Baal-Peor and the Sexual Sin of Balaam

The Scriptures speak very STRONGLY of sexual sin and the defilement of the body.

“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” – {1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:18-20‬}

In reading the Weekly Scripture Reading this week, the portion concludes with some of the Israelite men defiling themselves by yoking with Moabite women and their gods.

“While the Israelites were camped at Acacia Grove, some of the men defiled themselves by having sexual relations with local Moabite women. These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites feasted with them and worshiped the gods of Moab.” ‭- {Numbers‬ ‭25:1‬-2}

This specific event and the sexual immorality associated with it, was so severe that a plague broke out among the Israelites, killing 23,000 {Numbers 25:9}, which is how the portion ends.

It was also an event that remained in the memory of God’s people, as it was spoken of time and time again, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, throughout the Scriptures.

“Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal-peor, for the Lord your God destroyed from among you all the men who followed the Baal of Peor.” -{Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:3‬}

“Have we not had enough of the sin at Peor from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves, and for which there came a plague upon the congregation of the LORD.” – {Joshua‬ ‭22:17‬}

“Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree in its first season, I saw your fathers. But they came to Baal-peor and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame, and became detestable like the thing they loved.” – {Hosea‬ ‭9:10‬}

“Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;” – {Psalms‬ ‭106:28‬}

And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. – {1 Corinthians 10:8}

As with all sin, there is always an origin. For the Moabite lineage, it surrounds that of sexual sin, literally having been conceived in the midst of it.

“One day the older daughter said to her sister, “There are no men left anywhere in this entire area, so we can’t get married like everyone else. And our father will soon be too old to have children. Come, let’s get him drunk with wine, and then we will have sex with him. That way we will preserve our family line through our father.” As a result, both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their own father. When the older daughter gave birth to a son, she named him Moab. He became the ancestor of the nation now known as the Moabites.” – {Genesis‬ ‭19:31-32, 36-37‬}

While there is a prohibition against marrying a Moabite, found in Deuteronomy 33:3, the second chapter of Revelation seems to imply a deeper sin taking place.

“But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” – {Revelation‬ ‭2:14-16‬}

So what was so vile about the Moabites and their worship of Baal-Peor that Balaam taught and caused John and many other biblical authors to write of it?

⚠️ the following may not be suitable for all due to the nature of the topic ⚠️

Historically, this god was worshipped and associated with disregarding any and all sexual restraints, extreme sexual practices and orgies. Baal-Peor, like many, was worshipped in the form of a phallus.

To go one step further, the Hebrew word peor [פְעוֹר] comes from the root word pa’ar [פָּעַר] meaning open, gap, wide, or hole.

Scholars have suggested that Baal of Peor, could then be translated as lord of the openings, lord of the gap or lord of the holes.

This translational meaning and root association leads to a traditional understanding and very possibly the source of Talmudic traditions associating Baal of Peor with exposure and excrement.

(the Talmudic texts cited here are used ONLY for historical references)

The tractate Sanhedrin 64a, through Rabbi Judah, tells the story of a sick gentile woman who promised to worship every idol in the known world if she became well enough to follow through. Upon recovering from this illness, she journeyed to make well of this promise. Upon reaching Peor, she could not bring herself to follow through on her vow, as the worship was absolutely disgusting: as they were eating beets, drinking strong drink, and then uncovering oneself in front of the idol.

Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, known as Rashi, comments on Numbers 25:3 stating that because the people would uncover before it, the end of the rectum, and bring forth excrement; this is its worship – therefore the place was called Peor.

These disgusting acts were then associated with and used in sexual practices.

To bring this idea and topic full circle, the Septuagint translation renders Baal of Peor, Beel-phegor, which is a known demon and one of the seven princes of hell in demonology.

In the Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, the photograph associated with this post is found for Belphegot, [Beel-phegor], seating this demon god on a toilet.

Coincidence? You be the judge, testing ALL things to the Word of God.

If true, this shows us the serious depravity of the people that the Israelite nations encountered and the severity of yoking with them and following the despicable ways of worship that revolves around their gods.

The Return of Messiah

• Sabbath Snippets •

This blog post might be a little long winded, but will certainly be worth the read!

THE RETURN OF MESSIAH – Trumpets or Atonement?

Continue reading “The Return of Messiah”

LOVE ONE ANOTHER

 

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

1 John 4:7-8

Love. It is undeniably more than just a feeling…

In this weeks portion, we find Mosheh on the Mount talking with God and immediately we are met with God’s love, in that He is even willing to talk to us!  Love of us and for us continues as a theme throughout the entire portion as we see it poured out upon the land and all the creatures He created.  Leviticus 25:2 “When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall observe a Sabbath to YHWH.”  Not only did Yah give a Shabbat (Sabbath) to us, but also to the land and all the livestock in the land every seventh year.  This land Shabbat is observed to YHWH.  By keeping it, it is not only our way of being obedient to Him, but also to show we love and trust in Him to provide in the sixth year all that we will need for that year and then the next two years as well. By trusting in Him, the land will provide three years worth of crops, our daily bread, His love poured out for us.  

Yah then gives instructions for His Jubilee year.  This year will be a year of release in which each person could return to their original land possession.  Yah knew that some would not manage the land well, or they might perhaps decide to sell off a birthright.  He provided a way for the children of Israel to regain the lost land that was portioned out to each family every 50 years.  We are reminded not to exploit each other, charge interest to one another, or oppress one another, but to fear Yah and love each other.  

 

“And you shall do My laws and guard My right-rulings, and shall do them.  And you shall dwell in the land in safety, and the land shall yield its fruit, and you shall eat to satisfaction, and shall dwell there in safety.” 

Leviticus 25:18-19

If we obey, he will provide for our every need!  

We have a Father who loves us abundantly and cares about us so much. He reminds us through His Son that since he even cares for the grass, how much more will He provide for us, His children created in His image.  We can rest and trust that during a Sabbath year and Jubilee year, all of our needs will be met.

“And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious , saying, “What shall we eat?” Or “What shall we drink?” Or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Matthew 6:28-33

We’re reminded in Exodus 23:4-5, “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.” If we are to care this much for the animal of our enemy, how much more so ought we to care and love for not only the animals of our brother’s, but also for the brother himself? We are to redeem our brothers, take them in as hired servants instead of slaves, care for them by providing provisions without seeking profit, send our brothers out in the Jubilee with their children, and treat them with kindness. We are to love them like Yah loves us! Our brothers were “bought with a price” by Yah out of Egypt, just as we were, and as such, we are all servants of the Most High. “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:20-21

Adding to our understanding of Yah’s love, our reading in Isaiah is about our Redeemer. Isaiah 49: 26, “All flesh shall know that I, YHWH, am your Saviour, and your Redeemer, the Elohim of Jacob.” Yah loved us so much, that He sent his only Son, Yeshua, to be our Kinsman Redeemer, just as we are called to be kinsman redeemers for our brothers. He will come as a covenant of the people, to restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the ruined inheritances, to set the captives free, Isaiah 49:8-9. We have been bought with a price, let us never forget that (1 Cor 6:20, 7:23). We are now servants of our Messiah.  He loved us to the point of death, even death on a cross, bearing our iniquity and shame.  Never forget the high price He paid to ransom us from the wages of sin (DEATH). This debt can never be repaid, praised enough, thanked enough, or worked out enough with fear and trembling. However, we can choose every day to die to ourselves, pick up our cross and bear it, working for Him as a servant, counting it all joy, performing each task with thanksgiving, bearing one another’s burdens, giving a hand up and not just a hand out.  Matthew 25:37-40, “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”  Remember to always have the HEART of a servant! Yeshua asked Peter three times in John, Chapter 21, “Do you love Me?”  He tells Peter to “Feed My lambs,” “Shepherd My sheep,” and “Feed My sheep.”  We need to ask ourselves this same question, “Do we love Him?” Are we truly loving our brothers? All who believe are the sheep of Yeshua, and as servants we are called as Peter was, to feed them, not only physically, but also spiritually.  Who may receive their portion of the promised daily bread from your hand today? Be as those in Colosse who in Colossians 1:4 Paul says show love for the set-apart ones, namely other believers, other brothers and sisters. Be as they are in verse 10, walking worthily of the Master, pleasing all, bearing fruit in every good work.

We move onto the portion reading from 1 Samuel. In Chapter 14, Jonathan purposed to go up to the Philistines to attack them.  He apparently wasn’t happy with waiting and took it upon himself to get something done.  The Philistines held the high ground, the position of power in battles of this time.  Jonathan tells his armor bearer a crazy plan, “See, we are passing over to the men – and show ourselves to them. If they say this to us, “Wait until we come to you,” then we shall stand still in our place and not go up to them. But if they say this, “Come up to us,” then we shall go up.  For YHWH has given them into our hand, and this is the sign to us.”  Why is this plan so crazy?  As a small force attacking a larger force who holds the high ground, you would normally want to try to sneak up and attack with stealth and surprise.  Jonathan throws out our conventional wisdom and relies instead upon Yah to fight the battle for him.  He simply stands up and declares himself to the Philistines and lets Yah work.  What does the armor bearer say to this: Jonathan you’re crazy!, I’m going back to the tent!, You’ll get yourself killed!, I’m not having any part of that!, Have you spoken with your father the king about this?, Why can’t we take some more men with us?. The armor bearer doesn’t say any of that.  As a servant with a true heart for his master he says in verse 7, “Do all that is in your heart, incline yourself.  See, I am with you, according to your heart.”  The armor bearer trusted Jonathan and ultimately Yah.  The odds didn’t matter.  The possibility of death didn’t matter.  He chose to serve! He chose to stand tall in the midst of the enemy and proudly be seen for who he was! 

When our Master calls you, are you going to give excuses or are you going to stand tall, be seen, shout His name, and do the work He has called you to do?  Will you care for your brothers, loving them as yourself? Loving them more than just with your feelings? …..even to the point of death? 

“Choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and My House, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15

Be sure to join us again next week, Week 33, for the Weekly Scripture Reading.

A NEW BEGINNING

WEEKLY SCRIPTURE READING:
WEEK 26 | Sh’mini | “Eighth”| שמיני

THE EIGHTH DAY

Throughout scripture, there is a mention of an “eighth day”. How is this since we know that a biblical week is seven days? We know that Creation was seven days and that the seventh day represents completion and rest, as in the Sabbath! So what’s this eighth day we see mentioned? Let’s look into a few of the references to the eighth day in scripture:

  • CIRCUMCISION – Unclean due to birth and then made holy by circumcision – “On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised.” – Leviticus 12:3
  • PURIFICATION – Beasts, persons with leprosy, priests, the tabernacle, Nazarites – certain circumstances and instances we see uncleanness until the eighth day whereby then they were made clean and able to rejoin/fellowship/sacrifice(d) – Leviticus 14:8-10; Leviticus 15:13, 14; Leviticus 22:6; Numbers 6:9, 10; Ezekiel 43:26, 27;
  • SUKKOT – “Shemini Atzeret” – the eighth day of Sukkot, a holy convocation (assembly) – Leviticus 23:36 – “It is a separate—yet connected—holy day devoted to the spiritual aspects of the festival of Sukkot. Part of its duality as a holy day is that it is simultaneously considered to be both connected to Sukkot and also a separate festival in its own right.” [1]

While the biblical calendar does not have an “eighth day”, we know that the eighth day is a counting of eight days after a beginning of an event (ie. birth, festival/feast, cleansing from a sickness, etc.). The eighth day represents cleanliness and/or holiness; or a new beginning. Many have used the eighth day as a “sign” that we can change Yah’s commands and the Sabbath day, His specific order of all things. But we know that Yahuah does not change and He is steadfast, forever!

“God is not human, that he should lie,
   not a human being, that he should change his mind.”

Numbers 23:19

SET APART

This week’s Torah Portion and weekly reading, again, has a recurring theme. (Isn’t that always the case? and doesn’t it show us how amazingly Yah’s Word flows from beginning to end in perfect harmony revealing Abba’s fingerprint on everything?) Moses and his people are commanded to make their offerings on the eighth day and to follow His instructions (laws) exactly as he described to Moses on the mountain. If we haven’t already, we start to see the importance of not forgetting his commands in this chapter of Leviticus. The sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, give a “strange fire” unto Adonai, which he says is unauthorized and contrary to the commands given and they are consumed by Adonai right then and there! The Father MUST be honored. He MUST be set apart and our offerings to Him MUST be set-apart. We MUST not change what He has ordained. His specific ways are for our good and for His glory! Which leads us to the food laws…

Photo by Reena Newman

Creeping things, split hooves, chewing cud, fins and scales: all things that set apart clean and unclean foods. Scripture specifically names many animals and insects, reptiles and fish that are NOT food for us to consume. They are an abomination. Unclean. Once again He is specific in His instructions. In this instance, like the process we learned about with the sacrificial system, He’s speaking to us in what we can and cannot put into our bodies, our temple. Remember, we “must be holy because He is holy” (Lev 11:44). More information about food laws can be found here andhere [2], it can be a lengthy subject in and of itself so for time sake, we are going to focus on one animal in particular: THE EAGLE.

In this portion of scripture, including Isaiah, the reference of the eagle stood out due to the Bald Eagle being the national bird for the USA. It’s a very majestic bird and one of the largest predatory birds. They can fly higher than all other birds of prey in order to take in the “big picture” of the land below so that they may go after what they are seeking. Isn’t that beautiful imagery of what it can be like to be a follower of The Way? He mounts us on wings like eagles, equips us that we may not grow weary or faint, and He makes us able to see the “big picture” from beginning to end, that we may have eternal HOPE now and for a future “eighth day”! HalleluYAH!

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? That ELOHAI, YAHUAH (God) is the everlasting YHWH (God), the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall utterly fall: But they who wait upon ADONAI shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” 
– Isaiah (Yeshua’Yahu) 40:28-31

REAL LIFE

The flesh must die when life is breathed into a believer by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Isaiah said “Make straight in the desert a highway for Elohim!”. Our flesh, like grass, must die, and like the flower, fade away, to make way for the Father to do his glorious work in us. And the promise we have is that the Word of God stands forever! We cannot be scared or worried to look set apart, to act differently than the rest of the world, and to fly high above all circumstances so that we can see the bigger picture… all so that we can have that final rest. The shalom of our Creator on the eighth day. Like Hannah says in the reading of 1 Samuel: “There is no one set apart like Elohim”… her heart rejoices that Yah is in control and that He is sovereign and just.

Peter had an opportunity. Pilate had an opportunity. We have an opportunity. Will we take it? Will we offer strange fire to him? Will we consume abominations making ourselves unclean? Will we deny him? or will we mount up on wings like eagles and die to our flesh?

Everyone who is seeking after Truth will find Truth and will walk in the commands of the Father. Everyone who is of Truth, hears the voice of Yah and the Truth will be with you FOREVER! Don’t lose the reward you worked for. Aspire for things not of this world and train like the priests, preparing for the eighth day: a complete reward of eternal life through Yeshua Ha’Mashiach! The esteem of Yah WILL be revealed and ALL will see it! Every knee SHALL bow! Praise Adonai!

Our prayer is that as the Body we would respond like Samuel: “Speak Adonai, your servant hears!”

References:
[1] Shemini Atzeret; Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia
[2] “Are All Things Clean? (Mark 7:19)” – 119 Ministries YouTube