Note: J. Preston Eby, in order to continue to devote his full energy to writing, no longer works in the office and does not receive email. He does, however, respond to any urgent correspondence via snailmail.
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THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
CHURCH IN PERGAMOS
“I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that
hold the doctrine of Balaam, who
taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat
things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication” (Rev. 2:14).
Across the pages of scripture there march men and women chosen of God to
reveal by their lives and actions the great truths and principles of spiritual
reality. The Holy Spirit has
graphically painted a cameo-sharp picture of each one of them.
There is a clear sketch of their characters which provides object lessons
for all who walk with God and seek to fulfill His purpose in the earth.
There are some who reveal the positive, men full of faith and committed
to obedience to God, who wrought exploits and laid the foundations of God’s
ways and will for all men. Let me mention some of them.
In the Old Testament, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel,
David, Jeremiah and Daniel. In
the New Testament, Mary, John the Baptist, Peter, John, Paul, Barnabas, and
Then there are those whose lives accentuate the negative, men who profess
to walk with God and be His ministers, but whose character reveals the flaws and
errors which disqualify men from inheriting the promises. Some of these are Cain, Esau, Balaam, Samson, Saul, Absalom,
Judas, Demas, and Ananias and Sapphira.
The Old Testament prophet Balaam has long been an enigma. He appears out of the mists of antiquity somewhat like
Melchizedek — unexplainable in his origins and role of his time.
He lived near the Euphrates river in the land of Pethor, modern-day Iraq.
His prophecies were totally accurate; his language the most eloquent of
all the Old Testament prophets; his allegories the most poetic; and his
deception, by the love of fame and money, the most cunning.
His notoriety had spread so far abroad that it seems his name was known
in all the courts of pagan kings, soothsayers, and magicians.
Yet he had conversations with the true and living God almost like Moses
did! You will find his name
mentioned sixty times in fifty-seven verses in no less than eight of the
sixty-six books of the Bible — more than any other prophet!
Yet words fail to describe his final and ignoble end.
How could Balaam — who had been the greatest prophet of the Lord up to
that time (second only to Moses) — end up a soothsayer, using enchantments and
divinations in an attempt to destroy the people whom God had commanded him to
bless. How could he, whom God no
doubt would have honored and immortalized his name throughout all time — had
he stayed true — end up being slain by the Israelites as a traitor of God, an
adversary of righteousness, and an open advocate of uncleanness?
How could one so greatly gifted end up in such disgrace — an outcast of
both the people of God and the pagan peoples to whom he prostituted his
The question follows — was Balaam a genuine prophet of God?
Or was he a religious racketeer? It
is my conviction that the scriptures clearly reveal that he was a prophet of
God, and the Lord has chosen him as an example of the reward of unrighteousness
and unfaithfulness in the calling of God. Even
before you finish the Old Testament, Micah tells us that we are to remember him.
Notice what the prophet says, “O my people, remember now what Balak
king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from
Shittim unto Gilgal, that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord” (Mic.
6:5). In other words, Micah says
you can’t forget him; you can’t ignore him because he is a tremendous lesson
for God’s called and chosen people! The New Testament mentions him three times, always in
connection with apostasy. The first
is found in II Peter 2:15: “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.”
That’s the first statement, a warning concerning the “way of Balaam.” Then
Jude, in his short epistle, says, “Woe unto them!
For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error
of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah” (Jude 11). Jude warns of the “error
of Balaam.” The error of Balaam and the way
of Balaam are not the same! Then
finally, in the message of the Lord Jesus to the church in Pergamos, He says,
“I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine
of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of
Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”
In this final passage we are told about the “doctrine of Balaam.” Now
the doctrine of Balaam is different
from the way of Balaam, nor is it the
same as the error of Balaam.
Therefore, in our consideration of what the Lord would teach us from the
life of this man, we need to recognize that these three statements give us a
character analysis of Balaam. Let
us go back into his history, back into the book of Numbers, chapters twenty-two
through twenty-five, to understand these warnings.
As Israel approached the promised land, after forty years of wandering in
the wilderness, they entered a new territory.
It was the territory of certain nations which greatly feared this
multitude of people advancing into their area of the world.
Israel had gained a victory as they came up against the Amorites and
battled with them. Naturally, the
word of that military victory spread and caused concern among all these nations.
And when Israel came into the territory of Moab, Balak the king of Moab
was afraid to engage them in battle. Not
knowing how to handle this apparent threat to his kingdom, he called for the
most famous prophet of that day and engaged him to put a curse on Israel.
The one that he engaged is the one in whom we’re interested, Balaam,
Balaam was a Midianite, from the same country where Moses had lived for
forty years before his call to deliver Israel from the hand of Egypt.
That explains in part how he knew Yahweh, the true and living God.
He was brought from Aram, out of the mountains of the east.
And we should note this about this man: Balaam uttered several of the
most wonderful prophecies you’ll find in all the word of God!
When the children of Israel arrived at the east bank of the Jordan river,
preparing to cross over into the land God had promised them, naturally Balak the
king of Moab, occupying an adjoining territory, did not know their intentions.
He perceived them as a threat to his kingdom, should they attack him and
wrest his kingdom from him. Therefore,
afraid to make an attack upon them but wanting to defend his kingdom, he sent
messengers to Balaam. The message
they bore to the prophet was this: “Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse for
me this people; for they are too mighty for me:
perhaps I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive
them out of the land; for I know that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he
whom thou cursest is cursed.”
What a reputation Balaam had! And
the messengers of Balak came to this mighty prophet not only with a plea from
the king of Moab, but they brought with them a very handsome price.
“And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards
of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him
the words of Balak.” The rewards
of divination was simply the money they were prepared to pay Balaam for his
services in cursing the children of Israel.
With this money they came to him and said, “Balak has sent us, and he
wants to engage your services. He
requests that you come and curse this people that has recently come up out of
Egypt. They are a very dangerous
people! So far, they have had
victories everywhere they have met the enemy, and king Balak needs your help at
this crucial hour.”
Ah, the very interesting thing is that this man Balaam sounds very
genuine. “And he said unto them,
Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the Lord shall speak
unto me: and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam.”
Have you ever heard anything more pious than that?
He sounds very genuine, does he not?
Balaam honestly seems to be trying to find the mind of the Lord here!
And indeed Balaam did inquire of the Lord, and he received the answer
from God! “And God said unto
Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people; for they
are blessed.” That is God’s
clear, unmistakable, and uncontrovertible word to Balaam.
“You’re not to go, and you’re not to curse these people, because
I have blessed them!” That’s
God’s answer. Now what will
Balaam do in response to this word from God?
The fact is, he still appears one hundred percent sincere and genuine,
for “Balaam rose up in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, Get you
into your land; for the Lord refuseth to give me leave to go with you.”
He says, “I can’t go. I
won’t go. Go home to your master
and tell him that!”
“And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went unto Balak, and said,
Balaam refuseth to come with us.” Now
if the story ended there, I would have to say that Balaam is one of the most
remarkable men of God of whom I have ever heard! Here’s a man that has received a word from the Lord.
God gives him a prophecy, and this man obeys explicitly the message.
He said plainly, “I won’t go. I
will not curse these people!” But,
unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there.
As it turns out, Balak is a very determined and resourceful king.
And, in my mind, I do not doubt for one moment that he knew something
about the character of this man Balaam. “And
Balak send yet again princes more, and more honourable than they.”
Ah, now Balak begins to flatter the prophet by sending some of the most
important men of the kingdom to confer with him.
He raises the issue to a higher level of his government. “And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak
the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me.”
They make him a more attractive offer.
“For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do
whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this
people.” Now Balak offers Balaam
a cabinet position in his government! Balaam will be one of his closest advisors, and he will obey
all the counsel Balaam gives him!
And now listen to this pious prophet.
“And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak
would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of
the Lord my God, to do less or more.” Now
why does Balaam change the subject, and instead of referring to the high
position Balak offered him, he suggests that should Balak give him his “house
full of silver and gold” he still could not go beyond the word of the Lord?
I will tell you why! Because
that’s what he wanted!
With subtileness he was sowing the seed of suggestion into the mind of
the king. Why mention it, if
you’re not thinking about it? “Why,”
he says, “I wouldn’t go even if he gave me a house filled with gold and
silver.” And when he makes this statement I can hear a lot of brethren
saying, “Amen! Hallelujah for
Balaam! What a testimony he’s
not genuine here. The words that
flow out of his mouth cannot be taken at face value.
Balaam has a secret agenda in the words he speaks.
He’s actually going to take a little less than a house full of gold and
silver, but it’s still going to be a good price.
And king Balak will feel like he got a real bargain!
May I say to you, he said this because he was a covetous man.
Now listen to what follows this pious declaration: “Now therefore, I
pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the Lord will say
unto me more.” Now, why did he
say that? He already had the word of the Lord! He
had already given his answer!
So why does he say in effect, “Wait here tonight, and I’ll go to God
again to see if He has changed his mind!”
Can you not see the subtlety and shrewdness?
As soon as he planted the idea of gold and silver, he announced that he
would go back and inquire of the Lord once more, if perchance He might have
changed His mind!
not unlike the preacher I once heard about who came to his wife and said,
“I’ve just received a call to pastor the church in the next town.
It’s a larger town. It’s
a much better church. The people in
it are more refined and cultured, they do not cause the trouble the people here
do, and they’ve offered me a higher salary.
I’m going upstairs and pray about this to see if it’s the Lord’s
will for me to go.” His wife
says, “Fine, I’ll go up and pray with you.”
And he says, “Oh, my, no. You
stay down here and pack!” Balaam,
you see, is going to pray about it some more, although he already has God’s
does look like God changes His mind, does it not?
Notice the development here for it’s so important.
“And God came unto 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.”
Now somebody says, “God did
change His mind.” No, God
didn’t! You see, my beloved, if you want to play games with God He
will play games with you, and you will be caught in your own folly.
God is no fool. He will give you enough rope to hang yourself!
He is wiser than all the cunning craftiness of man!
You cannot out-smart God! You
remember when the children of Israel complained and murmured in the wilderness
to Moses, “We want something besides manna to eat.
We’re tired of this stuff. We
want meat!” And God says,
“I’ll give them flesh. I’ll
give them flesh till it comes out of their nostrils and they are sick of it.”
Later on, the Psalmist wrote, “He gave them their request; but sent
leanness into their soul” (Ps. 106:15).
demand our way over the wisdom of His
way, God will let us have our way and we will reap the folly of it!
There are certain things that you can keep nagging God about which
He’ll permit you to do. But, my
friend, you’ll dry up spiritually! The
idea that we can ask anything our carnal heart desires and God is obligated to
give it to us is a half-truth. Oh,
yes, He will give you what you demand
of Him, but that doesn’t mean it is good for you, or that it conforms to
God’s best and highest for you. Do
you want Him to give you every one of your prayer requests, or do you really
want Him to have His way? Do you
want blessed deliverance out of every problem and trial, or do you want to learn
the lessons God is teaching you, that you may grow up into the stature of
Christ? Do you want His will to be
done, or do you want God to come over to your side and do what you want done?
The interesting thing is there are times when He will do just that!
There are a great many Christians that could testify to this experience.
But those who demand God to bless their
plans, their efforts, and their
desires are not sons.
If God is giving you everything you want, that is no sign of sonship!
It may be a sign of THE BALAAM CONDITION!
Now this man Balaam is being permitted to go, but God is going to warn
him every step of the way. And He
uses something quite interesting. “And
Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of
Moab. And God’s anger was kindled
because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way.”
Without doubt, the reason Balaam could not see the angel of the Lord was because he was thinking about a house
full of silver and gold! He was a
covetous man, and couldn’t see spiritual things. And talk about a rebuke!
God knows how to rebuke. The
dumb animal on which he was riding could see the angel; it has more discernment
than he does! My beloved, this is
the way of Balaam. The way of Balaam
is preaching, prophesying, or ministering in any capacity for money!
Hear the words of Peter again as he evaluates this man. “Who have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray,
following the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness: but was rebuked for his iniquity; the
dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbade the madness of the prophet” II
Pet. 2:15-16). The “wages” of
unrighteousness are the money people receive by departing from the perfect will
and plan of God to accommodate people from whom they can profit by pleasing
them. Some of the most covetous
people I have met are in the Lord’s work!
A few of them I have met in this kingdom and sonship message!
There is always a price on everything. There
is always a plea for money for this
project and that. Their need of your money
is the object of every meeting they hold, every magazine they publish, and every
letter they write. They will send
you a book for your money, they will send you a tape for your money, they will
send you some gold-colored trinket for your money, they will pray for you for
your money, and with a thousand other crafty schemes they make merchandise of the gullible people who blindly follow them.
They know the way of faith, but instead rely on carnal methods when it comes to
raising finances. They coddle and
flatter people at the expense of declaring the full counsel of God in order to
profit thereby. There is always a gimmick
to entice you to send your hard-earned money to fulfill their grandiose schemes
to save the world or bring in the kingdom!
Religion can be a racket. And
I think every son of God is responsible for knowing what he is supporting!
Old Balaam had a message from God, but he was covetous. We’re merely on the surface now; let’s probe a little
deeper. Look carefully at the
personality of Balaam. Jude tells
us this: “Woe unto them! For they
have gone in the way of Cain, and run greedily after the error of Balaam for reward…” (Jude 11). Here we meet the error
of Balaam. The error of Balaam was
in deviating from the will of the Lord! Balaam
represents a ministry or relationship with the Lord that brings a word from God.
Balaam was a prophet, a true prophet of the true God bringing a true word
from the Lord! Balaam was also a
teacher and his student was Balak. Each
of us is a teaching before we are a
We teach what we are! Balaam
prophesied out of the Spirit of the
Lord. But Balaam taught out of who he was! What
we are is much more powerful and
expressive than what we say.
Balaam taught Balak not only by his words, but out of his character and
state of being. The word of the
Lord was in his mouth, but carnality, deceptiveness, greed, and rebellion were
in his heart. And that is the error
of Balaam! Had you met him and said
to him, “Now, brother Balaam, why are you going with these messengers?
We understand that God has told you not to curse Israel.
So, why are you going?” Then
he would start rationalizing. He
could explain his motives, and he could ascribe a worthy purpose for his
conduct. That’s the interesting
Now let us dig a little deeper into the life of this prophet.
This brings us to his doctrine. The doctrine
of Balaam is satanic; it’s demonic; it’s hellish; it’s subtle.
It’s the same thing that appeared in the garden of Eden to our first
parents! In our Lord’s message to
the church at Pergamos He said, “But I have a few things against thee, because
thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block
before the children of Israel, to eat
things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit
fornication” (Rev. 2:14). Balak,
you see, found that God would not permit him to curse the people of Israel.
He knew he could not curse them! He
understood his limit in disobeying the word of the Lord.
But he still coveted the favor and the money of king Balak! So he realized that he was going to have to adopt a different
approach if he was to get the silver and the gold, and that’s what he had come
for, after all. If you think Balaam
is going back empty-handed, you are not acquainted with religious racketeers!
Because he wants the rich gifts of Balak, he’s going to do something
now that’s very devious.
He would not out-right curse Israel, but he says something like this to
Balak. “Now, I can’t curse
them, but I can tell you how to destroy them.
You go down and join them. Get
the good-looking women of Moab to go down to the camp and get acquainted.
The Israelite men will find the Moabite women attractive, and will commit
whoredoms with them. Some of them
will love your women so much they will marry them!
Your women will be so beautiful, so sensuous, so enticing, so caring and
loving, that the Israelite men will do anything for them.
They will yield to your customs, they will compromise with your gods,
they will adopt your traditions, they will pollute their worship of Yahweh, they
will commit trespass against the Lord, and God will no longer fight for them.”
“And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom
with the daughters of Moab” (Num. 25:1).
As you read the terrible account that follows, you will see what happened
as a result of Balaam’s counsel. And
so the Moabite women “caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of
Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord” (Num. 31:16).
With fornication came idolatry into the camp of Israel!
What the devil couldn’t do by cursing and fighting from the outside, he
did from the inside!
The doctrine of Balaam was the
doctrine and method to corrupt a people who couldn’t be cursed!
They were corrupted by tempting them to be joined to the women of Moab,
defile their separation unto the Lord, and abandon their holy character —
union with the mind, ways, methods, and spirit of the world — which is spiritual
fornication. The doctrine of
Balaam is union with the world, union with the fleshly ways of the carnal mind
instead of a pure walk in the spirit and by the spirit.
Do you know that God’s elect people have never been hurt from without?
The Lord’s called and chosen people can only be corrupted from within!
The richest years of the early church were during its persecution.
While they were being imprisoned, beheaded, fed to lions, burned at the
stake, boiled in oil, their property confiscated, and all the rest, there was
great boldness, glory, and power upon the people of God!
They increased by the thousands and the millions, shook kingdoms, and
turned the world upside-down!
You see, my beloved, the devil was fighting them from the outside.
He finally caught on! He
couldn’t hurt the church from the outside; so he joined
it! Read the story of
Constantine. Turn the pages of
history and read how Constantine, emperor of Rome, out of considerations of
state, in order to consolidate the empire under his control, made Christianity
the official religion of his empire. Read
the lines which tell how at the point of the spear he forced whole nations in a
day into the communion of the church. Read
Eusebius, the early church historian, to catch his enthusiastic conviction that
the holy kingdom of heaven had come and that the kingdoms of this world had
become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ — the carnal armies of the
earth now supporting the church and bearing it onward to the full conquest of
the world. Read it!
and the world were married together, the church and the world formed an
adulterous relationship in which the church was kept and supported by human
government. It still is! Even if it
is only your government-chartered, tax-exempt, non-profit religious
organization, preacher friend of mine, by which carnal government dictates that
you choose a name other than the Lord’s name, that you appoint a board and do
business contrary to the government of the Holy Spirit, and by which the
government of carnal men confers upon you the “right” to marry the young and
bury the dead as a servant of the civil government.
“By the authority invested in me
as a minister of the gospel, and by the
State of Texas, I pronounce you man and wife!”
Human government and fleshly armies are not
the kingdom of God! With that first
union of the church with human government all sorts of pagan rituals, pagan
holidays, idols, cathedrals, doctrines, and practices were brought into the
church. Can we not see by this that
the formation of a religious organization chartered
by the state is the first step
into religious Babylon! The church
couldn’t be cursed, so it was corrupted! That is the doctrine
likewise, all they who follow in Balaam’s way, who have erred from the pure
walk in the Spirit of God, and yet make a profession of serving and doing the
work of Christ in their high-swelling words of vanity, and yet run greedily
after the error of Balaam for rewards, and seek money for their preaching,
prophesying, programs, books, and tapes; and that admire men’s persons,
flattering the people for gain, and take titles to themselves of “Reverend,”
“Doctor,” and others of this world’s
recognition — are not these they of whom the Lord spoke when He said,
“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 stumbling block before the
children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit
Ray Prinzing once used the illustration of a young woman who goes to a
nursing school, where she learns the things pertaining to the medical world, and
after years of training and experience she becomes an RN. Long before this she has commenced to wear the nurses’
white uniform with white shoes, stockings, and cap so that she becomes an
expression of that field. You see
her walking down the street and before you can even recognize her as Sue, or
Helen, or whoever, you have already identified her as being a nurse, for the
medical world has so absorbed her into its system, that she becomes an
expression of that realm. She bears
their MARK! God is raising up in
this hour a people so GIVEN, YIELDED to the spirit of wisdom and holiness and
power of the Christ as to be absorbed therein until it becomes, without our
human effort, that we reveal HIM, for HE becomes the manifestation, HE becomes
the atmosphere of our living, the sphere of our existence, so that we express
only HIM at all times and in all circumstances.
We are being perfected to bear the mark of GOD!
In our former days in the religious systems of man, in both thinking and
actions we all bore the marks of the bestial system of this world.
Did we not think like the world, plan like the world, organize like the
world, promote like the world, and act like the world?
Who would deny that the religious systems’ whole vision, methodology,
and attitude is in accordance with the world’s system?
Just as the church in the days of Constantine “paganized”
Christianity by mingling with the worship of Christ pagan practices of idols,
images, altars, incense, candles, vestments, saints (bearing the characteristics
and virtues of the ancient pagan gods), Christmas, Easter, and a thousand other
things, so in our day the church systems’ planning and program is all in
harmony with the “spirit of this age” as they continually “adapt”
themselves to whatever the world is doing!
Let the devil hatch rock music out of the cesspool of the demented
culture of drugs and sex, and the church will immediately “Christianize” it
by giving the harmonic dissonance “Christian words.”
They call it “Christian Rock.” It
is not! You cannot have Christian
rock any more than you can have Christian drug lords, Christian harlots,
Christian thieves, or Christian liars! It
is not even Christianized demonism — it is demonized Christianity!
The church systems are always trying to keep in step with the world,
appropriate to themselves the world’s program, and somehow make it
“Christian.” It is the doctrine
of Balaam! Let a worldly book come
off the press about near-death experiences, and soon “Christian” books on
near-death experiences will line the bookshelves.
Let diet books become the big money
maker, and immediately “Christian” diet books and programs will flood
the market. What great imitators the doctrine of Balaam makes God’s people!
You see, precious friend of mine, those who subscribe to the doctrine of
Balaam are not leaders, setting the
standards for mankind, but followers,
mimicking and adapting the world’s standards under the pretense of serving
Christ. If television talk shows
are what the world is doing, then let us entertain the saints with
“Christian” talk shows! Balaamites
are never leaders and initiators, blazing the path for the world to follow; they
are always followers and imitators as they partake of the spirit of the world
and fornicate with her flesh and eat things sacrificed to idols!
David Wilkerson once wrote: “A few years ago, three pastors of large
charismatic churches publicly stated they believed God would use rock-and-roll
and rap music to bring in the next great revival.
One of these ministers even declared that God used the Beatles to open
people’s hearts to the Holy Spirit. No
— never! Those young men
glorified sex and drugs. How could
that ever be the work of the Holy Spirit? One
Christian magazine predicted that the next big movement in the church would be a
‘nightclub’ approach — including services that feature dancing, near-beer
alcohol, and comedians. One pastor
told me this is already happening in churches throughout England and Europe.
The churches can’t hold the people’s interest — so they turn them
into nightclubs! At one such
church, a visiting gospel singer was advised not to sing anything that mentioned
sin or the blood of Jesus, because it might offend the visitors.
That church’s leaders were trying to create a ‘comfort zone’ for
God is not well pleased with the world of believers who are all too
willing to proclaim the praise of God with their lips and raise their hands in
seeming consecration, even while they wear the gaudy garments of Babylonish
religion, running greedily after the error of Balaam for gain, and prostituting
the holy truths of God with the unholy methods and program of the world.
God is well pleased with those
who seek only His will, His ways, and His glory.
God is well pleased with those
who reject the fleeting pleasures of sin and the worthless glitter of the
prestige and position of this world. God
is well pleased with those who forsake
the excitement and noise of the crowd, who abandon listening to all manner of
fantastic oratory, who in their hearts are no longer entertained by man-made
programs, soulish concerts, so-called Christian television shows, and carnal
schemes of a church system that has forsaken the leading of the Spirit of God.
The Father is well pleased with
those who see His hand in all the happenings of their lives and give no place or
glory or credit to the devil. The
Father is well pleased with those
whose only desire out of a pure heart is to please Him and apprehend that for
which they also have been apprehended of Christ Jesus.
The Father is well pleased with
those who put first things first and walk daily after the spirit and not after
the flesh. The Father is well
pleased with those who stop seeking gifts
and seek the Giver.
God is well pleased with those
who stop seeking things and start
seeking the Lord Himself.
If the people of God today would stop following after preachers and
personalities, turning a deaf ear to the slick advertising of unscrupulous men
who love to promote themselves, if they would forget about revivals and crusades
and supposed signs and wonders and begin to turn the knob of their prayer closet
door, seeking not to run here and there, and do this and that, but seeking to
enter into harmony with the mind of Him who worketh all things after the
counsels of His own will, to do only those things they see the Father doing, to
speak only those things they hear of the Father, then all the world would know
that the Father is glorified in His sons
even as He is glorified in His Son.
Let us seek God that He might fashion our lives according to His eternal
wisdom, that in us He might be well
There are some wonderfully instructive connections between the various
items set forth in the seven churches of the book of Revelation in which we are
called to overcome. Immediately
following the Spirit’s warning about the doctrine of Balaam, He says, “So
hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I
hate” (Rev. 2:15). Why should the
Lord hate the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes so much?
And why is it mentioned again here in connection with the doctrine of
Balaam? I will tell you why!
Their names tell us a lot about them.
Balaam, I am told, means “conqueror of the people.”
Nicolaitane also means “conqueror of the common people.”
Their names are almost identical and speak volumes to us in the spirit as
to what God hates! The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes put one man above another, a
hierarchical system that makes some people “laity” and others “lords,”
rather than a family of sons under the Headship of Christ. All church systems of man still hold to this doctrine and
system today with their hierarchy of ministers and offices. They conquer the people through the force of their titles,
prestige, power, charisma, and rules and regulations, rather than serving in
humility out of the ministration of the Spirit.
Balaam went beyond the Nicolaitanes, however, for he taught Balak to
cause Israel to stumble through the seductiveness of women, so that they might
commit immorality and be turned to other gods.
Balaam did this in order to gain a reward of money, prestige, and power
for himself. But he did not rule by
that power he possessed — his purpose was carried out through the corruption
of the people of God! This is a
more refined and deadly form of conquest than mere Nicolaitanism, for it turns
the heart away from the purity of the truth and an uncontaminated walk in the
Spirit and by the Spirit.
— in the church at Thyratira we meet another unsavory character — Jezebel!
She represents an even more insidious realm — the internal
realm of the soul — the very root of
everything! In each case the Spirit
is probing deeper! He starts with
the outward form, men, often good men, who seek to control and dominate the
Lord’s people. Then He moves to
the Balaamites, those who bring the Lord’s people into union with the flesh
and the world, corrupting the work of God in their lives through error.
Oh, yes, God will deal with us to bring us out of the various forms of
Babylon. But ultimately He will
bring every overcoming son of God to the root
of the matter — getting the Babylon out
of us! This is accomplished only through the salvation of the soul, the renewing
of our mind, bringing transformation. Israel
is the type — God brought Israel out of Egypt in one miraculous night.
But it took forty long years of dealing in the wilderness to get
Egypt out of them so that they could rise up in faith and obedience, enter
in, and possess their land! The
same pattern appears in the book of Revelation in the seven steps of the
overcomer! Only at the end — in
the final step of overcoming — does the overcomer finally ascend to the throne
of God! (Rev. 3:21).
Some time ago a dear sister in the Lord, Sheila Taylor, shared a
remarkable dream with us which has vital significance for the elect of God in
this new kingdom Day. She wrote,
“In this dream I was among a lot of people.
I had lain down and a 2,000 foot-long snake had passed from my body
through my bowels. Nobody knew what
it meant or what to do with it. They
hung it up over a fence, then finally made a plastic case (cheap shade of blue
plastic) and put the snake in it to preserve it.
They were talking about it but
without wisdom, only confusion. The
Lord then spoke to me and said that I had been emptied of all sins and
traditions and doctrinal teachings and errors from the past 2,000 years! He said I had been born at the cross but since then man had
distorted the truth and many lies and errors had come in, that had to be taken
“Then I vomited. The Lord
said it was the residue. I was now
clean! I don’t know what
‘residue’ consisted of. But
then He gave me a glass of the best tasting wine imaginable and said, Drink!
It was the New Wine. I was
still lying down and the Spirit poured the wine into my mouth.
There are no words to describe how refreshing it was!
It was sweet and wonderful and made me feel alive all over.
Then I sat up and drank more and thanked Him over and over for filling me
I worshipped Him. Then I woke up. Out
of all the people there I was the only one who understood what was happening.
The snake was dead but no one wanted to bury it; they wanted to preserve
Although this experience was very real to Sheila personally, it is my deep conviction that it is also a message to the body of Christ! Truly God is purging His called and chosen elect from all the Balaamite errors and abominations of the past 2,000 years! Oh, the wonder of it! God is doing a deep and thorough work by His Spirit and by the cross in our lives, and He is delivering us completely from all that is not of Him. We are even vomiting up the residue, for the deliverance must be complete and irrevocable! The message to the church at Pergamos is just this: THE OVERCOMER MUST, IN THE THIRD STEP OF HIS OVERCOMING, REPENT OF AND FORSAKE ALL THE MIXTURE OF RELIGION to follow the Lord, and the Lord alone, in all things and at all times. “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (Rev. 2:16). Everyone who is called to sonship is now repenting of all the way of Balaam, all the error of Balaam, and all the doctrine of Balaam!
The doctrine of Balaam seduces
the Lord’s people to “eat things sacrificed to idols” (Rev. 2:14).
Balaam taught Balak to seduce Israel into two things — eating and
fornication. Food and sex —
aren’t these the two most powerful human passions!
In its spiritual meaning, eating speaks of the word we feed upon; the
ideas, teachings and doctrines we take into our spirits.
Balaam taught Balak to seduce God’s people to eat!
You see, my beloved, the Baptists preach one word, the Catholics preach
another word, the Pentecostals preach a different word, the Mormons preach
something else, and so on throughout Christendom. Two millenniums ago the same beloved apostle John who wrote
so extensively of God’s marvelous love also left us this solemn warning:
“Little children, keep yourselves from IDOLS (that is, false gods, or false
ideas and representations of the true God)” (I Jn. 5:21). “Little children, keep yourselves from false ideas about
God!” Do we have false ideas
about God? I fear we do.
How the world and the church are filled with them!
Many people view God as a schoolboy did: “…the sort of person who is
always snooping around to see if anyone is enjoying himself and then trying to
stop it.” Others make God out to
be a tyrant, or a vengeful, wrath-filled fiend.
Some paint a God so weak that the will of man is stronger than the will
of God! Then others speak of God as
always trying to do this and that, but
the devil is ever hindering and thwarting God’s purposes, getting the upper
hand, defeating God’s best laid plans, tripping up and overcoming the saints,
until it would seem that the devil is himself the omniscient
and omnipotent one!
Some have a God so capricious that He will only save you if the correct
formula is repeated over you in water baptism.
Vast numbers blaspheme the Holy Ghost by attributing the works of the
Holy Spirit to the devil, contending that if you speak in tongues, prophesy,
heal the sick, or do miracles you are of the devil, and they dispense that perverted
word into their offspring (spiritual children) who do truly trust Jesus as
their Saviour. Some say that Christ
can only be ministered to you through the sacraments, or a particular ritual, or
the ministry of their group, or membership in their movement, or by believing
only the doctrines of their church and listening to no one else.
Others teach their people that they cannot go to heaven if they use
tobacco, drink wine, wear jewelry, put on make-up, cut their hair, go to movies,
or wear or not wear certain kinds of clothing.
We could pile error upon error, with “end-time” teachings about the
so-called “rapture” of the saints, about
a revived Roman empire, the antichrist sitting in a temple in Jerusalem, and
wrath, judgment, and tribulation poured out upon the inhabitants of the world.
To this we could add pagan holidays, customs, rituals, ceremonies,
liturgies, works, and philosophies that have been introduced into the church
realm and have become such an established part of her practice and teaching
until the whole world believes that these things are surely taught somewhere in
the scriptures or were established by the apostles or by Jesus Himself!
Men have created out of their carnal minds a false
image of God which is a religious
Can you not see the mystery? All
who partake of such false and polluted teachings and doctrines which
misrepresent God and distort His truth are eating
things offered to idols — eating a word
which is offered upon the altar of a false idea and image of God!
All who follow the error of Balaam, and teach the doctrine of Balaam, do
indeed seduce the Lord’s people to
eat a word which is offered upon the altar of a false god — a false
religious system which has usurped the very truth and spirit of our heavenly
Father! Smoking, cussing, and
drinking are not the big things an overcomer must overcome — these
negative spiritual conditions existing in the realm of the seven churches
are the things within ourselves we are commanded to repent of and overcome!
Every son of God has repented
and is repenting in the light that the Spirit brings!
Finally, the doctrine of Balaam
seduces the people of God to “commit fornication” (Rev. 2:14). The fornication here is a symbol,
not the physical fornication of the flesh, but a joining to that which is not
Christ. Women in the Revelation are
likewise symbolic, either positively of the bride of Christ, or negatively of
the soul, or of religious organizations and activities which are soulish
rather than spiritual. These are
those ministries, and multiplied millions of believers, who daily sow their
spiritual seed, deposit their spiritual life of Christ, into man-made religious
systems, mingling the reality of Christ with the commandments of men, joining
themselves to carnal programs, promotions, methods, and worldly religious
activities, satisfying their own soulish appetites and lusts in the name of the
Lord. It is spiritual
Consider with me two verses of scripture in Galatians 3:3 and Philippians
3:3-4. “Are ye so foolish?
Having begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” “We
are the circumcision, who worship God in
the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the
flesh.” “The flesh” is the name by which the word of God
designates our human consciousness — soul and body.
The soul at creation was placed between the spiritual or divine and the
sensible or worldly, that both soul and body might, in due time, be raised up
into that perfect union in the spirit which would result in man attaining his
destiny, a spiritual body. When the
soul yielded to the temptation of the sensible it came under the power of the
body — this union of soul and body became “flesh”. And now the flesh is not only without the spirit, but even
hostile to it: “the flesh wars against the spirit, and the spirit against the
flesh” (Gal. 5:17).
More than a hundred years ago William Law wrote that this antagonism of
the flesh to the spirit has TWO DISTINCT STRATEGIES.
On the one hand, the flesh wars against the spirit by its committing sin
and transgressing God’s commands. This
is the evil of the flesh.
On the other hand, its hostility to the spirit is no less manifested in
its seeking to serve God and do His work! This
is the good of the flesh. The
good and the evil of the flesh are represented in the garden of Eden as “the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
When man sank into the flesh realm he then walked no longer in the
spirit, but after the knowledge of good and evil. In yielding to the sensual realm of the body, the soul sought
itself instead of the God into whom the spirit could have raised it.
Self-knowledge, self-effort, and self-development prevailed over the life
of the spirit!
And now, so
subtle and mighty is this spirit of self, that the flesh, not only in sinning
against God, but even when the soul learns to serve God, still asserts it power,
refusing to let the SPIRIT ALONE LEAD, and in its effort to be religious, wants
to serve God independent of the spirit and is still the great enemy that ever
hinders and quenches the spirit. It
is because of this cunning deceitfulness of the flesh that there often takes
place what Paul speaks of to the Galatians: “Having begun in the spirit, are
ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Unless
the soul is brought into absolute submission to the spirit, the surrender to the
spirit being entire as a bride to the bridegroom, thus bringing about the
marriage of the bride-soul to the bridegroom-spirit, which is the marriage of
the Lamb, what has begun in the spirit, very early and very speedily passes over
into confidence in the flesh!
We are living in a very wonderful age.
It is an age of drive and hurry and stress and storm. One would not go very far afield today in describing our age
as an age of impatience and unrest. The
tragic fact in the life of the American people at this present time is the
absence of quietness and repose. We
believe in “drives”. We
slavishly pursue our careers and social involvements; we meet our husband or
wife in the hall and say, “Hi!” and we are gone.
It takes great effort and commitment in order to find a few minutes to
spend “quality time” with the children.
If nothing else is going on we have the television going to keep our mind
engaged lest we discover the silence. We
are in too great a rush for repose. We
have little or no time for the inner chamber.
We prefer the flurry of activities and the crowds, the hustle and bustle.
Nothing appeals to us but the strenuous and the thrilling.
Repose is too tame a thing entirely for this atomic space age!
The sad part of it is that it is no different in the church world.
The church is imitating the world! Christians
regulate their devotion by the clock. The
church schedule is packed with flesh-appeal programs and activities that run day
and night. They feel that unless
every night of the week is taken up with some sort of activity, the ministry is
an ineffective thing. They have the
strange idea that nothing is being done unless someone is talking! So they fairly swarm to conferences and seminars and
committee meetings and platform discussions and concerts and workshops and
programs and conventions. The
inquiry that is nearly always made concerning a religious gathering is, “Was
there much of a crowd there?” They
take it for granted that if the speaker was a good talker and the building was
crowded, the meeting was a big success. Do
you remember in “Pilgrim’s Progress” the conversation between Christian
and Talkative? “I thought we
should have a great deal of talk by this time,” says Talkative.
The moments when he was pursuing his journey in silence seemed wasted!
God’s purposes are not
accomplished by intellect and soulical activity. The
church systems go forward today like a little Samson shorn of its locks of
power. It parades up and down,
boasting of its accomplishments, and, like Samson, it knows not that the Spirit
of God has departed from it. But
even as Saul and his armies tremble in fear before the mighty Goliath, the Lord
God is raising up a little David with a slingshot of the spirit of sonship to
meet the enemy with all of his stratagems and come off with a mighty victory!
This David company is still in preparation, far out in the solitude of
green pastures and beside the still waters, learning by faith and obedience to
slay their bear and kill their lion. But
we are gaining new victories everyday and learning within ourselves the power of
God and the ways of His kingdom! Saul’s
armor will not do! The sons of God
are being prepared to step forth in the majesty of the name of the Lord God of
Israel! This preparation does not
take place with the seven brothers in the hustle and bustle of the streets of
Bethlehem, but alone with God in the
secret place of the Most High!
The church systems are reaching out their hands to society around them
but their hands are so full that their hearts are empty.
What do busy preachers or busy Christians know about the secret
place of the Most High? What do
they know about the total silence of
the most holy place?
The churches are filled to overflowing with members who are so busy
running hither and thither, on errands of mercy and ministry it may be, but they
are never alone with God.
Undoubtedly they think that their heavenly Father is proud of them and
their “Christian success,” their “religious career,” and their eternal,
unceasing busi-ness for the kingdom of God, never giving thought to the fact
that they are not unlike the successful child who is so absorbed in his pursuit
of position, fame, and prosperity that he never finds a moment to stop by and
chat with dear old Dad who made it all possible.
There is no real power in noise. There
is never any real power in noise. The
prophets of Baal discovered this long ago on mount Carmel! Many meetings today remind me of the scene on mount Carmel as
the saints shout and cry and dance about, commanding God and rebuking spirits
with the noise and fervor of a pagan war dance.
Strength is not in bluster and noise.
The very need to make noise is proof of the absence of power!
The louder we pray to God and the more vociferously we shout at demons
the less likely it is that we will receive an answer or that any demon will pay
any attention to our word. Strength
is in quietness. The life of
sonship is deep rather than demonstrative.
“It is the brook and not the river that goes brawling,” someone said.
Jesus never sweat His garments wet while preaching, nor worked Himself
into a lather when healing the sick, casting out devils, or raising the dead.
If the authority is there the
calmest command will evoke obedience. There
is no need for the president of the United States to yell and scream and work
himself into a frenzy in order to give a military general orders to initiate
hostilities against an enemy. The quietest directive, even a mere whisper, will do!
Oh, for the culture of the secret place!
It is in solitude that we catch the mystic notes from the depths of God
within. It is deep down in the
depths that the righteousness and power and glory of the kingdom of God are
known. By going apart one gets the
vision of eternal realities. How
vast the soul becomes in the presence of the Infinite! I have learned by arduous experience that our Father usually
speaks in whispers, the still, small voice of the Holiest of all, but we often
cannot hear these whispers for the clamor of the street.
We are called to heavenly places, far above the clamor of the world and
the babble of religion. For after all our home is in the heights!
Our real power is in communion and union.
There is a music that no one can hear until the ears are anointed.
The voice of truth is a very low sweet voice.
To be continued… J.
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