Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

When John the Baptist preached in the wilderness for the nation to “repent”, he told them about the kingdom, and the One who would come and baptize them with “the Holy Ghost” and with “fire”, he is speaking to two groups of people in the nation, the ones who hearkened unto the gospel, and the ones who he called a “generation of vipers”, which he knew would reject the gospel, and be that “tree” that would never bring forth “fruits meet for repentance”, but it would be “hewn down, and cast into the fire”.

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. 17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

These “vipers” were told of the One who would come and “purge his floor”, and in Isa.28, the LORD speaks of a “foundation” that HE will lay in “Zion”, this foundation HE calls a “stone”; a “tried” stone, and this “sure” foundation is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 21:33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast himout of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

When the Lord spoke to those religious leaders in Matthew 21, He gave them a parable concerning the Father’s plan and purpose with the nation, and the religious systems failure to hearken to the ones that were sent to them, including the “Son” whom they will reject and “kill”, He lets them answer this parable concerning their own fate, and they understood fully that this parable was about themselves because they “perceived that he spake of them”, so these religious leaders knew also that the “kingdom of God” was going to be “taken away” from them, and that this “stone”; which is a “tried” one will “grind” them to powder. These “builders” rejected this “stone”, and Peter warned those religious leaders of this in Acts about that “stone” and who He was, and the salvation that was through Him, but these leaders again rejected like they had done before with the Father, they crucified their Christ, and in doing so made themselves worthy for the wrath of God against them. When Jesus asked the Father on the cross to “forgive them” God offered Israel another chance for repentance, so now after His ressurection He would be ready to send His apostles out to preach and again offer the kingdom to rebellious Israel .

John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace beunto you: as myFather hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sinsye retain, they are retained.

When the Lord “breathed” on His apostles He gave them the “Holy Ghost”, these apostles were now ready being “sent” to go out and do the will of the “Holy Ghost”. These 11 apostles whom the Lord “had chosen” were given “commandments” by the Lord through the Holy Ghost to carry out the “things pertaining to the kingdom of God” in His absence. For 40 days these apostles were taught by the Lord all that the Lord wanted them to know, the Lord “had chosen” these apostles and counted them faithful enough to carry out His will, as well as the will of the Father, and the Holy Ghost.

Act 1:16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
Act 1:17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
Act 1:18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.
Act 1:19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
Act 1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.
Act 1:21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
Act 1:22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
Act 1:23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

When Peter “stood up in the midst of the disciples” he explained that “scripture must needs have been fulfilled”, Judas was “numbered” with them in the ministry and because he was no longer part of the ministry, there was a ‘need’ for that replacement to be “fulfilled”. Judas by “transgression fell”, and because he was “numbered” with those apostles there could not have only been 11 apostles, it would not serve the purpose that the Lord had when He told them that they would “sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel”, these 12 would each judge his tribe, so another apostle had to be chosen. This apostleship had to be fulfilled, but there were certain guidelines that had to be followed, one “must” be one that “companied with” them and the Lord “all the time the Lord” went about preaching, beginning from John’s baptism , to the time when the Lord was “taken up”, and there was “two” that met those qualifications; and were the right choice, seeing that the only way one could have been the replacement for Judas was to have traveled with the Lord the whole time, so Paul could have not been the right choice for that position, Joseph, and Matthias were the right choices. One of these two had to take Judas’ “bishoprick”, and they “prayed” the Lord “shew” which of the two that the Lord “hast” chosen so they cast lots and it fell upon Matthias, and he was “numbered” with the 11.

Act 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Act 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Act 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Act 2:25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
Act 2:26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
Act 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Act 2:28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
Act 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
Act 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
Act 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
Act 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
Act 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
Act 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
Act 2:35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
Act 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Act 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Act 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Act 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

What took place on the Day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of prophecy, and the filling of a “promise” that the Lord Jesus Christ said would come in Acts chapter 1, also John the Baptist fore-told of this time when the nation would be baptized by the Lord with the Holy Ghost. When the disciples became “filled” with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with “other tongues”, the multitude became “confounded” and wondered what “meaneth this”, Peter explained that “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel”, these were the “last days” concerning the nation’s time schedule in which was the time when the Lord was ready not only to pour out His spirit, but also His wrath. When Peter spoke to “all the house of Israel”, he let them “know assuredly” that this Jesus that they crucified was now sitting at the Father’s right hand, and that God has made Him “both Lord and Christ”. Peter let the nation know that they could be the “foes” that the Lord said he would make his “footstool” unless they “repent and be baptized” and save themselves from this “untoward generation”. Peter let them know that the Lord was now “sitting”, but there will be a time when the Lord would not be sitting, He would be sitting “until” He was ready to purge and pour out His wrath on this “untoward generation. From the time Peter asked the Lord “wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”, to the stoning of Stephen; Repentance was being offered to Israel.

Act 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
Act 4:14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
Act 4:15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
Act 4:16 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
Act 4:17 But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.

John the Baptist cried out in the wilderness for this nation to repent, the Lord gave testimony to the same fact, and even asked for forgiveness on the behalf of the nation to the Father, now the apostles (which were filled with the Holy Ghost) were offering the nation another opportunity to “repent” for blaspheme against the Father, and the Son. Now through Holy Ghost these apostles were explaining to the nation their crime, and the remedy for it, some in the nation did “repent and be baptized” for remission of their sins, but most of the “men of Israel” would not “hear these words”, three clear opportunities were given to the nation to change their way of thinking. Israel’s leaders saw that a “notable miracle” had been done and that they could not “deny it”, which should have caused them to change their way of thinking, but instead of repentance these leaders rejected this sign given to them.

Act 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Act 5:30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
Act 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Act 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
Act 5:33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.

Another chance was offered when the apostles were sent to prison, when the angel of the Lord opened the prison doors, and the apostles were set free, another miracle was done in their midst. The leaders were “cut to the heart” when they heard the things spoken by the apostles, but still they did not hearken unto the apostles who were filled with the Holy Ghost, and they beat them and “commanded them that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.”

Act 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
Act 7:52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
Act 7:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
Act 7:54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.
Act 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
Act 7:56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Act 7:57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
Act 7:58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.
Act 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
Act 7:60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

The third and last chance that was given to Israel was when Stephen stood before the council after he was taken, they set up “false witnesses” against Stephen who was “full of faith and the Holy Ghost” , because they “were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” When Stephen was brought before the council they looked on him and saw his face as it had been the “face of an angel”, it was as if “an angel” was in their midst, which should have caused the council repent from their foolish thinking, but when they heard the things spoken by Stephen they were again “cut to the heart”, and gnashed on him, and stoned him and in doing so, blasphemed the Holy Ghost. Stephen’s message to Israel’s leaders was a short history lesson in God’s dealings with this nation and their rebellion toward the prophets that God sent to His nation, and the fact that they rejected them, and they rejected “the Just One” also, and now they were rejecting the Holy Ghost. Israel was told by Stephen that these “stiffnecked” leaders were doing as their fathers’ also had done to God, and to his Son that He sent, and now they were rejecting the testimony of the Holy Ghost to them. When those leaders of Israel heard Stephen’s message to them through the Holy Ghost, they were “cut to the heart”, and gnashed on him, and what God gave him to see was that the Lord was now “standing at the Fathers’ right hand”, not sitting like in Acts chapter 2, meaning the Lord was getting ready to begin to have His day of wrath, and judge that nation, and they also reject what is being said by Stephen, and by stoning him they reject the testimony of the Holy Ghost for the third and final time.

By Rod Jones

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