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Wednesday, May 8 2013

Paul's Encounters With Witches and Sorcerers

" But Elymas the sorcerer withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith"

The ministry of the apostle Paul began as an associate of Barnabas (see The Meeting Of Paul And Barnabas and The Ministry Of Paul And Barnabas). Their first missionary journey was to the island of Cyprus, where Barnabas was born ("And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation, a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus" Acts 4:36 KJV).

"13:1 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. 13:2 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. 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." (Acts 13:1-3 KJV)

Cyprus, like everywhere else on Earth, had its share of people who were suffering from sorcery. It wasn't long before Paul was confronted with his first hostile encounter as an apostle - with a sorcerer. Through Paul, the Holy Spirit of God ("filled with the Holy Ghost") rebuked the man and struck him blind - just as Paul had been struck blind on the road to Damascus before he too was made able to "see" (see Paul's Blindness Lesson).

Elymas

"13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 13:5 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.

13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: 13:7 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. 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. 13:9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, 13:10 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? 13:11 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.

13:12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord." (Acts 13:4-12 KJV)

Paul thereafter encountered witches and sorcerers throughout his ministry. Another well-known incident occurred with "a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination." She was a slave soothsayer, "which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying." Paul's response was to set the girl free, not only from the evil spirits that possessed her, but also from the evil men who possessed her.

"16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 16:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour." (Acts 16:16-18 KJV)

The response by the girl's "masters" was to seek legal recourse from their local corrupt magistrates.

"16:19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 16:20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 16:21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

16:22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. 16:23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 16:24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks." (Acts 16:19-24 KJV)

Paul then liberated his jailer, for the same reason, and in the way, that he had set the girl free.

Fortune Teller

"16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 16:26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. 16:27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 16:28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

16:29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 16:32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 16:34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

16:35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. 16:36 And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace." (Acts 16:25-36 KJV)

Most of the sorcerers that Paul encountered were not frauds, in the sense that they really were possessed by evil spirits. That lesson was learned by those who attempted to mimic the miracles that the Holy Spirit enabled Paul to do.

"19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 19:12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 19:14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 19:16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded." (Acts 19:11-16 KJV)

Throughout it all, Paul had compassion and love toward the sorcerers - he attacked the source of the evil, thereby liberating those who were held in spiritual chains by it. "So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed."

"19:17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 19:19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 19:20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed." (Acts 19:17-20 KJV)

Fact Finder: How was sorcery connected to narcotic use?
See Sorcery


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This Day In History, May 8

413: Amidst the political and military crumbling of the Roman Empire, Emperor Honorius signed an edict for tax relief for the Italian provinces of Tuscia, Campania, Picenum, Samnium, Apulia, Lucania and Calabria, who were then being plundered by the Visigoths because Rome could no longer defend its own internal borders (see also Israel In History and Prophecy: Roman Judea and Israel In History and Prophecy: Aelia Capitolina).

589: Reccared I, the Visigothic King of Hispania (the ancient Roman name for Spain), Septimania (an area that is today part of southern France) and Galicia (an area that is today a part of northern Portugal and Spain), summoned the Third Council of Toledo.

1429: The siege of Orleans ended when French troops stormed the English forts in the Hundred Years War.

VE Day 1541: Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto discovered (it wasn't a discovery for the tribes of native people who lived there) the Mississippi River. He called it Rio de Espiritu Santo ("the Holy Spirit River").

1559: The Act of Supremacy was passed by which the new Queen Elizabeth I became "Supreme Governor" of the Church of England; the Act of Uniformity was passed and a Common Prayer book was introduced.

1792: British captain George Vancouver sighted and named Mount Rainier on the west coast of the continent of North America.

1794: Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, "the father of modern chemistry" (he identified the element oxygen) was guillotined in Paris by the Revolutionary Convention.

1811: The British under the Duke of Wellington defeated the French in Portugal.

1821: During the Greek War of Independence, the Greeks defeated the Turks at the Battle of Gravia Inn.

1852: The Treaty of London was signed by Britain, France, Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden, guaranteeing the integrity of Denmark.

1882: The vast Northwest Territories of Canada were divided into 4 districts: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Assiniboia and Athabaska.

1886: Atlanta pharmacist John Styth Pemberton invented Coca Cola as a pain killer and stimulant patent medicine. As its name indicates, the original formula for "coke" contained coca, from which cocaine is produced. The present-day version replaced coca with high amounts of caffeine and sugar.

1895: China ceded Taiwan to Japan under the Treaty of Shimonoseki.

1902: The eruption of Mt. Pelee, near St. Pierre, Martinique, destroyed the town within minutes, killing all but 2 of the town's 30,000 inhabitants.

1921: Capital punishment was abolished in Sweden.

1943: Mordecai Anielewicz, 24, the leader of the Jewish "Warsaw Uprising" against the Nazi Waffen-SS, was killed in battle.

1945: Near the end of the Second World War, "V-E Day" (Victory in Europe Day). Nazi German military forces agreed to an unconditional surrender.

1949: The Basic Law, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), was adopted by the Parliamentary Council at Bonn.

1972: Four "Black September" terrorists hijacked Sabena (the Belgian national airline) Flight 571. Israeli special forces freed the airliner the following day.

1973: A 71-day standoff between the U.S. Government and the "American Indian Movement" members who were occupying the Pine Ridge Reservation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota ended with the surrender of the militants.

1977: David Berkowitz pleaded guilty to the "Son of Sam" (also known as the "44 Caliber Killer") shootings that terrorized New York City. He was sentenced to 365 years in prison.

1980: The eradication of smallpox was proclaimed by the World Health Organization.

1987: Canada officially minted the first $1.00 coins. Made of a nickel with a gold-colored aureate coating, the "loonie" (a nickname from the picture of the aquatic bird, known in North America as the loon, on one side of the coin) is estimated to have a lifespan of 20 years, as compared to 9 months for the traditional $1.00 bill that it replaced.





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