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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.

And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison." (Acts 8:1-3 KJV)

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."

Philip and the Ethiopian

"8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. 8:6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. 8:8 And there was great joy in that city." (Acts 8:4-8 KJV)

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.

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 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)

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.

8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?

8:31 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.

8:32 The place of the scripture which he read was this,

He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 8:33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.

8:34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

8:36 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? 8:37 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. 8:38 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. 8:39 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: and he went on his way rejoicing. 8:40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea." (Acts 8:26-40 KJV)

Fact Finder: Did the Messiah preach the dead-end politics and religion of rebellious and self-righteous men, or did He preach the Truth?
See What Gospel Did Jesus Preach? and The Patriotism Prophecy


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This Day In History, June 8

68: The Roman Senate proclaimed Galba as the 6th Roman Emperor. He reigned 68-69 (see The Politics Of Rome and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).

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).

Vikings

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.


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