The Forgotten Child

Before I begin, I urge you with all my heart to read on and take everything I write seriously.

Acts 13:1-12,

1. Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
5. And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
6. And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:
7. Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.
8. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
9. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.
10. And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
11. And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
12. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

Church, we have forgotten, and so, become ignorant of, this very important story in the Bible. I’ve never heard it preached, taught, or referred to in a Bible study by anyone in 11 years of Apostolic Christianity.

When people talk sorcerers, they always talk about Simon Magus from Acts 8. This is well and good, for so he was. But Simon repented, and to a degree, converted.

Elymas is different. It’s him that I want to talk about.

Barnabas and Saul had just been sent out as evangelists from Antioch to preach the Gospel. Things were seemingly going well, but wouldn’t you know it, guess who shows up?

The devil is paying closer attention to your ministry than you are.

Worried that he might lose a prominent, important figure in society, the devil moves on one of his own to block and undermine faith. But God has His way, and we read through and forget this story ever happened.

Let this blog be a reminder.

The first thing to note is that Elymas is called a sorcerer. This is someone who uses various supernatural arts to manipulate, deceive, and trick. In the Bible sorcery is a form of witchcraft, which is always related and/or associated with the following two concepts: an altered mental state induced by (usually) chemical means, and the whispering work and spell chanting of an evil spirit or demon.

This type of witchcraft is founded in spiritual rebellion against the authority of God (1 Samuel 15:23).

Understanding these truths allows us to begin to paint a picture of just who Elymas was.

By being called a sorcerer, we can infer the following:

  • He was a rebel against God
  • He worked to manipulate, deceive, and trick people
  • He may have used chemical means to bring about his “magic”
  • His was a life given over to altered mental states leading to supernatural experiences
  • He was under the sway of an evil spirit (perhaps even possessed by one)
  • These factors lead into why he was also called a false prophet

After sorcerer, Elymas is called a false prophet. Pseudoprophetes in the Greek means “one who, acting the part of a divinely inspired prophet, utters falsehoods under the name of divine prophecies”. A true prophet of God is the Lord’s spokesperson. They are an instrument and mouthpiece used by God to declare His logos, that is, His thoughts, ideas, plans, and purposes in creation and redemption.

Therefore a false prophet is the devil’s spokesperson. They are an instrument and mouthpiece used by Satan to declare Satan’s logos, that is, his thoughts, ideas, plans, and purposes in destruction and condemnation.

We can therefore say of Elymas, that whatever he said within his false prophetic mantle, it was by and under the inspiration of an evil spirit.

Notice what Elymas attempted to do!

He withstood the Apostles! He came against the Anointed Chosen of God, who had been expressly separated and commissioned by the Holy Spirit.

This action was designed to bring about one purpose: turn away the deputy from the faith.

Anything to keep this man from believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and being saved. Anything to make sure the Message of Salvation was rejected when the Messengers of Salvation were withstood. Elymas attempted to oppose and resist the Elect Ministers of the Almighty (rebellion, remember?). But not for his own sake. Elymas opposed and resisted the Apostles so that someone else wouldn’t be saved.

That is a big difference! Many may and have opposed and rejected the Apostolic Message and the Messengers of Christ who preach it. It is sad, but they are free to do so. This just means that they are lost and the gospel is hid from them (2 Corinthians 4:3). But what about when someone attempts to undermine the faith of another in the Message and Messengers? That is the actions of a Beast and Antichrist.

But this isn’t all there is to Elymas. Look what Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, discerns about him. We are told that Elymas was:

1.) Full of All Deceit (i.e. subtlety)

2.) Full of All Mischief (from the word rhadiourgia, meaning a cunning, unscrupulous lover of effeminate ease and laziness)

3.) A CHILD of the devil (or huios, the same word used of Jesus Christ in the phrase Son of God. It means to resemble something so much so, that no discernible differences between the object and subject exist)

4.) An Enemy of All Righteousness, that is, a hostile, hateful antagonist who opposes all dikaiosune, or the moral condition by which one is said to be innocent and just, therefore acceptable, to God.

5.) A Perverter of the Right Ways of the Lord, or someone who distorts, corrupts, and turns over the ethical standard commanded by the Lord by which humans are to be governed by God.

You will notice that in #3, I typed child in all caps, like so: CHILD, hence the title of this blog.

You will also notice that from the Biblical text, God rains down on Elymas an unmerciful judgment, pronounced against him by the very Apostle he attempted to withstand (Keep in mind, God could have killed him, just like He did with Ananias and Sapphira or Herod from chapters 5 and 12, respectively).

And look what happened when such a fierce judgment was pronounced against this Forgotten Child of the Devil: the deputy came to faith in the Lord Jesus, specifically in the doctrine!

This man believed the Apostle’s doctrine when God judged and punished an enemy of the Cross.

Time for some application.

This story happened a good 1,980 years ago, give or take. That Elymas is long dead. So is the deputy, so is Paul, so is Barnabas, so is everyone in the entire story except for God.

But guess what? We are dealing with our own versions of Elymas. There really are sorcerers (not the Harry Potter type, mind you) who actively pursue the demonic means to manipulate, deceive, and trick people into not believing the Gospel as Jesus proclaimed it through His Apostles.

There really are possessed false prophets who instead of being spokesperson’s for the Lord, are the mouths of Satan, declaring his unholy logos to the world.

They may not be preaching sin and debauchery. They merely have to preach the following:

  • Oh, you don’t have to believe that…
  • That’s just a work…
  • That isn’t required for salvation…
  • Quit adding to the Cross…
  • Historical orthodoxy shows otherwise…
  • The Bible has many meanings…
  • God won’t send anyone to Hell…
  • But my pastor/church/mentor teaches…
  • People only have to walk in as much light as they have…
  • The words in red matter more than the words in black…
  • God doesn’t care about that…
  • It’s not a Heaven or Hell issue…
  • You can’t prove it…
  • You’re not rightly dividing the Word…

Shall I go on?

Are all of these wrong things to say all of the time? No.

But at any time they are uttered so as to undermine faith in the Apostolic message as preached by the Twelve and Paul, in order to keep someone from believing and obeying their message, YOU HAD BETTER BELIEVE THESE THINGS ARE WRONG TO SAY ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE TIME!!!

You know, the thing about villains is, they always think they are the hero. The thing about the Elymas’ of the world is, they think they are right.

But they aren’t. They are children of the devil and are marked by God as enemies of His righteousness. And trust me, either here now, or there then, they are going to pay.

Proverbs 11:31,

31. Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.

And if we’re not careful, the taint of their evil ways will infect us, as we let them wheel and deal in our assemblies, our homes, our relationships, and other personal interactions and associations.

2 John 1:7-11,

7. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
8. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
9. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
11.. For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

It’s time to close ranks and take a stand. It’s time to call things like they are. If we continue to coddle these kinds of sorcerers, there is a better than sure chance the other people we are trying to win will be swayed by their deception.

I know the idea of confrontation is scary. We may wonder “Who are we to judge anyone so harshly?” or “But God’s not really going to strike them blind, so what would be the point of calling them out?”

My response is, you are a son of God, called to the same hope of eternal life Paul and Barnabas were called to. You are filled with the same Holy Spirit, with the same Savior operating for you, in you, and on your behalf. Being no respecter of persons, what God expects of one, He often requires of another. If God willingly vindicated Paul’s pronouncement of doom upon Elymas by raining judgment down on the wizard, don’t you think He’s okay with His kids speaking up and saying what needs to be said?

You never know. He just might whack a false prophet and in the process, save someone else’s soul.

Advertisements

~ by votivesoul on 11/15/2013.

One Response to “The Forgotten Child”

  1. In the days to come I believe we will see this a lot more. People nowadays cant understand how God can be LOVE while at the same time be a CONSUNING FIRE! Yet in scripture he always comes across this way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Mark Showalter's Blog

Always seeking to know God more

Theo-sophical Ruminations

A collage of theological and philosophical musings

%d bloggers like this: