Balaam: How He Is A Lesson Whether A Chosen Vessel Can Apostasize?
In 2006, I participated in an email discussion forum dialogue with Joe. As iron sharpens iron, his argument in favor of Paul required a response. Joe argued that Paul was a chosen vessel of God, proven in Acts, and that means any claim Paul later proved false signifies that Paul or someone else lied about Paul being a chosen vessel. I responded by saying I believe Paul and I believe Luke, and I believe Paul was a chosen vessel but solely at most in the way said in the vision account in Acts 22. Paul would be a witness - MARTUS in Greek, not an APOSTOLOS (messenger/apostle). And I discuss how Balaam is a perfect type of Paul. You the reader must decide whether Joe's argument was answered correctly by me.
[2012 I no longer believe the person Paul met was Jesus. So Paul was not a true chosen vessel. This is based upon Matt 25:4-5, 27-29 where Jesus tells us that when He returns to earth, He will be seen from eastern to western sky (every eye will see Him, John says in Revelation). And Jesus warns that many will come in His name in the wilderness or in private rooms, but do not believe it is Jesus because His appearance will be universal, not private. Paul was outside Damascus in Acts 9 when Paul saw a light, heard a voice say "I am Jesus," and his 2 companions heard the voice but saw no man. This fits Jesus' warnings. Thus, I changed my view in light of this. Regardless, even if the true Jesus, this email exchange from 2006 proves why it does not make any difference to prove Paul's validity even if Paul was visited by the true Jesus.]
Joe's email from June 21, 2006
But... when it comes to tampering with the Word of YHWH, this is SERIOUS business, and if a few feathers get ruffled, and a few people get offended... so be it.
Carl, you are accusing Paul, a man whom the Scripture (Acts 9:15) says is a "chosen vessel" of the Messiah, of being a liar. Considering the fact that YHWH hates a false witness that speaks lies (Prov 6:16-19), and that Messiah said that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), I would be led to not trust anything that a liar has to say. Do you honestly believe that YHWH would use a liar to write at least 13 Books of the New Testament, and be the main character in the Books of Acts? To me, this just does not make any logical sense. If you believed that we should just discard at least these 14 Books, (although I would not agree with you), I could at least understand your premise for believing that. But to say that Paul is a liar, and can't be trusted, but his writings do have some value, to me just does not make sense. When dealing with a liar, how can we trust anything that he says?
My email on June 21, 2006
This is Doug, the author of Jesus' Words Only. (See www.jesuswordsonly.com ) I really like what you said:
"But... when it comes to tampering with the Word of YHWH, this is SERIOUS business, and if a few feathers get ruffled, and a few people get offended... so be it."
I like your courage. That is what it takes to defend GOD'S HOLY WORD!!!
This is what we are saying. Those who accepted Paul's word tampered with God's word. For when you apply the test for adding new scripture/Prophetic works, the speaker must be someone who
A. has confirmed prophecy of an unlikely event given in the name of the Lord (Paul does not have any such prophecy). (See my book chapter 1 free at www.jesuswordsonly.com; Deut. 4:2, 12, 13:1-5; 18; Isaiah 8:20.)
B. and even if he has true signs and wonders, the would-be prophet must NEVER try to seduce you from following the Law given by God to Moses. (Deut. 13:1-5).
God says this is the test for new scripture to see if you LOVE HIM. (Deut. 13:3.)
Balaam was a true prophet, and gave an inspired prophecy of Christ known as the Star Prophecy. (Numbers 22, 24.) This was fulfilled in the Star of Bethlehem. (Mat. 2:1.) Moses says Balaam had the holy spirit. (Numbers 22) The Star Prophecy includes a prophecy of Jesus Christ no less.
But because Balaam later taught it was permissible to eat meat sacrificed to idols, Jesus says Balaam became a false prophet. (Rev. 2:14.) Moses had Balaam killed for leading the people to violate the Law given Moses by God. (Numbers 31.)
So you see, a true prophet who even KNEW JESUS CHRIST, like Balaam, could fall by teaching it is permissible to eat meat sacrificed to idols. (Rev. 2:14.) Your Lord Jesus says so!!!!! Yet, Paul taught three times it is ok to eat meat sacrificed to idols. (See 1 Cor. 10.)
So Paul could start as a true prophet, and then fall. We must thereafter exclude him from our regarding him as a prophet inspired of God.
This was the early view of the Church in the writing of Tertullian in 207 AD. in the book, Against Marcion. He loved Paul. He said he was his apostle. But he said there is no proof that Paul was an apostle of JESUS CHRIST in any of the the three vision accounts (Acts 9, 22, and 26.) Tertullian said since Paul is his only witness for his own status as apostle, and Jesus said if He was the witness alone for his status as the Son of God, his witness would be untrue, the same must be true for Paul. He is the only one who says he is an apostle of Jesus Christ. (Remember God-Yahweh spoke from Heaven and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove at His baptism -- providing the TWO KEY WITNESSES to Jesus' status as the Son of God.)[See our webpage to Early Church View of Paul.]
Tell me what you think, please. I am always open to hear the other side, as the Bible commands me to do.
While Moses tells us that Balaam was inspired when Balaam gave the blessing over Israel and the Star prophecy of the Messiah, we have a bit of a different case with the "Angel of the Lord" who blocks Balaam. In Hebrew this being is described as "Satan" -- an adversary. Indeed, Satan is technically an "angel of the Lord," and perhaps we simply have assumed this is a God-fearing angel in Numbers 22:22 or that Satan had fallen already and thus could not serve the Lord. Here is what Wikipedia explains in its article "Satan""
It is also used in Balaam's story in Numbers 22. The Angel of the LORD is identified as an adversary or a physical block to Balaam's journey in Numbers 22:22. Later in Numbers 22:32, the Angel of the LORD specifically identifies himself by claiming to be like an adversary, again using the term satan. ("Satan," Wikipedia)
If we read Numbers 22:22 carefully, it does not say God sent the Angel:
But God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the LORD took his stand in the way as his adversary (satan). Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him.
This says God was angry, and the "Angel of the Lord" then stopped Balaam. It at first blush appears this is an action at God's command, but it does not say it. Perhaps Satan stopped Balaam instead. Alternatively, Satan had not yet fallen yet, which I think is more plausible. See our article Balaam and the Adversary.