Acts of the Followers 5-7

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    5 [1] Someone named Ananias, along with Sapphira, his spouse, sold some land, but kept back part of the price. With Sapphira being in on it, he brought a certain part, and laid it at the followers’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Wasn’t it yours as long as you owned it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it in your own power? Why have you planned this thing in your heart? You haven’t lied to human beings, but to God.” And when Ananias heard these words, he fell down, and died: and great fear came on all those who heard about it. And some young people got up, wound him up, carried him out, and buried him. Then about three hours later, Sapphira, not knowing what happened, came in. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for this much?” And she said, “Yes, for that much.” Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you’ve agreed together to tempt the Spirit of God? The feet of those who buried your husband are at the door, and will carry you out as well. Then suddenly she fell down at their feet, and died: and the young people came in, and found her dead, and carried her out, and buried her by her husband. And great fear came on all the church, and on whoever heard this.

     [12-16] And the followers did many great signs and amazing things among the people; (and everyone was with One heart in Solomon’s porch. But none of the rest dared to join them, even though the people thought highly of them. And more and more, both people and women believed in Christ and were added to their numbers.) So much so, that they brought the sick out into the streets, and laid them on beds and pallets, that Peter’s shadow might at least overshadow some of them as he passed by. A crowd also came out of the cities around Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and those who were suffering with evil spirits: and they were all healed.

     [17-28] Then the leading priest and all those of the religious sect who were with him were filled with resentment, and took the followers, and put them in the common prison. But the angel of God opened the prison doors that night, and brought them out, saying, “Go, stand, and speak in the place of worship to the people all the Words of this life.” And when they heard that, they went in the place of worship early in the morning, and taught. But when the leading priest and those who were with him came, they called the court together and all the elders of the children of Israel and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they didn’t find them in the prison, and came back, and told them, saying, The truth is, we found the prison shut tight, and the guards standing outside the doors: but when we had opened them, we found no one inside. Now when the leading priest and the captain of the guard of the place of worship, and the leading priests heard this, they wondered what would happen next. Then someone came and told them, saying, those people you put in prison are standing in the place of worship, and teaching the people. Then the captain and the officers went and brought them without violence because they were afraid, thinking the people might try to kill them. And when they had brought them, they brought them before the court: and the leading priest asked them, saying, “Didn’t we clearly tell you that you shouldn’t teach in this name? And you’ve filled all Jerusalem with your teachings, and intend to bring this person’s blood on us.”

     [29-32] Then Peter and the other followers answered, “We must obey God, not people. The God of our ancestors brought Yeshua back to life, which you killed and hung on a cross. The Christ was lifted up to God’s own right side to be a Prince and a Savior, to give the people of Israel a chance to change their ways, and be freed from sins. And we’re Christ’s witnesses of this; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who accept the Christ.

     [33-42] When they heard that, they were so angry they planned to kill them. Then someone stood up in the court, a Religious leader, named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Word of God, who had a good reputation among all the people, and told them to put the followers out for a little while; And said, “You people of Israel, be very careful what you intend to do with these people. Someone named Theudas once came, bragging about himself and claiming to be somebody important; to whom about four hundred people joined themselves: who was put to death; and all who followed him were scattered out, and brought to nothing. Later someone named Judas of Galilee came in the days of the taxing, and drew many people after himself, who was also killed; and all who followed him were scattered. And now I tell you, Don’t do anything to these people, and leave them alone because if these words or this work is of human origin, it’ll come to nothing: But if it’s of God, you can’t overcome it; and you may even find yourselves to be fighting against God. And they all agreed with him: and when they had called the followers, and beaten them, they told them not to speak in the Name of Yeshua, and let them go. And they went from the presence of the court, with joy that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ. And they didn’t stop teaching and preaching about Yeshua the Christ, but spoke daily in the place of worship, and in every house.

    6 [1-4] And in those days, when the number of followers was growing, the Grecian followers secretly complained against the Hebrew followers, because their widows were being neglected in the daily ministry. Then the twelve called all the followers to them, saying, “It isn’t right that we neglect spreading the Word of God to serve tables. So, Christians, pick out from among you seven people known to be honest and respectable, who are full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint over this business, so we may continue to pray, and to do the ministry of the Word.

     [5-8] And this pleased the whole crowd, so they chose Stephen, someone full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a convert of Antioch. They brought them before the followers, who prayed for them, and laid their hands on them. And the Word of God spread; and the number of the followers in Jerusalem grew daily; and a great many of the Jewish priests accepted the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did wonderful and amazing things among the people.

     [9-15] Then some of the local worshipers from the Church of the Free People, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those of Cilicia and Asia, began arguing with Stephen. But they weren’t able to speak against the wisdom and the spirit of Stephen. Then they secretly told some to say, “We’ve heard this person speak disrespectful words against Moses, and against God.” So they stirred up the people, the elders, and the religious leaders, who came to take Stephen and brought him to the court. The false witnesses said, “This person won’t stop speaking disrespectful words against this holy place, and the Word of God: We’ve heard him say that this Yeshua of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the way of life which Moses gave us. And all that sat in the court, stared intently at Stephen, whose face shown like the face of an angel.

    7 [1-10] Then the leading priest asked, “Is this so?” And Stephen said, “Everyone, listen carefully; The God of victory appeared to our ancestor Abraham, who was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said, “Get you out of your country, and go away from your family, and go the land which I’ll show you.” Then Abraham came out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and lived in Haran: and from there, when his father died, God moved Abraham’s family into this land in which you now live. But God gave him no inheritance in it, no, not even enough to set a foot on. But still God promised to give it to the descendants of Abraham for a possession, when Abraham still had no child. And God said that the descendants would live in a foreign country, which would make slaves of them, and treat them cruelly for four hundred years. And then I’ll judge the nation who enslaves them, God said: and after that they’ll come out of that country, and serve Me in this place. And God gave them the sign of promised agreement, which was the cutting of the male foreskin. So Abraham had Isaac, and cleansed him on the eighth day; and Isaac had Jacob; and Jacob had the twelve leaders of the families of Israel, who acted in jealousy, and sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him, and freed him from all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, who made him governor over Egypt and his whole house.

      [11-22] Now a drought came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, with great suffering, so that our ancestors had no food. But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, our ancestors were sent the first time. Then when they were sent a second time, Joseph was made known to his brothers; and Joseph’s family was made known to Pharaoh. Then Joseph sent, and called Jacob to come, and all their family, seventy-five people in all. So Jacob went down into Egypt, where he and our ancestors died, and whose bones were carried back into Shechem, and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought from the children of Hamor, the leader of Shechem. But when the time came near for the promise to take place, which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and grew in Egypt, till another ruler came, which didn’t know Joseph. This Pharaoh was very cruel to our people, and treated our ancestors horribly, making them throw their babies in the river and kill them. Moses was born at this time, and was a beautiful baby, and was nursed in his parent’s house three months: And when Moses was put out, Pharaoh’s daughter found him, and brought him up as her own child. And Moses was taught in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was powerful in words and in actions.

      [23-36] And when Moses was forty years old, it came into his heart to go see the children of Israel. And seeing one of them being beaten, he defended them, and took revenge for the One who was hurt, and killed the Egyptian. He thought the Hebrews would understand how that God would deliver them through him: but they didn’t understand. And the next day he came up to two of them as they argued, and wanted to help them make peace again, saying, “People, you’re family; Why are you fighting one another?” But the One who did the other wrong pushed him away, saying, “Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Will you kill me, as you did the Egyptian yesterday?” When he said this, Moses ran away, and became a stranger in the land of Midian, where he had two children. And after another forty years, an angel of God appeared to him in the countryside of Mount Sinai in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight: and as he came nearer, he heard the voice of God say, “I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses was so afraid that he dared not look. Then God said to him, “Take your shoes from off your feet because the place where you’re standing is holy ground. I’ve seen the suffering of my people in Egypt, and I’ve heard their crying, and I am come down to free them. And now come, I’ll send you back to Egypt. This Moses whom they rejected, saying, “Who made you a ruler and a judge?” was the same person God sent to be their leader to free them by the power of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. So Moses led them out, showing them amazing things for forty years, with signs in the land of Egypt, in the Red sea, and in the countryside.

     [37-50] This is the same Moses, who said to the children of Israel, Yahweh your God will send you a great preacher out of your own people, like me; Listen to this One. This is the One who was in the meeting place in the countryside with the angel which spoke to him in Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors who got the words of life to give to us. But our ancestors wouldn’t accept him, but rejected Moses, and turned their hearts back to Egypt again, saying to Aaron, “Make us gods to go with us. As for this Moses, who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we don’t even know what has happened to him.” And they made a golden calf in those days, and offered sacrifices and celebrated in the false worship of something made by their own hands. So God turned away from them, and let them worship the planets and stars of heaven; as the Word says in the book of the great preachers, “House of Israel, Did you give Me animals to be killed and sacrifices those forty years in the countryside? You took up the worship of Molech, and worshiped the star of your god Remphan; things which you made yourselves to worship them: so I’ll carry you far away beyond Rome. Our ancestors had the place of worship in the desert as a witness of God’s Word, who had told Moses to make it the way that God had shown it to him. Our ancestors that came afterwards brought it in with Joshua into the land of the other peoples, whom God drove out before them. It was used until the time of David, who found favor with God, and wanted to find a place of worship for the God of Jacob that would not be moved. But Solomon built the house of God, though the Most High God doesn’t live in place of worships made by humans; as the great preacher once said, God said, Heaven is My throne, and the earth is where I rest My feet: what kind of house will you build Me to rest in? Haven’t I made all this Myself?

     [51-60] You stubborn people are uncleansed in your heart and ears, you always reject the Holy Spirit: you do just as your ancestors did. Have any of the great preachers not been abused by your ancestors? They’ve put to death all those who told them of the coming of the Christ; And now, you, who have the Word of God by the gift of angels, and haven’t kept it, have handed over and murdered Yeshua the Christ. When they heard this, they were deeply angered, and they ground their teeth at him. But Stephen, being full of the Holy Spirit, stared up into heaven, and saw the light of God, and Yeshua standing on the right side of God, and said, “I see heaven opened up, and the Christ standing on the right side of God.” Then they yelled loudly, and stopped listening, and ran at him all together, and put him out of the city, and stoned him to death: and they laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen while he called on God, saying, “Christ Yeshua, take my spirit.” And he kneeled down, and hollered out with a loud voice, “Christ, don’t hold this sin against them.” And after he said that, he fell dead.

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