Enlightening the Ethiopian Eunuch #7

Sunday, October 28, 2018

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet (Acts 8:26-28 KJV).

Why and how can this Ethiopian eunuch be enlightened?

Friend, you will most likely agree with the next statement. There is nothing more exasperating than having a Bible, reading it and reading it and reading it, and yet getting nothing out of it. Millions upon millions upon millions of poor, precious souls find themselves in the same predicament. They faithfully attend church services weekly or even daily, they hear the Bible read or sung, and yet they gain as much insight into God’s Word as if there never was a Bible! What is the first step in understanding and enjoying Scripture?

Philip was entrusted with the ability of interpreting God’s Word whereas the Ethiopian eunuch was not. What made the difference? Acts 8:29 says that the Holy Spirit was involved: He was operating in and through Philip! In stark contrast, the eunuch was filled with nothing but religious tradition and human viewpoint. The eunuch learned firsthand that philosophy and man’s opinions are no substitute for God’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:1-16)! Philip is a believer in Christ and the eunuch is not; the former has the Holy Spirit, and the latter does not. Yet, the eunuch was seeking the truth, and God honored that heart attitude.

“I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” the eunuch proclaimed in verse 37. Through Philip, the Holy Spirit had personally taught him from the Isaiah scroll. He had seen truths he would have never known otherwise. Verse 39 closes with his water baptism, and when the Spirit of the Lord snatches up Philip to preach elsewhere, the eunuch goes on his way “rejoicing.” What delight the eunuch now has as he goes on home to Ethiopia! “I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil” (Psalm 119:162).

Enlightening the Ethiopian Eunuch #6

Saturday, October 27, 2018

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet (Acts 8:26-28 KJV).

Why and how can this Ethiopian eunuch be enlightened?

“[35] Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. [36] And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? [37] And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. [38] And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. [39] And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”

Verse 37 is key, as it is the eunuch’s profession of faith: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (This is omitted from modern English versions.) What exactly did Philip preach to him? There is no mention of Christ’s cross as good news. Did he say, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who died for my sins and rose again?” No. There is nothing about Calvary. All Philip told him was that Messiah was prophesied in Isaiah chapter 53, and Jesus fulfilled the passage. The eunuch saw that Jesus was Christ, the Son of God (the Gospel of the Kingdom—Matthew 16:16). In other words, he as a Gentile understood and believed what Israel by and large refused to understand and believe (John 1:11,12)! He was then water baptized, what Israel overwhelmingly rejected as well (Luke 7:29,30).

Indeed, the Scriptural record has rebuked Israel….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why does Peter start with Samuel in Acts 3:24?

Enlightening the Ethiopian Eunuch #5

Friday, October 26, 2018

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet (Acts 8:26-28 KJV).

Why and how can this Ethiopian eunuch be enlightened?

Isaiah 53:7,8: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”

Philip asked if the eunuch understood Isaiah (verse 30), to which he replied in the negative, thereby inviting Philip to join him (verse 31): “[32] The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: [33] In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. [34] And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?”

No New Testament Scriptures are written as of yet, but the eunuch holds an Isaiah scroll. Unlike most religious leaders, Philip does not discourage him from reading it. The common person should always (!) have a Bible open when listening to alleged “Christian” sermons and sitting under so-called “Christian” tutelage. Verse 35 is quite refreshing, as it underscores Philip’s readiness following the eunuch’s prompting: “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” Isaiah was not speaking of himself, but of one “Jesus,” the God-Man who had lived not too far away just one year earlier….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How was Jesus ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world?’

Enlightening the Ethiopian Eunuch #4

Thursday, October 25, 2018

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet (Acts 8:26-28 KJV).

Why and how can this Ethiopian eunuch be enlightened?

Christ in His earthly ministry sternly chided Israel’s spiritual leaders, the Pharisees and scribes: “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9). Supposed to be Israel’s Bible teachers, they instead substituted church tradition and rabbinical opinions for Scripture. Had Israel been following God’s pure Word, they would have identified Jesus as Messiah. They were so contaminated, however, that they crucified Him as an imposter—at their religious leaders’ urging!!

Today’s Scripture is one year removed from Calvary. For the last 12 months, Israel’s Little Flock (led by the Apostle Peter) has preached for lost Israel to repent (stop thinking of Jesus as a charlatan, and see Him as Messiah) and be water baptized, ready for Him when He returns. Yet, Israel’s believers are persecuted; few Jews are converted. Stephen, God’s spokesman to Israel in Acts chapter 7, is murdered. Jerusalem is waxing worse and worse, increasingly participating in Satan’s policy of evil. Hence, the Ethiopian eunuch, perverted at Jerusalem, is recorded as being puzzled by Scripture.

“[30] And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? [31] And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.” Awful! Just awful! The eunuch found no one to “guide” him in the Bible at Jerusalem, but Philip will teach him from Isaiah to identify Jesus as Israel’s Messiah….

NOTE: We are pleased to (at last) unveil our new five-part Bible study video series! The theme is Israel’s covenants. I hope and pray that you will be edified, encouraged, and enlightened by these 5 1/2 hours of study! Click here to enjoy them on YouTube! 🙂

Enlightening the Ethiopian Eunuch #3

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet (Acts 8:26-28 KJV).

Why and how can this Ethiopian eunuch be enlightened?

Let us re-read: “[30] And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? [31] And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. [32] The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: [33] In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. [34] And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?”

Friend, have you ever met someone who attended church services regularly and yet had no clue about what the Bible says? (If not reading Scripture, what exactly were they doing at “church?!”) Moreover, while it is all well and good to own a Bible, the eunuch finds himself in such a sad predicament. A Gentile proselyte to Judaism, he has left a Jerusalem feast and is now returning home to Ethiopia. Having just participated in (wasted his time at) a religious party at Jerusalem, he lacks Bible understanding!!

Jerusalem is the site of the Temple: God’s Word is to be taught there. Alas, it is a hub of corruption, man’s opinions and religious tradition. Israel’s priesthood, her religious authority, is apostate. The Ethiopian eunuch struggles in vain to comprehend as he reads the scroll of Isaiah. Jerusalem has taught him absolutely nothing of any spiritual value. What darkness! What blindness! Praise God, though! He has sent a teacher, Philip….

Our latest Bible Q&A: Can we date Paul’s Acts epistles?

Enlightening the Ethiopian Eunuch #2

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet (Acts 8:26-28 KJV).

Why and how can this Ethiopian eunuch be enlightened?

The events of Acts chapter 8 show us Israel’s prophetic program breaking down. With Stephen’s death by stoning in chapter 7, Israel falls: her national leadership has blasphemed the Holy Spirit for the last time, and that will not be forgiven (Matthew 12:31,32; cf. Acts 7:51-60). The Bible narrative subsequently focuses on Philip’s ministry (chapter 8). Like Stephen, Philip was one of the seven Jerusalem elders the 12 Apostles appointed in Acts 6:1-6.

Leaving Jerusalem, Philip travels to Samaria (central Israel, between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea) to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom (see Acts 8:1-13). The Samaritans are not full-blooded Jews—namely, they are half-Gentile (cf. John 4:9,12). Yet, unlike Jerusalem, they eagerly hear and believe God’s Word (Jesus is Christ). By entering these incidents into the record of Scripture, God rebukes Jerusalem for unbelief.

After preaching in Samaria, the angel of the Lord instructs Philip to travel to southern Israel to visit an African man, a Gentile (today’s Scripture). This eunuch (government official) is returning home to Ethiopia after worshipping in Jerusalem. Sitting in his chariot, he reads the Book of Isaiah (no doubt a copy from northern Africa).

“[29] Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. [30] And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? [31] And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.” Philip did not shy away from that calling. He “ran thither”—he was excited!! Furthermore, the eunuch (unlike the Jews in Jerusalem) wants to learn and believe God’s Word….

Benjamin Sustains in Famine

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

“And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so” (Genesis 42:18-20 KJV).

Can we find a New Testament parallel to this account?

A severe famine has struck the land of Canaan (see Genesis 41:53–42:20). In desperation, Jacob sends 10 of his sons to buy food in Egypt (the River Nile was a near constant water source here). When they arrive, a man in Egypt (Joseph—their estranged brother in disguise) decides to test them. They are to return to Canaan and retrieve their other brother, young Benjamin, if they are to be fed with Egypt’s grain. Without Benjamin, Israel will physically starve! Ultimately, they eat because of Benjamin (Genesis 43:15-17).

Israel’s spiritual fall—a spiritual famine—occurred in Acts chapter 7 with the stoning of Stephen. Paul the Apostle is converted and commissioned in chapter 9, with his ministry gradually strengthening. From chapter 15 onward, the 12 Apostles have a restricted ministry. According to Galatians chapter 2, they give all the “heathen” over to Paul’s jurisdiction. The “heathen” here would be all unsaved—both Gentiles and Jews (all without Jesus Christ). Paul is to preach his Gospel of Grace to convert them into the Body of Christ, and save them from spiritual damnation.

Once God had temporarily set aside national Israel, and her 12 Apostles released themselves from their obligation of going to her any further with the Gospel of the Kingdom, Paul began evangelizing those unsaved Jews. Israel’s only hope now is in Paul’s Gospel—his grace ministry and message. How does this relate to today’s Scripture? Well, Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin (Romans 11:1; Philippians 3:5). From mid-Acts onward, Israel is getting spiritual bread, the Word of God, from Benjamin. Since her program was paused, momentarily suspended, her only hope at spiritual sustenance and life was in the message of a man from the tribe of Benjamin! Fascinating!