Saturday, May 25, 2013

Some Christians are Balaam while others are the Donkey

In Revelations Chapter 2:12-17 there is a letter to the one of the early churches that is critical of them for holding to the teaching of Balaam.

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:  The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:  13 ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 15 So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’  NASB

Balaam was a prophet from Midian that had a relationship with the one true God.  However he did not understand God’s plans for his chosen people, the Israelites, and was willing to hire himself out to curse God’s people (Numbers Chapter 22).  Balaam was siding with Israel’s enemies against God and His people even though Balaam himself knew God and had a relationship with Him. 

I see many Christians today that fit this description and belong to the church of Pergamum.  They side with the Palestinians and push for the “Two State Solution” to divide the land promised to the Israelites in an effort to alleviate Palestinian suffering and bring peace to the region.  They fail to recognize that the Palestinian suffering is a result of choices the Palestinians have made and they also fail to see what God’s plan is for Israel just as Balaam did.  Some of the extreme in the Church of Pergamum teach replacement theology saying that the church has replaced the Jews and are now God’s chosen people.  They teach that the Jews are not from Judah but are Edomite converts.  These extremists say they love God and follow him all the while filled with hatred for the Jews.  These “Christians” indeed have the spirit of Balaam in them.

In the Biblical narrative in Numbers Chapter 22, Balaam is on his way to curse the Israelites and the Angel of the Lord is waiting along the way to kill him.  Here is where we are introduced to the donkey that Balaam was riding that saw what Balaam didn’t and then talked to Balaam.

Numbers 22:22-35:  But God was angry because he was going, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as an adversary against him.  Now he was riding on his donkey and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand, the donkey turned off from the way and went into the field; but Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back into the way. 24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path of the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pressed herself to the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall, so he struck her again. 26 The angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn to the right hand or the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his stick. 28 And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” 29 Then Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now.” 30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?” And he said, “No.”


31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed all the way to the ground. 32 The angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary, because your way was [i]contrary to me. 33 But the donkey saw me and turned aside from me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, I would surely have killed you just now, and let her live.” 34 Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the way against me. Now then, if it is displeasing to you, I will turn back.” 35 But the angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you shall speak only the word which I [j]tell you.” So Balaam went along with the leaders of Balak.  NASB

Those of us not from the Church of Pergamum are represented by the Donkey.  Even though we see through a glass darkly and don’t understand all the plans within plans that God has, we do see small glimpses of His plans in the prophecies in scripture and recognize that God is working with the Jews in the State of Israel for His purposes.  We are not fooled by the world and the lies being told about the House of Judah and we don’t join in cursing them.  Instead we love and support our brother Judah. 

Are you of the Church of Pergamum and Balaam or are you the Donkey that recognizes the Angel of the Lord and some of God’s plans in scripture? Those that curse Israel will be cursed and those that bless Israel will be blessed.  Choose wisely the path you take!

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