Jude 1:11, “Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.”
We continue where we left off in verse 11.
Then Jude goes on to give us a second example and that one of Balaam, a prophet who prophesied out of greed and not out of obedience to God’s Word. (Numbers 22-24). The sin of Balaam was the desire to become personally wealthy by making a business out of the service to God. Even though Balaam was a prophet that heard the voice of God, he was covetous and willing to sell out his gift for money.
I am sorry to say, we can see this very thing happening today and especially in the United States, “the land of the free,” where anyone can display themselves in front of a television audience or in the biggest cathedrals and profess to proclaim the Word of the Lord and yet you hardly ever, if you ever do, hear them “preach” on any of the harder subjects that are just as much a part of the Word of God!
Yet, even though when God calls someone to a particular ministry, He will equip them and supply them to fulfill it with what they need, but it is never enough. For some reason, when it comes to their finances, their “faith” seems to be a bit weaker and they themselves have to cry, plead and beg for more finances, all the while riding around in fancy jets and automobiles and living in more than one luxurious home all to demonstrate and “prove” that God prospers His servants. This is NOT the type of prosperity the Bible is speaking of, for it is temporary and leads to wanting more at any cost! This IS the same sin as Balaam. I am just glad that I am not the judge of their souls and that ONE greater, Who can read their heart motives is. All we as followers of Jesus Christ can do, is discern by their works and their lives if they are true teachers or false! (Matthew 7:15-20).
And if you have any doubts about what I have said, consider this; many of the things that Balaam spoke were true and even beautiful, but he was still a prophet for hire, doing it for whatever he could get out of it. He couldn’t curse the men of Israel, but in defiance of God’s orders, he was successful through his speech in luring those men into sin with the daughters of Moab. (Numbers 25:1-5). Today, the message going out is basically this famous lie, “God will help those who help themselves.” This false message causes todays men to pursue riches and wealth all the while keeping their eyes on THAT goal, rather than pursuing the holiness of God!
Just like in Balaam’s day and just in confirmation of King Solomon’s statements that “there is nothing new under the sun,” today’s false teachers and prophets are suave, charismatic and convincing. They can throw in dashes of truth into there messages to lure in those who do not study or even read the Word for themselves and all to make their “kingdoms” bigger and richer and for the ego-centric attitude of being able to say, “look what I have done for the Lord!”
I could go on and on with this subject as I have taught so much on it from the past and in Bible studies and behind the pulpit have had to correct so many falsehoods and misconceptions that some of God’s children were actually hurt by! It is no wonder, I have a bit of a sore spot for Balaam’s sin.
But let’s move on to Jude’s third example of Korah, who led a rebellion against God’s divinely appointed leaders, desiring the power and authority all to himself. (Numbers 16:1-35). These apostates and false teachers perished in that rebellion for such is the fate of all who would try to subordinate and spurn the commands of the Lord. Along with Dathan and Abiram, Korah desired the authority of the priestly office as appointed by God and rebelled not just against Aaron and Moses, but against God Himself. For this insubordination, God caused them to be swallowed up by a great earthquake and the sad part is it wasn’t just the three leaders for it was their households, servants and all their goods!
God as Israel’s Heavenly Father didn’t only justify His appointing Moses and Aaron, but also demonstrated His wrath against those who openly rebelled against Him. Here’s the thing, that was under the dispensation of the Law and judgment oftentimes was swift and severe. Today we live under the dispensation of Grace, where God’s longsuffering and compassion extend mercy to the peoples of the world. But, His Word and His commandments are no less true today. He sent Jesus Christ to be the mediator AND the Way so that we might avoid His wrath and judgment. His wrath and judgment ARE going to fall, but only if we walk around with a rebellious heart and especially those who have once tasted “the heavenly gift and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit.” (Hebrews 6:4).
These words are NOT mine, they are part, an integral part along with others of the Word of God. Man can twist them, say they mean something else, try to justify around this Word, but you cannot nor ever will be able to change the Spirit of the Word! “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” – Hebrews 6:4-6.
It is often assumed that it was the Apostle Paul who wrote Hebrews, whoever did, they wrote it again, under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit. You can debate with me all you want about the meaning and how you can’t lose what you once walked in, but walking in the Spirit is a choice and turning your back is a choice. We have some assurances, but those assurances depend on our continued obedience to the WHOLE truth of the Word and not just the parts that seem to make it easy for us. Jude felt so strong about this that he chose to write what he did instead of what he initially felt. Don’t you think we ought to look at the Word, just as strongly?
It is long past time that we put aside the traditions and teachings of man no matter how brilliant and sincere they seemed. As men, we are ALL flawed and need to line up our thinking with the never-changing Word of God. I respect denominations for what they do, but that does NOT stop me from questioning some of their teachings in the Light of the Holy Word and it shouldn’t you either! After all, you are either followers of man and their traditions, or you are a follower of Christ Jesus! It can’t be any simpler than that.