Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Korah.
1. "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain,"
a. Scofield Reference Bible: "Cain, type of the religious natural man, who believes in a God, and in religion, but after his own will and who rejects redemption by blood."
1). Genesis 4:3-5 "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell."
2). Abel's offering was accepted, and Cain's was not. Why? Because Abel's offering was by faith, Hebrews 11:4. Cain's was not. Scofield: "Abel's offering implies a previous instruction, for it was by faith. Faith is taking God at his word; so that Cain's unbloody offering was a refusal of the Divine way.
b. In 1922, one of the preeminent liberal [read apostate] preachers, Harry Emerson Fosdick, preached his famous sermon, Shall the Fundamentalists win? "It is interesting to note where the Fundamentalists are driving in their stakes to mark out the deadline of doctrine around the church across which no one is to pass except on terms of agreement. They insist that we must all believe on the historicity of certain special miracles, preeminently the virgin birth of our Lord, that we must believe in a special theory of inspirationthat the original documents of Scripture, which of course we no longer possess, were inerrantly dictated to men a good deal as a man might dictate to a stenographer, that we must believe in a special theory of Atonementthat the blood of our Lord, shed in a substitutionary death, placates an alienated Deity and makes possible welcome for the returning sinner, and that we must believe in the second coming of our Lord upon the clouds of heaven to set up a millennial here, as the only way in which God can bring history to a worthy denouement. Such are some of the stakes which are being driven to mark a deadline of doctrine around the church.Has any body a right to deny the Christian name to those who differ with him on such points and to shut against them the doors of the Christian fellowship?
1). Harry Emerson Fosdick is an example of those who have gone in the way of Cain. He rejected the blood atonement of Christ.
2). He also rejected the virgin birth and the inspiration of Scripture. Much of liberal Christianity follows in their path.
c. Another liberal by the name of John Shelby Spong, a retired Episcopal priest who has a weekly email question and answer service, was asked the question: "Are there any historical facts that prove the killing of the first-born Egyptian sons at the time of the Exodus? " In his response he writes: "I am quite sure there are not since I am quite sure that this story itself is not history. My reasons for that unqualified assertion are: 1. Moses and therefore the Exodus are generally dated about 1250 B.C.E. The written account is almost 300 years later. That means that the story of the Exodus lived in oral transmission for almost 300 years or 12-14 generations before being written down. The Exodus was the story of a national beginning, a kind of Fourth of July for the Jewish people. I see no way that it would not be subjected to a heightening miraculous process in that life-to-life, mouth to mouth oral process over 300 years. After all, we Americans attribute all sorts of virtues to our founders. 2. The details of that story are filled with fanciful details. First, the idea that God would kill the first-born male in every Egyptian household, including the first born among Egyptian flocks, would be strange behavior for an evil human being. How much more evil would that be for God to do it? The other details of this story are also fanciful. The blood of the Paschal Lamb on the doorposts of Jewish homes that has the ability to banish death from those houses is cult magic language. The series of plagues portray God invading the world in supernatural ways by controlling the weather and sending disease. In our postmodern world, both areas are understood quite differently. Neither the weather nor disease is thought of today as sent for the divine purpose of rewarding or punishing. Finally, the Crossing of the Red Sea story would not only have been impossible physically but the Red Sea was also not even on the route the Israelites took. If they crossed anything, it would have been a shallow marshy area, no more than 20 miles wide called Yam Suph or the Sea of Reeds that is near the present day Suez Canal. There is one item that has come to us out of archeological discoveries that may have been a factor in the development of this story but it is not conclusive. There was a Pharaoh about the time of the Exodus whose son and heir apparent died suddenly and thus could not succeed to the throne. A second son did. We know no other details. Perhaps if this note is literally true historically, then this was the seed out of which the later legend grew that suggested that the first born of all Egyptian families had perished. Losing the first born of the King's family in that day of deep tribal thinking could have been experienced as if the first born of every Egyptian's family had perished. We can never be sure of the facts shrouded in our legends but normally legends are born in a germ of reality."
1). This kind of thinking is poison and is exactly what Jude had in mind when he was denouncing these heretics.
2. "and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward,"
a. ran greedily [1632 * ekchuno] [Bullinger: To pour out, rush tumultuously; spoken of a passion, to rush into, give one's self up to.]
b. error [4106 * plane] [Zodhiates: A wandering out of the right way. In the N.T., used only figuratively meaning error.] [Vines or Bullinger: A wandering, a forsaking of the right path, whether in doctrine, or in morals, though in scripture, doctrine and morals are never divided by any sharp lineErrors in doctrine are not infrequently the effect of relaxed morality and vice versa.]
1). 2 Peter 3:16 "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.
2). 2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
c. 2 Peter 2:15, 16 "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."
1). Balaam forsook the right way and went astray because he loved the wages of unrighteousness. Jude says 'reward', but it is the same Greek word.
2). Gordon Lindsay: "Although he spoke of not accepting Balak's offer, even if he would, "give me his house full of silver and gold", it actually was the silver and gold that Balaam was after.
3). 1 Timothy 6:10 "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
d. Numbers 22:15-22 "And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they.
And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me:
For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people.
And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more.
Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye here this night, that I may know what the LORD will say unto me more.
And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, IF THE MEN COME TO CALL THEE, RISE UP, AND GO WITH THEM; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shall thou do.
AND BALAAM ROSE UP IN THE MORNING, AND SADDLED HIS ASS, AND WENT WITH THE PRINCES OF MOAB.
AND GOD'S ANGER WAS KINDLED BECAUSE HE WENT: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.
And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.
But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyard, a wall being on this side, and a wall being on that side.
And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again.
And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.
And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.
And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?
And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.
And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? Was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.
Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in his way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.
And the angel of the LORD said unto him,
Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? Behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:
And thine ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from, me surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.
And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: not therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.
And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak."
1). Most people who read the passage miss what happened in verses 20-22. Perhaps the translation they read confuses them or they just don't see it. The Lord got mad at Balaam because Balaam didn't wait for the men to call on him. The first thing in the morning he just saddled his ass and went. This is the only explanation for the response from God. If the verses in Numbers 22:20-22 are compared with Numbers 22:35, it is obvious that the only real difference between to two was the condition the LORD stated in verse 20: "If the men come to call thee" Why would God be mad enough to kill him because he was doing something that God had said he could do? He was mad enough to kill him because he didn't wait. It was disobedience.
2). A similar incident is recorded in Exodus 4:24-26. Disobedience on Moses part about circumcision almost cost Moses his life.
3). 2 Peter 2:15 says that Balaam, "loved the wages of unrighteousness". Whether it was money or "very great honour", Balaam ran greedily after it. And so will these apostate preachers.
4). See also Titus 1:9-11.
3. "and perished in the gainsaying of Core."
a. perished [622 * apollumi] [Zodhiates: To destroy, be destroyed.
b. gainsaying [485 * antilogia; anti-against; lego-to speak; to speak against]
c. Numbers 16:1-11 "Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the sone of Pleth, sons of Rurben, took men:
And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:
And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?
And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face:
And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even tomorrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.
This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company;
And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to marrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.
And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi:
Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?
And h hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?
For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?
1). Korah [Unger's Bible Dictionary] "The Levite who conspired with Dathan and Abiram against Moses. Korah was the son of Izhar, the brother of Amram, the father of Moses and Aaron, making him cousin to these leaders of Israel [Exodus 6:16-21]. About all we know of Korah is in connection with the conspiracy of which he was one of the leaders. Korah was probably influenced by jealously because the high honours and privledges of the priesthood had been exclusively appropriated by the family of Aaron. Moses having supreme authority in civil affairs, the whole power over the nation would seem to have been engrossed by him and Aaron. The particular grievance which rankled in the minds of Korah and his company was their exclusion from the office of the priesthood and their being confined, those among them who were Levites, to the inferior service of the tabernacle.
d. Numbers 16:28-35 "And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.
If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all man; then the LORD hath not sent me.
But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD.
And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:
And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.
And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense."
1). [Unger's Bible Dictionary] "As the descendants of Korah afterward became eminent in the Levitical service, it is clear that his sons were spared. They were probably living in separate tents, or separated themselves from the conspirators at the command of Moses."
2). This characteristic rebellion will also be characteristic of these apostate preachers.
My name is Don Costello. Ever since I received Christ in November of 1976 I have had a passion to study and know God's word.My wife Melissa and I have 5 children.