7) The lesson of Balaam

Today,  in order to learn about the lesson of Balaam who appears as the subject of reproach in Verse 14, let us examine further about Balaam and Balac.

Balaam was a prophet of Mesopotamia, a region that had the means of communication with God, but had so much covetousness for his riches that he eventually became one of the most significant people who corrupted the word of God. He makes his first appearance in Numbers Chapter 22.

He was invited by and promised a lot of riches from Balac, the king of Moab, who was fighting against the people of Israel led by Moses. Balaam was commissioned to curse the Israelites who had pitched their camps in the plains of Moab across from Jericho. However, based on God’s command to him, he instead delivered the words of God that blessed the people of Israel, and acted as a prophet of God.

But Balaam was a Mesopotamian (Ac 7:2-4), and even though he was a special prophet who communicated with God, he indulged in the unjust wages for his fortunetelling given from Balac, the elders of Moab and of Midian, and reached for even more riches. Though, with his mouth, he delivered the words and prophecies of God, he set up a trap for the Israelites with a surreptitious plot, making them consume the sacrifices unto idols and commit adultery.

<Nu 22:7-8>
7 And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak.              8 And he said unto them, Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the LORD shall speak unto me: and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam.

<2 Pe 2:15-22>
15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

<Jude 1:11-13>
11 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.
12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:
4 Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.
5 Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.
6 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.

<Nu 31:6-18>
6 And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand.
7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
8 And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.
9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
10 And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.
11 And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.
12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
13 And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp.
14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.
15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD.
17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

In other words, Balaam incited Moab women to commit adultery with the Israelites and made the people of Israel worship and bow to the god of Moab and eat the sacrifices unto idols together. This is the act of the people of God eating the sacrifices unto idols, and Balaam plotted this to induce God’s anger at his people and his subsequent punishment handed down to them. As a result, 24,000 of these Israelites who fell into this trap, die from the plague (Nu 25:1-9/Nu 31:16/2 Pe 2:15/Jude 1:11).

Balaam initially rejected the invitation from Balac but became blinded and tempted by a great amount of riches sent from him.

Also, he refused to follow the request of Balac to curse the Israelites at first but obeyed the command of God to bless them instead, but ultimately forgot his original resolution, pursued the idols of covetousness (Col 3:5) and left God.

In today’s world, there are church leaders who definitely refer to the Bible and preach to fully obey the words of God but whose actions and directions are driven by covetousness of riches and authority (Mt 23:16-18). These can be said to be the Nicolaitans who hold the doctrine of Balaam (Jude 1:11-13).

The Nicolaitans are not related to Nicolas who is one of the seven evangelists (Ac 6:1-6), but is rather a combination of Nico, which means conquering, and Laos, which means people, resulting in a term based on the word “Nicolaus”, which means the conqueror of people. They are those whose original resolutions have been marred by covetousness for riches but still pursue the quality of authority. They represent “spiritual brokers who dominate and rule over the people of God”.

Revelation 2:14-15 clearly defines those who follow the doctrine of Balaam as the Nicolaitans.

Therefore, the Nicolaitans symbolize the corrupted spiritual brokers who have Satan of mammonism and materialism seated in their hearts, which ought to be the place where the Trinity God dwells and the kingdom and the holy temple of God must be.

When we examine closely these “people who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans” who consider themselves as spiritual brokers, it can be found that they are not devoted to the process of the Holy Ghost who changes a believer into a true disciple of Jesus and a priest of God. Instead, they represent those who falsely prophesy, misusing God’s words such as “all are saved” or “all are at peace”, and the ignorant, wage-earning ministers who are driven by the internal covetousness for their own benefits (2 Pe 2:12-22).

<Jer 23:14-20>
14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.
15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.
16 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.
17 They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.
18 For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?
19 Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.
20 The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.

<Eze 13:9-16>
9 And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
10 Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered mortar:
11 Say unto them which daub it with untempered mortar, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it.
12 Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it?
13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it.
14 So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered mortar, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
15 Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with untempered mortar, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it;
16 To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord GOD.

<Ac 20:29-31>
29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

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