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)

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