If you’re wondering what kind of “sorcery” (v.9) was available to men in Bible days, that word is first used to describe men who were able to do legitimate miracles (Ex. 7:10,11; 20-22; 8:6,7). And when Verse 9 says Simon not only did them, he gave out that he himself was “some great one,” that makes him a type of the antichrist (II Thes. 2:3, 4, 9).
Antichrist hadn’t come yet back then, but I John 2:18 said there were “many” antichrists, and Simon was one of them. The “last times” were interrupted by the dispensation of grace, but Simon is giving us a picture of what the world will look like after the Rapture when God restarts His prophetic clock and guys like Simon start running around again working miracles and claiming to be some great one—just like the Lord predicted (Mt. 24:3-5). And you know how those false christs will “deceive many” don’t you? The Lord went on to say he’ll use “great signs and wonders” (Mt. 24:24). And all those false christs will be types of the antichrist.
When everyone in Samaria “gave heed” to Simon (v. 10), that’s a type of how everyone in the world will wonder after the beast (Rev. 13:3; 17:8). When Acts 8:11 says Simon be-witched them “long time,” that exact phrase is used to describe the three years the Lord was with the 12 (John 14:8,9)—the same amount of time the Antichrist will bewitch people during the first half of the seven years of Tribulation.
When Acts 8:12 says all the Samaritans believed the gospel, that’s a picture of the “multitudes” that will get saved in the Tribulation (Rev. 7:9, 14) despite being bewitched by the antichrist—just as the Samaritans believed despite being bewitched by Simon! When it says they believed “the things concerning the kingdom” that Philip preached, that’s even the same gospel they’ll believe in the Tribulation (Mt. 24:14).
Now you know that’s a different gospel than what we preach, for when the Lord sent the 12 into the world to preach it, He told them that people had to be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:15,16). That was true under the kingdom gospel that was preached at that time. That’s why “both men and women” were baptized (Acts 8:12). I say that because Jews were also baptized to make them priests (Ex. 19:6; 29:4) and only men could be priests. But men and women needed to be saved!
Tribulation Jews will be motivated to go into all the world to preach the gospel because they’ll be running from persecution (Mt. 24:9, 14)—just like Simon was (Acts 8:1-5). Saul was a type of the antichrist and Philip was a type of the saints who will flee him and go to places like Samaria to preach the gospel. The Lord told them to flee to the mountains (Mt. 24:15) and Samaria has mountains (Amos 3:9).
But how can Simon be a type of a false christ if he believed and was baptized (Acts 8:13)? Well, he didn’t believe to the saving of the soul (Heb.10:39), he believed like the men who saw the Lord’s miracles (John 2:23-25). Simon saw Philip’s miracles and saw they were greater than his, so he wanted to infiltrate the church to learn how to do them.
You see, he was making money doing miracles. That’s a type of how false teachers will infiltrate the church in the Tribulation “having covetous practices” (II Pet. 2:1, 14). But eventually those false christs will learn to make money as Balaam did (II Pe. 2:14, 15), by turning on Israel (2:3). Evidently there will be a bounty on the heads of believers in the Tribulation, and those false christs who infiltrate the church will collect it. And we’re seeing all this pictured with Simon.
Jerusalem sent apostles to Samaria (Acts 8:14) because Samaritans in the past had believed on Israel’s God but refused to acknowledge the headquarters of Israel’s God in Jerusalem (John 4:9, 20). So when these Samaritans in Acts 8 believed they too had to recognize the authority of Jerusalem. That’s why God sent them apostles. He wouldn’t give them the Spirit (v.15-17) till they got it from Jerusalem’s apostles.
This was important since Samaria got saved out of order before Jerusalem (Acts 1:8), something that might have tempted them to think God moved His headquarters to Sam-aria. The 12 had to sanction this change to God’s “Jerusalem first” policy, just as God later had them sanction it when the Gentiles got saved out of order under Paul (Gal. 2:9).
Video of this sermon is available on YouTube: The Aftermath of the Samaritan Revival – Acts 8:9-25