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Simon The Magician

Simon was a magician who made himself popular among the Samaritans. By means of his Satanic-powered sorcery and outright fraud, Simon had "bewitched the people of Samaria" into viewing him as "this man is the great power of God" (Acts 8:10 KJV). Notice that it wasn't a matter of "this man has the great power of God," that is, the Holy Spirit that is available to all who truly repent and obey God, but he claimed of himself that "this man is the great power of God." Simon claimed divinity i.e. "any supernatural being worshipped as controlling some part of the world or some aspect of life or who is the personification of a force."

"But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money"

When Simon saw the popular growth of Christianity he claimed to be a believer and was baptized by Philip, not out of genuine repentance, but apparently because he saw it as a new way to peddle his sorcery. He thereafter offered a bribe to Peter and John, saying "Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost" - an abominable attitude that brought a swift rebuke from the apostles.

Simon The Sorcerer

"8:9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria [see also The Samaritans Of Israel], giving out that himself was some great one: 8:10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. 8:11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized [see also The Origin of Baptism], both men and women. 8:13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive The Holy Ghost: 8:16 For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 8:19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

8:20 But Peter [see Peter's Ministry; also Peter's Prophecy] said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 8:21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 8:23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

8:24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.

8:25 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." (Acts 8:9-25 KJV)

Fact Finder: According to some historical records, what did Simon the sorcerer do later in Rome? What is "simony"?
See Simon Magus

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