Monday, March 7, 2011

Balaam Eats His Own Words (Num 22-25)

SEAN - Yahweh (God) tends to speak to us through other people - but how can we tell who the fakes are? From a passage (usually) used to defend false prophets. Balaam and his donkey are often cited as examples of God speaking through Pagans and dumb animals, but God does neither one in these chapters. Satan uses bogus prophets to confuse God's most naive followers.

Based on's Chronological Bible In a Year schedule. If anyone would like to join in, this blog's comments sections would be a good forum in which to share insights from the text.

God Doesn't Speak: Through Pagans or Donkeys
God doesn't speak through people who don't believe in Him or people who misrepresent Him. If He did, He would be giving credibility to other religious traditions and to frauds. That would be horrible. Anyway, the tests for a prophet include never getting a prophecy wrong (Deuteronomy 18.22) - so you know that crazy guy on your street who yells that the world is ending tomorrow? When you wake up tomorrow, you've got nothing to fear from him anymore. He's a fake. Some confused Christians from certain traditions think that God speaks through non-believers and fakes because He spoke through Balaam and his donkey, but that's not what happened. (A) The donkey spoke for itself, not for God; (B) Balaam calls Yahweh 'my God' in Numbers 22.18, so he isn't entirely a Pagan.

Testing A Prophet: Successful Predictions
Since Balaam was actually one of Yahweh's followers, and one of His prophets, he was able to make some successful predictions about the future: the whole Old Testament history was spoken by Balaam before the people had even reached the Promised Land (Numbers 24.17-24), from the rise of David to the invasion of Greek forces during the brief period before Jesus' life (after the last book of the Old Testament was written). For emphasis: one of the tests of a true prophet is successful predictions of the future. The Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Muslims can't honestly lay claim to having fulfilled that requirement.

False Prophet: The Prophet Can Fall Away After
So if Balaam was such a great prophet of God, then why does a quick Bible Search turn up so many nasty references to him from Joshua, Peter, Jude, and John? The answer is that he was responsible for The Sin of Peor in Numbers 25. He got greedy, and his salvation wasn't of a really lasting quality, so he advised the Midianites to get Israel to worship their gods - if you can't beat 'em, have 'em join you (Numbers 31.16). The false prophet works for a following, recognition, and money. That's the sort of prophet that Balaam became. Note: You can go from being a 'real prophet' to a 'false prophet,' but you can't go back again. Satan uses false prophets/teachers to harm the Church from within. If you come to church, and they do words of prophesy there, try to test out whether they've got the real thing. If they do then have them pray over you.

Other comments and observations can be found in the comments section! Join in!

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