Saturday, July 25, 2015

Interesting tidbit - 22 (Acts 8:14-17)

Q:  Why didn't the Samaritans in Acts 8 immediately receive the Holy Spirit upon believing and being baptized in accordance with Mark 16:16-17 and Acts 2:38?  Why didn't this happen until Peter and John laid their hands on them?

Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17). 

A:  The answer can be found in the relationship between the Jews and the Samaritans. The schism between Jerusalem and Samaria must be healed before Christ can reign.  Israel and Judah, the ten tribes and the two, must be reunited (Ezek 37:15-19) because Christ is to reign over all twelve tribes. The apostles recognized this. After all, hadn't our Lord promised them twelve throne in the kingdom (Matt 19:28)?  But it wasn't enough that the two factions be brought together. It was the ten tribes which had apostatized and had made Samaria their capital city and had set up their own temple at Mt. Gerizim. They must now renounce all this and recognize Jerusalem as the seat of authority, because there Christ and the twelve will reign. This fact was impressed upon the Samaritan believers, for although they had believed and been baptized, they did not receive the Holy Spirit until two apostles had come from Jerusalem and prayed for them and laid their hands upon them. Two apostles were enough for this, for it is written: Only on the evidence of TWO witnesses or of THREE witnesses shall a charge be established (Deut 17:6; 19:15; 2 Cor 13:1) and Peter and John, with Philip, made THREE witnesses. Indeed our Lord had specified that any two of the apostles could act officially for Him in His absence: 'Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if TWO of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where TWO or THREE are gathered in my name, there am I among them.' (Matt 18:18-20). The believers at Samaria recognized the authority of the twelve at Jerusalem and, had the kingdom been accepted, would have become one nation with the Jews. As it is, the restoration of the United Kingdom of Israel under Messiah awaits a future day.