Our greatest danger is something that we hold in high esteem, and greatly revere among ourselves. It is however, a form of idolatry, and because of this Yahushua will have a few things against us. That something is our widespread practice of (unknowingly) eating of things sacrificed to idols!
Let's see what this is, so that we might remove it from our practice.
Eating Things Sacrificed to Idols: The First WarningToday there are many who are becoming serious about preparing themselves for their Bridegroom. For those of the Bride Company who desire to remove the spots and wrinkles, and be without blemish, Yahushua gives a serious warning, in two separate passages, regarding eating things sacrificed unto idols:
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. (Revelation 2:14)
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (Revelation 2:20)First, let us notice that both of the above passages in Revelation are addressed to the last-days Congregations, telling us this message is for us today. Taken together these passages give a clear warning, and together they reveal what this idolatry is. We will begin with Revelation 2:14.
Notice in verse 14, that we are told that the Doctrine of Balaam results in a stumblingblock. We recall that a stumblingblock is anything that impedes or prevents a Believer from walking in The Way — which is simply our daily walk with Messiah, as He lives within us (2Corinthians 13:5; Colossians 1:27; Galatians 4:19).
We are then told that this teaching and seducing result in a particular stumblingblock, having a two-fold nature: 1) to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and 2) to commit fornication. We will discover that these two items describe one single stumblingblock, and one single practice.
Next we see in verse 14 that this one stumbling block results from the 'teaching' that is taught to Yahuweh's people.
We are also told here that this teaching is the Doctrine of Balaam, and having the same results as when Balak cast a stumblingblock before Yahuweh's people — to cause them to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication — both items of disobedience to Yahuweh. So let's review briefly what Scripture reveals about the Doctrine of Balaam.
The Doctrine of Balaam TeachesAs we saw in detail in The Error of Balaam, the Doctrine of Balaam is the result of the continued practice of the Error of Balaam. We found in our examination of Scriptures in (Numbers 22:12, 20), that the Error of Balaam was the fact that Balaam rejected the 'earlier' Word of Yahuweh, but was willing to obey only the 'later' Word of Yahuweh. Balaam's motive was greed — but it was his action of rejecting part of Yahweh's Word that was the reason Yahuweh sought to kill him! We saw that the Doctrine of Balaam is simply the teaching that rejects the earlier Word of Yahuweh, in favour of His later Word.
Today in our Congregations we are doing exactly the same as Balaam did. We are practicing the Error of Balaam, and teaching the Doctrine of Balaam — for most of our congregations have rejected being 'DO-ers' of the earlier Word of Yahuweh [the 'Old' Testament], and have accepted only the later Word of Yahuweh [the 'New' Testament]. This has happened because many of us have believed the words of the theologians, and have not read the Scriptures for ourselves.
Some might ask, is this a 'Salvation' issue? We need only be reminded that Messiah clearly tells us He will "have a few things against" those of us who hold the Doctrine of Balaam. So let's look first at a few results of the Doctrine of Balaam, to see why Messiah will have a few things against us, unless we repent.
Some Results of the Doctrine of BalaamHere are a few Scriptures that tell us some results of holding the Doctrine of Balaam:
- Some Results of Holding the Doctrine of Balaam
- The Doctrine of Balaam rejects part of Yahuweh's Word. Rejecting the word of Yahuweh is considered rebellion (1Sam 15:23), so that those Believers who reject His word are displaying rebellion. No King will allow rebellion to remain within His Kingdom for long (Matt 13:41-42).
- When we reject some of the Truth of Yahuweh's Word, we show that we are not subject to the Law of Yahuweh, but instead have a 'carnal' mind, which is at enmity against Yahuweh (Rom 8:7).
- The apostle Paul expressed the travail he was in, until such time that Messiah would become (fully) formed within his 'little children' (Gal 4:19). This is our goal too, that Messiah-in-you (and in me) would become mature, become fully-formed in us, and begin to live in fullness within us, in our daily lives. For Messiah to live in His fullness within us, however, implies that we 'allow' Him to keep all of Fathers Commandments and Festivals, in us, just as He did while on earth in His own body.
- If we have been grafted-in, we are now a part of His Covenant people; we are no longer foreigners, no longer 'gentiles' in the spiritual sense, so we are called to no longer walk as the rest of the gentiles (Gal 3:28; Eph 2:11-13; Eph 4:17). If we reject part of Father's Word, we walk as the rest of the gentiles walk, who know not Yahuweh.
- If we reject part of Father's Word, we prevent Messiah-in-us from that part of His (required) eternal expression of His Life within His Covenant people.
- His Words are 'Life' for us. (John 6:63; Prov 4:20-22). If we are missing some of His Word, we are missing some of His Life-in-us.
- How do we determine what the Life of Yahushua-in-us should consist of? If a Doctrine or practice is truly of Yahushua, it will be clearly seen in Scripture, in the lives of Yahushua and His disciples, and in the apostle Paul, as we are told we have them for our examples (Php 3:17; 1Pet 2:21; 1Jo 2:6; 1Jo 3:2). If something is truly of Yahushua, it will also be found within the writings of 'Moses and all the Prophets' (John 5:47; Luke 24:25,27).
- Thus the fullness of Messiah-in-us is simply for us to 'allow' the examples of Yahushua and the Disciples to come forth in our own lives, as He provides the Grace to do so! The fullness of Messiah-in-us can occur only when we co-operate by studying, then using, the same written Scriptures Yahushua and His Disciples used. He used His own Words that He gave to Moses and the Prophets — the Torah! The Doctrine of Balaam thus rejects some of Yahushua's own Words, and so prevents Messiah-in-us from fully appearing in us.
- When we reject the Truth of some of Yahuweh's Word, we show that we do not have a love for the Truth, and we open ourselves to receiving a strong delusion sent from Yahuweh, that we might believe a lie (2Thess 2:10-11). When men begin to believe lies, they become deceived, and fall easy prey to idolatry in all its forms.
What is an Idol?As we saw in Graven Images and Idols: the Scriptural Definition, any substitution of man's own doctrine or practice, in place of that prescribed by Yahuweh, is the basic definition of idolatry. We found that an idol can be a dejure idol, such as a forbidden object, even one we may not consider as an idol, such as certain toys, figurines, and art objects. It can also be a defacto idol, which includes idols of the heart, as well as man-made substitutes for Truths of Yahuweh, either in Word or in practice.
When we continue to hold onto an idol, we are practicing idolatry. Throughout the Scriptures Yahuweh pleads with His people to forego their idolatries, which Yahuweh likens to spiritual fornication. Let us now see how the Doctrine of Balaam, as the rejection of the earlier Word of Yahuweh, teaches us to eat things sacrificed to idols.
Eating Things Sacrificed to Idols: The Second WarningWe noted that the above passage (Rev 2:14) is addressed to the last-days congregations, to us today. We also noted that we are given the same warning in two separate passages, so we know this practice must be a very serious and great stumbling block to Yahuweh's people. Let's now look at the second warning in Rev 2:20:
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (Revelation 2:20)Here in verse 20, we see several things in common with verse 14. First, we see that the Bridegroom says to the potential Bride-Candidates, "I have a few things against thee because...." This is a repeat of His warning to us, so we want to take this warning very seriously!
Notice we see here in verse 20, just as we saw in verse 14, that the eating of things sacrificed to idols is the result of teaching. This time, the one who teaches is not 'those who hold the Doctrine of Balaam,' as seen in verse 14, but the 'woman Jezebel' who teaches in verse 20. Let's see who this woman is.
Two WomenThere are two 'prophetic' women that appear throughout Scripture, who are competing for a husband, and for rulership. There is the True Bride, sometimes seen as the Daughters of Abraham and the Daughters of Zion. And then there is the False Bride, also seen as the Daughters of Babylon, the Strange Woman, and the Harlot. This False Bride is sometimes seen as having the spirit of Jezebel.
We recall that Jezebel, as wife of Ahab, was a 'usurper' of her husband's authority to rule, and she accomplished this usurping through deception and intimidation. Jezebel is thus seen in the prophetic light as any demonic spirit that would motivate someone to be a usurper of someone else's rightful headship or rule, especially in a Family or Congregational setting. This spirit is also a major stronghold behind deception and intimidation, as a means of accomplishing a goal.
We see in Scripture that the prophetic False Bride speaks of the entire apostate, Religious World. This False Bride is portrayed in our subject passage as Jezebel, because she appears as a 'usurper' of someone else's rightful authority in spiritual matters. Who is of rightful authority but the True Messiah? And who is a 'usurper' of that authority, but one who is a substitute for the True?
The Woman TeachesWe then see this woman Jezebel is teaching Yahuweh's 'servants,' so we conclude this is a congregation of Yahuweh's people. The duty of the True Shepherd is to feed the Flock with Truth. The duty of the False shepherd is to teach lies, and to seduce, and to offer substitutes for the True.
But why is this congregation of Yahuweh's people called Jezebel?
There is an actual class of mid-ranking demonic spirits named Jezebel, who continually try to motivate both the false shepherds and the true, to offer substitutes of Yahuweh's Word to the Little Flock. Because the False-Bride congregation is given over to these spirits, this congregation is thus called by the name of Jezebel, the actual authority and motivating power behind its activities.
We can not go into much detail now, but we can generalise by saying the chief characteristic of these Jezebel congregations, is that though appointed by Yahuweh, the Leaders of these congregations have become mere figureheads, just as Ahab was to Jezebel. It is important to understand that the authority of a Leader is revealed in that Leader's testimony of the Scriptures. A Leader who has removed the true testimony of Scripture, and has instead given himself over to man-made doctrines, has removed his true authority, and has taken on a false authority, that of the spirit of Jezebel. Thus we see in the above passage in Rev 2:20, that this invisible Jezebel spirit is actually the one who is teaching and seducing the Believers.
Most Believers understand that they are to maintain an attitude of submission to Yahuweh, through submission to His delegated Pastors and spiritual Leaders, whether these Leaders are right or wrong. This presents a dilemma for the Believers, however. Until the Believer becomes separated from one Leader, and is led to follow another, that Believer is constrained by the Holy Spirit to maintain proper submission and respect to his leaders, and to all with whom he is in fellowship. In such cases, the apostle Paul tells us what we are to do:
"...Come out from among them, and be separate [separate yourselves from them], saith Yahuweh..." (2Corinthians 6:17a; Isaiah 52:11).We are to come out from among any Congregational Leaders who do not hold to Yahushua Messiah, and to His Truth — who do not teach the pure Truth of the Word.
Let us now summarise the identity of the Woman who teaches Yahuweh's servants.
In Rev 2:14, we saw that the teaching was called the Doctrine of Balaam.
In Rev 2:20, we saw that the one who teaches is called a woman named Jezebel, within a congregation of Yahuweh's people. Since the True Bride and False Bride of Scripture both speak of two opposing Companies found within the entire religious world, this woman Jezebel represents not just one isolated congregation, but encompasses the religious world in general.
Combining the two passages, here is what we may see. Among the Congregation of Yahuweh's people, there are those among us that hold the Doctrine of Balaam; and through this false Doctrine, men are taught to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. These actions have become a stumbling block for them, preventing them from walking in The Way, walking with Messiah-living-within-them.
Taken together, the two warnings of verse 14 and verse 20 are one and the same warning.
Let's now see what this sacrifice is.
Eating Things Sacrificed to Idols: What is The Sacrifice?In the above warnings, Yahushua is telling us that the Doctrine of Balaam teaches men to 'eat things sacrificed to idols.' We have seen that one form of an idol may be a man-made substitute for a Word or practice that is commanded by Yahuweh.
The one outstanding feature we see in both of the above Revelation passages is the 'eating of a sacrifice.' We could say that since the eating of this sacrifice involves idolatry, it must involve a substitute for the true — which we call a counterfeit.
We could also say,"Where there is a counterfeit, there must also be the true."
This idolatry is relating to a counterfeit sacrifice, a substitute for a True Sacrifice. So in order to find what the counterfeit sacrifice is, we must first know what the TRUE sacrifice is!
The True SacrificeOur subject passage refers to the eating of a sacrifice, and likely involves a counterfeit of a TRUE Sacrifice. But if it is a counterfeit, a substitute for a TRUE sacrifice, we must next ask, "What is the only legitimate and True Sacrifice today?"
There is only one True and legitimate Sacrifice today found in Scripture: the Body and Blood of Yahushua! (See Heb 9:14; 10:10; 1Pet 1:18-19; Ex 34:25; Deu 12:27.)
Now let's look closely at the TRUE sacrifice. As Believers in Messiah, what are we told to eat and drink, as representing the True Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Yahushua?
Scriptures tell us clearly:
18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. ... 26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:18; 26-28)
14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? ... 22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. 23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. (Mark 14:14; 22-24)
15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: ... 19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:15; 19-20)
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed ['Passover'] took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. (1Corinthians 11:23-25)The above passages all clearly reveal that the Body and Blood of Yahushua were eaten and drunk at the Passover meal with Yahushua and His Disciples.
We also saw in the above table of Results of Holding the Doctrine of Balaam, that Yahushua and His Disciples are an example for us today, so that we might allow the fullness of Messiah-in-us to come forth.
The Passover meal eaten by Yahushua and His Disciples (the TRUE Lord's Supper) was not some 'new' Doctrine for the Disciples — it was something Yahuweh's people had practiced for thousands of years, as commanded of ALL of Yahuweh's people, in Lev 23:4-5. Yahushua was simply revealing the TRUE meaning of Passover for them, and for us today.
Yahushua tells us clearly in Luke 22:20 that the Passover cup is the New Covenant in His Blood, so we now understand that our drinking of the cup at Passover is our part in confirming the New Covenant ratified in His Blood! This is the New Covenant Passover!
Now read the above paragraph again, and let this truth sink in!
When we have an understanding from Scripture of The New Covenant Passover, we can more easily understand the words of Yahushua:
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (John 6:53)We can understand clearly from Scripture, that wherever Yahushua speaks of eating His Body, and drinking His Blood, He is referring to the Passover meal, which is only for His people, and is not for 'outsiders.'
It is the outsiders who have 'no Life in them' [Yahushua living within them]. The 'outsiders' can not keep Passover, for it is 'Messiah-in-you' who is the One who desires to keep Passover; and only those who are 'Born-Again' have Messiah living within them. Messiah-in-us wants to participate in the Passover, while living in our body, just as He did 2,000 years ago when He lived in His own body!
Yahuweh commands His people to observe Passover as a memorial for ever (Ex 12:14). Thus we see Yahushua and all His Disciples keeping the Passover. Even the apostle Paul reminds us that because Messiah was our Passover sacrifice, we are to keep Passover (1Cor 5:7-8). Here Paul saw the need to remind Believers to keep Passover, maybe because men were already beginning to make man-made substitutes for Passover in his day, just as we see in our day.
The False Sacrifice: A Substitute for the TrueWe have seen the true sacrifice for end-time Believers is the Body and Blood taken at the Passover meal by Yahushua's Disciples. We have also seen that by their example, we are to keep the Passover today, and are to take the Body and Blood of Messiah as our Passover sacrifice.
Now we must ask, "What is the FALSE sacrifice that is eaten as an idol — a counterfeit, or man-made substitute for the TRUE?"
If the TRUE sacrifice is the eating of flesh, and drinking of Blood of Messiah at Passover, we must conclude the FALSE sacrifice must be a man-made substitute, or counterfeit of the TRUE. The counterfeit must look very similar to the TRUE, and must also represent the TRUE in every respect. The counterfeit must also appear to be according to Scripture. But because the counterfeit results from the Doctrine of Balaam, which rejects the earlier word, it will not be seen in the earlier Word of Yahuweh, the 'Old' Testament [the Tanak, also called the Torah].
What is this FALSE sacrifice?
Since the Doctrine of Balaam rejects the earlier Word of Yahuweh, including the TRUE Passover, this rejection allows for the Doctrines of Men to create a 'substitute' or counterfeit Passover. This man-made practice has been given the Biblical name of 'communion,' which is from the Greek word 'koinonia,' meaning fellowship and sharing. Thus the Biblical word communion has been re-defined to accomodate the counterfeit Passover!
The counterfeit Passover is known today by many names, such as 'the eucharist,' 'the mass,' and 'the sacrament.' This man-made substitute has also assumed the Biblical names of 'the Lord's supper' and 'the Table of the LORD,' names that refer to the TRUE Passover meal.
This 'substitute' for Passover can be easily seen as a counterfeit, as it is not found in the 'Old' Testament [Torah], the same Scriptures the Bereans used when verifying what the apostle Paul taught. The Bereans are also an example for us in how we can be more noble, as they were, by searching the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11).
This counterfeit or substitute Passover thus provides a ready answer to those who are taught to ignore the 'Old' Testament [Torah], but who still ask about Yahushua's Words in the Gospels, which urge us to 'eat His Flesh, and drink His Blood.'
When we refuse Yahushua's Passover, but practice a man-made replacement of Passover called communion or Lord's supper, we have substituted a man-made practice for the Biblical practice of Passover! Our man-made substitute is an idol! When we eat and drink this substitute passover, we are eating and drinking a man-made sacrifice, which is eating a sacrifice made unto idols!
Here is an interesting observation. The HRB version [an English translation based on early Syriac (Aramaic) manuscripts] gives us some revealing confirmation of these prophetic words spoken by Yahushua in the book of Revelation. Here we see in the (Rev 2:14, 20) passages, that the Believers ['My Servants'] are said to eat the "idol sacrifice."
The use of the phrase, "idol sacrifice" is further confirmation that it is the sacrifice itself which is the idol or 'substitute' for the true (Passover) sacrifice that Believers are called to eat!
The passages in (Rev 2:14, 20) perfectly describe those Believers today who reject keeping the true Passover, but who instead keep the man-made substitute which is the idol. These have been taught to mis-apply the term 'breaking of bread,' which is simply a Biblical idiom meaning 'having a meal,' as we see throughout the Scriptures.
Thus we see from the Scriptures, that in Yahuweh's sight, this practice of taking communion is spiritual fornication, for we are His people, and 'Betrothed' to Him as a Bride. By His Grace, He enables us to walk in His Word. By His mercy, He overlooks our ignorance. He longs to walk with us in closer fellowship, but our [un-repented of] sins continue to keep us separated from Him!
Thus the Bridegroom will choose only the repentant among His Bride-Company, and will refuse all others!
Now we can understand how most congregations today unknowingly promote and teach their people to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. The Doctrine of Balaam has taught them to reject part of Yahuweh's Word, so they have embraced a substitute!
When we forget the 'earlier' Word of Yahuweh, men will attempt to invent many doctrines to take its place. The end result is that we transgress the Law, which is Sin under the New Covenant! (1John 3:4).
A Side IssueAs a side comment, some have misunderstood Paul's remarks in (1Corinthians 8:1, 4, 10; 10:28), where Paul says, "an idol is nothing." Peter reminds us that the unlearned and unstable 'wrest,' or twist the meaning of Paul's words (2Pet 3:16). This happens where there is only a surface understanding of Scriptures. If we believe these teachings without reading the Scriptures for ourselves, we can become deceived.
In the 1Corinthians chapter 8 passages, Paul is addressing physical meat bought in a physical marketplace. Even though the nature of the meat is not changed by this idol 'non-entity,' Paul tells us eating this meat may become a stumbling block for someone else, because of that person's conscience of where it came from. In this case we would refrain from eating this meat, so as to not stumble our Brother.
In this writing, however, we are not referring to eating of physical meat bought in a physical marketplace. Instead, we have addressed how our rejection of Yahuweh's Word creates a stumbling block that we make for ourselves, when we eat a man-made, counterfeit version of the true spiritual meat given to us by Yahushua (John 6:55). We have seen that the rejection of part of Yahuweh's Word, and substituting it with a man-made counterfeit, is idolatry and is Sin (transgression of the Law) according to the New Covenant.
If this were an unimportant issue, Yahushua would not need to give us the double-warning we have seen in Revelation. Because He has warned us twice, it must be very important to Him!
The RemedyHere is the remedy prescribed by Yahushua for the double-warnings seen above:
Repent; or else I will... fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Rev 2:16)
Behold, I will cast ... her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (Rev 2:22)If we repent, and stop doing what we have been doing, then Yahushua will not send us a strong delusion. Now we can see how widespread the problem is today, and how serious the issue is. Now we see why Yahushua gives us a double-warning, and a double call to repent.
ConclusionFor those who desire to prepare themselves for their Bridegroom, let us cease committing fornication, and eating of things sacrificed to idols. Let us instead begin to embrace the TRUE Passover meal - the TRUE Body and Blood of Yahushua. We will do this only when we cease practicing the Doctrine of Balaam, and begin to obey the earlier Word [Torah] of Yahuweh.
This writing is a call to You, Dear Reader! Yahushua is personally calling you to dig into the Scriptures, and read them for yourself! Believe no man! The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come!"
For further information for the Bride's preparation, see the following Related Articles: