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[Home]>[The Man-Made Church]>[17. Balaam's Way]
This is the 17. Chapter of "The Man-Made Church."
by Frank L. Preuss
How do we evaluate a Christian leader? How do we know if he is a genuine Christian or if he is a wolf? How do we know if he is a false prophet who comes to us in sheep's clothing, but inwardly he is a ferocious wolf? How do we know if he is such a wolf? For what kind of person do we have to watch out?
There is one single criterion that will be most helpful: Is this leader being paid for his services? This is the question we have to ask. This is the question we have to investigate. Is it a man who serves because he gets paid for his work? Is it a man who supplies goods and services and expects money in return for this? By supplying services we mean teaching, or counselling, or preaching, or evangelising, or praying for the sick, or praying for existing needs. And by supplying goods we mean the supply of books, tapes, cassettes, videos, CDs. The most common example is the pastor who works for a monthly salary. Another example is the pastor who has his own church and makes a living from this church by collecting offerings and tithes and donations and selling his conserved spoken word in form of books or other media. Or a man who has his own Christian organisation or works for such an organisations and receives his income from it. To be in such a position is the most common position Christians workers find themselves in and it is also a position which is not scriptural. Or let us rather say that such a position is scriptural but that the scriptures tell us that it is an evil position to be in.
We have called this message "Balaam's Way," because in Balaam we have an example of such a man and because Balaam is the man who is personally mentioned in the New Testament as such a negative example. Jesus himself speaks this name out and accuses the church in Pergamum of having people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam. What is the problem with the doctrine of Balaam? The doctrine of Balaam teaches how to destroy the church. It is a direct recipe that shows men how to kill the body of Christ. How to kill Christ again.
So we are here not talking about some differences in opinion, about some theological discussions or some disputes about exegesis. We are talking here about the main concept against God: How His purpose and aim can be defeated.
Balaam nearly succeeded in destroying the church. Only the intervention of Phinehas checked this destruction (Psalm 106:28-31):
They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor,
and ate the sacrifices of the dead.
Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions:
and the plague brake in upon them.
Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment:
and so the plague was stayed.
And that was counted unto him for righteousness
unto all generations for evermore.
Only because Phinahas executed judgment was the destruction of the church stopped. What did the church do wrong? They yoked themselves to Baal of Peor. They turned away from their God to another god. Why did they do this?
Jesus gives us the answer. Jesus says in Revelation 2:14 to the church in Pergamum, "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." Jesus says here that this wrong teaching still exists in today's churches. What is it? It teaches the enemies of the church to induce the church to idolatry and sexual immorality.
It teaches the church to sin. If the enemy can get the church to sin, then, and only then, can he defeat the church. We will only have victory in life, if we do not sin. If we remain on God's way, then the devil cannot defeat us. He only can defeat us when we stop following God's word, when we transgress and when we then loose God's protection. When this protection is gone, only then can the devil harm us.
There is a book in the Bible called Judith. It is called an apocryphal book and is only in some Bibles. In this book Judith there is a man called Achior who tells the enemies of Israel that they cannot defeat Israel when Israel has not disobeyed the law of their god and Achior gives the advice to the enemies of Israel to leave the Israelites alone, or God will defend them, and the enemies will be disgraced before the whole world (Judith 5:21).
We cannot be defeated if we obey God. Only if we disobey God, can our enemy defeat us. Achior knew this and therefore gave the advice to leave Israel alone. Now Balaam also knew this, but he gave a different advice to the enemies of Israel. He told them that they must seduce the Israelites to sin and then they can be defeated.
Achior was praised by the Israelites for what he had said and done (Judith 6:20). He was a good man. Israel's enemy did not listen to Achior and they did not leave Israel alone, instead they started to attack Israel and were defeated.
But Balaam was an evil man. He caused Israel great harm.
Jesus says, that Balaam taught Balak to entice the Israelite to sin. Balak was the leader of the coalition of the Moabites and the Midianites and caused the Midianite women to carry out the teaching of Balaam. The Midianite women enticed the Israelites to sin. Let's read that in Numbers 31:16, "Behold, these (the Midianite women) caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD."
Only when we consider these two scriptures, Revelation 2:14 and Numbers 31:16, will we understand what actually happened. What actually happened is described in the 25th chapter of Numbers. But in this chapter the name Balaam does not appear, so we can't see there how Balaam is behind the whole thing and that he was the originator and cause of the defeat of Israel.
When somebody is asked if he believes in God, he might answer, "I am a Catholic," or, "I am a Baptist" or he might say that he belongs to this church or that he is a member of that church. What does such an answer actually tell us? It tells us who his god really is. His god is really the organisation he belongs to. The moment his thoughts are directed towards religion, towards his religion, he reacts by thinking and speaking of the religious organisation he is associated with. The real church is an organism with Jesus as its head. Whenever we become part of a "Christian" organization we start to serve two masters and we can't really do that. And soon the one master will be our master - the organization. And Jesus will not anymore be our master. We have actually turned away from the Lord. The organization entices us to sin by enticing us to become its member. The moment we do that, we divide the body of Christ. We have become dividers. We defeat the body of Christ.
We are committing adultery - spiritual adultery. We are unfaithful towards the Lord. We have become idolaters. The person who enticed us to become a member of his organization was a Balaam. Or he was a Balak who did what Balaam taught him. He invited us to sacrifice to his organisation. Let us read that in Numbers 25:1-3, "And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel."
They had been invited. What a harmless thing. They received an invitation. "Why don't you come to my church next Sunday?" An organisation is an abomination in God's eyes, because the leaders of that organisation are in charge there and not God's spirit. So you are paying tribute to an organisation and their leaders and not to God. You are committing adultery.
In a meeting of the children of God can only be one person in charge and that is the Holy Spirit. In my life can only be one person in charge and that is the Holy Spirit. And when I come together with other children of God then nothing changes: Also then the Holy Spirit is in charge, nobody else. There are only two possibilities, either the Holy Spirit is in charge or the wrong spirit is lording it over me. There is no third choice. I either follow light or I follow darkness. I either follow Jesus or I follow the devil.
That is what the denominations are trying to tell us: that in the meetings the Christians had in the times of the New Testament, that there was a person in charge of such a meeting. They go to great length to try to proof that for example Timothy was the "pastor" of the church in Ephesus. They call Paul's letters to Timothy and to Titus the "pastoral" epistles, "because they treat so fully on the duties of the pastor." Or they want to make James the "president" of the meetings in Jerusalem. There was no such thing as a presiding apostle, or a convener, or a monarchical bishop. There is only one thing and that is a person - the Lord. He is there. He personally guides each and every individual who is present and therefore guides the sum of individuals present. You will not find a meeting of Christians described in the Bible that has anybody else than the Holy Spirit as its leader.
On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit took control of the church and to this day he is still in control. If he has left, then that church is not a church any more, it has become a man-made church.
On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was in control. On the day of Ananias and Sapphira the Holy Spirit controlled everything. He used Peter in the gifts and showed Peter that the couple was lying to the Holy Spirit. And that the Holy Spirit and not Peter was in charge comes out quite clearly in what Peter says. When Peter spoke to Ananias as well when he spoke to Sapphira, he said, that they lied to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was in control; Peter was just an instrument in the Holy Spirit's hand.
When the prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch had a gathering, then the Holy Spirit controlled them and He spoke - He gave instructions - He "ordained" Barnabas and Saul.
When we read about the council at Jerusalem, then we see that there are no indications that somebody was presiding over these meetings. The people who spoke and made decisions were let by the spirit and they knew how to behave in such a way that did not quench the spirit.
There are basically only two motives which direct people who are not let by the Holy Spirit but by the wrong spirit. And that is the desire to be in control, to lord it over others, to exercise authority over others or as Paul calls it, to draw away disciples after them. They want to be in charge. They want to control others. They want to be in a high and recognized position.
It is basically a slave mentality. A person with a slave mentality likes to be a slave, but such a person also wants others to be his slaves. So he likes to be a slave and he likes to be a slave master. A really free person likes to be free and he also likes to have free persons around him. He does not like to live in slavery and he does not like to have slaves around him.
And the second motive which directs people who are not let by the Holy Spirit but by the wrong spirit is that they want to gain from this, they want to have financial gain from their activities.
And these two characteristics we find in Balaam. What is the first thing we learn about this man Balaam? A king sends a message to him. And it is not his king. It is the king of a foreign country. He deals with kings. Kings come to get his help. He is an adviser to kings. He is an internationally known adviser, an adviser to chiefs of governments, to heads of states. And he is well established and he is known to be successful. The advice he gives and the methods he uses work. And this king does not just send a messenger, he sends messengers, he sends a whole delegation, that is how important Balaam is. "And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. 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" (Numbers 22:4-5).
"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" (Numbers 22:7). And Balak had said that Balaam must come and curse the Israelites. And he also had said, that he knows that he whom Balaam curses is cursed (Numbers 22:5-6). So right from the beginning Balaam knew that his job was to curse Israel. There is only one thing for a child of God to do when he is requested to curse the real church: to strongly refuse that solicitation, to resist such a devilish request. Anything else would be highly suspicious. Such people we have to resist as we would resist the devil when he comes to us. We submit ourselves to God, we resist the devil, and he will flee from us (James 4:7). Such evil people should receive such an answer from us, that they should start fleeing from us. Our reaction should be such that there is immediate separation.
That Balaam was acting in an evil manner right from the beginning is confirmed by Peter, who writes in 2 Peter 2:15-16, "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; but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with manís voice forbad the madness of the prophet."
Peter says that Balaam's way is not the straight way, that Balaam loved the wages of wickedness and sums it up by calling Balaam's behaviour madness. Right from the beginning Balaam acted in an evil manner, what he did was madness.
Now let us see how a religious person reacts (Numbers 22:8). "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."
"Let me pray about it," is a typical reply we receive from religious people. "Let me see what the Lord has to say about it." There is a situation that is as obvious as it can be, the thing goes against our most basic principles, the commands of the Lord are as clearly as can be, they just tumbling into our mind, and our spirit reacts immediately and shows us rules, commands and scriptures and he shows us examples which all give us a clear directive what to do and how to react, but a religious person says, "Let me pray about it." And he uses the name of the Lord. He says Lord, Lord. He says, "I will bring you back the answer the Lord gives me."
A religious person does not treat his customer like an evil person when he is approached by an evil person. He thinks of his reputation, customer relations, he is a good business man. His ultimate motive is the profit motive.
Now here we also see that the messengers were not just messengers, they were elders, they were princes. A worldly person has to take into account the position another person is in. If a mighty man of a foreign government comes to a real believer, the real believer will act according to the spirit. He will not be a respecter of persons. He will treat a mighty man like Elisha treated Naaman the leper: Elisha treated Naaman as the spirit showed him (2 Kings 5).
Elisha did not even get out of his house to speak to Naaman; he only sent a messenger. And Naaman did not come with a wicket request to Elisha, he just wanted to get healed of leprosy. But because Elisha sensed the pride in Naaman he reacted in order to help Naaman overcome his pride. The ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment which Naaman had brought along did not interest Elisha. Elisha is the exact opposite to Balaam.
Visitors came to Balaam with a wicked request and instead of rebuking them and chasing them away he welcomed them because he was interested in their money. A visitor came to Elisha with a godly request and Elisha did not even come to the door of his house because he was only interested in the spiritual life of his visitor: to get him healed and to let him become a believer. Elisha was not at all interested in the money, on the contrary, he refused to receive any of it. He was a real man of God.
Only the spirit knows what the need of Naaman is, and only when we react according to the spirit can we let God come into this man's life and let him become a believer and a healed person. The high position of a person is not what counts; it is the purpose of his visit. Is his purpose evil, then we have to treat evil and an evil person as they deserve. When an evil person sent to Elijah a captain with his company of fifty men to fetch him (1 Kings 1:9), then Elijah resisted the devil and called fire down from heaven. Is his purpose good, like Naaman's, then we help such a person and we do it in such a manner as is suitable for the spiritual situation of such a person. Naaman got treated by God so that he became a believer and he not only got delivered from darkness, he also got delivered from leprosy as well as from pride. Elisha's response to Naaman's request is exemplary to us, but Balaam's response was evil.
It is evil when a Christian is given a clear direction from the word of God and he reacts with saying, "Yes, but I think that way. And this other person I know says that he also thinks I should do it that way and my spiritual director also counsels me in that direction." Such a person has not made the word of God final authority in his live. He is still guided by what he thinks is right, he still leans on his own understanding, he is still wise in his own eyes.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes:
fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
It shall be health (medicine) to thy navel,
and marrow to thy bones.
I have to cut my ideas out and have to completely replace them with God's ideas. I do not lean on my understanding. I am not wise in my own eyes.
Balaam very much has his own ideas. If an evil person of low standing comes to him he might tell him to amend his ways and if this person does not want to do this, then separation will take place. But these people are princes. And an evil person would not chase such powerful people away; he would act in fear, in fear of men, and in hope of gain - fearing to lose a good business. They are important, important people from a far-away country. And Balaam is not really a person who has decided to be a follower of God and who wants to do his will. He is a man who uses the power of God for his own benefit. He uses the gifts of the spirit and he is not worried if this is in the interest of the kingdom of God or not.
He is in the business of religion. Spiritual things are used for his benefit, not necessarily for God's.
And his interest is to keep his position - his position as internationally known spiritual giant - and to have financial benefits from it.
Balaam's concern is not that somebody wants him to do evil, his concern is that these people have taken with them the fee for divination.
They have brought the money with them. That the money was brought to him is the all decisive matter.
He saw the money and he forgot about them requesting him to do evil and he asked them to come into his house. Such an attitude changes a man with spiritual gifts from a miracle worker to a man who does both: he does miracles in the name of the Lord and he operates as a witch doctor. Whatever the demand is, he supplies it. The decisive thing is that the fee for divination is paid.
He does what he thinks is the appropriate thing to do in a certain situation. He can operate as a man of God or he can resort to sorcery. He can switch from one to the other without any problem. Numbers 24:1 brings this out clearly, "Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not resort to sorcery as at other times, but turned his face toward the desert." Normally when his advice was sought he resorted to sorcery, but in this business deal with Balak it seemed more opportune to work together with God. Study the way of Balaam and you will be well prepared to recognize the antichrist. Most of the so-called Christians will not recognize the antichrist, because the only thing they will see is a man used mightily by God. They will follow him.
And Balaam probably saw in this business approach the chance of a life time. A foreign king sends a delegation, not just a messenger, but several messengers. And they are not just messengers, they are elders (Numbers 22:7), they are princes (Numbers 22:8). Balaam has in front of him a delegation of high ranking government officials, of cabinet ministers. The head of state and head of government did not come himself, because his country was in an extraordinary crisis. The existence of the country was at stake. So he and his minister of defence and ministers who were needed for the defence of the country stayed with him, but the rest of the cabinet was send to fetch help, help from the diviner Balaam.
And Balaam is very much aware of the magnitude of this business offer. The existence of this foreign country depends on his advice. The fee for divination was probably quite substantial and in itself a large amount of money. But Balaam indirectly tells Balak that this fee is actually not adequate for the serious situation his country is in and considering that the future of his country is in his, in Balaam's, hands. What kind of fee Balaam really considers appropriate is what he mentions in Numbers 24:13, "Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the Lord - and I must say only what the Lord says" (Numbers 24:13-14).
That is the price Balaam considers adequate for the occasion: a palace filled with silver and gold. After this assignment he could retire, retire in comfort. But see how he brings this message over to his client. He adds some very holy sounding commitments to it. And not only that, he also really operates in the power of a prophet of God.
He demonstrates his closeness to God. And he is not worried if the oracles do not please his client, do not please his client at all. He knows that all this will just make the whole situation more dramatic and the client more prepared to part with a big part of his wealth, when he finally, after all these highly spectacular demonstrations of his divine abilities and his favours with God, will still have a solution to his clients problem. He will give his client the advice to entice the enemy, the church, to sin, to use the women as the means of turning the men of the church away from the Lord, so that a plague strikes the Lord's people and destroys the church (Numbers 31:16).
He received his fee when he was approached by the delegation. It is already in his pocket. It was a fee that caused him to accept this project. But that is now past. What is really on his mind is the reward. This reward the king Balak is talking about all the time is what motivates him and about what he thinks all the time. The show of all his abilities as a great diviner is just done to make this reward really big. It is all business tactics. His aim is his reward, twice it is recorded that he speaks of this reward, in Numbers 22:18 and also in Numbers 24:13. And he probably spoke more often about it, it just got recorded twice. That what was in his heart, came out of his mouth.
Right from the beginning we are shown that Balaam is used to operate in the gifts of the spirit and to receive the supernatural from God. Something very interesting happens just after the visitors have arrived (Numbers 22:9): "God came to Balaam and asked, 'Who are these men with you?'"
So Balaam does not even approach God about this matter. Balaam does not go to God; God comes to Balaam. There is a close relationship between Balaam and God. We will see that from the happenings that follow. Balaam is really a man used by God.
Balaam is really a great diviner: The Lord spoke to him. And the next morning he tells the princes that God had given him a reply - that God had spoken to him.
Balaam is a man who operates in the gifts of the spirit. Jesus describes this man very well: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:21-23).
Jesus describes him as an evildoer - a person that works iniquity.
Balaam is saying Lord, Lord. Balaam is prophesying in God's name. Balaam is used by God in the gifts of the spirit. But he still is an evildoer.
A false prophet is a prophet whose prophecies are false. His prophecies can be checked and if found false than the prophet is exposed as a false prophet. But even when a prophet's prophecies are not false, as it is the case with Balaam, the prophet can be found to be a false prophet, because of the rest of his deed - being an evildoer. So let us keep this in mind when looking for the antichrist.
Now Balaam gets to know the real church. He gets to see it first: "And it came to pass on the morrow, that Balak took Balaam, and brought him up into the high places of Baal, that thence he might see the utmost part of the people" (Numbers 22:41).
And also here again there is no problem of communication between God and Balaam. God met with him (Numbers 23:4). Balaam speaks to God (Numbers 23:4). The Lord puts a word in Balaam's mouth (Numbers 23:5). And Balaam utters his oracle to Balak and all the princes (Numbers 23:6-10). And after this Balaam utters three more oracles. Altogether four oracles.
It is really worthwhile reading his oracles. They are beautiful descriptions of the church. There is a prophecy regarding the Messiah. Christ and his body - the real church - foretold in the books of Moses.
Balaam not only sees the church with his own eyes, he also sees with his spiritual eyes the role the church plays in this world. And what effect has all this on him?
It does not affect him at all. All these mighty revelations about God, his Son and his church leave him completely unconcerned. The only thing that effects him is the reward that Balak again and again promises him. And if God does not want to curse the church, if God does not want to do what Balak wants, then he has no problems with that either. He just finishes his business with God; he even gives a warning to Balak and tells him about the destruction of Moab.
And all the time he makes statements like this, "If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the LORD, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the LORD saith, that will I speak?" (Numbers 24:13-14). He is the man totally on the side of God - with his words. But if God wants to bless the church, then he has no objections. His aim is his reward from Balak and that aim he achieves by telling and teaching Balak how to entice the church to sin.
He is a man who co-operates with God, but he is even more familiar with sorcery or he simply gives some devilish advice out of his rich experience and knowledge as a diviner. Whatever the customer requires, he has the recipe. If the money is right, the service will be done.
The more we study the difference between the real church and the man-made church, the more we become aware of the fact that all this knowledge is readily available and has been scientifically studied and recorded by the theologians of the man-made churches. The gradual change from a spiritual church in the book of Acts to a carnal church, the changes from spiritual Christians to carnal Christians and to the clergy, the changes from lively meetings in houses to dead meetings in church buildings, the changes from participation of the believers to domination by the clergy, all these details are well known and can be read in the books of the theologians.
The theologians of the man-made churches themselves deliver all the proofs that their system is completely and utterly inconsistent with the witness of the apostles and the writers of the New Testament. They supply all the evidence and the spiritual explanations of what happened and what is. In their eagerness to be successful and recognized as worthy members of their profession and scientists, they work relentlessly and make all these details available to us. But it leaves them completely cold. They could not care less. What really counts with them, is that they are recognized in their high professional, scientific status and that they get their reward for all this effort. The only two things that really count with them are that their position is secured and their fees are coming in.
Let us take an example. There is a professor of theology and he writes books about the history of the early church, shows all the details were the man-made churches went wrong and takes a delight to expose all the unscriptural behaviour of the clergy. From his writings the real church can clearly be seen and recognized. Now does this man take the natural step and join the church or start a church like this? If Balaam would have been genuine, he would have seen the church and would have heard his own oracles about the church and his reaction would be to run down into the valley and join the church. He finally found what he so eagerly was seeking all his life. But our Balaams do not do this. Why?
This professor of theology is part of a denomination. He is one of the clergy. The university that employs him, also pays him. The salary he gets is the fee for divination, for him being a doctor of divinity. His bread and butter, his whole business is this job inside the man-made church. His real master is the one who pays him. Why should he turn against his master and lose his job?
He is on Balaam's way. And Balaam's way is the root of all evil: the love of money.
He became a theologian because when he came out of school he had to choose a way to make a living. And he chose to become a theologian. He could have chosen to become a lawyer, or a baker or an insurance broker. He liked theology, maybe he was even genuinely interested in the things of God. But he thought that godliness is a means to financial gain. He decided to peddle the word of God for profit. This part of theology he always avoided, it would have been too embarrassing: To study the connection between money and the clergyman. It was not an opportune thing to do. But even if he did, it would not cause him to take honest action and stop and repent.
A theologian, who has all this knowledge of the difference between the real church and the man-made church, will not turn towards the real church, quite contrary, he will use this knowledge for his denomination to fight the real church, to kill it. And he will make this knowledge available for that organization which tries to unite all denominations. And this again will be done for the same purpose: to kill the body of Christ.
Their main argument is that the man-made churches preserved the rich inheritance of Christianity. They provided the protective framework. And the multiplicity of churches is justified, because they render specific services to the community.
But the real picture is that the kingdom of Christ should have come to this earth a long time ago. All this suffering on this planet earth occurs because He is not ruling - His second coming has not been made possible. The plague is still striking the Lord's people. Had we continued in the teaching and practice of the apostles, the real church would have spread all over the world many centuries ago and had prepared the way for the Lord.
We have to put an end to the plague. We need to wake up people and make them aware of Balaam's way. The difference between the true and the false prophets must be shown. We must be glad that the gifts of the spirit of God are operating in our midst, but we also must know that there are false prophets who use these gifts to draw disciples after them, who build their own kingdoms and peddle the word of God for profit. Let us recognize the Balaams of our time.
The key word in the life of Balaam is money - the love of money. There are quite a number of places in which this is expressed:
And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fee of divination in their hand (Numbers 22:7).
For I will reward thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me (Numbers 22:17).
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).
And Balak said unto Balaam, Did I not earnestly send unto thee to call thee? wherefore camest thou not unto me? am I not able indeed to reward you well? (Numbers 22:37).
Therefore now flee thou to thy place: I thought to pay you well; but, lo, the LORD hath kept thee back from the reward (Numbers 24:11).
If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the LORD, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the LORD saith, that will I speak? (Numbers 24:13).
Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee (Deuteronomy 23:4).
Because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them (Nehemiah 13:2).
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 (2 Peter 2:15).
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 11).
Balaam's god was money. And what is as important as money, or even more important, is the source of this money and that is his reputation, his profession, his being part of the world and the wish of his clients. The interest of his client is his interest, because if he would not operate in the interest of his client he would lose his client and that again would mean that he would lose his income. A clergyman will operate in such a way, to secure his income, to please his denomination who is the source of his income.
A person's income is an important influence on him and that is why our income, and its source, has to be very well considered. And that is why Paul, the elder worker, teaches so much, by example, how all the younger workers should live and receive their income. Our income will very much influence our lives and we therefore should make very sure that that income comes to us in a scriptural way and definitely not in the way of Balaam. We do not seek money. We seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to us as well. We seek God and not money. Balaams seek money and not God.
Balaam's motivation was money. He rushed for profit. He loved wages. One could hire him. His vision was a palace filled with silver and gold. He wanted a reward, a fee for divination. "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil," says Paul in 1 Timothy 6:10. And Paul speaks in this passage not of Christians in general; he speaks of "anyone who teaches false doctrine" (1 Timothy 6:3). Paul speaks of leaders. He speaks of teachers. In this passage, 1 Timothy 6:3-10, Paul speaks of money three times:
Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness (1 Timothy 6:5).
For the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).
Which while some coveted after, they have erred (seduced) from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10).
Three times in this short passage, in these eight verses, does Paul speak of the negative side of money, of being eager for money, of the love of money, of using godliness as a means to financial gain.
This is a key aspect of Paul's teaching on false prophets: the money aspect.
Again and again does Paul come back to this aspect. It is a reason why he gives us so many details regarding his own behaviour towards money. Spirituality of a man of God can very much be observed by observing his attitude towards money. Paul is the best example. He never asked for money for himself. He never took up an offering for himself or for his ministry. He was always careful not to be a burden to a church and therefore worked to earn a living and even supported other workers. And he says, that this is a way to recognize false prophets or super-apostles: to watch their attitude towards money.
Paul is writing here to Timothy. The older worker is giving from his knowledge. He is teaching the younger worker. Paul is teaching the younger worker Timothy, but he is also teaching all younger workers who are still to come. Paul is mentioning several evil character traits, like conceit, envy, quarrelling, but the money aspect he mentions three times. The money aspect is the most prominent one. It is also the aspect that is the most tangible. It is the aspect that is the easiest to observe - to observe when we are looking out for false teachers.
An important book to go to in order to study false prophets is 2 Corinthians. In the eleventh and the twelfth chapter Paul deals with the false apostles, which he also calls "super-apostles." Paul very much makes the financial question the question that shows the difference between the right and the wrong apostle. The first section is 2 Corinthians 11:1-15. Let us see how Paul brings out the question of money:
Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? (2 Corinthians 11:7).
And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man (2 Corinthians 11:9).
And in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself (2 Corinthians 11:9).
The first thing we have to look for when we want to know if somebody is a false prophet, is to find out if he wants money. Or if somebody does serve God and wants money for his service, then we know that he is a false prophet. Paul did not get his money from the people he taught, but he got his money from working with his hands and from gifts he received from other Christians or from other churches. And he was very careful when he received gifts and he made sure that the spiritual relationship between the giver and himself was alright. If this relationship showed the slightest strain, as was the case with his relationship with the church in Corinth, then he would not accept gifts (1 Corinthians 9:14-15).
The early church was particularly wary of those who misused spiritual gifts for personal gain. And that is the reason for Paul's emphatic refusal to ask for or accept recompense for his work.
Now let us look at the second section in 2 Corinthians, where Paul still deals with the "super-apostles," 2 Corinthians 12:11-18, especially with the money aspect:
For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong (2 Corinthians 12:13).
Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you (2 Corinthians 12:14).
For I seek not yours, but you (2 Corinthians 12:14).
For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children (2 Corinthians 12:14).
And I will very gladly spend (2 Corinthians 12:15).
and be spent for you (2 Corinthians 12:15).
But be it so, I did not burden you (2 Corinthians 12:16).
Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? (2 Corinthians 12:17).
I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps? (2 Corinthians 12:18).
Now in this second part we find that Paul uses the money aspect nine times. So all together Paul mentions the financial side twelve times in chapters 11 and 12 of 2 Corinthians. Twelve times he uses the financial behaviour to show the difference between true apostles and "super-apostles."
The financial behaviour of the "super-apostle" Balaam is what will give us the direction to look. Look at the financial direction in which the men of God around you are going and you will see if they are true apostles or Balaams.
Elders in your assembly should be people who grew spiritually in your assembly, who come from and remain in your assembly, who work for a living and keep on working for a living after they have become elders. They don't get paid from the assembly. If itinerant workers come and minister to you, then they also don't get a fee or get paid. If a worker planted your assembly, then he does not get paid for that work, he does not receive a fee from that assembly.
Such workers earn their own living. They work for a living. They do all the work for God in their spare time. Like Paul did.
If you pay him then you make a Balaam out of him and if he wants to be paid then he is a Balaam.
Just to confirm what Paul is teaching us, let us see what Peter has to say to this. Peter's chapter on false prophets is the second chapter of 2 Peter. Paul prophesied and told us the whole history of the church in Acts 20:29-30, by telling us that grievous wolves will enter and speaking perverse things in order to draw away disciples after them and Peter tells us the same: "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. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of" (2 Peter 2:1-2).
Today Christianity is in disrepute because of them. Paul tells us that they distort the truth and Peter tells us that they secretly introduce destructive heresies. That is exactly what Balaam did. The Balaams cause the destruction of the real church.
Now you will not find the expressions "real church" and "man-made church" in their vocabulary. They have different terms. Their terms are "heresy" and "orthodoxy." If somebody finds out about them and exposes them then they call that "heresy." They themselves call their system "orthodoxy." You will see that at the time of the reformation and afterwards all the new denominations insisted to be "orthodox." That meant that they very much took over the system of clergy. A cleric is a Balaam. A cleric is a man who makes money out of godliness.
It is always important to a Balaam to make sure that everybody understands that he is "orthodox." He knows that when he is accepted as being "orthodox," then he has made it, his future in the business of religion is secured.
What is the main principle of "orthodoxy?" It is power, it is influence, it is having one's own kingdom or being somebody in such a kingdom, it is being a conqueror of the people; it is prestige, titles, fame, honour.
That is the main principle. Money is very closely related to all this. There might be exceptions. There might be denominations where the pastors are working for a living and are doing the work in the church in their spare time and are not getting paid for it. But such is an exception and the main principle of wanting to be in control still applies.
The main principle is found in Acts 20:29-30 and in 2 Peter 2:1-2. They want to be in charge, they want to lord it over the others and therefore want to take over and not let Jesus be Lord.
Closely related to this is "they distort the truth" or "they secretly introduce destructive heresies." All denominations and sects differ in their beliefs. If they would not differ then they would all teach the same: the truth. They would all teach the same truth, the truth from the Bible. So whenever we deal with a sect or with a denomination we know that we will deal with false teaching. It is a principle of their existence.
Now let us look at the example the Bible gives us. The New Testament speaks about Balaam. He is mentioned three times in the New Testament. But he is a man from the times of the Old Testament. The man in the New Testament is Diotrephes, he is our example. Let us see how John describes him to us (3 John 9-10):
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
So here we have "heresy" and "orthodoxy" described and also we have two persons related to both. John does not describe himself here as being on the side of "heresy." The only time in the New Testament where a Christian uses the word heresy in connection with the church is in Acts 24:14, and there Paul is saying that others are using this word "heresy" for the church:
"But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they (Paul's accusers) call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers."
When we start the real church then the wolves will call it heresy. When Jesus started the church then the Jews called it heresy. We have seen this just now in Acts 24:14 where Paul says that the Jews called the way not the way, but heresy. The main activity of the Jews against Jesus was to kill him and in order to do that they had to accuse him of heresy. And to accuse him of heresy was what they did all the time during his ministry.
So our enemies will call our way heresy. And our Lord was the first; they killed him because of what they called heresy. The early church was called by them heresy and the church after the time of the New Testament was called heresy by the ones the Bible calls wolves - and they will call us heresy.
We have to understand that the forming of denominations and man-made churches took place already during the times the New Testament was written - or even before that time - and it is even reported to us in the New Testament. As so many things in the Bible God had to do this indirectly in order to protect his word. Had he done it directly then the wolves would not have taken such a letter into the canon. So we will only find descriptions of the principles in the Bible and a man like Diotrephes is described to us simply by the basic principles of denominations.
God very much uses John to indirectly teach us what it is all about with denominations. In John's gospel, in his three letters as well as in the last book of the Bible, in Revelation, we are shown the spiritual signs of antichrist and the main sign is that we are led by the spirit of Jesus and that they are not led by the spirit of Jesus, but by the spirit of men. And the spirit these men are led by, is the spirit of the world and therefore the spirit of the god of this world.
What are the basic principles of denominations, sects, man-made churches?
The first principle comes first. A sect is run be a man or by several men. In the real church the Lord Jesus Christ is first. In the wrong church the man, in our case in 3 John 9-10, Diotrephes loves to be first. The second thing is that he will have nothing to do with spiritual Christians who oppose the forming of sects. And that person in this scripture is John, who opposed the forming of the sect, who opposed that a wolf should take over the church, who wrote to the church to put matters right. But Diotrephes obviously did not accept this writing from John and did not tell the church of this writing from John. So John had to write again and this time he did not write to the church but he had to write to one of its members, to his dear friend Gaius (3 John 1). It could be that Diotrephes was one of the elders in that church and John was one as well, but absent. Maybe he was a prisoner on the island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9). John calls himself "the elder." May be his second letter was also addressed to someone in that church, because he also there calls himself "the elder" (2 John 1). May be even in this letter as well John talks about Diotrephes without naming him. May be the second letter of John deals with the same problem as the third: with a deceiver, with an antichrist, with the admonition to the chosen lady to watch out. The chosen lady is warned to watch out that she does not lose what she has worked for. This sounds very much like Jesus warning us to watch out for the false prophets, who come to us in sheep's closing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves (Matthew 7:15). If we follow the wolves we will lose everything, our house will collapse (Matthew 7:24-27), the door will be shut (Matthew 25:1-13).
And they will gossip maliciously about us. The whole "church history" is full of gossiping maliciously about us and our brothers and sisters who came before us. They always called us "heresy." And they themselves call themselves "orthodoxy."
So when you study church history keep this in mind. Be aware what these two terms really mean: "heresy" and "orthodoxy." John belongs according to their terminology to "heresy" and Diotrephes to "orthodoxy." Only when you understand this will you understand the church history written by "orthodoxy."
These people of the "orthodoxy" started very early to take over and to fight the real church. It took quite some time until they gained influence and they make us believe as if they were the original church of God. And don't forget that they suppressed a lot of information. They could do that because finally they won and the real church only carried on existing, but was persecuted by them. And when they had much more influence than the real church then they manipulated and suppressed information. And then they tried to make history look as if they always had been the real church. And that is where the word "orthodoxy" comes in. Just think of words such as "apostolic succession" or "Eusebius" or "bishop lists." A good example is Clemens' letter to the Corinthians. The Corinthians had accepted Paul's first letter to them and did not want divisions and most probably threw out those elders who wanted "orthodoxy" and elected new elders. But Clemens, the man from Rome, pressured them with his letter to reverse the situation and re-instate the men of the "orthodoxy" into their positions as elders of the church in Corinth.
We actually have a confirmation that the Corinthians accepted Paul's first letter and reacted positively on its suggestions. In 2 Corinthians 7:5-16 Paul writes about the Corinthians' reaction to his first letter and in verse 9 he states that they changed their mind and did what Paul suggested.
And when the "orthodoxy" had won much more influence than the real church then they manipulated and suppressed information. And when Diotrephes had much more influence than the real elder, John, because John was away, may be in prison, then he manipulated and suppressed information. He did not tell the church about the letter from John (3 John 9). So John had to write 3 John. He had to write to one of the members of that church, so that the church got the information the other elder tried to suppress.
The suppressing of information in church history is therefore proven - it is proved in the Bible itself.
And what else are the principles of the dividers? They refuse to welcome the brothers. If brothers come who do not accept their divisive take-over-bids, then they refuse to welcome them. And not only that he also stops those who want to welcome the brothers and he puts them out of the church. He excommunicates them. He puts them out of the church. "You are a heretic."
That is the main characteristic of man-made churches: everybody opposing their system gets excommunicated and if they have worldly power then they will preferably also kill them.
So here we have all the basic principles of denominations. Let us look at them again.
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes,
who loveth to have the preeminence among them,
receiveth us not.
Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words:
and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren,
and forbiddeth them that would,
and casteth them out of the church.
That is what these messages called "The Man-Made Church" are all about: calling attention to what they are doing. May be you start calling attention to what they are doing. May be that is what the world of today needs. What does it help if we evangelize, but all our effort just results in these new believers ending up in denominations and slowly dying spiritually.
Ancient writings tell us that John was associated with Ephesus. Tourists will be shown the ruins of a basilica in Ephesus and will be told that this basilica was built above the grave of John. He was on the island of Patmos which was just west of and close to Ephesus and from there he wrote to the seven churches of which Ephesus was one. So it is quite possible that John was an elder of the church in Ephesus. And if Diotrephes was an elder of that church John wrote to, then Diotrephes was also an elder of the church in Ephesus. So it could be that when Paul prophesied and told the elders of the church in Ephesus that even from their own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them (Acts 20:30), that Diotrephes was one of these elders Paul spoke about, that he may be even was one of the elders Paul spoke to and had in front of him. May be Paul even knew then that Diotrephes will be a traitor, a savage wolf (Acts 20:29), maybe he knew as Jesus knew when the traitor Judas was right with him. As Jesus had called Judas to become one of the twelve apostles may be so had Paul appointed Diotrephes as elder in Ephesus.
They want to have their own kingdom and they will fight the kingdom of Jesus with everything they have. The ultimate aim will always be to destroy the real church, the body of Christ, and to destroy Christ.
If we look at the three letters of John, the letters that are part of the canon, the letters that were not suppressed, then we see the person Diotrephes in the third letter and in the second letter we see the lady, who in contrast to Diotrephes accepts and preserves John's letter and makes it available to the church and to us. John warns this lady to watch out that she does not lose what she has worked for, that she does not follow a man like Diotrephes, but Jesus only. John speaks of persons who do not continue in the teaching of Christ, who are deceivers, who are antichrists. And John speaks of a deceiver as one who does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.
And if we then go to the first letter of John, then we get an idea of the whole direction of this letter by reading 1 John 2:4, "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
This is the description of antichrist. This is a description of Balaam. He knew God and he proved it again and again and the Bible even confirms it, but he did not do what God commands. A man who operates in the gifts of the spirit knows God, but the decisive matter is if he bears fruit, if he has the fruit of the spirit, if he does what God commands. The devil also knows God; they even talk to each other, God even talks to the devil first, without the devil addressing God (Job 1:6-7). Exactly as it was with Balaam. They not only talk to each other, they even work together, God even starts the subject of the work, the name of the person they are going to work on. God started and brought up the subject. The subject was a man with the name of Job (Job 1:8). God and Balaam worked together. God used Balaam to operate in the gifts of the spirit. Balaam prophesied and his prophesies are really the word of God. God speaks with all the subjects of his creation and he also works together with all the subjects of his creation. But what really counts is the believing and the doing. The evil creatures do not really believe that God will win in the end or they suppress that thought from their mind. They are carnal and have the worldly things in mind and do evil, because they don't believe that they will have to give account for them one day. The devil wants to take over from God; he does not believe that God is really all powerful. If we really believe that God is all powerful, then we will stop doing evil, because we know that the day of reckoning is coming. So what really counts is our faith in God and our deeds which are accordingly.
I am only really a Christian if I walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:5-6). And when I walk as Jesus did, then the world and its influence have ceased in my life and they do not lord it over me. No worldly, devilish spirit is lord in my life. Jesus only is my lord. This is what John writes until he comes to the subject of the antichrists. And in 1 John 2:18 he starts to talk about antichrists. John says that they went out from us, that they are Christians, so-called Christians. And in 1 John 2:26 John tells us that the antichrists are the ones who want to guide us into denominations, into sects: those who are trying to lead you astray. That is it what John talks about all the time: being led by Jesus, by his anointing or being led by men. And in 1 John 3:7 John comes back to this: Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. This seems to be the whole subject of his three letters. And in 1 John 3:9-10 he shows us the difference between the real children of God and the wrong ones: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother."
Now in 1 John 4:1-3 John describes the spirit of antichrist: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."
The spirit of antichrist is the spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus, that does not recognize Christ, that does not recognize the body of Christ, that wants to kill the body of Christ by forming and maintaining denominations. The spirit of antichrist is the spirit that does not acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, that Jesus today is represented on earth by the fleshly existence of his brothers and sisters: his body. The spirit of antichrist is the spirit that wants to divide this body and split it into denominations and sects and keep it that way.
So whenever you received teaching about the antichrist in a denomination you can sum it up in a very simple way: The antichrist is the man who was teaching you. And when you read a book on this subject written by a man from a denomination then this man is the antichrist.
It is the spirit that wants to push God away and wants to rule. And what always goes with it is greed, the love of money. We Christians always have excuses for such people, we always know that we ourselves are not perfect and therefore want to accept the imperfect behaviour of others as well. But Jesus says that we shall recognize them by their fruit. So it is our duty to watch out for fruit. And when it comes to money then we have a measuring stick where we can measure tangible. It is much easier to observe right or wrong in handling money. And there we have much teaching in the Bible how to find out about wrong and right. Paul is our best example. There is a mass of information about his approach to financial matters.
But now let us return to what Peter says about false prophets and money:
And through covetousness (2 Peter 2:3)
shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you (2 Peter 2:3).
An heart they have exercised with covetous practices (2 Peter 2:14).
Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor (2 Peter 2:15).
Who loved the wages of unrighteousness (2 Peter 2:15).
So Peter also mentions the financial aspect several times.
And the last letter in the Bible, Jude's, mentions it as well:
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 11).
These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear (Jude 12).
It is to be noticed that when the Bible teaches us about the false prophets and the antichrists, that we are always shown that these people are actually part of us, like here in Jude 12: "These men are blemishes at our feasts of charity, eating with us without the slightest qualm - shepherds who feed only themselves." They always have been among us, right from the beginning and that will continue. It is our duty to know that and to draw the consequences: warn and separate.
So there can never be such an easy solution to unity to say, we are all Christians, let us just forget that some belong to denominations and some even start and maintain sects and denominations, let us just be one. Wolves that divide and introduce heresies are antichrists and have to be dealt with.
Let us look at an example. There emerge Christians who teach and practice circumcision. And more and more other Christians start believing that and this idea grows. Just imagine how our Christian book shops will soon be filled with books about this new cult, telling us how unscriptural it is and how wrong these people are. But actually it is not really unscriptural. It is wrong, but not unscriptural. In the early church there were plenty of such people. Look at Acts 15:1 and Acts 15:5. What was the result of their teaching? The Jerusalem council. And what was the result of the Jerusalem council? Did all these heretics get excommunicated and burned at the stake? Nothing like it. No action is recorded against these men. The church dealt with this spiritually. The spiritual reason was given why it is wrong; it was up to those people to accept it. Nobody seemed to have problems having fellowship with those people, they simple were and remained brothers in Christ. But who are the real culprits in our example? The writers of all these books! The writers of all these books filling our Christian book shops and telling us about this new cult and how wrong it is and condemning these people as unacceptable. These people they condemn - these heretics - are not the culprits, but the writers of these books - these heretic-hunters - are. Because these writers are just putting up a smoke screen to cover up the real antichrists, themselves, because most of these writers are wolves, clergymen, members and builders of denominations. They are dividers, they are the ones who kill the church, who have done so since the church started. They are the ones John teaches and writes against. Jude's whole letter is all about them. Peter is teaching and warning us about them and Paul again and again mentions them. And about 30% of Jesus' ministry was directed against these people, telling us to watch out for false prophets who come to us in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
Now what is the difference between having the wrong doctrine and being a divider? When someone believes in circumcision, in only eating vegetables, in not speaking in tongues etc. then that will not hinder him to have Jesus as his Lord, he will go to heaven. But if someone follows a man or man-made organisation then he has put someone between himself and the Lord and the Lord cannot be his lord. To have anything than the Lord as lord is idolatry, is following antichrist. He will go where antichrist goes. He is led by antichrist. But those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God, because those are led by the Spirit of Christ.
So let us rather concentrate on and watch out for those who want to become our lords and want to pull us away from the lordship of Christ. Those who want to lord it over us, those antichrists. And let us not fight the ones who differ from us in some teaching, in doctrine or some believe. We only have to become weary of them when they start to teach us wrong things in order to draw away disciples after them, when they want to build their kingdom and milk the people for money.
Why do educated clerical people believe in the man-made church system as if it were based on scripture? The leaders of the man-made church systems all make their living purely from that system. They are specialists in religion and there is hardly a way that you could see how someone whose entire life and reputation and livelihood is bound up with the system could turn against it.
So the reason why the Balaams will remain Balaams is that they are specialists in evil.
There is a good section on financial matters in the ministry in Watchman Nee's book "The Normal Christian Church Life." It is the chapter called "The Question of Finance." This book is also published under titles "Rethinking the Work" and "Concerning our Mission." Another book by Watchman Nee that deals with finances is "The Character Of God's Workman" and there we find reflections on the character of Balaam. There we find such statements as "A worker who is not independent of money is useless" and "If anyone's way is swayed and altered by money, you know unmistakably that he is a false prophet or a false teacher" and "No servant of God can be untidy in money matters."
If you are clergy or laity then get out of that. If you are a Balaam or a follower of such false prophets then put a stop to that immediately. Get out of this road to death. All participants of denominations seem to be children of God, but when it comes to confrontation between them and the real church, then we will find out if they are really members of God's family. All the people around Balaam and Balak seemed to be Children of God's family. Balaam was called son of Beor and Beor was an Edomite (Genesis 36:32) and Esau (that is, Edom) (Genesis 36:19) was Israel's brother and therefore family of God. Balak was the king of Moab and Moab was the son of Lot (Genesis 19:37) and Lot was Abraham's nephew (Genesis 14:12) and therefore family of God. And Balak also represented Midian and Midian was a son Abraham, one of the six sons from his wife Keturah (Genesis 25:2) and therefore also family of God.
All these however were suddenly confronted with Israel and how did they react?
"An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever: Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee. Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever. Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land. The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of the LORD in their third generation" (Deuteronomy 23:3-8).
If we study this then we have an excellent guideline how to treat other Christian and whom we have to allow into our assembly.
What happens to the ones who don't meet us with bread and water and hire a Balaam to curse us?
"And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males. And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword" (Numbers 31:7-8). See also Joshua 13:21-22.
So run away from these, save your life. Don't wait until it is too late.
In Numbers 24:25 we are told that Balaam, after he had uttered all his oracles, got up and returned home and Balak went his own way. Balaam got killed together with the Midianite kings, so he must have returned, and then started to teach Balak to entice the church to sin. And while he was still doing it, he got killed with the sword.
So never become guilty of an offence against the real church. Never take the side of the Balaams and the Balaks. Leave them now and don't wait until they start confronting the church.
In Nehemiah 13:1-2 we receive another indication how to treat the ones who confront us: "On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever; because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing."
The reaction of the Ammonites and of the Moabites, when they saw the real church, was fear. Had they had no fear, but love, then they would have met the children of Israel with bread and with water. They would have been blessed. They would not have been destroyed.
Let us be people who rejoice when we see the real church and let us meet the real church with food and water. Let us all feed and strengthen the real church. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. Let us not be people who hire Balaams.
This is the end of "Balaam's Way"
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