Monday, July 1, 2019

What is the Doctrine of Balaam?

You have in your place, those who hold to the doctrine of Balaam, who instructed Balak to cast a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat and to commit fornication.
Revelation 2:14



In the Book of Revelation, Jesus told John to write letters to the seven churches. In his letter to the Church of Pergamus, Jesus mentions about the doctrine or teaching of Balaam. Who is Balaam?

Balaam is mentioned in Numbers 22. He was a prophet for hire. Balak, the king of the Amorites hired him to curse Israel. But Balaam rejected this initial offer because God came to him and told him not to go. When the second offer came, Balaam told the party that God told him not to go, but he will consult God again. We see here, that Balaam wanted the money to be paid to him. On his way to Balak, his donkey saw an angel who would have killed Balaam had the donkey continued on his way. This incident probably caused Balaam to be afraid.

In 2 Peter 2:15, Peter describes Balaam as someone who loved the wages of unrightouesness. Peter sees Balaam's going to Balak as his desire for unrighteous gain. Jude also speaks of the error of Balaam after speaking of those who speak evil of things they do not know. John, in the Book of Revelation speaks of Balaam as teaching Balak to cause the children of Israel to stumble, to eat food sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication.

From these Scripture verses, we see Balaam was someone who knew how God speaks to people. He knew God such that he was afraid to go against what God wants. But Balaam was greedy. He would have cursed the people of Israel had God not told Balaam he would be dead if he cursed Israel. Yet, while he did not curse Israel, he caused them to sin against God by leading them to idolatry and to fornication. While he would not go against God's specific command, he caused God's people to go against God.

Who is Balaam today and what is his teaching? Balaam are those who speak God's word because they are paid to do so. These are people who use the Word of God for material gain. They are cowards because they are not willing to do what is immoral if their life is at stake but they have no problem causing others to sin. There is nothing wrong to be compensated for doing God's word. Paul allowed for that. What is not acceptable if the sole purpose of preaching the Word of God is for personal gain, whether it be money, popularity and authority.

The Balaam of today are those who would speak the Word of God for personal gain, and at the same time, lead people away from God and lead them to immoral actions. These are also people who will say the truth and twist it to lead people away from God.

O Lord, lead us away from the teaching of Balaam. Expose false prophets, who use your Word for material gain.

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