MODERN DAY BALAAMS
II Peter 2:1, 14, 15 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
“Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 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;”
Jude 10-11, “But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. 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.”
Cain was the one who killed Abel and the one who offered the bloodless sacrifice. Korah was the one who rebelled against Moses and the earth in judgment swallowed up Korah and thousands of others. Now in between Cain, who was a murderer, and Korah, who was a rebel, is the man named Balaam.
The verse mentions the error of Balaam. Revelation 2:14, “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.”
He is speaking to the church at Pergamos in this verse.
· The way of Balaam (II Peter 2:15)
· The error of Balaam (Jude 11)
· The Doctrine of Balaam (Revelation 2:14)
It is very obvious here that Balaam did something real bad. God said so and that must take precedence over any view we might have of Balaam.
The truth about Balaam is strange in that it is very hard to find something wrong with Balaam. He was a good man in the Bible. Balaam was actually a courageous preacher. He never trimmed his message even though he was in a foreign country and even though a king had attempted to persuade him to trim his message. Here is a man who never left the words of God. He delivered the message he was supposed to deliver. He made this statement, “If the king himself could give me his own house full of gold and silver I still will not trim my message. I will preach the truth.”
The truth is I would rather spend time in this article exposing the sins of Korah, Judas Iscariot, Demas, or Pharaoh. You cannot help but admire Balaam. He was a decent man. He was a good man. Yet, he committed a sin that was so awful that Peter wrote of it, Jude wrote of it, and John wrote of it.
For the sake of the future of fundamental Baptists everywhere I do not mind exposing someone who does not preach the truth. Men like John McArthur and R. B. Theme who were proponents of the blood of Christ dissipating at the foot of Calvary must be exposed. These and others teach that the death of Christ and not the shedding of the blood of Christ save souls from going to Hell. I remind all of us that when the death angel passed over the Jews that it was not the ones who killed the lambs but those who applied the blood to the door posts whose first born were spared from death.
Dr. Steward Custer of Bob Jones University and Professor Phil Pin of Hyles-Anderson College have pointed us back to the originals for inspiration and mocked II Timothy 3:16 by literally changing the word “is” for the word “was” and placing an emphasis on the originals and not the preserved inspiration of the Holy Scriptures for all tongues and nations.
It is tough to say something about those who give a clear presentation of salvation, who believe they have the words of God and preach those words of God. I do not want fundamental Baptists to waver even a little bit. My desire for independent Baptists is for them to be grounded in the Scriptures.
With that in mind please pay careful attention. There is nothing found in the Scriptures that Balaam did that we would call real wicked. There is no record of Balaam ever selling Jesus out or a brother for thirty pieces of silver. There is no record of the sin of David in the life of Balaam. There is no record in the life of Balaam of false doctrine.
Here is the kind of a man Balaam was. The truth is he is the kind you might vote in as pastor of a great church. May I tell you about him? His ministry was largely in a foreign land. He was hosted in that country by the king himself. The king attempted to cause Balaam to trim his message. However, listen to this statement by Balaam when King Balak said I want you to trim your message. Balaam said, “The word that God putteth in my mouth that shall I speak.” WOW! That is a great statement by Balaam.
Yet, the truth is when God spoke of the sins of the people in II Peter 2:14-15, Jude 11, and in Revelation 2:14 He mentions the error of Balaam. The king said, “Balaam I want you to trim your message.” Balaam answered, “Whatever He (God) sheweth me that will I tell thee.”
See the picture? There was not a Christian in the land. He was in a land without any Christians, which would be like being in Russia and the Czar saying you preach what I tell you and you answer, “I’ll preach only what God tells me to preach!” Balaam responds, “How shall I curse whom God hath not cursed and how shall I defy whom God hath not defied.”
May I tell you what else Balaam said? “Must I not take heed to speak that which the Lord hath put in my mouth.”? Wow, he would pass the test of a pulpit committee. He sounds very fundamental to me and Balaam did preach exactly what God told him to preach.
· Balaam believed in the words of God
· Balaam preached the words of God
· Balaam did not trim the words of God
Balaam said, “I have received a commandment to bless and I cannot reverse it.” He said, “I will not reverse my decision to obey the commandment of God.” What else did he say, “All that the Lord speaketh that must I do.”?
Before you set in judgment too much on Balaam I want to remind you he is in a foreign country and is being entertained in the palace of the king and the king attempting to get him to trim his message. Balaam answered, “All that the Lord speaketh that must I do.”
Twice Balaam says, “If King Balak would give me his house (palace) full of silver and gold I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord. But what the Lord sayeth that will I speak.” By the way Balaam never relented. To the very end he refused to trim his message. He spoke what God told him to speak. He refused to let the king tell him what to say.
WHAT WENT WRONG WITH BALAAM
Obviously the question must be asked concerning Balaam what in the world went wrong with him. God never said that Balaam was a false prophet. The truth is Balaam was not a false prophet. He was a true prophet. God never said Balaam preached error for he did not preach error.
So, what was the problem with Balaam? Please pay attention! The Israelites were on a journey toward the Land of Canaan. On that journey they came to the land of the Amorites. A man named Sihon was the king of the Amorites. The Israelites sent word ahead as they had done before and they said, “We want to pass through the land and can we pass through your land on your highway? We’ll drink our own water. We’ll not cause you any trouble. We’ll not go off of the highway. All we desire is to do is to pass through your land.”
Sihon the king sent back word that he would not allow them to pass through the land. Sihon went to war against Israel. The Bible says Israel defeated him in war and actually slew the Amorites.
Here is the picture! The nation Israel comes to the land of the Amorites and they want to pass through. God’s people have no desire to cause any trouble. The same is true about God’s people today. It is our job to be honest, pay our debts, be congenial, and be nice, and courteous as we pass through this world. However, it is not our job to mix and mingle with the Amorites or the world or in fact the religious world. We are travelers just passing through!
God’s people had won the battle with the Amorites. The next place to pass through was the Moabites. The king of the Moabites was the man named Balak. The truth is Balak was scared. Imagine how he must have felt with his neighbors the Amorites are all dead and it was the same Israelites who are approaching his country. Balak was worried that he and his people would be killed too.
The truth is God’s people did not want to hurt any one. They just wanted permission to pass through the land. Every once in a while some idiot will say, “Well how in the world are we going to change the world if we don’t mix and mingle with the world?” Wait a minute! Our job is not to change the world. Our job is reach every one we can with the Gospel and take as many of them out of the world that we can! The world is going to Hell! We want to take as many as possible out of the world and into Heaven!
That is one reason the Moral Majority movement by Jerry Falwell failed and eventually was shut down. Be leery of those who broadened the tents of fundamentalism to include every stripe of the so-called religious world.
Balak the king of Moab said they are going to destroy us. Balak had heard of this man of God named Balaam. He was known as a great evangelist, great preacher, and a great man of God. So he sends messengers to Balaam and these messengers bring with them rewards of divination or an honorary Doctor’s Degree from Balak’s leading University. These messengers tell Balaam that the king wants him to come and place a curse on the Israelites that are passing through. They said to Balaam we have noticed that whosoever you curse is cursed and whosoever you bless is blessed.
Balaam made a mistake and let them into his house and they spent the night. Balaam goes to God to ask God what he should do. God tells him, “No! Don’t go!” Balaam’s response was, “If the king offered me his palace full of gold and silver I will not go.”
The messengers go back to King Balak without Balaam. The Bible says that Balak sent more honorable messengers the second time. In fact he told them to tell Balaam if he would come and curse the Israelites on top of his degree we will give him anything he desires.
Here come the new messengers. God has already told Balaam not to go. Again, he has them spend the night and he goes to God again! Balaam decided to go. God did not want Balaam to go but God in essence threw up His hands and said, “Ok, ok, go!” So, Balaam goes to Moab.
King Balak takes Balaam to a certain place and tells him to curse the Israelites. Balaam replies, “I have to speak what God tells me to speak.” He is stubbornly staunch in his stand!
· The word that God putteth in my mouth that shall I speak
· Whatsoever he sheweth me that will I tell them
· How shall I curse him whom God hath not cursed and defy him whom God hath not defied
· Must I not take heed to speak that which the Lord hath put in my mouth
· I have received a commandment to bless and I cannot reverse it
· If Balak would give me his house full of gold and silver I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord.
· But when the Lord sayeth that will I speak
King Balak says ok let us go over here to another place and look at it from a different view. Now will you curse them? Balaam said no I must preach the word of God. King Balak comes a third time and takes Balaam to another vantage point and demands Balaam curse the people of Israel and Balaam says, “God told me to bless the people of Israel and I am going to obey God.”
Please forgive me but I must wonder why in the world did Peter say Balaam was a bad man? Why did Jude speak of the error of Balaam? Why did John the Apostle say in the Revelation to the church of Pergamos, “I have some what against you because you have gone after the doctrine of Balaam.”
Balaam believed the word of God, preached the word of God, and never trimmed the word of God. So, what then did Balaam do that was wrong?
SEVEN SINS OF BALAAM
· He asked the messengers to spend the night (II John 11)
· He asked God what to do when he knew already what to do
· He talked to new messengers from the same place a second time
· He asked the second messengers from the same place to spend the night
· He went to God a second time to receive a second “No!” answer
· Running with the kings (Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell were ruined by spending too much time with Presidents and the elite)
· Sponsorship of a bad crowd to preach the truth
GOSPEL PREACHERS HAVE FIVE RESPONSIBILITIES
· To preach the truth
· To identify with those who preach the truth
· To bear fruit personally
· To organize the local church to bear fruit
· To take care of the orchard for the future of fruit bearing
Dr. Bob Jones Sr. responded to those who were critical of his criticism of Evangelist Billy Graham. Someone said Bill has a lot of fruit and Dr. Jones Sr. retorted, "Yes but he is destroying the orchard."
It is a shame as to what happened as a result of Balaam’s actions. Go to Numbers 24:25 and 25:1-3 you will find they intermarried because Evangelist Balaam mingled with the wrong crowd. In our day it would be the independent fundamental Baptists watering down their associations while claiming they are true to the word of God.
A modern day Balaam hollers he believes the King James Bible is the word of God, but leaves the door open to be able to run with the wrong crowd. It is not enough for a person just to preach the truth. Balaam preached the truth, but without separating from the wrong crowd he destroyed God’s people by breaking down the barriers of association while preaching the truth.