Peter warned against “the way of Balaam,” Jude against “the error of Balaam” and John against “the doctrine of Balaam” (II Peter 2:15; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14). God evidently considers these warnings necessary and appropriate for Christians even today.
Yet Balaam, in his day, was a genuine prophet (note II Peter 2:16), possessed great knowledge concerning God, and even received direct revelations from God. What, therefore, were his way, his error, and his doctrine?
- “The way of Balaam” was a readiness to prostitute his high spiritual gifts and privileges for “The wages of unrighteousness” (II Peter 2:14), being willing to preach something contrary to Gods Word for personal gain.
- “The error of Balaam” was evidently his willingness to compromise his own standards of morality and truth in order “greedily” to accommodate those of his pagan patrons (Jude 11).
- Finally, “the doctrine of Balaam,” which even in Johns day was already infiltrating the church, was to use his own teaching authority to persuade Gods people that it was all right for them also to compromise these standards, even “to commit fornication” (Revelation 2:14) with their idol-worshipping enemies.
No wonder Micah (the faithful prophet) urged Gods people to “remember” Balaam and his tragic end (Numbers 31:8).