32 `I am the God of your ancestors--the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.' Moses shook with terror and dared not look.1
33 "And the Lord said to him, `Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground.2
34 You can be sure that I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries. So I have come to rescue them. Now go, for I will send you to Egypt.'*3
35 And so God sent back the same man his people had previously rejected by demanding, `Who made you a ruler and judge over us?' Through the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush, Moses was sent to be their ruler and savior.
36 And by means of many miraculous signs and wonders, he led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and back and forth through the wilderness for forty years.
37 "Moses himself told the people of Israel, `God will raise up a Prophet like me from among your own people.'*4
38 Moses was with the assembly of God's people in the wilderness. He was the mediator between the people of Israel and the angel who gave him life-giving words on Mount Sinai to pass on to us.
39 "But our ancestors rejected Moses and wanted to return to Egypt.
40 They told Aaron, `Make us some gods who can lead us, for we don't know what has become of this Moses, who brought us out of Egypt.'
41 So they made an idol shaped like a calf, and they sacrificed to it and rejoiced in this thing they had made.
42 Then God turned away from them and gave them up to serve the sun, moon, and stars as their gods! In the book of the prophets it is written, `Was it to me you were bringing sacrifices during those forty years in the wilderness, Israel?5
43 No, your real interest was in your pagan gods-- the shrine of Molech, the star god Rephan, and the images you made to worship them. So I will send you into captivity far away in Babylon.'*6
44 "Our ancestors carried the Tabernacle* with them through the wilderness. It was constructed in exact accordance with the plan shown to Moses by God.7
45 Years later, when Joshua led the battles against the Gentile nations that God drove out of this land, the Tabernacle was taken with them into their new territory. And it was used there until the time of King David.
46 "David found favor with God and asked for the privilege of building a permanent Temple for the God of Jacob.*8
47 But it was Solomon who actually built it.
48 However, the Most High doesn't live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says,
49 `Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you ever build me a temple as good as that?' asks the Lord. `Could you build a dwelling place for me?9
50 Didn't I make everything in heaven and earth?'*10
51 "You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? But your ancestors did, and so do you!
52 Name one prophet your ancestors didn't persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One--the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered.
53 You deliberately disobeyed God's law, though you received it from the hands of angels.*"11
54 The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen's accusation, and they shook their fists in rage.*12
55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily upward into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God's right hand.
56 And he told them, "Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God's right hand!"
57 Then they put their hands over their ears, and drowning out his voice with their shouts, they rushed at him.
58 They dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. The official witnesses took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.*13
59 And as they stoned him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
60 And he fell to his knees, shouting, "Lord, don't charge them with this sin!" And with that, he died.