The Scriptures speak of an incident where Israel is led astray into sexual sin. The seriousness of this event is so significant, that God warns the Church in Revelations against this sort of idolatry. This post contains videos showing how this error is being propagated to our children today, but first we have to understand the Scriptural background.
The story unfolds in Numbers Chapter 22 as Israel is preparing to enter into the promised land. The King of the Moabites, Balak (which means "devastator"), feared that Israel would do to his people what had been done to others. He sought a prophet to curse Israel so that he could drive them out of the land.
The elders of Moab left with "rewards of divination" to hire Balaam, son of Beor (which means burning) who was a soothsayer. When Balaam seeks God about this request, God states that He will not curse Israel because they are blessed. Balaam then sends the men from Moab back on their way.
The King then sends more princes to Balaam with even greater promises. Balaam asks them to stay the night while he seeks God yet again. That night, God tells Balaam to go with the men IF they call upon him. Yet instead, Balaam rises in the morning and makes preparations to go. He did not wait for the men to call upon him as God commanded because he wanted what they had to offer. He is looking for a way to seem like he is being obedient while really doing what he wants to do.
As he goes, God places an angel in his path to block him. It is important to note that the Scriptures explicitly state that this angel was sent as "an adversary against him." God was against Balaam at this point, and he was oblivious! Balaam could not see the angel until God enabled an ass to speak to him and then opened his eyes. This indicates that Balaam's eyes had been blinded because of his sin. Although Balaam acknowledges his sin and offers to go back, the angel instructs him to continue, but to only say what God gives him to say.
After arriving in Moab, the King takes Balaam up to the high places of Baal (which means "lord" and was used as a reference to Satan). High places refer to the areas where idolatrous worship to other gods occurred. Balaam proceeds to make sacrifices to God from Baal's place of worship in the hopes of getting a word from God. The word God gives is that of blessings for Israel and not curses.
King Balak takes Balaam to another high place called Pisgah (which means "cleft"). However they had to go through the fields of Zophim to get there. Zophim means "watchers", which is also what the fallen angels who fathered the Nephilim are called in the Book of Enoch. Balaam repeats the same rituals in an attempt to curse Israel. Once again, God blesses and does not curse. In prefacing the blessing, Balaam says:
"God hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them." Numbers 23:21
Because Israel was upright before the Lord, Balaam's attempts to curse the nation failed. They had been to the high places of Satan and invoked the presence of the Nephilim. Now, King Balak takes Balaam to yet another high place called Peor (meaning "cleft"). Here they repeat the sacrifices and petitions to God. Once again, God blesses Israel. Balaam also prophecies about the pending victories Israel will achieve.
Although Balaam could not curse Israel, he counsels King Balak on how he might get the upper hand over Israel because Balaam desperately wanted to receive the rewards Balak was offering. This is recounted in the following Scripture:
"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 stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication." Revelations 2:14
What was the stumbling block Balaam offered to King Balak? The worship of Baal-Peor. After Balaam departs from Moab, we see the ramifications of this instruction as Israel joins itself to Baal-Peor:
"Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove, and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel." Numbers 25:1-3
This caused a plague on the nation of Israel which resulted in 24,000 were slain.
"Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD." Numbers 31:16
Because of his deception in teaching others how to ensnare Israel in this sin, Israel later killed Balaam (Joshua 13:22) and he is set forth as an example of a false prophet.
"They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness." II Peter 2:15
"Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah." Jude 1:11
Lessons from Balaam
There are several lessons to be learned from this text:
- A spirit of whoredoms and abominations is also being released in the latter days to prevent you from obtaining the promises of God. This temptation happened to Israel right as they were prepared to enter the promised land. They had overcome 40 years in the wilderness and were right on the edge of victory.
- No one can take your Godly inheritance away from you, but you can compromise it through disobedience and idolatry. Remember, the Moabites were powerless against Israel until Israel opened up the door through sin.
- We must stay before God and ask that our motives and hearts be kept pure. If there is any part of you that still wants something from this world, you will find a way to skirt along God's commands - giving an appearance of obedience, while you really seek after that which your heart is set upon. While we can try to fool others, even ourselves, we cannot fool God.
Yet what was this worship of Baal-Peor and why did it draw such wrath from God?
Baal-Peor is a Moabite god who was worshipped with obscene rituals. The name means "Lord of the Opening" from Baal meaning owner/ husband and Peor coming from pa'ar meaning "open wide".
"I found Israel Like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers As the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season. But they went to Baal Peor, And separated themselves to that shame; They became an abomination like the thing they loved." Hosea 9:10
The worship of Baal-Peor IS an abomination. Notice that those who join themselves to Baal-Peor also "become" an abomination before the Lord.
Another name for Baal-Peor is Belphegor who was depicted either as a beautiful naked woman or a bearded demon with open mouth, horns, and sharply pointed nails (the open mouth being an indicator of the sexual rites used to worship him). St. Jerome reported that statues of Baal-Peor he encountered in Syria depicted the god with a phallus in his mouth.
Legend has it that Satan sent Belphegor from Hell to validate a rumor that people were experiencing marital happiness on earth. Belphegor was able to report back that the rumor was baseless. In this depiction, Belphegor (Baal-Peor) is seen as an adversary against happy marriages.
The following video discusses more about the rituals of Baal-Peor worship and how it applies to life today.
The following video is another example that is not explicitly about Baal-Peor, but incorporates aspects of this worship.
Baal-Peor & Marriage?
After seeing these videos, some have asked us, "Are you saying that acts of sodomy are sinful, even in marriage?" While there are likely a number of mixed messages people give to this question, it is a sin - even in marriage. There are several reasons why.
- Sodomy is a sin. Similar to the meaning of Beor (Balaam's father), the Hebrew word for Sodom literally means "burning". Sodomy is defined as "anal or oral copulation with a member of the opposite sex; copulation with a member of the same sex; or bestiality." The act is considered sodomy even when it pertains to the opposite sex. Heterosexuals who participate in this act are sodomites by the very definition of the word. It wouldn't take long in reviewing the Scriptures to understand how God feels about sodomy. The Bible is not silent on this topic.
- It is idolatry. The word "sodomite" in the Old Testament is the word "qadesh" which means "male temple prostitute". The female counterpart to that (the word "qĕdeshah") is often translated as "harlot" or "whore". Some say that God only disapproved of this act as it related to temple prostitution. Yet, the act itself is an act of idolatry no matter who performs it. One does not have to be a temple whore of Baal for the act to be sinful. On the contrary, one becomes a temple whore of Baal by doing the act.
Holding true to the definition of the word sodomy, these temple prostitutes would perform homosexual acts on anyone, regardless of gender. The act itself was the means by which the participants were joined to or became one with Baal; the act itself was the means of worship by which Baal was sought to cross over and indwell the participants.
- The marriage bed should be kept in honor (Hebrews 13:4). Some assert that there is an anything goes mentality to intimacy in marriage because "the marriage bed is undefiled." However the Bible prefaces that text by saying that marriage is first honorable. The text also states that fornication and adultery defiles the marriage bed. The word for fornication is the Greek word porneia which means illicit sexual intercourse. So sex acts that God deems as illicit are not acceptable just because it is practiced in the confines of a marriage. It defiles the marriage bed which should be held in honor. The question then becomes are acts of sodomy illicit?
- God gives us GOOD gifts (James 1:17). God does not give us gifts that would cause us harm. Therefore, we can look at the function, purpose, and design of certain acts to determine whether or not these would be considered natural in God's eyes. If a sexual act is ordained by God (i.e. it is natural), then it would have certain inherent protections for the participants in the act.
Design - The woman and man are given sexual parts that physically correlate to and fit each other. They are designed to meet together naturally, without forced manipulation. Protection - God designed protections into the body for this interaction. The lining of the uterus is designed to prevent the semen from entering into the blood stream of the woman. God does not provide the same protections for acts of sodomy. These acts can disrupt normal bodily functions and cause damage to bodily systems. There is also an element of danger involved in the act oral sex performed on women that can lead to death. It is not a protected act (in terms of the body's design) the way that sexual intercourse is. Union - Man and woman being joined together sexually become one flesh only occurs during sexual intercourse. Procreation - Children can only result during sexual intercourse.
We can see by its design, function, and purpose that sexual intercourse between a man and woman is a natural use of sex. All of these elements work together to provide a safe, enjoyable, and purposeful interaction. The same cannot be said for acts of sodomy.
- It is uncleanness. Apart from the physical uncleanness of the act, there is also a spiritual component. Romans Chapter 1 describes man's degradation into reprobation. Man doesn't just wake up one day reprobate, but there are a series of steps man takes further and further into sin. The sin immediately preceding homosexuality is men and women dishonoring their bodies between themselves with uncleanness. The word for "dishonor" in that text is a derivative of the word "honorable" in the Hebrews 13:4 text about marriage. This refers to all heterosexual sexual sin (oral copulation, anal copulation, bestiality, etc.).
- It is an "unnatural use". Romans 1:26 states, "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature." The word "use" is the Greek word "chrēsis" which refers to use of the sexual parts of the woman. Note that there is a "natural" use and an "unnatural" use. What the women were doing with each other sexually was an unnatural use of that part of their bodies.
Similarly, we are told in Romans 1:27 that the acts performed between the men was likewise unnatural. "And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet." Romans 1:26-27 not only condemns the affections that draw men and women to the same gender (vile affections), it also condemns the acts that they performed as a result of these desires (against nature).
- It formats the mind to be asexual. The act itself is not gender-specific. In an attempt to validate homosexuality as a norm, Jamake Highwater's book The Mythology of Transgression: Homosexuality as Metaphor states how the masculine and feminine depiction of Baal-Peor represents a bi-gender nature. He goes on to say, "During the worship of Baal-Peor, priests dressed as women and priestesses dressed as men." The transgender cross-dressing is entirely consistent with the asexual nature of the act. Since it can be performed by anyone who has a mouth, gender becomes irrelevant. It is an intentional blurring of the sexes. That makes participation in this act a critical step for Satan to use in preparing man's mind for the acceptance of homosexuality. This is discussed a little more in the post Turning the World Upside Down - Part 5.
Yet through the worship of Baal-Peor, Satan was able to ensnare the nation of Israel and he is still trying to do the same today.