Acts 7:45 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 7:45, NIV: After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David,

Acts 7:45, ESV: Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it was until the days of David,

Acts 7:45, KJV: Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;

Acts 7:45, NASB: Our fathers in turn received it, and they also brought it in with Joshua upon dispossessing the nations that God drove out from our fathers, until the time of David.

Acts 7:45, NLT: Years later, when Joshua led our ancestors in battle against the nations that God drove out of this land, the Tabernacle was taken with them into their new territory. And it stayed there until the time of King David.

Acts 7:45, CSB: Our ancestors in turn received it and with Joshua brought it in when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before them, until the days of David.

What does Acts 7:45 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Shortly after God rescued the Israelites from slavery in the Nile Delta of Egypt, they traveled to the southern part of the Sinai Peninsula and camped around Mount Sinai. They stayed there while God gave Moses the Law He wanted the Israelites to live by. The Law mostly specified proper worship practices and how to treat others, but it also included specific plans for the structure God wanted them to build to worship in.

The tent of witness (Acts 7:44), or tabernacle, was a tent sitting in a courtyard. The walls were fabric and leather, held up by clasps of gold and bronze, and frames set in bases of silver (Exodus 26). Inside were the ark of the covenant, the table for bread, and the golden lampstand (Exodus 25:10–40). Most of these were gold or wood covered in gold. Outside was an altar made of acacia wood covered in bronze (Exodus 27:1–8) and a washing basin. The courtyard was defined by linen panels held by bronze frames and silver hooks (Exodus 27:9–19).

Despite all the metal trappings, the tabernacle and its furnishings were relatively portable. The ark, bread table, wash basin, and altar were all fitted with poles so people could carry them. God specified how the clans of the Levites would be responsible for different areas, and how they would pack and transport the pieces (Numbers 4). God even provided the wagons and oxen for the heavier, less sacred pieces (Numbers 7).

Forty years later, when Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land, the tabernacle came with them. In fact, the ark of the covenant came into the water first (Joshua 3). Afterward, it appears the tabernacle was erected in Shechem (Joshua 8:30–35; 24:1–31), then possibly Gilgal. During the time of the Judges, it was installed at Shiloh (Judges 21:19; 1 Samuel 1:3, 21) and stayed there until David built a tent for the ark in Jerusalem. David asked God if he could build a permanent temple, instead; God told him that he had fought too many wars, but his son could build the temple (2 Samuel 7:1–17; 1 Chronicles 28:1–8).

This is all part of Stephen's point. Although the temple was important to Jewish worship in the time of Jesus, God was never confined to it. The temple wasn't a deciding factor in the partial fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant and the establishment of Israel as a landed nation, or for the kingdom of Israel's greatest monarch. And it certainly wasn't required to worship Jesus.