|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:51-53 Stephen was going on, it seems, to show that the temple and the temple service must come to an end, and it would be the glory of both to give way to the worship of the Father in spirit and in truth; but he perceived they would not bear it. Therefore he broke off, and by the Spirit of wisdom, courage, and power, sharply rebuked his persecutors. When plain arguments and truths provoke the opposers of the gospel, they should be shown their guilt and danger. They, like their fathers, were stubborn and wilful. There is that in our sinful hearts, which always resists the Holy Ghost, a flesh that lusts against the Spirit, and wars against his motions; but in the hearts of God's elect, when the fulness of time comes, this resistance is overcome. The gospel was offered now, not by angels, but from the Holy Ghost; yet they did not embrace it, for they were resolved not to comply with God, either in his law or in his gospel. Their guilt stung them to the heart, and they sought relief in murdering their reprover, instead of sorrow and supplication for mercy.
Verse 53. - Ye who received for who have received, A.V. ; as it was ordained by angels for by the disposition of angels, A.V.; kept it not for hove not kept it, A.V. Ordained by angels. This phrase, thus differently rendered (εἰς διαταγὰς ἀγγέλων), is one of extreme difficulty: διαταγή means properly appointment," or "ordinance," as in Romans 13:2; and εἰς, which has a great variety of uses in the Greek of the New Testament, means "at," or "upon," or "on the occasion of," as Matthew 12:41, "At the preaching of Jonah." So here they received the Law "at" or "on the occasion of," the "ordering" or "appointing" of angels. When the angels, who were commissioned by God and spoke in his Name, gave the Law, the Israelites so received it. The A.V., "by the disposition of angels" very nearly ex- presses the true sense. Another sense of εἰς - "in view of" - comes to nearly the same thing. St. Paul speaks of the part taken by the angels in the giving of the Law, and in language strikingly resembling the text. He says of it, that it was "ordained through ['by,' A V] angels" God ordained or appointed the Law, but the angels were the instruments or ministers of its promulgation. And it is also distinctly referred to in Deuteronomy 33:2, where the LXX. read, "On his right hand the angels were with him." In the foregoing verses the application which Stephen had all through been contemplating is hurled with accumulated force at the consciences of his hearers, and cuts them to the heart, but does not bring them to repentance.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Who have received the law, by the disposition of angels,.... Who attended the angel that spake to Moses on Mount Sinai, Acts 7:38 who is the head of all principality and power, and whom he might make use of in giving the law to Moses: hence the law is said to be ordained by angels, in the hand of a Mediator, and is called the word spoken by angels, Galatians 3:19 and certain it is, that there were great numbers of angels on Mount Sinai, when the law was given, Deuteronomy 33:2 And so the Jews say (m), that
"when the holy blessed God descended on Mount Sinai, there came down with him many companies of angels, Michael and his company, and Gabriel and his company''
Indeed they often say (n),
"the law was not given to the ministering angels:''
their meaning is, it was not given to them to observe and keep, because there are some things in it, which do not concern angels; but then it might be given to them to deliver to Moses, who gave it to the Israelites, and so may be said to receive it by the ministration of angels, through the hands of Moses. And now the law being given and received in so grand a manner, was an aggravation of the sin of the Jews in violating it, as it follows:
and have not kept it; but broke it in innumerable instances, and scarce kept it in any; for no man can keep it perfectly.
(m) Debarim Rabba, sect. 2. fol. 237. 3.((n) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 25. 2. Yoma. fol. 30. 1. Kiddushin, fol. 54. 1.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
7:53 Who have received the law by the administration of angels - God, when he gave the law on Mount Sinai, was attended with thousands of his angels, Gal 3:19; Psa 68:17.
Acts 7:53 Parallel Commentaries
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