When Moses killed an Egyptian to save a Hebrew, a fellow Jew said he knew about it (Acts 7:28) so Moses fled and became a stranger to his people (v. 29). That Jewish man refused to let Moses be his peacemaker (v. 23-27), a type of how the Jews refused to let Christ be their peacemaker.
Moses was gone from Israel a long time (v. 30), a type of how Christ would be too. Stephen is pointing out these types to witness about Christ to the Jewish council. But Moses having two sons with a Gentile isn’t a type of God having sons among the Gentiles today, as some say. The dispensation of the mystery was “hid in God” (Eph. 3:9), it wasn’t hid in the types in Scripture. The idea of two sons always spoke of Israel’s need to be born again. God rejected Ishmael and accepted Isaac, and rejected Esau and accepted Jacob, etc.
God sent Moses back to Israel from a burning fire (Acts 7:30), and will send Christ back to them the same way (Dn. 7:9-11). Both men draw near to God to hear His instructions (Acts 7:31). The Lord wouldn’t tremble as the Son of God, but He would as the son of Abraham (v. 32,33). The ground in heaven is as “holy” as the type we see with Moses (v. 33).
God saw and felt the affliction of His people (7:34 cf. Isa. 63:9), and He feels ours too! God sent Moses to deliver them from Pharaoh and their tribulations, and will send Christ back to deliver them from Antichrist and the tribulation. The Moses they rejected became their leader the second time he went to save them (Acts 7:35), just as the Christ they rejected will become their leader the second time He comes to save them. That’s Stephen’s point throughout this chapter (7:13). But first God had to send ten plagues on Pharaoh (7:36)—and He’ll send the same ten plagues on Antichrist!
After talking about all the ways Christ was like Moses, Stephen then reminded the council that Moses predicted God would raise up a prophet like him (7:37)! They found Moses too frightening (Deut. 18:15,16) so God promised them a less scary prophet (v. 17,18). He would speak God’s words just as Moses did though (v. 18 cf. John 8:22; 18:19-21).
The “angel” that was with Moses in Israel’s church (Acts 7:38) was “the angel of God’s presence” (Isa. 63:9 cf. Deut. 23:13,14). He gave them the “lively” or life-giving oracles (v. 38 cf. I Pe. 1:3) the oracles of the Scriptures (cf. Rom. 3:1,2).
Stephen’s hearers couldn’t deny their fathers refused Moses (Acts 7:39) because their Bible said so (Neh. 9:13-17). The Egyptians worshipped idols, so that’s what Stephen meant when he said the hearts of the Jews turned back to Egypt (Acts 7:39) “saying” (v. 40) they should make a calf.
Stephen is warning them of their future in the Tribulation by pointing to their past. They turned to idols (7:41) when Moses was gone too long (Ex. 32:1,23), and they will give up on the Lord’s return too (II Pe. 3:3,4) and turn to idols (Rev. 9:20; 13:11-14). They’ll worship the “devils” (9:20) of “the host of heaven” (Acts 7:42). When men worship idols or the stars, they are actually worshipping the devils they represent.
In Moses’ day, unsaved Jews didn’t worship God with their sacrifices (v. 42), they worshipped Moloch and Chiun (v. 43) in the false “tabernacle” they carried through the wilderness for those false gods (cf. Amos 5:22-26). It remained the tabernacle of rebels like we read about later in Numbers 16:24.
Satan always inspires men to mix the worship of God with the worship of idols (cf. Jud. 17:3), just as the church of Rome does today, for the worship of idols is the worship of Satan and his host. The church of the Antichrist will be a false Judaism like they had in Moses’ day, just as Rome is a false Christianity. God vowed to carry the Jews back to Babylon where idolatry started to cure them of idolatry (Acts 7:43).
Jews in Moses’ day did have a true tabernacle though (7:44). We know the “tabernacle of witness” was God’s tabernacle because He told Aaron to minister there (Num. 18:1,2). Stephen’s point here was that Moses couldn’t bring the Jews into the promised land; it took a man named “Jesus” (Joshua) to do that (Acts 7:45). And Moses couldn’t bring the Jews in Stephen’s day into the promised land of the kingdom of heaven on earth either. It would take a man named Jesus to do that too.
Video of this sermon is available on YouTube: A Perfect Stranger – Acts 7:29-45