Who was Bar-Jesus (Elymas) in the Bible? 

Author: BibleAsk Team

Bar-Jesus (Elymas)

Bar-Jesus (Elymas) is a Jewish name. It may mean “son of Joshua” (Matthew 1:1). The reference to the person by the name Bar-Jesus (Elymas) is found in the book of Acts. Luke wrote, “They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith” (Acts 13:6-8). 

The church in Antioch set Barnabas and Saul, as missionaries. So, they traveled to Cyprus. When they reached Paphos, the western port and capital of the island, they spoke with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, who was a Roman governor of the region. Sergius Paulus was an intelligent man with an inquiring mind. 

Bar-Jesus (Elymas), the false prophet, who was with Sergius Paulus feared the loss of his influence over the proconsul. So, he determined to undermine the preaching of Paul about the living God. But Paul being filled with the Holy Spirit, said to Bar-Jesus, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun” (Acts 13:10–11). 

The preaching of Bar-Jesus (Elymas) was a misrepresentation of truth. He turned the straight paths of God’s making into the crooked paths of man’s invention. It was a clear reversal of what Isaiah described as the true preparation of the way of the Lord, making the crooked straight (Isaiah 40:4).

After Paul’s rebuke, immediately a dark mist fell on Bar-Jesus (Elymas), and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. The proconsul saw the miracle, and heard the words that accompanied it. And he believed that the apostles showed the greater power. Therefore, he accepted their message because it was evidently superior to what Elymas (Bar-Jesus) had been teaching him (Acts 13:12). 

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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