STEPHEN HAS JUST BEEN MURDERED AND THE WITNESSES WHO THREW THE STONES PUT HIS GARMENTS AT THE FEET OF THE JEWISH LEADER SAUL.
1-2Saul agreed that the killing of Stephen was a good thing. Some other followers buried Stephen and cried loudly for him. And on that day the Jewish Leaders began a great campaign of hate and persecution against the new fellowship in Yerushalim, making them suffer incredibly. And Saul was completely ravaging Yahusha's Assembly.
SO IT IS WITH THE BACKDROP OF SUSPICION, DANGER AND PERSECUTION THAT WE FIND SOME COURAGEOUS BELIEVERS STEPPING FORWARD TO CLAIM STEPHEN’S BODY TO GIVE HIM A PROPER BURIAL, AND THEN TO GO THROUGH THE CUSTOMARY JEWISH MOURNING RITES TO HONOR HIM. CLEARLY STEPHEN HAD NO IMMEDIATE FAMILY SHOW UP TO DO THE SAD TASK, WHETHER THEY STAYED AWAY OUT OF FEAR, OR BECAUSE THEY SAW STEPHEN AS A TRAITOR, WE DON’T KNOW. HOWEVER IT IS THE DUTY OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY TO DEAL WITH THE DEATH OF A LOVED ONE. EVEN SO, JEWISH TRADITION IS THAT A CORPSE HAS TO BE BURIED BY SUNSET, SO WORD COULDN’T HAVE YET REACHED STEPHEN’S FAMILY UP IN SAMARIA, ASSUMING HE HAD FAMILY THERE.
PAUL WAS OPERATING OFFICIALLY FOR THE JEWISH SANHEDRIN AND ANY ARREST WOULD HAVE BEEN BY COURT ORDER; A PRIVATE CITIZEN COULDN’T JUST GO OUT AND ARREST PEOPLE AS THEY SAW FIT. AND THE ROMANS WOULDN’T HAVE HAD ANY INVOLVEMENT AS THIS WAS STRICTLY A JEWISH RELIGIOUS MATTER.
3He even went into believer's houses, dragging out men and women, and puting them in jail. The fellowship of followers began leaving Yerushalim. Only the 12 Disciples stayed. The believers went to different places in Judea and Samaria. 4They were scattered everywhere, and in every place they went, they told people the Good News of YAHUSHA'S deliverance.
PERSECUTION DID NOT DESTROY THE MESSAGE OF GOOD NEWS - IT SCATTERED AND SPREAD IT ACROSS THE WORLD AS YAHUSHA WANTED! THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER WAS COMING TO FULFILLMENT IN ALL SORTS OF HEARTS. STEPHEN'S DEATH (LIKE THE CORN OF WHEAT WHICH HAD TO DIE) BEGAN TO BRING FORTH FRUIT AND MULTIPLY !
5Philip went to the city of Samaria and told people about YAHUSHA. 6The people there heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he was doing, and they all listened carefully to what he said. 7Many of these people had evil demons inside them, but Philip made them leave. The spirits made a lot of noise as they came out too. There were also many weak and crippled people there. Philip made these people well too.
PHILIP IS THE HELLENIST BELIEVER WHO WAS ONE OF THE 7 MEN CHOSEN TO DEAL WITH THE FOOD DISTRIBUTION TO THE WIDOWS. THE 12 DISCIPLES STAYED IN YERUSHALIM WHILE THE OTHERS FLED, MEANING PHILLIP WAS A GREEK SPEAKER, (COMMON LANGUAGE IN SAMARIA). NO DOUBT PHILLIP KNEW SOME HEBREW AND ARAMAIC AS WELL, SO HE WAS A GOOD CANDIDATE TO GO TO SAMARIA AND PREACH THE GOSPEL.
8What a happy day this was for that city and great joy spread! 9Now there was a man named Simon who lived in that city. Before Philip came there, Simon had been doing magic and amazing all the people of Samaria. He bragged and called himself a great man. 10And all the people, the least important to the most important, believed what he said. They said, “This man has the great power of Alahim.”
11Simon amazed all the people with his magic for so long that they became his followers. 12But Philip told the people the Good News about YAHUAH'S kingdom and the power of YAHUSHA for true deliverane. So men and women believed Philip and were immersed. 13And Simon himself also believed, and after he was immersed, he stayed close to Philip, for when he saw the miraculous signs and powerful things Philip did, he was truly amazed.
14The Disciples in Yerushalim heard that the people of Samaria had accepted the word of YAHUAH. So they sent Peter and John to the people there. 15And when Peter and John arrived, they prayed for the Samaritan believers to receive YAHUSHA'S Set-Apart Spirit. 16These people had been immersed into the Name of YAHUSHA MESSIAH, but His Divine Spirit hadn't come down on any of them yet. This is why Peter and John prayed. 17And when the Peter and John laid their hands on the people, they received the Set-Apart Spirit.
18And when Simon saw that the Spirit was given to people when the Disciples laid their hands on them, he offered them money, 19saying, “Give me this power so that when I lay my hands on someone, they will receive the Set-apart Spirit also.”
20Peter said to Simon, “You and your money should both be destroyed because you thought you could buy YAHUAH'S gift with money. 21You cannot share with us in this work for your heart is not right before YAHUAH. 22So change it! Repent and turn away from these evil thoughts and pray to YAHUAH for forgiveness. 23I see that you are full of bitter jealousy and cannot stop yourself from doing wrong.”
24Simon answered, “Please pray to YAHUAH for me, so that what you have said won't happen to me.”
25Then Peter and John told the people what they had seen YAHUSHA do, giving them the full account of His Deliverance Message. Then they went back to Yerushalim. On the way, they went through many Samaritan towns and told people the Good News that YAHUSHA was indeed alive and the only source of Deliverance.
26Then an Angel of YAHUAH spoke to Philip, saying, “Get ready and go south on the road that leads to Gaza from Yerushalim, through the desert.”
He was responsible for taking care of all her money. This man had gone to Yerushalim to worship. 28Now he was on his way home, sitting in his chariot reading from the book of Isaiah the prophet.
So Philip prepared and went. On the road he saw a man from Kush. He was a eunich and an important official of the Kandake, Queen of the Ethiopians.
29The Spirit said to Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”30So he went toward the chariot, and heard the man reading from the scroll of Isaiah. Philip asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?”31The man answered, “How can I understand this? I need someone to explain it to me.” Then he invited Philip to climb in and sit with him. 32The part of the Scriptures that he was reading was this (ISAIAH 53):
“He was led as a sheep to its slaughter, like a lamb silent before its shearer, He didn't opened His mouth. 33In His humiliation He was deprived of right-ruling. And who will declare His generation? Because His life was taken from the earth.”
34The Eunich said to Philip, “Please, tell me, who is the prophet talking about? Is he talking about himself or about someone else?”35So Philip began to speak, starting with this same Scripture and told the man the Good News about YAHUSHA, the Lamb described by Isaiah, who took away the sins of the world.
36While they were traveling down the road, they came to some water. So the Eunich said, “Look, here's water! What's stopping me from being immersed right now?”
Then he ordered the chariot to stop and both Philip and the Eunich went down into the water, and Philip immersed him.
37And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, there's nothing stopping you ... go for it!” And the Eunich replied, “I believe that YAHUSHA MESSIAH is the Son of Alahim.”
39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of YAHUAH snatched Philip away, and the Eunich never saw him again, but continued on his way home, rejoicing. 40Then Philip appeared in a city called Azotus. He was going to the city of Caesarea, so he told the people the Good News in all the towns on the way from Azotus to Caesarea.
HEBREW UNDERSTANDING :
Search results for "SEIZE":
To seize for holding in possession, be affrighted, (catch, lay, take) hold (back), come upon, fasten, handle, portion, (get, have or take) possess, to fasten upon; hence, be strong (courageous, strengthen, cure, help, repair, fortify), obstinate, to bind, restrain, conquer, catch, cleave, confirm, be constant, constrain, continue, be of good (take) courage(-ous, -ly), encourage (self), be established, fasten, force, fortify, make hard, harden, help, maintain, mighty, prevail, be recovered, be sure, take (hold), be urgent, behave self valiantly, withstand. To clutch; hence, to seize as a prisoner - to occupy (by driving out previous tenants, and possessing in their place); by implication, to seize, to rob, to inherit; also to expel, to impoverish, to ruin:--cast out, consume, destroy, disinherit, dispossess, drive out, enjoy, expel, without fail, (give to, leave for) inheritance + magistrate, be (make) poor, come to poverty, (give to, make to) possess, get (have) in (take) possession, seize upon, succeed, desolation, let death seize, stop, surprise, take.
SCRIPTURE UNDERSTANDING :
1 THESS 4"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For just as we believe that Yahusha died and rose again ... likewise the dead in Yahusha will rise first, then we who are alive, who are left, will be snatched up(SEIZED) with them in the clouds to meet Yahusha in the air, and so we will always be with Him".
JOHN 10"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch(SEIZE) them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch(SEIZE) them out of the Father's hand".
1 COR 10"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. Yahuah is trustworthy, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape(SNATCHED AWAY - SEIZED) that you may be able to endure it".
SINCE THE VERY BEGINNING YAHUSHA HAS BEEN SEIZING AND INHABITING THOSE HE LOVES THROUGH A VERY SPECIAL COVENANT RELATIONSHIP, BUT NONE SO INTENSE AS HIS EARLY ASSEMBLY, AFTER HE'D DIED AND COULD FULLY STAY WITHIN.
WITH PHILIP'S STORY WE SEE HOW YAHUSHA CAN DO ANYTHING, INCLUDING SUPERNATURAL TRANSPORTATION. THIS IS THE SAME CREATOR / MESSIAH WHO SEIZES US AND MOVES IN AFTER OUR IMMERSION. WE ARE ABOUT TO SEE ALOT MORE OF YAHUSHA'S POWER IN THIS EARTH AS HE NEARS HIS RETURN, AND HE WANTS US TO KNOW THAT HE IS MIRACULOUS AND FULLY DESERVING OF OUR COMPLETE TRUST.
IF WE WANT TO BE SEIZED BY HIM AT THE END AND BE FULLY TRANSFORMED WE NEED TO ALLOW THE IMPOSSIBLE TO FLOW THROUGH US AND LISTEN TO YAHUSHA'S VOICE WHEN HE GIVES US THE RIGHT WORD FOR A SPECIFIC MOMENT. AND WE TOO WILL FIND OURSELF MIRACULOUSLY SEIZED AND DELIVERED FROM EVERY DRAMA AND BURDEN THAT PREVIOUSLY WEIGHED US DOWN.