“Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.” (Acts 8:13 NIV)

False Conversion

Simon was in bondage to the occult. The Bible clearly says that he practiced sorcery. He has a deep relationship with demons. For a time, he amazed important and lowly people with his magical performances.

But then Philip came to his city in Samaria. By presenting the Gospel in its pure form, the people believed in the salvation through Jesus he preached, and they were baptized. The people followed Philip instead.

All of a sudden, Simon had no audience anymore. He also realized that the miracles Philip performed were far greater than the magic he can do. He wanted in.

A careful study of the Scriptures shows that he ‘played’ church. His true intentions were revealed when Peter and John came to visit Philip. The apostles laid their hands on the believers and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Ka-ching! A light bulb was switched in Simon’s heart, and he saw the opportunity to redeem back his stardom. He offered them money to have the same ability to impart the anointing. Maybe he thought, ‘Philip didn’t do this impartation thing. Now’s my chance!” (Evil laughter).

Then Peter saw right through him: (Acts 8:20-23)
a. You are perishing, and so will your money.
b. You have no share in this ministry
c. Your heart is not right before God.

Those are descriptions of unbelievers. Simon has pretended to ‘believe’ and got himself wet in baptism, but his heart was still full of bitterness and a captive to sin.

He was bitter at Philip for ‘stealing’ his show. Oh the pains of losing admirers!

He was still in bondage to the occult. In order for him to ‘really’ accept Christ in his heart, he would denounce his sin, denounce his fellowship with demons, and embrace the Word of God. Sad to say, he didn’t. He was used to making up a show. His pretense of ‘believing’ was nothing new.

*Reflection: Am I following God for the right reasons and intentions? Or am I just pretending?

False Prophet

Simon the Sorcerer was also known as Simon Magus and Simon of Gitta. From him was derived ‘simony’ - the sin of buying or selling ministerial authority, his very act of buying the impartation of the gifts. (More blaspemous horrors are found in Wikipedia, and other online sources).

What concerns the true Christian and disciple is his attitude toward Christ, the Word of God, and the ministry.

While his fellow Samaritans believed in whom Philip preached, (Acts 8:6) he followed the messenger, not Christ. (Acts 8:13) He was merely fascinated by a greater power than his, and not on God’s saving grace.

And when Peter rebuked him for buying his way to pastoral authority, he did not repent. (Acts 8:24) It was not accounted that he was sorry for thinking and doing such a thing, but he just wanted to escape punishment. When the Holy Spirit was imparted, he did not desire to receive it. He just wanted to be on center stage.

*Reflection: Do I desire the ministry to serve God, or to be regarded as someone special?

Historical accounts show that he left Peter as a ‘professing’ Christian. As a ‘Christian’ with magical powers, he went everywhere fooling as many as he could that he was someone great in God’s kingdom, much like Peter. He went to Rome and erected a statue of himself.


Update: Mar 2012

The concept that Simon 'pretended' is questionable, because the Bible did say that 'he believed.'

An alternative explanation is this: He believed for a very short while.

A reference for this is The Parable of the Sower.

The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. (Mat 13:20-22 NIV)

With Simon, it was very short – about a couple of days. It was like a combination of having no root, and being choked by the desire for prestige.

Truly, it was a corrupted case. Either way, we live a life far from it.