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Wednesday, June 8 2016
Acts 8: The Gospel By The Greek and The Baptism Of The Ethiopian
"The angel of the LORD spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south ... He arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia ... Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus ... They went down both into the water ... and he baptized him"
The martyrdom of the deacon Stephen (see The Stoning Of Stephen - Why Are Witnesses Called Martyrs?) was a savage act of hate by men who were spiritually blind. Among the killers of the LORD's witness was the Pharisee Saul (see Paul's Blindness Lesson).
"8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death.
Philip the deacon (not to be confused with the apostle Philip, who was one of the twelve apostles; the deacons were chosen and appointed by the apostles - see Acts 6:1-7). All seven of the first deacons were Greeks (see Why Were They Called Deacons?). Stephen (Stephanos) and Philip (Philippos) were two of them.
When his fellow deacon Stephen was martyred, Philip fearlessly responded with greater witness - not as a matter of reckless and defiant "human nature," but with and by means of the Holy Spirit. The result? "And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did."
"8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
As has been from the time of the fall of man (see Where Did True and False Prophets Originate?), false prophets have risen up like toxic and obnoxious weeds in a garden (see Who Created Weeds?). One of the most infamous of them in the time of Philip was Simon, a magician (see The Defeat Of Pharaoh's Magicians) and sorcerer (see What Is Sorcery?) who sought to mock the genuine miracles of the Holy Spirit so that he could in some way profit from his "show." He was swiftly rebuked by the apostles, to which he might have repented i.e. "Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me."
"8:9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, 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, 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.
In the mean time, the LORD was using the surviving deacons to proclaim the Gospel to the world - not merely to one nation who were, for the most part, ignoring and hostile to it anyway (see When Zion Awakes). Once again, keeping in mind that Greek was the "world language" of diplomacy and commerce at the time, it is plain why the LORD would send a Greek-speaking deacon to assist an Ethiopian diplomat and Minister of Finance ("Behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure") to acquire a true and proper understanding of the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God (see the Fact Finder question below).
"8:26 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, which is desert. 8:27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 8:28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
This Day In History, June 8
452: Italy was invaded by Attila the Hun.
632: Muhammad, the founder of Islam, died at age 62 (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).
793: Vikings attacked the abbey at Lindisfarne in Northumbria, beginning the Scandinavian invasion of England. Based on archaeological evidence found in eastern Canada and records and documents found in Europe, the Vikings were the actual "discoverers of America" - 500 years before Christopher Columbus "discovered" the Caribbean Sea (for a map of the four voyages of Columbus, see Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).
1042: Hardicanute, King of England and Denmark, died. He was succeeded in England by Edward the Confessor and in Denmark by Magnus, King of Norway.
1536: The Ten Articles of Religion were published by the English clergy, in support of Henry VIII's Declaration of Supremacy after breaking with the Roman Catholic church.
1663: The Battle of Ameixial in Portugal during the Portuguese war of liberation from Spain; it was victorious for the Portuguese. This was the first in a series of battles that led to the Spanish-Portuguese Treaty of Lisbon and Portugal's independence from Spain.
1783: The Laki volcano in Iceland began 8 months of eruptions that killed over 9,000 people.
1794: The French Revolution's new state religion, the "Cult of the Supreme Being," began with festivals across the country.
1949: George Orwell's 1984 was published.
1963: Egypt became the first Arab country to use chemical weapons when its aircraft dropped mustard gas bombs on Yemeni civilians in the village of Sadah near the Saudi border.
1967: Day 4 of the "6 Day War." On the Egyptian front, Israeli forces were to eventually destroy or capture over 800 Egyptian tanks - exceeding the level of destruction that the British and Canadians inflicted on Nazi armor at al-Alamein 25 years earlier (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate and A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).
1968: James Earl Ray, wanted for the assassination of Martin Luther King, was arrested in London.
1969: The CBS network pulled "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" because of their refusal to stop their political jokes; their program was replaced by the "politically-correct" show "Hee Haw."
1969: Spain closed its frontier with Gibraltar, hoping to cripple its economy, after Britain's refusal to hand over the colony to Spain.
1986: Despite persistent allegations he had been involved in Nazi wartime atrocities, Kurt Waldheim was elected President of Austria.
1972: The date of the infamous Vietnam War photograph of a naked little girl, whose clothes had been burned off by a U.S. napalm bomb that incinerated her village, running down a road with other screaming children. Phan Thi Kim Phuc later moved to Canada and now lives in Toronto.
1996: China carried out a nuclear explosion at the Lop Nor test site in northwestern Xinjiang with a blast that rocked the remote region.
2007: New South Wales, Australia, was hit by the worst storms and flooding in over three decades.