stephen’s“polemic against theTemple order,”while Marshall (Acts, 130) speaks of Stephen’s “sharp criticism of the actual temple.”Richard N. Longenecker (“The Acts of the Apostles,”in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein; vol. 9 [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990], 229–31) also characterizes this portion as“a vigorous denunciation of the Jerusalem temple and the type of mentality that would hold to it   as the apex of revealed religion”and an“anti-temple polemic”(pp. 345, 346). See further Ernst Haenchen, The Acts of the Apostles: A Commentary (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1971), 285, 290; and Hans Conzelmann, Acts of the Apostles, Hermeneia (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987), 56. Dunn’s reconstruction in Parting of the Ways of the “parting” between temple-centered Judaism and (particularly Hellenistic) Christianity with respect to the temple is largely predicated on this interpretation. See James D. G. Dunn, The Parting of the Ways: Between Christianity and Judaism and Their Signifiance for the Character of Christianity (Philadelphia:Trinity, 1991), 63–71. The same is true of Paul Barnett’s recent work, Jesus and the Rise of Christianity ,219–2. E. Earle Ellis also recognizes the salvation-historical nature of Stephen’s language, noting that“Stephen interprets‘hand-made things’(χειροποίητοij Acts 7:48) by his quotation of Isa 66:2:‘My hand made (ή χειρ μου εποίησεν) all these things’(Acts 7:50).”He further notes:“In this way [Stephen] expands the reference beyond the tabernacle and temple to include the whole present creation.”

E. Earle Ellis,“Isaiah and the EschatologicalTemple,”in Christ and the Future in NewTestament History, NovumTestamentum Supplement Series 97; (Leiden: Brill, 2000), 6; quoted in Sweeney, 204, 205.

2 Cf. Daniel 6:10.

25 John Kilgallen also pointed out that, when he analyzed Stephen’s speech,“the central thought and main purpose of the speech is to show that the salvific presence of God is not tied down to temple dwelling (of Jerusalem). John Kilgallen, Stephen Speech, Analecta Biblica (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1976), 17, 18; accessed October 17, 2010, from Google Scholar. Bo Reicke also asserts that“God’s revelation was never limited to the Holy Land or Holy place (the Temple).”Bo Reicke, Glaube und leben und Urgemeinde,Abh.z.Th. Des A.u.N.T. 32, (Zurich, 1957), 133, 134. Quoted in Kigallen, Stephen Speech, 18.

26 See Hebrews 9:5; Exodus 40:34, 35; Leviticus 9:23; Numbers 14:10; 16:19; 17:7; 20:6; 1 Samuel 4:22; Psalms 26:8; 29:9; 63:2; Ezekiel 43:5; 44:4.

27 In the book of Ezekiel, it was already mentioned that the“glory of the Lord”departed from the earthly temple in Jerusalem (Ezek. 10:3, 4, 18, 19).

28 The implicit ones are Hebrews 1:3; Matthew 19:28; John 17:5.

29 The passages that allude to the“glory of God”in the heavenly temple (in the NT) are John 12:41; 17:5.

30 In the first century a.d., this imagery is usually associated with prestige or power, especially of persons with royal figure. It is a  place of honor of the Messiah or God.Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, trans.William F. Arndt and F.Wilbur Gingrich, 3rd ed., rev. and aug. F.Wilbur Gingrich and FrederickW. Danker, ed. FrederickWilliam Danker (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), s.v.“dexios.”

31 The Seventh-daAdventist Bible Commentary also infers that one of the objectives of Stephen’s speech is“to show the nature and meaning of the worship that God had prescribed for the patriarchs and for His chosen people, in relation, as must be recognized, to Christ’s newly inaugurated work at the right hand of God.”Francis D. Nichol, Seventh-dayAdventistBible Commentary, rev. ed., vol. 6 (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1980), 207.

32 Cf. Hebrews 10:12.

33 Sweeney also argues,“Similarly in Heb. 9:11, there is a clear contrast between the qualitatively greater and more perfect tent into which Christ entered as high priest that was not handmade,that is, not part of this creation (της μεί£ονος καί τελειότερος σκηνής ου χειροποίητου, τουτ’εστίν ου ταύτης της κτίσεως). It is further described in 9:24 as“heaven itself”(αυτόν τον ούρανόν). The theological understanding reflected in these passages is once again salvation-historical in orientation, reflecting a contrast between the new and old orders or covenants.”Sweeney, 205.

34  Alwyn P. Salom asserts that“the contexts of a number of the  ‘right hand of God’passages are cultic in nature.”Alwyn P. Salom, “Sanctuary Theology,”in Issues in the Book of Hebrews, Daniel and Revelation Committee Series, vol. 4, ed. Frank Holbrook (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute, 1989), 210. On the other hand, F. F. Bruce suggests that“a standing posture is mentioned here because the Son of man at God’s right hand is not only viewed as king and priest, but also—and this is most relevant to Stephen’s special situation—as a witness.”F. F. Bruce, The Book ofActs,The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979), 168.

35 Stephen seemed to be the last messenger of God to deliver His indictment in order that they might repent and accept the Messiah whom they betrayed and murdered.

36 Based on the NT chronology, the stoning of Stephen happened in a.d. 34. Longenecker dates Acts 6:8–9:31 between 33 and a.d. 37. Longenecker,“The Acts of the Apostles,”334.

37 For an interpretation of 70 weeks or 490 years and their culmination in a.d. 34, see Andrews Study Bible (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2010), 1129; Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary on Daniel 8:14; vol. 9, 24–27.

38 “The name [Just One] had already been applied in Jewish literature to the expected Messiah (Enoch 38:2) and may have been suggested in Isaiah 11:4, 5.”“The Just One,”(Acts 7:52), Seventh-daAdventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 205.

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