Anda di halaman 1dari 11

1

# 25: 3-23-07

Acts 8:26-40
Following the commission of Jesus to His disciples, the gospel began to go out in Jerusalem. Persecution
then caused the good seed of the Word of God to be sown in surrounding Judea. Last week, we read of
how the gospel then made inroads to the north of Judea, where Phillip preached the gospel in a city of
Samaria.

Most of the inhabitants of that Samaritan city received the Word with gladness, recognizing Jesus to be
their long-awaited Messiah - the Taheb, the Restorer, who would restore them to a right relationship with
God. The good seed of the Word, falling on this good ground of hearts prepared to receive it, bore much
fruit (Mt 13:23).

But the good seed of the Word also fell on one particular heart that was not prepared to receive it. Like the
others in the city, Simon the sorcerer also heard the gospel, and saw the works of God that Philip did - signs
and wonders given to authenticate Philip=s words. But Simon refused to look past the power of the works,
to the One who was the source of them - Jesus.

The heart of Simon was not prepared to receive the Word of God, for his heart was fixed, not on pursuing
God, but on pursuing the things of this world - in the case of Simon, it was fixed on having power and
influence.

The Word that fell on Simon=s heart was like the good seed that fell by the side of the way. When that
seed fell, Satan quickly snatched it away, renewing his temptation to Simon with the power that he so
desired (Mt 13:19). Nonetheless, Simon continued with the other believers, even being baptized with them,
until the Spirit exposed the true condition of his heart.

The apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the gospel, so they sent Peter and John to
confirm what they heard. When Peter and John arrived, they laid their hands on the Samaritans, who then
received the Holy Spirit - most likely, speaking in tongues and prophesying, as the disciples had on
Pentecost in Jerusalem.

The Samaritans had already been indwelt by the Spirit, but now Jesus was pouring out His Spirit upon them
from heaven. In this way, they were clothed with power from on High, and joined to His Body, as they
received the baptism that the Body of Christ had received on Pentecost.

The anointing of the Spirit was done in the presence of the apostles so that the church in Jerusalem would
know assuredly that the Lord was welcoming the Samaritans as full members of His Body of believers on
earth. The Lord did so to create a great impression onto these formerly Jewish minds, who in the days of
their flesh had despised the Samaritans.

Through the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, the heart of Simon was exposed for all to see, as desirous, not
of Christ but of His power. Peter called Simon to repent - and only the Lord knows if he did. The disciples
then continued for some time to bear witness to the Samaritans of the city, preaching the word of the Lord
to them. Afterwards, the apostles returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in the many villages of
Samaria that they passed through along the way.
2
# 25: 3-23-07

Philip may have accompanied Peter and John in their return trip to Jerusalem, but perhaps it is more likely
that he stayed in the city of Samaria for a time. This new community of believers in Samaria would have
greatly profited from Philip remaining with them. He could then have continued to open up the Scriptures
to them, teaching them, sharing the words of Jesus, and the witness the apostles had shared with him.
Remember also that Philip had left Jerusalem because of the persecution; it is unlikely he would return so
soon and stay there, for any length of time.

As we continue in Acts, we will see that Luke records the conversion of three particular souls to the faith.
What is remarkable about this is that each of these men represent one of the three great divisions of the
human family, as seen in Noah=s sons, Ham, Shem, and Japheth.

In the latter part of chapter 8, which we will look at today, we will see an Ethiopian official led to the Lord
- a Hamite; in chapter 9, Jesus then reveals Himself to Saul of Tarsus - a Hellenist Jew, and so a Shemite;
and finally, in chapter 10, Peter preaches the gospel to Cornelius, the Roman centurion - a Japhethite.

As the Lord makes a revelation to each of these men, and they gladly receive Him, we see that truly the
gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation - to every one that believes (Rm 1:16). That the God of
Israel purposed salvation for all men, equally, would be a revolutionary concept to all Luke=s readers -
both Jew and Gentile.

As we continue in chapter 8, we see the Lord reaching out through one of His own - Philip - to a man from
Ethiopia who is seeking after God.

v. 26 We read of the angel of the Lord. As previously in the account in Acts (5:19), there is no definite
article before the word Aangel@ in the Greek - it is just Aangel of the Lord@, not the angel of the Lord, as
in the OT, where it denotes a preincarnate appearance of Christ. The word translated Aangel@ simply
means messenger, in the Greek.

This angel, or messenger, may have come to Philip in a vision, or a dream; but judging from Philip=s
response, we can see that he knew this messenger was from the Lord. The message? AGet up and head
south@. Philip was to proceed along the way - the road, that is - that led from Jerusalem down to Gaza.

Now, there were two main roads - trade routes - which led south from near Jerusalem, proceeding towards
Egypt (see map) - a desolate route, which passed through Hebron and into Idumea, the region south of
Judea, and a widely-traveled route, that joined the coastal road north of Gaza, hugging the Mediterranean
coastline into Egypt. Which road was Philip to take? It would sound to us like the coastal route; but Philip
would know better.

The Spirit had said, Athe way that goes from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert@. Gaza along the coast
was actually known as ANew Gaza@. It had been built along the coast sometime after AOld Gaza@, which
was a few miles inland, was destroyed back in the day of Alexander the Great. Old Gaza became known as
AGaza the desert@.
3
# 25: 3-23-07

When the Spirit specified AGaza, which is desert@, Philip would have known He meant the trade route
which proceeded due south from Jerusalem, and passed through the deserted region which contained Old
Gaza - a route which was relatively untraveled, as it was inhospitable and devoid of villages, with only the
occasional desert nomad to be seen in the vast expanse of wilderness it passed through.

Now, you might ask, why would the Lord command Philip, who was most likely still in Samaria, to make a
journey of some 80 miles to the south, when He could have sent one of His disciples in Jerusalem instead -
which was about 30 miles closer? And why would the Lord command Philip to leave that most fruitful
mission field in Samaria, with its multitudes of new believers, who needed to be taught, to wander along
some desolate road, in the wilderness? Why didn=t the Lord at least tell Philip, where he was going - and
why he was going - and who he would meet?

But Philip didn=t ask. The Lord had given His command, and His bondservant was ready and willing to
obey. Philip saw no need to ask His all-knowing Master what He is doing; the only need was for the
servant to trust, and obey. And so Philip did; he arose - and went.

v. 27-28 Behold! On that desolate road - a man. A man that God knew would be there; a man with a
heart for God, and a desire to know the truth. For that one man, the Lord sent His valuable, much needed
servant Philip down that desolate road to the south - for the Lord knew that the need of this man was the
greatest need, at this time; and Philip was the one to meet that need.

This man was from Ethiopia, which in the Greek, means black, alluding to the skin color of its inhabitants.
Ethiopia in that day does not correspond to the precise location of the current Ethiopia (see map).

In OT times, this country occupied part of the same region known as Cush, to the south of Egypt; the
northern part of Cush became known as Nubia, which corresponds mostly to modern-day Sudan, while the
southern part of Cush was known as Abyssinia - that corresponds roughly to present-day Ethiopia. What I
want you to absorb is that the Ethiopia spoken of here was directly to the south of Egypt - Nubia - a region
that was predominantly desert.

This Ethiopian man is named as a eunuch of great authority, under Candace, queen of the Ethiopians.
ACandace@ is not a name, but a title, given to the queens of Ethiopia - similar to the titles ACaesar@ and
APharaoh@.

The kings of Ethiopia were regarded as the sons of the sun - s-u-n, that is - and as such, they were
considered too sacred to carry out the routine work of the royal office; so the mother of the king - the queen
mother, that is - performed the normal functions of head of state. This Ethiopian man was a high ranking
government official of the queen mother - he was the treasurer of Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian man is also named as a eunuch. Now, a eunuch can refer to one who is impotent from birth,
or to those who live like eunuchs in voluntary abstinence, but it most often refers to a man who had been
castrated. Such a man would be unable to have sexual relations, or to reproduce children.
4
# 25: 3-23-07

In many ancient countries, such as Persia, Ethiopia, Babylon and Egypt, eunuchs were preferred as court
officials, as they were considered more trustworthy around the family of the ruler. Also, eunuchs tended to
be detached of personal relationships, and so therefore more inclined to be loyal and dedicated to the ruler.

In fact, this Greek word for Aeunuch@came to be applied to any court official, castrated or no; but this
Ethiopian was almost certainly castrated, as Luke would be redundant if he were to have written that a
court official held a position of authority under the queen - that would be two ways of saying the same
thing. So we can surmise that this was a true eunuch - in the physical sense.

This Ethiopian eunuch had come to Jerusalem to worship. Now, what God would he have come to
Jerusalem to worship? The God of Israel - the true and Living God. Jerusalem was known to be the city of
God; it is there that the LORD God chose to cause His name to dwell (Deut 12:11). This man was seeking
the true and Living God.

And did this man find Him, on his pilgrimage to Jerusalem? No. What he found - was religion. Let=s
consider what this man=s experience would have been, in coming to Jerusalem at this time.

It is likely that this high-ranking court official would have sought out the men of prominence in the city;
men such as himself. Perhaps he met with some of the Sadducees, of the high-priestly families in the city -
men like Annas, and Caiaphas.

Perhaps these Sadducees would have told the Ethiopian about how deftly they kept the balance between the
freedom to practice Judaism, while still submitting to their Roman overlords. What would our Ethiopian
have learned about the true and Living God from them? Not a thing.

I=m sure our Ethiopian would have spent some time with the scribes and the Pharisees - the religious
teachers of the Jews. Perhaps these teachers would have told the Ethiopian about how scrupulously they
kept their ceremonial purity - how very separated they were, from all that was unclean. And, speaking of
unclean - perhaps it would have been from the Pharisees that the Ethiopian would have learned that he
couldn=t really be a true proselyte - a convert to Judaism - as he was a eunuch, and their religious traditions
would not permit this.

Having gotten no answers from the Pharisees, perhaps our Ethiopian would have turned to other religious
leaders in the city - the Hellenist Jews, who were foreign-born, like him. They may have told him how
very zealous they were; how just recently, they crushed a new cultic movement, which threatened to
contaminate their religious traditions. In fact, they put one of the leaders of this movement to death, in
their zeal.

Would our man have heard about the true and Living God from them? Unlikely. But maybe they were the
ones who gave him a copy of their Scriptures, before sending him on his way.

Surely the Ethiopian would have gone to the Temple - the very center of Jewish worship. But what would
he have found there? Nothing but rejection.
5
# 25: 3-23-07

As a Gentile, the Ethiopian would have been forbidden on pain of death from entering into the temple
proper, as the many signs clearly informed him. But, in his case, the Ethiopian would have been unable to
go in, even if he was a Jew. Why? Because he was a eunuch; and eunuchs were denied access to the
temple; at least, that=s how the Jews interpreted the Law of Moses, which forbade one who was castrated
from entering into the congregation of the LORD (Deut 23:1).

Now, that Scripture was meant as a picture, to show that anyone who is part of the people of God must
possess Life; that worshipers of a perfect God must themselves be perfect (Mt 5:48). As men are not
perfect, this would lead them to receiving the Perfect Man in their stead (Deut 32:4) - the Messiah. But the
religious leaders took these words verbatim, and extended them to temple worship.

What message would our Ethiopian man have taken away with him, hearing that? That he was unwelcome,
in the house of the LORD; that he was unworthy to worship the LORD, and never could be; that he was an
outsider, a foreigner, who would never be accepted by God.

The Ethiopian eunuch had come to Jerusalem to worship the true and Living God; and he had left,
unfulfilled, disappointed, now perceiving himself as a reject. It is little wonder that he would choose to
take the lonely, desolate path back to his home - for such was the state of his heart.

But the man still clung to some remnant of hope - for he had a heart for God. The man had left Jerusalem,
spiritually empty; but he was not empty-handed. In his lap lay a scroll - the Holy Scriptures of the true and
Living God. The Ethiopian opened the scroll, seeking the One he couldn=t find in Jerusalem within the
writings that spoke of Him.

This high-ranking official did not yet know it, but he had a friend in the highest of places - the Lord God
Himself. The Ethiopian had drawn near to God, desiring to worship Him; and then, he had drawn even
nearer to God, seeking Him in His Word. Now, God drew near to this Ethiopian seeker (James 4:8) -
through the Spirit, at work in Philip.

The Ethiopian was traveling in a chariot - a covered, horse-drawn carriage. He would have been attended
by a train of attendants, as befitting his position. The entire entourage was surely visible for miles, in this
barren stretch of land. Behold! There was the Ethiopian.

But where was Philip? He was on the same road - but where? Well, which would travel faster - a horse-
drawn chariot, or a walking man? The chariot would, unless it was going unusually slow - and this chariot
would not have been traveling through a barren stretch slowly, as the party was no doubt desiring to return
quickly to their home.

So think - if the chariot was traveling faster than Philip could walk, and at some point, one overtook the
other on the road, which one was more likely to be in front? Philip was probably in front; if he was behind,
the chariot would have outpaced him before he ever had a chance to see it, in almost any case.
6
# 25: 3-23-07

Can you see that God had prepared Philip, and had sent him out ahead of the Ethiopian? God had
anticipated the Ethiopian=s need to hear the good news that Philip would be sharing with him; He was
ready and waiting for the Ethiopian man to arrive at the perfect time, in the perfect place, for him to
receive that good news. God is always right early; He is always ahead of us, ready to supply that which we
lack - because God is love; and Love is always ready to meet our needs.

So, behold! (From behind!) A chariot. Philip would have heard the chariot, before he even saw it. I=m
sure he turned, and watched its approach (there was nothing else to look at on that barren road) - and that
he noted its every detail as it came upon him - and then passed him by.

A chariot was the vehicle of only the most well-to-do. This one was accompanied by many servants; the
owner must have been a man of prominence. As the entourage passed, Philip would have noted the one
riding inside - his clothing, speaking of a man of wealth, of power and influence. But from where? From
Africa - for his skin was very dark. A foreigner; a Hamite; a Gentile, returning to his home, coming down
the road from Jerusalem.

But Philip would not have had too much time to contemplate what he saw, for as soon as the chariot
passed, Philip received his next command from the Lord.

v. 29-31 By the Spirit, the Lord told Philip to catch up to the chariot. Had Philip stopped to reason out
what the Lord commanded him to do, his mind could have seized upon a score of difficulties with that
request.

This man was a complete stranger; he was of a far higher social class than Philip; he was a foreigner, a
Gentile, from a distant nation, of a different race; and so on. There was no one to introduce them properly;
Philip had no credentials to recommend him; and it would seem rude to speak to a man, uninvited, who was
just intent on minding his own business, in his chariot. But Faith does not reason; it simply obeys,
believing the Lord knows best.

Well, there was only one way for Philip to catch up to a chariot that was traveling faster than he was; so he
ran. And as he approached the chariot, he paced himself so that he could speak to the man who was riding
within it.

There was Philip, whose name means Alover of the race@, racing beside a chariot - for the love of Jesus.
Can you picture that, in your mind? Perhaps it may even seem a little foolish, to you. But Philip didn=t
mind being a fool, for the Lord. He didn=t mind being taken out of his comfort zone, for the sake of the
gospel; the love of Christ constrained him (2 Cor 5:14).

As Philip ran alongside the chariot, he could hear the voice of the Ethiopian man, for he was reading aloud.
It was the practice in antiquity to read out loud, and not silently.
7
# 25: 3-23-07

Would Philip have been able to understand the man, as he read? Absolutely. The man was reading the
Septuagint - the Greek translation of the OT. Philip was a Hellenist; he would have been fluent in the
Greek language, and he was undoubtedly familiar with the whole body of Scripture. And what did Philip
hear this Ethiopian reading, right at that moment in time? The prophet Isaiah - and as we will see in a
minute, it was Isaiah 53.

Now, there really could not have been a more significant OT passage than what this man was reading, by
which Philip could make a connection from the Scriptures to the reality of Jesus, who had come in the flesh
in fulfillment of the Scriptures. We can so clearly see the hand of God, which had moved Philip and the
Ethiopian through their widely different circumstances, to bring them together to this place, at this hour.
This was Divine Providence.

For Philip, everything was becoming clear; why he had been sent; who he had been sent to speak to; and
how to communicate with him about the Lord. The Lord intended him to speak to this foreign dignitary
about this passage; and so Philip asked if he understood what he was reading.

Just imagine this Ethiopian official, for a moment. He had been riding along in his chariot, and he had
observed this common man walking along the road. He would have gone right back to his reading,
thinking no more about him - until the man=s face suddenly reappeared outside the opening of his chariot.

The man was running with his chariot - keeping pace. And the man was looking into his chariot, and he
abruptly commented on his reading, in the most direct of manners - no introductions, no lead in. Now,
ordinarily, a court official, a man of position and power such as this Ethiopian, would have commanded a
servant to dissuade this rough person - by whatever means necessary - to leave.

But this Ethiopian man had a heart for God; he was fervently seeking after Him. Having found no
encouragement through his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he was now seeking answers through the Scriptures;
but he could not understand the meaning of what he was reading.

His lack of understanding created a humility in him, which made him teachable, receptive. He needed
help; he needed a guide - literally, a way-shower - someone to teach him the truth.

When Philip voiced his abrupt question, the Ethiopian received his first glimmer of hope: why would this
running man have asked if he understood what he was reading - unless the man himself could provide that
understanding? And intended to give that understanding? In fact, why had the man run to catch up to his
chariot at all, and engaged him as he did? It was rather odd, to say the least. Could it be that God had sent
this man - to help him?

So the Ethiopian did something equally odd - he stopped his chariot, and invited Philip to sit with him -
with the expectation that Philip would teach him. All barriers of convention fell away as the seeker of God
reached for what he hoped was a ray of Light.

So Philip and the Ethiopian had a Bible study.


8
# 25: 3-23-07

v. 32-35 Psalm 25:9 says, the meek will He guide in judgment, and the meek will He teach His way. The
Lord worked through Philip to teach the Ethiopian the way to Him. And what is that way? The way - is
Christ - the way, the truth and the Life (Jn 14:6). He=s the only way to the Father - the true and Living
God.

Before Jesus had ever come to the earth, the prophets had written of Him - centuries before. The passage
of Scripture that the Ethiopian had been reading was the Septuagint version of Isaiah 53, which contains
one of the Servant Songs - the Servant of Jehovah.

Surely Philip would have taught the entire passage to the Ethiopian, which speaks of the suffering and the
death of the Messiah - and of His exaltation out of death. Let=s go back and look at that passage for
ourselves, and consider what Philip would have taught this Ethiopian official. It actually begins at the end
of Isaiah 52.

[Isaiah 52:13-53:12]

v. 13 The very first statement beginning the Servant passage refers to the very end: that the Servant would
deal prudently - that is, He would prosper - and that He would be exalted - lifted up - and extolled - again,
lifted up - and He shall be very high.

Perhaps Philip also spoke of the end first, as he told of how Jesus fulfilled this prophecy. Jesus prospered
by accomplishing the purposes of Jehovah - to save mankind. He did so through being lifted up on the
cross, then exalted out of death through His resurrection and ascension.

The next two verses give a summary of what would lead up to this exaltation,

v. 14-15 This speaks of the unimaginable suffering that the Servant would endure. His shed blood would
provide cleansing for the nations - healing from sin-sickness - as they took in and believed that His blood
was shed for them.

Did the Ethiopian man begin to see that Jesus died, not just for His own nation - but for all nations - even
for his, Ethiopia? That He died, not just for all men - but for him? He was seeing, he was considering,
what he was being told.

Isaiah 53 gives further details of this summary, in typical Hebrew literary form.

53:1-3 The Servant of Jehovah would grow up from His youth to manhood. Surely Philip told the
Ethiopian about the lowly birth of Jesus - no doubt, a great wonder to him - that the Son of God would be
born as a human baby - so that He could die as a man.

And the Messiah would appear as an ordinary man, not as a king or a prince. His own people would reject
Him; but the Ethiopian, who himself had been rejected in Jerusalem by the Jews, was beginning to be
drawn to Jesus.
9
# 25: 3-23-07

v. 4-6 The Servant of Jehovah would suffer death in the stead of Israel - and in the stead of all men. He
would take the sin of men upon Himself, and their death penalty, so that they would not have to die in, and
for, their sins.

This humble Ethiopian already recognized his own imperfection; what a marvel to him, that a Perfect Man
would be willing to die, so that he could be made right with God.

v. 7-9 The Servant would be cut off out of the land of the living in death, for the sins of the people; and
He would willingly die that death. His body would be buried - it was a true death. Philip would tell how
this had been fulfilled in the crucifixion of Jesus, and His burial.

v. 10 He shall die, yet He shall see His seed, and prolong His days. He shall die, yet He shall live again.
This points to the resurrection of the Messiah. Philip would tell how Jesus was raised from the dead after
three days, in a body of glory - of which there were so many witnesses - and of His return to heaven, also
witnessed. Imagine the amazement of the Ethiopian - to hear that Jesus came back to Life, never to die
again.

v. 11 The Messiah would be satisfied with what He had suffered, because it would result in Life coming
out of death - for Himself, and for His seed - those who believe in Him. The Ethiopian couldn=t help but
wonder if this could be true for him - would Jesus, who rose from the dead, give him that Life, too - for
believing in Him?

v. 12 This speaks of the earthly kingdom that the Messiah will share with the regenerate nation of Israel in
the millennial reign. Philip would share that Jesus was coming again - to rule and reign over all nations.
He is the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS.

Jesus would rule over all nations - including his nation - so the Ethiopian would have mused. Who would
not submit themselves before such a King, who had such a heart for His people?

[Return to Acts]

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rm 10:17). The one who had been seeking the
true and Living God had found Him - in Jesus.

v. 36 Who can tell how long Philip and the Ethiopian spent, their minds buried in the Scriptures; but there,
the Ethiopian saw the Light, and emerged a new man - for he believed into Jesus, the Servant of Jehovah
who had put away sin and death for all mankind.

The Ethiopian eunuch, who had been excluded from the temple, could now boldly enter into the presence
of God, through this new and living way that Jesus had consecrated for him - through the torn veil of His
flesh (Heb 10:19-20). He was no longer a stranger and a foreigner, but a fellow citizen with those set apart
unto God - those of God=s household (Eph 2:19).
10
# 25: 3-23-07

Having received the Life of the Spirit, this eunuch could now enter into the congregation of the LORD, and
worship God in Spirit and in truth (Jn 4:24) By His grace, the true and Living God had made this Ethiopian
eunuch accepted - in the Beloved (Eph 1:6).

As Philip and the Ethiopian continued on their journey, they came upon a particular body of water - water,
in a barren land; a poetic picture of the Spirit, which now indwelt this Ethiopian eunuch. The water was
likely in one of the wadis near Gaza - those dry creek beds that fill with water during the rainy season.

The Ethiopian proposed that Philip baptize him. How would he know of this ordinance that the Lord had
given to His disciples? It=s possible that Philip explained it to him, but more likely, he was aware of a
different baptism - that which the Jews administered to their proselytes.

The Jews did this as a token that the converts were washing away the impurities of their gentile
background, and that they were now identifying themselves with the people of God. But the Jews would
not accept a eunuch as a full proselyte, and so the Ethiopian never had that baptism.

But now, the man had found someone he could truly identify with - Jesus, who had given His life so that he
could be saved. The Ethiopian wished to demonstrate through this symbolic baptism with water that he had
decided to become a disciple of Jesus.

The next verse, 37, is not found in the oldest and most reliable manuscripts. The insertion is thought to
have been due to a creeping into the text of a marginal note. But you will see that the required conditions
that this verse states are in line with the rest of Scripture.

v. 37-39 Believing that the Messiah, Jesus, is the Son of God is what saved this Ethiopian man, and Philip
permitted the water baptism as a testimony to his faith - whether it was actually recorded in Scripture, or
not. Were there any witnesses to the baptism? The attendants of this mighty court official, who had
humbled himself before the Lord Jesus. No doubt they had begun to examine their own hearts.

This is the first recorded occasion of a conversion through the personal witness of a Jew, to a Gentile. Was
Philip conscious of this radical new step? I think Philip was so connected to the Ethiopian official by this
time that he had already lost all sense of the differences between them - in Christ, the two were one new
Man (Eph 2:15). Philip had even gotten down in the water with him - something the Jews never did, with
their proselytes.

Besides, Philip didn=t have much time to think about the great stride that the gospel had taken with this
Gentile, because as soon as Philip and the Ethiopian emerged from the water, the Spirit whisked Philip
away.

Did this mean that Philip just quickly left, at the Spirit=s prompting, or that he was supernaturally translated
to another location? I believe it must have been the latter, by the language used; the word for Acaught
away@ is the same Greek word used for the catching up of the church (1 Thess 4:17 - Arapture@, from the
Latin), which is to happen in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor 15:52). So Philip just Adisappeared@.
11
# 25: 3-23-07

Did this distress the Ethiopian, who had so gladly received the words of Philip? Not in the least; in fact, he
went on his way with joy. But what of his guide, who just a few hours before had been so indispensable to
him? He now had in his heart a better one - the Holy Spirit, who guides those who are His into all the truth
(Jn 16:13). So the Ethiopian was filled with joy - the Spirit already bearing this fruit within him.

There is ample historical evidence that the gospel did reach many in Ethiopia; and it is completely likely,
although undocumented, that this man shared his faith with his fellow countrymen. But what transpired
between Philip and the Ethiopian was for this one man=s sake, alone; from faith to faith. The salvation of a
single soul is an object worthy of God=s attention, and His Divine intervention.

v. 40 So Philip disappeared at Gaza, then reappeared at Azotus. It=s a good thing that he loves a race.
Azotus was about 25 miles north of Gaza back in Samaria, about three miles from the Mediterranean coast.
The name is the Greek form of Ashdod, which means AI will spoil@. The Spirit would now continue to
spoil the enemy in Samaria through Philip, as he preached Christ to the Samaritans, and they were
delivered from bondage to sin and death - the bonds by which the enemy held them.

Philip continued preaching the gospel as he passed through coastal cities in Samaria, until he came to
Caesarea. There, the Lord settled Philip, and he started a family. The last mention of him in the book of
Acts takes place some twenty years later, when Peter would pay him a visit. By then, Philip had four
daughters, all of them prophetesses (Acts 21:8) - which seems fitting for a man who spoke the Word of
God with such boldness.

In two weeks: Read chapter 9