"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

STEPHEN WAS FULL OF SOMETHING
Hugh Fogelman

Christians say Stephen was “full of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 6:5) when he gave his famous speech before the high priest and others in the synagogue and in the High Court (the Sanhedrin) during his famous trail (Acts 6:8-15 and 7:1-60). We are not here now to debate whether Stephen was guilty or innocent, instead, whether or not he was really under the influence of the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. According to Christian theology, doesn’t having the Holy Ghost, the third part of the trinity (god/Invisible Man in the Sky) inside you make you somehow different than the rest of the people ― non-Christians? Or was this simply a figure of speech? If the Holy Ghost has taken over your mind and body, wouldn’t what you say and do be according to god’s influence? Then how could it be possible for Stephen, “full of the Holy Ghost,” to make so many errors when he told about past events in the Hebrew bible? Let’s study this claim in Acts to see if god, or god’s agent was influencing Stephen’s speech and mind.

Stephen begins his speech before the Sanhedrin by saying:

“The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia before he lived in Haran and said leave your country and your people and go to the land I will show you” (Acts 7:2-3).

The Jews probably looked at him with disbelief because they knew that Abraham was in Haran when the Hebrew God (Hashem, Adonai etc) called to him and told him to leave to make a great nation:

“And Terah took Abram his son and Lot (and family) and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees to go into the land of Canaan and they came unto Haran (Genesis 11:31) “Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house unto a land that I will show thee” (Genesis 12:1).

Stephen states: “And Joseph sent and called Jacob his father and all his relatives, seventy-five souls” (Acts 7:14). The Bible concordance says this is told in Genesis 46:27, but the Christian Bibles (KJV, NIV Study, Catholic, the Jerusalem and the Living Bible) all say that the number amounted to 70 “in all”. Even the Torah agrees that Joseph sent and called Jacob and all his relatives, 70 in all. When we examine the Five Books of Moses (the Torah) what do we find, 70 or 75?

And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten. (70) (Genesis 46:27 KJV)

And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt [already]. (70) (Exodus 1:5 KJV)

Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude. (70) (Deuteronomy 10:22 KJV)

Notice that in the King James Version, relying on the Hebrew bible, each reference gives a count of seventy individuals of the house of Jacob going down to Egypt. However, the original Greek Septuagint has the number seventy-five at Genesis 46:27 and Exodus 1:5, but overlooked Deuteronomy 10:22 which gave the count at 70. Because of the differences of numbers, it appears that Stephen’s count was based on the Septuagint, not Jewish writings. Wouldn’t the Holy Ghost have known that when Stephen was talking to the Jewish leaders who had never read the Greek Septuagint? Maybe this was another example why Stephen was laughed at and the rabbis were angry.

Stephen continues by saying:

“So Jacob went down into Egypt where he died and was carried over into Shechem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. (KJV – Acts 7:15-16).

Really? Does the Old Testament back up this claim?

For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpe’lah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a burying place of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre. (Genesis 50:13 KJV)

First, and most important, Jacob was not buried in the city of Shechem, but in the cave of Machpelah, which is located in the city of Hebron which Abraham bought from Ephron, the Hittite, for himself and his wife, Sarah (Genesis 49:29-32 & 50:13). Second, the city of Shechem, in Canaan, is where Jacob bought a plot of ground from the sons of Hamor for a hundred pieces of silver, not for a burial plot but a place where Jacob pitched his tent and set up an altar to God (Genesis 33:19). Joseph, not Jacob was the one buried at Shechem as told in Joshua 24:32. Wouldn’t you think the Holy Ghost would have gotten these events straight while he was supposedly “in” Stephen?

Stephen finally ends by foolishly saying: “He (Moses) was in the assembly in the desert with the angel who spoke to him on Mt. Sinai and with our fathers and he received living words to pass on to us” (Acts 7:38). Stephen was saying that it was an angel who come down to Mt. Sinai and talked with Moses and that the Jewish Laws was given to Moses by angels. Jews claim it was God who spoke to Moses and it was God who gave Moses the Laws.

It is obvious that the Holy Ghost or Spirit was NOT in Stephen. IF this part of Stephen’s Holy Ghost’s story is doubtful, then the episode of him being stoned to death by Jews is also doubtful. This theme of Jews being a blood-thirsty lot and the Romans and followers of Jesus being passive is throughout the New Testament. Notice how, in the Christian New Testament account, the Jews were furious and gnashed their teeth at Stephen, then yelling at the top of their voices they rushed at him and dragged him out of the city. (Acts 7:54-58). The NIV Study Bible describes the next scene; “meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul”. It just isn’t logical that this very angry mob would stop dragging Stephen and lay their clothes at the feet of another, and then continue dragging Stephen outside the city to be stoned to death.

The author of Acts flavored his story when he wrote: “One day some of the men from the Jewish cult started an argument with Stephen and were soon joined by other Jews, but none of them were able to stand against Stephen’s wisdom and spirit.” (Living Bible Acts 6:9-10). What wisdom? They must have laughed at him.

Why did Stephen make so many errors? Answer, because he did not know Hebrew bible! And the Christian Holy Ghost was not in him!

However, Stephen WAS full of something alright!

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