Acts 7:35

Austin Capitol, being tidied up in 2010.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

“This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. Acts 7:35

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen).

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous verse referred to the Lord’s words at the bush noting the oppression of His people and His coming down to deliver them. He completed the thought to Moses with, “And now come, I will send you to Egypt.” Stephen continues now, saying, “This Moses whom they rejected.”

What had happened forty years earlier is being reminded to the council again. Moses had appeared to his brother Israelites, coming to them as one of them, and yet they rejected him, “saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’”

It is the words of verse 7:27 being called to mind. Moses had attempted to intercede by bringing harmony between the two who were fighting, but his attempts met with being pushed away and stinging words of rejection. Despite this, Stephen continues with his words about Moses, saying that this same Moses “is the one God sent.”

This refers to the words, “And now come, I will send you to Egypt,” of the previous verse. Despite having been rejected by his own people, it is he who was commissioned to be sent “to be a ruler and a deliverer.”

The word translated as “ruler” signifies one commanding with authority. It can be a governor, a leading man, a member of the elders, and so on. It is a general word that would rightly describe Moses over the people. The next word, translated as “deliverer,” is found only here in the Bible, lutrótés. It comes from the verb, lutroó, to release by paying a ransom, or to redeem. As such, it is more appropriately translated as “redeemer.”

In the choice of this word, Stephen is clearly tying the leadership of Moses in with the work of Christ. Moses worked on behalf of the Lord who redeemed Egypt –

“Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.’” Exodus 6:6

“’And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 16 It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.” Exodus 13:15, 16

The verb from which this noun comes is applied to Jesus three times in the New Testament: Luke 24:21, Titus 2:14, and 1 Peter 1:18. It says in 1 Peter –

“knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18, 19

Stephen is showing that Moses, through the blood of the Passover, was a type and picture of the coming Christ. This is exactingly stated by Paul in Ephesians 1:7 where he notes that it is “In Him we have redemption through His blood.” It is Jesus who would be rejected by those he came to, and yet, he was appointed by God to be their Ruler and Redeemer. As for Moses, he was sent in this capacity “by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush.”

The Greek preposition, en, or “in,” is used – “in the hand.” The hand is a symbol of power and strength. Thus, it is a way of saying, “in the strength of the Angel.” Thus, it is the power of the Lord who led him and by which he performed the miracles, signs, and wonders before Pharaoh and the people of Egypt. The connection to Jesus, the Ruler of Israel and who performs in the strength of the Lord, is being called forth once again –

“‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.’
Therefore He shall give them up,
Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth;
Then the remnant of His brethren
Shall return to the children of Israel.
And He shall stand and feed His flock
In the strength of the Lord,
In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God;
And they shall abide,
For now He shall be great
To the ends of the earth;
And this One shall be peace.” Micah 5:2-5

Stephen is clearly and precisely showing the council that everything about the coming Messiah was clearly prophesied in advance and that the typology of their historical figures – along with the prophecies – is exactingly fulfilled in Jesus.

Life application: Studying what Jesus has done, as it was anticipated in Old Testament types and pictures, clearly reveals His deity. If you are struggling with this concept, or if you have someone telling you that it is not a proper doctrine, all you need to do is pick up your Bible and read it – cover to cover and again and again. The more familiar you are with it, the more obvious what is being said becomes.

Jesus Christ is clearly a Man, born of a woman. Jesus Christ is clearly God, born of the Holy Spirit. The pattern for all things reproducing after their own kind is found on the first page of the Bible. It is explicitly stated there for a reason. Be confident in your faith concerning Jesus Christ, the God/Man.

Glorious God Almighty, what You have done is incredible! We may struggle with the core doctrines concerning You and what You have done, but they are so clearly presented in Scripture that we would be foolish to deny them. And so, Lord, help us to have faith when our knowledge may be lacking. But also, Lord, lead us to those who can also firm up our knowledge. Thank You, O God. Amen.