Apostles laying of hands significance. ( Acts 8:4-24)

Acts 8:4-24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Philip in Samaria
4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. 6 The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. 7 For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 So there was much rejoicing in that city.

9 Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; 10 and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, “This man is what is called the Great Power of God.” 11 And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. 13 Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.

14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.” 24 But Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

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When reading through acts we come across this story of the Evangelist ( not the apostle Philip ) coming to Samaria escaping the wrath of Paul. While there he begins to so signs and wonders among the lost and many see it and are amazed and they get baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and to receive the gift of the holy spiritual ( Acts 2:38 ).

One of those who repents and is baptized is a witch named Simon who apparently had his own knack for some supernatural power or gimmick to deceive them that he did. However it seems that Phillips message of Jesus and the Kingdom of God gets through to him.

The news gets back to the apostles in Jerusalem and they send Peter to the Samaritans where Philip has been preforming miracles and baptizing many into a Christ. Simon then sees that the apostles can do something Philip could not do and that’s lay on their hands and then that person has the power of the Holy Spirit. He tried to purchase it and is rebuked by Peter because Simon wanted that same power as well.

It makes me wonder if that was part of the story to the parable , or story, Jesus taught about not all who calls on his name will be saved.

Matthew 7:21-23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles ( or works of power ) ?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

There are read of people who had the ability to preform miracles in the name of God yet they were not his disciples. Seems like that could have turned out to become the situation with Simon it he did not repent but I assumed he did.

My questions are basically does that story play any part in your theology concerning the powers the apostles had that others did not and it’s effect on modern day disciples.

I don’t think that the apostles “had powers.” That was Simon’s mistake. He assumed they were some how humanly able to harness God’s power and use it at will. The apostles were participating in God’s miraculous signs, and perhaps mediating them in some way. This was important for the spread of the gospel, because it was a sign to people to accept the authority and truth of their teaching.

Anyone who thinks they can just say some magic words (if that is what you are alluding to by calling on the name of the Lord) and harness spiritual power to do what they want is wrong like Simon. God uses people as instruments of his grace (the word for spiritual gifts and the word for grace are related in Greek), I don’t think he gives people the “power” to do miracles.

I would argue that there is a lot of scriptural evidence that the apostles were given that ability.

Goes back to acts 1 when it says Jesus selected the apostles and told them not to leave Jerusalem until the promise of baptism of the spirit feel on them. It also lays out the main movements of the church in verse 8 telling them they will go throughout Jerusalem, then to Samaria and then to the ends of the earth ( gentile nations) and that’s exactly what happened. Acts 2 ( Jerusalem) Acts 8 ( Samaritans ) and Acts 10 ( Gentiles ). First to the jew and then to the gentile.

In acts 8 we read clearly that it took the apostles to show up to lay their hands on them. Simon was not mistaken on what he saw.

Acts 8:12-20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. 13 Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.

14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!

Simon was rebuked for thinking he could purchase it. Not because he misunderstood their power.

Then further on we see that to be an apostle required special qualifications in acts 1 also.

21 Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us— 22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”

Even for Paul it required having been personally called by Jesus on the road to Damascus.

Other verses that showcase the laying on of the apostles hands are:

2 Timothy 1:6 NASB

6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

Paul says which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

What causes confusion is that most people don’t seem to have studied out the baptisms.

Baptism of water.

That’s when a person is united with a christ.

Acts 2:38 (NASB)
38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:18-20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Colossians 2:12 (NASB)
12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

Galatians 3:27 (NASB)

27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

In addition to Jesus and Paul mentioning it even peter tossed out some clear thoughts.

1 Peter 3:18-21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

They confuse that for the baptism of spirit such as what we see in acts 10 and acts 2.

Additionally, they confuse the acts 2 when the tongues of fire came down for the baptism of fire Jesus mentioned. Far from it. The baptism of spirit is a good thing and the baptism of fire is a bad thing.

In Matthew 3:11 John the Baptist , his cousin, mentions Jesus will baptize with Holy Spirit and Fire. Many believe that means a simultaneously but the very next verse showcases what the fire is.

12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

It’s probably semantics, but I don’t think of spiritual gifts as “abilities” so much as ways God works through you. I believe people have the gift of discernment and that God reveals things to them that they would not know otherwise or the gift of healing and God works healing in a special way through their prayers. But I don’t think they have powers. I think they are open in a special way to being used by God in certain capacities that for whatever reason God does not use others. But it’s all God’s work and not something that they can decide how to use independently as they see fit.

I don’t equate baptism of the Holy Spirit with salvation. I think it was a sign, kind of like speaking in tongues on Pentecost. A sign that God was moving and people were responding in a special way as a witness to others of the truth of the gospel. Elsewhere “receiving the Holy Spirit” was a sign to the Jews of the inclusion of the Gentiles in the covenant.

I agree most likely.

Two me it depends on what they mean by baptism of the Holy Spirit. I hear some using it as meaning being united in Christ in water baptism and some use it to mean like what happened on Pentecost.

For what happened on Pentecost I don’t believe it exists anymore. I also don’t believe the power the apostles had exists anymore. They did not have to pray to heal or raise the dead. The authority was already handed over to them and even Peter’s shadow in acts 5:15-16 could pass over people and heal them. It was not power of their own, it came form God but scripturally it was different from prayer. They were chosen by Christ to be his personal direct apostles endowed with the power to instantly heal the sick, raise the dead, were immune to snake venom, and could cast out demons. Nowadays, we have to pray and none of us short of a random miracle are safe from venomous bites. It was something God did specially for them to help jumpstart the faith and to give authority to what they taught.

It was even part of what made Jesus showcase that with the handicapped man and sin when he said what’s easier and more evident to say to the crippled get up or to say you are forgiven? Jesus was showing his authority through actions. I feel thats what he did with the apostles as well.

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