Doctrine of Balaam

By Olin Williams
July 7, 2022

“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” – Revelation 2:14.

Balaam was a gifted and eloquent prophet. Balac was the king of Moab. Balac feared the Israelites, who were about to cross the Jordon River into the promised land.

So Balac offered a sizeable fee to Balaam to curse Israel. Balaam rejected Balac’s first offer, but Balac sent messengers to Balaam with an offer of a larger fee and greater fringe benefits. This time Balaam accepted the offer.

Three times, he tried to curse Israel, but God restrained him. When Balaam concluded that he could not curse them, he proposed to corrupt them. He suggested that the Moabite girls should seduce the men of Israel by inviting them to participate in their idolatrous and immoral feasts.

He succeeded in bringing Israel down by this unholy alliance. This was Balaamism, and it was this evil principle that was allowed in the Pergamos Church.

In the letter to the church at Pergamos, Jesus showed his approval of their faithfulness in other things, but he disapproved the tolerance of Balaamism in the church. Balaam had introduced a principle of corruption which crept into the early church.

The very word “Pergamos” has in it the same meaning from which we get the English words for bigamy and polygamy. “Pergamos” signifies a mixed marriage, for it is the marriage of the church with the world.

When and how did the church and world fall in love?

Scriptures teach the church to be separated from the world. The world could not bring itself to love the church until the church had first become worldly. The church that is popular with the world today is not the spiritually strong church; rather, it is the church that mixes with the world and which welcomes the unconverted worldling into its fold.