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BALAAM
And His Talking Donkey

Balaam stands in infamy as the paragon of apostasy. His worldly lusts lured him into the power of Baal and
brought upon him the ultimate symbol of pastoral asininity, a reprimand from his donkey. Through his
counseling Israel fell for the bait of Baal, the alluring Midianite women, and brought upon the Client
Nation a national curse.
BALAAM (Part 1)
Preview
The Story of Balaam
LUST
Lust of the Soul
Lust Problems
The Divine Solution
BALAAM (Part 2)
Balaam Tries to Curse Israel
The Baal Curse

PREVIEW
Balaam, the Ass

The story of Balaam is one of the classics of infamy. Balaam, who was a worldly celebrity before his dealings
with Israel during the Exodus wanderings, received over three chapters in the book of Numbers in the Torah.
Balaam was a famous diviner from the region of Babylon, current Iraq. After Balaam's betrayal of Israel, his
treachery was recorded from the beginning of scripture (Numbers and Deuteronomy) to the end (Revelation).
It could be said that Balaam was a monumental jackass, who betrayed Israel for fame and fortune.

Balaam was a Gentile prophet, whose prophesies are recorded in scripture. He even predicted the Star of
Bethlehem. However, his love of the world became the source of his infamy. Balaam loved money,
prostitution, and worldly fame. He was famous as a soothsayer, who would pronounce a curse for money.
The Mosaic Law strictly prohibited these practices, but then, Balaam wasn't a Jew. He was a Gentile.
Balaam was a dichotomy who spoke with the authority of God at times and used the power of demonism at
other times.

Balaam was the classic case of the worldly prophet. He was so overcome by worldliness that his values
reflected not the Righteousness of God but the corruption of the lusts of the flesh. When the lusts of the flesh
replace the love of God, the believer travels down the path of reversionism. Balaam was the epitome of the
reversionist. He is the classic example of a person who knew the right way, but rejected it to pursue the
Frantic Search for Happiness of worldly lusts.

When prophets or Church Age pastors enter into reversionism, they are doubly destructive. Not only do they
hurt themselves, but they lead others astray. Balaam was responsible for the death of 24,000 Jews. He was
the pawn of Baal. He was the friend of anti-Semitism, the unfaithful servant, and corrupt prophet. His
reversionism was so perverse, that his own donkey was used to preach him a sermon in an attempt to restrain
his reversionistic insanity. His infamy was so great that throughout history the mere mention of the name
Balaam was a cause for insult. In the epistles to the Church, Peter uses him as an example of the reversionist,

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and the Lord Jesus Christ uses him as an example of the apostasy in the Church at Pergammon (Revelation
2:14).

Why study Balaam? Because the story of Balaam is as relevant today as any other time in history. Just as
prophets like Balaam existed in Moses' day, pastors exist in the Church Age with a striking similarity. Today
the apostasy of Balaam is everywhere. It fills the pulpits of apostate churches all over the world. Unlike
Balaam, however, the pastors of today do not have the luxury of a talking donkey to awaken them from their
own apostasy. Unless they have a near-death experience or some other shock to wake them up, most of them
continue to operate as Balaam in the power of the Cosmic System. They don't know the meaning of grace.
They have no concept of experiential sanctification, and they slaves to devil's world.

Israel Camps Near Moab

Maps

Exodus Route6 Camp of Israel7


Prior to entering the Promised Land, the nation of Israel camped on the steppes of Moab northwest of Mount
Nebo. Israel had just defeated the Amorites, who occupied all of the land between Moab and Ammon from
the River Arnon to the Jabbok (Numbers 21:23-26). So Israel had won most of the land shown on the map of
the Camp of Israel. The Arnon River is near the bottom of the map. When Balak, the king of Moab, saw
this, he panicked and began searching frantically for a solution to the crisis. Balak was an astute king,
although he was an unbeliever. Being without the military muscle to defend his nation against the powerful
Army of Israel, he racked his brain for an alternative solution. Then he hit upon the idea of using the curse of
demonism to ward off the Jews. The national religion of Moab was the worship of Baal, so the idea is not so
surprising.

However, to perform the cursing, Balak did not call upon his own cult priests, but sent a delegation to the
most famous soothsayer of his day, a prophet named Balaam, who lived in the region of Babylon, current day
Iraq. At first Balaam refused the offer, but later when another, more prestigious delegation arrived from
Moab and offered him more money, he agreed to return with them to Moab for the purpose of pronouncing a
demonic curse on Israel. On they way he encountered reversionistic discipline that eventuated in a sermon
from his own donkey. Balaam was highly embarrassed and earned the distinction of chief ass. Even the
donkey had better sense than Balaam.

When Balaam arrived in Moab, he was greeted by King Balak. Together, they offered sacrifices of bulls and
rams in order to secure backing from the spirit world for the curse of Israel. However, the Lord intervened
and each time Balaam prophesied, he pronounced a blessing on Israel instead of a curse. After three attempts
from three different locations, Balaam was able only to pronounce blessing on Israel and not a curse. Balak
was upset, and Balaam was prevented from earning his handsome fee for divination.

However, this did not end the determination of Balaam to find a way to earn his fee, and he and Balak
remained friends. Balaam soon hit upon the idea of a diplomatic initiative, or Peace Plan. He convinced
Balak that the thing to do was to send a delegation of Moabite women, who were Baal worshippers, on a
good-will visit to the Camp of Israel. When the men of Israel saw the alluring Moabite women, they fell for
the bait. Israeli men were lured into Moab and became involved in the worship of Baal, which involved
fornication and dining on the meat offered in sacrifices to Baal.

Israel, thus came under the influence of demonism under the power of Baal. The Client Nation which could
not be destroyed from an outside military power, was undermined by transgression from within. God cursed
Israel with a plague and 24,000 Jews died due to involvement in demonism. Balaam, thus earned his fee - not

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by directly cursing Israel, but by counseling Balaam in the art of diplomatic duplicity. In aiding the enemies
of Israel, Balaam had succumbed to the most vile form of reversionism, anti-Semitism. For such activity, the
Abrahamic Covenant pronounced the curse of God:

I will bless those who bless you,


And the one who curses you I will curse. (Genesis 12:3a)

Anti-Semitism is a vicious evil that will bring a curse on all who practice it. The protection of the Abrahamic
Covenant still stands as an unconditional promise to Israel. The nations of history who have violated this
principle have been destroyed. The nation of Israel later decisively defeated the Midianites, who were the
allies of Moab in the Balaam diplomatic initiative and Balaam was one of the casualties.

Baal and Demonism

Baal is one of Satan's powerful demons who is sent to influence the rulers of some nations. The name, Baal,
simply means lord and is synonymous with a cosmic king or queen in the organization Satan. (Illustration:
Spiritual Warfare of Sarah) Baal, like Satan, has a dichotomous nature. He rules as both the god of war and
the goddess of love. On the one hand he is a vicious fighter like the god of war, and on the other hand, he is
the goddess of love, the sponsor of the Phallic Cult. The warlike side demands child sacrifice, while the love
goddess lures into the Phallic Cult, sexual debauchery, and temple prostitution.

Baal is symbolized by the bear. This is learned from the story of Elisha, who was mocked by young boys.
The boys followed Elisha and made fun of his bald head. Consequently, Elisha cursed them.

When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two female
bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number. (2 Kings 2:24, NAS)

Baal is the god that demands the suffering and sacrifice of children. Violent deaths of children are often the
work of Baal, as was the case with the lads who mocked Elisha. Baal was the demon in Elisha's day who
sought to destroy Israel. In the incident with Elisha, the bears were a symbol of Baal and the number, 42, was
the number of the bear.

In Jeremiah's day, Baal worship also involved the suffering and sacrifice of children.

Jeremiah 7:31; 32:35, NAS


31 “And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to
burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My
mind.
35 “And they built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-hinnom to cause their sons and
their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them nor had it entered
My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

The worship of Baal in Jeremiah's day involved the Phallic Cult as well as burning children in the fire as
sacrifices to Baal. The drums of Topheth were beaten to drown out the screams of the burning children. Baal
is the god of child sacrifice. Baal is symbolized by the bear, which has the dual characteristics: (1) awesome
fighter, and (2) lover of sweets. Bears are the strongest of beasts and are vicious fighters. They are also
lovers of sweets, e.g. honey. These characteristics are the same as the dual nature of Baal as the god of war
and goddess of love.

The bear is one of the symbols of Satan as the ruling power of an evil nation (Daniel 7:5; Revelation 13:2).
The dictator of the Revived Roman Empire during the Tribulation will be symbolized by a beast with feet like
a bear (Revelation 13:1-2). Today, a nation that is symbolized by the bear and, therefore Baal, is Russia

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(called Gog, Ezekiel 38:1-2; Revelation 20:8).

THE STORY OF BALAAM


Background

Balaam was a Gentile prophet who lived in Pethor (Deuteronomy 23:4), a city south of Carchemish in
northern Mesopotamia (Iraq) on the west bank of the Euphrates River (Numbers 22:5). Balaam did not know
that the Lord had forbidden the conquest of Moab (Deuteronomy 2:9). When Israel camped on the plains of
Moab prior to entering the Promised Land, Balak, King of Moab, was in a panic. Since his nation wasn't
strong enough for a military confrontation with Israel and since Moab under the power of Baal was full of
anti-Semitism, he sent for Balaam, a famous soothsayer, to pronounce a curse on Israel.

Moab was the center of three countries that symbolized the counterattack from the Cosmic System.

Cosmic Enemies of Israel

Country Founding Father Cosmic Counterattack


1 Edom Esau, ruddy Ecumenical Babylon
2 Moab Son of Lot & oldest daughter Political Babylon
3 Ammon Son of Lot & younger daughter Cosmic Babylon

Moab in Hebrew is derived from ba*m@ , meab, which means "from the father." The daughter of Lot who
committed incest with her father named her son Moab, "from the father," in admission of the incestuous
relationship.

Numbers 22:2-3
2 Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 So Moab was in terror
because of the mighty army, for they were numerous; and Moab was dismayed in the face of the army
of Israel.

Balak is derived from the Hebrew ql^B* , balaq, which means to lay waste, to destroy. He was the son of
Zippor (Hebrew rwP)x!zippor), which means bird or sparrow (from the chirping sound). The sparrow is a
small bird, which symbolizes a child. Baal preys on children.

Balak immediately held a conference with the leaders of Midian, who lived to the south of Edom. The
Midianites were descendants of Abraham through Keturah (Genesis 25:1-6). They were a patriarchal society
in which heads of the family ruled. These tribal heads (elders) were called princes (Hebrew sar) or kings for
the more influential tribes. Rather than risk military defeat, Balak decided to try to invoke the powers of
demonism to handle his current crisis.

Numbers 22:5-6, NAS


5 So he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, at Pethor, which is near the River (Euphrates), in
the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people came out of Egypt; behold,
they cover the surface of the land, and they are living opposite me. 6 “Now, therefore, please come,
curse this people for me since they are too mighty for me; perhaps I may be able to defeat them and

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drive them out of the land. For I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is
cursed.”

Balaam was a world-famous soothsayer in Pethor, a city south of Carchemish on the west bank of the
Euphrates River in Mesopotamia, currently Iraq. Balaam is Hebrew <u*l+B!ý Bile`am, from balu (to
swallow, destroy) and `am (the people) - i.e. "destroyer of the people (nation)." Thus, Balaam's name came
true. He was responsible for the deaths of 24,000 Jews (Numbers 25:9). Balaam was the son of Beor, from
Hebrew ru^B*ba`ar which means "to burn." The Jews in Jeremiah's day burned their children as sacrifices to
Baal (Jeremiah 7:31).

When the messengers from the King of Moab arrived, Balaam was given an opportunity to earn a handsome
fee for his shady dabbling in divination. Balaam knew the request was improper, but at the same time, he
wanted to find a way to compromise his standards as a prophet for fame and fortune. Balaam asked the
messengers to spend the night, and he would inquire of the Lord. The Lord, however, strictly forbad the
request. So Balaam rejected the offer the next morning and refused to return with the messengers of Moab
(Numbers 22:8-14).

Balak was not one to give up easily, however. So he sent another group of diplomats, who were more
distinguished princes (tribal chiefs), to Balaam.

Then Balak again sent leaders, more numerous and more distinguished than the former. (Numbers
22:15, NAS)

The word, "distinguished," in the Hebrew is db@K* ( kabedh), Niphal participle, which means to be
distinguished or to receive glory or prosperity.

16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor, ‘Let nothing, I beg
you, hinder you from coming to me; 17 for I will indeed honor you richly, and I will do whatever you
say to me. Please come then, curse this people for me.’” (Numbers 22:16-17, NAS)

The phrase in verse 17, "I will indeed honor you richly," is from a doubling of the Hebrew word db@K*
(kabedh) again, but this time it is in the Pi'el, the intensive stem and means to honor or glorify. They gave
Balaam the promise of Balak, namely, "I will surely honor (glorify) you richly." In other words, they
promised Balaam fame and fortune. This is what everyone in the world wants, and Balaam, in his carnality,
was no exception. He did not reject the offer, but asked the delegation to spend the night while he tried to
work something out with the Lord (Numbers 22:18-19), who had already made His will known and was
opposed to the offer.

And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise up and go
with them; but only the word which I specify to you shall you produce.” (Numbers 22:20)

In verse 20, God told Balaam to go with the men. However, this was the permissive will of God. It was not
the direct will of God. God knew that Balaam had a hardened heart. So He permitted him to go back to
Moab, but only under certain conditions. These conditions are spelled out in the last half of the verse.
Balaam is given specific orders about what he can say. He is solemnly warned to speak only the "word"
(Hebrew dabar) from God. The word "specify" is a translation of the Hebrew rb^D* (dabar, Pi'el
imperfect). Balaam must be careful to be precise in communicating the word of God. He will not be
permitted to say anything else by way of incantation. This is followed by the Hebrew verb hc*a* ('asah),
which means to compose, manufacture, produce.

Balaam's Reversionism

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So Balaam arose in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab. (Numbers
22:21)

Balaam proceeded to return with the princes of Moab the next day. When it says that he "saddled his
donkey," this does not mean that he used a saddle of leather as is commonly used for a horse or mule. The
donkey's back was covered with layers of thick cloth on which a flat straw pad was bound "and the whole
was covered with a bright cloth or carpet.2 Thus, Balaam set out on a trip that was contrary to the will of
God. This is called reversionism, departure from the will of God. There are only two strategic paths in life
for the believer. One leads to maturity and dying grace while the other leads intensified discipline and finally
to the sin that terminates in death. At this point Balaam is headed down into reversionism and things will get
progressively worse.

1. BALAAM'S DISTRACTION

Numbers 22:22-23, NAS


22 But God was angry because he was going, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as an
adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey and his two servants were with him. 23 When
the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand, the donkey
turned off from the way and went into the field; but Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back into the
way.

Balaam's reversionistic discipline began with discipline for distraction, i.e. departure from the will of God.
The phrase, "God was angry," is an anthropopathism, which ascribes to God a human feeling to communicate
with mankind. God does not get angry, but He did not approve of Balaam's strategic advance down into
reversionism. The angel of the Lord stood in the path. The angel of the Lord was a preincarnate appearance
of the Lord Jesus Christ, who in the form of an angel in front of Balaam's donkey. Balaam in the spiritual
blindness of reversionism could not see the angel, but his donkey saw, turned aside, and went into a nearby
field. This is one of the first evidences of reversionism, i.e. distraction. Rather than follow the straight path,
the reversionist takes an exit and winds up in the wrong field or in the wrong neighborhood.

Balaam was angry at his donkey and struck her to turn her back onto the path. Balaam was in the dark and
confused about what had happened. The reversionist lacks enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. Balaam then
became angry, the mental attitude sin of bitterness, and struck his donkey. He concluded it was all the
donkey's fault. Many people think donkeys are stupid, but they usually have good reason for what they do
(ref. "The Donkey somewhat Defined").4 However, only a sensitive person can see it. People who try to
bully the donkey and abuse it, do not understand animal behavior. When an animal does something strange,
there may be a good reason. In Balaam's case, his donkey was taking evasive action, which saved his life; but
Balaam in reversionism was too insensitive to notice.

Balaam in reversionism was blind spiritually due to scar tissue of the soul. He was insensitive to authority and
the will of God. He was also insensitive to his donkey. The donkey saw the Lord, but the reversionist did
not. Balaam had wondered off course from the authority of God and the donkey's trip into the field
symbolized that. The consequence was warning discipline from the Lord.

“An ox knows its owner,


And a donkey its master’s manger,
But Israel does not know,
My people do not understand.” (Isaiah 1:3, NAS)

2. STRAIT (INTENSIFIED DISCIPLINE)

Numbers 22:24-25, NAS

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24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path of the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a
wall on that side. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pressed herself to the wall and
pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall, so he struck her again.

Since Balaam was still spiritually asleep, the Lord intensified the discipline. The next discipline that Balaam
faced was the strait. A strait is a narrow passage designed to illustrate the importance of staying on course
and the danger of straying off course. Unlike the previous discipline of distraction, the discipline of a strait
can produce injury. It is therefore more intensified discipline. Straits in the ocean may be flanked by rocks.
In Balaam's case the strait was between two stone walls. When the angel of the Lord stood in the path, the
donkey veered to the side and jammed Balaam's foot against the wall, which brought him pain. Balaam
reacted with vindictiveness toward his donkey and struck her again.

The believer is expected to navigate by faith

for we walk by faith, not by sight— (2 Corinthians 5:7, NAS)

Deviation from the path represents a problem on the Faith Axis (X-Axis) of the Space Time Coordinate
System. An injured foot will cause a problem walking, which symbolizes a problem on the Faith Axis. The
believer must learn to walk by faith and navigate through spiritual straits.

3. MOMENTUM TEST (CATEGORICAL DISCIPLINE)

Numbers 22:26-27, NAS


26 And the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn
to the right hand or the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under
Balaam; so Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his stick.

As Balaam continued in his spiritual blindness, the Lord stood in a very narrow place, and the donkey sat
down - i.e. went down, fell down, stopped, stalled. Again Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his
stick. Here the donkey was not walking, nor even standing. Failure to stand represents Intensive Discipline.
Examples of Intensive Discipline include sickness, injury, and mechanical failure, e.g. a crash or accident.

Failing the momentum test is a Time Axis problem. Balaam's Time Axis problem was that the donkey slowed
down and stopped. Problems on the Time Axis are often associated with jealousy. Such was the case with
Balaam, who retaliated from jealous impatience, followed by anger, and unjust treatment of the donkey.

Behavior like that of Balaam's donkey has been observed in horses as noted by Passavant in reference to
animal magnetism and clairvoyance, "That horses see it (the second sight), is evident from their violent and
rapid snorting when their rider has had a vision of any kind either by day or night. And in the case of the
horse, it may also be observed, that it will refuse to go any farther in the same road until a circuitous course
has been taken, and even then, it is quite in a sweat."3 This is similar to what happened in John 12:28-30
when some people head the voice from heaven and others thought they heard thunder.

The angel of the Lord had a drawn sword (verse 23), which represented capital punishment from the Supreme
Court of Heaven. The Lord as the Judge of the Supreme Court of Heaven has the authority to execute capital
punishment of the reversionist. Momentum Discipline is categorical discipline in that a category of judgments
may be involved. In the case of Balaam, the Momentum Discipline was symbolic in that the donkey was
forced to the ground and Balaam lacked momentum to continue his forward movement.

Balaam's Talking Donkey

Numbers 22:28-30, NAS

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28 And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you,
that you have struck me these three times?” 29 Then Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have
made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now.” 30
And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this
day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?” And he said, “No.”

As if things couldn't worse, they did. Balaam was having a bad day. Things were going wrong right and left.
Then the Lord opened the mouth of Balaam's donkey and she asked him what she had done to deserve being
beaten with a stick three times. To add insult to injury, now his donkey was talking back to him, or, as many
somewhat inaccurate translations of 2 Peter 2:16 say, he was rebuked by a "dumb ass." As with many
intriguing stories, everyone wants to tell them their way with their own special twist.

It does say that the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey; so the principle is probably established that even a
"dumb ass can preach." The donkey here was a female, which is supposed to be the most docile. Whereas,
the jack (male donkey) might be stubborn, the jenny (female donkey) would be faithful and subservient.
Indeed, this was the case by Balaam's own admission; for the donkey asked him in verse 30 if she had ever
been unfaithful, and Balaam admitted that she had not.

The donkey's speech was audible and rational; for the donkey recounted that she had been struck three times,
and such conclusions require logical thought processes which are usually beyond the capabilities of animals.
Balaam heard the donkey and answered her; but whether anyone else heard her is not known. The Lord has
to reveal such things, for when Paul saw the light and heard the voice on the road to Damascus, those who
were with him were confounded because they heard the voice but saw no one (Acts 9:7). Now, Balaam was
not alarmed by the donkey talking, though everyone knows donkey's can't talk. Balaam, in his reversionism
was in a stupor, or mentally asleep. He is described in 2 Peter 2:16 as being in a state of "insanity." Whereas,
he may not be conclusively diagnosed based upon hearing a donkey talk, when he answered, he removed all
doubt about his sanity. At this time, Balaam was in a state of, at least, temporary insanity due to his lust.
Balaam was on the road to striking it rich and fulfilling his wildest, lustful desires.

The word for "donkey" is the Hebrew /ota* ('athon), which is one of several words for donkey in the Hebrew
and which came from an Arabic word that meant short steps. Other words for donkey are Hebrew romj^
(chamor), a word referring to the donkey's reddish-brown color, and the Hebrew ar$P$ (pere'), the wild ass,
or onager. The reference to Balaam's donkey in the Greek is uJpozuvgion (hupozugion), which means a pack
animal or donkey. Although this word can also refer to a mule or hinny as in Matthew 21:5, in 2 Peter 2:16
regarding Balaam, it means donkey. The characteristics of animal behavior in the story of Balaam, e.g. sitting
down under the rider, are those of a donkey and not a mule.

Here are some of the characteristics of the donkey. The donkey was the pack animal of Israel (Genesis
49:14-15). It was also a symbol of phallic reversionism (Jeremiah 2:24, pere'; Ezekiel 23:20, chamor). The
donkey is often falsely accused of being stubborn when it is simply using its skill for self-preservation.
Donkeys are sure-footed and will reject attempts to guide them into harm's way. The donkey doesn't fight
back when abused, and it is very observant of its surrounding. Anything out of place is liable to catch the
donkey's attention. The donkey has a short memory and attention span.

Balaam told his faithful female donkey who had endured physical abuse from an insensitive, arrogant
reversionist that he struck her because she had made a mockery out of him. In other words, Balaam was
embarrassed by the donkey's behavior in front of the Moabite ambassadors. Those in the agricultural
economy in Balaam's day prided themselves on their animals. Balaam was hypersensitive about what his
companions might think about the undisciplined behavior of his donkey. So, without patience, he assumed it
was all the donkey's fault just like an insensitive person would do. Rather than accept responsibility for his
donkey, however, and give it credit for years of faithful service, Balaam struck the donkey with a stick to
shift the blame from himself. Balaam in his self-righteous arrogance didn't want to fail to measure up to the

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expectations of his male companions so he struck his donkey to relieve his own guilt.

THE SYSTEM

Illustration: The Balaam-Donkey System 5

Balaam and his donkey make up a system. A system is a group of personnel, material, equipment, and
procedures which combine to accomplish a specific purpose. Balaam and his donkey are a system. A
business is a system. A sports team is a system. A teacher and class is a system. A system may provide
freedom or slavery. Freedom exists only under authority. A Client Nation is a system that is designed to
operate under authority and provide freedom for its citizens. A dictatorship is a system of tyranny. A
business operates under the authority of management to provide freedom to employees who operate within
the boundaries of that authority. In marriage, the husband has the authority and the wife receives freedom
within the boundaries of that authority. Freedom can only exist under authority, and there is no authority
except from God.

Illustration: Freedom

Within Balaam's system, his faithful donkey began behaving strangely. Rather than being sensitive to the
problem and trying to understand the animal's behavior, Balaam in his arrogance assumed it was the donkey's
fault and struck her with a stick. This demonstrates poor leadership on Balaam's part because he failed to
love and respect those under his command. In this case, the donkey was under his authority. Balaam,
however, became angry and acted like a tyrant. Similar situations exist between management and employees
in a business or between husband and wife in marriage.

When a subordinate exhibits strange behavior, it represents a problem with the system. The fault may lie with
management, equipment, material, procedures, or employees. To automatically assume that it is the fault of
the employee is a demonstration of insensitivity. Conversely, for employees to automatically assume that
problems are due to poor management, may be true; but the system has still failed regardless of who deserves
the blame. For husband or wife to blame the other is a sign of insensitivity because regardless of who is at
fault, the marriage still has a problem.

A system is like a sports team. Success can come only when everyone does his part. However, failure cannot
always be blamed on an individual. Sometimes the techniques, plays, or game plan may be flawed. At other
times the coach may have provided inadequate leadership.

THE MARRIAGE SYSTEM

Balaam and his donkey was a system. Marriage is also a system just like Balaam and his donkey where
Balaam is analogous to the husband and the donkey is analogous to the wife. This will perhaps infuriate the
women, but considering the current marriage crisis in the world, if this is simple analogy cannot be grasped,
then the marriage is already doomed. For those men who still haven't gotten the point, they need to
understand that the Balaam episode applies to marriage also.

When the wife gets out of line like Balaam's donkey, the husband should avoid acting like Balaam.
Hopefully, the male won't be a jackass and beat his wife with a stick, but there are numerous cases of men
abusing their wives today. These men are worse than Balaam, who only struck an animal. However, even if
the man just wants to blame his wife, he is still acting like Balaam, who blamed his donkey for everything.
Husbands, what if the Lord drove your wife away? Have you considered consulting God before behaving like
Balaam? What if an angel drove your wife away? How do you know what drove her away? Where are you
going to look for answers? If you can't apply Bible Doctrine, then you are no better than Balaam.

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Now, to the wives, please look at the donkey's faithfulness. She turned away from danger to save her jackass
master from getting them killed. The donkey's eyes were open when her reversionistic master was in a
stupor. The donkey saved Balaam's life and was rewarded by verbal and physical abuse; yet, she never
rebelled, bit, bucked, or kicked. She faithfully endured harsh treatment from her master. When she talked to
her master she was respectful, and the Lord vindicated her faithfulness. Women, if Balaam is riding you, then
you better be prepared to think for yourself and take evasive action. And you better be willing to endure
unjust treatment. If Balaam is your husband, you are in for cursing. You will have to decide when to turn
away and when to stay. You are not expected to submit to criminal abuse; but if you are with Balaam, you
will receive unjust treatment. You will have to learn to let the Supreme Court of Heaven handle such cases.

For those of you who think this can never happen to you, you are naive. The Church Age is the intensified
stage of the Angelic Conflict. Balaam's problem was with Baal. Baal is just as alive today as he was in
Balaam's day. Baal is one of the demons who opposes marriage. The Right Man and Right Woman can
easily become pawns of the devil and be trapped by Baal.

Be of under control, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking
someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

THE DONKEY'S REBUKE

Balaam's donkey was allowed to speak to make a point for all of history to remember. The donkey defended
herself against a callous and insensitive manager who had no respect for God or God's creation. Those who
own animals should understand them. There is no excuse for cruelty to animals. The a fortiori principle is
then: Those who are cruel to animals are unfit to lead people. Leaders of people must be sensitive to them
because their failures are more often the fault of the system than the employee as taught by Deming, the sage
of Quality.

Balaam in his anger, told the donkey he would have killed her if he had a sword. This shows clearly that
Balaam did not understand the system that he was using. The system was a transportation system that
depended upon the faithful support of his donkey. Balaam lacked systemic perspective. The ultimate put
down in history was for a prophet to be challenged by a donkey. The donkey delivered her remarks with the
poise of a skilled lawyer: “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I
ever been accustomed to do so to you?” (Numbers 22:30). Balaam was forced to admit the answer, "No."
Thus, the donkey was vindicated, and Balaam was wrong.

Those who lack systemic perspective are as shortsighted and ignorant as Balaam. There is no way to be a
part of a team, a business, a marriage, a class, a family, or a Client Nation without systemic perspective.
Those who enter into fault finding, denial, and projection are demonstrating lack of systemic perspective.
When the system breaks down for whatever reason, there is not only loss of success or prosperity but also
loss of freedom. When systems fail, the Cosmic System enslaves.

THE LORD'S REBUKE

Numbers 22:31-33, NAS


31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way
with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed all the way to the ground. 32 And the angel of the
Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an
adversary, because your way was contrary to me. 33 “But the donkey saw me and turned aside from
me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, I would surely have killed you just now, and
let her live.”

After discussing the problem with his donkey, Balaam was none the wiser. He was still in his reversionistic

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stupor asleep on the job. Those who live by emotion are irrational. Even after being put down by a donkey,
Balaam didn't have a clue that he was headed into bad trouble. He was on the road to curse Israel, and that
will bring down the roof. Yet, he carried on a conversation with his donkey as if it were nothing unusual.

It wasn't until the Lord opened Balaam's eyes, i.e. revealed Himself to him in the form of an angel, that
Balaam awoke. The angel of the Lord was a preincarnate manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord
was standing in Balaam's path with a drawn sword in hand. The sword was a symbol of capital punishment
from the Supreme Court of Heaven. Balaam in his reversionism was on the way to the sin that would
terminate in his death (1 John 5:16), and the Lord was revealing to Balaam his danger.

The Lord defended the donkey and pointed out Balaam's guilt. He explained to Balaam that the problem with
the system was that Balaam was advancing in opposition to the Lord. The reversionist is the "enemy of the
cross" (Philippians 3:18). Balaam in reversionism was not executing the Plan of God. He was fulfilling his
own lusts. The Lord caused the problem with Balaam's donkey. He even performed a miracle by enabling
the donkey to talk. Still Balaam still did not understand that he was advancing contrary to the will of God and
headed for severe judgment. Balaam was willing to entertain the thought of cursing God's chosen people
because he was in reversionism. The reversionist is concerned about himself and his own lust - not the Plan
of God. Balaam in reversionism loved money - not God.

Balaam's Problem

Balaam was not a normal person. He had some severe problems. The Cosmic System had control over
Balaam and he was lured into anti-Semitism, which will guarantee a curse (Genesis 12:3). Balaam's episode
with the talking donkey earned him the reputation of the great example of reversionism. His behavior went
down in infamy and became the example for all future generations to avoid. In these teachings, Balaam's
problems are described.

having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart
trained in greed, accursed children; (2 Peter 2:14, NAS)

Balaam's first problem was "eyes full of adultery" - i.e. Phallic Reversionism. Balaam lusted after the
Moabite and Midianite girls. He will advise Balak to appeal to the same lust in the Jewish men in order to
lure them to destruction. The reversionist does the devil's bidding by "enticing unstable souls" into the
Cosmic System. Balaam also had a "heart trained in greed" in that he lusted for money. Balaam's
anti-Semitism also had him under a curse.

forsaking the right way they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor,
who loved the wages of unrighteousness, (2 Peter 2:15, NAS)

Balaam "loved the wages of unrighteousness." Balaam was going to be paid a handsome salary and he was
filled with lust for money. The job, however, was not legitimate. His job was unrighteous. It was evil.

but he received a rebuke for his own transgression; for a donkey, who could not speak, speaking with a
voice of a man, restrained the insanity of the prophet. (2 Peter 2:16)

Balaam received the ultimate put down. A donkey that could not speak rebuked him. Some translations read,
"dumb donkey" or "dumb ass" where dumb means incapable of speech. However, due to the connotation of
the donkey being stupid, these translations will not be used because Balaam's donkey was not stupid. This
powerful symbol was used against Balaam because of his "insanity." Balaam had a mental problem. He was
temporarily insane due to his lust. Lust can cause temporary insanity, and if the lust is unchecked, it can lead
to mental illness.

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Next

References

1. Deleted.
2. G. S. Cansdale. All the Animals of the Bible Lands, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan
49506)1977, p. 72.
3. C. F. Keil and F. Delitzch (James Martin, Translator), Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. I, ISBN
0-8028-8035-5 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Co.), 1978, pp. 170-171.
4. Jeanine A. Rachau. "The Donkey Page," (La Grande, OR 97850), 1996.
http://www.orednet.org/~jrachau/index.htm
5. The American Donkey and Mule Society Inc., 2901 No. Elm St., Denton, TX 76201.
6. Thomas Nelson. Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1986).
7. J. D. Douglas, editor. New Bible Dictionary [computer file]—electronic ed. of 2nd ed., (Wheaton, IL :
Tyndale House, c1982; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996).

Last Revision: September 4, 2002

Author: Larry Wood

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