7:2 hearken. Stephen had been accused of blasphemy against the temple and the law but, even though the false witnesses had distorted his message, Stephen did not attempt to defend himself. Instead he probably presented the same type of message to the council he had been preaching in the synagogue, stressing that the principles of God’s plan for Israel were established long before the temple system, and that the Abrahamic covenant centered in the promised Messiah, as did the preaching of the prophets. But Israel had rejected God’s Word at every stage, had killed the prophets, corrupted the law and finally murdered the Messiah when He came. Stephen’s message was powerful and true, but could only anger the council still further.