Posted on 23 August 2017 12:55 PM
Q. How can we know that Stephen was stoned in 34 A.D.?
A. Like with many minor historical events, the exact date of Stephen’s death is not recorded. Most scholars and historians without committing to an exact year, favours the time between 33-35 A.D.
Although there is no exact dates in history, there is a “more sure word of prophecy” (2Peter 1:19) that helps us place Stephen’s stoning in perspective. The 70-week prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 (See the links below for a complete study on this topic) gives us a very precise timeline where we can identify major events. The last week of the prophecy which correspond to 7 years, shows us the beginning of Christ ministry at His baptism in 27 A.D. as well as His death in the middle of that week, 3 1/2 years later, in 31 A.D. This prophetical period ends in 34 A.D. where the Bible tells us that the period that was “determined” for the people of Daniel (The Jewish Nation) came to an end.
The story of Stephen takes place a few years after Jesus’ death, and shortly after the Church saw a major expansion. The Jewish leaders after having listened to the sermon of Stephen, which traced the Plan of Salvation from Abraham and saw its fulfillment in Jesus, were enraged. Not willing to accept that they had indeed crucified the Messiah they had been waiting for, they stone Stephen to silence him. As a result chapter 8 of Acts describes the beginning of great persecution against the Church. Because of this the many coverts in Jerusalem began to spread all over the world preaching the Gospel of Christ. This marks the widespread missionary movement that brought the truth of Christ to the Gentile nations.
This story is also the last recorded rejection of Jesus as the Messiah by the Jewish leader acting as authoritative representative of the nation. This is believed to fulfill the end of the 70-week prophecy and the “determined” portion. After which no one could claim their national heritage as a privilege for salvation, but all could now independently and individually receive Salvation by accepting Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
Stephen’s death plays a pivotal role as a catalyst for the spreading of the Gospel. It coincides perfectly with the end of the 70-week prophecy and helps us to determine his death to be in the year 34 A.D.
For more information we recommend the following resources:
Keywords: Stephen, Stoning, Daniel, Prophecy, 70-week, determined, cut off, Israel, Jewish nation, Messiah, Christ, Jesus, Salvation, Gospel, Gentiles, Church
categories: [retain: bible teaching, Bible history, Bible prophecy, Daniel, Bible questions] [add: Salvation, Israel as people of God