BALAAM (Part 5 of 7)

  1. The Trinity of Error

According to Jude verse 11, three spirits work with Balaam:

  1. first, the murderously competitive spirit of Cain, which can kill even a dear brother, a hard-working godly brother out in the field, because it feels threatened by that other’s shine, because that one’s fiery passion for God shames its lacklustre service and lukewarmness;
  2. next, the greedy spirit of Balaam, which can eat from any table, even if it be the table of devils; and can do anything for money, even if it means selling off an entire population of God’s people to an enemy patron;
  3. and finally, the rebellious spirit of Korah (or Core) which would mindlessly destroy an entire population in the heedless pursuit for a title and a headship stool; the manipulative spirit of religious politics that psyches up followers and sets one party in the community against the other, especially against ordained leadership.

Their end?  A Perishment; a sudden destruction, even if nothing in the present might suggest such a sudden end.   Paul says it in Philippians 3:19: “Whose end is destruction”; who have run greedily “… and perished…” (Jude 11).

  1. In the Mouth of Two or Three Witnesses …  

As if the Bible could not be concluded without properly addressing the gang of Balaam, the last two books of the Holy Bible each have a strong word for them.  After the fiery Jude, comes the probing Apostle John in the opening chapters of the book of Revelation:

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication (Revelation 2:14).

In fact, the first New Testament voice specifically calling out Balaam and Balaamites by name had been Apostle Peter in the last but third book of the  Bible, where that greedy gang had been clearly rebuked for loving “the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:15).  In other words, not just two but three almost consecutive last voices warning … “He that hath an ear, let him hear …” (Revelations 2:17).

  1. A Bullet for Balaam 

Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core (Jude 1:11)

According to Apostle Jude here, the clan of Balaam lives under a woe, irrespective of the large pontifical caps and crosses that they might or might not sport, irrespective of the kingly chariots and long convoys in their retinue.  A woe is never written on the forehead for everyone to see, so who could have known?

“Woe unto them,” says Apostle Jude; “thou hast … them,” says Apostle John.  These enemies of “the right way” operate not from outside the Church but from within it.  To the Church in Pergamos, the Lord said, “thou hast … them.”  We have them with us.  If they were the notorious fundamentalist Ishmaelites that we all know, or the detested prophets of Baal out in the open, we might have been on better guard, or otherwise known that an enemy did it to us; but to think that it is our own lofty icons trading with our enemies to bring upon us a woe … How many more bullets shall we have taken for Balaam before we have died enough to please them?  How many more woes upon our tender innocent heads, O Lord, before Thou shalt have relieved us of their load?

If we had been hosting Achans and Jonahs, we might have been sure that they were the source of our storms, but to think that our woe comes so unsuspectingly from a prophet who himself dispenses blessings and curses; an internationally renowned prophet to whom great and mighty kings are humble protégés …

The curse that leaders attract does not take their heads alone.  Like the blessed oil on the head of Aaron the high priest of God, it spreads down to others below them (Psalm 133:2).  When David sinned, it was 70,000 others that died, while David only painfully mourned (1 Chronicles 21:14-17).  The death that would kill Ahab brought about a battle in which innocent soldiers were the collateral casualties (1 Kings 22:20).  How much longer can we take divine bullets for callous Balaams?  How much longer should we die their death before our land is cleansed?

Like Joseph in the house of Potiphar and the Ark of God in the house of Obed-edom, some presence brings a blessing (Genesis 39:5; Luke 19:9; 2 Samuel 6:11), but not these.  Their presence brings a curse to the church that has them:  “But I have a few things against thee [why?], BECAUSE thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam.”  Their presence, and especially their patronage, is sufficient for God to be against a church.  Mind whom thou hast.

O God, deliver us speedily.  Amen.

  1. The Doctrine of Balaam: A Creed for Greed 

According to Apostle John in Revelation 2:14, Balaam had a doctrine – a set of beliefs supported by an application of scriptures.  Unfortunately, the fact that Bible passages are cited to support an action does not make it right; that something is believed, even widely believed, does not make it right; that there are followers, lofty followers, still does not make it right (2 Thessalonians 2:21).  Not everything that looks like God is God.

Balaam had scriptures for his actions; well-crafted scriptures that defined his doctrine.  It needed keen discernment to not be swept off by his creed.  It is nothing new that Satan would quote scriptures to the Bible-believer he tries to lead astray (Genesis 3:1; Matthew 4:6).  Accordingly, Jesus warns, “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:5); and “NOT EVERY ONE that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but…” (Matthew 7:21).  Godliness is much more than confessions, even though it is not as loud.

Jude warns against the “error of Balaam.” Balaam’s lifestyle and doctrine and classic theology couched in Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic, are dismissed as “error.”  Of course, that is not what Balaamites call their creed.  They call it ‘great revelation.’

We may say from the foregoing that Balaam represents a kind of religion, with its careful doctrine; a doctrine that strangely puts stumblingblocks in the path of sincere and innocent disciples of the Lord, making their way hazardous.  It finds well-crafted Bible excuses for unbiblical ways.  Unfortunately, at the head of this alter-religion is a name that even kings respect.  Angels used to talk with him.

“… Them that hold the doctrine of Balaam.”  Balaam’s disciples ‘hold’ so strongly to their doctrine in ‘scriptural’ defence of greed, an indiscriminate appetite, and fornication,  that they could kill you if you challenged them, or if you tried to teach those lusts out of their grip.  We have had not a few sad tales.  They could be hired to bless and curse, but when curses fail, they fight; when spiritual means don’t work, they are sure to step into the battle themselves, taking up arms to fight along with enemy kings against the people of God (Numbers 31:8; Joshua 13:22).  We shall talk about that later.

Often, Balaamites are such ‘good teachers’ that they make easy disciples; disciples generally characterised by a licentious lifestyle that finds Bible excuses for unscriptural practices.

From The Preacher’s diary,
January 18, 2023.
(to be continued) 

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