Acts 16:9-15 - Having the faith to be led to where help is needed

Updated: Mar 29

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During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.


We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home." And she prevailed upon us.


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This is the mandatory reading from the Book of Acts, which will be read aloud on the sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will precede a singing of Psalm 67, where David wrote: “Let your ways be known upon earth, your saving health among all nations.” That song of praise will be followed by a reading from Revelation, where John wrote: “In the spirit the angel carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.” All will accompany one of two possible Gospel selections. The first is from John’s fourteenth chapter, where he wrote: “Jesus said to Judas (not Iscariot), "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” If not that, then a reading will come from John’s fifth chapter, where it is written: “Jesus said to [an invalid by the pool of Bethesda], "Stand up, take your mat and walk." At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath.”


To begin to understand this selection from Acts, one must know what is written in the previous three verses. The NRSV presents those as saying this:


“They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the

Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they had come opposite Mysia, they

attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; so, passing by

Mysia, they went down to Troas."


Here is a map of those travels. It follows a straight mine:


Following the addition of Timothy with Paul and Silas, between Derbe and Lystra, the three then made their way north through Galatia (a region), before turning west. It was when they entered the region of Asia that the three were “hindered” or “prevented” (not the translated “forbidden”) from “speaking the word.” This being stated “by the Holy Spirit,” the Greek word “hypo” (translated as “by”) is properly translated as “under.” In this regard, HELPS Word-studies says of “hypo,” “under, often meaning "under authority" of someone working directly as a subordinate (under someone/something else). Since the three apostles were “under the authority to speak the word by the “Holy Spirit,” this says they were unable to “speak the word” divinely in Asia.


This means when they entered the region of Asia, having left Galatia, they were at a loss for what to say, as far as teaching Hebrew Scripture. As they would go from Jewish settlement to Jewish settlement, each Sabbath they would enter a synagogue and hear the selected readings for that day. Because the texts read as “Sacred” of “Holy,” none of the three was led by the “Spirit” that possessed their souls to add anything that would further explain that which was “Holy” in writing. This says they got as far as Mysia and were not moved to preach; so, they considered going north, into Bithynia, but the presence of Jesus within each of their souls said, “No.”


This is where it should be understood that all three were filled with Yahweh’s “Spirit,” which brought forth the resurrection of the soul of Jesus in each, so all were Jesus reborn. When verse six stated “hypo tou Hagiou Pneumatos,” which is in the Genitive (possessive) case, as: “under the authority of this of Sacred of Spirit,” that is no different than verse seven says “to Pneuma Iēsou.” That states “Iēsou” in the Genitive, saying “this Spirit of Jesus.” This means the “of Sacred of Spirit” was the “authority they were under,” which was the divine possession “of Jesus.” Therefore, “Jesus” did not raise his soul within them to “speak the word,” so the three knew from that lack of inspiration they should go another direction.


By realizing this stated in the prior three verses, with the three having reached “Troas,” verse nine begins with a capitalized “Kai,” which states great importance is to follow and one should pay close attention to that stated. Following that marker word, we read, “a vision on account of [of this],” where there are brackets placed around the word Genitive article “tēs,” which translates as “of this.” The brackets become a statement about “this” inability to “speak the word,” which the three had faced prior.


When the following word is also in the Genitive, connecting it to the bracketed “of this,” the word says “of night,” which leads the NRSV to read the whole (sans the bracketed “tēs”) as saying, “During the night Paul had a vision.” While it could be at a time between six P.M and six A.M, which is when “night” occurs in the Hebrew timing of days and “nights,” the Genitive links as a metaphoric statement that says “of darkness,” which means the inability to be led to speak the word by Jesus is an absence of light, which is synonymous with “of night.” Thus, the great importance (of the “Kai”) says Jesus returned to show Paul a sign (which could have been during the day) that was Jesus speaking to him, as to where to go next.


In the vision, we are told that Paul was shown “a man certain,” which means the “man” was understood to be a Jew, but perhaps also someone Paul had previously encountered in his ministry, where he was led to bring Jesus’ presence to the “man,” so he could also be married to Yahweh and reborn as Jesus. Not too long ago, the reading that told of Philip going to Samaria to pass the Spirit onto Samaritans led to a call to Jerusalem, where Peter and John of Zebedee were ‘called’ to come help. In that observation, I mentioned there was no telephones or Internet, and said the distance was too far for smoke signals. This vision had by Paul, where a “man certain stood and called for help” would explain how the Christians in Jerusalem knew Philip (a certain man to them) needed help. This says that everywhere a soul existed that was one with the soul of Jesus that became the ‘communication system,’ such that visions were ‘incoming calls.’


Verse ten then is shown by the NRSV to state: “When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.” A better translation of the last segment of words is, “joining together in reasoning because (we) had been called our souls [ourselves] this God to preach good news to their souls [themselves].” This says each of the three were able to hear an inner voice speaking to their souls, telling each that this was the voice of Jesus speaking to them as “a man certain in Macedonia.”


It should be understood that the route taken to reach Macedonia was the fastest, so when they reached a Roman “colony” there, they stayed for enough “days” to include two “Sabbaths.” When we then read, “we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer,” the meaning is Jews were indicated to go to “the river” for a gathering place or assembly point for morning “prayers.” Without a leader of a synagogue or an official house of meeting there, Jews would gather and sit in reverence. On this morning, Paul, Silas and Timothy found only “women” there.


The importance of only “women” says they were Jews, but married to Greeks or Romans, with no male to teach them Scripture. Paul began to preach about Scripture to the women; and, some of then had their hearts opened (metaphor for souls receiving the Spirit). When we read that “a certain woman named Lydia” was there, she was one whose heart was so opened. In this, she was so moved she begged the three apostles to stay with her, with her household also becoming Christians. This means there was no “man” waiting for them in Macedonia, as the “vision” had “appeared to Paul.” Both that “man” and Lydia were deemed “certain,” so the “man” in the vision was the soul of Lydia calling out.


When one sees how all human beings are souls in bodies of flesh, we are all feminine essence until our souls are married to Yahweh and we receive the resurrected soul of Jesus in our souls, making us be reborn as the Son, all brothers in Christ (not a last name of Jesus). This says the soul of Lydia had been marked by Yahweh as one of His flock and Jesus (the Good Shepherd) was told where Lydia could be found. After Paul, Silas and Timothy came and baptized the women as Yahweh’s, each reborn as Jesus – true Christians – those “women” became Sons of Yahweh, each Jesus reborn.


As the mandatory reading from the Acts of the Apostles that takes place during each Easter season, it is important to see that the works of faith (the “Acts”) are not an education that makes one smart enough to pretend to know what Jesus would do (if he were alive today). The unread verses set this reading up; and, it is vital to know that a Saint has no powers other than those given to him or her by the possessing soul of Jesus, gifts sent by the Father. Paul and his fellow Christians could not “speak the word” when Jesus was not leading them to do so. They had the faith to know not to attempt to preach as laymen, letting patience lead them to wait for a sign. Once they received their sing, they immediately went to where they were led. This says Easter is a time to reflect on the Acts that are led by the soul of Jesus being within one’s own soul. To have the soul of Jesus resurrected within one’s own soul means one who was dead (all dead are unable to “speak the word”) is raised by that divine possessing Spirit. Pretending to know how to live righteously and lead others to do so as well only leads souls to ruin.

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