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LEGENDARY FAITH: Saint Stephen, First Christian Martyr, His Death Was Similar To Which Christian?




Saint Stephen was what is known as a Messianic Jew: a Jewish person who believes in Jesus. He is the fist Christian martyr listed in the Holy Bible. He was stoned to death by a mob in Jerusalem that falsely accused him of blasphemy against God and Moses - just like they did Jesus.


But Stephen was telling the truth when what he said cut to the hearts of the Anti-Christian Jews he was defending himself against in a kangaroo court. They mob-rushed and lynched him.


Fellow Christians were devastated and mourned him heavily, but his death energized the saints with even more boldness and determination to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Anti-Christian Jews in Jerusalem treated Stephen, and many other early Christians in much the same way they did Jesus. They used blasphemy as a pretext for putting as many Christians as possible through sham trials, then in prison or to death.


Saint Stephen's death strikes stunning similarities to that of Jesus Christ.


From the Book of Acts chapters 6-7, the following is a brief account of Stephen - the first Christian martyr.



Seven Men of Good Report



Stephen was chosen to be one of the “seven men of good report” to minister to Jerusalem’s Greek widows. The number of the disciples was multiplying greatly and a great many of the Jewish priests were even converting to Christianity.


Stephen was appointed to the ministry by the original disciples and his ministry class mates included Philip.


The martyr is described in the Holy Bible as a disciple - not one of the first 12 or 13 - but a man full of faith, of the Holy Ghost and of doing great wonders and miracles among the people in Jerusalem as the Early Church grew tremendously after the resurrection of Jesus.



Stephen’s Miracles and Apologetics


Stephen was constantly performing marvels and miracles in the name of Jesus, like many of the other disciples and apostles, when he clashed with a Jewish clique called the synagogue of the Libertines, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, Cilicia and Asia.


These men were from Egypt, Carthage, Syria, modern-day Libya and Turkey.


Full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit, he spoke boldly as a Christian apologist.


They could not counter his debating skills so they stirred up the people, the elders, the scribes, arrested him and brought him to the council. Then they recruited false witnesses who accused him of blasphemy against Moses and God - just like they had done Jesus.



Stephen Before the Jewish Council


While his face appeared like an angel’s to the astonished council members, Stephen boldly

started speaking in his own defense.


He proved that he knew Hebrew Israelite history very well, and expounded on it from Abraham to Jesus then boldly accused the Jewish elite of persecuting, betraying and murdering Jesus.



Stephen Stoned to Death


Stephen’s words infuriated the council so much that they rushed him on the spot and stoned him to death. But just before dying, he asked the Lord to receive his spirit and to forgive the Jews.


Paul aka Saul of Tarsus was present and “consenting” to Stephen’s death.


Paul was infamously one of the foremost persecutors of Christians before he was flipped by Jesus to Christianity (Acts 7:58 – 8:3; Acts 9).


So Paul may have been one of the false witnesses against Stephen in the council chamber, although the Holy Bible does not say whether Paul was or was not.



Israelite History of Execution by Stoning



Hebrew Israelites convicted of blasphemy in that era were sentenced to death by stoning according to Jewish religious law and the commandments of God (Leviticus 24:16).


Stephen was murdered by stoning at least 40 days after Jesus Christ was crucified, arose from the dead, appeared to hundreds of eyewitnesses, ascended into Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit (Acts 1; 1 Corinthians 15:6).



Conclusion



The Holy Bible describes Stephen as being a man of good report, full of faith and power of the Holy Spirit, able to perform wonders, miracles and appearing angel-like before the council.


Like Jesus and His other followers, Stephen was not deserving of being charged with blasphemy and sentenced to corporal punishment because he preached the truth of Christ and spoke reality to powerful yet evil men.


The unbelieving Jews could not accept the Christian message because their hearts were far from God’s - as Jesus pointed out (John 5:33-47).


According to God’s plan, Stephen was an early martyr whose death led to the even more rapid spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ all over the Roman Empire after Christ was resurrected.


Stephen, like all Christian martyrs and the dead in Christ, will be resurrected to eternal life in the kingdom of Heaven, along with living believers when Jesus Christ returns to fulfill the final prophesies contained in the Holy Bible.




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