Acts 13:6-10
Acts 13:6 (KJB)
And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:
They had a done a wide evangelistic campaign as they went from Salamis on the east end of the island all the way to the Paphos on the west end of the Island. There were many synagogues and many Jews on the island of Cyprus. The Holy Spirit showed tremendous wisdom in starting them in Cyprus because Barnabas would have known his way around and would have known the synagogues. It was a great way to initiate them in ministry. They also came upon a man named “Barjesus” which means either “son of Joshua” or “son of Jesus.” He was a sorcerer and one who used the occult arts. He is called a false prophet so maybe he was touting himself as a prophet of God bringing messages to the people. Much like today’s astrologers who bring messages from hell and convince people they are true.
Acts 13:7 (KJB)
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.
Prudent - Intelligent
As Saul and Barnabas were ministering the deputy who would have been the Roman Governor of the island of Cyprus had called them because he wanted to hear the word of God which they were proclaiming throughout the entire island. The Scripture states that he was a very intelligent man which also means that he was well educated. He no doubt had heard about Saul and Barnabas going from one end of the island to the other preaching the Gospel, so he wanted to hear what they were preaching. As Governor, he no doubt had his eyes and ears among the population.
Acts 13:8 (KJB)
But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
Withstood - Opposed or resisted
Of course, wherever the true Gospel is being preached, right there will be an emissary of Satan who will oppose the true Gospel. What you see in this verse is not just two differing ideologies vying for the deputy’s approval, it is the attempt of Satan to pull this man’s soul to hell with him. Saul and Barnabas were bringing the true gospel which can save this man’s soul, but Elymas opposed them because Satan will hinder the truth of the Gospel being preached and if he cannot stop it, he will do what he can to add to it or interpret it wrongly. This is what happens to many missionaries. They will go to a country and preach the gospel and then run into much opposition which is really a spiritual battle for the souls of the hearers.
Acts 13:9 (KJB)
Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
From here on in, Saul is now called Paul. He was filled with the Holy Ghost which means that the Holy Ghost knew exactly how to deal with this situation by giving Paul the spiritual strength to confront this evil man. By this filling of the Holy Ghost, Paul had now become the leader on this missionary journey.
Acts 13:10 (KJB)
And said, O full of all subtlety 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?
Subtlety - Deceit
Mischief - Wickedness or unscrupulousness
Paul now speaks sternly to this man and verbalizes exactly what he is. He is a man of deceit and filled with wickedness. Paul calls him a child of the devil because those who are engaged with the occult are children of the devil. This is why it must grieve the heart of God when He sees His children partaking in Halloween observances. Just as Satan is the enemy of righteousness, so is his followers. They stand in total opposition to the truth of the Gospel. They do not do this sparsely but every chance they get, they will try and divert people from the truth of the Gospel. This is what Elymas did and I am sure the Governor had heard this exchange since Elymas had tried to divert him from the truth of the Gospel. Elymas is representative of all who oppose the Gospel and have a hatred for the truth. We see as much opposition today to the Gospel as the Christians did back then.