Why does Elohim/God allow “bad” things to happen to “good” people?

Deuteronomy 8:2–3, 6ff, YHVH afflicted/humbled you. Does the concept of YHVH afflicting his people bother you? Perhaps he will do this to us if and when we need it. The word afflict/anah (Strong’s H6031) literally means “to become low, depressed, put down or stoop.” (Note some other places where anah is used: Pss 55:19; 88:7; 90:15; 119:71, 75.) Scripture says that Israel exited Egypt with “a high hand/upraised arm” (Exod 14:8 and Num 33:3). The word high/upraised can connote haughtiness or arrogance, or it can mean that the children left Egypt triumphantly and in jubilation waving banners (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 369). What do you think? Did they leave Egypt in a spirit of contrition or arrogance? If the latter, then perhaps, in YHVH’s eyes, they need some humbling. 

Are we any different? Do we need to be humbled? Down through the ages, YHVH has allowed his servants to suffer, but it was for their spiritual growth and benefit. What did Paul say about his thorn in the flesh? (See 2 Cor 12:7.) Why did Job experience what he did? (Read Job 42.) The process of humbling us so that we might have a higher view of YHVH, and a lower view of ourselves is not a bad thing!When we become contrite and humble before YHVH and more dependent on him, the blessings, power, anointing and provision of YHVH are able to flow into our lives more readily.

How has YHVH been trying to humble your flesh that he might bring you to a deeper level spiritually? The ArtScroll Chumash comments, “It is true that Elohim subjected the people to some hardships in the wilderness, but even that was for their good; just as a father may chastise his child to prepare him for the future” (p. 983). Consider this issue in light of the sufferings of YHVH’s servants while they were faithfully awaiting their spiritual inheritance as recorded in Hebrews 11. (Compare this with Jas 1:12–17 and 1 Cor 3:13.) Also consider the two types of judgments of YHVH as recorded in Scripture: his judgments unto repentance and his judgments unto death. What are some examples of each? If YHVH’s saints stay close to him spiritually, they won’t have to go through the latter type of judgment. (Examples: Noah and the flood; Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah; the Israelites in the plagues on Egypt; the saints and the tribulation, the great tribulation versus the wrath of Elohim periods at the end of the age [these are three separate time periods or events]; see also Heb 12:3–11). 

Why did YHVH have to afflict the children of Israel? This is because the Scriptures tell us that Israel left Egypt with “an high hand.”

And YHVH hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. (Eoxd 14:8)

And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. (Num 33:3)

“An high hand” in Hebrew is the word ruhm meaning “to rise, rise up, be high, be lofty, be exalted.” Human pride is anathema and an abomination to YHVH Elohim:

These six things doth YHVH hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood… (Prov 6:16–17)

On the other hand, we elsewhere read,

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, Elohim resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (Jas 4:6)

For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith YHVH: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isa 66:2)

Deuteronomy 8:2–3, Humbled you…tested you……allowed you to hunger. This verse reveals that YHVH tested, humbled and even allowed the children of Israel to suffer privation on their long trek through the wilderness. This has led some people to wonder what kind of a Being the Israelites were serving that he would do this to his people. A cruel or loving one?

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Why does there need to be the shedding of blood for the atonement of sin?

Numbers 31:50, Make atonement. 

What is the big deal about the concept of vicarious atonement, that is, someone dying in another persons’s place to repair a wrong or an injury? Does the really need to be the shedding of blood for the antonement of sin? This is a concept shared only by Christianity and no other major religions in the world including Judaism. The Christians are always making a big deal about “the cross” and “Jesus dying for our sins,” or “Jesus paying for our sins.” Is this a biblical concept or some idea of man to put people under bondage to some ancient religious and irrational superstition? Knowing the answer to this question is a matter of life and death.

Exploring the Concept of Atonement
as It Relates to the Tabernacle and Salvation

In this verse we read, “We have therefore brought an oblation for YHVH, what every man has gotten, of jewels of gold, chains, and bracelets, rings, earrings, and tablets, to make an atonement for our souls before YHVH.” In a similar passage in Exodus 30:15–16, we read, “The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto YHVH, to make an atonement for your souls. And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before YHVH, to make an atonement for your souls(emphasis added). The question before us is this: Do these passages in the Torah imply that YHVH grants man absolution based something other than the shedding of blood, and by logical extension, does this call into question our redemption from sin through our faith in Yeshua the Messiah’s blood atonement?

The concept of atonement can be a confusing one. Some in rabbinic Jewish circles teach that the Torah (i.e. the first five books of the Bible) does not require the shedding of blood for atonement of one’s sin to occur. According to the above scripture, this could appear to be the case. Before briefly discussing the subject of atonement, let us not forget the stern warnings of the Apostle Peter when he warned end-time saints against false teachers who would lure people away from the simple truth of the gospel:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not…. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; and shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceiving while they feast with you; having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children, which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Yeshua Messiah, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (2 Peter 2)

In the Testimony of Yeshua (New Testament), there is no question that when the concept of atonement (i.e. to make ransom for or to cover over man’s sins) is presented it is related to the blood of Yeshua, the Lamb of YHVH, being shed for the remission of man’s sins, which is the means through which reconciliation between Elohim and man occurs. In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), however, the idea of atonement is somewhat broader and at times more generalized in scope. Herein lies the confusion and the misconceived disparity between the Former (Old) and Latter (New) Testaments or Covenants. Are they in opposition to one another, or is the latter the logical outgrowth of the former and compliments or ­elucidates the former?

The Hebrew word for atonement is kapar. A verb, it means “to make an atonement, make reconciliation, purge. In its noun form, kapar means a ransom, gift, to secure favor”(see Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament [or TWOT], word 1023). Kapar also means “to cover over”and is the same Hebrew word meaning “to cover or smear with pitch”as in caulking the seams of a wooden ship so that it becomes waterproof (see Brown-Driver-Briggs H3722). Our English words cap (as well as the Hebrew kipah, which is a small hemispherical hat that many religious Jewish men wear)and cover are related etymologically to kapar (see The Word—The Dictionary That Reveals the Hebrew Source of Our English, by Isaac E. Mozeson). 

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The High Price to Pay for Worshipping in “High Places”

Ezekiel 6:3–5, High places…idols…corpses.As a judgment against the backslid and idolatrous “mountains [nations or governmental seats] of Israel” (Ezek 6:1), YHVH promises to bring a sword against his people as they are worshipping their idols instead of him. The “mountains of Israel” in this instance is a poetic and prophetic Hebraism for the nations of Israel that YHVH has scattered around the world because of his judgments against their sin. 

In this modern age, few people bow down to literal idols, but idolatry is as rampant now as it was in ancient times. Any person, thing or idea that gets in the way of or hinders a person from worshipping and obeying Elohim is an idol to that person. It may be money, sex, drugs, education, power, sports, philosophies, entertainment, pleasure, material possessions or false religions. 

The “mountains of Israel” today are largely the so-called and formerly Christian nations of the world, which are backslid spiritually. 

Typically and biblically, YHVH raised up Israel’s enemies to punish his backslid people in hopes that they will repent of their sinful ways and return to him. The biblical Edom (or the modern jihadist Moslems) and along with other terrorists is one YHVH’s end times paddle by which he is spanking his wayward people. 

So what are the high places of the Christian nations where their idols are located that Edom is attacking resulting in slain corpses being strewn about? Think of the places where Edom and its satanic terrorist fellow travellers who are bent on killing, stealing and destroying have been detonating bombs and spraying bullets in their attempts to massacre the “people of the book” (as the Koran calls them), who are the Jews and the Christians. The West’s high places of idol worship include sports arenas and sporting events, Christmas parties, schools, night clubs, “gay” night clubs, financial centers, churches, educational centers, places of business and other places of religious activity, places of governmental authority and military installations to name a few. All these high places where idolatry occurs represent the gods and idolatrous concepts of post-Christian Israelites who have rejected Elohim for their idols. These are YHVH’s judgments upon his people to bring them to repentance and back to him.

 

Phinehas: Who will rise up against evil?

Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? (Psalm 94:16)

Numbers 25:7, Phinehas…took a javelin. Phinehas, the priest, rose up against evil—in this case, sexual immorality—and took a stand for righteousness, and YHVH commended him for it. Who are the Phinehases of today?

In standing against sin, Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron the high priest, was not acting as a self-appointed vigilante as it may appear. Rather, YHVH had given the priests, of which Phinehas was one, the authority to act as judges in Israel and to pronounce sentence in criminal matters (Deut 17:9–11). Additionally, Phinehas was doubly justified in his action against the fornicators, since he was an eyewitness of these sexual crimes, and the Torah teaches that the hand of the eyewitness was to be the first to rise up in executing judgment against the criminals (Deut 17:6; Ezek 44:24). So as an eyewitness and as a priest, he was legally justified in his actions. The priests and Levites were to act as Israel’s legal experts (Lev 10:10–11; Deut 24:8; 33:10; 2 Chron 17:9; 30:22; Neh 8:2, 8; Hag 2:11; Ezek 44:23; Mal 2:7) and to make determinations between the holy and the profane (Ezek 22:26; 44:23).

Who are YHVH’s priest on the earth today? According to Peter, and John the saints are those priests (1 Pet 2:7; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). As such, the saints presently possess the divinely mandated legal authority to fulfill the responsibilities of the priesthood of old when it comes to teaching the laws of Elohim to the nations in which they live (Lev 10:10–11). Moreover, Yeshua, our Great High Priest, has tasked his disciples with the responsibility and authority to judge righteously (i.e. to make judgments according to YHVH’s standards of righteousness, John 7:24), and to be spiritual fruit inspectors (Matt 7:15–20). Today, this responsibility is primarily exercised within the congregation of the righteous (1 Cor 5:12; 6:1–6). However, besides this, the righteous saints are to act as spiritual salt in this world and to be like a spiritual light on a hill for the world to see (Matt 5:13–16). This means that they are to preach the gospel to the world, to make disciples and to teach those around them all that Yeshua has commanded them (Matt 28:18–20; Mark 16:15–16). This means that the saints have heaven’s authority and commission to act as the spiritual and moral compass and conscience for the nations in which they live. This means that they will be standing against evil wherever and however they can as directed by the Spirit of Elohim, even as Phinehas did.

It is time that the righteous servants of YHVH Elohim begin to stand up in a more vocal and demonstrative way against the evil that is being foisted upon our society by those who are bent upon destroying the family, morality, and any vestiges of biblical standards of righteousness that may still exist around us. In Psalm 94:16, YHVH asks the question of his servants, “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” With this in mind, the question we need to ask ourselves is this: If not me, who; if not now, when? If you have something worth living for, then do you have something worth giving your life for? If those who are caught up in demonically inspired religious systems are willing to die for their faith calling it “a holy war” and “martyrdom for their [demon] god,” can the saints of YHVH at least not take a verbal stand against the tide of evil that is sweeping our society?

The Bible is full of examples of YHVH’s servants standing against unrighteousness in their day and their receiving YHVH’s blessing for it. Several examples include the Hebrew midwives disobeying the edict of Pharaoh to commit infanticide (Exod 1:15–22), Phinehas executing judgment against the fornicators (Num 25:7–8), the three Hebrew children refusing to worship the golden image (Dan 3:8–18), Daniel violating the king’s edicts by praying to YHVH (Dan 6:10–12), John the Baptist criticizing Herod for his adultery (Mark 6:18), Yeshua turning over the money changers’ tables in the temple (Matt 21:12), and Peter and John for disobeying the Jewish leaders’ command to not preach the gospel (Acts 4:18–20). Many more examples could be given. Remember all the biblical prophets? 

Numbers 25:11, Has turned back my wrath…because he was zealous. Read Psalm 94:16. What are some other examples of righteous men and women in the Bible who stood up against evil in their day whom YHVH praised for doing so? Did Phinehas rise up against evil in his own carnally-minded, emotionally-based zeal? If not, then whose zeal was he full of? (Read verse 11 again.) When we take a stand against evil as led by the Word and Spirit of the YHVH Elohim, can it ever be wrong to do so, even though the world may not agree with us and may even criticize or persecute us for doing so? Not only that, Phinehas placed his life on the line between the righteous judgment of Elohim and those who were sinning. Many times, the servants of YHVH actually have to leave their comfort zones and place themselves in harm’s way on the ragged edge between good and evil to take a stand for YHVH Elohim. (Note Aaron’s actions in Num 16:46–50.) The examples of such actions from the pages of the Scriptures are too numerous to list. Some notable examples include: 

Natan recently standing on the steps of the Oregon state capital building preaching and blowing the shofar against a Satantist/Luciferian rally and march that was supposed to have occurred there that day, but, amazingly, the devil worshippers never showed up.
  • Noah preaching righteousness against the utterly corrupt generation of his day.
  • David versus Goliath (1 Sam 17)
  • Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal (1 Kgs 18:20ff)
  • John the Baptist confronting King Herod (Matt 14)
  • Yeshua confronting the religious leaders of his day on numerous occasions (e.g. Matt 23)
  • Peter and John versus the Jewish leaders (Acts 4)
  • Stephen confronting the Jewish leaders (Acts 7)
  • Paul and Silas preaching against false religion in Philippi (Acts 16) and preaching the gospel on the streets in Thessolonica (Acts 17), in Corinth (Acts 18) and again in Ephesus (Acts 19)

At times, YHVH tried to find such a person who would stand for his truth, but was unable to do so (see Jer 5:1; Ezek 22:30).

Numbers 25:11, In my jealousy.YHVH is a jealous Elohim. The word jealous is the Hebrew word qanna/TBBE(Strong’s H7067) meaning “to envy, be jealous, be envious, be zealous.” The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash states, “Jealousy is a person’s reaction when he finds that another is taking something that is rightly his. [Elohim] is jealous when Jews serve idols, because they transfer their allegiance from Him to something else.” p. 876). Torah expresses this same idea elsewhere:

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Resist!…Sexual Temptation

Extramarital sex is so common place nowadays that almost no one thinks anything about it. It hasn’t always been that way though. Currently I’m reading a biography on Sir Isaac Newton, one the greatest scientific and mathematic geniuses to have ever lived. For many years during the late 1600s, he studied at England’s Cambridge University where he became a professor. Interestingly, one of the conditions to being a student and fellow at that prestigious university was that no sexual fornication was allowed. If one was caught giving in that sinful passion, they were expelled from that institution. How times have changed from then until now on college campuses and in society at large!


Numbers 25:1, Commit whoredoms. Sexual immorality has the downfall of many a saint who considers themselves to be strong, righteous and impervious to sinful temptation. There is a terrible price to pay for falling to sexual immorality as the Israelites found out. 

The enemy (the world, the flesh and the devil) knows our weaknesses and will do its best to capitalize on them for our destruction. Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Master Yeshua Messiah, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” 

What doors of immorality have you kept open in your life to gratify the immoral cravings of the flesh? What spiritual stronghold exists in your life that the enemy can use to keep you under its thumb and from walking in the joy and freedom of the will of YHVH? It is time to cry out to YHVH for help and deliverance and to repent.

Setting immovable boundaries in one’s heart and mind ahead of time is a major key to resisting sexual temptation successfully. It’s important to decide how far we can go without violating the spiritual guidelines the Scriptures lay out for us to stay righteous sexually, and then not allow ourself too get too close to those limits. For example, if you find yourself in a potentially compromising situation, flee that situation to alleviate the possibility of falling prey to moral compromise (2 Tim 2:22). 

Young people who are endowed with strong sexual urges need to bathe their minds in the godly admonitions found in Proverbs chapters one through nine (also note Eccl 11:9–10 and 12:1–14). Learning the ways of wisdom and the fear of Elohim as revealed in these chapters in Proverbs is a vital component to staying strong morally and being triumphant over the wicked temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil.

 

On False Prophets, Balaam’s Donkey and the Misuse of Prophetic Gifts—A Warning!

In Matthew 24 and elsewhere, Yeshua warned his disciples to beware of false prophets coming in the end times claiming to be anointed and have the word of Elohim from heaven and deceiving many—even the saints. Many of these false prophets have started false religions and cults, but can be found lurking about in the Christian church itself. There are many people running around claiming to speak for Elohim, but who are coming in the spirit of Balaam. Beware! That’s why it behooves us to study about Balaam the false prophet!

Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. (Matt 24:11)

For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matt 24:24)

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. (Matt 7:15)

Numbers 23:4, Seven altars. Rashi, the Jewish Torah scholar, says these seven altars refer to the altars built by Israel’s ancestors—­four of which were built by Abraham (The ArtScroll Sapirstein Edition Rashi/Numbers, p. 288). Whether this is true or not, this story can serve to teach us a lesson. Perhaps Balaam superstitiously thought that by returning to some place where humans in times’ past had encountered the Presence of YHVH he could actually find YHVH there. Matthew Henry in his commentary on this verse states, “Oh the sottishness of superstition, to imagine that God will be at man’s beck!” To resort to programs, rituals or methodologies to “conjure” up the Presence of YHVH can lead to idolatry and witchcraft. What “attracts” the Spirit of YHVH? Is it worship, praise, a repen tant and humble heart, faith in him with obedience to his Word, and love for him or rituals, charms, incantations and religiosity? You know the answer.

Numbers 23:21, Perverseness in Israel. Balaam tried to find some iniquity, or some perversion in Israel that would give him legal grounds to curse Israel, but could find none. Remember, a curse causeless shall not land (Prov 26:2). Satan, the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10) has no legal grounds with which to attack the righteous of Yeshua who are submitted to the authority, will, Word and Spirit of YHVH (Jas 4:7), and who are under the blood of Yeshua, the Lamb of Elohim (Rev 12:11). How do we stay in such a spiritual state so that the attacks of the enemy have no legal ground to stick in our lives, and so that the fiery darts of Satan are instantly quenched? (Read compare and discuss Eph 6:10–18; Col 2:15; Luke 9:1; 10:19.)

Numbers 23:15–25, The arrogant hypocrisy of Balaam. Balaam calls YHVH “the Most High” and “the Almighty.” He had great respect for YHVH (as does Satan as we learn from James 2:19, “You believe that there is one Elohim, you do well: the devils also believe and tremble.”), but he did not have enough fear of, faith in and love for YHVH to obey him. Does this describe you? How much do you hold back loving YHVH with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?

Numbers 23:19, El is not a man that he should lie.Read the rest of this verse, which speaks about the immutable character of Elohim. (Also see Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8.) From the beginning in the Garden of Eden (thanks to the lies of Satan the serpent, see Gen 3:1–4), man has been under the spiritual delusion that Elohim changes his word, laws or commandments and that he doesn’t really mean what he says. That is to say, when YHVH gives a command, later on he may change his mind and his commands are no longer applicable to subsequent generations or people-groups. Down through the ages, church leaders have bought in to this lie of the enemy with regard to validity of the Torah as pertaining to the life of the redeemed believer. But by saying that the Torah is “done away with,” “has been nailed to the cross” “has been fulfilled in Jesus” meaning “he did it for us so that we don’t have to do it,” isn’t this really calling Elohim a liar? Now consider the numerous places throughout the Bible, the Word of Elohim, where the Torah is revealed as YHVH’s unalterable standard of righteousness for all time and for all people everywhere. (In this regard, read the following scriptures: Ps 119:44, 142, 144, 160, 172; Matt 4:4; 5:18–19; Rom 3:31; 7:12.) Who is really the liar? Man or Elohim?

Numbers 23:36, Balaam the man-pleaser. Balaam is desirous of pleasing Balak, even though he pretends to please YHVH. At heart Balaam is a man-pleaser, not a YHVH-pleaser. Yeshua castigated the religious hypocrites of his day for the same thing (John 12:43). What truly motivates you? Do you care more what men think when it comes to obeying the truth of YHVH? Do you often take the easy way out and the path of least resistance, which pleases the flesh and those around you rather than YHVH?

Numbers 24:2, The Spirit of Elohim came upon him.We see from the Scriptures that the Spirit of YHVH can come on just about anyone, but this doesn’t mean that the Spirit dwells in them, leads them, or that such a person has a heart to love, serve and obey Elohim. For example, the Spirit of Elohim came upon King Saul who prophesied (see 1 Sam 10:9–11; 19:20–24), but Saul didn’t serve YHVH with his whole heart and eventually became a murderous, apostate occultist. Not only does the Bible warn us to beware of prophets who prophecy falsely (e.g. Deut 13:1–5; Jer 23:9–40; Ezek 13:2; 22:24; Isa 28:7; Matt 24:4–5; 2 Pet 2:1–3), but to beware false prophets or unrighteous individuals who YHVH may use to prophecy correctly—not because they are filled with the Spirit of Elohim, but simply because the Spirit of Elohim temporarily comes upon them to accomplish YHVH’s purposes.

Numbers 24:3, Balaam…hath said.In this statement, we see revealed another character flaw of Balaam. Here he gives YHVH no credit for his prophetic word, but seeks his own glory. It’s as if he is saying, “I have heard the word of Elohim” with emphasis on himself rather than on Elohim, the source of the word. What caution does the Word of Elohim give us in this regard? (See Jer 9:23–24.)

Numbers 24:17, A Star out of Jacob.To what notable, kingly biblical figure is this prophecy referring? (See Matt 2:2; Rev 22:16 cp. Ps 2:1–12; Rev 17:14; 19:16. See also Rev 2:27; 12:5; 19:15.) This prophecy can have a double meaning in that it also pointed to King David who smote the Moabites and took possession of Mount Seir, the land of the Edom (vv. 17–18 cp. 2 Sam 8:2,14). 

However, both Christian and Jewish scholars have recognized the Messianic implications of this verse. For example, Akiva Ben Yosef, the rabbinic Jewish leader of the second century, applied this verse to Simon Bar Kosiba (whose name he changed to Kokhba meaning “son of the star” after the Star Prophecy of Num 24:17) who presumed to be the Messiah when he unsuccessfully attempted to defeat the Romans in the Second Jewish revolt. Additionally, Adam Clarke notes in his commentary on this verse that Moses Ben Maimon (or Maimonidies), the Medieval Jewish Torah scholar applied this verse to the future Messiah as do the Onkelos Targum and Jerusalem Targum (the ancient Jewish Aramaic translations of the Tankah). Rashi (the medieval JewishTorah scholar) and Sforno (the renaissance Jewish Torah scholar) in their Torah commentaries note the Messianic implications of the star of Balaam’s prophecy as well (Sforno Commentary on the Torah, ArtScroll Mesorah Series). 

One thing is certain, only Yeshua the Messiah can make the claim to having fulfilled this biblical prophecy! 


Balaam—A Subverter of Divine Gifts and a Prophet of Babylon

The name Balaam means “destruction of people.” The Hebrew word bela means “destruction, confuse, confound.” The Hebrew word am means people, tribe, nation. The name Balak means “waster, to annihilate.” He was king of Moab; distant cousins to Israel through Lot, Abraham’s nephew. The world, as well as the modern Christian church, is full of such prophets.

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Were “all things” really lawful to Paul?

Many Christians will casually read this Bible statement by Paul and assume that the Torah-law was done away with. Is this really what Paul is saying here and does such an interpretation line up with the rest of Paul’s writings as well as the truth of the entire Bible? Let’s look at this statement logically and in the larger context of Scripture to see what the truth really is.


1 Corinthians 6:12–13, All things are lawful. When Paul said that all things are lawful to him, what do you think he meant? It’s now all right to murder, commit adultery, lie, steal, have sex with animals, practice witchcraft, and we can also add break the Sabbath, eat pork, etc., etc.? Obviously, violating the commands of Elohim wasn’t what he meant here, for doing such is, by biblical definition, sin (1 John 3:4), and those who love Yeshua will not be sinning, but will keeping his commandments (John 14:15). Moreover, it was our sin that put Yeshua on the cross, so why should we mock Yeshua’s death by continuing to practice sin? In fact, prior to 1 Cor 6:12, Paul listed a number of sins that will prevent one from entering the kingdom of heaven including drunkenness, sexual immorality, theft and so on. So obviously, breaking the laws of Elohim was not what he meant in verse 12. If Paul is here permitting the eating of unclean meat that the Bible forbids and calls an abomination, then he is also permitting sexual immorality—a sin which he juxtaposes in verse 13 with the eating of certain foods.

So if Paul wasn’t opposing the biblical dietary laws in verses 12 and 15, what was he really saying? According to David Stern in his Jewish New Testament Commentary, Paul was coming against the sexually libertine attitudes of the saints in Corinth whereby they had permitted the man who was having sexual relations with this stepmother and even allowing the sinner to remain in fellowship with the saints there. Stern goes on to say that the phrase, “All things are lawful to me…Food for the stomach…” is really analogous to the modern phrase, “If it feels good, do it”—a concept which Paul strongly opposes. Beale and Carson concur with Stern on this in their commentary on this verse (Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, p. 713). In verse 15, Paul goes on to make the point that our bodies are the temples of the Set-Apart Spirit of Elohim and that we need to treat them as holy vessels by not engaging in sinful practices (whether sexual immorality or eating unclean meats).

Keener agrees with Stern that Paul was here confronting the ungodly and licentious Greek philosophers who would excuse their libertine carnal appetites by saying “I can get away with anything.” Paul, on the other hand, counters this by saying, “Maybe so, but ‘anything’ is not good for you” (The IVP Bible Background Commentary of the NT, pp. 464–465). Keener goes on to say that “‘Food for the stomach and the stomach for food’ was a typical Greek way of arguing by analogy that the body was for sex and sex for the body….That God would do away with both reflected the typical Greek disdain for the doctrine of the resurrection (chap 15), because Greeks believed that one was done with one’s body at death [which is why they reasoned that it was permissible to do whatever you pleased with your body now]. Paul responds to this Greek position with the Old Testament/Jewish perspective that the body is for God and he will resurrect it” (i.e. in v. 14, ibid.).

Paul then goes on to explain why a philosophy that excuses sinful behavior is not acceptable to Elohim or beneficial to the saint.