Act 8:23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
Although the Bible says that Simon the Sorcerer BELIEVED and that he was BAPTISED, there was obviously something motivating him that was contrary to God. The Apostle Peter said that Simon Magus was bound by iniquity. He was under the control of iniquity. We could stop here and say, “That’s an interesting story.” However, there is something very important in this story:
Act 8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
Act 8:19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
Simon the Sorcerer offered Peter MONEY! Now we understand what motivated Simon Magus and what he “thought” motivated Peter but he was terribly wrong. Actually, if you go through the Bible, you will see case after case that the people who are motivated by money (i.e. wealth) are NOT motivated by God! Here are just a few examples:
When Israel entered the Promised Land, God was with them and they won battle after battle, but suddenly God left them and they began to lose every battle. When Joshua realized that someone in the Israelite camp had committed some grievous sin, he methodically eliminated the innocent until he found the guilty party, a man from the tribe of Judah.
Jos 7:20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:
Jos 7:21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.
It is interesting that it was a “Babylonish” garment, along with silver and gold that caused Achan to rebel against God’s commandment. Here is another example:
The captain of the King of Syria’s army, during the time of Elisha the prophet, was a leper named Naaman. Naaman’s wife had a maid that came from Israel and she told Naaman’s wife that there was a prophet in Israel, who could cure Naaman. Therefore, the King of Syria sent Naaman, loaded down with silver and gold, to the King of Israel and requested that he be cured of leprosy. The King of Israel was upset because he believed the King of Syria was looking for an excuse to start a war. Who can cure leprosy but God? To make a long story short, Naaman did go to Elisha’s house and he was cured of his leprosy, but Elisha absolutely refused to take a payment of any kind. Elisha’s servant Gehazi made the serious mistake of chasing after Naaman to get a reward for himself. Gehazi did not want to let Naaman receive healing for free!
2Ki 5:25 But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.
2Ki 5:26 And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?
2Ki 5:27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.
Therefore, we see that Gehazi received some silver and clothing from Naaman but he also received Naaman’s leprosy.
Now for the most famous example of a person’s love of money causing the most famous betrayal in all of history.
Mat 26:14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,
Mat 26:15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
Mat 26:16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.
I think most everybody knows Judas Iscariot’s had a bad ending.
Mat 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
Mat 27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
Mat 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
I believe the Bible expressly warns against enriching yourself at God’s expense. What do I mean by that? God wants to reveal that He is a loving father to mankind. If a doctor’s son broke his leg, would the doctor set his son’s leg and then send him a bill? When God’s people mis-represent Him, they are putting themselves in serious jeopardy.
Jesus specifically told His disciples to FREELY heal the sick and to FREELY cast out devils. How far has babylonian religion perverted the message of the gospel? Now there are “modern” churches who are charging an admission fee at the door and trying to convince people to directly deposit tithes out of their bank accounts.
Mat 10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
This leads us back to Simon Magus. He apparently showed up in Rome, started his “own church” and became one of the original “cult leaders”. Justin Martyr, one of the early church fathers, put Simon Magus forward as an example of an apostate Christian under the inspiration of devils.
And, thirdly, because after Christ’s ascension into heaven the devils put forward certain men who said that they themselves were gods; and they were not only not persecuted by you, but even deemed worthy of honours. There was a Samaritan, Simon, a native of the village called Gitto, who in the reign of Claudius Cæsar, and in your royal city of Rome, did mighty acts of magic, by virtue of the art of the devils operating in him. He was considered a god, and as a god was honoured by you with a statue, which statue was erected on the river Tiber, between the two bridges, and bore this inscription, in the language of Rome:—“Simoni Deo Sancto,” “To Simon the holy God.” And almost all the Samaritans, and a few even of other nations, worship him, and acknowledge him as the first god; and a woman, Helena, who went about with him at that time, and had formerly been a prostitute, they say is the first idea generated by him. And a man, Menander, also a Samaritan, of the town Capparetæa, a disciple of Simon, and inspired by devils, we know to have deceived many while he was in Antioch by his magical art. He persuaded those who adhered to him that they should never die, and even now there are some living who hold this opinion of his. Justin Martyr, The First Apology, Ch. XXVI
We see from Justin Martyr’s treatise that the biggest give away of a false prophet is their desire to be admired and worshipped. This also gives us a clue about some verses in the Bible that are rather mysterious.
Rev 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
Who are the people which falsely claim to be Jews, and Jesus states that they are the synagogue of Satan? Could there have been whole synagogues of these people? Simon was a SAMARITAN.
6. We have understood that Simon was the author of all heresy. From his time down to the present those who have followed his heresy have feigned the sober philosophy of the Christians, which is celebrated among all on account of its purity of life. But they nevertheless have embraced again the superstitions of idols, which they seemed to have renounced; and they fall down before pictures and images of Simon himself and of the above-mentioned Helena who was with him; and they venture to worship them with incense and sacrifices and libations. 7. But those matters which they keep more secret than these, in regard to which they say that one upon first hearing them would be astonished, and, to use one of the written phrases in vogue among them, would be confounded, are in truth full of amazing things, and of madness and folly, being of such a sort that it is impossible not only to commit them to writing, but also for modest men even to utter them with the lips on account of their excessive baseness and lewdness. 8. For whatever could be conceived of, viler than the vilest thing— all that has been outdone by this most abominable sect, which is composed of those who make a sport of those miserable females that are literally overwhelmed with all kinds of vices. Eusibius, Church History, Book II, Ch. 13
Eusibius, an early Church historian tells us that a “sect” started by the Samaritan, Simon the Sorcerer, introduced heresies including worshipping pictures of himself and a prostitute named Helena.
4. Thus, then, the mystic priests belonging to this sect (Simonians) both lead profligate lives and practise magical arts, each one to the extent of his ability. They use exorcisms and incantations. Love-potions, too, and charms, as well as those beings who are called Paredri (familiars) and Oniropompi (dream-senders), and whatever other curious arts can be had recourse to, are eagerly pressed into their service. They also have an image of Simon fashioned after the likeness of Jupiter, and another of Helena in the shape of Minerva; and these they worship. In fine, they have a name derived from Simon, the author of these most impious doctrines, being called Simonians; and from them knowledge, falsely so called, 1 Timothy 6:20 received its beginning, as one may learn even from their own assertions. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book I, Ch. 23
Irenaeus, another early Church father, mentions that Simon the Sorcerer, introduced ungodly doctrines into the Church and also interacted with demonic beings called familiars and dream-senders. If you look up the Samaritans, you will find that Samaritan synagogues, from all outward appearances, are no different from Jewish synagogues. However, the Samaritans were actually Babylonians and Syrians introduced to Israel by the Assyrians and their belief system includes some major differences. There was obviously a great deal of intermarriage between the Samaritans and the Jews for hundreds of years; however, one thing that is obvious from the Bible is the deep hatred shared between the Jews and the Samaritans.
2Ki 17:24 And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.
In the late Roman period there were upward of a million Samaritans throughout the Roman Empire. These days there is only a small community, of a few hundred in Israel that self-identify as Samaritans, but other than that there are very few Samaritans left.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SAMARITANS?