Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God! (Acts ISV)
One, perhaps supreme, factor in the significance of Stephen was what he saw at the end and said with almost his last breath: "Behold, I see the heavens opened; and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God" (Acts). Here we have the central and basic reality of true New Testament Christianity, of the Church and the churches – Jesus on the right hand of God. The government, the authority, the headquarters, vested in the ascended Lord, and centered in heaven; not in Jerusalem, nor anywhere else on earth.... The Jewish rulers and Stephen's accusers were quick and shrewd enough to recognize the implications, for they had no less and no other import than that the "Temple made with hands" was finished; the dispensation of the Law was ended. There was an implicit call to the Church of Jesus to leave the Temple and all that went with it and to move into the greater, the fuller, and the abiding reality.
The tragedy is that, with [the book of] "Hebrews" in their hands, responsible leaders of the Church can still adhere to a system and form which is but the extension or carry-over of the Old Testament, with certain changes of phraseology. The immensity of the change and gap has certainly not been apprehended. Some of the most terrible things in the whole Bible are contained in that letter in relation to the crisis and the two ways and realms. The issue is no less than that of Life and death. All this has much to say regarding the true nature of the Church and the churches. He that hath eyes to see, let him see!
By T. Austin-Sparks
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