May 3, 2010
In the Last Days
By: Pastor Bill Randles
Balak the king of Moab had hired a renowned seer, Balaam, to curse Israel. But he was disappointed because every time Balaam tried to curse Israel, blessings came out of his mouth! As related in the last article - three times and from three different geographical locations altars were prepared, the rituals of appeasement were performed and at least in the first two instances omens were sought. But in all three of these attempts at cursing Israel, only blessings came upon Israel and severe warnings against her enemies were pronounced by the seer.
Balak was furious, commanding Balaam to leave, in fact literally, to flee. But Balaam was still under the influence of the Spirit of God, therefore he did not flee as commanded, but rather gave a command himself to King Balak, to listen to yet another prophecy, this one concerning specifically, “What this people would do to your people in the latter days”.
“The utterance of Balaam, the son of Beor, the utterance of the man whose eyes are opened; who hears the words of God, and has knowledge of the Most High. Who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, with eyes wide open.
I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A star shall come out of Jacob; A scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shatter the forehead of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult.
And Edom shall be a possession; Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession. While Israel does mightily, Out of Jacob shall one rule and destroy the remains of the city.
Then He looked on Amalek and took up his oracle and said:
Amalek was first among the nations, but shall be last until he perishes.
Then he looked on the Kenites, and he took up this oracle and said:
Firm is your dwelling place. And your nest is set in the rock; nevertheless Kain shall be burned. How long until Asshur carries you away captive?
Then he took up His oracle and said: Alas! Who shall live when God does this? But ships shall come from Kittim and they shall afflict Asshur, and afflict Eber, and so shall that one until he perishes.” (Numbers 24:15-24)
This fourth prophecy opens with the claim that "these are the words of a man who has truly had his eyes open and has heard the words of God". He had seen the “vision of the Almighty”. The vision had staggered him, making him “fall to the ground”, but this was no ecstatic trance - God had revealed to Balaam something of the glory of His plan for Israel and the fate of the surrounding nations, therefore to Balak he prophesied;
*That a “star” would arise out of Jacob, That is a world ruler would emerge, who would rule with tremendous authority.
*With his scepter this ruler would crush the head of Moab and destroy all of the “Sons of Tumult”. This is of particular interest because this prophecy echoes the primal prophecy of Genesis 3:15;
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall crush your head, and you shall crush his heel.”The crushing of the head, in the Bible, typifies the final judgment on Satan and his regent, the anti-christ. Remember that this is what will come to pass in the last days.
The prophecy of the scepter echoes another prophecy from Genesis - Jacob’s vision of the Messiah, the “Lion of Judah” in Genesis 49:9-10.
“Judah is a lions whelp; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down; he lies down as a lion, and as a lion who shall rouse Him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.”
*The crushing of Moab’s head must be understood as being the utter defeat of all of heathendom, Moab being a representative of world paganism. As earlier Agag, was to be understood as representing all Kings, Pharaoh’s, Presidents etc. "The Kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever!"
*The expression, "He will destroy the Sons of Tumult", is a prediction of the coming judgment on the world for the lawlessness and violence which will mark the last days. "As in the days of Noah and Lot...so shall it be in the last days ...Perilous times shall come, because men shall be lovers of themselves...lovers of pleasure more than God, disobedient, ungrateful, unholy, despisers of those who are good..."- Sons of Tumult.
*But there are significant geographical references here also - Moab is in the country we now call Jordan. Edom also is the region known now as southern Jordan, including Mount Seir. These are the traditional bitter enemies, (and relatives) of Israel. Doom is predicted for these areas, in the last days, dealt to them by the King to come. Furthermore Israel shall be forced to possess not only the west bank of the Jordan, but the east bank and much of the country now called Jordan.
*The prophet mentions Amalek as being the first and the last. Amalek was the first nation to withstand Israel in war, and they were utterly routed. They would be a bitter thorn in the side of Israel, all the way to the end, according to this prophecy.
Deuteronomy 25:17-19, details the terrorist tactics of Amalek, a “disproportionate warfare” waged on the weak, the stragglers, the elderly and the children.
“Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of the land of Egypt, how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary, and he did not fear God.”
Balaam’s prophecy tells us that the latter days conflict will be similar in nature, a war of terroristic and cowardly tactics by Amalek’s descendants, as well as Moab and Edom. It just so happens that the ones he is referring to have a common, binding religion – Islam - and an utterly undying hatred for the children of Israel, which energizes them to seek Israel’s total destruction. As Balaam predicted, Israel’s first national war was against Amalek and so shall be its last.
*Balaam correctly predicted that the Kenite people would be secure until the time when “As’shur carries them away captive”. Moses’ father-in-law was a Kenite; therefore the Kenite people identified with Israel and dwelt among them even adopting their religion. Therefore they too “dwelt in the rock” and were secure until As’shur, that is the Babylonian empire, carried them away with Judah into captivity in 506 BC. Thus Balaam predicts the Babylonian captivity also.
This amazing prophecy extends all of the way to the end of time, for Balaam next prophesied of the Great Tribulation- “Alas who shall live when God does this?” This expression is similar to what Jesus himself said of those days -“Unless those days be shortened there shall no flesh be saved”.
*And finally the seer brings forth another important prophetic insight - the Roman rule over the Holy Land - the last great Gentile power to rule over God’s chosen people until the advent of the mighty King whose scepter would overthrow all of the kingdoms of this world! The expression “ships from Kittim shall come” is a reference to the western powers, who would prevail over both As’shur and Eber himself! Eber refers to the Hebrew people, for they too would be afflicted in the “time of Jacob’s trouble”.
* In the last clause of the oracle, we are told that the western powers would prevail over As’shur - (the first great Gentile empire and representative of all of the powers of that area) – And the West, (Chittim) would dominate until the very end. But at the advent of the King out of Israel, she too would be crushed, and perish forever! So ends gentile dominance over the chosen people.
*Thus did the heathen prophet discharge his prophetic burden, to a bitter enemy and rival of Israel. The whole outline of the counsel of God for the Gentile nations, from the birth of the Jewish Messiah, (A star out of Jacob), to His glorious final triumph. The inevitable crushing of Moabites, Amalekites, Edom and their allies and ultimately these, standing for all who hate Israel, and who in the end times take their stand against Israel’s God. From the Babylonian captivity, to the rise of the Roman power, and dominance of the West, until the very time of the end, that is the Great Tribulation. It could even be argued that he prophesied of the nature of terrorism (Amalek) and the final triumph of Israel’s God over the proud kingdoms of this world.
It was a warning, to be sure, but it could just as well have been an invitation. The Kenites found shelter in Israel and Israel’s God. Balak wouldn’t have to fear Israel; he could join himself to them and be saved. He no doubt had the option to submit his nation to co-operation with Israel. The whole point of all prophecy is to cause men to fear the Lord and turn to Him in repentance before the final judgment comes. As it is written, “Seek the Lord while He may be found and call upon Him while He is near…” But as we will see in the next article, neither he nor Balaam would receive the profound meaning of their recent dealings with Israel's God.