Then Stephen said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right side of God!”
(Acts 7:56 CEV)
It is worth following the message that Stephen delivered to the unbelieving Jews about Jesus.
He primarily bears witness against the Jews of their typical unbelief. It is important to note that he sees the coming of the ‘Righteous One’ as a continuation of what happened before. This is important as Jesus himself stood on the foundations of the Law and Prophets.
Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered,
(Acts 7:52 ESV)
At the end of the speech he saw the glory of God, and Jesus was standing at the right hand of God. I.e. he bore witness that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and therefore was in heaven besides God. It was impossible for man to go into heaven and get so close to God. For the Jews that was a blasphemy and false witness concerning Jesus so they set out to stone him.
The prophecy that the Christ would go to heaven was prophesied by David:
Psalms 110:1 Yahweh declared to my Lord, ‘Take your seat at my right hand, till I have made your enemies your footstool.’
As Peter explained why Jesus is in heaven:
whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
(Acts 3:21 ESV)
The ‘Time of restoration’ is a fundamental hope presented in the scriptures. Till about recent times most churches never preached the return of Christ. The City of Rome they thought was the city of God! Now that the Jews have been gathered to their own country it is good to see many pastors reading the scriptures and preaching the return of Christ. ((in the past many christians were Jew haters though Jesus himself was a Jew))
Jesus will return. The Messiah was prophecied to rule from David’s throne:
and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:11 ESV)
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
(Isaiah 9:7 ESV)
A verse for pondering: “whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring”
Most Christians take it for granted that you take off to heaven when you die. Peter was certain David never made it to heaven:
“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand,
(Acts 2:29, 34 ESV)
Jesus was key to open the gates of eternal life. Now many Christians think redemption or salvation is for God to raise their earthy bodies and give it back to them.
Based on the parable of Lazarus and the rich man foundational doctrines of afterlife have been laid. It Is true Jesus said it but he might have been sarcastic with beliefs of the people:
Scene in heaven: David and Abraham speaking to Jesus before he was earth bound.
Jesus says I’m going to redeem you both?
David and Abraham reply: Lord, we are already in heaven and at the side of the Father.
Jesus says: Oh! That is not enough you need your original bodies!
David and Abraham reply: Why Lord? We are immortal and really really awesome! Is there anything better than Heaven?
Jesus says: One day people (Nicaea Christians) will teach others the great act of redemption. I go to earth and die. Then I get resurrected! Then I come back to heaven. Then wait for thousands of years and then suddenly I will go back to earth and perform the great resurrection of all people. And then guess what? You can have your earthly suits back. You will love it because it will be modified to be immortal.
That was a digression. But unfortunately the power of resurrection and Jesus going to heaven is completely undermined if he was a person of the trinity!
If God had not raised Jesus from his state of death, he would still be in his grave. This changes the message completely but is consistent with the prophecy concerning the Messiah or Holy One:
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.
(Acts 2:27 ESV)
We know Jesus is the Christ because his life matches with the prophecies of the Messiah. If Jesus was a person of the trinity the above is a meaningless prophecy and can be ignored as obvious!
The conclusion is that Stephan did not bear witness or preach that one of the ‘three consubstantial persons’ had come to earth. His primary witness was the that Jesus was the Messiah: i.e. ‘coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered’.
YHWH is ‘’I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’’
NOT Two ‘consubstantial persons’ but two distinct beings!
God is God
Jesus whom he exalted at the right hand of God.
Stephen’s witness is consistent with the witness of Peter and John that we saw in Reason 2 of 100.
Stephen also full of the Holy Spirit spoke to Jews regarding the testimony of the Holy Spirit. Many christians think there was no Holy Spirit during the O.T. times. It is best to understand what or who the Holy Spirit is from the scripture:s Old testament first FIRST, then New! That is not the focus here.
As you explore the Acts of the Apostles you will find authentic/original/inspired and early as early can be preachers did not draw circles and triangles to explain a non existent trinity of the Nicaea Christians. I treat the witness in the Acts of the Apostles as authentic reference and will ignore the works ‘sainted’ early ROMAN church ‘fathers’.