Saul greatly oppresses the followers of Christ, Acts 8:3, Acts 8:4. Fear of imprisonment and death drove many out of the city. An old tradition of uncertain origin imagines that the baptism took place at Wadi el-Hesi,47 which runs into the sea about seven miles north-northeast of Gaza.48 A wadi is a channel that may not carry water year round. Before all the trouble, the church was almost entirely confined to one place. Their conversion is with great probability attributed to Frumentius, sent to Abyssinia for that purpose by Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, about a.d. 330. An angel of the Lord commands Philip to go towards Gaza, to meet an Ethiopian eunuch, Acts 8:26. Mr. Bruce may be right; but some think that Saba, in Arabia Felix, is meant: see the note on Matthew 12:42. And bewitched the people of Samaria - εξιϚων, Astonishing, amazing, or confounding the judgment of the people, from εξιϚημι, to remove out of a place or state, to be transported beyond one's self, to be out of one's wits; a word that expresses precisely the same effect which the tricks or legerdemain of a juggler produce in the minds of the common people who behold his feats. In the meantime, no one saw him. Acts 8:14-17 poses a real problem if you think the church, the Body of Christ, began with the appearance of the Holy Ghost outpouring at Pentecost. No doubt he was, like Stephen, "a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 6:5). "The Messianic Rule," 1QSa, Dead Sea Scrolls. When Philip had baptized the eunuch, the Spirit of God showed him that it was not the will of God that he should accompany the eunuch to Meroe, but, on the contrary, that he should hasten away to Ashdod; as God had in that, and the neighboring places, work sufficient to employ him in. Approaching the Power of the Holy Spirit. Satan can give his servants a limited ability to work so-called magic. Ancient Ethiopia, also known as Kush, was a kingdom lying northwest of todayâs Ethiopia. But neither the Abyssinians nor the Jews admitted women in their genealogies. Mr. Bruce throws some light upon this subject: the substance of what he says is the following: "There can be no doubt of the expedition of the queen of Sheba; as Pagan, Moor, Arab, Abyssinian, and all the countries round, vouch for it, nearly in the terms of Scripture. It is God who employs him, and requires of him implicit obedience. Thus, there was a danger that after believing in Christ they might continue to separate themselves from the Jewsâthat, instead of having fellowship with Jewish believers, submitting to apostolic authority, and receiving the New Testament that the apostles would write, they would create their own religious sect, divided from the true church. Probably his attendants did not join him either in professing faith in Christ or in being baptized. The church has always become stronger as a result of persecution. In that case, no one would have to be told that eventually the eunuch could not see him. Among the ancients, whatever was grateful or useful to a person in life was ordinarily buried with him; thus the sword, spear, shield, etc., of the soldier were put in the same grave; the faithful dog of the hunter, etc., etc. He then provoked an old sorcerer to sidle up to Peter and suggest that it was perfectly natural to buy and sell spiritual power. Of whom speaketh the prophet this - This was a very natural inquiry: for in the test itself, and in its circumstances, there was nothing that could determine the meaning, so as to ascertain whether the prophet meant himself or some other person; and the very inquiry shows that the eunuch had thought deeply on the subject. Despite living so far from Judea, he had somehow become a follower of the Jewish religion. In about 720 BC, the mighty Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom and carried many of its people into captivity. He appears to be convinced of his sin, and implores an interest in the apostle's prayers, Acts 8:24. 10:13). 4 For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; 5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Certainly not for the sanctification of the souls of the people: this they had on believing in Christ Jesus; and this the apostles never dispensed. vi. There is nothing more certain than that the New Testament writers mean real diabolic possessions by the terms unclean spirits, devils, etc., which they use. But a state church views this prerequisite as too demanding, with the effect of keeping some people out of the church who would not object to getting baptized. It was the custom among the Jews, when they were taking away any criminal from judgment to execution, to call out and inquire whether there was any person who could appear in behalf of the character of the criminal - whether there was any who, from intimate acquaintance with his manner of life, could say any thing in his favor? But evil is not final. He denied them the Spirit until the apostles laid their hands on them. He was not saved. fol. Peter's public boast of poverty must have come to the devil's attention and suggested a way of tempting Peter. He thinks this is inconsistent with the various intimations we have of the continuance of the apostles in Jerusalem; and refers particularly to the following texts: Acts 8:1, Acts 8:14, Acts 8:25; Acts 9:26, Acts 9:27; Acts 11:1, Acts 11:2; Acts 12:1-4; Acts 15:2, Acts 15:4, Acts 15:6, Acts 15:22, Acts 15:23; Acts 21:17, Acts 21:18; Galatians 1:17-19; Galatians 2:1, Galatians 2:9. He went to the Samaritans as soon as God prodded him to go. However favourably this or any other MS. may speak of Simon, he is generally supposed to have "grown worse and worse, opposing the apostles and the Christian doctrine, and deceiving many cities and provinces by magical operations; till being at Rome, in the reign of the Emperor Claudius, he boasted that he could fly, and when exhibiting before the emperor and the senate, St. Peter and St. Paul being present, who knew that his flying was occasioned by magic, prayed to God that the people might be undeceived, and that his power might fail; in consequence of which he came tumbling down, and died soon after of his bruises." Listen to Pastor Robert Furrow as he continues his commentary on Acts, picking up today in chapter 8. 3 . As Philip preached in all the cities of Palestine till he came to Caesarea, he must have preached in the different cities of the Philistine country, Ashdod, Akkaron, and Jamnia, and also in the principal parts of Samaria, as these lay in his way from Gaza to Caesarea. Many, after having done their duty, as they call it, in attending a place of worship, forget the errand that brought them thither, and spend their time, on their return, rather in idle conversation than in reading or conversing about the word of God. cap. In 1 Kings 10:1, etc., we have the account of the visit paid to Solomon by the queen of Sheba, the person to whom our Lord refers, Matthew 12:42, and Luke 11:31. When Jesus witnessed to the woman in Samaria, she objected, "Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship" (John 4:20). He was on the road through Gaza because he was returning home after worshiping at the Temple in Jerusalem. Because of his outstanding readiness to win souls, he reaped a large harvest for Christ. They were all scattered abroad - except the apostles - Their Lord had commanded them, when persecuted in one city, to flee to another: this they did, but, wherever they went, they proclaimed the same doctrines, though at the risk and hazard of their lives. God in his mercy has provided not only the text but also the interpreter, a Spirit-filled teacher. Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Explanation and Commentary on Acts 1:8. Such persons as these formed a sect among the Jews; and are known in ecclesiastical history by the appellation of Zealots or Sicarii. When the church selected seven men to supervise its practical affairs, such as distributing aid to poor widows, naturally the first they chose was Stephen, yet the second was Philip. The Jews did not bury those who were condemned by the Sanhedrin in the burying place of the fathers, as they would not bury the guilty with the innocent; and they had a separate place for those who were stoned, and for those that were burnt. when the mob took the execution of the laws into their own hands, and massacred those whom they pretended to be blasphemers of God: for these sanctified their murderous outrage under the specious name of zeal for God's glory, and quoted the ensample of Phineas as a precedent.
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