A PAGAN seer 3,400 years ago prophesied not just the coming Messiah, but His ultimate victory over the Watchers and their demonic offspring, the Nephilim.
This week, we discuss Balaam’s third and fourth oracles over Israel, which includes the messianic prophecy of Numbers 24:17–19. We explain why his oracle refers to the coming of Jesus and his return at the end of the age.
A DONKEY displayed more discernment and wisdom than a man whose fame as a seer and prophet was renowned in the Jordan River valley for centuries.
This week, we begin the story of Balaam son of Beor, hired by the Balak, the king of Moab, to curse Israel. We discuss God’s warning to Balaam, the identity of the Angel of YHWH, Balak’s changes of venue as he tried to find a more effective place for Balaam to cast his curse, and the Deir Alla inscription, which is solid evidence from outside the Bible that Balaam was a real person.
JUST AS Israel seemed to be on a spiritual high, the people found a way to squander the blessings of God. Again.
Last week, we looked at the effort of Balak, king of Moab, to curse the Israelites through Balaam, a pagan prophet-for-hire. Instead, Yahweh pronounced three blessings on Israel. But before Balaam left, he apparently counseled Balak on ways to entice the Israelites to curse themselves, which led the Israelites “to whore with the daughters of Moab.”
The Israelites began to worship Baal of Peor, whose rites were apparently sexual. This provoked the wrath of Yahweh, who sent a plague that killed 24,000.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Zimri, a prince from the tribe of Simeon, brought a princess from Midian into the camp and had relations with her–possibly inside the Tent of Meeting itself. (Remember, Baal was a fertility god.) Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, grabbed a spear and killed the couple in the act, which turned back God’s wrath.
This is an incident identified by skeptics as proof of the murderous nature of Yahweh. That shows only that they don’t understand the spiritual war being fought by the rebellious bene elohim or the high stakes involved–no pun intended.