Updated: Dec 19, 2022
Parts 1 & 2
“My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God”
1 Cor. 2:4-5
This passage in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 is perhaps one of the most misunderstood or misinterpreted passages in the New Testament! Wait, it’s just so plain as to what Paul is talking about—you either have the Spirit of God in your ministry, coupled with Holy Ghost Power and anointing sufficient to shut the mouths of the skeptic, the so-called “wisdom of men,” and of the fearful and unbelieving or you don’t . . . in a phrase: SHOW ME THE POWER!
You say you have the Spirit—if so, put up or shut up! If you can’t cast out demons in the Name of Jesus, then your Jesus isn’t the real Jesus . . . end of conversation.
You brothers know all ABOUT Jesus, but your Jesus does NOT manifest in Spirit and in Power; therefore, talk is cheap—your prayers simply hit the roof and go no further. You best go back to square one and figure out who the miracle-supernatural Christ really is because what you’re doing is speaking so loud I can’t hear what you’re saying . . . you might as well TALK TO THE HAND!
If you’re going to play exorcist, you better get your act together because messing around with demons without the Spirit and Power you’ll find that:
“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation” (Matthew 12:43-45).
All the above, sure sounds like someone has the REAL Spirit and Power and most don’t. Then, on the other hand, there’s this amazement:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, CAST OUT DEMONS IN YOUR NAME?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matt. 7:21-23)
Are some of the disciples abusing the Name of Jesus? But isn’t this the demonstration of Spirit and Power? How could somebody cast out demons in the Name of Jesus and it is not approved of the Lord? “Lawlessness!” What’s antinomianism or lawlessness got to do with it—is someone being unrighteous here or what? Think about it—and while you’re at it, think again about what Paul told the Corinthians in CONTEXT: Let’s find out what “Spirit and Power” is all about.
IN SPIRIT AND IN POWER
First of all the phrase “In Spirit and in Power” is sandwiched between a pair of powerful passages enlightening what kind of speech and Spirit whereof Paul was speaking. Let’s look at Paul since he gave birth to the Ekklesia in Corinth (Acts 18:1-11). We’ll go back to 1 Corinthians 1 where the POWER was described by Paul himself:
“For the Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, CHRIST THE POWER OF GOD and the WISDOM OF GOD. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:22-25).
Let’s read it slowly and carefully in light of what is “Spirit and Power” . . .
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.’” (1 Cor. 1:26-31).
Seems to me that Paul is laying the groundwork for real wisdom; it has nothing to do with the “wisdom of men” or the “wisdom of this world.” God’s into choosing “foolish things”—viz., the people He desires appear altogether foolish, weak, despised, base, and no accounts (aka, “nothing”) to shame the wise, the mighty, and to bring to nothing those that glory in the flesh and who think they’re something . . . so that no flesh can glory except to glory in the LORD alone!
Compounding this fracture of the flesh Paul goes on to elaborate:
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God (NOW, listen up…). For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling . . . and my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom . . .” (1 Cor. 2:1-4a).
So, on the one side of this SPIRIT AND POWER statement is the man Paul who showed up in Corinth to know and preach nothing but “Christ and Him crucified” as this weak and trembling with fear kind of guy who obviously was no Grecian orator uttering forth “persuasive words of human wisdom.”
The Greeks really enjoyed a masterful oration by their orators—the great ones were able to persuade large audiences with their oratory (aka “rhetoric”)—tragically, these orators, who were held in high esteem, became the great “preachers of the faith” wherein the homily or sermon a la oration became the norm in the general assembly/ekklesia and the audience became (as it was in the Greek model) nothing more than a mesmerized audience . . . no longer in the game, simply in the stands watching the players (the orators) on the field!
[Note: By 400 AD Augustine had wholly justified the Greek rhetorical approach as both a style and necessity in declaring the truth in the assembly/ekklesia; thus did the participatory atmosphere of followers of Jesus become the “pulpit and pew” model and/or the “worship format” or “service.” – See Footnote 3]
But I digress . . .
Now: “We speak wisdom among those who are MATURE” (1 Cor. 2:6). Stop right there. There was a huge problem with the issue of MATURITY among the Corinthian believers . . . remember this is on the other side of SPIRIT AND POWER:
“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people [“people who live by the Spirit”—NIV] but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal” (1 Cor. 3:1-3a).
In what way were the Corinthian believers babes, carnal, unable to receive solid food? Here’s a list of obvious baby Christian characteristics, duly noted:
“For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul, and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?” (1 Cor. 3:3b-4).
Paul already in his letter to “the Ekklesia of God which is at Corinth” has notified them of their immature behavior and status:
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor. 1:10-13).
What we witness here in Corinth are a bunch of carnal babies divided over personalities for whatever reason—even over Christ as some kind of personality in comparison to noble apostles. Not just lifting up men but doing so with envy, strife and divisiveness.
WHAT DO “PERSUASIVE WORDS” PRODUCE?
Paul had “persuasive words” alright—but they weren’t the persuasive words of the wisdom of this world (Greek rhetoric/oration):
“My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words . . . your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:4, 5b).
Paul’s NOT into the “wisdom of men . . . the wisdom of this world” . . . the wisdom spoken among the carnal “chooses sides” – therefore:
“We dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Cor. 10:12).
In sum – cease with the carnality:
“So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God” (1 Cor. 3:21 - NIV).
What did the Greek Rhetorical Personalities produce? DIVISION! That’s right—the “wisdom of this world” – the orators produced “. . . words which man’s wisdom teaches” (1 Cor. 2:13) resulting in sectarianism and outright “choosing of sides” via the “powers of persuasion” (worldly wisdom).
Seriously, the Greek orators/orations sought to convince one side against the other. Such oratory was designed so that “may the best man win!” The person with the “powers of persuasion” won the “contest” and was awarded with money and sundry accolades. If you want good “preaching” find the best in town and, as they say, “go for it.” But what does this persuasive wisdom of the world produce? Schisms, the choosing of sides . . . but God’s way is to extend more honor to the “little guy” . . .
“But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy” (1 Cor. 12:24b-26 - NIRV).
Then, it is in THIS SPIRIT Paul comes to the Corinthian believers—leveling the playing field by humbling himself:
“Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God . . . I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now” (1 Cor. 4:6-13).
This certainly does not sound like “one powerhouse of a man” but as someone “condemned to death . . . made a spectacle to the world, angels and men . . . fools for Christ’s sake . . . weak . . . dishonored . . . hungry and thirsty . . . poorly clothed . . . beaten and homeless . . . reviled . . . persecuted . . . defamed . . . made the filth of the world . . . offscouring of all things!
WHERE’S THE BLESSING, PAUL, WHERE’S THE POWER?
Now here’s the POWER whereof Paul speaks:
“I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me” (1 Cor. 4:14-16).
Paul rejects oration—the Greek’s “wisdom of this world,” nor does he claim to be a masterful teacher, puffed up in ministry, seeking the praise of men, trying to catch others in his own craftiness, nor boasting in his accomplishments. He came and keeps on coming to his beloved children in Corinth as their father! He’s in a precious father-children relationship—this is the authority and power whereon he speaks. It has nothing to do with “signs and wonders” in that he has already spoken: “The Jews require a sign” – nor is he coming to them with “words of wisdom” . . . “for the Greeks seek after wisdom” (1 Cor. 1:22) – no, not this power and wisdom, but to those “both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24).
Brethren, do we see it—or do we refuse to see it? Do we want the Spirit? Do we want the Power? Then we must embrace “Christ and Him crucified” for this is the “power of God and the wisdom of God.” Here it is: “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:25).
That’s it! Foolishness and weakness . . . it is utterly inescapable. To “Come in the Spirit and in Power” there is no centering on man, there is no boast in human leaders, there is no comparing ourselves with ourselves; there is no oration which can compare to the preaching of Christ and Him crucified—NONE!
If you would desire the Power of the Spirit—then the Cross of Christ must become in you and me the very power and wisdom of God! Stop with boasting in “signs, wonders, miracles, orations-rhetoric, human wisdom” – grow up saints – for “the wisdom of this age . . . the rulers of this age . . . are coming to NOTHING!” (1 Cor. 2:6).
“We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory” (1 Cor. 2:7). This has nothing to do with the “secret wisdom” of the Gnostics who deny that Jesus has come in the flesh. Why would they deny? Because they are “a god” unto themselves! They possess “the power” because they have but “spirit”—but they know not what “spirit” they are of (Luke 9:55; 1 John 4:1-6). Their “secret wisdom” and societies to this day deny the hidden wisdom of God wherein beyond this earthly pale revealed to us by His Spirit (viz., “in Spirit and in Power”) we fathom:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9-10).
Insidious is our boasting in the flesh, in so-called POWER which focuses upon man’s abilities:
“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, BUT GOD GAVE THE INCREASE. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase . . . Now he who plants and he who waters are one . . . For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field” (1 Cor. 3:5-9, Excerpts).
Listen up! You want to see the power in so-and-so’s ministry, revival, special gathering, healing tent? I could go on but the point is so obvious and yet, we are so blind. We jaunt from one dynamic speaker to another, from one healer to another, from one manifestation to the next, from one revival to another—all the while, we know little or nothing of His Spirit and Power!
Look out, here comes father Paul:
“Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, BUT THE POWER . . . For the kingdom of God is not in word [viz. fancy rhetoric/orations] but in power. What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod [perhaps as a father to a childish son], or in love and a spirit of gentleness?” (1 Cor. 4:18-21)
Think about it: “Why do you boast as if you had not received it?” Boasting in something you claim to have originated in and of yourself. Indeed, you got it from another for “what do you have that you did not receive?” As they say: He doesn’t have an original thought in his brain! His boast is in himself, although he’s so puffed up he thinks it’s somehow his original thought! How sad is that when we claim our revelation is so peculiar as if it originated from our fertile imagination!
Indeed, the plain truth of the matter is this: All that is being shared here is found in Paul’s entreaty to his children begotten by him in the Faith in Corinth—he is their father. He did not come to them as some great Greek Orator nor as Paul the miracle worker . . . just review his own description of himself—“a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels, as well as to human beings . . . we are fools for Christ . . . neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything” (1 Cor. 4:9, 3:7).
Can demons be cast out today? Certainly. Is God still in the “healing business?” Of course He is—“Jesus Christ is the same today, and yesterday, and forever” (Heb. 18:8). But is this how “Paul came across” when he birthed the Ekklesia in Corinth? Is God still confirming His Word with signs following (Mark 16:20)? Yes, He is, but how enamored are we with such signs following? Is that what is required of our faith? Is that what captures our fidelity to the Faith? “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” Isn’t that the POWER of the Cross? Isn’t that the Spirit of Christ?
Paul said he would know NOTHING but Christ and Him crucified. That’s all he wanted to know among the Corinthian believers.
SHOW ME THE POWER
SIMON MAGUS – THE POWER-HUNGRY SAMARITAN SORCERER
“Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, ‘This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.’ They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery . . . Simon himself believed and was baptized . . . When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me also this ability [“Give me this POWER too” – J. B. Philips] so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’ Peter answered: ‘May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!’ You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.’ Then Simon answered, ‘Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me” (Acts 8:9-24, Excerpts).
Yes, one can receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit via the laying on of hands or the Holy Spirit could readily baptize without the laying on of hands (Acts 10:44-48)—regardless, there are some believers (viz., Simon types) who “want their cake and eat it too.” Imagine that! Here’s a well-known and popular sorcerer who in essence is saying: "I WANT THE POWER—I like that “hand thing” where someone is zapped by the Spirit . . . surely, everything has a price on it . . . let’s make a deal!" Yo! THE GREAT POWER OF GOD is the name given to Simon—running around amazing everyone . . . but it was nothing but sorcery.
Do you think that this kind of sorcery in the Name of God is practiced today? Oh, yes, with or without payment in full! How little discernment we have in the Body of Christ. How quickly are we infatuated with the GREAT POWER OF GOD! This in no way discredits those who humbly affirm the Baptism of the Spirit with or without the laying on of hands—but it does warn us that we should beware of mammon and the power behind money and the things it can purchase, including “spiritual power” (so-called).
How often we have seen ministry corrupted by money and the “center of attention” it provides. How foolish for some to reflect on Simon’s sufficiency: “He boasted that he was someone great” (Acts 8:9). Yes, someone great in his own eyes—able to deceive the undiscerning until the real Holy Spirit showed up—alas! “The thought that you could buy the gift of God with money” (Acts. 8:20).
As dumb and as stupid, as arrogant and presumptuous, as it surely sounds (and it is), Simon still went for it. Beware when men come bearing gifts and seek to gain entry into your “space” lest you become “amazed” and suggest that brother so-and-so can be “rightly called the Great Power of God!”
SIMON MAGUS SOUGHT THE POWER AND WANTED POSITION
Oh, yes, it is far more subtle than we think. This Simon Magus (“Magus” from whence “magician” but lit. means “priest” – plural: The Magi, bearing gifts to the Savior) character not only desired the gift of the Holy Spirit for empowerment, he wanted what he considered the “office of Apostolic authority” whereby he could lay hands on others to grant them this gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit: The power and the position!
Alas! Simon’s history of “Spirit and of Power” has left an indelible imprint on the whole of Christendom—as you will shortly see (please, definitely read the links to the information below):
As Ernest Martin “prophetically conjectures”:
This makes it plain. Peter was uttering a prophecy by the Holy Spirit. [Note: Simon tried to reject Simon Peter’s prophecy - ‘Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”] He was telling what this Simon was to become; Lange’s Commentary says: "Peter’s words, literally, mean: ‘I regard you as a man whose influence WILL BE like that of bitter gall [poison] and a bond of unrighteousness [lawlessness], or, as a man who has reached such a state’." (Vol. 9, p. 148 – Acts 8:21, 23).
This prophecy is the KEY that opens to our understanding the ORIGINS of the heresies mentioned in the letters of the Apostles. Peter clearly knew Simon wouldn't repent. Verse 22 shows that in the original.
[Please note: Acts 8:24 wherein Simon Magus said, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me” is the SAME as someone “prophesying over someone” and that someone retorts: I DON’T RECEIVE THAT. In other words, Simon Magus was in outright rejection and attempted to DECREE his rejection of Peter’s prophecy; and why not—wasn’t he, after all, THE GREAT POWER OF GOD?]
Gall of Bitterness Defined It is also interesting to note Peter’s statement that Simon was to become a "gall of bitterness." People today may not realize the exact meaning of such a phrase, but no Jew in the First Century was in any doubt as to its meaning. It was a figure of speech adopted from the Old Testament which denoted going over to the idols and abominations of the heathen. Read Deuteronomy 29:16-19 and see how plainly this figure of speech is used. When the Apostle Peter applied to Simon Magus the phrase "gall of bitterness," he meant that Simon would be the responsible party for the introduction of heathen beliefs and idols into Christianity. The prophecy takes on a new and important scope when we realize this real meaning of Peter’s prophecy.
Not only was Simon, in Peter’s time, a great antagonist to the Church, but he would be the adversary of the future.
In this regard, notice the comment of Hasting’s Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, Vol. 2, p. 496: "It seems beyond question that Luke KNEW THE REPUTATION which Simon acquired, and that he regarded the subsequent history of Simon as the natural result of what occurred in the beginning of his connection with the Christians." If we assume that Luke recorded this encounter of the Apostles with Simon Magus simply to show that "simony" [“simony” means the buying or selling of ecclesiastical privileges] was wrong, we miss the point completely. There is a score of places in other parts of the Bible to show the error of buying ecclesiastical gifts. Luke was exposing SIMON MAGUS HIMSELF. This IS the important point!! Luke was clearly showing that Simon was NEVER a part of God’s Church, even though by 62 AD, many people were being taught that Simon was truly a Christian -- taught that he was the HEAD of the only TRUE Christians; the Apostle to the Gentiles! (Source below)
Furthermore, and conclusively, there is ample evidence that this same Simon Magus (“Magus” meaning “Magician” or “priest”) perpetrated the notion of the “Universal Church” and mingled it with Babylonian religious beliefs and practices on his journey to Rome—that’s right, there is every evidence that he was “prophetically disclosed” in Acts 8, to wit, whereby “early Church fathers” clearly distinguished him from the apostle, Simon Peter—in other words, there were TWO SIMONs . . . Simon Peter and Simon Magus.
"When Justin Martyr wrote [152 A.D.] his Apology, the sect of the Simonians appears to have been formidable, for he speaks four times of their founder, Simon; and we need not doubt that he identified him with the Simon of the Acts. He states that he was a Samaritan, adding that his birthplace was a village called Gitta; he describes him as a formidable magician, and tells that he came to ROME in the days of Claudius Caesar (45 A.D.), and made such an impression by his magical powers, THAT HE WAS HONORED AS A GOD [imagine, they called him “god in the flesh”] a statue being erected to him on the Tiber, between the two bridges, bearing the inscription ‘Simoni deo Sancto’ (i.e., the holy god Simon)" (Dictionary of Christian Biography, Vol. 4, p. 682).
Relief on the Miègeville's gate of the basilica Saint-Sernin in Toulouse. The relief shows Simon magus, demons, and birth of the wine. Source Wikipedia
There you have it. Power and money, poison and bitterness – also considered perhaps the “father of Gnosticism” – why not? Denial that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh would be well-suited for this money grubbing-apostate, this power-hungry corrupter of the Faith once delivered. Why would you need the Son of God manifested in the flesh in the personhood of Jesus, the Anointed One, when you, Simon Magus, are so well-deserving of the title: THE GREAT POWER OF GOD?
Interestingly enough, it was of no small notoriety in that he was adept at levitation and astral projection (out of body travel – so say these references in Endnote 4). It is said he was eventually buried on pagan Rome’s most sacred site: Vatican Hill. No Jews could or would ever be buried on such a sacred pagan site—indeed, nor was the Apostle, Simon Peter (another myth we’ve taken as gospel truth—see 1 Peter 5:13: “The church that is in Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you: and so doth my son Mark” – Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA) – viz., What was Peter doing in Babylon in the early AD 60s and allegedly died upside down on a cross in Rome between AD 64-68? Numerous contradictions to Peter’s alleged crucifixion in Rome militate against his appearance there during Nero’s reign; Paul’s—yes, but Peter’s, no.
If we are readily able to connect the poison (gall/bile or “bitterness”—Acts 8:23) injected into the people of God by this heretic who, among the religious Romans became unto them “as THE GREAT POWER OF GOD” (and was so honored by them as a god), then indeed “even now many antichrists have come” (1 Jo. 2:18); consequently, this Simon Magus is surely one of them who would substitute himself as the Anointed One who obviously enthralled the masses in Rome with his chicanery, sorcery, and magic all in the Name above all Names—but he was ANTICHRIST!
“I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. SUCH A PERSON IS THE ANTICHRIST—denying the Father and the Son . . . I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray . . . Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the SPIRIT OF THE ANTICHRIST, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” (1 Jo. 2:21-23, 26; 4:1-3).
Once we can grasp how the “spirit of antichrist” frequents the assembly with such spirits and counterfeits the true power of God with his deceits—then we will much more by His Spirit and Anointing “test the spirits whether they are from God or not” (1 Jo. 4:1).
What I have written here concerning Simon Magus is not contrary to the theme of this tome but magnifies Paul’s contradistinction to that of Simon Magus with the Corinthian believers to whom he came “In Spirit and in Power.”
I’m not here to “call out” various ministries/ministers/churches – if the shoe fits, wear it! Sure, my estimation of certain “ministers” and “ministries” deserve a raised eyebrow or two—but even here Paul cautions us:
“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God” (1 Cor. 4:1-5).
Notwithstanding, champions of the Faith, are more than qualified to historically disclose the perpetrator of this aforesaid dastardly mixture, to wit:
We further find in Schaff’s 8-volume History of the Church a reference to this Simon Magus. He says: "The author, or first representative of this baptized HEATHENISM, according to the uniform testimony of Christian antiquity, is Simon Magus, who unquestionably adulterated Christianity with pagan ideas and practices, and gave himself out, in a pantheistic style for an emanation of God.”
Certain “Christians” spew forth poison (aka “bitter bile” or “gall of bitterness”) and flagrantly display their alleged “freedom” which is not but a “cloak of wickedness” (1 Peter 2:16 - antinomianism or against the Law – of which there are a variety of such belief systems – See Endnote No. 1) – even so, this Simon Magus integrated his Babylonian-Chaldean religious system into the “one true Faith” whereby it wholly accommodated his Roman proletariat and patricians.
How clever, “legalism” was connected with the Old Testament and dispensed with for the “New” which in turn became synonymous with anti-Jewish/antisemitism (Note: The Heretic Marcion [excommunicated from the Roman Church in 144 AD] wrought great theological discord among the New Creation: Marcion, like Simon Magus, dispensed with the Old Testament via hyper-allegorizing it). And although Simon’s “integrated religious system” was resisted by the likes of early apostles--Peter, Luke, Paul, Jude, John (direct or inferred)--and by the early “fathers” of the Faith like Justin Martyr (in his Apology exposing “Simonians”), Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Eusebius—yet did this early idolatrous, image worshipping, Babylonian paraphernalia persist!
Why? Because man’s fallen bent toward SPIRITUAL (Spirit) and Power (Authority) is insatiable—i.e., “false prophets” and those of the “spirit of antichrist” are hell-bent (excellent word) to usurp THE Anointing: “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you . . . But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him”—1 John 2:26-27.
Is it any wonder then that Christ in the midst of the Seven Golden Lampstands would vociferously declare:
“To the angel of the Ekklesia in Ephesus . . . But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, WHICH I ALSO HATE . . . To the angel of the Ekklesia in Pergamum . . . you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans . . .” (Rev. 2:1, 6; 12, 15).
The Greek word Nicolaitans is virtually untranslatable but whose meaning is, notwithstanding, overt: “rulers over the people” . . .
Others have read this as an untranslated Greek word meaning 'rulers over the people,' so that the Nicolaitans were Christian leaders who imposed a hierarchical order in the church and sought to lord it over those below them in the pecking order. If this is the meaning, it foreshadows the actions of the hierarchical Church of later centuries. (Biblical Hermeneutics)
Brethren, this “Samaritan” imposter, Simon Magus, who hails from the mystical religions of Babylon, is naught but a soothsayer, sorcerer, magician, incantatory—but then he who practiced fakery “believed and was baptized . . . and he (Simon Magus) followed Philip everywhere (WHY?), astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw” (Acts 8:13). Oh, yes, Simon was wholly given over to following Philip because he was “astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.” Signs and miracles—sound familiar? How many well-meaning brethren are caught up in these AUTHENTIC “signs and miracles” because they want their “faith” full of “Spirit and Power” – “Philip, O Philip, show us more signs and miracles– yes, seeing is believing—Philip: SHOW US THE POWER!"
Carefully note, it was not until Peter and John showed up in Samaria that Simon Magus witnessed how the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was administered:
“When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the APOSTLES’ hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay MY HANDS may receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:18-19).
As far as Simon Magus was concerned the “signs and miracles” wrought through Philip were undoubtedly due to the Baptism of the Spirit demonstrated via Peter and John—“Now I see and covet this kind of apostolic authority and the power which it manifests.” How audacious and vain to think the Baptism of the Spirit could be secured with money and worse for Simon Magus to ask Peter, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me” (Acts 8:24). Simon may have thought:
“As if your prophetic prayer, Peter, will stop me from poisoning the assembly—especially in the seat of Power, Rome—and somehow prevent me from perpetrating lasciviousness and lawlessness among those more than receptive pagans. I am concocting a most potent potion mixing in a little of this and a little of that mystical religion of Babylon for my heresy formulae . . . once I finish this “witches’ brew” it will entice the pagan pallets by the millions; I’ll even spike it with a little Christianity to conceal the flavor of paganism’s devilish concoction! It’s gall and bitterness, along with doctrines which justify lawlessness, will be more than camouflaged by my priesthood adept in the art of incantations and Christianese” (A would be quote from Simon Magus – the first religious authority using Christianity as his “cloak of maliciousness” in Rome.).
How many false prophets claiming to be sold out for the “good news of the kingdom of God” (Acts 8:12) DECREE IT, CLAIM IT, NAME IT, brag it and bag it—all in the Name above every name! They are ready, willing, and able—as was Simon Magus—to follow the Philips of this life EVERYWHERE, in that they are “astonished by the great signs and miracles” displayed through these Philips!
Friend, may I be so audacious to make a more than casual connection between signs, wonders, miracles and even the misuse of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and MONEY—the Babylonian god of Mammon  . . . a pagan deity more than familiar to Simon Magus found fertile ground in the heart of this Simon Magus. Peter’s retort to Simon Magus after Simon offered Peter and John money for the GIFT of the Holy Spirit’s Baptism, was straightforward: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!” (Acts 8:20). Notice, Simon Magus wanted to add this ability ALSO to his collection of “signs and wonders”: “Give me ALSO this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:19).
Brethren, do I need to go into ecclesiastical detail by hanging out bundles of dirty underwear contaminated by ministers and ministries who for “filthy lucre” have corrupted the message of the gospel? Forbid! To this day none of these money grubbers “have no part or share in this ministry” (Acts 8:21)—although they say they do. Certain churches and denominations have amassed such earthly treasures far in excess of reasonable administration so that if they were to liquidate their hard assets it would feed, clothe, and house (substantially) the world’s impoverished masses.
Simon Peter, speaking in 61-62 AD from Babylon itself (1 Peter 5:13; Also, see Endnotes No. 4 and No. 5) knew full-well the sinister falsehood of this Liar from the beginning:
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter :8-9).
Be on the alert – those who would seek out our blessed Philip with “signs and miracles” following are far too often the Simonians found in these religious climes—let John’s refreshing charge be ours:
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world . . . This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood” (1 John 4:1-3, 6b – Please see Endnote No. 6).
Let us not settle for anything but “Christ and Him crucified” – “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24). Amen.
 The word antinomianism comes from two Greek words, anti, meaning "against"; and nomos, meaning "law." Antinomianism means “against the law.” Theologically, antinomianism is the belief that there are no moral laws God expects Christians to obey. Antinomianism takes a biblical teaching to an unbiblical conclusion. The biblical teaching is that Christians are not required to observe the Old Testament Law as a means of salvation. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He fulfilled the Old Testament Law (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15). The unbiblical conclusion is that there is no moral law God expects Christians to obey. The apostle Paul dealt with the issue of antinomianism in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” The most frequent attack on the doctrine of salvation by grace alone is that it encourages sin. People may wonder, “If I am saved by grace and all my sins are forgiven, why not sin all I want?” That thinking is not the result of true conversion because true conversion yields a greater desire to obey, not a lesser one. God’s desire—and our desire when we are regenerated by His Spirit—is that we strive not to sin. Out of gratitude for His grace and forgiveness, we want to please Him. God has given us His infinitely gracious gift in salvation through Jesus (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Our response is to consecrate our lives to Him out of love, worship, and gratitude for what He has done for us (Romans 12:1-2). Antinomianism is unbiblical in that it misapplies the meaning of God’s gracious favor. A second reason that antinomianism is unbiblical is that there is a moral law God expects us to obey. First John 5:3 tells us, “This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.” What is this law God expects us to obey? It is the law of Christ – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). No, we are not under the Old Testament Law. Yes, we are under the law of Christ. The law of Christ is not an extensive list of legal codes. It is a law of love. If we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we will do nothing to displease Him. If we love our neighbors as ourselves, we will do nothing to harm them. Obeying the law of Christ is not a requirement to earn or maintain salvation. The law of Christ is what God expects of a Christian. Antinomianism is contrary to everything the Bible teaches. God expects us to live a life of morality, integrity, and love. Jesus Christ freed us from the burdensome commands of the Old Testament Law, but that is not a license to sin. Rather, it is a covenant of grace. We are to strive to overcome sin and cultivate righteousness, depending on the Holy Spirit to help us. The fact that we are graciously freed from the demands of the Old Testament Law should result in our living our lives in obedience to the law of Christ. First John 2:3-6 declares, “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The man who says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys His word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”
(SOURCE: What is antinomianism, GOT QUESTIONS @ https://www.gotquestions.org/antinomianism.html)
 The phrase POWER OF GOD is connected directly to Christ, the Anointed One. However, this same entitlement, POWER OF GOD, was given to the sorcerer, Simon Magus found in Acts 8:10: “This man is rightly called the GREAT POWER OF GOD.” Later in this tome the contrast is brought out between Christ and Simon Magus, the magician-priest of Samaria and later of Rome.
 One of Paul’s main sources of competition during his missionary journey were the Greek orators that he encountered in the various cities of his travels. With regards to these orators there were some similarities, and many differences, and Paul actively sought to differentiate himself from them. (See: PRESBYFORM article: “Scripture in Context – Greek Oratory” @ https://presbyformed.com/2016/09/22/scripture-in-context-greek-oratory/ )
Orations or “RHETORIC” were wholly a pagan Greek invention—a veritable Hellenistic tradition—eventually copied throughout the Greco-Roman world. The EKKLESIA Jesus was building did not find its source in the “wisdom of men” or their powers of persuasion (good, bad or indifferent). The early followers of Jesus were conflicted over its use and sought to distance themselves from such Orations/Rhetoric as seen below:
“Before closely examining the rhetorical nature of preaching, it is helpful to more generally examine the relationship between Christianity and rhetoric—a discussion which actually starts with the Greeks. In the beginning were the Greeks, and the Greeks were with rhetoric, and the Greeks were rhetoric; or at least, the Greeks were the inventors of Western rhetorical theory. For many Christians in the first four centuries, this meant that rhetoric, a creation of the pagan Greeks, was likewise pagan and need be abandoned. Preachers agonized over their life choices, especially many early bishops who previously worked as teachers of rhetoric. Clement, Tertullian, Basil, Justin, and Cyprian all condemned rhetoric, at least in part, as incongruent with Christian life (Murphy “Saint” 207-211; Ellspermann). Jerome’s torment was so great that he dreamed he was denied entrance to heaven because he was not a Christian but a “Ciceronian.” Gregory of Nazianzus pressured Gregory of Nyssa to give up the ways of the world, his profession as a rhetorician, and devote himself to a Christian clerical life (Van Dam Families 69).” (Dissertation: THE RHETORIC OF HOMILETICS: PREACHING, PERSUASION, AND THE CAPPADOCIAN FATHERS by CATHERINE LORELEI RILEY for Doctorate of Philosophy, TX A&M University, December, 2015 – copywritten)
The above dilemmas, were not based on false dichotomies (although the above author would differ on that assumption). The “early Ekklesia” were places of “all can prophesy one by one that all may be encouraged” (1 Cor. 11-14)—these “primitive assemblies” were predicated upon “spiritual democracy” wherein all could chime in on whatever the revelation as seen through the “members of the Body of Christ” present in the gathering. When Augustine came along in 400 AD he gratified/certified the concept of the Greek Rhetorical/Oration approach which eventually evolved from pure ministry to the actual homily/sermon of the Ekklesia itself so that one and/or several persons dominated the gathering rather than an open-participatory atmosphere.
 (Overall source: Ernest Martin – 1968 - @ https://archangel16.livejournal.com/180135.html ) -
A brief recount of references found in Wikipedia concerning Simon Magus are found @
 Ernest Martin lists at least eight major discrepancies which militate against Peter’s martyrdom being in Rome under Nero’s reign—see Endnote No. 4.
 The phrase “denying the Father and the Son” attests to the eternal relationship the Son of God has had with the Father within the Godhead. The incarnate Son of God became a man—“God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16) and received GLORY as the “Glorified Son of Man” (as a “glorified man”) through death and resurrection (John 17:5; 1 Peter 1:21) whereby He is able in “bringing many sons and daughters to glory” (Hebrews 2:10--NIV). The “spirit of Antichrist” denies this eternal relationship between the Son and the Father and is antithetical to the true Son of God “was manifested” in the flesh to complete the task in bringing many sons and daughters to glory (NIV-Heb. 2:10) whereby He “shares in fellowship” that same glory He received as the incarnate Son of God. It was/is via the “power of the resurrection” (Phil. 3:7-11) from the dead whereby this was accomplished wherein He became “the Heavenly Man” (1 Cor. 15:42-49). God will NOT share His glory with another (Isa. 42:8) – yet, the peculiarity of His glory “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14b)—it is to this glory whereof we speak and wherein we share as followers of the “glorified Son of Man.”
 (Philip Schaff, Apostolic Christianity, Vol. 2, p. 566). (Source: Ernest Martin’s piece found in Endnote No. 4)
 One of the most outstanding modern-day works on the Babylonian-Chaldean “gods” and practices – and their insipid, poisonous bile infiltrating today’s people of God is the three-volume work of Dr. Douglas Hamp, entitled: CORRUPTING THE IMAGE, Vols. 1, 2, 3.
 (See: Syncretism). In sum: Syncretism (/ˈsɪŋkrəˌtɪzəm, ˈsɪn-/) is the practice of combining different beliefs and various schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merging or assimilation of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths. Syncretism also occurs commonly in expressions of art and culture, known as eclecticism, as well as in politics, known as syncretic politics.
 Marcion or Marcionism: I strongly recommend the YouTube Video on this subject by Dr. Douglas Hamp @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyBw3RuYUtM (Retrieved on 12.13.2022). It is duly noted that Marcion and Simon Magus held to a similar pattern of teaching which led to justification of paganism’s “unrighteousness/lawlessness/antinomianism” wherein both campaigned against the validity of the “Jewish Scriptures” as “legalism vs. grace” and both sought to diminish any relevance aside from allegory vs. the authenticity and application of faith alone found in (what they claim) was New Testament truth.
 The word mammon comes from the Greek word mammonas. Similar root words exist in Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic, Chaldean, and Syriac. They all translate to “money, wealth, and material possessions.” In biblical culture the word mammon often carried a negative connotation. It was sometimes used to describe all lusts and excesses: gluttony, greed, and dishonest worldly gain. Ultimately, mammon described an idol of materialism, which many trusted as a foundation for their world and philosophy. While the King James Version retains the term Mammon in Matthew 6:24, other versions translate the Greek as “money,” “wealth,” or “riches.” The city of Babylon (Revelation 18), with all its avarice and greed, is a description of a world given over to the spirit of Mammon. Some scholars cite Mammon as the name of a Syrian and Chaldean god, similar to the Greek god of wealth, Plutus. (Source: Got Questions: What is Mammon?)
 Have you ever wondered how wealthy the church really is? In his book, ‘The Vatican Billions’, writer and philosopher Avro Manhattan gives us a glimpse of the true financial worth of the catholic church: “Jesus was the poorest of the poor. Roman Catholicism, which claims to be His church, is the richest of the rich, the wealthiest institution on earth. (…) How come, that such an institution, ruling in the name of this same itinerant preacher, whose want was such that he had not even a pillow upon which to rest his head, is now so top-heavy with riches that she can rival – indeed, that she can put to shame – the combined might of the most redoubtable financial trusts, of the most potent industrial super-giants, and of the most prosperous global corporation of the world?”
“The Catholic church, once all her assets have been put together, is the most formidable stockbroker in the world. The Vatican, independently of each successive pope, has been increasingly orientated towards the U.S. The Wall Street Journal said that the Vatican’s financial deals in the U.S. alone were so big that very often it sold or bought gold in lots of a million or more dollars at one time.” (…)
“The Vatican’s treasure of solid gold has been estimated by the United Nations World Magazine to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest.
“But this is just a small portion of the wealth of the Vatican, which in the U.S. alone, is greater than that of the five wealthiest giant corporations of the country. When to that is added all the real estate, property, stocks and shares abroad, then the staggering accumulation of the wealth of the Catholic church becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment.” (…) (Avro Manhattan, “The Catholic Church is the Biggest Financial Power on Earth” – Zubeida-Jaffer) (Sourced in the personal blog of famed South African journalist Zubeida-Jaffer @ https://www.zubeidajaffer.co.za/the-catholic-church-is-the-biggest-financial-power-on-earth/ )
I would only add that scores of institutional churches, mega churches, and a multitude of Christian-in-name only charlatans, quacks, and “financial wizards” add insult to injury with their Catholic brethren and their financial manipulations—there is no end to this awful affliction wrought by the worship of the god Mammon; and worse, the wholesale justification in the ever-nauseating forms of greed perpetrated upon the masses. We await the day that JUSTICE and RETRIBUTION will be administered by the Almighty upon all the “wood, hay, and stubble” amassed by the “financial whoredoms” seen upon this earthly clod! God have mercy!