Book of Acts Chapter 8 - Christogenea Internet Radio 07-05-2013

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For technical reasons beyond our control, we found it necessary to splice our recording onto the end of the Talkshoe recording at the point where Talkshoe interrupted our program this evening. This podcast is of somewhat better quality in the last fifteen minutes, after the Talkshoe interruption. The transition, at 1:08:19-20, is sudden however there is nothing missing from our intended presentation. We connect to Talkshoe via Skype, and now that we know that the new version of Skype is inhibiting our own recording, we shall make corrections for that in the future. Thank you, and praise Christ! - WRF

Book of Acts Chapter 8 - Christogenea Internet Radio 07-05-2013

In Acts chapter 7 we saw Stephen make an appeal to his fellow countrymen in defense of the new Christian creed. His appeal was based on the life of Moses, who was at this time, presumably next to Yahweh God Himself, the most venerated figure in the history of Israel. Stephen's appeal included a description which explains the reason why Moses was chosen for the mission which God provided him: because he displayed a greater care for the people of his own race than he did for his high station in life which was provided by the Egyptians. In fact, Moses' care for his own race exceeded any care that they may have had for themselves. Saying these things, Stephen explains that Moses risked his own station and his worldly comforts for his brethren even in spite of his brethren, and that for this reason it was by Moses that Yahweh God chose to have Israel delivered from Egypt. Stephen described how this Moses spoke of a prophet to come, which is Yahshua Christ. Note that the final commandment given by Christ to His students was to love their brethren. But Stephen also explained how the people rejected Moses in spite of their delivery from Egypt, and how even the success which Israel had from Joshua to David and the building of the first temple in Jerusalem was tainted by their apostasy, for Yahweh had already given them up to worshipping the “host of heaven”. The overall point that Stephen was making, is that the substance of God's people Israel should be revered, and not the form. The temple, it's adornments, the rituals and traditions connected to it, its manner of governance, those things are the form. The people of the nation, one's kindred, and seeking to follow the will of one's God, these things are the substance. Imagining that salvation may be obtained through the fulfilling of ordinances and rituals leads only to self-justification. The love of one's kindred leads to the edification of the kingdom of God and to the love of God, provided one abides in that love for his brethren.

The traditionalists of Stephen's time rejected him, hated his message, and killed him for it. There are many times in history when men have done such a thing. Most recently in our own history there is the War of Southern Independence, or perhaps it may be called the War of Northern Aggression. In America before that time, men understood that their allegiance should be to God. From that time, men have sworn allegiance to a flag. The war was supposedly for preservation of a union. But the union is only the form of the nation, and the substance is of far greater importance and far greater value. The founders understood the importance of the substance over the form, and therefore left a union which was to be exclusively for them and their posterity. In only four generations, that specification seems to have been forgotten. So over a half-million men were slain by their own brethren, and the substance was destroyed for the sake of the form. Today we continue to suffer the dreadful circumstances, and ever since that time we have been enslaved by the masters behind the form.

A State may be considered as a model example if it adequately serves not only the vital needs of the racial stock it represents but if it actually assures by its own existence the preservation of this same racial stock, no matter what general cultural significance this statal institution may have in the eyes of the rest of the world. For it is not the task of the State to create human capabilities, but only to assure free scope for the exercise of capabilities that already exist. On the other hand, a State may be called bad if, in spite of the existence of a high cultural level, it dooms to destruction the bearers of that culture by breaking up their racial uniformity. For the practical effect of such a policy would be to destroy those conditions that are indispensable for the ulterior existence of that culture, which the State did not create but which is the fruit of the creative power inherent in the racial stock whose existence is assured by being united in the living organism of the State. Once again let me emphasize the fact that the State itself is not the substance but the form. ” - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Book 2 Chapter 2 (p. 222).

In Judaea in the centuries leading up to the time of Christ, the national form became more important than the substance of the nation, and people from all of the surrounding nations – those same Canaanites and Edomites who are accursed by God and who were rejected in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah – they were folded into the citizenry of Jerusalem, and as the historian Josephus said, “they were hereafter considered to be Judaeans” (Antiquities, 13:257 [13.9.1]). These Judaeans had somehow acquired the idea that all men, regardless of actual genealogical descent, could be justified in the rituals of the temple: by circumcision and by sacrifice. The patriarchy became ethereal, according to man, and was no longer natural, according to God. As soon as the substance of the nation was polluted in racial diversity, only the form mattered, for the substance was no longer of any consequence because any substance could then be employed in order to fill the form. By the time of Christ, these sentiments of form over substance must have deeply embedded themselves into the national psyche, for they were manifested in aspects of life such as education and public policy, and the clash between what became known as Christianity and what is now known as Judaism was the result. Christ came only for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”. Christ came for the substance of the nation, and in His care for that substance He had no regard for the form, which according to His Own Word was to be destroyed soon after, and indeed it was.

A people that fails to preserve the purity of its racial blood thereby destroys the unity of the soul of the nation in all its manifestations. A disintegrated national character is the inevitable consequence of a process of disintegration in the blood. And the change which takes place in the spiritual and creative faculties of a people is only an effect of the change that has modified its racial substance.” - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Book 1 Chapter 12 (p. 192). Without a doubt, we have witnessed the truth of these words in our daily lives ever since they were written, and today it is evidenced more than ever, for all of Christendom lies in decadence. With us, it is only the blood which should matter, because, and not in spite of, the promise that “In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory” (Isaiah 45:25). The promise to save the seed has nothing to do with form, and therefore to us only the substance should matter.

This is the problem throughout history with traditionalists and conservatives, even today. They are focused on preserving the form of their being, and they disregard the substance. Killing Stephen and persecuting Christians, the traditionalists in Judaea sought to defend the form at the expense of the substance. The same thing can be said of the so-called Civil War in America. Likewise, Adolf Hitler's Germany was destroyed because the Edomite Jew had convinced the nations of the West that the form of their own existence was threatened, something which was untrue and sheer propaganda on the part of the Jew. If we were all speaking German, and did not slaughter our Germanic brethren, then we would be far more blessed than we are today. Instead, because we did such things, today we are enslaved by that same Jew. And because racial diversity can only be maintained through tyranny, we see tyranny develop wherever there is racial diversity. [It is not much more than a Canaanite Jew merchant's bait-and-switch tactic, to coax a people into worshipping the form of a nation over its substance. The same serpents are behind it every time it happens.]

VIII 1 And Saulos was consenting to his death.

As we closed last week, it will once again be noted here that this opening phrase belongs to the end of chapter 7. Here we see that Paul did not take an active role in the killing of Stephen. Much later, however, Paul assumed responsibility for his murder because he consented to it. This is the same basis upon which Peter, and Stephen also, had blamed the entire nation of Judaea for the crucifixion of Christ, although only a small number of the leaders of Judaea actually had an active part in His murder.

And there came in that day a great persecution upon the assembly in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the lands of Judaea and Samareia, except the ambassadors.

The Codex Bezae inserts at the end of this verse the words “who remained in Jerusalem.” Note that all of the apostles are together in one place even after this time. This aspect of the early days of Christianity is important in evaluating the words of Peter at Acts 15:7, in relation to Philip's preaching in Samaria and his conversion of the so-called Ethiopian eunuch which is described later here in Acts chapter 8.

2 And pious men retrieved Stephanos and held a great mourning for him.

The Greek word for retrieved, in the appropriate tense and in reference to Stephanos’ corpse, is συγκομίζω (4792), a word which appears only here in the New Testament. It is literally “to carry or bring together, collect … Passive to be heaped together... [and therefore] II. to help in burying” (Liddell & Scott). The word rendered mourning is literally lamentation.

3 Then Saulos outraged the assembly, entering into each of the houses, dragging away men and women he delivered them into the prison.

We have already seen in Acts chapters 4 and 5, that the high priests were exercising the authority to arrest Judaean citizens who were seen as heretics, or at least who were seen as heretics other than those sects which were already deemed acceptable to the temple authorities. (The Greek word from which we derive the English word heresy literally means sect. Heretics are literally, and perhaps euphemistically in English, sectarians.) Judaea, as described by Josephus, had three main religious sects, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes, none of which there is any record that they had ever been persecuted. Therefore the real crime of these Christians seems not to have been heresy, since there were already these several sects in Judaea which were not persecuted. The real crime seems to be that Christianity was a heresy which undermined the established order of authority based upon the image and reputation of the temple, even if their heresy was not based upon violence or disorder or any other overt action against the temple authority.

It seems evident, that Saul is not featured here because he is the only one in Jerusalem doing such things. Saul could not have done these things on his own. He must have merely been in the company of those others who executed Stephen, who were evidently doing these things. Ostensibly, since this is an account of the acts of the apostles, and since Saul was to ultimately join the number of the apostles, Saul is featured here only because of his later role as an apostle of Christianity after his conversion.

4 So then those who were scattered went through [or not so literally, went about] announcing the good message of the Word.

This last phrase may have been rendered more simply “announcing the Word”. The Greek word εὐαγγελίζω, from whence is our English word evangelize and the related terms, is fully to bring, to announce, or to proclaim good news. [This good news was meant for Israel, as foretold by the prophets. By evangelizing those who are not of Israel, unwittingly the universalists bring those people bad news – there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.]

5 And Philippos having descended into the city of Samareia proclaimed the Christ to them.

The words are translated quite literally, that Philip descended from Jerusalem into Samareia. Ancient Greeks descended or ascended to and from the seacoasts, or to and from a city of high elevation such as Jerusalem. The Codices Ephraemi Syri (C), Bezae, and the Majority Text have “a city”; the text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A) and Vaticanus (B).

Many of the people of Samareia were actually of Israel, and they had, at least in many respects, returned to and kept the Hebrew traditions. They were people of the ten northern tribes who had escaped the Assyrian captivities. Nevertheless, they were despised by the Judaeans because their genealogical records were destroyed in the Assyrian destruction of the cities of ancient Israel. The Samaritan woman at the well is clearly one of these. Christ certainly also had one of these in mind, and no racial alien, when He uttered the Parable of the Good Samaritan, recorded in Luke chapter 10.

From John chapter 4: “4 And it was necessary for Him to pass through Samareia. 5 So He comes to a city of Samareia called Suchar, near the land which Jakob had given to his son Ioseph. 6 And there was a well of Jakob’s there. Then Yahshua being tired from the journey sat thusly by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman of Samareia comes to draw water. Yahshua says to her: 'Give Me to drink.' 8 (For His students had gone off to the city that they may buy food.) 9 Then the Samaritan woman says to Him: 'You being a Judaean, how do You request from me, being a Samaritan woman, to drink? For the Judaeans have no dealings with the Samaritans!' [Because of the lack of relations between Judaeans and Samaritans, the woman was surprised that Yahshua even acknowledged her.] 10 Yahshua replied and said to her: 'If you knew the gift of Yahweh and who it is saying to you ‘Give Me to drink’, you would have asked Him and He would have given to you living water.' 11 The woman says to Him: 'Master, You do not even have a bucket and the well is deep, so from where do You have living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jakob, who gave us the well and had drank from it himself, with his sons and his cattle?' [Yahshua never denied her claim, that she was of the house of Jacob, and therefore it must have been true. This is evidenced where He continues to preach the gospel to her, even spending several days with her and her people.] 13 Yahshua responded and said to her: 'Each who is drinking from this water shall thirst again. 14 But he who should drink from the water which I shall give to him shall not thirst for eternity, but the water which I shall give to him will become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life.' 15 The woman says to Him 'Master, give this water to me, that I shall not thirst nor pass by here to draw!' 16 He says to her 'Go, call your husband, and come here!' 17 The woman replied and said to Him: 'I do not have a husband.' Yahshua says to her 'You have spoken well that ‘I do not have a husband’, 18 for you have had five husbands and now he whom you have is not your husband! By this you spoke the truth!' 19 The woman says to Him: 'Master, I see that You are a prophet! 20 Our fathers have worshipped on this mountain, yet do You say that in Jerusalem is the place where it is necessary to worship?' 21 Yahshua says to her: 'Believe Me, woman, that the hour comes when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall you worship the Father! 22 You worship that which you do not know. [The Samaritans had been estranged from Yahweh, as well as the rest of “lost” Israel, regardless of their clinging to the covenant. They would fall into the category described in Isaiah 56: “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. 6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; 7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” The eunuchs and dry trees of Isaiah 56 are Israelites estranged from Yahweh their God.] We worship that which we know, because salvation is from among the Judaeans. [Salvation proceeds from that remnant of Israel which was not estranged from God.] 23 But the hour comes and is now, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeks such as those worshipping Him. 24 Yahweh is a Spirit, and for those worshipping Him it is necessary to worship in spirit and in truth.' 25 The woman says to Him: 'I know that Messiah comes, who is called Christ. When He should come, He shall announce to us all things.' 26 Yahshua says to her: 'I am He, who is speaking to you.' 27 And with this His students had come, and they wondered that He had spoken with a woman, yet no one said 'What do You seek?' or 'Why do You speak with her?' 28 Then the woman left her water and went off to the city and says to the men: 'Come, see a man who has told me all things whatever I had done! Could it be that He is the Christ?' [These people were also anticipating the Messiah.] 30 So they came out of the city and came to Him.... 39 And from that city many of the Samaritans had believed in Him through the word of testimony of the woman that 'He told me all the things which I had done!' 40 Therefore as the Samaritans came to Him, having asked Him to stay with them, then He stayed there for two days. 41 And with many more they believed through His word, 42 and they had said to the woman that 'No longer do we believe because of your speech, for we ourselves have heard and we know that He is truly the Savior of the Society!' 43 And after two days He had departed from there for Galilaia.

While the people of Judaea from the earliest times despised the Samaritans, as it is evident in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah and in here in John 4:9, it is also evident, at the time of Christ, that many of the people in Judaea were not actually Israelites but were Edomites or other Canaanites, and that many of the Samaritans were truly Israelites, as we see here in John 4:12, 4:29 and 4:39-43. When certain of the Pharisees claimed to be the children of Abraham, Yahshua Christ immediately denied their claim (John 8:33-44), where the record shows that these were indeed children of Esau, and since Esau took Canaanite wives his offspring are illegitimate. Yet when this certain “Samaritan” woman, who voiced an expectation of Israel’s coming Messiah, claimed to be a daughter of Jacob, her claim was not denied, but was rather substantiated by the subsequent events described in this passage in John chapter 4! It is obvious that first century Judaeans, those who were Israelites, were making distinctions based upon religious and political boundaries much as we do today, and ignoring the more important, permanent bonds of kinship and race, much as many also do today. They had taken to revering the form over the substance.

6 And the crowds being spoken to by Philippos were attentive with one accord for which to hear him and to see the signs which he made. 7 For many of those having unclean spirits, crying out with a great voice they came out, and many who were paralyzed and lame had been healed. 8 And there was much joy in that city.

If this Philip is understood here to be the apostle, one of the twelve, then he must have been with Christ when He spent two days among the Samaritans. There is another Philip mentioned in Acts chapter 6, whom Luke mentions again in Acts chapter 23, where he explains that he is “one of the seven”, later known as Philip the Evangelist. If this here Philip is the apostle, being with the twelve from the beginning, then he must have learned from the events which he witnessed as they are recorded in John chapter 4, and accepted these Samaritans as fellow Israelites, in spite of the prejudices of the Judaeans which they were raised with.

9 Then a certain man named Simon who beforetime in that city was practicing magic and astonishing the people of Samareia, saying of himself to be somebody great, 10 to whom they were all attentive, from the least unto the greatest, saying “This is the great power of God being called.” 11 And they were attentive to him because of the considerable time which he astonished them by magic arts.

The Majority Text, and therefore the King James Version, wants the word rendered being called at the end of verse 10, but it appears in all of the ancient Greek manuscripts. The Greek word ἔθνος (1484) is in the singular people here, rather than nation, one of several times it bears this sense in the New Testament. The King James Version recognizes this sense of the word here and in Romans 10:19. Other such instances, which the King James Version does not recognize, are found at Mark 11:17, Acts 10:22, 13:46, and 18:6; and I Corinthians 12:2.

That there were Judaeans spreading superstitions, and that many of the Greeks were also caught up in superstitions, is evident in Acts chapter 19: “13 Then certain of the vagabond Judaean exorcists also attempted to call the Name of Prince Yahshua upon those having wicked spirits, saying 'I adjure you by Yahshua whom Paul proclaims!' 14 And there were seven sons of a certain Judaean high priest Skeua doing this. 15 But the wicked spirit answered: it said to them 'Now I know Yahshua, and I am acquainted with Paul, but who are you?' 16 Then the man in whom was the wicked spirit springing upon them overpowering both prevailing against them and so naked and having been wounded to flee from that house. 17 And this became known to all those dwelling in Ephesos, both Judaeans and Greeks, and fear fell upon them all and the Name of Prince Yahshua was magnified. 18 And many of those who believed came confessing and reporting their practices. 19 And many of those practicing curiosities gathering their books burned them before all, and they totaled their value and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 Thusly according to the power of the Prince the Word grew and prevailed.

12 But when they believed in the good message being announced by Philippos concerning the Kingdom of Yahweh and the Name of Yahshua Christ, they were immersed[or baptized] both men and women. 13 Then Simon himself also believed and being immersed was adhering to Philippos, astonished seeing both the signs and great works of power being produced.

Flavius Josephus, talking about a certain woman named Drusilla, seems to be discussing this same Simon the magician, where the time is about 25 years later than the events of Acts chapter 8, in Antiquities 20:142 (20.7.2): “142 While Felix was procurator of Judea, he saw this Drusilla, and fell in love with her; for she did indeed exceed all other women in beauty; and he sent to her a person whose name was Simon, one of his friends; a Judaean he was, and by birth a Cypriot, and one who pretended to be a magician; and endeavoured to persuade her to forsake her present husband, and marry him; and promised that if she would not refuse him, he would make her a happy woman.”

As early as the epistles of Ignatius, esteemed to be from the end of the first century, and in the writings of early Christian bishops such as Irenaeus and Justin Martyr, Simon Magus, or Simon the Magician, is credited with having gained many disciples and beginning many heresies. In Irenaeus' Elucidations, he is said to have been the originator of many of the later Gnostic heresies. By some Simon Magus is even credited with being the founder of what later became known as Gnosticism. In some later Christian writers, he is credited with having preached his heresies in Rome as well as in Palestine. Simon is said to have taken the name of Christ for himself, and even claimed for himself to be God. Claims that the teachings of Simon Magus were later confused, perhaps purposely, for the teachings of the apostle Simon Peter also seem to have merit.

14 And the ambassadors in Jerusalem hearing that Samareia received the Word of Yahweh, sent Petros and Iohannes to them, 15 who going down prayed concerning them, that they would receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for not yet had it fallen upon any one of them, but they had only been immersed in the Name of Prince Yahshua.

It may be argued that this Philip was the evangelist, and not the original apostle, for reason that the Samaritans had not received the Holy Spirit through him, and neither did the Ethiopian eunuch after Philip baptized him, as the account is related later in this chapter of Acts. But Philip's being accredited with these other miracles, mentioned in verse 13, certainly it is apparent that this is indeed Philip the apostle, and not the other Philip, who was much more recently converted and only just appointed with the maintenance of widows, as it is described in Acts chapter 6. But in either case, the apostles Peter and John certainly were with Christ in Samareia as it is described in John chapter 4, and therefore they indeed understood that many of the Samaritans were actually Israelites.

Peter certainly did not interpret Philip's having preached to these Samaritans as if he had preached to the uncircumcised people of other nations, as Peter is here with Philip in Samareia, and yet later on in Acts chapter 15 Peter insists that “from the first days Yahweh has chosen among you through my mouth for the Nations to hear the account of the good message and to believe”, referring to his vision of the sheet and his conversion of certain Romans which is described in Acts chapter 10. Therefore these Samaritans are indeed Israelites who kept to the covenants, after the manner described at Isaiah chapter 56. Likewise also in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch, who must have been a Judaean by nationality and an Israelite by race.

17 Then they laid the hands upon them and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 And Simon seeing that through the laying on of the hands of the ambassadors the spirit is given, offered them money 19 saying[the Codex Bezae has 'exhorting and saying'] “Give also to me this authority in order that upon whom I should place the hands he would receive the Holy Spirit.”

The third century papyrus P45 and the Codices Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C), Bezae (D) and the Majority Text have “the Holy Spirit is given”; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Vaticanus (B). Whatever we want to think about the receiving of the Holy Spirit at the laying on of hands by the apostles, men certainly must have been able to visually perceive it at this time, and it must have been a powerful force enabling the spread of the Gospel.

The passing of the gifts of Yahweh to another through the laying on of hands is first seen in Scripture in Deuteronomy 34:9, of Moses and his successor, Joshua, described after the death of Moses: “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.”

20 And Petros said to him “Your silver with you would be for destruction, because you have believed that the gift of Yahweh is to be acquired with money. 21 There is no part nor portion for you in this Word, for your heart is not forthright before Yahweh. 22 Therefore repent from this evil of yours and entreat of the Prince, if then the intention of your heart shall be remitted for you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and the bond of unrighteousness.”

The Greek word πικρία (4088) is “bitterness” here. The word χόλη (5521) is “gall, bile...metaphorically bitter anger, wrath...” (Liddell & Scott). To the Hebrews bitterness also implied rebellion, for which see Strong’s Hebrew lexicon #s 4751 and 4754. Brenton realized this translating his Septuagint edition, where at Psalm 104 (105):28 he rendered the Greek verb παραπικραίνω, literally to embitter (Liddell & Scott) as to rebel against. These same words πικρία and χόλη are bitter and gall in Brenton's Septuagint at Deuteronomy 32:32.

If we think that we can purchase our way into the favor of Yahweh God, or purchase the gifts granted by His favor, then we will never find ourselves in His favor. This phrase “gall of bitterness” seems to be referencing the same quality which we see described in the Song of Moses of the enemies of Israel and of Yahweh God in Deuteronomy chapter 32: “31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. 32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: 33 Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.” Therefore it is quite possible that this Simon is one of those “vagabond Jews”, as the King James Version has it at Acts 19:13, which Paul described as exorcists (as the word is rendered in the King James Version) in Acts chapter 19, a “bad fig Judahite” or a bastard descendant of Cain, who was destined to be a “fugitive and a vagabond in the earth”. This would explain the reason, as Clifton Emahiser had once pointed out, why when he was told to repent and to pray, Simon Magus just couldn't do it, and instead told Peter to pray for him not that he would repent, but that he would not be punished. In any case, as it is described in so many of the earliest Christian writers, Simon Magus not being able to purchase the powers of the new Christian creed for himself, he instead became one of its earliest perverts.

24 And replying Simon said “You entreat on my behalf to the Prince that not anything of what you spoke would come upon me.”

Simon would not repent, and he would not, or perhaps he could not, pray for himself. Notice that he only demanded that Peter pray for him, that he not suffer the punishment which Peter had already pronounced. Therefore Simon's rather pretentious response is to put himself above all other men, as if he were above suffering any punishment for his wicked deeds.

25 So then, they affirming with testimony and speaking the Word of the Prince while returning to Jerusalem then announced the good message in many villages of the Samaritans.

The apostles must have expected to reach many Old Covenant-keeping Israelites in these villages of the Samaritans, because Peter would not yet preach the Word to the unclean – ostensibly meaning the uncircumcised who lived without the law - until he considered the vision of the sheet which appeared to him three times, as it is recorded in Acts chapter 10.

26 And a messenger of the Prince spoke to Philippos saying “You must rise up and go about noon by the road which goes down from Jerusalem into Gaza”, which is desert, 27 and arising he went.

The phrase “which is desert” seems to be descriptive of the road, and not of Gaza itself. Phillip was called to go to Gaza and he met an Ethiopian eunuch on the way. Philip was not called to go to Ethiopia itself, which lies far beyond Gaza. The word for Gaza, which is merely a transliteration, is a Persian word which in early times had made its way into the Greek language, and it means treasure. The eunuch was not working in Ethiopia, and the scripture shall show that the eunuch was not an Ethiopian by race. He was only in the employ of the Ethiopian government in Gaza, where the treasure of the Ethiopians was kept. It may have been, that the Ethiopians maintained a warehouse complex for trade in Gaza, which at this time was only the name of a town on the coast, and that Gaza was used for such business also may explain how it acquired its name. The eunuch was not even necessarily a eunuch, since although in the earliest times slaves were often made eunuchs and employed in the courts of kings, the word was still used in later ages to describe people who were employed in official capacities after the actual practice of using slaves for such offices and removing their testicles had been discontinued.

The word Ethiopia is from a Greek word which means “shining faced” or “sun-burnt face”, and it is hardly descriptive of blacks, but rather of Whites who would acquire such an appearance by inhabiting such a warm climate. It has been established earlier in this series of discussions on the Book of Acts, that there were two places called Ethiopia by the Greeks, one in Mesopotamia and one below Egypt, corresponding to two places called Cush by the Hebrews. Of course, Cush was a White son of Noah, and the ancestor of Nimrod, founder of the first (White) Adamic empire in Mesopotamia. The original Ethiopians could not have been negroes, and were most certainly Hamitic settlers from Mesopotamia.

It is explained in a paper at Christogenea, The Race of Genesis 10, that in the first eleven chapters of the third book of his Library of History,, Diodorus Siculus draws from much earlier historians (as he always did for whomever he wrote about) to describe the various peoples of Ethiopia in Africa (as opposed to the Ethiopia of the East), and it is evident that those tribes contrast with one another quite starkly. The first Ethiopians he discusses are endowed with what we may consider a well-developed form of “western civilization”, for he states “they say that they were the first to be taught to honor the gods and to hold sacrifices and processions and festivals”, they quote Homer in reference to themselves (Iliad 1:423-424), they recount the unsuccessful invasions into their country by Cambyses and Semiramis, and they claim that the Egyptians were originally Ethiopian colonists, led by Osiris. The two types of their writing (like Egypt), popular or demotic and sacred or hieroglyphic, are described, and it is said that the sacred writing is common among these Ethiopians. Their priests were much like the Egyptian. They believed that their kings gained sovereignty by Divine Providence, their laws and punishments were from custom, and they practiced the same flight of refuge which the Greeks did, which was similar to the Hebrew Levitical cities of refuge. An Ethiopian king under Ptolemy was educated in Greece and studied Philosophy, and aside from a few odd customs, there is no reason to believe that these Ethiopians, whose physical characteristics were not mentioned by Diodorus, were anything but civilized, and not much different than the rest of “western” society.

Again, from the paper The Race of Genesis 10: In stark contrast to those cultured Ethiopians which Diodorus first discussed, beginning at 3.8.1 he says: “But there are also a great many other tribes of the Ethiopians [and here it is apparent that, like “Phoenicia” and other labels, “Ethiopia” has become merely a geographical designation, rather than an ethnographical one], some of them dwelling in the land lying on both banks of the Nile and on the islands in the river, others inhabiting the neighboring country of Arabia [between the Nile and the Red Sea], and others residing in the interior of Libya [the rest of Africa - Sudan here]. The majority of them, and especially those who dwell along the river, “are black in color and have flat noses and wooly hair.” Here it is evident that Diodorus is describing the Nubians and other wandering black tribes of the region, but he never said that the civilized Ethiopians were black. He continues: “As for their spirit they are entirely savage and display the nature of a wild beast...and are as far removed as possible from human kindness to one another...and cultivating none of the practices of civilized life...they present a striking contrast when considered in the light of our own customs.”

Aside from the fact that there was a non-black and western society in Ethiopia at this time, it is also fully apparent in history and archaeology that there was at one time a large settlement of Judahites in the area of Ethiopia. The island Elephantine, near the 4th cataract of the Nile, was long considered to be the southern extremity of Egypt. There was an outpost there, manned by Judahite mercenaries and their families, who were hired to guard the border in Persian times. Documents called the Elephantine papyri were found over a hundred years ago, which are records of letters between these people and authorities in both Persia and Judaea, which also inform us that a model of the temple in Jerusalem was once built in this place. However a connection between this settlement and this particular eunuch cannot merely be conjectured, and is not required for us to understand this account in Acts.

Without doubt it was the intention of Yahshua Christ by which Philip encountered the so-called Ethiopian eunuch, as we see in verse 29, and we can only offer conjecture as to why this event was purposefully engineered by the will of God and then included here in the Book of Acts. It is the purpose of Yahweh God to try the hearts of men, and this account of the Ethiopian eunuch has certainly tried the hearts of many, who would think God to be a hypocrite and who fail to consider this entire account in its original and historical context. From Job, chapter 7: “17 What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? 18 And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?”

And behold, a man, an Aethiopian eunuch, an officer of Queen Kandake of the Aethiopians, who was over all of her treasure, who had come to worship in Jerusalem, 28 and he was returning, and sitting upon his chariot, and was reading Isaiah the prophet.

Strabo, in his Geography at 17.1.54, discusses a revolt against the Romans led by a Queen Kandake of Aethiopia in the days of Augustus Caesar, about 25 or perhaps as many as 30 years before this time. While she may have been this very same queen, Kandake (or Candace) is from certain of the ancient inscriptions found in Ethiopia revealed to be a title, and not a proper name. Strabo also described Ethiopians who “fled from the sun” due to sunburn (16.4.8), which is hardly descriptive of blacks.

The word for the place Philippos was told to go, Gaza, and the word for treasure here in verse 27 are the same exact word,  (1047), and they appear only here in the New Testament.

This “Aethiopian eunuch” surely must have been a Judaean man living in Gaza, and in the employ of the Aethiopians, since he was found returning from Jerusalem where he worshiped, and reading from the Book of Isaiah when Philip met him. At this time, only Judaeans were admitted into the temple in Jerusalem to worship, and there were signs posted around the temple threatening death to foreigners who entered. One of the charges levelled against Paul by the Judaeans in Acts chapter 24 was that he intended to profane the temple by admitting into it an uncircumcised man. The eunuch sitting in his chariot, reading the prophet Isaiah, on his way back to Gaza from the temple, where all men of Israel were told three times a year to appear at the feasts, must have been a Judaean.

In Acts chapter 10, Peter received a vision which was a representation telling him to bring the message of the Gospel to uncircumcised men. Immediately thereafter, the Roman servants of Cornelius, a Roman centurion, show up at the house where Peter was staying. Without the vision, Peter would not have entertained these uncircumcised men. Later, in Acts 15:7, Peter took the credit for being the first to preach to the uncircumcised, where he says “Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Nations by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe”, and he was referring to none other than the conversion of the household of Cornelius. Since the conversion of Cornelius came after the conversion of the eunuch, then the eunuch must have been a Judaean, as all of the circumstances mentioned in the account of Philip's meeting with him also indicate.

29 Then the Spirit said to Philippos “Draw near and you must join to this chariot.” 30 And running up Philippos heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said “Do you truly understand the things which you read?”

The fourth century papyrus P50 has “and coming near”. The Greek words employed in these verses inform us that Philip himself was also in a chariot, although it is not explicitly stated. Also, it was quite natural for Philip to have heard the man reading, since it was customary in those days for people to read aloud.

31 And he said “Indeed, how would I be able to if there is no one who could guide me?” And he invited Philippos coming up to sit with him. 32 And the section of the scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to slaughter, and as a lamb before his shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth. 33 In humiliation His judgment was taken away. Who shall describe His birth? For His life is taken from the earth!”

This citation read in verses 32 and 33 are from Isaiah 53:7-8. By this there is also further confirmation as to whom is truly responsible for the Crucifixion. For while Christ spoke to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate (Luke 23:3; John 18:28-37), he would not say a word in reply to the Edomite jew Herod (Luke 23:9), or to the high priests (Matt. 26:62-63; Mark 14:60-61).

The NA27, following the Codex Ephraemi Syri (C) and the Majority Text, has at the beginning of verse 33 “in His humiliation”; the text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A) and Vaticanus (B).

The Greek word γενεά (1074) is “race, stock, family...also a tribe, nation...a race, generation offspring … II. of time or place in reference to birth: a birth-place...age, time of life...in age, or by birth...time of birth” (Liddell & Scott), and therefore it is birth here. Certainly the reading “who shall describe His race?” is also quite appropriate, and perhaps it is even more fitting since it forebodes the heretics of today who so wrongly and blasphemously purport that Christ was something other than an Adamic, White, Aryan man.

34 And responding the eunuch said to Philippos “I ask you, about whom does the prophet speak this? [The Codex Vaticanus (B) wants the word for this.] About himself or about some other?” 35 Then Philippos opening his mouth and beginning from this scripture announced to him the good message about Yahshua. 36 And as they were going down the road they came upon some water, and the eunuch said “Behold, water! What prevents me from being immersed?”

It is apparent that Philip must have explained the baptism ritual, as well as many other things, in his explanation of the Gospel.

After verse 36, the 6th century Codex Laudianus (E) inserts the words: “And Philippos said to him ‘If you believe with your whole heart you shall be saved’. Then replying he said ‘I believe the Son of Yahweh to be Yahshua Christ the Son of Yahweh.’” Other late manuscripts which are also not considered here follow this reading, and with some variation the text is found as verse 37 in the King James Version. We must reject it entirely, as a late interpolation of the Scripture.

38 And he commanded the chariot to stop and they both went down to the water, both Philippos and the eunuch, and he immersed him. 39 And when they had come up from the water, the Spirit of the Prince seized Philippos, and the eunuch did not see him any longer, so he went on his journey rejoicing. 40 And Philippos was found in Azotos, and passing through he announced the good message in all the cities until his coming into Caesareia.

While it is clear that Philip, as well as the other apostles, were continuing to employ the traditional baptism ritual as it was practiced by John, we shall discuss its later application and its relevance today at length when we encounter Peter's explanation of what happened at the home of Cornelius, which is recorded in Acts chapter 11.

The “spirit of the Prince” is of course the Holy Spirit, as we see in John 14: “16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. ”

This description of the movement of Philip from Gaza to Azotus, which was over twenty miles north along the coast, is indeed enigmatic and seems to be indicating that it was by a supernatural event.

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