The Error of Balaam
• This is a Detailed study of the Error of Balaam, the Way of Balaam, and the Doctrine of Balaam.• For a Brief Overview of the Doctrine of Balaam, see The Doctrine of Balaam: A Warning to the Bride.
If we were to look at a freshly cleaned and made-up Hotel room, we might see a very attractive room, squeaky-clean, with clean upholstery, carpet, and fresh linens.
However, when the Hotel manager brings in an Ultraviolet light to inspect the room, and check for overall cleanliness, a different picture emerges. The filthiness of the room is revealed under the Ultraviolet light. The room may look clean as seen in ordinary light, but is revealed for what it truly is under the UV light. Thus the room is unacceptable, until it is thoroughly cleaned.
The Book of Revelation is like the Ultraviolet light. The prophetic messages in Revelation are intended to reveal those things in the life of the Bride that can not ordinarily be seen, except under a special light. Like the filthy Hotel room, there are many such filthy things in the Bride’s life, that can cause the Bride to be unacceptable, and thus rejected. These filthy items must first be revealed by the prophetic light in the Book of Revelation, and then cleansed by repentance and obedience to the Word of Yahuweh.
One of these filthy items is revealed in Revelation as the ‘Doctrine of Balaam,’ and is seen in Jude as the ‘Error of Balaam.’ We will discover in this writing that the ‘Error of Balaam’ is not what we think it is. We will look first at the warning of the Doctrine of Balaam given in Revelation, and then we will see what Scripture reveals about the Error of Balaam, so that we might remove it from our lives.
As we saw in The Book of Revelation: A Prophetic Overview, The Book of Revelation is a message addressed not only to a particular assembly or era, but to all Believers in all ages; and is directed specifically to the Bride, that she might fully prepare herself.
As we saw, one of the primary issues in the book of Revelation is that of the Bride’s preparation. The messages in Revelation are for the Bride, so she might identify the many kinds of spots and wrinkles issues that must be removed from her life. The Bride is to become aware of these issues, so that she can then repent of all filthiness. Let’s begin by looking at the warning.
The Doctrine of Balaam: A Warning to Us!
There is a stern warning, given in one of the messages addressed to the called-out people in the 7 cities in Revelation. Notice the following:
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… 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Revelation 2:14,16)
Here we see what began as the Error of Balaam, as we shall see below, had become so prevalent and widespread, that it had become a practice, and a Doctrine. We are told in the above passage that if we do not repent from this practice and Doctrine of Balaam, the result will be that Yahushua will fight against those who do not repent, as we shall see near the conclusion of this study. Thus we see this as a very serious matter! If we are to be counted among the Bride of Messiah, we must repent of the practices and Doctrine of Balaam. So let’s find out what it is.
The Doctrine of Balaam: What Is It?
If we could put one label on the entire 2,000 year period of the New Testament Church, that one label might be called the Doctrine of Balaam. The Doctrine of Balaam is the hallmark of this age, and we have not even realised how dangerous it is to our relationship with Yahushua. We have not even known what it is.
Oh, yes, we have heard from Men that the Doctrine of Balaam is greed and covetousness. But what do the Scriptures say? With such serious warnings, should we not check this out for ourselves? There are four Scripture passages that refer to the Counsel, Way, Error, and Doctrine of Balaam, each of which gives us insight into this error we are to repent of. Let’s look at the following passages, to see what Balaam did:
What Balaam Did: An Overview
We begin our brief look at Balaam, by noting that Balak, the King of Moab, had seen the multitudes of Yahuweh’s people encamped next to his territory, and became afraid they would attack him.
The king assumed his army was not adequate to attack the Israelites, so he sought to destroy them by means of trickery and divination. So he decided to send for Balaam, who was known for his effectiveness in giving prophecies, which were really blessings and cursings given by divination. With that intent, the king then met with the elders of Midian:
And Moab said unto the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field. And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. 5 He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: 6 Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed. (Numbers 22:4-6)
With the agreement of the Elders of Midian, the King of Moab sends the princes of Moab to call on Balaam.
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. (Numbers 22:7-8)
The elders of Moab and Midian carry with them riches to give Balaam, as payment for Balaam’s prophecies and his divination. Note next that Balaam sought the word of Yahuweh, as to whether or not to go with the princes of Moab. But notice what happens next:
And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with thee? 10 And Balaam said unto God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying, 11 Behold, there is a people come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come now, curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out. 12 And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed. 13 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the LORD refuseth to give me leave to go with you. (Numbers 22:9-13)
Notice Yahuweh told Balaam, “You shall not go with them.” So Balaam refused the princes, and they returned to Moab.
And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went unto Balak, and said, Balaam refuseth to come with us. 15 And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they. 16 And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me: 17 For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people. (Numbers 22:14-17)
Now we see the princes of Moab return, with the same request, but with promise of greater riches and honour. Balaam is still being steadfast at this point, but we see he begins to waver in his steadfast obedience, as seen in his reply to the princes:
And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more. (Numbers 22:18)
Here we see Balaam claims Yahuweh is his God – his Elohim, his ‘Mighty One’ – implying a covenant relationship with Yahuweh. Balaam now says with his words that he can not go beyond Yahuweh, but in his actions he is setting up an opportunity to compromise what he had been told previously by Yahuweh. Notice what he tells the princes of Moab:
Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the LORD will say unto me more. (Numbers 22:19)
Here in verse 19 we see the heart of the matter of Balaam’s iniquity. This is the very essence of the Error of Balaam. Notice Balaam had previously heard the word of Yahuweh in the matter. Balaam already knew Yahuweh’s desire, who told him NOT to go with the men. But Balaam sought a further word from Yahuweh, thinking Yahuweh might have nullified the word He had spoken previously. Notice what happens next:
And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do. 21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. (Numbers 22:20-21)
Balaam heard from Yahuweh, “IF the men come to call you, rise up and go with them.” Notice the men did not call on Balaam, but Balaam went anyway, presumably apart from the princes of Moab. Balaam disobeyed the previous word given him by Yahuweh; and now he ignored the ‘If’ condition declared by Yahuweh. Because Balaam had disobeyed twice, we see what Yahuweh does next:
And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. (Numbers 22:22)
Notice Balaam’s error, and his iniquity, was ‘because he went,’ resulting in Yahuweh’s anger. Many today are being told that greed is the error of Balaam, but we see that the greed is simply a motivation or enticement, and that Balaam’s disobedience to Yahuweh’s earlier word to him is actually the error itself. Because of Balaam’s disobedience, we now see that Yahuweh becomes an adversary against him:
And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. 24 But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. (Numbers 22:23-24)
When Yahuweh begins to be an adversary to a man, he begins to hem him in on all sides. Notice also that the weapon to be used against Balaam is his sword. But Balaam did not recognise the dealings of Yahuweh, so he struck out at what he perceived as the problem:
And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall: and he smote her again. 26 And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff. 28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? 29 And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. 30 And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. (Numbers 22:25-30)
It is amazing that Balaam believed in such supernatural events as an animal that can talk and reason, but he was blind to the fact he was opposing Yahuweh!
Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. (Numbers 22:31)
After Balaam’s eyes were opened, he could then see he was opposing Yahuweh. He then worshipped Yahuweh, offering to Yahuweh a sacrifice of bowing down before Him. Notice what Yahuweh tells Balaam:
And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: 33 And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive. (Numbers 22:32-33)
It is a serious matter to disobey the Word of Yahuweh. Yahuweh had come almost to the point of slaying Balaam because of his disobedience.
And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again. 35 And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak. (Numbers 22:34-35)
So then Balaam confesses his sin, but he is still unsure whether Yahuweh is displeased at his disobedience to the Word of Yahuweh. Yahuweh then proceeds to redirect Balaam, to go with the princes of Balak, King of Moab, ultimately resulting in Balaam’s speaking blessings over Israel.
With this background understanding, we will now look at the warnings given to us in Scriptures regarding the Error of Balaam and the Doctrine of Balaam, and see what they really are.
The Error of Balaam in Scripture
The Error of Balaam is mentioned in Jude 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. (Jude 1:11)
In order to understand the issues, we must look at the context, from the beginning of Jude’s epistle:
Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: 2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. (Jude 1:1-2)
Greetings are spoken to the Believers, who are set-apart by Yahuweh, preserved in Yahushua Messiah, and called. Notice these are what we would call New Testament Believers, yet they still need the warnings given in Jude’s epistle. Notice what the Believers are called to do:
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:3-4)
Here we are being called to earnestly and diligently fight or contend for The Faith that was originally given to the Believers. The reason given is that certain men had crept in, the Believers being unaware of their presence. These men were apparently leaders, who used the issues of Grace to bring about a new Doctrine, which teaching resulted in practices considered to be denying the workings of Yahushua in the lives of the Saints.
Jude next gives us the remedy for this error of twisted Grace:
I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. 6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 1:5-7)
Here we see Jude giving a stern warning to the Believers. Because of the new Doctrine taught by these men who had crept in unawares, Jude reminds these Believers that they are in grave danger, simply because un-Biblical Doctrines lead to un-Biblical behaviour and practices. It is this un-Biblical practice of which Jude is warning the Believers – for it is un-Biblical practices that jeapordise the ‘entering-in’ portion of the Believer’s Salvation.
Thus we see Jude reminding the Believers of the basics of Biblical Salvation, which is not based on ones’ thoughts about Messiah, or on the condition of ones’ heart; but on ones’ Biblical practices of ‘Believing’ in Messiah – which we saw in Salvation: According to the Scriptures, includes both ‘coming out’ (redemption by the Blood of the Lamb), and of ‘entering in’ (allowing Messiah-in-you to walk in obedience, by His Grace).
It is un-Biblical practices that take the place of Biblical practices, and in this way these practices actually deny Yahushua, by preventing Messiah-in-you from walking in obedience to the Scriptures. It is Yahushua-in-You that will bring us in, by His Grace – His ability in us to perform the necessary obedience. The understanding of Biblical Salvation is the key that unlocks the prophetic meaning of the epistle of Jude. Let us continue:
Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. 10 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. (Jude 1:8-10)
One characteristic of these spiritual Leaders is the speaking evil of (spiritual) things (of Yahuweh) they do not know, and have not experienced, but their awareness of these spiritual matters is known to them only in the natural sense, resulting in their own corruption. These are men who live in the natural according to 1Cor 2:14. Now notice what is said next of these spiritual Leaders:
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)
Woe is pronounced on these men, because in their spiritual blindness, they continued to speak evil of the things of Yahuweh.
These men who had crept in unawares are then described in a three-fold manner, and compared to other Biblical personalities who are well-known for their errors, and for the judgments occasioned upon them. This comparison reveals not only the nature of their sin, but their motivation, and the wages of their sin. These three comparisons are:
1) The Way of Cain
2) The Error of Balaam
3) The Gainsaying of Core (“Korah”)
As we look at each of these subjects, we will discover that these three descriptions reveal details of the prophetic meaning of the Error of Balaam, for our warning today.
The Way of Cain
Since each of these comparisons represent the same iniquity, as seen in three separate scenarios, we will look briefly at each one of these. First, the Way of Cain can be seen in the following passages:
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (Genesis 4:7)
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. (Hebrews 11:4)
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. (1John 3:11-12)
We know that both Cain and Abel had been told previously what an acceptable sacrifice was, because Yahuweh revealed that Cain’s fallen countenance in Gen 4:5-6 was due to sin, which we are told in 1John 3:4 is ‘transgression of the Law.’ What Cain did was simply reject the Word of Yahuweh, which resulted in walking in his own way, which is the way of unrighteousness.
We then see in the above passages in Hebrews and 1John, that Cain’s rejecting the Word of Yahuweh, to walk in disobedience, reveals the difference between Righteous works and evil works. We also see in Yahuweh’s question in Gen 4:7, that Cain’s motive may have been desire for acceptance. Yahuweh then tells us that His means of our acceptance, however, is our doing well – meaning our obedience – rather than disobedience.
We will next show the Gainsaying of Core (Korah):
The Gainsaying of Core (Korah)
Who was Core? This is the same Korah seen in the Book of Numbers Chapter 16. As we recall in Numbers 16, Korah was a Kohathite Levite, and well-respected leader among the Israelites, under Moses’ command in the wilderness. He gathered other leaders, and led a rebellion against Moses, and against Aaron:
Now Korah … took men: 2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: 3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD? (Numbers 16:2-3)
Although Korah and the others gathered to oppose Moses and Aaron, notice what Yahuweh tells us:
For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him? (Numbers 16:11)
And the sons of Eliab; Nemuel, and Dathan, and Abiram. This is that Dathan and Abiram, which were famous in the congregation, who strove against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah, when they strove against the LORD: 10 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign. (Numbers 26:9-10)
In the above passage, we are told that when Korah and his men rebelled against Moses, and murmured against Aaron, they were actually gathered together against Yahuweh. We are also told that when these men strove against Moses, they strove against Yahuweh. We are then told that Korah and his company became a sign.
We now see that the strivings of these men against Yahuweh became a sign (Heb. ‘nace,’ a signal or Banner), for the Bride to notice! But what is this sign or signal we are to notice? Let’s look closely at part of the Jude 11 passage:
“…and perished in the gainsaying <485> of Core <2879>. (Jude 1:11b)
The Greek and Hebrew word definitions of the names reveal some of the prophetic meanings for us. Core, or Korah, was a great-grandson of Levi, grandson of Kohath, and is the Hebrew word <06955>, occurring 32 times, and means ‘assembly.’
Korah was the son of Izhar <03324>, used 9 times, from the Hebrew word<03323>, used 23 times, and means ‘oil; anointed,’ which in turn is from the Hebrew word <06671> occurring 1 time, and means ‘to glisten,’ to press oil out.’
The Greek name Core <2879> occurs 1 time, and comes from the Hebrew word Korah <07141>, used 37 times, and means ‘bald;’ then <07141> in turn comes from the Hebrew word <07139>, occurring 5 times.
Who Is Korah Today?
Putting these together, we see the prophetic picture of who “Korah” speaks of today. Korah speaks of the teachers of the Word (“37”) today, who count themselves among the Bride Company (“5”), and who are considered “anointed” among the assembly of the covenant (“32”) people of Yahuweh.
Thus far, from the prophetic identification of Korah, it seems as if these might speak of the Leaders of today’s dynamic congregations. But what is the real issue here, to be seen as a signal or banner for the Bride to notice? Let us now look at Jude’s summary of the problem of Core.
The English word ‘Gainsaying’ is made up of two separate words. the prefix Gain tells us the motive; and the suffix saying, or ‘saying against’ tells us the action. The word translated ‘Gainsaying’ in the above Jude 11 passage is the Greek word ‘Anti-logia’ <485>, which occurs 4 times, and comes from the Greek word ‘antilego’ <483>, occurring 10 times. The literal definition of ‘anti-logia’ is “against the words” or “against the sayings,” which is our English word ‘contra-diction.’
This definition tells us that what Core (Korah) actually did was to speak against or contradict, or deny the Words of Yahuweh. Korah’s motive was to gain self-importance, which is pride, which grew as a result of his unwillingness to submit to Yahuweh’s designated authority.
We might say that because of the moitive of Gain, Korah spoke against the Word, or the Sayings of Yahuweh.
We will now look at some details of the last item in the Jude passage: the error of Balaam.
The Error of Balaam: The Prophetic Revelation of Jude
Let’s look closely at part of the Jude 11 passage:
“…and ran greedily after the error <4106> of Balaam for reward <3408>…” (Jude 1:11b)
Here the word ‘error’ is the Greek word <4106>, ‘plane’ pronounced plan-ay, and means “wandering, straying [from Truth]; deception; delusion,” and occurs 10 times. It stems from the word ‘planos’ <4108>, meaning “deceiver” or “seducer” and occurs 5 times.
The phrase ‘for reward’ is the Greek word ‘misthos’ <3408>, meaning “wages, hire, reward for work done,” and occurs 29 times. This number is not divisible by any number except 1, showing the prophetic meaning might be found in combination with some other number, most probably its companion word in the verse, ‘plane’ <4106>, which is used 10 times, for a total of “39.” This number “39” signifies “love,” so it appears the ‘outward’ motive for Balaam’s work may be ‘love,’ but the inward motive is really “for reward.”
Isn’t this true for all of us at times – having an inward motive that really is not pleasing to the Father! How often it occurs that Yahuweh’s Word truly pierces and is a “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart!” (Heb. 4:12).
The word ‘hireling’ <3411> used in John 10:12-13 comes from the word <3409>, which in turn stems from this same word ‘misthos’ <3408>. In the passage in John chapter 10, Yahushua is warning His sheep to beware of shepherd leaders, who are mere hirelings. Thus we have another link, showing that the “Gainsaying of Core” and the “Way of Balaam for Reward” is warning us of certain spiritual leaders.
How easy it is to compromise the Word of Yahuweh, and not rock the Doctrinal boat, in exchange for one’s position, comfort, security and provision! The price of these Leaders’ compromise will be seen, when their followers will be refused entry into the City of the King.
Jude then goes on to describe these dynamic and anointed shepherds and congregational leaders:
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. (Jude 1:12-13)
Each of these descriptions in Jude 12-13 is highly prophetic. We can not look at these details now, but notice that the ultimate end of these leaders does not appear to be good. Let us now notice the specific error of Balaam seen in our day.
The Error of Balaam Seen Today
We have seen that the Way of Cain, the Gainsaying of Core, and the Error of Balaam are all prophetic descriptions of spiritual leaders of our day, who are speaking against the Words and sayings of Yahuweh. We have seen that these contradictions of the Word of Yahuweh are likened to denying the Word of Yahuweh by these leaders, whom we would do well not to follow. But we have not yet seen the specific thing that Balaam did, that characterises this generation.
Notice that the first time Balaam sought Yahuweh, he heard the Word of Yahuweh, which told Balaam of Yahuweh’s desire, and of His requirements. These do not change. Yet when the princes came to Balaam the second time with the same request, Balaam thought the Word of Yahuweh would be changed, that the earlier word from Yahuweh might have been ‘nullified,’ and that Yahuweh’s requirements had changed. Yahuweh tested Balaam by telling Balaam something different the second time, and Balaam failed the test. Balaam had rejected both the earlier Word of Yahuweh, and the latter Word, twice unfruitful in obedience, and twice dead, so Yahuweh sought to kill him.
How do we see this error today? Yahuweh has given His people the Scriptures, which in the time of the writing of the New Testament, the Scriptures refers to all of the Bible available in that day – from Genesis through Malachi – today called the ‘Old’ Testament. Today there are multitudes of leaders who, like Balaam, have heard the earlier word from Yahuweh, written in the Old Testament, but they seek for a later Word from Yahuweh only in the New Testament, thinking what was spoken earlier has been nullified.
Many of today’s spiritual Leaders ignore the New Testament Book of Hebrews, which explains every item considered to be either a change, an addition, or fulfillment to Yahuweh’s Covenant with His people. These spiritual Leaders are continuing to do today, just as Balaam did in his day, by rejecting the earlier Word of Yahuweh, in favour of the later Word. These Leaders do not find a repeating of these earlier commandments in the New Testament, even though both the earlier Word and the later Word are the Commandments of Yahushua. As a result, they simply discard the earlier words, saying they are ‘Old’ Testament, and tell their followers these ‘old’ Words do not apply. In this they corrupt themselves, as well as those who follow them.
Today the Error of Balaam is manifested in speaking lies against the Torah, or “Law.” As a result of discarding these earlier Words of Torah, these Leaders have created ‘Doctrines of Men,’ and have devised a lie, in saying the Law has been done away with, and has been “nullified” for New Testament Believers. They know most Believers do not read the Scriptures closely, and that many have no knowledge of finding out the Greek and Hebrew words, and what they mean. Thus these spiritual Leaders continue in the compromise of warmth and provision, and are unwilling to go against the flow of their boards, their committees, their denominational leaders, and their retirement.
Thus many of Yahushua’s precious lambs are easily led astray by their Leaders’ words, even though the majority of Leaders are well-meaning, and do not intend to knowingly deceive the sheep.
The Fourth Commandment, for example, is the only one of the Ten Commandments not repeated in the New Testament. Why is that? The answer is found in the Old Testament. There we find that the keeping of Yahuweh’s Sabbaths, though not repeated in the New Testament, becomes the ‘Love’ Commandment, in that the keeping of Yahushua’s Sabbaths appears to be the primary test that Yahushua will use for Born-Again Believers, to determine who loves Him, and who does not; who ‘knows’ Him, and who does not (See Ex 31:13; Eze 20:12, 20). Thus it is, that the Fourth Commandment is a sign of the Everlasting Covenant, and likewise becomes one of the litmus tests of the New Covenant.
The Error of Balaam, if we do not judge and repent of it, will go on to become the Way of Balaam. When Yahushua returns, He will distinguish between those who embrace all of Scripture, and are in the Way of Truth, from those who deny the earlier word spoken by Yahuweh [thinking He has nullified the earlier word], thus embrace only the later word – and are thus in the Way of Balaam.
The Way of Balaam
The Way of Balaam is mentioned by Peter, and again we see from the context, is now speaking of spiritual Leaders and their followers. The Error of Balaam has now become the Way of Balaam. Let’s look briefly at this description:
And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 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. (2Peter 2:13-22)
We will observe only one thing. Notice that these leaders had escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Yahushua the Messiah (v. 20). But then notice that although they knew the Way of Righteousness [Yahushua Himself], we are told that they “turned from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”
Just from this passage alone, we may deduce that no one may continue to know Him as The Way of Righteousness, IF they turn away from [walking in] the Holy Commandment, a euphemism for “walking in the Law [‘Torah’]”.
The Scriptures tell us the purpose Yahuweh gave the manna in the wilderness, was to prove them, see whether the Israelites would “walk in His Law [‘Torah’], or not” (Exodus 16:4).
Likewise we are told Yahuweh’s purposes for the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years, were to humble them, and then to prove them, to see what was in their hearts, and to see whether they would “keep His Commandments, or not” (Deut 8:2).
When the Way of Balaam begins to take firm root amongst the congregations of Yahuweh’s people, it then becomes the Doctrine of Balaam.
The Doctrine of Balaam
Let’s look briefly at the passages describing the Doctrine of Balaam:
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. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. (Revelation 2:14-17)
Notice in the above passage, that the Doctrine of Balaam, when taught to the people as truth, results in stumblingblocks in the paths of believers, meaning their ‘walk’ is affected. The Doctrine of Balaam teaches the Believers to reject the earlier Word of Yahuweh [the Old Testament] as not relevant, with the result that the Believers’ practices – their works – became sinful. The end result is that those things the Believers consider to be ‘holy’ and ‘Scriptural’ are, in Yahuweh’s eyes, seen as “fornication” and “eating of things sacrificed to idols.” Later we will discuss what these two items are.
This too is a reminder that in every one of the seven messages to the Believers in the seven city-congregations, notice that it is the Believers’ works that are judged. As a result of the Doctrine of Balaam, there is today a popular Doctrine or Commandment of Men, that claims that ones works do not count! However, as we saw in Salvation: According to the Scriptures, the essence of coming out from bondage was by an acceptable Blood sacrifice, requiring no works – but the essence of entering in to the City of the King is only by works of obedience. We saw by Israel’s example for us, that our redemption by His Blood alone, without any works, redeemed us from bondage. Hallelu-Yah! But we then saw by Israel’s example, that it is our works of obedience that will bring us in. We saw that Israel’s redemption by Blood alone, and Israel’s obedience, each have their place, but we saw that both are necessary.
The Reader should notice carefully that these works are not works which we have done, which originate from us. These works are simply the fruit [‘works’] of Righteousness produced by Messiah-in-you (Col 1:27; Php 1:11), which we are called to walk in (Eph 2:10; 2Jo 1:6), as we are now enabled by His Grace!
We will now look at the last two items regarding the error of Balaam: the Cause, and the Remedy.
The Error of Balaam: The Cause
Today, many Pastors and spiritual Leaders give out what people want to hear, but not what the people need to hear. The result is, that in most congregations today, the Gospel has become watered-down to the point of zero nutritional value. Here we will notice a few passages that reveal how and why the teaching of the Doctrine of Balaam has replaced teaching of Biblical Truth today.
Let’s notice what the Apostle Saul-Paul tells Timothy:
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2Timothy 3:15)
Here we see the New Testament in action: It is the Holy Scriptures [today what we call the ‘Old’ Testament] that are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith in Messiah Yahushua – that is, by HIS Grace and ability, as He lives out the Holy Scriptures in you.
Paul worded it in this way, because the New Testament pattern of Salvation seen in Scripture does NOT follow the pattern put forth by the multitude of men’s doctrines. Instead, Biblical New Testament Salvation occurs ONLY as we allow Messiah to live in us, and to walk in obedience to the Holy Scriptures in our lives, just as He did when He walked the earth 2,000 years ago in His own body.
Most leaders today continue to proclaim ‘another Gospel’ that would have been foreign to all the early Apostles and early followers of Yahushua. This foreign Gospel has the Blood Redemption, but abandons repentance and obedience, and is completely void of keeping the commandments, Sabbaths, and Festivals of Messiah. Throughout Scripture we see that the ones who do not keep these commandments and Festivals of Messiah are those who abandon the Faith, and who forsake Yahuweh.
Paul then goes on to say:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2Timothy 3:16-17)
Again, we see that All Scripture is what is required to be thoroughly furnished unto all good works, which is simply the doing/keeping/performing of All Scripture.
Now notice the warning to Timothy [and to us] of a future time:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2Timothy 4:3-4)
From this passage we can see why most today do not endure sound doctrine. They have inherited Doctrines passed down from the dictates of men during the Reformation, then into the Reformed congregations, and then into the evangelical circle of seminaries and Bible Schools.
For example, many teachings today perpetuate the fable that the Torah [Law] has disappeared from New Testament Life, and another fable that says the Sabbath has changed to a different day, and still another fable that says New Testament Believers are not to keep the Festivals of Messiah.
Instead, seminaries and congregational Leaders have actually taken these New Testament Bible Truths, and made THEM to seem as fables to most Believers today, by promoting the Error of Balaam, by teaching the Doctrine of Balaam.
Let’s see what Paul says about the Torah, or Law:
But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; (1Timothy 1:8)
Paul tells us that the Torah/Law is good – if used lawfully. Most today have not understood the lawful New Testament purpose of the Torah/Law – to reveal Sin in our lives – to show us where we do NOT keep the Law. But, because these leaders have refused to use the Torah/Law lawfully, they have simply removed it.
Now lets look at another cause of the Error of Balaam today:
Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. (Titus 1:14)
Most of the Biblical truths of New Testament life and practice have been branded by popular doctrines of men as ‘Jewish,’ and thus are claimed not to be a part of new Testament Life. This branding of Jewish to many of the New Testament Commandments and observances is one example of Jewish Fables. These truths have been first branded as fables, then removed, and replaced with the Commandments of Men, the Traditions of Men, and the Doctrines of Men.
It is Traditions of Men that are given as substitutes for the Commandments of Yahuweh. By practicing the substitute, men then reject the true Commandments of Yahuweh. In this way, the traditions and commandments of men turn men away from the Truth (Titus 1:14), just as Yahushua told us in the examples of the Leaders of His day:
And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:9)
Today, almost all of the Evangelical Congregations have replaced many of the Biblical Truths with Commandments of Men which have turned most Believers from practicing Biblical Truth. Only a few remnants of Truth remain in these congregations, because they have allowed seminaries and Bible Schools, and their graduates, to re-define Biblical Words, Doctrines, and Practices, and have replaced them with man’s notions of Biblical words, man’s Doctrines, and man’s practices.
Indeed, we hear much of Christmas, Easter, and Lent; but nothing of the Passover cup, and Passover bread, without which there is ‘no life in you’ as Yahushua said, after the Passover supper (John 6:53-54). Notice it is Yahushua Himself who defines and illustrates these words and terms used in Scripture; it is not our place to define Bible Words and terms.
Likewise, we hear much religious talk about Communion or the Lord’s Supper, which are good Bible words, but have been twisted, and used today to describe man’s substitute for the Biblical Passover, which is to be done only on the Day of Passover.
Since the Doctrine of Balaam has caused men to embrace the counterfeit Passover substitutes, rather than the real Passover, Yahuweh tells us prophetically in Rev 2:14 that this eating of the non-Passover bread and cup amounts to eating of things sacrificed to idols in His eyes. Moreover, the non-Passover bread and cup is ‘strange fire’ because He has not commanded the eating of any Bread and Cup except on Passover. With no disrespect of anyone, but we must be brutally honest regarding the Scriptures, and the issues. We must recall that to obey is better than sacrifice (1Sam 15:22). We have simply not realised what we were doing – practicing the Traditions, Doctrines, and Commandments of Men.
Indeed, rejection of His Words and practices, only to embrace the words and practices of men, is seen throughout Scripture as whoring after other gods. And so we see the rejection of Yahuweh’s word is called fornication in our subject passage in Revelation 2:14.
Likewise, the believers hear little today on the sign or token Yahuweh has established, in order that we might know Him, and so that He also might know us, to see who is keeping His Covenant, and who is not. Indeed, Scriptures tell us that the keeping all of Yahuweh’s Sabbaths [the weekly Sabbaths, and annual Sabbaths, or Festivals] is a sign Yahuweh has established, to denote who does, and who does not, know Him (Ex 31:13; Eze 20:12, 20:20).
To summarise why the Doctrine of Balaam is so prevalent in most of today’s congregations, instead of the Biblical New Covenant, we might look at the following passage:
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:31-33)
According to the Word of Yahuweh, the New Covenant is to be made with the House of Israel. Any Gentiles who are willing to be engrafted into Israel may also partake of this New Covenant. As we see in the above passage, the New Covenant consists of the Torah [Law] written on the heart, of which both the Old and New Testaments confirm.
Most Teachers and Pastors today, however, are refusing to walk in fullness of the New Covenant, because they have embraced the Doctrine of Balaam – the teaching that the earlier word Yahushua gave to Moses somehow nullifies the later word He gave to His Disciples. As a result, these leaders have DENIED Yahushua, in that they have REFUSED to allow Yahuweh to write the Law [Torah] on their heart: they have REFUSED to walk in the Law [Torah], even as Paul walked (Acts 21:24), even though we have Paul for an example (1Co 11:1; Php 3:17; 2Thess 3:9).
With so many Pastors and spiritual Leaders today abandoning the Biblical Truths, how do we know which Leaders are True, and which ones false? The answer is in Scripture:
To the law [‘Torah’] and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20)
Most today do not speak according to the Torah and the Testimony, thus there is no Light – no Truth – in them.
The Torah [Law] is not only the first five Books of Moses. It also includes the Testimony of the Prophets – indeed ALL of the Old Testament – which is the Prophets’ testimony, or confirmation of the Truth of Torah. Even Yahushua Himself demonstrated that He Himself IS the Light, for everything He did, and everything He spoke, upheld the validity of walking in obedience the Torah! (See Prov 6:23a)
This is how we know which Pastors and Leaders have the Living Light in them – they satisfy the test of Isaiah 8:20. If your Pastor or spiritual Leader does not demonstrate Isaiah 8:20, it is a safe bet he is among the prophetic Prophets of Ahab, as seen in 1Kings:
And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. (1Kings 22:22)
As we see in all of the Book of 1Kings, and especially in the above passage, King Ahab is prophetic, in many ways, of the 2,000 years of the New Testament Period. Perhaps the greatest feature of this ‘Ahab’ period is that a lying spirit has gone forth, in the mouth of all of Ahab’s Prophets, to deceive. How is this true? We will see the answer to this question, as we look at Yahuweh’s Remedy for the Error of Balaam, and the prescribed judgment upon those who refuse His Remedy.
The Error of Balaam: The Remedy
We have seen how the Error of Balaam leads to the Way of Balaam, which in turn leads to the Doctrine of Balaam. What is Yahuweh’s remedy – the solution – to becoming cleansed from this Error? There are two distinct steps for the Believer to take. Let’s notice the following verses:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2Corinthians 6:14-18)
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (Revelation 18:4)
First, for those who desire Yahushua with all their heart, the only first step possible is to come out from among the assemblies that have embraced the Error and Doctrine of Balaam.
The second step is to Repent – which means change the direction you are currently walking, and go in the Way of Righteousness, also called the Way of Yahuweh [the Way of the LORD]. Notice the following:
Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Revelation 2:16)
We must remember that this message of Repent is given to the seven city-congregations of Believers of Revelation – these are all New Testament Believers.
Perhaps you may not have realised until now how widespread the New Testament judgment will be, on those who do not Repent of the Error and Doctrine of Balaam. As we saw above, Yahuweh actually said go forth, and do so, essentially sending forth the lying spirits to be in the mouth of ALL of Ahab’s prophets.
Today this ‘Ahab’ Evangelical Faith has embraced the Error of Balaam, and is promoting the Doctrine of Balaam, and so Yahuweh is now fighting against them with the sword of His mouth. But how is this happening?
Recall the first word of the Gospel proclaimed by Yahushua was ‘Repent!’ (Mat 4:17). Now let’s notice the following New Testament passages, without comment, to see how Yahuweh fights against them:
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Thessalonians 2:10-12)
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (2Thessalonians 1:8)
We have seen by the Scriptures that the Error of Balaam is the rejection of the clear Word of Yahuweh spoken previously, with the expectation that a later word from Yahuweh would nullify the earlier word, presumably with a more agreeable and acceptable result.
We have seen that the Error of Balaam is seen today in the rejecting of the Torah [Law] of the ‘Old’ Testament, in exchange for the tradition of men, which states the ‘Old’ Word [the Torah or Law] has been nullified by the ‘New’ Word from Yahuweh [the New Testament].
We have seen how the rejection of the Word of Yahuweh reveals a motive of covetousness and greed, and results in practices of idolatry and fornication in the lives of Believers.
We have seen how the Doctrine of Balaam is simply the teaching that causes men to walk in the Error of Balaam.
We have seen how the characters of Cain, Core [Korah] and Balaam, all reveal prophetically that it is the anointed congregational Pastors and Leaders of today that are promoting the Doctrine of Balaam, and it is their followers who are embracing the Error of Balaam.
We have seen that New Testament Believers are called to Repent, or else Yahuweh will fight against them with His words, and will cause them to believe a lie, spoken to them by lying spirits in the mouth of the Prophets.
Are you sitting under spiritual Leaders that put forth the Doctrine of Balaam? Are you, as a result, committing the Error of Balaam, and walking in the Way of Balaam? The Scriptures reveal a two-step Remedy: Come out from under the teaching of the Doctrine of Balaam, and then Repent of the Error of Balaam.
It is time we all examine ourselves, to see if we be in The Faith.
and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” (Rev 3:3)