Honor of Kings Bible Notes – Acts 13

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Elymas – the False Prophet of Cyprus

Acts 13:4-5
“So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.”
  • Keep in mind, the New Testament didn’t exist back in Saul’s day, only the Torah and the Prophets were considered “the Word of God.” Reading the New Testament with this in mind should change your understanding of many scriptures (ie. 2 Timothy 3:16).
  • When you hear of people teaching and preaching the Word of God in the New Testament, they are definitely preaching Jesus/Yeshua, but they are preaching Him from verses found in the Old Testament.
  • From Genesis through Malachi, the Messiah … a man “like Moses” is foretold. The disciples were saying … “Hey! Jesus is THAT PROPHET LIKE MOSES!!”
Act 13:6-7
“Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer [G3097], a false prophet [G578], a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent (synetos [G4908] – wise and understanding) man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.”
  • After fasting and praying at the church in Antioch (Acts 13:1-3), Saul and Barnabas make a stop in Salamis, where they are specifically called for, because Sergius Paulus, a wise and learned man, wanted to hear the Word of God. Remember what the Word of God was considered back in Saul’s day? The Old Testament ….
  • The problem was, this “wise and learned” man was hanging out with Bar-Jesus (or Elymas the sorcerer). Elymas was a Jew, more than likely educated in the Law and the Prophets. He is specifically named “a false prophet.”
[G5578] - pseudoprophete
  • How many people do we see today “acting the part of a divinely inspired prophet?” Too many ….
Act 13:8
“But Elymas the sorcerer [G3097] (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.”
  • Elymas is also known as “a sorcerer.” When most people think of a sorcerer (especially here in the West), they have an inaccurate picture in their minds. The Greek word used for “sorcerer” is “magos.” [1]
[G3097] - magos
  • Although Elymas very well may have dabbled in some form of “dark art,” he was probably esteemed by the masses as being a person filled with wisdom (like the wise men [magos] who came to bring gifts to Jesus).
  • The fact that he was regularly seen with Sergius Paulus, a proconsul, would lend to the notion that this guy regularly had “the spotlight”.
  • Elymas did not like this message that he heard being preached to the proconsul.
  • The message was … the prophet like Moses, the Messiah prophesied in the law and the prophets had come. Now, contrary to what may think the verse may allude to above, Elymas did not withstand the preaching by blatantly saying “Saul and Barnabas are wrong!”  It wasn’t an outright denial of the message, but a twisting … a crafty “modification” of the Old Testament scriptures that Saul and Barnabas were putting forth.  The next verse clarifies.
Act 13:9
“Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting [G1294] the straight ways of the Lord?‘”
  • Saul/Paul saw the false prophets twisting of the straight ways of the Lord, and called him on it. The Greek word for “perverting” is “diastrepho,” which primarily means to “distort” or “corrupt.” [2]
[G1294] - diastrepho
  • In order to “pervert” a message, you have to have knowledge of the True Message. Since Elymas was a Jew, he had to have knowledge of the Messianic prophecies, as well as the Torah.
  • Elymas was listening to the True Message that Saul and Barnabas taught Sergius, and then perverting it.
  • This is so true regarding false prophets today … and they have almost perfected their craft. Fortunately, there are a few who will stand up and say “Will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?”

False prophets deceive the masses by perverting the true message

  • Some false prophets deceive the masses intentionally, others deceive because they know no better. They’re just spouting the same rhetoric that they have been taught. Either way, they have earned themselves the label “son of the devil” … ouch!
  • It’s so important that we do not approach the gift of prophecy, or teaching, in a haphazard way. We must only teach what is Truth …. what is straight out of the Word, otherwise we will share the same punishment.
  • But the false prophet doesn’t see that. They think that signs, wonders and the voices in their heads are the Seal of God’s approval.
  • By their refusal to test these things against the written Word of God, they open themselves up to deception on a grand scale. Of course, this deception, coupled with a drive for wealth and fame, propagates itself in the Information Age …. all that is needed is a web site and a Paypal account.
  • The internet is a false prophet’s “dream tool” to spread, and perfect, their message.
  • If they can grill the following points in their listeners’ ears, then the deception of the masses is near perfection.
    • … If you can get the eyes of the masses off of “the prophet like Moses”
    • … If you can steer them clear of the Old Testament writings (except maybe a few little stories)
    • …. If you can change the very definition of “prophecy” and create an entire movement out of it
    • …. If you can take the King of Israel and make Him into your buddy
  • But our Father has had “straight ways” in place from the beginning, and He never changed those Ways.
    • Xref Genesis 26:5, Deuteronomy 5:10, Malachi 3:6

Running the “wilderness experience” into the ground

Act 13:11
“‘And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.’ And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand.”
  • Something I’ve noticed in the “prophetic movement” is the overuse of the catchphrase “dark night of the soul,” or what is commonly known as, the “wilderness experience” when referring to a “low point” in a believer’s life.
  • Now, I’m not saying that we, as believers, will not experience these difficult times. But there seems to be a glorification of the “wilderness experience” that truly extends past the boundaries of common sense.
  • It is during these “dark nights of the soul”, that one frequently looks to man to “lead us by the hand.” We seek, and possibly “find,” encouragement from the newest book, sermon, or maybe a song.
  • Could this “wilderness experience” be part of God’s judgment because we have twisted, or disobeyed, His Ways? I’m not sure …
  • I look at the children of Israel and their 40 year “wilderness experience.” Originally, it was not God’s Will for them to wander in the desert all that time …. He wanted them to go into the Promised Land! They, through their fear and rebellion, chose the “wilderness experience.”

Astonished at the teaching of the Lord

Act 13:12
“Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.”
  • Like the false prophet Elymas, teachers and other “sorcerers” have perverted the straight ways, the “teaching” of our Father …. and we have believed them.
  • The good news is, some of us are wising up, as Jeremiah (a True Prophet) foretold.
    • Xref Jeremiah 16:19-21

For the Truth,

Kevin Kleint
Email: kevinkleint@outlook.com

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  1. George says

    Very good article. False prophets are doing a huge harm to the true gospel. Some of their are true & I beleive it is how they deceive. Every true statement make is to deceive like the devil when he quoted Ps91 v11&12 to Jesus. Their judgement is coming.

  2. Carina says

    Hi Kevin,
    Interesting notes. One thing that came to mind reading the section on the “dark night of the soul” or wilderness experience is this: Sometimes God brings you into the wilderness precisely because you have trusted in man too much, and you need the wilderness to be alone with God. (Quite the opposite of what some are saying!)

    Now, I’m not saying God won’t use people to correct and lead us, as He did with Paul. (Indeed, sometimes it’s necessary because we’re too stubborn to listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us directly.)

    But in some cases, He will let the “relevant” people (pastors, significant other, true Christian friends) to be too busy, not caring enough or unable to help us or give us a Word when we need it precisely because we need to cut our dependence on other people to spoonfeed us prepackaged solutions and seek the True Bread of Life who can sustain us with Manna. I have recently experienced this. I was desperate about a personal situation and I called the pastor’s wife. While I was talking to her, I felt she was not the right person to talk to. Not that she wasn’t right in what she said, but I couldn’t make sense of what she was saying. I felt the Lord distinctly saying, Talk to ME!

    Friends can only take us so far in comforting us, rebuking us, building us up. How many times has someone told you sth that you couldn’t accept and then some time later the Holy Spirit showed it to you in the Word and you had to admit that your brother or sister had been right?

  3. carrie brown says

    I like the notes! I felt as if I learned quite a bit in a short amount of time. Keep it coming!
    Thanks for your effort for the body and bride of Yeshua. I pray YHWH rewards you for your time and effort.