Acts 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death.
(= to lift out, take away. This clause belongs in the previous Chapter.)
8:-140. Ministry of Peter in the Land.
-1-3. Persecution in Jerusalem.
4. Believers scattered.
5-40. Ministry at Samaria, &c.
And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad
(Gr. diaspeirġ. Cp. diaspora. Jas.1:1. 1 Pet.1:1.)
throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
(They remained at the center of affairs, to watch over the infant assemblies. Cp. v.14.
"Samaria" means watch mountain, and it was the land where the ten tribes of the house of Israel were driven from by the Assyrians eight centuries earlier. They were taken north into captivity, and scattered abroad from there. So they were the offspring of five other peoples that were brought in to fill the land by the Assyrians, these were the ones that lived and called home Samaria.
We see that all but the Apostles were scattered from Jerusalem and run out by these religious leaders.)
2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
("Devout men" are pious men, in the Greek, "eulabes", Strongs # 2126, These men loved Stephen very much, and wept at the loss of Stephen. I am sure that through Stephens great lecture to the Sanhedrin, that there were converts that took part in the burial.)
3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
(As for Saul, which is to say "Paul", he laid waste of the church. He even entered into private homes, and "haling", which is to say in the Greek "suro", which is to say, he was literally "dragging" them out of their homes; men, woman, and children. Saul didn't care what sex they were, or their age, he treated all of them alike.
Do you see now how Paul could develop patience after his conversion, for no man had persecuted the church like Paul. Understanding this verse makes it much easier to understand Paul's later writings.)
4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad
(For the spreading of God's Word.)
went every where preaching the word.
(Gr. evangelizġ = to announce a joyful message.
Just because these Christians from Jerusalem were scattered throughout the land, they did not stop preaching the Word of God. They planted the seeds and the Word went forth into the minds of the people, where ever they went. Friend, you just cannot stop the Word of God.)
5-40. Ministry at Samaria, &c.
26-40. In the South.
-5. His message.
6-. Heed given.
8. Phillip's ministry. Result.
-9. His message.
10,11-. Heed given.
12-25. Phillip's ministry. Result.
5 Then Philip
(= lover of horses. A good friend of Stephen.)
went down to the city of Samaria,
and preached Christ unto them.
(Just because of persecution, it should not stop your planting seeds of the Gospel wherever you go.
However, before you go to teach the Word of God, make sure that you understand the Word of God, and not those traditions contrived by an individual.)
6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
(The Holy Spirit was doing it through him. Philip was the instrument that God used in giving forth the ministry. The quickest way to have your ministry fall apart is for you to start taking credit for the gifts as your own. It is your gift, but it is God that performs the healing and the miracles.)
7 For unclean spirits,
(= demons, or evil spirit-beings.)
crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
(Gr. therapeuġ = to wait upon, minister to [as a doctor does]; hence = to heal; to render voluntary service and attendance. Phillip a can do type person through which the Holy Spirit could work. There is always a purpose for a miracle.)
8 And there was great joy in that city.
(When Christ and the Spirit of God enters lives, there is always joy. It doesn't matter how rough the going gets, when Christ touches someone, he is coming out of it. In the end of that problem, it will always come out to your advantage. When the times really get tough, that is the time that your faith should be at your strongest. For then you are not relying on your strength, but Christ's. There is no force anywhere that can match that of our heavenly Father. You are your strongest when you are in need of strengthening because the Holy Spirit is with you at that time to lift you up.)
9 But there was a certain man, called Simon,
(= a hearing. From the house of Satan. Even claimed to be God. Performed quite a little "church" service.)
which beforetime in the same city used sorcery,
(Lit. before was practicing magic [Gr. mageuġ, to act as a magos. Cp. 13:6,8. Matt.2:1,7,16.)
and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is the great power of God."
(He thus assumed to be the Divine Logos. They were having revival meetings. Cp. 1 Cor. 1:24. Comparing any man to God is dangerous. He would compare to those who use magic from pulpits today. You can also compare him to the drug pushers that control their victims' lives.)
11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
(Cp. v.9. It was all fake side-shows, tent shows.)
12-25. Phillip's Ministry. Result.
13. Simon's baptism.
14. Apostle's visit.
15-17. Holy Spirit given.
18-24. Simon's offer.
25. Apostle's return.
12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
(The people heard of the real power of God, and Simon lost his crowd.)
13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
(He wanted to learn how to use he power for himself. He didn't realize it wasn't Philip's power.)
14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent
(Gr. apostelġ = to send forth, or off, or away from [as a messenger], or with a commission], the sender remaining behind; implying authority on the part of the sender. Hence used of prophets; and the Noun, "apostle", denotes one thus sent.)
unto them Peter and John:
(Here comes two of the original Apostles that walked and were taught by Jesus Christ in person. Peter and John walked and talked with Jesus during His entire ministry.)
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit:
(Just like on Pentecost day.)
16 (For as yet He
(I.e. the Holy Spirit)
was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
(There are many that would say that the Holy Spirit never came, because Simon was there, but that isn't so. God is teaching each of us a lesson here. The true Holy Spirit has not fallen on them at this time, but it is the Holy Spirit that is performing these miracles and wonders. However, when the Holy Spirit does come upon them, it will be the same person that fell on them on Pentecost day, where people would hear the words of the Holy Spirit spoken, and understood in what ever language and dialect that was the individuals home tongue. Those that heard the teaching by the Holy Spirit would understand exactly what was said, and there would be no need for any interpreter, for there would be no confusion in that tongue.)
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
(Simon thought that this would be a neat act to add to his bag of tricks. He probably was already thinking of buying a bigger tent.)
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,
(You cannot buy the power of God.)
19 Saying, "Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit."
(Simon wanted to buy this Holy Spirit atmosphere. Be very careful, there was a purpose that God put this story of Simon in the front part of the "Acts of the Apostles".)
20 But Peter said unto him, "Thy money perish
(Lit. be unto destruction, See John 17:12. Peter's indignant words are an instance of Fig. Apodiġxis, or Detestation = an expression of feeling by the way of detestation. He's cutting him down to size. He's calling him a fake.)
with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
(This Simon is the origin of The English word simony. Simony is the buying or selling of God's power. Don't do it!)
21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
(Gr. metanoeġ = to change one's mind, always for the better, and morally. Not merely to forsake sin, but to change one's apprehension regarding it. It answers to the Latin resipisco = to recover one's senses, to come to one's self.)
therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray
(Gr. deomai = to want, lack, or need; then, to make known one's need; hence to supplicate, beseech.)
God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
(Peter just never gives up on a man. He is telling Simon to repent for the wickedness that is in his heart, talk to the Father, and perhaps your heart can be changed. Listen to Simon's response in verse twenty four and ask yourself, Does he sound familiar to anyone that you have heard?)
23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity."
(Gr. ponêros = full of labors and pains in working mischief; evil intent; grudging, in connection with the idea expressed in the "evil eye".)
24 Then answered Simon, and said, "Pray ye to the LORD for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me."
(He was disingenuous. From this incident comes the term "simony" for traffic in sacred things. "Simony" in human history: Simon buried himself to prove he was like God. He still lays buried! He did not resurrect like Jesus.)
25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.
8:26-40. In the South.
26. Philip. The Angel's command.
27,28. The Eunuch. Reading.
29,30. Philip. The Spirit's command.
31-34. The Eunuch. Questions.
35. Philip. Preaching.
36-38. The Eunuch. Baptism.
39,40. Philip. Caught away.
26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, "Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza,
(One of the 5 cities of the Philistines; destroyed by Alexander.)
which is desert."
27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace
(A title of the queens of Ethiopia.)
queen of the Ethiopians,
(Only here, Matt.12:42. Luke 11:31. Rev. 18:7.)
who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
(Gr. proskuneġ = to prostrate oneself [in reverence], do homage. Here in this verse we have a further opening of God's Word to ALL peoples.)
28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read
(I.e. a scroll. Shows wealth. Not many could afford this.)
Esaias the prophet.
29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, "Go near, and join thyself to this chariot."
30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, "Understandest thou what thou readest?"
31 And he said, "How can I, except some man should guide me?" And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
(The eunuch loved the Lord, but he did not have the gift to be able to discern Scripture, then you need a gifted teacher. That is why God gives us gifted teachers, with the ability to dig out the true meanings and be able to discern the types and levels that should be taught. The eunuch was wise enough to know this, but it did not prohibit him from searching the Scripture and trying to understand.)
32 The place of the scripture which he read was this,
(Quoted from Isaiah.53:7, almost word for word from the Septuagint.)
He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb
(Reference to the approaching Passover. This was the title for our Lord [i.e. "Lamb of God" for that dispensation.)
dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
33 In his humiliation
(= low estate. Referring to the whole period of His life on earth.)
his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth."
(This is speaking of the first advent, it is prophecy that was given over six hundred years before the birth of Christ and written by Isaiah, as given by God. Isaiah is writing about the crucifixion of Christ, and that is what the eunuch was writing about. The eunuch, however did not know that Christ had already been crucified in Jerusalem, at this time. Philip is instructing him under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit.)
34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, "I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?"
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
(See Isa.53:9-12. Those few Scriptures with Philip's witness was enough to convince him.
Philip let this eunuch know that Jesus had lived and continued on preaching Jesus.
Yes Jesus was crucified with two malefactors on each side of him, and he was buried in Joseph of Arimathea His uncles grave, a rich mans grave. Joseph of Arimathea was Jesus kinsman redeemer, Joseph the tin man was a very wealthy man. Jesus was totally innocent and without spot.
It pleased God, because God was taking the place of man in this Lamb of God, to pay for the sins of the men and women that would listen to His Word and repent. That offering was made for your sins and my sins, when we repent them to the Father in Jesus name. Philip would show the eunuch that Jesus Christ the son of god will live again, and come out of the grave. Through the sacrifice of this Lamb, Jesus Christ, God will bring eternal life to all that would believe on him.
Do you understand how important knowledge from God is? All wisdom comes from God, and within this Scripture is the knowledge God wants planted in your mind, whether you need a teacher, or be able to dig it out for yourself, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Through the knowledge of what Jesus Christ, God's righteous Servant, did on the cross shall many have their sins forgiven and not judged for acts that have been repented. You will be judged and found perfect because after repentance, the blood of that sacrificed Lamb, Jesus Christ, would cover and blot out all those sins.
Jesus even saved one of those transgressors that hung there on the cross beside Him. Are you a transgressor? If you haven't repented, you are a transgressor against God, and you need to repent to Him for those sins.
Philip told that eunuch that this has come to pass, repent and your sins are forgiven. That eunuch after hearing the gospel out of the Isaiah repented. He heard the Word of God being taught and he responded to Philip's instruction.)
36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, "See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?"
37 And Philip said, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
(Here are the qualifications for being baptized, and the eunuch gave his commitment when he said; "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." This one person, not even knowing that Jesus Christ was born, after hearing Philip teach, was moved by the Holy Spirit and repented of his sins, and now desires to be baptized.)
38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more:
(supply Ellipsis, "for taught by the Spirit, he needed him not".)
and he went on his way rejoicing.
(Why was it necessary that Philip be caught up? This eunuch would be returning to Ethiopia, and this eunuch was shown a miracle by the Holy Spirit for it would be no longer by faith, but by sight that he had seen with his own eyes a servant of the Living God, teaching and preaching the Gospel that gives eternal life. God granted him this miracle, and he went on his way rejoicing.
Then God did something for you if you have eyes to see and ears to hear, with this catching up of Philip.)
40 But Philip was found at Azotus:
(Is Ashdod = a stronghold. See Josh.11:22.)
and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
(Not Csarea Phillippi [Matt.16:13], but the place on the coast, between Carmel and Joppa. It was built by Herod, and called Csarea Sebaste, in honor of Augustus [Gr. Sebastos] Csar. Herod built a mole or breakwater, so as to make a harbor [Josephus, Ant.XVI, v.1]. It was assigned to Judah, but never subdued by the Israelites. But the teaching of Christ conquered where armies had failed!
This chapter gives us the assurance that God is still in control. Even as Philip was needed to preach the word to cities, God so loved this eunuch from Ethiopia, that He sent Philip to minister to him, and then gave this eunuch a miracle to witness before his eyes, to strengthen his faith, and send him on his way.
Even in our day in this final generation, God can single out certain individuals to go a certain way, do a certain thing, to place you in the position of hearing a certain person that has the gift of teaching of the Holy Spirit, that will change the direction of your life. God will let you know that He cares for you individually, He will do it for one. Each child of God is important to Him. When He touches you, God will give you a purpose for your life.)