Balaam and Gods Word - RR181X43

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Balaam & Gods Word
Course: Course - Numbers; Faith, Law, and History
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 43
Length: 0:32:47
TapeCode: RR181X43
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Numbers Faith, Law, and History.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission

Let us worship God. Give unto the Lord, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into His courts. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, fear before Him all the earth. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, oh Most High, to show forth thy loving kindness in the morning and thy faithfulness every night. Let us pray.

Our Father, we give thanks unto thee for the blessings of the weeks past. We thank thee, who are unable to see one step ahead can cast our every care upon thee, commit our lives into thy keeping, knowing that thou art He who dost ordain all things. Teach us to trust in thee, day by day to cast our every care upon thee, to know the sufficiency of thy grace, thy daily mercies, and thy providential care. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Our scripture is Numbers 22:36-41. Our subject: Balaam and God’s Word. Numbers 22:36-41. “And when Balak heard that Balaam was come, he went out to meet him unto a city of Moab, which is in the border of Arnon, which is in the utmost coast. 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 promote thee to honour? And Balaam said unto Balak, Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak. And Balaam went with Balak, and they came unto Kirjathhuzoth. And Balak offered oxen and sheep, and sent to Balaam, and to the princes that were with him. 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.” [00:03:21]

King Balak went out eagerly to meet Balaam

King Balak went out eagerly to meet Balaam. In fact, he hurried to meet him at Ars of Moab, a border city. From there, he took Balaam to Kirjathhuzoth, meaning City of Streets, close to a point from which Israel’s vast encampment could be surveyed. Balak expressed his disapproval of Balaam’s delay in coming. Balaam’s answer is very interesting. We will examine it carefully because it tells us very much about Balaam. He says, “Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say any thing? The word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak.” Balaam stated the matter quite clearly, and he was bound by God to speak the truth. He was planning, however, to milk the situation as much as possible for his own advantage. We will see, therefore, first of all, that Balaam makes no reference in this passage to Jehovah, to the living God. He uses a word, God, “Elohim” which could be applied to any number of false gods also. He thereby avoids slighting the fact that the Lord God is Lord over Israel, so this is an evasive tactic. Balaam is avoiding obedience either to God or to King Balak.

Then second, Balak offered sacrifices at once. This was a practice common to kings in Antiquity, to offer sacrifices, and it is evidence that religion was a department of state. A Roman emperor, for example, was Pontifex Maximus, the high priest over the realm. Religious freedom, outside of Israel was non-existent in Antiquity and in much of history since. The state was man’s true church. It was man’s mediator with whatever gods or powers existed in the world of nature. This meant that a stateless man had no status with man or with the gods, or with whatever powers existed. Obedience to the state was therefore an urgent fact of life. Christianity, therefore, was everywhere the most intensive threat to the life of the state, and as Christianity recedes, the power of the state increases, and it becomes, as it were, in Hegelian terms, the high point of the evolution of the inherent power, divinity, or force within the universe. [00:07:05]

Then third, for this reason, it was difficult for a

Then third, for this reason, it was difficult for a pagan ruler to grasp the implications of Balaam’s statement; that he could only say what God permitted him to say. After all, if the king commanded and paid for it, that was it. Control over heaven and earth belonged to the state. There were technical experts, as Balaam ostensibly was, who could control certain powers, but control over heaven and earth belonged to the state. The other world was a kind of shadow-land, potentially dangerous but controllable. State control over religion was seen as a necessary exercise of jurisdiction over a realm which could be threatening. In many forms of paganism, the spirits of the dead resented the supposedly better life of men on earth, and so they had to be placated. They were envious.

Then fourth, because of the supposed superiority of this world, to bless or to curse required meeting this world’s standards. That is, the person cursing or blessing had to see the object of persons involved. If the malediction could be in their very presence, all the better. As a result, Balak took Balaam and brought him up into the high places of Baal, from thence he might see the utmost part of the people, that is Israel. Only from a high mountain site, viewing the entire encampment would the curse be truly effective.

Then fifth, this was a high place of Baal, or Bael, or Bell{?} which in the feminine form is Baalah, {?}, or {?}. The word means master, owner, or possessor. The word applied to supernatural forces and to rulers. Baal-Malchi means Baal My King. This usage calls attention to a very important fact. It was believed, almost in all forms of paganism, that a continuity exists between all kings and rulers, and whatever natural and supernatural facts there might be. Those powers were in continuity with the state, or the office, or the ruler. Although at times this link could be weakened or endangered, continuity to some degree was an essential fact. That’s why in some cultures of Antiquity, when the ruler began to age, he was executed because his natural powers had waned and therefore, the continuity had receded. Another ruler’s continuity and power therefore, might be greater, and it was important to strengthen the link. This was a naturalistic faith. All things were developments of a cosmic process. Sounds like Hegel, does it not? And of course, Hegel simply turned paganism into a philosophy. It was necessary to help that process by good communications with natural and supernatural forces. [00:11:59]

Then sixth, implicit in everything Balak said and did

Then sixth, implicit in everything Balak said and did was the presupposition that money could buy whatever he wanted. In all times in history, the cynical proverb, “Money talks,” has in some form been known. In Antiquity, however, rulers with an arbitrary power of life and death over people regarded contradiction as an insulting attempt to demand more money, and this may have been Balak’s attitude. He certainly was displeased with his delay in coming.

Seventh, as we shall see later, Balaam had in his heart a desire somehow to correct God’s plan and to gain an advantage for himself. We’ll see this in subsequent weeks. Now this is a common failing among men. God’s ways are irksome to fallen man, and he tries in various ways to set God straight. He feels, “If only God had the sense to listen to me, then the problems we face would be eliminated.” Now, despite his outward conformity to God, Balaam nursed a desire to correct God. He had no connection with Israel and he had nothing to gain by their success. Balak’s offer to him seemed entirely reasonable, and God’s purposes were alien to Balaam. Newman wrote of this episode, “The following reflections are suggested by the history of Balaam. First, we see how little we can depend in judging of right and wrong on the apparent excellence and high character of individuals. Second, we can sin without being aware of it, yet wrath is abroad and in our paths. Third, when we have begun an evil course, we cannot retrace our steps. Fourth, God gives us warnings now and then but does not repeat them. Balaam’s sin consisted in not acting on what was told him once for all.”

Eighth, in spite of himself, Balaam set forth the right doctrine of prophesy, of preaching, and of all Christian activity. “Have I now any power at all to say any thing? The word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak.” Man, however, wants to speak a creative word, to improve on or bring up to current or modern standards God’s word. Whenever or wherever the church and churchmen depart from God’s word, they drift into impotence and irrelevance. Balaam is a good representative of all too many churchmen. Jesus Christ, God incarnate had this to say to the tempter. “Man shall not live by bread along, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Men, however, are not content with that every word. They want to add their word to it, or to correct God’s word with their supposed wisdom. [00:16:03]

Cornelius Van Til, in describing Paul’s reception in

Cornelius Van Til, in describing Paul’s reception in Athens, described the fallacy which undergirded the Greek mind and also the modern mind. He said, “By the time Paul came to Athens, Greek speculation had virtually run its course. It consisted now of a balanced combination of abstract rationalism and abstract irrationalism. The parmenadien{?} assumption that only that can exist which can be logically penetrated by the intellect of man was still the accepted principle. But then Aristotle worked out the principles of formal logic. He insisted that first principles of reasoning, such as the law of contradiction, cannot themselves be proved. He warned his followers against the definition mongers. We must then have the parmenadien[?} principle of logical penetration as the measure of what is knowable to man, but we must have this principle as a co-relative to an equally ultimate principle of pure matter. Pure contingency must have a place. Unless contingency is given a place, the laws of logic will be ultimately separate from fact of space and time. So runs the argument of Aristotle.”

Now, that may seem a bit difficult to follow, but we can sum it up as Hegel did, who grasped the implications of this, and it had been developed from Descartes through Hume and Kant. So, Hegel saw the logical conclusion in a few simple words. The rational is the real. What my mind logically conceives to be logical and rational, that is reality. That was implicit in Parmenides, implicit in Plato and in Aristotle, and Descartes, and it remained for Hegel to state it openly. So, existentialism followed logically. Man is to be governed by the only reality that exists, the biology of his own being, so that he could say God was no problem to him. His neighbor was, and for him, his neighbor was the Devil, because it meant there was somebody else playing God when he himself was the true God. In other words, the rational man’s thinking replaces God’s creation as the reality. [00:19:27]

As Van Til said further, ...

As Van Til said further, “Man’s autonomy is assumed to be the sole presupposition in terms of which any revelation that might come from any god would be intelligible. Yet it is this very supposition of the autonomous self-understanding of man that acts as the primary representation of what Paul speak of when he says that ‘knowing God, men have not kept Him in remembrance.’ Calvin clearly urges Paul’s view upon us. Man has no pre-understanding of himself apart from and prior to his confrontation with a revelation of God in Christ. It is with this Calvinist point of view that we shall finally need to evaluate the new hermeneutic, as well as every other form of modern theology, philosophy, and science.”

In other words, here was a crisis. Here was a ruler who saw himself as a high point of power in his realm, having a continuity with the gods, calling in an expert. For him, the rational had to be the real, and it was logical for him that these peculiar people had to be eliminated. Therefore, utilize the powers that be, the natural forces. Bring them to focus, and Balaam was ready to go along with this. God overruled him. IN due time, he rebelled against God with deadly consequences.

The so-called Christian who seeks to drop any part of God’s word or to correct or supplement it is replaying the part of Balaam, and he is lower than Balaam’s ass. God’s every word stands, and man either stand or fall in terms of it. What Balaam and Balak represent is played out again and again in history, and Hegel, who fully understood what the claims of the God of scripture were, nonetheless rejected that. He deliberately turned to every pagan antecedent for his precedent. Even as the Supreme Court, in Roe vs. Wade, turned to every pagan precedent and totally neglected the Bible, they wanted continuity. They sought a justification, not in terms of anything that historic American law, based on biblical law, had affirmed. They went outside. They wanted a continuity with a pagan world of thought, and this is man’s lust today, so that all around us, there are Balaam’s and Balks who are saying, “We are determined to build an order. We are determined to create the future, a new world order in terms of man and man’s continuity with the forces of nature.” [00:23:35]

This, I have been told, can be well documented with

This, I have been told, can be well documented with regard to the European community and the symbols they use. It certainly marks everything in this country. We have a large number of people who, in their practical theology, have simply adopted the Tower of Babel as their premise, they’re Freemasons, with the stepped pyramid representing the degrees to the ultimate power, the contact, where the continuity, with all the powers of the universe, is attained. But it’s not limited to them. It is common to the world around us. It is amazing how many subsidies now go to scientists so-called who, like the author of Simulations of God, are occultists, and who dream that somehow, they are going to tap the chaotic powers of the universe and create the new human being. Their new human being is simply another example of the fallen Adam. Let us pray.

Our Lord and our God, we give thanks unto thee for thy word. Keep us from the folly of Balaam. Make us true prophets, procaine’s of thy word, people who live by every word that proceeds from thy mouth, so that our generation may know that thou art God, that thy will shall be done, and the will of men shattered. Our God, we thank thee. In Christ’s name. Amen. Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes? [00:26:34]

[Audience] I see that civil war has broken out in the

[Audience] I see that civil war has broken out in the Russian republic as well in Yugoslavia.

[Rushdoony] Well, God is sending confusion on the modern Towers of Babel, so we should not be surprised. Their belief is in an external unity, a unity through coercion, and God is confounding that dream, so I believe we’re going to see even more disintegration within the various central governments and their subordinate areas. One area that no one thinks about is China. That could very well disintegrate into several constituent realms. It had done that in our lifetime when we were young, Otto. It was really a number of Chinas, each ruled by its own warlord, and the rumors are that this is again beginning to take place. Any other questions or comments? Yes?

[Audience] What happened afterwards to the Kingdom of Baal?

[Rushdoony] With?

[Audience] The Kingdom of Baal?

[Rushdoony] Balak. Well, it stood for a time, but it eventually disappeared, and all those realms finally went, those within Canaan very quickly, those in the surrounding regions, after a time. The one to linger the longest was Edom, a related people, and of course Herod was an Edomian, and they have a curious history. Without holding to the faith in God, they saw themselves as a people through whom the Messiah would come, and first they played very devious game with Rome, and gained Rome’s confidence, and the Edomian kings, Herod and his successors became rules of Judah, and then, when the Jewish fanatics created the civil war, the Edomites were among their strongest troops. They identified themselves with that and wanted freedom, and that led to their total destruction. Edom ceased to exist after that. It is, today, a curiosity because their capital, Petra, whom poets said, “Rose red, Petra, a city half as old as time,” I believe are the words, is still an amazing archeological site, as the temple and various government buildings were carved out of solid rock, and the entrance is narrow canyon, which at points, can be covered by two men abreast only, and yet it fell. Any other questions or comments? Well, if not, let us conclude with prayer. [00:31:37]

Our Father, we thank thee that thy word is truth, and

Our Father, we thank thee that thy word is truth, and thy word indeed sheds a light upon our way. Give us grace to study and to heed thy word, knowing that in Jesus Christ, we are more than conquerors and that there is nothing that man can do that can prevail against thy kingdom, and thy will shall be done and thru kingdom shall come, so that this world, from pole to pole, shall be the realm of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And now go in peace. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always. Amen. [00:32:37]

End of tape

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