Balaam and Balak

Balaam was not Hebrew. He was a soothsayer from the Euphrates who had embraced Yahweh after learning about Him from Hebrew sources. Even so, he was not friendly to Israel.

Against his will, God forced Balaam to praise the Israelites three separate times, even though Balak, king of Moab, had ordered him to renounce this people. (Numbers 22-24).

Later, scripture indicates that Balaam advised the women of Peor to pervert the sons of Israel, causing them to renounce God. (Numbers 31:15-16). Succumbing to this debauchery, the Israelites who settled in Shittim joined the daughters of Moab in sacrifices to their own gods (collectively called Baal), eating and bowing down to them in defiance of scripture's divine orders. (Numbers 25:1-3).

It is this 'secularization' (perversion) of the religion -- honoring and worshipping foreign gods -- that the admonition in the Book of Revelation refers to, and that is why it is used there in conjunction with food sacrificed to idols.

The 'food' eaten during the pagan sacrifices in Moab was physical, but the Book of Revelation centers on spiritual food. It refers to eating philosophic ideologies which run contrary to the teachings of the Gospel; embracing such worldly 'gods' (both social and physical) by choosing to bow down before them instead of and in place of the teachings of Christ.

See also: 'Food Sacrificed to Idols'


3. Pergamum

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E.C.S.Leavenworth III; Goodnews Christian Ministry.