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Acts of the Apostles: 17 - Acts 8:26-39

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Acts of the Apostles

17 - Acts 8:26-39



Acts of the Apostles: 17 - Acts 8:26-39


In this class, we will discuss Acts 8:26-40 and look at the encounter between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch.


Darris: Welcome back to Acts, everybody. We are in the middle of Acts 8 and making pretty good progress as we move our way through the book of Acts. I appreciate just a comment for those watching these classes online. I do appreciate hearing your comments. Periodically, people call or write about how they are enjoying going through this in their own personal study. And so we know you're out there. We appreciate the fact that you are learning and going along with us here in the classroom as we go through the book of Acts. And so, send a note. Let us know how you're receiving it and we appreciate hearing from everybody out there. But it seems to be resonating with a number of people.

So, we were in Acts 8 in the last class and we progressed up to, through verse 25. We talked about Philip, the deacon, we'll call him that, going down to the city of Samaria preaching the gospel, the scattering that took place after the martyrdom of Stephen. Remember we talked about that, a signal event, a milestone event in the story of the church here in the book of Acts with the death of Stephen and the scattering that takes place. So, Philip goes down, and essentially Chapter 8 is largely devoted to the work that Stephen does. And then we're going to come back into the work of Saul and pick him up where we were introduced to him at the end of Chapter 7. So, let's go to Chapter 26. Let me bring a map up here to kind of show where we are in the matter here. Samaria to the north of Jerusalem. Again, we talked about the geographic relationship when Luke said he goes, he went down to Samaria, literally he did, and that's where he encountered Simon, the magician, and planted a church there at that time. Now, here, he is going to reverse his position and he's going to go to the south. It says in verse 26.

Acts 8:26 "The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, 'Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is desert,'" it says.

And so here he is. Essentially, we have it mapped out here. Here's Jerusalem. And then he goes down along the road that goes to Gaza. And Gaza is over here on the coast. We'll hear today about conflict between the State of Israel and Palestinian or Arabs, I guess we could call them Palestinians in the Gaza, what is called the Gaza Strip of this area. This is the same area that we're talking about. Gaza had a couple of locations in the ancient world. Actually, at this time in the 1st century, the Gaza that he's going to do, they were calling it the New Gaza. The old Gaza had been destroyed and they'd moved it somewhat south. And so essentially, we can say that the present-day Gaza isn't in the same spot. And there is an enclave today of Palestinians and Arabs and it's just a festering sore, an unfortunate problem between Israel and the Arab world. They lob rockets out of Gaza into Israel. They dig tunnels out of Gaza toward Israel so that their terrorists can go miles through those tunnels and pop up in an Israeli village and create mayhem is what happens. And so there's just a constant conflict. And anytime they lob rockets out of Gaza, of course, Israel has a much better missile capability, they rain them back and a lot of people, a lot of innocent people, children, and others get caught in that. And it's just an extremely unfortunate situation.

So, it is to that area that Philip is going here and it puts him down along the coast. And let me make one point before I go move to another slide here. It says that the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip. We are going into several sections. We're going to have a number of references as we move into this middle part of Acts, actually throughout the book of Acts, but there are interesting statements that Luke focuses on. Luke has a fascination for the Spirit, the work of the Spirit of God. And he does that in his gospel and he does it here in Acts. And he will talk about the Spirit forbade Paul. We'll read about that later. And the Spirit did this or the Spirit moved. And the Spirit fell upon, in this case, the family of Cornelius. We'll read about it in Chapter 10. But Luke has a fascination with the Spirit of God and the spirit world and its interaction. And as we look closely at this, I think we can understand something about, if you will, the nature of God. Remember, now, on Monday in our doctrines class, we started into the fundamental belief about the nature of God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and we are beginning to do that deep dive into that topic.

Understanding what the Holy Spirit is and what it is not is a third person of a Trinitarian construct. But the Spirit is the essence of God. God is Spirit. "Those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth," Christ said. And it is the very essence of the being or the nature of the Father and the Son, the Godhead. And it is how they work and act. It is what they are and how they project power and influence and move within, but it's not a third person. And so as we focus on these scriptures, I think we can begin to get a bit of an understanding of how God works through His Spirit to accomplish His work among His disciples and His church, which is our focus here in the book of Acts. So, I'll keep that in mind. We'll take verse 26 as a messenger through angelos here, the Greek word, a messenger of the Lord, an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip.

Philip knew what to do. That's really a prime thing to do. Philip, as we will see in these other individuals, they were attuned to the spirit world, they were attuned to God, and in a relationship with God to where Philip knew that this was a positive movement, a positive action that he had to take as it was coming from God through the angel of God, the angel of the Lord, which told him, and it just says, again, "Did he hear audible words? Did he have it in a vision?" We're not told that explicitly. I tend to think because my view of it as I understand it, perhaps a vision in some way, which is many ways how God works. And he heard something in a vision, perhaps as opposed to an audible exterior voice speaking to him, but he knew the message, he understood where it was coming from, and he knew what he should do. And he acts on it. So, with that as an introduction, we'll come back to that theme as we move ahead.

Acts 8:27 "So, he arose," in verse 27, "and he went in that direction."

So, the map here shows you the direction that he's moving southward. There's a road there. This is a picture here of a Roman road near the Eilat Valley to the southeast of Jerusalem, not necessarily the road that Philip would have been on likely, but a facsimile thereof. In other words, it's a Roman road from the 1st century. And it would have been that type of road and it's very near where the other road that would have been going down to Gaza are. This particular road doesn't run in that direction, but I just show it to you to give you a bit of an indication. You can go to Israel here, to Turkey, ancient Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome, and other places. And you can walk today on remnants of these Roman roads, these highways. They were the interstate highways of the time. When the Romans built a road, they built it to last. And what they have uncovered and what has stayed around through these here, you could still drive a semi-truck over. They're that well-built. Would that our modern road systems were that good. It's fascinating to walk along sections when you run across them as we have in some of our trips.

Acts 8:27-28 So, "He arose," it says in verse 27, "and he went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury and had come to Jerusalem to worship was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the Prophet."

All right? Now, here's a chariot. This is an actual Roman carriage in a museum in Germany. It's actually where this picture was taken, but it's a reconstruction of a Roman traveling carriage. It's not the original, but it's a reconstruction. So, some feel that this may have been more like what this Ethiopian eunuch was riding in as opposed to when you say a chariot, we think of "Ben-Hur," right, and a one or two-person chariot being pulled by a team of horses. We've all seen those depictions in the movies. We're told here that the eunuch was in his chariot and he was reading the book of Isaiah. Now, that tells me he wasn't driving. And being that he was a treasurer from a nation down in Africa, it tells me that he would have had probably, you know, a couple of retainers, servants with him on this trip and that he had the leisure to read while the carriage or chariot was moving, lends or sways me toward thinking that it was more of a larger coach like this, which you will see this type of carriage in certain movies. I know the movie "Gladiator," it depicted the Roman emperor being driven into the area of the German woods where they were fighting in that opening scene in such a carriage as this. And so this gives you a little bit of an idea what we're talking about here as we move along. Now, let's look at verse 27 and break this down a little bit. Who is this person?

Acts 2:27 Well, it says, "He is a man of Ethiopia and a eunuch of great authority under Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians."

Where is this Ethiopia? Well, we don't have that full map up for this, but Ethiopia today is in northeast Africa and it's below the Aswan Dam area down the Nile and it's basically down in here on the map. That's where Ethiopia is. In the 1st century, this kingdom that is being referred to that this eunuch is coming from represents something that, from the historians, that we know from the 1st century, a much larger area than just Ethiopia today. It would be below Egypt and below the cataracts of the Nile down even, I believe, further south of the area of the city of Khartoum along the Nile. And it would have involved quite a large area in the 1st century. So, this was actually a large empire. They know this as the empire called Meroe, M-E-R-O-E. And it was a very large empire for the time along northern Africa, below Egypt and Libya in that area.

In fact, here are some ruins of this in the Upper Nubia. This is that actual ruin of a Roman temple at ancient Meroe. And if, as we would look over here, this distant building, there is an image of a figure there. And here's a close-up of that. You can see here the outline of a queen. Her name is Queen Amanitore. And it's possibly Candace. And Candace is actually, the way this name is understood, it's not just one person, but it's the name of a dynasty of this time in this ancient kingdom of Meroe. There would have been several Candaces just like we have had two Elizabeths as Queen of England separated by hundreds of years, but it's a dynastic name. And this is a picture, actually, of one from the temple that was built about 30 AD. I don't know the exact dating of this individual that is pictured here, but it is a female figure and it is a queen. So, it gives you an understanding of at least the size, the wealth, of this kingdom of Meroe that this Ethiopian eunuch came from. And so it was quite a large area at the time.

Now, it says he was a eunuch. What does that mean? Well, if you know what a eunuch is, a castrated male who in ancient societies and even into the medieval and late medieval period, you had eunuchs who were over the harems of various courts and kings and sultans, especially in the Arab world, the Ottoman period. High-ranking officials in these courts were eunuchs. And it was part of what was expected of them as they rose in these positions. And that's a whole study in itself. There are some scholars that feel that this Ethiopian was a real eunuch. There's a difference of opinion on it that he was not a literal eunuch but rather it just means that he was a high official, either a military or a political or government official. One of the commentaries of the Expositor's Bible Commentary has a reference in there that it does not have to imply emasculation. And he could have still held this title or a rank of what it would be and that could be what it is talking about. The word "unokos" appears frequently in the Septuagint version of the Bible. And there it is often referred to just a high military or political official.

And so the Bible does have certain things to say about eunuchs. In Deuteronomy 23:1, it explicitly says there that none could be a convert to Judaism or to, let's say, the faith of Israel at that time in the Old Covenant, and that they couldn't be that unless they were called a proselyte of the gate. But as we come into the New Testament period, I think it's more likely that we're looking at someone who was a high government official. Some scholars even try to say that maybe he was Jewish and that's why he was in Jerusalem. Others say that he was black and he was Gentile, but he was a proselyte. In other words, he was very interested in and somewhat observant of the faith of Abraham, the faith of Israel.

I tend toward that myself. I don't think he was a Jew. I think that he was an Ethiopian. I don't necessarily think that he was a eunuch based on what I have read. It doesn't have to be. And maybe I'm just partial to that. I'm male and I don't want my heroes to be eunuchs in that sense. So, I'll go ahead and admit my prejudice there. But these are the discussions that go back and forth as people look at this. But it says he had been to Jerusalem. Now, he'd been to Jerusalem, it says, to worship. So, he'd gone into the temple areas and somewhat he probably had a limited access there in worshiping. But look at what it says. He was reading "Isaiah the Prophet."

Now, at this time, you just didn't walk into a bookstore and buy a copy of "Isaiah the Prophet" in any translation that you wanted. Basically, you just didn't do that. Isaiah was written on a scroll and it was done by hand. It wasn't mass-produced, so, therefore, it was very expensive. And if he had a scroll of Isaiah, which it says he did, then he had purchased that. And that was not a cheap purchase. He was the, as it says here, that he was a treasurer. Well, let's hope that he was making a good salary. He wasn't dipping into the treasury, but he was making a good salary and he had enough money to buy his own copy. So, it tells us that he was a man of means and he had done that and he was devout.

Now, the word is not used here, in the sense, we're going to be talking...and when we get to the story of Cornelius, we're going to talk a lot about a term called a "God-fearer." I won't give you the Greek term for that right now, but this is a category of people we run into mentioned literally out of the Greek in the New Testament or in the book of Acts, a class of people who were God-fearers. Largely, they were Gentiles. They were Gentile proselytes. They had attached themselves to the synagogues and they were believers to the degree that they could. If they had not been circumcised, the males, they couldn't be full members of the synagogue. But they could, even uncircumcised, be a part of it or associated with it and there were many of those.

And Paul especially in his sermons, and we'll see, he begins to build the New Testament church to a large degree out of these Gentile believers called God-fearers. And we are seeing this and I think this is probably what we would classify this eunuch as one. He feared the God of Abraham. He loved the God of Abraham. That's how you understand the term God-fearers, not that he was afraid of God, he loved God. He respected God. He was drawn to the worship of Abraham. And a lot of, many Gentiles were as they observed the Jewish communities, the Jewish synagogues throughout the whole region, not just in Israel during this time. One of the things you should understand and it no doubt applies to this Ethiopian is that the pagan world in the 1st century was running on fumes, running on fumes. They were running out of gas. Hundreds and hundreds of years of temples and gods and goddesses and stories and failed promises. Emptiness. People were frustrated. People were hungry for something really deeply spiritual. They were hungry for something beyond all of, let's just call it, the trash of the pagan mythologies and pagan world and all that it was. It was just filth and trash. And it had failed. The pagan world had failed even though it was still dominant.

And there were people, the man on the street, the carpenters, the bricklayers, the brickmakers, the tentmakers. The people who made the community work and kept it going by what they produced and what they did, they wanted something better. And this is a fundamental fact of human behavior when it comes to God. We see it today. My mother was a God-fearer even though she was a good Methodist woman when she was called and came into the church, she recognized that her pious Methodist upbringing wasn't giving her everything and she needed something more. And she began to hear that and learn that as she began to learn the truth of the Bible from the church. And she, in a sense, was kind of a modern-day God-fearer who gravitated toward the God of...this is called the God of Abraham, the God of the Bible, but the full truth of God's Word because it was truth.

And so this Ethiopian eunuch is in the same boat in his day. And he's so devout, he's reading Isaiah as his carriage is kind of bouncing along these roads and going back. Think about that. Have you ever tried to read in your car? I mean, you can do it to a degree, but I always would fall asleep. I don't read in my car today. I listen to a book on tape. I can't read it, but when I was smaller and would be in the backseat, I would read. But I would read only for a little while because the movement and everything else, oh, you get sleepy and you're asleep. Well, imagine this eunuch trying to read the scroll of Isaiah without a light and, you know, maybe if you go back to his carriage right here, he's got a little bit of light coming in, but it's bouncing around. There's not really good shocks on that carriage to cushion the road, all right? Look at the tires. It's iron bent over wood. So, it's a bumpy road and the road wasn't just a smooth asphalt like what we have. And that's what he's doing when Philip comes upon him there. And so he had been to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage and now he was on his way back. And God knew what was taking place. And look what it says in verse 29.

Acts 8:29 "Then the Spirit."

And this is another indicator. Up in verse 26, it was the angel of the Lord that Luke calls the message and the means by which he was moved to go in this direction. Now, he just says, "The Spirit." It's the same God working by the same means out of the spirit realm if you will. “And now the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go near.’” The point you should make and we'll draw from this, and this is a very important point, there is no large clear distinction that Luke makes as he talks about the work of the Spirit moving upon the apostles, the disciples, and within the church. There's not a large distinction. And out of that, you don't draw a conclusion that, "Well, this is the Holy Spirit. This is a third person of a triune God." You can't really legitimately do that and be honest with the Scripture. I mean, I've got a quote at some point here that we'll turn to and read that from others who study. You find occasional scholars that are very honest as they look at the text and these matters and some of the things that they tell you as you're reading it, let's say from a point of view of our understanding of God, they're basically saying that the distinction drawn by Luke in the book of Acts as he talks about the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the angel of the Lord and the Spirit says and does this is not clear enough to make a distinction that it is a third member of a triune God. But it is the work of God. It's the power of God. It's the Spirit of God working among, in this case, Philip to move him in these directions.

So, we'll build on this as we move along. But let's get back into the text here. It says he's reading from Isaiah.

Acts 8:29 “The Spirit said to Philip” in verse 29, "Go near and overtake this chariot. So, Philip ran to him.” So, he comes up in his travels and he sees this chariot in the distance, and so he then picks up his pace and he runs to him “and he hears him reading the prophet Isaiah.”

So, he's hearing this eunuch as he draws close to the chariot. He's hearing he's reading out loud. How many of you read out loud? Do you? Good. It's not always done today. We read but, you know, we just read silently unless as you do for whatever reason. But in the ancient world, a lot of reading was done out loud like this. This was the custom. So, it's not unusual for the eunuch to be verbalizing the text of Isaiah that he's reading as he's moving along, which is what Luke is telling us what had happened. And that was the way... It's not that... That's how a lot of learning was done by oral reading and people listened to it. Not everybody had their Bible to follow along. Again, too expensive. And they would go to a synagogue, they would go where there was a copy of the Word of God, and it would be read to them there. And then so they'd... Here's this word you're going to hear again. They got engaged. They had to be engaged, in other words, paying attention to what was being read so that they could learn.

And so you can imagine that they were pretty sharpened minds of people who learned and remembered, even memorized, these passages as it was read to them. They were paying attention. That's my point. They got engaged. Did they take notes? Well, you know, maybe a little. They had scraps of papyrus and tablets and they were writing in certain fashions. Maybe so. But they learned that way and this is then what the eunuch is doing.

Acts 8:30-31 “He runs to him and he heard him reading the prophet Isaiah verse 30 and he said, ‘Do you understand what you're reading?’ And the eunuch said, ‘How can I unless someone guides me?’”

This is a very important principle, the need for a guide. Paul talks about this in the book of Romans. I think you're just getting into the book of Romans and you will run across, I think, in Chapter 2 or 3. I don't teach it, so it's not always on the tip of my tongue, but where how can they hear unless somebody teaches? In other words, Paul was talking about taking the gospel to people. And the eunuch here is saying, "How can I unless someone guides me?" He's recognizing that he's insufficient. He's sincere, he's a God-fearer, but he needs someone to help him understand where he's reading.

Acts 8:31-32 And so, “Philip came to him and sat with him.” So, he must have gone up into the chariot with him. “The place in the scripture which he read was this.” verse 32.

And this is out of Isaiah 53, one of the servant's passages that is talking about the Messiah.

Acts 8:32-33 "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter. As a lamb before his shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth. In his humiliation, his justice was taken away. And who will declare his generation? For his life is taken from the earth."

And so he wants understanding.

Acts 8:34 “The eunuch answered Philip and said, ‘I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of some other man?’”

And this is the opportunity Philip seizes to explain the Messiah. He's speaking of that this is a prophecy pointing to the Messiah King, and then he goes and to explain to him, in verse 35.

Acts 8:35 "Philip opened his mouth and beginning at the scripture preached Jesus to him."

He explained that this passage from Isaiah was pointing to the Messiah and Christ was the Messiah and He fulfilled it. So, he expanded on it, went through more of it. It says in verse 35.

Acts 8:35 "He opened his mouth and beginning at the scripture preached Jesus."

And went further than what had just been read and over a period of time here in this coach. He gives him a Bible study that brings this eunuch along to the point where he knows that he must take an action.

Acts 8:36-37 Says, "As they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, 'See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?' And Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’"

This was his confession of faith. And he was now convicted that what he had heard... Keep in mind this is a few years, maybe four or five, six years after the crucifixion. And he's been to Jerusalem. Did he go to Jerusalem having heard about the events of the crucifixion week of a crucified teacher who then was said to have been resurrected, the tomb was found empty, and now there's thousands of followers of this resurrected teacher claiming that He is the Son of God? Did he go to Jerusalem to investigate from his home down in the kingdom of Meroe?

It's a plausible speculation. That's why he was up there. And perhaps he was pointed to the scroll of Isaiah and he put his money down for the scroll of Isaiah to learn more but he was working his way through it and Philip guides him to it. And he heard about Jesus while he was up there and now here is a direct representative of the church who explains it to him in a convicting way. God's Spirit is working here. God has brought these people together. God was involved, back in verse 26, of directing Philip to be where he was on that day, at that moment with this man on his way home from Jerusalem back to Ethiopia. Think about that. Those are big distances from... Let's assume that Philip was in Samaria at the time and then he winds up way down here. God works in our lives in ways we don't know to sometimes bring us together with people in places, literally, that it is by His design. And we have an encounter, we have to talk. In this case, he shared the gospel.

Who knows that we don't have opportunities that may come to us in a moment that we think is just by chance where somebody asks us a question, asks you a reason for the hope that lies within you to explain why you keep the Sabbath, why you don't keep Christmas, why you do go to the feast. Maybe somebody wanting to know that you're having lunch with or just, you know, a casual acquaintance at work in the cubicles matched up or whatever it might be. Who knows that that's not an opportunity that God has brought you into contact with somebody? And you lay a seed down there. You plant a seed by your ability to give a coherent answer as to why you do what you do. And you can do it in a way that draws them to want more. Philip meets this man, this Ethiopian eunuch, where he is. Where is he? He's in Isaiah 53. He's not in Genesis 27. He's not in 1 Corinthians 15 because 1 Corinthians 15 at this point hasn't even been written. He's in Isaiah 53.

And by that, I mean, people are at various stages of their knowledge level as they come into contact with the church, a piece of literature, or with you. And you don't always have to dump the whole load on them. You don't have to give them the whole plan of salvation. Just answer their question. It means this. It doesn't mean that. If you'd like to know more, we could talk more. Always keep yourself open and make yourself available. I always think it's far better that you offer yourself to explain to people in those stages and not say, "Well, we've got this booklet and maybe you ought to read this booklet." No. To be honest, they don't want to read that booklet right then. They just want a brief answer. And you know what? They don't want to go to a website at that moment. Maybe they will later. But if you can show a real person from the church in the flesh human conviction, human understanding, and that is something you're passionate about, you believe that you can just like that explain it, then you have an opportunity to lay a seed. Then if God's working there, maybe they'll find that booklet later on, maybe they'll find their way to the website later on, but it goes back to your ability to be able to explain the hope that lies within you in language that they can understand.

We were talking Monday and I was telling you about getting caught on the airline on a two-hour flight from Istanbul down to Hatay Province in Southeast Asia back in April on the trip. And I was seated next to a Ph.D. theologian from a university in Southern California. And we got into a two-hour discussion about the Trinity. And he wanted to know what I believed. What did Armstrong, the Worldwide Church have got? What do you believe about this and this and that? Well, as I said, I held my own. I could explain myself. But that was just the first of many conversations. The last one I had with this gentleman was on the last day of our trip and we were walking into a museum in the city of Izmir. It was our last museum and our last day of our tour. We just got off a bus and we were walking and we were about 30 seconds away from the door of the museum. And this guy comes up next to me and he says, "So, Darris," he says, "If you were to tell... What is the one thing that you took from the Worldwide Church of God theology or teaching? What would it be? What would be your most important truth or teaching?"

And, you know, I want to go see the museum. And at that point, I'm tired of answering this guy's questions. We've had...over meals and on the bus we talked and all that's fine but at this point I said... I'm thinking there's this cool of the museums. It was rather warm that day, but I've got about 30 seconds because I know once we hit the door, it's over. What would you say? What would you say to sum up your one cardinal, number one core belief of the church that you've come to understand? What would you say to a question like that to a non-believer and a pretty smart non-believer to leave him with? It's what we call the elevator pitch. You get into an elevator with somebody and, you know, by the time you get from the 1st floor to the 10th floor, that's all you've got, maybe to make a pitch, as they say, because when that door opens, it's over. The moment has passed. So, what would you say? What do you think I said? Well, I told him, "What do I take away, Dave?" I said, "I take away the truth that we are born to become a member of the family of God, to be born into that family as a literal son of God, and to see and to understand God as He is. That's what I take away as my number one summation of the truth and the belief that I learned in 'Worldwide Church of God theology.'"

And that speaks to the purpose of life, it speaks to who is God, but I put it to him in about 20 seconds. Okay. That was the last we had. He gave me his card and I've got his card to this day. So, you need to be able to meet people where they are, know what they're asking, and be able to give them what they're asking for, not what you think they need or what you... The only thing you know, you've got to be able to meet them where they are. That's what Philip does here. He meets this eunuch at Chapter 53 of Isaiah and he takes him to baptism. It doesn't always work that quickly necessarily in our encounters, but God works in mysterious ways as He works with us.

Acts 8:38-39 "He commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away so that the eunuch saw him no more and he went on his way rejoicing."

And so boom, boom, boom. He moves through an encounter, a baptism, a receipt of the Holy Spirit. There's nothing said here about the laying on of hands notice. Now, we did encounter that earlier in this chapter when he had gone to Samaria, then Peter and John go down and they lay hands on the people and Simon sees that by the laying on of hands, that the Spirit is given. He tries to buy it. Remember? That's not mentioned here. Why? I don't know. It's mentioned previously. It's not necessarily Luke's focus here. He's already made the point earlier in the chapter, and so God doesn't move him to say the same thing here. The point is the eunuch is baptized, he accepts Christ, and he moves to that step in faith, and he then receives the Spirit of the Lord at that point.

“And then when he came up out of the water, the spirit of the Lord caught up Peter or caught Philip so that the eunuch saw him no more.” It's kind of an Elijah moment where Elijah was translated away from the scene of Elisha at that time and he's moved literally in this supernatural method, something I've never experienced. I've had moments where I wished I had been caught up by the Spirit and very quickly moved from one point to the other, but knowing you've got a 300-mile trip to make or 150 miles and you've got to slog it out. But he's moved and it's done again by the Spirit of the Lord or the power... It's the power by which God the Son, God the Father interact with us in this realm in the physical world. And so he was no longer seen.

We don't read anything more about this eunuch. He is mentioned... I mentioned the name of a 2nd-century church writer called Irenaeus the other day. I'll put his name on the board again just to help you remember Irenaeus. He's a late 2nd-century writer, a church writer. We wouldn't necessarily look at him as one of the, let's say, true church at that point in time, but he does have a lot of truth and he's defending for the truth at that late date, the late 2nd century. But Irenaeus mentions that this Ethiopian eunuch from the story of Acts later becomes kind of a bishop down in the region of his homeland. And that's all that is said and that's all we know. So, there's a late 2nd century AD reference to this eunuch. And I think, again, it's very plausible that he didn't just rest on his laurels and he may have retired from being a treasurer and moved into another line of work as a teacher, disciple, a minister, but we're just not told anything in Scriptures. It's not Luke's focus as God moves him to write this. So, Philip then is moved to another location.

Acts 8:40 “But Philip was found at Azotus and passing through he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.”

And so these are some pictures that kind of give you a little bit of an idea of him where he moves up along the coast towards Caesarea. And I talked with you last week, I believe, about a little bit more about Caesarea. And so he moves from Gaza up the coast and he winds up at Caesarea. Now, it is at Caesarea we will find him later in the story, I believe, it's in Chapter 21. When Paul comes back from one of his travels he lands at Caesarea and he stays with Philip and his daughters. Philip has a family. So, we'll encounter him again at that point in the story. But this is where he winds up. And this is Caesarea. I'll take a minute to show you a few pictures of Caesarea. I told you how palatial it was. Remember, this is a city on the coast that was built up by Herod the Great. It was a place for him to go. And the later governors, the Roman governors of Judea, they spent most of their time here and you can see why.

You've got the blue waters of the Mediterranean. They had a hippodrome. Here's an amphitheater for entertainment. Here's the hippodrome out here. I've been here. Usually, when you go to Israel on one of our church tours, they always stop at this point so you can see all of this. You've got a hippodrome where they have the chariot races. This is where Herod's palace was right here. And that's interesting because they have it well marked and there's a scene later when Paul is imprisoned and he's in a court appearance before the Roman governor right here. And you can almost imagine standing in one of the rooms of this excavated palace of Herod and thinking that this could be the spot where Paul gave his defense and said, "I appeal to Caesar." So, it's pretty cool to be able to walk a place like this in Israel as well as you can do it in Turkey as well and see these places where these events of the Bible happened. But this is Caesarea. Here's the amphitheater, a typical Roman amphitheater of the time, and excavations along the way and the scene. So, you see why, again, the Roman governors would want to spend time down there as opposed to being up in Jerusalem where it was a hotbed of Jewish conspiracy problems and wranglings, but I would elect for Caesarea over Jerusalem myself. Nice place.