70 myths on losing salvation (15): Teach Balaam’s doctrines that Jesus hates, Rev 2:14-16.

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Recently I found an interesting blog which states that we can lose our salvation in 70 ways. For the complete list of the 70 “ways”, kindly refer to: http://smashingidols7.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/70-ways-a-believer-can-fall-away/  and my refute started with: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/70-ways-of-losing-your-salvation-1-stop-believing-luke-813/  

 

You will find links to the rest of the myths at the end of this article. Please refer to them after your finish this article.

Myth 15: begin to teach doctrines that Jesus hates, causing both you and your students to fight against God. Rev 2:14-16.  Note:  The writer of that note seems to have left out No. 14)

Revelation 2:12-17

New International Version (NIV)

To the Church in Pergamum

12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

 

Church in the center of heresy and apostasy: http://www.gci.org/bible/rev/ephesus

Christ introduced himself to the church in Pergamum as one who has the sharp, double-edged sword (2:12). This was another reference taken from the “One Like a Son of Man” image in chapter one (1:16).

 

The sword is symbolic of the penetrating word of God (Hebrews 4:12-13). More precisely, it is the discerning aspect of the word that “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,” and from which nothing in creation is hidden.

This would have had great meaning in reference to where the members of the Pergamum church lived – in a city filled with the splendor and power of false religion.

 

The church was reminded that Pergamum’s power structure had wrongly judged or condemned Antipas, a faithful witness, and executed him as a martyr (1:5). But God will judge the world system itself in opposition to God, of which Pergamum’s power center partakes. Revelation describes God’s judgment on “the world” in great symbolic detail. It is represented by the City of Babylon while God’s people are symbolized by the New Jerusalem. This struggle between the world and the saints, pictured in Revelation, led one commentator to label the book as a “Tale of Two Cities.”

The religious climate at Pergamum was not conducive to the Christian life. That’s because “Satan’s throne” was in the city (2:12). While the phrase has received differing interpretations, it almost surely refers to Pergamum as a major center of pagan religion, especially the imperial cult. The city symbolized secular power and civil religion working in concert as Satan’s proxies.

Problems at Pergamum (2:14-16)

While the church in Pergamum was assaulted from the outside, it also faced grave internal religious deception. This is described as the teaching of Balaam and the Nicolaitans (2:14-15). Revelation’s use of the Balaam typology underscores the book’s reliance on Old Testament symbols. Balaam’s story is found in Numbers 22-24. He was a prophet who manipulated Israel into falling under God’s curse. Balaam’s motive was personal gain (2 Peter 2:15; Jude 6). He had been offered riches and power by Balak, a gentile king, to destroy God’s people, Israel.

The prophet found a way to accomplish the king’s nefarious desire. Balaam devised a plan whereby he caused the men of Israel to commit sexual immorality with Moabite women and to sacrifice to their gods in a community meal during a festival (Numbers 25:1-2). Thus he led Israel into sin by causing the nation to accommodate itself to idolatrous pagan religion and its immortality. Balaam came to stand for an evil individual who seduces God’s people into sin.

But in what sense were members of the church committing sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols (2:14)? It is generally thought that this phrase refers to food eaten at festivals in which pagan gods were honored, as well as the sexual activities that may have gone on as part of such feasts. Both expressions could also be understood metaphorically. That is, they would refer to general religious infidelity engaged in by Christians who participated in pagan rites and festivities.

Both a literal and figurative meaning may be in view here in Revelation. Since sexual immorality was sometimes associated with worship in pagan religion, the Christian would be taking both sexual license as well as committing religious infidelity if he participated in the religious practices of the city.

The Balaamites may have been teaching the converts that participating in temple feasts or other activities in which the gods were invoked was not wrong because it served a good end. The unknown prophets or self-appointed teachers, metaphorically called “Balaam,” were probably counseling accommodation with the pagan culture. Balaam and the Nicolaitans as well as another heretical group we encounter later – the followers of a prophetess named “Jezebel” – probably all taught generally the same thing. G.R. Beasley-Murray, in speaking of the Nicolaitans, wrote:

“They will have maintained that idols are nothing…Therefore Christians need not hesitate to take part in pagan feasts, whether among trade guilds or in temples…. Nor need they be over-scrupulous about acknowledging the divinity of Caesar, for they can do it in the same spirit as many pagans did – as a gesture of loyalty to Rome, without religious significance.” (The New Century Bible Commentary, “Revelation,” p. 86)

Of course, Revelation does not reveal the specific identity of the Nicolaitans nor does it rigorously define their beliefs. Irenaeus and other early church fathers claimed that the Nicolaitans practiced unrestrained indulgence (Against Heresies, 1.26.3). If they have not falsely defined their enemies – the Nicolaitans would have taught a life of loose morals, but no doubt under the guise of a deceptive theological rationale.

 

Following the teaching of the Balaamites and Nicolaitans, some church members in Pergamum had violated the freedom and grace they enjoyed in Christ. They had lapsed into a sinful accommodation with idolatry and immorality. The seriousness of the poor spiritual condition of some at Pergamum was underscored by Christ’s warning. He would fight against the heretics with the sword of his mouth (2:16). The mistakes of the Pergamum church are important lessons to all Christians who must struggle to keep their spiritual balance in a darkened world.

The purpose of the letter to the pastor to the church in Perganum is to bring comfort to its pastor, Jesus says that HE will personally come against these false teachers. Not it is again to protect and save the church. It DOES NOT mean HE will slay the church but that HE WILL SLAY THE HERETICS. We note from an earlier article that Jesus will strike Jezebel’s children not the church or its members. That is done to protect the church from its enemies.

What about those who fell into these heresies?

Notice Jesus called these people “you”. He did not say I will come and “fight against ‘you’”, He said “I will fight against “them”. The Nicolaitans and  the teachers of Balaam are referred to as “them”. Jesus said “I will come to YOU and I will fight against THEM”. This means He comes to save those who held those teaching but to fight against who teach these things. Those who held the teaching are believers who were deceived. Those who teach are NOT believers. Like Balaam, they knew God but they were never saved.

Dear friends, let me illustrate it this way. If you come against someone I love very much, I will strike you down. It does not depend on whether the person is worth saving or not. Let’s just say (for example sake) that person is my wife, despite whatever she has done she is still my wife. She is my wife because I chose to love her and marry her, in sickness, in health, for better and for worse. Whatever she may have done, does not change  my choice. It is I who decide whether I want to keep my vow. People do not get divorced because of the spouse’s adultery or sins or whatever. They divorce because they decide not to keep the vow. So if you come against my wife, (even though she may deserve to die for what she might have done), I will still come against you.

The reason is because the choice lies with me and not you. God in his mercy says “I hate divorce”. What that means is this. Jesus will never divorce his bride the church. He will warn her, protect her and fight to save her. Just look at Hosea 11, how the Father bleeds in His heart against a harlot who sells herself over and over again to strange men, yet God loves her the way Hosea loved Gomer. Dear friends, Jesus loves you. He will never stop loving you. Let me share Hosea 11 with you.

Hosea 11

New International Version (NIV)

God’s Love for Israel

11 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son. 
But the more they were called,
    the more they went away from me.[a] 
They sacrificed to the Baals 
    and they burned incense to images. 
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    taking them by the arms; 
but they did not realize
    it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with ties of love. 
To them I was like one who lifts
    a little child to the cheek,
    and I bent down to feed them.

“Will they not return to Egypt 
    and will not Assyria rule over them
    because they refuse to repent? 
A sword will flash in their cities;
    it will devour their false prophets
    and put an end to their plans.
My people are determined to turn from me. 
    Even though they call me God Most High,
    I will by no means exalt them.

“How can I give you up, Ephraim? 
    How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
    How can I make you like Zeboyim? 
My heart is changed within me;
    all my compassion is aroused. 
I will not carry out my fierce anger, 
    nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man —
    the Holy One among you.
    I will not come against their cities.
10 They will follow the Lord;
    he will roar like a lion. 
When he roars,
    his children will come trembling from the west. 
11 They will come from Egypt,
    trembling like sparrows,
    from Assyria, fluttering like doves. 
I will settle them in their homes,” 
    declares the Lord.

 

Do you know why He still loves us despite of all we do?

 

“I will not carry out my fierce anger, 
    nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man.”

 

 

Promise to Pergamum (2:17)

Those who conquered in the Pergamum church – who didn’t fall prey to this heresy – were promised salvation under the metaphor of the “hidden manna” and “white stone with a new name” (2:17). Manna is another Old Testament symbol. It was the food God supernaturally supplied to the Israelites during their 40-year sojourn in the wilderness (Exodus 16:11-15). In Revelation the manna would refer to the spiritual food by which God gives life to his people. It is, like the fruit of the tree of life, a symbol of salvation and eternal life.

Stones also served as admission tickets to public festivals and assemblies. Metaphorically, this would mean the Christian had been granted admittance to the messianic feast at the Savior’s return (19:18-19). A white stone may also have represented a happy and momentous day for the Christian – the receiving of the ultimate reward of salvation. The English equivalent would be a “red letter day.” An interesting custom in Thrace was the marking of good days by a white stone (Pliny Natural History, 7.40.131; Plutarch: Life of Pericles 64; Pliny, Letters 6:11). Certainly, God’s intervention in human affairs and the salvation of the church in the resurrection of the dead will be a wonderful and momentous time (Revelation 19:1-6).

 

We should also note that the color white is characteristic of Revelation. It speaks of white garments (3:5), white robes (7:9), white linen (19:8, 14), and the aforementioned great white throne judgment (20:11). White, in these cases, represents a kind of spiritual purity.

The meaning of the “new name” written on the white stone appears to have Old Testament roots as well (2:17). When speaking of Zion – a type of the church perfected – Isaiah repeated the promise of God to his people: “You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow” (Isaiah 62:2).

The new name represents a new status given to the individual by God. We see the custom in the Old Testament. Jacob becomes Israel (Genesis 32:28); Abram becomes Abraham (Genesis 17:5); Sarai becomes Sarah (Genesis 17:15). In the New Testament, Saul becomes Paul (Acts 13:9). The custom of giving a person a new name to go along with a new status was also found in the Roman world. Octavius became Augustus when he was crowned Roman emperor.

For the Christian, the “new name” would have great spiritual significance. Christ will give the member a new status. He will be resurrected into the kingdom of God – with a new existence and unparalleled glory (Romans 8:18-21). The idea of newness in the “new name” is another theme in Revelation. We have a new Jerusalem (3:12; 21:2); a new heaven and earth (21:1); a new song (5:9; 14:3). And God says at the book’s end, “I am making everything new!” (21:5).

Be at peace.

Enjoy this song by Michael Card called “song of Gomer”

That’s myth 15. Here are the rest!

For myth No. 2, please go to: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/70-myths-about-losing-salvation-myth-no-2-hardening-your-heart-hebrews-312-13-3/”>https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/70-myths-about-losing-salvation-myth-no-2-hardening-your-heart-hebrews-312-13-3/

 

For myth No. 3, 20 and 50 please refer to:https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/70-myths-about-losing-salvation-myth-3-and-20-you-can-lose-your-salvation-if-you-shrink-back-and-when-you-sin-willfully-3/

For myth No: 4 please refer to:https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-4-doctrine-of-demons-3/

For myth No: 5 please see:https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-5-turning-away-to-satan-1-tim-515-2-2/

For myth No. 6: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-shipwrecking-your-faith-2/

For myth No. 7: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-7-spat-out-for-being-lukewarm-5-2/

Myth No. 8: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/70-myths-on-losing-your-salvation-8-being-sexually-immoral-or-godless-like-esau-4/

Myth No. 9: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-9-being-castaway-1-cor-927/

Myth N0. 10: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-10-becoming-worthless-salt-good-for-nothing-but-to-be-cast-out-and-trodden-underfoot-of-men-matt-513-9-2/

Myth 11: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-11-be-cut-off-as-a-worthless-branch-4/

Myth No. 12: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-12-remove-your-lamp-stand-if-you-dont-repent/

Myth 13: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/70-ways-of-losing-salvation-myth-13-adultery-with-jezebel-revelation-2-20-23-3-2/

2 Comments

  1. (IN)valuable revelation by the Holy Spirit of Love and a sound mind!
    once again, sincere thanks for your labor of Love and Edification(s)!!

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