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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Does your church tolerate the teachings of Balaam (Revelation 2)

The third church Jesus sends a message to is Pergamum. When we think of Revelation, we probably don't really think of these messages to the churches and how much they apply to our lives today. But there is really nothing new under the sun as we see here.

People often say that some things in the Bible don't really apply anymore. That is certainly true for things like animal sacrifices. We no longer sacrifice animals because Jesus is the sacrificial lamb who took away the sins of all who repent and believe in Him.

So we could even make the statement that the ceremonial laws and the sacrificial laws have been fulfilled by Jesus. But what has not been fulfilled yet is the moral laws; that is our relationship to God and our relationship to others.

So an example of moral laws that still apply today would be everything under the category of sexual immorality.

That's one of the reasons Jesus calls out the church of Pergamum. They were tolerating those who taught that sexual immorality was ok. Jesus compares their tolerance to Balaam and Balak, two Old Testament figures from Numbers 22-25, 31:16 in which the Israelites were enticed to sin against God by eating food sacrificed to idols and then committing sexual immorality

Revelation 2:14 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.

So then in relation to the "not everything still applies" wouldn't repeated warnings against sexual immorality from Genesis to Revelation say it still applies and is something that should not be tolerated in our churches today?

Of course the next question is "but what is sexual immorality?" That one is actually easy to answer. God gave us a whole chapter describing it in Leviticus 18 and continued to give examples against it throughout the New Testament in the gospels, Paul's letters, and even in the last book of Revelation.

But I think the point we want to note is what Jesus' reprimand was about. Notice what He said He had against this church, "there are some among you who hold to the teaching..."

This church was allowing teachings against the Bible to be tolerated. Jesus warned that they needed to quickly repent of tolerating these teachings or He would "make war against them with the sword of His mouth."

Dear Lord, Please show us how to love everyone who walks into the doors of our church buildings, regardless of whether the sins they struggle with are the same as the sins we struggle with, or different. Lord, as we love each other, let us remember we must first love you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and that Your Word says "if you love Me, you will obey My commandments." So Lord, please give us the wisdom to accurately teach and hold to Your Word alone. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries


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