An Ethiopian History Lesson

After hearing a message by my pastor Dean Sweetman about the Ethiopian eunuch converted in the desert by Philip, my mind began wondering what happened with this eunuch. Where did his faith take him and what was the final impact of Philip’s obedience to the Holy Spirit? After studying many history sources, I found a bit of information about the Ethiopian church and how the nation got to where they are today.

History tells us that the eunuch converted by Philip in Acts 8, returned to the Ethiopian region of the day and is credited for eventually converting the queen to Christianity. She in turn decides to build the world’s first rock church. Architecture that was admired and later used to create many of the impressive European churches we tour today.

Over the next couple of generations, the queen’s devout Christian faith faded into mere knowledge as the nation turned more and more to a polytheistic religion (belief in many different gods).

In the 4th century, a merchant from Tyre, Meropius, along with his 2 nephews, were returning from India, when they pulled into a port that had recently withdrew its treaty with Rome. The entire ship was mercilessly massacred, but the two young boys, Aedesius and Frumentius, were spared and taken in as slaves. Meropius had been a descendant of a family impacted by the ministry of Paul and a few of the other apostles and had taught the boys of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Over time, the two gained approval from the emperor and were made his cup-bearer and treasurer.

To make a long story short, the entire royal court was eventually converted and they were freed from slavery, but asked by the widowed queen to help run the country and raise her young son in their Christian ways. This emperor, Ezana, did away with the “Emperor System”, realizing he was not God and claimed Ethiopia as the world’s first official Christian nation in 330 AD!

All this was a result of four young people living a life led by the Holy Spirit. The thing is, the eunuch or the two slaves would have no doubt been unable to speak directly to the emperor or their families. The leaders would have noticed something different about them from the way they lived their every-day lives.

Living a Holy-Spirit, God-Inspired life is a decision we make every day. The verb ‘filled’ used in Ephesians is a continual verb meaning ‘to be being filled’. This means, it’s an active verb that’s more than just a one time occurrence. A better way to express the term ‘Living a Spirit-Filled Life’ is to say ‘Living a Spirit-Compelled Life’. The way you live gets far more attention then what you could ever say.


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