“And he took up a parable and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me son of Zippor.”
The nation of Israel came forth out of Egypt and wandered in the wilderness for forty years. The outstretched arm of Yehovah God had delivered them from the bondage of servitude in the ‘great house’ exactly as He had promised unto Abraham. This promise included the inheritance of the land where Abraham walked, the increase of his seed and four hundred years of sufferings in a foreign land; &ldqu;and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge and afterwards shall they come out with great substance” (Gen.15:14). According to the all inclusive nature of the purpose and will of Almighty God, &ldqu;it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the self-same day it came to pass, that all the hosts of Yehovah went forth out from the land of Egypt” (Ex. 12:41).
The promise of the Word of God was not contingent upon the obedience of a people who had not yet been born and it was not altered in any manner by their ignorance or disobedience. Nearly five hundred years had elapsed between the promise by the mouth of Yehovah to the action by His Holy arm and the only ‘condition’ which was required was that He who works all things after the counsel of His own will, bring theses things to pass; and thus, ‘time and chance happen to all men’ as the Will of God comes to pass.
When Yehovah brought this people forth as a nation of over 600,000 strong, it was because all necessary factors were in their proper order as the fullness of time had come. He did not show forth His sovereign control over all things by His great power because these people prayed for deliverance rather He had orchestrated the tyranny of Pharaoh to be of such severity to bring the children of Jacob to the place where the affliction caused them to cry out. There can be no doubt that when the mind and heart of Pharaoh was turned to ‘not acknowledge’ Joseph or the ‘contribution’ he and his family had made to the health and welfare of the nation of Egypt, that there were not a few relatives of ‘the savour of the land’ who were ready to remind him through numerous proofs. When fear was raised in the minds of the people of the land, as leaven in the portion of meal, those of the house of Joseph undoubtedly began to utilize every political, social and religious avenue to correct this injustice yet the Word of God stands sure and nothing could prevent that which God had decreed, for: &ldqu;where the word of a king is, there is power and who may say unto him, What are you doing?” (Ecc. 8:4).
Now the time of deliverance had come, purely by the grace of God, and the children of Israel left the land of ‘double boundaries’ abundant in wealth and numbers, rejoicing as they went. Yet this rejoicing was short lived. They had not even crossed the eastern boundary of the land when they began to murmur and complain because they were trapped between the wilderness and the sea. The glory of God halted the onset of the army of the great house as He stood between them and His chosen people, the power of His will parted the sea and the hosts crossed dry-shod and he destroyed the pursuing army by ‘overthrowing’ them in the waters (Ex. 14:27).
Did this change the hearts and minds of this people? Not in the least bit! Within three days of travel into the wilderness they found no water and when their path brought them to a place where there was water available, the water was bitter and they murmured again (15:24). Forty-two days later after Moses cast a tree branch, which Yehovah God showed unto him, into the water so that the people could drink, they were at it again. This time they called to remembrance how good things were when they were bowed down under the whips of the task-masters in Egypt. Again, Yehovah God was not moved by the ‘effectual fervent prayers’ of these righteous people when he rained down the bread from heaven, He had positioned the forces of nature with all the elements of the cosmos to cause this people to be without food, without game to hunt and without the desire to kill the livestock they had brought forth out of Egypt. Their hearts and minds were in rebellion against the path God was leading them, blind to what He had given them and being arrogantly deceived by the pride of their hearts, they murmured against God (16:2).
This is not a spiteful anathema against the children of Israel nor is it an anti-Semitic rant to blame them for the conditions of the world. The nation of Israel stands as the type of the natural man who cannot receive the things of God neither can he know them. No matter what God showed unto these people they were blind unto it because the testimony of the power and glory of God was not mixed with faith (Heb. 4:2). They were not sensitive to His mercy and grace as He brought them out with signs and wonders. They were no doubt naturally impressed by the blessings God bestowed upon them but as Jesus said 1,500 years later, &ldqu;of a truth I say unto you, You do not seek Me because you saw the miracles but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26). There is nothing that can be done of Adam or by Adam which can change his nature, alter his course or improve the conditions of his life. And so, thirty plus years of seeing the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, drinking the water from the Rock and eating the &ldqu;manna”, witnessing the glory of God descend and then ascend from off the Tabernacle of the congregation and observing the daily rituals of the hand-writing of ordinances made no change in a people who were from the beginning as ‘stiff-necked’ and ‘rebellious’ people. (Ex. 32:9); this is Adam and his children still.
The congregation was directed to travel into the lowlands of the people of the land and there He gave them a complete route of King Arad as they ‘utterly destroyed’ them and their cities. From there they went on to the mountains (Hor) by the way of the Red Sea and around the land of their kin folk, the Edomites. Here they were severely impatient about the route (Num. 21:4). God sent forth fiery serpents against those who murmured and, demonstrating His mercy for a remnant according to grace, He gave a prophetic example of the forgiveness found in the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah as Moses lifted up the serpent (John 3:14). Then the king of the Amorites was defeated by the hand of God as &ldqu;Israel smote him with the edge of the sword and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok” (Num. 21:24). This was followed by the battle at Edrei where Og the King of Bashan was delivered into their hands, &ldqu;so they smote him, and his sons and all the people until there was none left him alive and they possessed his land” (21:35).
Then Yehovah God brought forth the accuser of Israel, an empty and worthless devastator who was the son of a ‘little bird’ and the ruler of the people ‘of his father’, Balak, son of Zippor, the King of Moab. He was sore afraid of the people because they were so many. He had heard all that Israel had done to the kings and their people who were mightier than them and so he sent for ‘a foreigner’ (not of the people – Balaam) who was a ‘burning torch’ or ‘guiding light’ by the ‘interpretation of dreams’ (son of Beor to Pethor). This is the man who in the fullness of time, when all events had come to pass in compliance with the nature and disposition of man as ordained of God, took up a parable after the devastator asked him, &ldqu;What has Yehovah spoken” (23:17).
“God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent: has He said and shall He not do or has He spoken and shall He not make good?” (23:19).
Balaam is not represented well in the testimony of the scriptures. He is one with a familiar spirit of divination who &ldqu;loved the wages of unrighteousness” (II Pt. 2:15). He gives all the evidence of being of the seed of the serpent as the error of his ways was that he was greedy for reward (Jude 11). His life was employed in the wickedness of the soothsayer and, although the children of Israel slew him, many are still led away after the &ldqu;doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and commit fornication” (Rev. 2:14). So to insinuate that he was a child of the kingdom of God is quite an arrogant presumption, yet the Lord knows them that are His. It is of interest that Yehovah God met with him and spoke to him howbeit all within the confines of His eternal Will.
Balak heard the reports of how these people come up out of Egypt had routed neighboring kingdoms and as the son of a single bird (Zippor) he desired an advantage over them in the upcoming confrontation. He did not recognize Balaam as a prophet of the Most High God but sought to take advantage of the qualities which Balaam had been given in hopes that an hex or curse from a god might stop the onslaught of this nomadic caravan. This would then elevate Balak King of Moab unto a military strength in the region: &ldqu;Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people, for they are too mighty for me. Peradventure I shall prevail, we may smite them and I may drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed and he whom you course is cursed” (22:6). He brought in an impartial professional to call down the bad fortunes upon this marauding troop by reason of an evil incantation or a form of bad luck. After receiving his reward before he fulfilled his contract, Balaam boasts of all that he shall do, saying; &ldqu;lodge here and I will bring you word again as the Lord shall speak with me” (22:8).
“And God came to Balaam and said; What men are theses with you?” (22:9)
Balaam did not summon God to seek His guidance or even request an audience to present his boon before Him. In the same manner in which Yehovah God initiated the conversation and controlled every aspect of it with Satan as he came before the throne to accuse the servant of Yehovah, Job, so now God, who cannot lie, came to the soothsayer and demanded an answer from him. It was not that God did not know who these subjects of His creation were, whom He had brought into the world in their appointed time and had elevated them to their current status for the purpose of declaring His name throughout all the land. Not at all, He was demonstrating His all inclusive sovereign control over all things as He, who cannot repent or change the intent of His heart or the purpose of His will, caused the events to continue in motion as He had ordained.
The nation of Israel was in no position to be worthy of any considerations because of the nature and their actions. If the mythological Adamic doctrine of conditionalism be true, in which a person may have temporal blessings withheld or have them taken away due to disobedience, then this was a very good time this to happen. If prosperity is the by-product of obedience and tribulation the result of any non, mal or misfeasance then the nation of Israel had earned an ample dose of tribulations from the hand of God. They were idolatrous, disobedient, rebellious and stubborn from the beginning and all that the hand of God laid upon them in their journey only served to manifest the splendour of these qualities over and over again.
But the promise of God stands and none can move it. He purposed, proclaimed and performed all the intent of His heart and declared it by His Word. He is Yehovah God and there is none other. He is &ldqu;the faithful God which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations and repays them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack to him that hates Him; He will repay him to his face” (Deut. 7:9). The nation of Israel could not keep the types and foreshadows of the perfect law but rather rebelled and murmured against God at every turn. However, Yehovah God had spoken; shall He not make good?
“And God said to Balaam, You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people for they are blessed” (22:12).
The mouth of the Lord God Omnipotent declared unto the interpreter of dreams that this was a blessed people. Why? Because of all their good deeds which they had done? Not at all. The nation of Israel also represents in type the children of hope as they travel through this habitation. There is a natural man who is drawn after the demands and desires of this temporal existence and there is a spiritual man who delights in the Law of God. National Israel, having eyes to see the wonders of God could not perceive the glory of Yehovah God. Having every one of their natural needs attended to by the hand of God yet they could not understand His grace or His mercy. Even though the outer man wallows in the mire yet the inner man cannot be tainted by the corruption of the body of this death.
The outer man of this type was afore prepared by the hand of God to have the kingdom of God in the midst and the Word of God in his mouth because of the incorruptible seed within. Nothing in heaven or in the earth can bring any railing accusation against one of the election according to grace even though they murmur against the goodness of God without end. There is no condemnation to them that are in the Beloved because He stood in the filthy garments of the sin of His people in Adam and having satisfied the just demands of His Holy Law, He rebuked Satan as the sin and iniquity was removed and He received a change of raiment (Zech. 3:4). The soothsayer could not bring good tidings to the ear of the devastator because the Word of God, declaring His generation, pronounced His people blessed.
“Then Yehovah opened the eyes of Balaam and he saw the Messenger of Yehovah standing in the way, and his sword drawn in His hand: and he bowed down his head and fell flat on his face” (22:31).
Instead of the judgment of the Lord being upon the obstinate nation of Israel and the unrighteousness of their ways, the wrath of God was upon the foreigner. He gave the dumb ass a mouth to speak, gave him eyes to see the Angel of the Lord and to understand the danger in going forward while the interpreter of dreams and visions was blind to this wonder. It would be unreasonable to think that Balaam should have asked God for this insight and understanding since he was completely ignorant of the reason for the antics of the animal. God came unto him in the form of His Messenger with a drawn sword. He revealed Himself to this son of the burning torch to show him that he walked in darkness yet his repentance was not enduring. He gladly received the light but it soon faded as Moses’ face before the children of Israel (II Cor. 3ff).
After being rebuked of the worthless King for his tardiness, Balaam confesses that he has no power to say anything except that which God &ldqu;puts in my mouth” (22:38). He had no power over his cognitive abilities, nor could he command or control the words that he would speak because, although the intentions of man are in the direction of avarice and fame, being the cravings of this world, yet &ldqu;the preparation of the heart and the answer of the tongue is from Yehovah” (Pro. 16:1). The master diviner called forth to curse the nation of Israel had his heart turned of the Lord to speak the truth and obey His commandments as he confessed; &ldqu;I have sinned, for I knew not that you stood in the way against me, now therefore, if it pleases you, I will go back again”. It is such a travesty of justice that the ‘free will’ of Balaam was so superseded by the purpose of God from before the foundation of the world so as to cause him to do His will and speak the truth; &ldqu;For God has put it in their hearts to fulfill His will and to agree and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled” (Rev. 17:17).
The devastator does not care what has happened to his hireling nor does he care to hear anything retrograde to his designs. He reminds the foreigner that he is a king and that when he calls people answer or else they feel the anger of his wrath. He alleges that his authority enables him to promote his subjects to prominence and glory and those who please him will remain in these comfortable amenities. But Balaam obediently reiterates that he cannot speak anything but the word which God &ldqu;puts in his mouth” and that word comes to him in the form of a parable. Jesus told His disciples that He spoke in parables because it was given unto them to know the Kingdom of God but to the others it was hidden and so Balaam speaks in a parable which Balak does not understand.
“Let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his” (23:10)
The word given to this vessel outfitted for destruction was that Jacob and his people were righteous. If this was a natural evaluation of man according to all the fact disclosed, then he may have concluded that this wandering band was tenacious because of their military success. He could have concluded them useful in the socio-economical development of the region or may simply have said the Balak, ‘leave them alone and they will pass by’. But the testimony of the mouth of Yehovah God unto this man was that Jacob and his people were righteous.
They did not earn this righteousness by their actions either in the keeping of the law or the conquests of the field. They were not righteous in Adam for there is none righteous, no not one. Trace the lineage of man all the way back to Adam and nowhere can it be found that there is one who has delivered himself from the bondage of this corruption by the deed of the flesh. There is no one who has cleansed himself from all unrighteousness through the ingenuity and conduct of man and therefore, in Adam, there is none who qualify as righteous. Therefore, since there are none righteous, there are none who have peace with God (Rms. 5:1).
It is exclusively by the shed blood of the Lamb of God, before the foundation of the world, that the children of the incorruptible seed may be identified as righteous as they inhabit the earthen vessel. They are righteous in their Father and the seed is perfect but the vessel is carnal, sold under sin. The Judge has seen the blood and is well pleased. The atonement stands fast and sure before the actions of Adam enabled sin to enter into the world. Adams inability is inherent to his nature and all his seed is shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin (Ps. 51:5). Yet, although the initiatives, conduct and desires of the natural man be nothing but continuous rebellion against God as the drone of murmuring against the Almighty accompanies his days, the seed born from above and indwelling a vessel afore prepared unto glory is righteous before God.
This is not the righteousness of works. The deeds which Adam performs are those decreed of God from old. Performance of these labours is compliance to the Will of the King and when all that is commanded to be performed by the subjects of His kingdom is completed, they are at best &ldqu;unprofitable servant” (Luke 17:10), therefore shall no flesh glory in His sight.
“He has not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither has He seen perverseness in Israel: Yehovah his God is with him and the shout of the King is among them” (23:21).
The sin and transgressions of the children of the Lord in Adam have been imputed unto the living sacrifice and removed far off into an uninhabited land by the fit man, which is Christ (Lev. 16:21). God removed this inability in Adam from His people as far as the east is from the west where He may never call it into account ever again (Ps. 103:12). He did not wait to see how bad the sin would be or how these heinous acts would unfold. He did not use His special vision in which He looked into the future to observe the deeds of man and then formulate His plan accordingly. He created man incapable to know or keep His Holy Law so that sin would enter into the world and death by sin. He does not wait for man to decide whether he needs this remedy or if he wants eternal life; the natural man considers himself whole and in no need of a physician. But God has ordained His imputed righteousness for His people wherein He has granted that His Bride be adorned in a beautiful garment, clean and white. There is neither spot nor blemish in this fine linen for it is the righteousness of the saints (Rev. 19:8). Because she is of the incorruptible seed and since she has been given to stand up and shake off the dust of Adam (Is. 52:2), there is no possibility of contamination; &ldqu;Therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rms. 8:1)
She stands, members in particular yet one and complete in Him and although the course that she walks in this present evil generation exhibits the habitual rebellion of Adam from the beginning against God, yet this is a testimony to the life that dwells within. Those who are dead do not experience this conflict and therefore do not cry out to the Father. They do not know the pains of death or the galling yoke of the bondage of this corruption. There is no contradiction of sin against anyone who is dead in trespasses and sin. The child of grace, however, as he grows in the grace and knowledge of His will experiences the light of His glory revealing the wickedness of the evil ways of the flesh. Therefore the creature groans and travails in pain until now awaiting the adoption, the redemption of our body (Rms 8:22f).
If the nation of Israel had not been brought unto Mt. Sinai and received the handwriting of ordinances in the manner which they did, but instead had gone the few days journey into Canaan, then the inherent weakness and corruption of Adam would not have been revealed. The forty years was needed to clearly manifest the fact that every fiber of their natural being is of the earth and it craves the things of this world. And when God told Moses that the time of his habitation was over, Moses told the nation of Israel, &ldqu;For I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. Behold while I am yet alive with you this day, you have been rebellious against Yehovah; how much more after my death” (Deut. 31:27). Yet in the midst of the nation there remained a remnant according to grace known as the Israel of God. The testimony of the Spirit of God which is His light within reveals the extent of the gross darkness without. The righteousness of the incorruptible seed demonstrates the wickedness of the corruptible seed in Adam as the contradiction of sin is endured. The hope of glory of the children of the King magnifies the groaning within, &ldqu;waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rms. 8:19).
The testimony of the Spirit of God is the ‘teruwah’; the shout of the victory of God. He is the jubilee of His people for He has overcome the world. This rejoicing is exclusive to the King who has gone forth conquering and to conquer as the acceptable year of Yehovah has come to pass. He has forgiven all the debts, delivered all the captives from the graves and has presented the sacrifice for sin upon that altar not made with hands. The Lord Himself descends from heaven, with the shout of the ‘teruwah’ and the trump of God as he has made an open show of His victory over sin, death and the grave.
“And Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John11:24).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
March 1, 2015