Read the transcript below, or watch a video of the teaching by Joseph Shulam.
Shalom. My name is Joseph Shulam. In partnership with Brad TV, we are doing the Torah portions that are being read every Sabbath in the synagogues.
This next Sabbath, the portion is called Balak. It starts from Numbers chapter 22, verse two and ends in chapter 25, verse nine. The parallel reading from the prophets is from Micah chapter five, verse seven, to chapter six, verse eight. And from the New Testament, Revelation chapter two, verse 12 to verse 23.
Now the interesting thing is that in all these places Balak, the king of Moab, is mentioned and of course, Balak the king of Moab is mentioned in connection with Balaam, the international Soothsayer, the international prophet. He is invited by Balak the king of Moab to come and curse Israel, put a spell on Israel. The reason that he wants to put a spell on Israel is because he is afraid. Israel’s been wandering in the Sinai desert for 40 years with big and formidable enemies like the Amalekites waging war against Israel.
The Israelis are a bunch of slaves that have been freed from Egyptian slavery. The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for nearly 200 years. And so, there are several generations, four or five generations of people that were born slaves in Egypt, in hard labor. And after Joseph’s death, several pharaohs later, the Pharaoh that arises that doesn’t know the story of Joseph and sees these slaves growing and multiplying. He gets scared. And in the end, with 10 plagues from God on Egypt, he releases them and we have the Passover story and they’re in the wilderness.
Now for years, 40 years total, they’re approaching the land of Canaan. They have a battle with the king of Arad, which was one of the big cities in the Northern negative desert; a city that is at that time already a couple of thousand years old when the children of Israel came and had war with the king of Arad.
Now they’ve crossed on the other side of the dead sea into the land of Moab and Balak. The son of the poor sees them approaching his land. And he is dreaded because the children of Israel are so many. And he says that they are like the ox that eats up the grass of the field and leaves nothing behind him. And he thinks, how am I going to deal with these Israelites? They’re winning every war. Of course, he doesn’t know that they’re winning the wars, not because of their strength and their abilities. They’re winning the war because God, the God who created the heavens and the earth, is on their side. And he delivers the Amalakites and other enemies into their hands; miraculously, supernaturally, if you wish.
So, he decides to deal with it, also with what he would consider a supernatural power. He invites an international, Soothsayer an international magician, an international prophet. We would say false prophet, but a very capable prophet that has great international reputation. And he invites Balaam. The son of Beor from the land of Mesopotamia of the river. Great rivers and Balaam is offered a lot of wealth for coming down to curse the children of Israel.
Now, the fascinating thing about this story is that Balaam that Gentile false prophet has abilities has a reputation and international reputation has a record of success in his profession in his ministry as a soothsayer as a prophet as somebody who can call supernatural powers to participate in whatever curse he applies on on people and nations and Kings. So Balak. The king of Moab invites, Balaam gets on his donkey and he on the way to Moab from Mesopotamia from Iraq of today, he comes to what is Jordan today?
The country of Jordan first Balaam refuses to come. He refuses to come for several reasons. One of the reasons that he refuses to come he wants more pay. He wants more wealth to come to his side is not happy with what Balak the king of Moab offers him. But finally, they come to an agreement and Balaam gets on his donkey and he uh is hearing that Balak the king of Moab is going to give him house full of silver and gold and beyond words. So he, he, he agrees with the price and he gets on his donkey and he saddles his donkey. And he starts going down toward Moab quite a journey by the way, several hundred miles.
God is angry at Balaam and he sends an angel, the angel of the Lord. And he stands in the way of Balaam and his donkey. The donkey sees the angel of the Lord standing in the way with a drone sword in his hand. And the donkey doesn’t wanna go forward.
He starts turning aside. He starts to avoid the angel Balaam gets angry at the donkey. He starts beating the donkey Balaam doesn’t see the angel the donkey sees the angel Balaam think that the donkey is just being stubborn disobedient unwilling to cooperate but the donkey sees the angel and tries to avoid confrontation with the angel.
And he is being led by Balaam. Balaam has a stick and Balaam a hits the donkey cause the donkey doesn’t wanna go forward. Finally, the donkey goes against the, the rock against the cliff and squeezes Balaam’s leg against the wall, trying to get his attention. And Balaam *bong boom* hits the donkey on the head with a stick. Finally, the donkey talks in human language to this Gentile idolatress prophet called Balaam.
I said, why are you beating me? Why, why are you striking me three times? And Balaam answered the donkey because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my end that now I would kill you.
Balaam threatened the donkey the donkey answers Balaam and said, listen, am I not? your donkey? Have I not served you all these years that you’ve been riding on top of me, faithfully? And now what is it? What is it? You know, why can’t you understand what’s happening in front of you?
And only then the Lord verse chapter 22 of numbers chapter verse 31, the Lord opens Balaam’s eyes and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his drone sword in his hand. And he bowed his head and fell flat on his face in front of the angel of the Lord.
Now this, this story of the donkey talking is an interesting story. And you could take it anywhere you want to. I take the word of God, literally in this case because God can talk through the wall. He can talk through the wind. He can talk through the storm. He can reveal himself in any way that he wants. In this case Balaam the famous international prophet for prophets. Doesn’t see what the animal sees. He doesn’t see what the donkey sees. He doesn’t hear what the donkey hears. I think that there’s a great message there for today.
Why am I saying that that is a great message for today because today you’ve got 10 false prophets for a dime a penny of false prophet and, and most of ‘em are pastors and Christian leaders and, and, and television stars. That claim to be apostles, patriarchs, prophets whatever you want. But here you have a situation where the donkey has better insight on the things of the Lord than the famous international prophet Balaam.
Now, the interesting thing is that this false prophet Balaam does communicate from God and does hear from God and and that’s taken oath to do only what God wants him to do. He, he wants two things. He wants the gold and the silver that Balak king of Moab offered him at the same time he wants to do God’s will.
So how he is going to do it. So in the end, what happens is because he wants both things he does go down to Balak and uh agrees to go and, and talk about Israel. And he says some of the, s- some of the most famous prayer opening in the Jewish world every synagogue service around the world starts with the words of this Gentile prophet Balaam. The son of Beor coming from Mesopotamia.
He comes to curse Israel and he turns out that he blesses Israel and, and and the synagogue service in all the world on every holiday on every Sabba starts with the words how wonderful are your tents oh Jacob your dwelling places. Oh, Israel quotation from Balaam. The son of Beor “Ah, how wonderful are your dwelling places, Israel” your tents oh Jacob.”
That’s how the prayer services start in every synagogue on every holiday on every Sabbath day. Yes Balaam becomes one of the great villains of the Bible is mentioned all the way, many many times in the book of numbers. Beginning of chapter 22, almost to the end of the book of numbers is mentioned in the book of Joshua is mentioned in the book of Micah is mentioned in the book of Revelation will go to Revelation and see how how Balaam is mentioned.
And Balak is mentioned the king of Moab trying to harm the children of Israel. Stop the children of Israel from inheriting their rightful inheritance that was promised to Abraham to Isaac and to Jacob, our forefathers.
But, but the key part of this text that we call Balak is that all the means that human beings anti-Semites anti Israelites want to use to destroy Israel work and backfire at those who want to destroy Israel and to erase the Jewish people the people of Israel off the map of the world.
Now the only nation that I know in history that repeatedly throughout history, there have been attempts to delete them to cut their existence by big empires is the, the the small nation of the Jewish people, folks. We have in the Bible, more than one attempt. This is one attempt by the king of Moab Balak. That invites Balaam to delete Israel by cursing them.
Then you’ve got Haman in the book of Ester that proposes to art, Ahasuerus that emperor of the Persian empire Great Persian empire that ruled all of South Asia all the way to Kazakhstan all the stans Persia, Azerbaijan, Pakistan Northern India, Kazakhstan Birobidzhan, all these Southern former Soviet Union states who were ruled by, by Artaxerxes. And he attacked Greece. He lost the battle of Salamis in Greece with his armada ships.
That same Artaxerxes is convinced by his prime minister. By second in command Haman to write the letter to destroy lead the Jewish people from the empire delete the Jewish people didn’t work in in our own day. My parents are survivors of the Holocaust. Hitler decided to delete the Jewish people. The Catholic church during the inquisition in Europe decided to delete the Jewish people by forced converting them to Catholicism didn’t work. And in this case, the donkey of Balaam was smarter and a greater prophet than Balaam himself. It didn’t work.
Why didn’t it work? Cause God has chosen the Jewish people to bring salvation to the world through his son, a Jew, the king of the Jews. Yeshua, Jesus and anybody who turns against Israel in the end pays the price.
We pay the price too, because of our disobedience. We have suffered the diaspora of 2000 years. God promised he would, if we go against him and harden our heart against him, the land will vomit us out. And it did.
There were almost no Jews here for nearly 2000 years in this land. There were the Romans and the Byzantines and the Arabs and the Persians Finally, the, the, the British but finally God kept his promise to the people of Israel and the resurrection of the nation of Israel at 20th century phenomena.
The return of the Jewish people are still returning. It’s not over, we’re in the middle of the resurrection of the Jewish people. And, and we are going to see the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to Israel, including the promise which was made by Isaiah, by Amos by Zachariah and by other of the prophets and by the apostle Paul in Romans chapter 11, verse 25 and verse 26 is a thus all Israel shall be saved in the end of the time of the fullness of the Gentiles which is taken a verse taken from Luke chapter 21, verse 24 describing what does it mean? The fullness of the time of the Gentiles?
It means when Jerusalem will it return to be ruled by Israel, by the Jewish people. And this happened in 1967, since 1967 dear brothers and sisters, the number of Jewish believers in Israel multiplied by thousands of percents. And not only in Israel around the world God is keeping his promises and every Christian in the world that wants to be on God’s side needs to be on Israel’s side.
If he wants the blessing that God gave to Israel may God bless all of you and keep reading the Bible in the name of our Lord. Yeshua keep reading the Bible open your mind read for yourself and pray for the holy spirit to quicken his word to you.
God bless you until the next Shabbat will continue reading the Bible and go to the portion called Pinchas uh Phinehas the way it’s pronounced in English Shalom from Jerusalem and blessing. Amen.
This video and transcript originally appeared on Netivyah and reposted with permission.