Acts 8

Acts 8: Holy Ghost by Laying on of hands

After Stephen had been stoned to death, a great persecution against the church went throughout Jerusalem. A man named Saul came forth making “…havock of the church…” (Acts 8:3) by throwing believers in jail. Because of this great persecution Phillip had to scatter the believers abroad so that the church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ could be preserved. Phillip was successful in teaching the Gospel to the Samaritans, and even converted a man named Simon.

Simon was a man who used sorcery and witchcraft and claimed to have great power, however, after watching the great miracles of Phillip, the Samaritans said; “…This man [Phillip] is the great power of God.” (Acts 8:10) Simon also believed that Phillip had power from God and was baptized like most of the Samaritans. After hearing that Samaria had received the word of God, Peter and John came down from Jerusalem to give them the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Baptism and the Holy Ghost

Why did the Apostles Peter and John come down to give the Samaritans the Holy Ghost? We read that the Holy Ghost had yet to fall upon any “…of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)” (Acts 8:16) This is something very important to know about Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost: First the believers had to have Faith in Jesus Christ, Second they had to Repent of their wrong-doings and organize their lives in a manner in which they could live by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Third they had to be Baptized by the Power and Authority of Jesus Christ. Fourth, after having received a Baptism by the proper Authority, they could be given the Gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands by someone who also has the Authority to do so.

  1. Faith in Jesus Christ
  2. Repentance
  3. Baptism by Immersion with the Proper Authority from Jesus Christ
  4. The Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, with the Proper Authority from Jesus Christ
  5. Enduring to the end, and continuing to live the Gospel, commandments and Repenting if necessary.

Peter and John arrived in Samaria where they gave the Gift of the Holy Ghost to the recent converts of the Church, they did this by laying “…their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:17) When Simon saw that they had this great power to give the Gift of the Holy Ghost, “…he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:18-19) Clearly, but unknown to Simon, the powers and authorities given from God cannot be bought nor sold for money. Peter responded to Simon by saying; “…Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast though that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” (Acts 8:20)

After Phillip had finished “correcting” Simon, he travels over to Jerusalem where he is told to go down to the desert of Gaza to meet an eunuch who had great Authority under the Queen of Ethiopia, Candace. This eunuch sat in a chariot reading the Book of Esaias [Isaiah] the Prophet; Phillip asked the man if he understood what he read, and the man deserved for him to teach from the book ,and read: “…He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:” (Acts 8:32) The man desired to know more of this prophet, so Phillip taught him of Jesus Christ. Along their journey the man points to a body of water and ask Phillip to be baptized, Phillip tells him that there is one major qualification to getting baptized, and that is: “…If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest…” (Acts 8:37) The man tells Phillip that he does believe and “…they went down both into the water… and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Phillip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:38-39)

Notice how they BOTH went down INTO the water? Notice also, that they came OUT of the Water? What does that mean? It means that the man had to be baptized with the Authority (which Phillip had) and the man had to be baptized like Jesus Christ was baptized… by immersion! (See Matthew 3:15-16)

Acts 7

Acts 7: Testimony of Stephen

                In the previous chapter, Stephen was placed before the Council [Sanhedrin] facing accusations that he spoke blasphemy against the temple, and the Law.

Stephen responds to these charges by reviewing the call of Abraham and God’s promise to him and the nation of Israel.  Stephen explains how God used Moses to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage and how he led them for forty years through the wilderness.  Even with this direction from God, Israel rebelled against Moses, through whom God gave the Law.

Turning to the matter of God’s dwelling place, Stephen acknowledged the role of the tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon, but contended that God does not dwell in temples made with hands. Stephen continued by  charging the council of resisting the Holy Ghost just like their ancestors, for as their fathers persecuted and killed the prophets who foretold the coming of the Just One [Jesus Christ] so they became His betrayers and murderers. He pointed out that the Council was the one not keeping the law, not the Apostles called of God.

Stephen continued to recount many stories of the Old Testament that led them to the present affairs;

  • God’s Dealings with Abraham (Acts 7:1-8)
    • The call to leave Mesopotamia
    • The short stay in Canaan
    • The promise of possession to his descendants
    • The covenant of circumcision
    • His descendants:  Isaac, Jacob, the twelve patriarchs
  • The Patriarchs Stay in Egypt (Acts 7:9-16)
    • Joseph sold into Egypt, becomes governor
    • Jacob and his sons move to Egypt during the famine
    • The patriarchs buried in Canaan
  • God’s Deliverance of Israel through Moses (Acts 7:17-36)
    • The children Israel in Egypt become slaves
    • The work of Moses, deliverer of Israel
      • Raised by Pharaoh’s daughter
      • Kills an Egyptian, but despised by his brethren
      • Flees to Midian where he lives for forty years
      • The Lord appears to Moses in a burning bush at Mount Sinai
      • Returns to Egypt, delivers Israel and brings them into the wilderness
  • Israel’s Rebellion Against God and Moses (Acts 7:37-43)
    • Moses is the person:
      • Who said God would raise up another prophet like him
      • Who spoke to the Angel on Mount Sinai
      • Who received living oracles to give to Israel
      • Whom the fathers would not obey but rejected
  • Israel is the nation:
    • Who turned back into Egypt in their hearts
    • Who pressured Aaron to make a golden calf
    • Whom God gave up to worship the host of heaven for forty years in the wilderness
  • They may have offered sacrifices to the Lord
  • They also worshiped Moloch and Remphan
  • God’s Tabernacle (Acts 7:44-50)
    • The fathers of Israel had the tabernacle of witness
      • In the wilderness, built according to the pattern shown Moses
      • Brought into the promised land by Joshua
  • They also had the temple
    • Asked for by David, who found favor before God
    • Built by his son Solomon
  • Yet the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands
    • For heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool
    • His hand has made all these things
  • Israel’s Resistance of the Holy Ghost (Acts 7:51-53)
    • Stephen charges the council of resisting the Holy Spirit, just as their fathers did
    • Their fathers persecuted and killed the prophets, so they have killed the Just One
    • They received the law, but did not keep it

With Stephen’s recount on History and his testimony, the members of the Council are cut to the heart, those in the council gnashed their teeth at Stephen. However, full of the Holy Ghost, he gazed “…into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55)

Upon telling the council what he saw, they were enraged! So much, that they cast him out of city and began to stone him. The witnesses who brought the false charges laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul (later known as Paul, the apostle).  As Stephen was stoned, he called upon Jesus to receive his spirit, and to not charge his murderers with his death.   In this way Stephen became the first martyr for Christ.

Acts 6

Acts 6: The Apostles Chose 7 Others

                The number of disciples of the Lord (followers of Christ) multiplied and as the Church grew, some complained that the distributions [the money and goods] were not being handled properly. So Peter and John ask the disciples to give them some names of good men, honest men who they could call and appoint over that duty, so that they might go on teaching about Jesus Christ and Administering in His Church.

                Peter and John call; Stephen, Phillip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas to have the delegation of duties regarding the distribution of the wealth of the Church. These men were set before the Apostles “…and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.” (Acts 6:6) Here we see that the Power and Authority was given to these men in the same manner that Peter and John had received their Authority from Jesus Christ, meaning that the Authority must come in this manner.

                From this point on… the Church grew and multiplied in Jerusalem. Stephen did man miracles and even preached the Gospel. However, a group called the ‘Libertines’ [Freed-Men] sought to destroy Stephen, because they believe he spoke blasphemies against Moses and against God, because they did not believe in Jesus Christ. The group “…set up false witnesses. Which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:” (Acts 6:13) The council that was over seeing this “trial” could only see Stephen as an angel. Essentially the council could not see the evil that he supposedly had in him. 

Acts 5

Acts 5: Peter and John Teach of Christ

                Peter and John preach to the people and encourage them to sell their possessions and give them to the church, one man named Ananias and his wife Sapphira sell their possessions, but keep some of the proceeds for themselves. Peter asks Sapphira why she was holding back money that belonged to God, and why she was trying to lie about it, for she “…hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” (Acts 5:4) After Peter was done rebuking them, they both fell to the ground dead. Peter and John continue to work mighty miracles and wondrous signs from God, and the people were amazed at their authority. The high priest has Peter and John put into prison again, but an angel frees him.

They are free for a short time, before they are again arrested once more, but Peter boldly stands as witness to the crucified and risen Christ. A Pharisee called Gamaliel advises the council to do nothing, he boldy declares; “…Refrain from these men, and let them alone; for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts 5:38-39) Essentially Gamaliel knows that if they really are frauds and do not possess the authority from God, their organization will eventually fail, because men are not perfect. But he warns that if it is of God, and their power and authority is real… the counsel has no power and would be wise to not fight against the Almighty God.

What Gamaliel said is very true, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Book of Mormon and everything that Jesus had setup through His servant Joseph Smith is true, and no matter how hard people fight against it and say that it isn’t true… God did establish the church and it will stand throughout all time, until Jesus comes for a second time and reigns King on the earth!

Acts 4

Acts 4: Peter and John are Arrested

                As Peter and John were teaching the people from the previous chapter, the Sadducees came upon them and laid their hands on them, arresting them. The next day they were put before a tribunal court with Annas, the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander and many other leaders to question Peter and John, they asked; “…By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?” (Acts 4:7)

Peter, being filled with the Holy Ghost, responded; “…Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole, Be it known to you all, and to all people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.” (Acts 3:8-10) Peter made it very clear that the power or authority, by which they used to heal the man, was from Jesus Christ.

Peter continues; “This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

                Peter lays it down as clear as can be; Peter did not heal the man with his own power. No, he healed the man through the power that Jesus Christ had given him. Jesus Christ is the head of the Church and only through Him can someone be saved! The counsel marveled at the boldness presented by Peter and John, because they could see that both of them were very humble men that were “…unlearned and ignorant…” (Acts 4:13), yet they marveled that they could indeed speak with such boldness and authority. They wondered what they should do, even asking themselves; “…What shall we do to these men? For that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them…” (Acts 4:16)

                The counsel was concerned because some of the people who had seen the miracle believed on Jesus Christ, so instead the counsel threatens Peter and John to no longer talk; “…let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.” (Acts 4:17) But Peter quickly responds in a way that only an Apostle of the Lord would respond; “…Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20) After hearing these words and threatening them further the counsel had no choice to let them go, for they had no case and they feared a backlash from the believers.

After being released, Peter and John offer a prayer to God and ask Him to “…Grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.” (Acts 4:29) After finishing their prayer the ground shook beneath them and the people there were touched by the Holy Ghost and were assembled as one heart and soul. The people departed of their worldly goods and set them at the feet of the Apostles to help those in need.

Acts 3

Acts 3: The Restoration of All Things

                Peter and John go up into the Temple together to pray, and on their way in they find a man at the gate of the Temple, which was called Beautiful, and the man was asking for money as he was lame (unable to walk) and Peter and John looked at him and said; “…Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise and walk.” (Acts 3:6) Immediately the man received strength in his feet and ankle bones and walked! The man leaped for joy as he accompanied Peter and John into the temple, many people saw this and wondered in amazement! When Peter saw that everyone was so amazed by this miracle he said; “…Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or why look so earnestly on us as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our Fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea. The faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” (Acts 3: 12-16)

                Peter asked the people of Israel a very simple question; why did they marvel at the sight of this miracle? After all many had seen Jesus perform these very miracles, yet they wondered how it was possible. Peter chastises them for having killed the Son of God, because in their ignorance they did exactly as their rulers and ancestors before them… they rejected the prophets sent by God and now they had rejected the Son of God, whom was sent by God the Father.

Peter offers the Israelites a way to redeem themselves; Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the time of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom heaven must receive until the times of restitution [in other words, RESTORATION] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:19-23)

                Peter speaks about the Last Days and references that there will be a RESTORATION of ALL THINGS. What are “ALL THINGS”? When Jesus Christ was on the Earth He established His church, but we all know the Head of the Church [Jesus Christ] was killed and His Apostles were shortly thereafter also persecuted and killed [Peter himself being crucified], and with time the Authority that Jesus Christ had bestowed upon them (see Matthew 10:1; “…he gave them power…”) Jesus even told His Apostles that before the Restoration would happen, Elias would have to come; “…Jesus answered them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” (Matthew 17:11) and we know that Elias will come as a precursor to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself said; “…I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:5-6)

                Just so there is no confusion; Elias is the Greek form of the name Elijah in Hebrew, therefore they are the same person being referred to by the Lord. Before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ a “RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS” needs to happen, and the very start of that Restoration would bring Elijah to restore the kings on man to seal families for eternity. This power was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith who was working as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. Through Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ Restored His church on the Earth today… The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This
Restoration has already occurred.

Acts 2

Acts 2: The Gift of Tongues

                On the day of the Pentecost many people gathered together in one place. During this meeting “…there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as fire, and it sat upon each of them.” (Acts 2:2-3) So, we are told that the Holy Ghost came down and put on them the ability to speak in tongues. So what exactly does it mean to speak in tongues? We continue to read; “…they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:4) Some believe today that speaking in tongues means that the Spirit of God comes down and causes you to lose control of your physical body and spew nonsense that only the Spirit can understand. Is this speaking in “tongues”? No. We continue to read; “…every man heard them speak in his own language.” (Acts 2:6) So what does it mean to speak in tongues? To literally speak in other languages, for example in Spanish you would say “lenguas” for languages, but “lenguas” also translates as “tongues”.

However, some gathered believe that those speaking in tongues are only drunk, why? Because they don’t believe that God can give someone the power to communicate in other languages. I personally can say that the Gift of Tongues is real, I served as a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and found that I could learn Spanish a lot faster than if I were to try on my own. The Prophet Joel spoke to the unbelievers; “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17) Joel brought up a good point, God has the power to do anything, including giving the Gift of Tongues or causing someone to have a vision. Joel prophesies of the coming doom in the last days and encourages those that are gathered (and more importantly those living in the Last Days) to “…that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21) Does this mean that to be saved, all we have to do is accept Christ in our lives? No. If we go back and read in Matthew, Jesus taught; “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) So, accepting Christ in our lives is only the first step, Salvation was never easy… but yet again it wasn’t easy for Christ to die for all of our Sins, the least we can do is follow His commandments.

Joel explains that Jesus was take and tried by wicked men to be beaten, and die on the Cross with no crime. The Apostles that Jesus had called recount what Joel had prophesied in days of old. The Apostles continue to teach those gathered about Jesus and their message “…pricked in their heart…” (Acts 2:37) so much so, that they turned to Peter and asked how they might return to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and he responded to those gathered; “…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)

The people did as the Apostles had directed them and many were baptized and did receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, by the Authority given to the Apostles. Many departed of their belongings and gave to those in need and “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47)