Acts 13 gives the classic story of Good vs. evil, Wisdom and Holy Spirit against witchcraft and sorcery.
Barnabas and Saul, led by the Holy Spirit, sailed into Cyprus. Barnabas was a native of that country, so it is fitting that the Holy Spirit sent them on their way to give Glory to the people Barnabas knew and loved.
When they arrived at Salamis, a city on the eastern side of the island, they began planting seeds of the Holy Spirit. Preaching in the synagogues of the Jews, Barnabas, Saul, and John proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people.
They travelled inward to the city of Paphos, which later became the capital. The people of Paphos were primarily worshippers of Aphrodite, which is believed to have been passed down through time from Asherah the "breasted god." Like Asherah, Aphrodite was the goddess of fertility, the Roman equivalent of the goddess Venus. Instead of sacrificing children as worshippers of Asherah did, most Aphrodite worshippers are believed to have sacrificed swine.
They were called into the city by Sergius Paulus. He was described in the Bible as a man of intelligence, so it is assumed that he was well studied of the ancient antiquity, history of the prophets, and sought out his own salvation through research and study. Sergius summoned Barnabas and Saul to hear the Word of God.
In Paphos, they also met a false prophet and sorcerer named Bar-Jesus. Bar-Jesus and another sorcerer named Elymas tried to hinder the work of the Holy Spirit, twisting their teachings. They were attempting to turn a certain deputy away from the Faith of Jesus Christ through their evil ways.
Saul, filled with the Holy Spirit, would not be threatened by these evil men. He looked intently at Elymas and spoke directly to the evil spirit that was causing deception. "You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord!" Saul exclaimed. "Now, behold the hand of the Lord is upon you and you will be blind, unable to see the sun for a time!"
Immediately, mist and darkness fell upon Elymas. He staggered away seeking for someone to lead him away by the hand.
Seeing the Hand of God more powerful than witchcraft and sorcery, the deputy was led to Christ.
As Christians, we should ask ourselves: Are we easily swayed by witchcraft and sorcery? As wicca and other obvious occult practices emerge, do we allow them to continue, using the "who are we to judge" excuse? When witchcraft is more obscured and entangled with Christianity, can we see the deception and evil spirits involved? Do we follow men who use the Word of God as incantations? Or even "secret words" as incantations? Do we follow teachers and prophets who resurrect Gnostic texts to conjure up spirits? Do we follow men claiming to have angels or "spirit guides," or do we follow men who truly have the Holy Spirit? Have we ourselves been placed under a spell?