Acts 8:26-40 - Even a eunuch can bring fruit through the Holy Spirit

Updated: Apr 10

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An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:


“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,

and like a lamb silent before its shearer,

so he does not open his mouth.

In his humiliation justice was denied him.

Who can describe his generation?

For his life is taken away from the earth.”


The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.


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This is the mandatory reading from the Acts of the Apostles that will be read aloud on the fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B, according to the lectionary schedule of the Episcopal Church. It will precede the singing a portion of Psalm 22, which includes the verse that says, “The poor shall eat and be satisfied, and those who seek the Lord shall praise him: “May your heart live for ever!”’ That song will be followed by a reading from the first Epistle of John, which says, “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” Lastly, this Sunday will feature a reading from John’s Gospel, where Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches.”


The first word of verse 26 is capitalized. The word is “Angelos” and it means “[an] Angel.” This is how it has been translated, only the NRSV [and others] ignore the capitalization that makes this word have divine importance. The same word can also translate as “Messenger,” and that is how it should be grasped, in order to deeply understand this reading selection.


In the verses that lead up to this selection [which are not read aloud], Philip had gone to Samaria where he encountered a magician named Simon. Simon was misleading the Samaritans, while Philip was baptizing them with the Holy Spirit. Philip sent for Peter and John to come; and, after they arrived Simon offered silver coins to them, in order to be taught the magic of the Holy Spirit. He was told by Peter to repent; then, Peter and John went back to Jerusalem, while Philip continued ministering in Samaria. That tells of some acts of Apostles, which then leads to the word “Angelos.”


The Greek word “apostolos,” which is translated into English as “apostle,” actually bears the meaning as “a messenger, one sent on a mission.” This means an Apostle [when capitalized to a divine state of meaning] is an “Angel,” where that does not mean ghostlike or invisible spirit, but a “Messenger” of Yahweh in the flesh. This is how verse 26 should be seen beginning, as it becomes a divine statement about Philip having spiritually transformed into one of God’s “Angels” [a.k.a. an Apostle].


The Greek text that has been translated as stating, “An angel of the Lord said to Philip” is this: “Angelos de Kyriou elalēsen pros Philippon.” Those words literally translate as, “Messenger now of the Lord spoke with this Philip.” In this segment of words there are three that are capitalized, such that all are elevated to a divine level of meaning. Having already discussed “Angelos,” the word “Kyriou” is a godly state of “Master, Sir, or Lord,” where the genitive says the “Messenger” is “of Master,” where “Lord” is both Yahweh and His Son risen spiritually, Jesus. The word “Philippon” is a name meaning “Horse loving,” which was the name given to one of Jesus’ disciples – “this Philip.” To simply translate “Philip,” the word would have been written “Philippos,” such that “Philippon” is indicating “this one named Philip.”


The capitalization leads one to look at the "Horse Loving" aspect of the name, where there is a military aspect that relates to a cavalry [He Who Leans On His Military Complex]. With it doubtful that Philip ever owned a horse or had any military experience, that essence of his name can be seen as why Philip was chosen to be the "Messenger" for this event. Due to a cavalry being a speedy movement of troops, albeit much smaller than an army, it is that element of speed that can be seen as the divine elevation intended here. Philip was chosen for this task because he was more prepared spiritually to respond quickly to a need.


The one verb connecting the three capitalized words together is “elalēsen,” the aorist active indicative 3rd person singular form of “laleó,” meaning “he-she-it talked, spoke, or said.” The two other words, “de” and “pros,” state first a timing that is “now” (“de”), which is relative to both when Philip had become a “Messenger” and when he received the Word “of God” (“Lord”). Second, the word “pros” is directional, as “to, towards, with,” but the word properly means, “motion towards to "interface with" (literally, moving toward a goal or destination).” (HELPS Word-studies) Thus, the segment becomes a statement that says: Philip is now a Messenger of the Lord; and, now of the Lord spoke with this Philip. That says as an “Angel of the Lord, Philip now spoke with the Master.” That becomes a major statement that says Philip is like Jesus [“the Lord”], who spoke what the Father had him say and routinely talked with Yahweh.


This needs to be seen as a divine relationship established between Yahweh and Philip, where Philip has become the ‘wife’ of God and is “now” one of His “elohim.” By seeing that union “with this Philip,” not separate from the Holy Spirit, there is no need for Yahweh to send in “an Angel” to bring a message, because Philip speaks freely with Yahweh. More evidence to this arrangement comes in the following two one-word segments, which state “legōn , Anastēthi,” which translates as “commanding , Appear”.


These two words have been translated simply by the NRSV, as “Get up,” where the quotation mark is the only indication Luke wrote the word “legōn.” The word stems from “legó,” which Strong’s defines thusly: “(denoting speech in progress), (a) I say, speak; I mean, mention, tell, (b) I call, name, especially in the passive, (c) I tell, command.” When the word “Kyriou” is understood to be one’s “Master,” the active present participle of a “Lord” makes more sense translated [not ignored] as stating, “commanding.” When one is a divine “Messenger of the Lord,” one waits to be given orders to deliver a message. The Calvary stand ready to move on command.


The word “Anastēthi” is capitalized, giving it divine importance. Simply translated, the word is written in the aorist active imperative, 2nd person singular, as a command saying, “arise, raise up, or set up.” The simple translation implies one is resting, even sleeping, such that the imperative is to quickly get moving and stop lollygagging around. However, when capitalized to a divine level of meaning, this is Yahweh telling a soul to elevate spiritually, to a non-human state of being. In other words, Yahweh commanded Philip to transcendentally leave his body of flesh.


Because this state of being needs to be seen here, in this reading, it helps to recall the visions of strangers on Easter Sunday. The young man seen “enthroned at the right hand,” who was “robed in dazzling white,” that imagery was of an angel. He gave a message to the women who arrived at the opened tomb. Later, Mary Magdalene saw a man whom she thought was the gardener, but was recognized by voice to be Jesus who told her she could not embrace him. I explained the reason was he was not solid, as he was a projection, like an angel with a message he gave to her. Finally, Cleopas and his wife Mary had walked with a stranger who fed them messages of meaning they did not realize; but when they invited him to stay with them for diner, he prayed and they recognized his voice as Jesus, then he disappeared. The one they invited into their home was likewise a transcendental image of Jesus' soul, with that image appearing at the same time the risen Jesus first appeared to his disciples, showing how two can be in more than one place at the same time; and, that is the same scenario established by Philip being commanded to “Arise.”


All of the logistics are implying that Philip got out of bed, packed a bag and began a journey to the south, to the desert road leading from Jerusalem to Gaza. From Samaria (the town in the region of Samaria, also called Sebaste) to Jerusalem is 42 miles. From Jerusalem to Gaza is 50 miles. From Gaza to Azotus is roughly 24 miles, due north. If Philip was a trained traveler (by foot), it would take him two days to somehow find an Ethiopian eunuch on a chariot, none of which is explained. The logistics are stated simply to let the reader know where the soul of Philip was sent, as a “Messenger of the Lord,” because Yahweh knew a seeker was ripe for conversion through the Holy Spirit.


When we are told the eunuch was in Jerusalem to worship, he should be seen as a Jew, where the reason for him traveling all the way to Jerusalem to worship would be a commanded festival. Most likely, he had traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover and remained there until Pentecost, or even Sukkot. Most likely, he was one who lived so far away from Jerusalem that he made a once in a lifetime pilgrimage there; so, he then began a lengthy trip back. He must be seen in the light of those pilgrims who Peter and the eleven spoke to on Pentecost Sunday, who were seekers of the truth. They were transformed spiritually that morning, by hearing the truth spoken. This man’s heart was opened to receive the Spirit; so, he just needed one filled with the Spirit to come to him.


When the NRSV translates the Greek to show it saying, “Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury,” this gives the impression that this man was a high-ranking official of royal standing. This is not what was stated in the Greek text.


Luke wrote, “anēr Aithiops , eunouchos , dynastēs Kandakēs basilissēs Aithiopōn , hos ēn epi pasēs tēs gazes autēs , hos elēlythei proskynēsōn eis Ierousalēm .” This is five segments of words, which literally translate to say the following:


“man Ethiopian ,

“eunuch ,

“ruler Candace queen of the Ethiopians ,

“who existed on the basis of every kind of treasury of her ,

“who had gone to be worshiping in Jerusalem .


This states first the lowliness of this man, as he was simply an Ethiopian. His lowliness makes a one-word statement that highlights his being a castrated male, which was ordinarily done to slaves or servants, especially those males who worked in service around females of a royal family. He could have been a warrior who was wounded in the groin, making him unable to sire children; but the implication is he was a servant. He was a servant in the house of Candace the Queen of Ethiopia, where it was her who had the sole power over her wealth (as "ruler"), not some lower man. The comma separating “eunuch” from “ruler” or “potentate” makes that word be a statement about Candace the Queen.


The following segment then states that everything that financed this trip to Jerusalem was at the expense of the queen. That becomes a statement of her generosity, while also being a statement that the man was a devoted servant to her. This makes the man similar to the Old Testament figure Esther. The man’s devotion to the queen, while also being devoted to his religion, made it possible for this man to earn a free round-trip visit to Jerusalem, all expenses paid by the Queen of Ethiopia.


To further exhibit the devotion this man had, as he rode in a “chariot,” which should not be seen as some Ben Hur battle chariot, but as a state carriage, with four wheels, drawn by a team of horses, much like a stage coach. As he was going on a long trip home, like anyone knowing there is a lengthy trip ahead, so that would be an opportune time to catch up on some reading, this man had a supply of scrolls of holy texts to read. It might have been based on an order from the queen, commanding him to return to Ethiopia with divine texts for her to read. In this regard, it is important to know that Ethiopian Jews [a.k.a. Beta Israel] did not begin until 325 C.E., so this story in Acts can be seen as told because Philip sowed this seed for Yahweh.


The NRSV translation above says, matter of factly, “he was reading the prophet Isaiah.” The Greek text introduces that with the word “kai,” which means it is important to know what “he was reading.” By knowing it was a scroll of “the prophet Isaiah,” that says it is important to know he was reading prophecy and (as will be evident later) he was reading a prophecy specific to Jesus.


Verse 29 then begins with the capitalized word “Eipen,” which brings divine elevation to that “Commanded.” In the lower case spelling, the word means “answer, bid, bring word, command” (Strong’s Usage), but capitalized returns us to the use of “legōn” as a one-word statement, where a “Master” would give orders to a servant. Here, that “Commanded” is “now this Spirit,” where the capitalized “Pneuma” is written. The “Command” of the “Spirit” is to “Philip” (the Calvary to the rescue).


This needs to be realized as Philip “has been raised” spiritually [importantly stated in verse 27, as “kai anastas,” or “having raised up”], so the “Command now this Spirit that Philip,” says Philip is in the state of being that is the “Spirit.” He is not truly in the flesh at this time “now” [from “de”]. He is riding the 'horse' of Yahweh, faster than any war horse could ever gallop.


The “Command” then makes a capitalized one-word statement, which is “Proselthe,” meaning “Approach” or “Go [or Come] near.” The capitalization means this “Command” is to make the “Spirit” “Available” to one Yahweh knows is seeking enlightenment. Thus, that one word is a “Call to Come,” which is made from the chariot; so, the one word is followed by the word “kai,” showing the importance of “uniting the soul of Philip [“glue yourself”] thereupon this chariot.” That must be seen as Yahweh telling the soul of Philip to appear by the chariot in the same way that the stranger came up to Cleopas and Mary and became united with them [and the other examples stated prior].


Verse 30 then begins with the capitalized word “Prosdramōn,” which adds divine essence to the illusion that says, “Having run up.” Knowing that a carriage rolling on a road, drawn by horses, is noisy; and, the physical act of running makes one breathe heavy, while hearing the sound of one’s own feet hitting the ground adds to the noise. Knowing what one reading inside a chariot would be difficult to hear outside, given the physical elements written.


To add to the confusion of “hearing him reading the prophet Isaiah,” the only way to hear that would be for the eunuch to be reading aloud; but why would he be doing that becomes the question. By seeing the “Spirit” of “Philip Approaching and uniting” with the “chariot,” the word “Having run up” is a divine statement about the quickness that Philip’s soul joined with the Ethiopian eunuch’s brain and knew his thoughts. The word is actually the aorist active participle 2nd person, so it importantly states Philip “Ran there.” The divine element added is how quickly Philip reached his destination.


It is at this point that one must visualize the Spirit of Philip being joined with the Ethiopian eunuch, such that the voice of Philip is heard in the eunuch’s mind as he reads to himself. The eunuch is reading words in Hebrew that he understands, but cannot decipher what message he is supposed to get from reading them. When Philip asks him, “Do you understand what you are reading?” that question is not suddenly coming from a stranger that was out for a jog in the wilderness and hopped into the chariot uninvited. That question is posed to the seeker by Yahweh, through the Holy Spirit taking the form of Philip’s soul. The eunuch is moved to ask himself that question [it seems to him], such that he responds to himself, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” This must be seen as the same response every seeker, in every age, has to Scripture, as the words can be easily understood, but the truth of the meaning demands guidance from a higher source.


This is when the Spirit of Philip appears as a rabbi – as Jesus appearing in the form of Philip – who just happened to be walking the road the chariot was traveling on. One can imagine that the body of Philip appeared ahead of the chariot, as a rabbi traveling alone. The eunuch would have been alerted by the driver of the chariot, so the eunuch would have looked out the window to see. Seeing a rabbi, identified by his tallit and kittle (robes), the eunuch would order the coach to stop. He could have even said to Philip, “You know, I was just asking myself a question about Scripture, and who better to ask than a rabbi? Glad you happened along!”


That is when an external figure appears and is invited to get in the chariot and sit beside the eunuch, to explain the meaning of Isaiah to him. The verses that Spirit was asked about were prophetic of Jesus. Just as Cleopas and Mary were sad because of what happened during Passover week in Jerusalem and as difficult as it was for them to understand why everything happened, the Spirit of Jesus appeared [looking like a stranger] who enlightened them to so much. They saw things they had not noticed and they had read Scripture all their lives. Still, they had not connected what they had read to what had happened. Perhaps, Cleopas and Mary had Isaiah pointed out to them by Jesus, just as the Ethiopian eunuch just read.


Skipping forward, explaining only that the eunuch was enlightened into the truth of prophecy leading one to realize the necessity of being reborn as Jesus, through marriage to Yahweh and merging one’s soul with the Holy Spirit, that divine baptism was explained by the Spirit possessing Philip’s soul. That teaching led the eunuch to exclaim, “Behold water! What keeps me from being baptized?”


Since the Gospels had not yet been published, there were no scrolls in the chariot that told of John the Baptist saying, “I baptize with water, but they will be one who will come after me that will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” Baptism by the Holy Spirit had to have been something told to the eunuch by Philip’s Spirit. However, the element of “water” [“hydōr”] must always be read metaphorically as inner emotions, which ebb and flow like physical water does. The Jews routinely used water for ritual cleansing purposes, so water was a figurative way to remove sins from one’s flesh. Therefore, the eunuch should be seen as exclaiming, “Behold [me, for I am] emotional!”


The element of physical water in the desert [verse 26 made a point of writing a complete sentence at the end that said, “hautē estin erēmos” – “this is desert,” relative to the road to Gaza] cannot be possible. The Scripture from Isaiah spoke of a sacrificial lamb, whose spiritual existence [“zōē” - "life"] was removed from the earth. Philip had explained that was Jesus, who sacrificed so others could be filled with his “spiritual existence.” Thus, the eunuch exclaimed that he was ready to sacrifice his life to Yahweh. His question was then, “What prevents me from being filled with the Holy Spirit?”


Verse 37 is not translated by the NRSV, with the reason being the entire verse is placed in beginning and ending brackets. That bracketed verse is then explained by a footnote that says:


“Other ancient authorities add all or most of verse 37, And Philip said, “If you believe

with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of

God.”


By reading that missing verse, one can understand that the eunuch told Philip that he indeed did believe wholeheartedly that “Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” The error in that NRSV translation of someone else’s translation is that the word “son” is not capitalized [as “huion”]. That means the soul of Philip explained that he was like the eunuch, who believed in Jesus, by saying, “I believe this son [Philip] who is of God to be this Jesus Anointed one.” In the same words, it becomes a confession that says, “I believe this son [the eunuch] who is of God [a lover in marriage to Yahweh] to exist who Yahweh Saves [the meaning of the name “Jesus”] a new Anointed one.” In that, the missed element is the capitalization of “Pisteuō,” which become divinely elevated from simple “belief,” to deep faith.


The same opportunity exists today. The element of self-sacrifice must be desired, as a love of God that is total – all one’s heart, mind, and soul. It is a prerequisite that takes one beyond simple belief in Jesus Christ and takes one’s soul to a divine union where one knows Yahweh as both Husband and Father. That level of pure faith is demanded for Philip to say to you, “Okay. Let’s stop this bus and get you married to Yahweh!”


Again, the verses that speak of coming to the water and baptism and coming up out of the water must be read as metaphor. When the translation says, “When they came up out of the water,” the Greek word “anebēsan” has been translated simply as “they came up.” The word needs to be read as “they ascended,” just like all New Testament inferences to rising, awakening, standing up, et al. Such uses have divine meanings attached to them. Thus, “when they ascended,” then “Spirit of the Lord carried away this Philip.” The eunuch then kept going, rejoicing, which was like the healed born-lame man did, when he “stood up.”


At that point, Philip is said to be “found in Azotus,” which is twenty-five miles north of Gaza, but nothing was stated about Philip and the eunuch having reached Gaza. From the desert road, between Jerusalem and Gaza, the shortest distance (maybe only ten miles) would be to fly there direct, over mountains, where there were no roads. However, when one is in the Spirit, then one does not have to abide by physical laws. So, when Philip was “passing through” and when he was “proclaiming the Gospel to all the towns up to Caesarea,” his physical body was probably still back in Samaria, doing the same. Physically, Philip never left Sebaste.


As the mandatory Acts reading during the Easter season, it is important to tie this story to those told before, as only the names change, while the song remains the same. The Holy Spirit of Yahweh, married with the souls of those who love Him completely, become reborn as His Son, all doing the same things Jesus did, as Jesus merged with different souls. Here, this shows that being transcendentally elevated, while in the Holy Spirit, can bring about the salvation of others that seek to know God. The gifts of the Holy Sprit are clearly associated with understanding what Scripture says. Few have a clue what this reading says, on a deep, Spiritual level, so fewer will be led like the Ethiopian eunuch was.


The Easter season is a time or preparing for ministry, by ACTING as Jesus, also an Anointed one of Yahweh. This reading began by declaring Philip to be an “Angel” or a “Messenger of the Lord.” The Acts of Apostles mean carrying the message of Yahweh to the world, which is the truth told by Jesus. To practice knowing the truth, one has to be married to Yahweh and reborn as the Son. That demands faith.