The Witchcraft of Balaam

Posted on 6/30/2012

Balaam Meets the Angel of the LORD

There are a lot of topics in the Holy Scriptures that most church leaders do not want to talk about. Preachers love to tell he story of Balaam the son of Beor. A good show can be made by telling about the evil King Balak, the king of Moab. Seeing what the Israelites had done to the powerful Amorite kings Og and Sihon (both were clearly Nephilim), he figured that he was next. He knew that defeating them militarily was very unlikely, so he turned to the best prophet, soon to be occult practitioner he knew: Balaam. The Torah calls him a soothsayer from the beginning because the town in Mesopotamia named Pethor (Heb. פּתור) means "soothsayer." This suggests that this town, most likely in the Euphrates River valley, was a town loaded with soothsayers. The Hebrew numeric value of the city is 73 x 2 or 686. These numbers suggest that these soothsayers were the best in the world.

Since Balak was a rich king, he could afford the best soothsayer money could buy in the best city for soothsayers in the region. It is likely that King Balak also knew that he had the ear of the LORD, something he would need if he was to defeat the Israelites. It took two beckonings before the money got good enough for Balaam to make the trip to Moab. Despite the fact that Balaam was repeatedly told by the LORD not to go, he smelled money, influence, and greater power. He resisted the Word of the LORD and went on, even after the Angel of the LORD withstood him. When he did that, he became a witch because he rebelled against the Word of the LORD (Read I Samuel 15:23 for clarification).

What shocks most people though, is after Balaam crossed the line and became a witch, he still prophesied the Word of the LORD. This shows the mastery of our Creator in all situations. If He can use an ass, He can also use a money-grubbing occultist. However, what made Balaam one of the monsters of scripture was what he did when he could not curse the children of Israel. Numbers 31 tells the story with a one verse commentary:

"Behold, these (the captured women of Midian) 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." (Numbers 31:16)

Sadly, most preachers miss this part of the story. They do not see that when Balaam could not curse Israel, that he earned his money by telling Balak what it would take to bring a curse on the children of Israel. He used the Word of the LORD to create evil. Here is part of what he prophesied about Israel:

"He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. (Numbers 23:21)

When Balaam saw the righteousness of Israel, he knew that the only way to curse then was to bring sin into the camp. While he could not curse them with his prophetic mouth, he could do so with advice.

Study Balaam in the rest of the Bible and you learn more about the manner of man he really was. Joshua 13:22 called him a soothsayer rather than a prophet. The Apostle Peter wrote of him:

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 man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. (II Peter 2:15-16)

In New Testament times, we find that many people who had prophetic gifts from the LORD opting to use them to gain money for themselves. Instead of uplifting the Body of Christ, they sold the spiritual knowledge they received for money, to the highest bidder. II Peter 2 goes to great lengths to expose the nature of these people. We will deal with that another time. The Elder Jude also made a similar illustration in verse 11 of his one chapter book.

The most telling scripture though, comes in the Book of Revelation. Jesus, when rebuking the church of Pergamos, made the following statement:

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. (Revelation 2:14)

Once again, we see that what Balaam did had actually had now been turned into a doctrine by unscrupulous people who saw Christianity as a money-making venture. The next verse takes things to the next level:

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. (Revelation 2:15)

Clearly, this ties the doctrine of Balaam with the Nicolaitans' doctrine of Antichrist. When money gets mixed up in the equation, even the most godly ministries can be turned into witchcraft-oriented occult ministries that look Christian to most people. They can have all the trappings of Christianity, but when you dig deep, it is not long before you find the evil.

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