The apostle Paul was a Pharisee—an expert in the law of Moses and the rest of the Tanakh (OT), having memorized it all by the time he was a young man. He was also formally educated in the ways of the Gentiles, as he had been taught the Greek and Roman philosophers as part of his formal education from Gamaliel.
The first of christianity’s commonly taught errors that is exposed in this chapter is the notion that after the Old Testament prophets, the Holy Spirit no longer speaks directly to people:
The Holy Spirit has never stopped speaking DIRECTLY to people.
“They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia; and after they came to Mysia, they were trying to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit did not permit them; and passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas.
A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ When he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the Gospel to them.” Acts 16:6-10
Here we see the Holy Spirit communicating with Paul in the manner He has always communicated with people—and the way He still does. He spoke to Paul in a dream. Now, many christians will claim that dreams cannot be trusted, for they think that demons can mislead people in their dreams.
But, that would not be possible, as demons only have access to our souls (conscious minds), not to our spirits (subconscious minds). As we see in many verses like Genesis 40:8, Job 33:14-17, Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2:17, and Romans 8:16, it is through dreams and visions that the Holy Spirit communicates with people most often. He also speaks audibly on occasion. I have experienced all three myself.
Even though most christians claim the evidence of their salvation is words they read in their English translations of the scriptures, such confirmation is not possible, for it is by the Holy Spirit alone that man’s salvation is confirmed—and He confirms Yah’s children in the same way He has always communicated with folks: in dreams and visions.
The Sabbaths were never ended OR changed.
Next, in verse 13, we come upon another negation of common christian false teachings:
“And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.” Acts 16:13
Now, Paul was journeying to share the Gospel of Yahoshua with both physical Jews and Gentiles, but the Gentiles were his greater focus. If, as christianity falsely teaches, the Sabbaths had been ended at the cross, then why would Paul still refer to the seventh day of the week as “the Sabbath”? Why wouldn’t he have simply called it the seventh day—or not mentioned which day of the week it was?
And, why would he be looking for a nice place of prayer, if not for the fact that he was honoring Yah’s Sabbath? There were some women sitting by the river, and one of them was named Lydia—and Lydia was a Gentile. Why would Gentiles be sitting by a river on the Sabbath?
Lydia was a woman of means, and worked in the fabric trade, dealing with purple fabrics, which were used mostly by wealthy folks, as purple fabrics were expensive. If that day had been a work day for her (a Gentile), why was she just sitting by a river in a place that Paul considered a place of prayer?
Clearly, this passage confirms Paul doing what he is shown doing in several other scriptures—he continued to honor the Father’s Sabbaths, and he taught them to the Gentile converts. There was no such thing as changing the day of rest and assembling to the first day of the week until long after the New Testament had been written. And, that change did not come from true believers, but from the inventors of christianity, the counterfeit of the true faith (Constantine and his Roman cohorts).
As Paul taught, there is no longer any distinction between physical Jews and Gentiles, and the true Jews (yahudiy) are people whose hearts have been circumcised—it has nothing to do with bloodline, race, geography, or religion. The true Jews (yahudiy) make up true Y’isra-el, which is Messiah’s bride. And, it is to the children of true Y’isra-el that the Father gives His Sabbaths as a sign between Him and them—even today.
So, this shows that any claim that the New Testament believers changed their weekly day of rest and assembling together to the first day of the week (SUNday) is a lie—a false teaching that is bolstered by lifting scriptures out of their contexts and perverting what they actually state. Many in christianity bastardize passages like Acts 20, 1 Corinthians 16, and Romans 14:5, claiming that they speak about the weekly assembling of believers, which they don’t.
The Sabbaths (weekly and annual feasts) have never been changed or ended. To claim that they have is to peddle a lie from Satan.
Just because someone speaks a truth, that doesn’t mean the person is of Yah.
Christians often imply that because they can quote scripture, or they claim to believe true doctrines, that means they are of Yah (saved). But, starting in verse 16, we see that a demon-possessed female slave was speaking spiritual truth:
“It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, ‘These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.’
She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Yahoshua the Messiah to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.” Acts 16:16-18
Here we see that the demon-possessed slave was openly professing something that was true, but Paul sensed by her constant behavior that she was possessed by a demon, so Paul commanded the demon out of her in the name of Messiah (which Paul knew was Yahoshua, since the false name iesous, iesum, iesus, jesus, had not yet even been invented).
As we also see in Matthew 4, Satan quoted scripture to Messiah. Just because someone speaks truths, or makes statements that sound like they are truth, it doesn’t mean that person is indwelt by, or led by, the Holy Spirit. Just because someone quotes scripture doesn’t mean he is not a child of Satan (a child of Satan is any person who has not been confirmed to be an adopted child of the Almighty).
True baptism is not in water (physical), but of the Holy Spirit (spiritual).
Ultimately, the masters who owned the slave-girl were upset that the demon was removed from her, for she no longer had the spirit of divination, so they dragged Paul and Silas before the authorities, and said that they were causing confusion among the Roman citizens, and had them beaten and thrown in prison.
Paul and Silas were singing and praising Yah from their shackles when, around midnight, there was an earthquake, which loosed them from their chains. The jailer woke up, and realizing that his prisoners had likely escaped (for which he would have been punished severely), he attempted to commit suicide by falling on his own sword, but Paul called out to him that they were still there.
Long story short, they shared the true Gospel of Yahoshua with the jailer (they shared the Word—the logos—which are the words given them by the Holy Spirit), and the jailer believed. In an outward manifestation of his belief, he took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. This is what happened next, according to the scripture:
“And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and IMMEDIATELY he was baptized, he and all his household. And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having BELIEVED in God with his whole household.” Acts 16:33-34
Note that after the jailer had washed the wounds of Paul and Silas, the scripture states he was immediately baptized. It doesn’t state that Paul or Silas baptized him with water, or that he asked to be baptized. No, it states that he and his household were IMMEDIATELY baptized—it was something that happened to them, not something they or any of the people there did to them. The Holy Spirit sealed them because of their belief.
The disciples who received the Holy Spirit on the Feast of Weeks (Acts 2) experienced the same thing—they were baptized into the Holy Spirit. And, they knew they had received Him because they saw a vision of flaming tongues over their heads.
Also, being baptized by the Holy Spirit, he provided the spiritual covering for the jailer’s household, so they all were covered by the Holy Spirit at that time. It was the Holy Spirit who baptized the jailer—into newness of life, resurrecting his spirit, which had been dead in sin (unbelief).
So, within one chapter, we see four different events that ALL refute common beliefs and teachings found within many of the different flavors (denominations) of christianity, the counterfeit of the true faith.
For more information: What Is Saving Belief?