The Prophecy of Balaam Pt4

King Balak clapped his hands to awaken the prophet. What was he doing!

Three times he had arranged for the famous prophet to curse the people of Israel, and three times he failed. Moreover, Balaam had blessed Israel on each occasion.

Balak was furious.

"Then Balak's anger was aroused against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, 'I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times!

'Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would greatly honour you, but in fact, the LORD has kept you back from honour.'" (Numbers 24:10-11)

Balak wasn't going to put up with Balaam any more. He was to leave immediately, without wealth and without honour.

But God had other plans. The prophet assured the angry King that he would return to his people, but first he would disclose " . . . what this people will do to your people in the latter days." (Numbers 24:14)

The situation had changed completely. On the previous three occasions, Balaam was employed to curse. But on this occasion, he would speak freely, without any obligation to Balak. Significantly, since he could only bless Israel under his former obligation, what could he say now that he was free?

Specifically, he would reveal what the people of Israel will do to the people of the region in the latter days – in the end time. Indeed, how will both Israel and the people of the region stand before God at the end of days?

As before, Balaam fell into a trance, and the Word of the LORD was revealed.

"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 batter the brow of Moab and destroy all the sons of tumult." (Numbers 24:17)

Though seemingly small and insignificant, Israel will rise up, a nation above all others. They are a people of destiny, and in time, they will become prominent and renowned, but it is not yet. Israel are destined for greatness, but it is not near.

Balaam declares "a star shall come out of Jacob" . The stars and heaven are covenantal language that speak of the Eternal's faithfulness toward His people. Abraham was told to look to the heavens and count the stars – God promising greatness, an heir, continuity, and foreverness. "But Abram said, LORD GOD, what will you give me, seeing I go childless . . . Then he (God) brought him (Abram) outside and said, 'Look now toward the heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.' And he said to him, 'So shall your descendants be.'" (Genesis 15:2-5) Abraham would continue, his descendants would continue, as long as the stars and the heavens remain.

When Balaam observed "a star shall come out of Jacob" it is as when a child tries to identify a constellation of stars in the night sky, such as the Big Dipper. On this occasion, it was as if Balaam were looking at an enormous constellation of stars that formed one constellation, Jacob. "I see him . . . I behold him . . . "

Whilst the constellation of Jacob may be an awesome sight, out of the constellation will come One who is the Redeemer, the Saviour of the world, the King of kings – Messiah – "a star out of Jacob."

Balaam saw the Messiah but He was not separate from the nation of Israel. He was not an addition to or an extension of the nation. He is as much a part of Israel, as Israel is a part of Him. Balaam saw Him amidst Israel, coming out of Jacob. The Messiah, the Rock is with His people, until the day of His revealing. "I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near . . . "

In the fullness of time, at the end of days, the Messiah will come. The prophet declared, " . . . a star shall come out of Jacob . . . " The Messiah will be among His own, born of Jewish lineage, raised in the Land, raised in the Law. He will be an orthodox, observant Jew, keeping and walking in the commandments of God.

The people of Israel will recognize the Messiah and proclaim Him, King. As it is written, "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD!" (Psalm 118:26) At that time, the Messiah will ascend His throne and rule the nations in righteousness, " . . . a scepter shall rise out of Israel . . . "

The conflict between Moab and Israel, in the days of Moses, will continue through to the latter days, until the Messiah comes, and until He is enthroned in Jerusalem, the city of the great King. And just as Israel prevailed over Balak many centuries ago, so too, in the future, Israel will prevail over the sons of tumult. " . . . and batter the brow of Moab and destroy all the sons of tumult."

Israel will gain ascendancy over the region and peoples. "And Edom shall be a possession; Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession, while Israel does valiantly. Out of Jacob one shall have dominion and destroy the city." (Numbers 24:18-19)

The enemies of Israel will not prevail, though at different periods of time the nations may appear to have the upper hand. Israel is on a path of greatness, to bring forth the Redeemer, the only One who can save mankind and restore all of Creation to a perfect and harmonious relationship with the Creator of heaven and earth. All who stand in Israel's way will fall and will not prosper.

Balaam then looked at Amalek and proclaimed. "Amalek was first among the nations, but shall be last until he perishes." (Numbers 24:20)

Amalek was an ancient nation and was highly regarded. He was "first among the nations ". However, because of his hostile attitude toward Israel, Amalek lost that position of distinction and was consigned to last. Amalek would not rise again but remain last among the nations "until he perishes."

Israel and Amalek first met while Israel was camped in Rephidim. It was only weeks after Israel's exodus from Egypt. Amalek, the ancient, came to fight Israel, the newly established nation. Amalek survived but would pay for his hostile attitude toward Israel. "Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Write this for a memorial in the book, and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." (Exodus 17:14)

Then looking at the Kenites, Balaam continued his prophecy. "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?" (Numbers 24:21-22) The Kenites were also hostile towards Israel. Despite their defensive measures, however, the Kenites would fall and eventually be taken away captive by the future Assyrian empire.

Balaam then proclaimed, "Alas! Who shall live when God does this? But ships shall come from the coasts of Cyprus, and they shall afflict Asshur and afflict Eber, and so shall Amalek, until he perishes." (Numbers 24:23-24)

A future time of trouble for the region and the peoples was foreseen. People would arrive in the region and a time of distress and affliction would follow until the end. " . . . ships shall come from the coasts of Cyprus, and they shall afflict".

Significantly, today, the Jewish people have returned to Israel, they have rebuilt the old cities, they have recovered the waste and marshlands, they have planted vineyards and the Land is prospering. However, not everyone has rejoiced at their home-coming. The surrounding nations, especially, have strongly objected and have pursued all means to exterminate the newly formed State. Consequently, a time of distress has come upon the region and the peoples.

Balaam reveals that the affliction will extend as far north as the descendants of Asshur, and as far east as the sons of Eber. "and they shall afflict Asshur and afflict Eber . . . " Today these would include modern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Iraq.

The descendants of Amalek will likewise be caught in the turmoil, "and so shall Amalek (afflict Asshur and Eber) until he perishes."

Though trouble is forecasted for the region, Israel will survive because the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel is faithful to His covenant people. "Alas! Who shall live when God does this?" Whilst it is a time of great distress and testing, the just shall live by his faith. While, those nations who have opposed Israel, and particularly, those who have persisted, there is no recourse; they will perish. "And so shall Amalek until he perishes."

By cursing Israel, King Balak was hoping to gain prestige and to extend his own kingdom. And like someone who carelessly walks into the path of a hungry lion, King Balak had walked into the path of Israel. He thought he could overcome them by having them cursed by Balaam. It didn't work, and the situation only got worse for the king, and for all who supported his position against Israel. The lion roared defiantly and without injury. Israel could not be cursed because their future was secure – through them God will bless all the nations of the earth.

The people of Israel are the people of God. Balak's efforts to curse Israel only jeopardized the future of the entire region and its people. Had he chosen to bless Israel, the picture would be different – a future of hope, one of peace and prosperity.

God has set Israel apart to bring redemption to the nations. Israel has brought forth the Messiah, Yeshua. He is the light to the nations and the One who provides salvation. He is the promised Star out of Jacob. He will return, in the end of days, to reign as King. He is the promised Sceptre out of Israel, who will establish His kingdom of righteousness, and who will bring to account all the sons of trouble.

The destiny of Israel has not changed since the days of King Balak. The promises of God remain faithful. "Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you." (Numbers 24:9)