Cities of the Bible: Azotus

Cities of the Bible: Azotus

So many famous and well-known cities are mentioned in scripture, but who has ever heard of Azotus?

Yet, a very interesting thing happened there.

Azotus is mentioned in Acts 8, which is where we find the passage about Philip and the Ethiopian official.

Let’s read this passage from Acts 8:26-40:

Philip and the Ethiopian

"Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian[a] eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”[b]

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” [37] [c] 38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea." - Acts 8:26-40 NIV

Philip has been directed by an angel of the Lord to travel along a certain road, which he does, and he sees this man reading from Isaiah 53:7-8, which talks about Jesus.

Philip explains the passage to the man, he believes and is baptized, and Philip is then snatched away in miraculous fashion to Azotus, which was about 20 miles north from where he had been in Gaza.

Note that the verse 39 says, “the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away.” The Greek word used there is HARPAZO, which means “to snatch away.

Elijah and Ezekiel were also “snatched away” in I Kings 18:12 and Ez. 3:12. The Hebrew word used in those two passages is “NASA,” a verb meaning “to lift or carry.

In I Thes. 4:17, we see that same HARPAZO: “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

So the same snatching away that happened to Philip, Elijah and Ezekiel will happen to those who are alive and remain at the day of the Lord, which will be the time of the rapture of the church, AMEN, and the ushering in of the seven-year tribulation. Amazing!

So as Philip was snatched away from Gaza to Azotus, those of us who are alive and remain will be too! 

Look up, for your redemption draweth nigh!!!

Mary also creates Christian crossword puzzles and word searches. You can download this post’s free crossword puzzle here, and word search here. Thank you, Mary, for sharing this with us!

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