Veggie Tales: "Throw them away." Israel? "It’s about time for David and Goliath Part II." Just a few insights from our Sunday morning service. Nobody was bored, that's for sure!
We had a wonderful visiting American weekend speaker at Tongham Christian Fellowship, which we attend in England. Believers came from as far away as Eastbourne and Bristol to hear Bill Randles, pastor of Believers in Grace fellowship in Cedar Rapids,Iowa. If only the rest of Britain and the world had been able to hear him! Bill did a teaching day on Saturday on Jesus’ parables in Luke chapters 12-14 warning us to be ready for His coming. Sunday morning was the icing on the cake, and it was rich icing indeed.
The following are just a few of the highlights from Bill’s Sunday teaching. Bill went through Numbers 22, 23 and 24 – the account of Balaam, the pagan prophet. Bill said that many looked on the Bible stories as stories with a moral, but this thinking trivialized them. He advised people to throw away any Veggie Tales! He said the Bible stories were far deeper and more significant and had real relevance today.
In the case of Balaam, the children of Israel were about to enter Canaan, the land promised to them by Almighty God. God first promised the land to Abraham, confirmed it to his son Isaac, and to his grandson Jacob. The promise was unconditional; it did not depend on anything or anyone other than God’s own word.
Foundational was one great promise: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you…” Genesis 12:3. So, you curse Israel at your peril! You will be the one who gets cursed! How much better to bless Israel and reap a blessing yourself!
Over the next 400 years, Abraham’s descendents became a populous nation of slaves in Egypt. And after their miraculous deliverance and 40 tough years in the wilderness, they were camped near Jericho, ready to enter the land.
Pagans then occupying the land were terrified. They could see the huge, orderly camp of the Israelites.
The pagan leader Balak, frightened of the Israelites, sent for the pagan prophet Balaam to come and curse them. Balaam was 400 miles away, so a delegation went with gifts, offering him a large sum to come and curse Israel.
The relevance today is startling: Arab oil money is funding parts of the media, university departments etc. Israel is being cursed indeed!
Balaam prayed about it, and that night he heard from the true God, who told him three things:
- Don’t go with them
- Don’t curse the Israelites
- I have blessed them
Clear enough? Instead of just accepting that, Balaam prayed some more, hoping for a different answer. Bill said: “When you pray about what you already know, you are setting yourself up for destruction.”
He said that many Christians once knew the word of God regarding Israel perfectly well, but since it is not popular now, they have prayed about it and come out on the side of evil. Evil is coming to a head, he said - we are in the last days and Christians have to be prepared to be counted, however unpopular it may make us.
He added that the least Christian in any church that teaches Bible prophecy knows more about what is going on in the world and the possible solutions than the UN, the experts, the Phds, the State Dept etc. The pundits and politicians cannot see what the lowliest Christian can see clearly. Who is going to listen to the voices telling the truth? “God is taking down names,” Bill said.
You can read the chapters for yourself, but to cut it short, Balaam disobeyed God and went with the delegation. Three times he tried to get God to curse Israel - but three times He blessed Israel! Balak, the pagan prince, was furious.
Their amended plan was to corrupt Israel by sending Moabite women into the camp to seduce Israelite men and invite them to pagan services. Pagan worship included sexual immorality. This was tantamount to Israel destroying Israel, and the pagans were willing to offer up their own women and girls.
Pagan worship also included burning children to appease their false gods. Does this ring a bell today? Think of the Muslim child suicide bombers. “They hate Jews more than they love their own children,” Bill said.
The three prophecies of Balaam are remarkable. Some of the points in them:
- Israel is a unique nation (Num 22:10)
- Prophecy of Antichrist (Agag, a title like Gog or Caesar Num 24:7)
- Prophecy of the Messiah, the Star out of Jacob (Num 24:17)
- Prophecy of the Assyrian captivity
- Prophecy of the west gaining power over the east (Num 24:25)
By the way, the greedy prophet Balaam came to a bad end, as will all who go against Israel. Read Numbers chapter 31.
You can order Bill’s sermon and the Saturday teachings from the website of Tongham Christian Fellowship, which is at:
Our next teaching weekend is Sept 20 and 21, with Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum, the much loved Jewish Bible teacher whose material is available on www.ariel.org His series on the Messiah from a Jewish Perspective is ground-breaking and will give you a solid understanding of many things in the gospels which are otherwise puzzling. We wish every pastor would be able to hear these teachings.
- Meanwhile, all our Sunday sermons are worth listening to! Come along and meet us in Poyle Road, Tongham, Surrey, just over the Hampshire border from Aldershot. We are not the church with the spire and stained glass. We are in the old building with the corrugated roof just up the road! Alan is speaking next on Sunday, August 24 and then on Sunday, September 28.