Balaams Prophesies - RR181X44

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Contents

Lesson

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Balaams Prophecies
Course: Course - Numbers; Faith, Law, and History
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 44
Length: 0:32:39
TapeCode: RR181X44
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. Not unto us, oh Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory for thy mercy and for thy truth sake. Help us, oh God, of our salvation for the glory of thy name, and deliver us, and purge away our sins for thy namesake. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. Let us pray.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of thy grace and mercy hast renewed thy mercies unto us day after day. We come into thy presence in these troubled times to rejoice that we are in thy hands, and that thy purpose for us is altogether holy, altogether righteous, altogether merciful. Give us grace to walk in the face of all discouragement, in the serene confidence of thy grace to government, to know that thou art God, and not men. Not civil authorities nor any pretenders to power. Make us truly joyful in thee and in thy kingdom. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Our scripture is Numbers 23:1-30. Numbers 23:1-30, and our subject: Balaam’s Prophesies. “And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven oxen and seven rams. And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bullock and a ram. And Balaam said unto Balak, Stand by thy burnt offering, and I will go: peradventure the Lord will come to meet me: and whatsoever he sheweth me I will tell thee. And he went to an high place. And God met Balaam: and he said unto him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram. And the Lord put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak. And he returned unto him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt sacrifice, he, and all the princes of Moab. And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel. How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied? For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his! [00:03:58]

And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto

And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether. And he answered and said, Must I not take heed to speak that which the Lord hath put in my mouth? And Balak said unto him, Come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them: thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all: and curse me them from thence.

And he brought him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar. And he said unto Balak, Stand here by thy burnt offering, while I meet the Lord yonder. And the Lord met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, Go again unto Balak, and say thus. And when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him, What hath the Lord spoken? And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor: God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it. 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. God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought! Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.

And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all. But Balaam answered and said unto Balak, Told not I thee, saying, All that the Lord speaketh, that I must do? And Balak said unto Balaam, Come, I pray thee, I will bring thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence. And Balak brought Balaam unto the top of Peor, that looketh toward Jeshimon. And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams. And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar.” [00:07:04]

Balaam’s purposes were devious, and God knew that Balaam

Balaam’s purposes were devious, and God knew that Balaam hoped to get great gain by cursing Israel. Israel saw itself as a nation, but in verse 9, Balaam declares, inspired by God, “Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” In 1 Samuel 8:5, the elders of Israel, all of them, confronted Samuel. Not for the demand for reform and for the removal of Samuel’s corrupt sons from office, but with the desire to be like all the nations. In the U.S. also, foreign, religious, and political practices were steadily adopted to make the United States like other nations. Although the Constitution, for example, studiously and totally avoided the word “sovereign” and “sovereignty,” believing as John Quincy Adams declared with grief on the fiftieth anniversary of the Constitution, “rather in the sovereignty of God.”

The courts now routinely assert the sovereignty of the federal government, a subject never mentioned in the Constitution. Here, Balaam finds himself declaring that Israel is not to be considered a nation. They are an elect and a chosen people, comparable to the church after the resurrection and the ascension. Now Balaam had no desire to bless Israel. There was no money is displeasing Balak. God, however, used him against his will to speak as His prophet. In some degree, this ability to speak beyond ourselves is not entirely uncommon, although not in the same inspired and infallible sense. I’ve known persons who were normally fearful and unable to stand up to anyone suddenly turn eloquent and make a mighty witness. Some years ago, a woman faced with a difficult situation, and sure she would be tongue-tied before the court, amazed herself by testifying with devastating clarity and beyond her normal powers. Instead of timidity, she was clear, bold, and forthright, and startled by her own testimony. Only when it was over and she was on the hall leaving, did she begin to shake from head to foot, amazed at what she had done. The Lord sometimes blesses us with powers beyond ourselves. [00:10:18]

In Balaam’s case, he went through the forum ...

In Balaam’s case, he went through the forum {?} of satisfying God by ordering seven altars to be built, and seven oxen and seven rams sacrificed. The Lord confronted Balaam and put prophetic words in his mouth. The first prophesy is in verses 7-10. He declares he cannot curse whom God has not cursed nor defied. He sees Israel not merely as a vast encampment before him, but as the elect of God past, present, and future, and he declares, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!”

The results of this prophesy were an outrage, of course, to Balak, and no doubt a shock to Balaam himself. Three times Balak tried to get a curse on Israel through Balaam. On each occasion, Balak took Balaam to a different mountain top as a place where cursing would become hopefully possible. Now this is an important fact, and it is necessary that we understand its meaning, especially now that we have a widespread pagan revival, the worship of Mother Earth, and a stress on a variety of means of gaining ecstatic power, including nudity, on the forests, or mountains, and so on. Just as lightening strikes high points, so do supernormal powers, or so it is held. I can remember as a boy there were various cults that met periodically at some high mountain, a high point in the Sierras, and pranced in the nude, and it was a matter of great deal of talk among all the farmers in the valley, but naturalism in every era of history has affirmed a continuity between all things. This means that whatever supernatural or supernormal powers exist that are, by nature related to us supposedly, and continuous with us in their being, can therefore be tapped. Unless we are physically handicapped, our minds control all aspects of our being. In the natural order, it is seen as necessary to make contact, whether by magic or science, or ritual, with the powers of the universe. Continuity with them, when established means power and control. Modern science is increasingly related to magic, because its goal is control more than knowledge. By a change of location, Balak hoped for a better contact and a divination more agreeable to his purposes. [00:13:55]

Now we all know that, for some years, the Soviet Union

Now we all know that, for some years, the Soviet Union attempted to reach supernormal powers, telepathy and other things, and heavily subsidized men in this field. What we are less familiar with is that this kind of thing has been and is subsidized here in the United States. The author of Simulations of God is one such person.

Then second, {?} in all this is the belief that ultimate power can and should reside with the apex of the human order, the high point. This idea has many results. One has been the divine right of kings, or parliaments. Another, academic freedom fro outside controls or laws. Still another, scientific immunity from moral controls, and so on. For all such believers, the idea of an uncontrollable power beyond man is anathema. Because of this, the modern state seeks to control every area of life and thought.

Balak’s premise, and his ideas were the same of those of the modern state. The difference was that his expert in controls was Balaam, and both Balaam and Balak were in God’s control, as are men and things, both then and now.

Then third, in verse 3, Balaam tells Balak, “Stand by the burnt offering.” In this, Balaam was faithful to God’s requirements, however much he hoped to use God. When a man brought an animal sacrifice to God, he offered the animal as a substitute for himself, so that, in effect, he sacrificed himself to God. This was in faithfulness to Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for your souls.” The hope was that by pleasing God in this respect with the sacrifices, God would be pleased with Balak. At one time, of course, Louis XIV said, very famous remark, “God seems to have forgotten all that I have done for Him.” [00:16:51]

It is not uncommon for man to think that by certain

It is not uncommon for man to think that by certain acts, that they have placed God and man under obligation to them. If you insist on the priority of God and His law, they are resentful. They believe that both God and man can be placed under an obligation and their demands necessitated, both God and man necessitated.

In the second of Balaam’s three prophesies, the predictions are more devastating. According to verses 18-24, “Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor: God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it. 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. God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought! Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.”

Well, Balaam is now more prophetic than when he began. In this second prophesy, he begins with the declaration of the unchanging nature of God, as God declares centuries later to Malachi, “I am the Lord, I change not.” Therefore, Malachi, having received the commandment to bless whom God has blessed, Malachi cannot reverse God’s ways and neither can Balaam.

The next statement is a very important one for us. God, says Balaam, has not beheld iniquity nor perverseness in Israel. Now, God’s word gives us a record of both things, a long history. Just as we, when we are in Christ, are judicially clean and guiltless before God, so too Israel stood in God’s atonement, not in its personal and national sins. This meant that God was Israel’s judge and redeemer, the great vindicator. Israel has as it were the strength of a unicorn, according to the Authorized Version, and the Hebrew word, which the translators did not know the meaning of, may mean a wild ox or a buffalo. Even more, Israel is protected because the King of Kings will be born through the line of this nation, and prophetically, Balaam hears the shout of a king among them, as a triumphal procession. [00:20:25]

As a result, no human enchantment or divination is

As a result, no human enchantment or divination is of any use nor anything man can do, “What hath God wrought!” is Balaam’s conclusion. Therefore, Israel shall now devour its enemies like a young and mighty lion.

This leads us, fourth, to another aspect of the change of places before each prophesy by Balaam. Some modern occultists believe that magnetic and other forces can be present at certain points, therefore furthering their own powers. Men, then and now, have seen God, or whatever supernatural powers may exist, as a vast reservoir of potentialities of and powers. They hope to catch another face or aspect of God, and so a different site by Balaam and Balak was chosen each time. This was a belief in contradictory potentialities in God, as in men. We are full of potentialities for all kinds of things, good and evil. Hence the old saying, “There but for the grace of God, go I,” but potentiality and actuality are one in God. Van Til has often called attention to the implications of this fact. Balaam believed in God’s existence and power, but he did not truly know Him.

Recently, I read a monograph by a very highly educated, modernistic churchman, who despised all orthodox belief. For him, God was like a great minefield full of various ores to be mines, a magnificent resource rather than the supreme person, and so it was all a matter of scientific and rational thinking, how you could tap into the power.

Then fifth, in the light of all this, let us look at verse 5. “And the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth.” The essence of Balak’s and Balaam’s hope was to put a word in God’s mouth, just as pagan praying in the church is an attempt to twist God’s arms by means of numbers. “If we can only get enough people to pray about this, God will hear it,” or “If we can get the right person, surely God will listen to his prayer,” and so on and on. Putting words in God’s mouth by having a means of twisting His arm. It is not the humble submission of our Lord in prayer, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” God is not a resource, but our sovereign creator, our Lord. [00:23:55]

Balak’s reaction was anger

Balak’s reaction was anger. Neither bless them at all nor curse them at all. In other words, “Get out!” Balaam tried to justify himself, “Told not I thee, saying all that the Lord speaketh, that I must do.” The words were right, but Balaam was not, and Balak saw this.

As a result, he decided on another site, the top of Peor, as a place where hopefully, an element in the Godhead could be tapped more favorable to him. Balaam was clearly willing to make a try, by still hoping that somehow, a different result would ensue and he would get a great reward. As a result, seven more altars were built, and seven more rams and bullocks sacrificed. Let us pray.

Our Father, we thank thee for thy word. Keep us from the folly of Balaam. Teach us to know thy word and to submit to thy will, and to live in thy spirit, that we may grow in grace and in understanding, and in Jesus Christ, become more than conquerors. In His name we pray. Amen. Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?

[Audience] I was going to say, one of the code words of the scientific community with respect to computers, is artificial intelligence, and I recognize and it became very clear when my older son was taking computer science at the University of California. I was struck by the fact that these kids virtually worship this giant computer they’ve got down there, and the instructors, in effect, became the high priests of this {?}, and they have slogans and signs all over the wall that indicated that there was a virtual {?}, and I was really stunned by the depth of which the instructors were infusing these kids’ minds with the worship of this so-called artificial intelligence. It was very striking. [00:26:55]

[Rushdoony] I’m glad you brought that up, because you

[Rushdoony] I’m glad you brought that up, because you are so very right, and I read and heard from different persons of the hope that some of these computers would begin to think for themselves, and some science fiction, I am told, was written on that theme.

[Audience] Well, I told my son, I said, “Look, this is a tool like a hammer and saw,” and I said, “When you yank the plug out of the wall, it turns into an inert blob of junk.”

[Rushdoony] Yes, a very important point. Yes?

[Audience] When I was reading Numbers there a month or so ago, I got a little confused in chapter 22, 22:20, and 21 and 22, where “God came to Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do,” and Balaam did exactly as was told. He rose up, got on his ass, and took off down the road, and God’s wrath came down on him.

[Rushdoony] Yes, because God knew what was in his heart. Yes. In other words, he was outwardly conforming to God, but in reality, he was trying to get around God’s purposes, and as we go on, we’ll see what finally results. When all the prophesies fail, he tries another course. He is determined to get his reward and to frustrate God somehow. Yes?

[Audience] It’s interesting that faith and science keeps improving, despite all the difficulties we keep collecting as science advances.

[Rushdoony] Yes. They don’t recognize a false God when they see one. They’re blinded, and it is amazing, the current “Reader’s Digest,” for example, gives quite a favorable article on Lovelot, I believe is his name, this English scientist who is a worshiper of Gaia, Mother Earth, and operates not only in Britain, his headquarters, but had now in a cathedral in New York, offices out of which he operates this Gaia cult. So, somehow, it is all valid, this cult of the Mother goddess, because a scientist, among other scientists, but this one especially is behind it. The article cites that there are some men who are critical of him, but the article is basically favorable and has a picture of the man. It does not go into many of the absurdities and inanities that the spiritual counterfeits project has reported on in the works of this man. [00:30:46]

[Audience] Since David Lawless

[Audience] Since David Lawless{?} passed away, the Digest has been slowly drifting. They lost their rudder and it’s reached the second and third generation, which generally means, as it did with Time Magazine, that it’s become less coherent.

[Rushdoony] Yes, I’m afraid that’s very often true. Any other questions or comments? If not, let us conclude with prayer.

Our Father, we give thanks unto thee for this thy word. We thank thee that thou hast created us to exercise dominion, and to bring all things under the kingship and dominion of Jesus Christ. Bless us to this purpose. Make us unafraid of the powers of darkness around us, and give us grace in our difficulties to speak the word thou wouldst have us to say. 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. [00:32:29]

End of tape

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