A Tale of Two Priests

By Jon Bowles

6 May 2006


Last week I asked the question, "Are we fit for the Kingdom of God?" And I turned to Luke 9:62 which talks about no man looking back, and looking back to our own way and old ways, is fit for that Kingdom. And in particular, I was talking about how our view on government and kingship must be directed in God's way. We're learning that at the moment, certainly, not looking back at the world's form of government. I think that the more we look at the world's form of governments and the way the governments of this world operate, we can see how God's system - God's way - is so very, very different.

Both the people that are being administered by the government of God and also the people doing the administering as well - and we all have times where we're doing one or the other - both must do in love and concern and in both helping those who are administering and doing whatever they happen to be administering, be it a car park attendant or whatever. If we are in a position of administration as well, it must be done the same way, in a certain way, which is God's way, which is the way of love and concern.

Now, although we are going to be kings - certainly that's our birthright under the King of kings, and this really is what I was talking about last week - our primary job, the job that we'll be given in the future, is that job of teaching. We are training right now, in the Church. The reason why we are in the Church today is to learn and to train to be teachers in the future. If you'll turn with me over to Revelation 20, we find here that it is that teaching job that is mentioned and highlighted.

"Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection:"(Revelation 20:6 )

Now, we have received a calling. We are selected in order to fulfill this responsibility, to go for the first resurrection, to be ready to be the teachers in the World Tomorrow. That's the reason for our calling.

"Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power [In other words, they will be the sons and daughters of God.], but they shall [also notice] be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."(Revelation 20:6)

So the reign is there. They're going to be kings. They're going to be administering the government of God. They're going to be administering the way of God on the world a whole; but their role, their primary job, is to be priests of God. And when we're looking at the job of a priest, it is to teach. It is very much to teach, as we'll go on and see a little bit later on. Turn back to Revelation 1. Notice in verse 6 where the same concept is being discussed. I want you to notice what it says as far as Christ.

"[Regarding] Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, (6) And [He - that's implied.] has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." (Revelation 1:5-6)

Now notice what it says. He has made us . What Christ is currently doing is making us as kings and priests. "He has made us kings and priests." That is our final destination. And we are currently - as we attend services, as we learn these things, when we study scripture, when we get on our knees, when we work through our life, we go through the daily problems that we go through and the difficulties that we face - Christ is working with us; and He's making us into kings, yes, but also into priests.

Now what I want to do today is I want to examine this job of priest, this job that we are being prepared for. I want to do it really so that we can, in fact, have more of God's mind on the subject of the priesthood. And I particularly want to examine two examples. If you want a title for the sermon, I suppose it will be A TALE OF TWO PRIESTS. The two priests I want to particularly examine are at total opposite ends of the scale. One is Phinehas, and the other one is Balaam. They are both priests, and they are both total opposites. They are both contemporary. Their lives are inexorably linked; and yet we can go back and see how one is teaching one way, and the other is teaching another way. And as it says here, He [Christ] is in the process of making us into one of these priests. I've broken this subject down into six points.

What Kind of Priests are we to be? (PLAY FROM 6:04)

So let's turn back, first of all, to I Peter 2 and notice here where it is describing our role.

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood [So it's not just an ordinary priesthood. It's a royal priesthood. It is linked with this kingship as well. It's very much a priesthood that we are involved with, but it is a royal priesthood.], an holy nation, a peculiar people..."(1 Peter 2:9)

"You also, as [living] stones, are built up a spiritual house, [We're to be built into a spiritual temple, and the analogy being used in this particular chapter is that this spiritual temple is..] an holy priesthood."(1 Peter 2:5)

This is probably why, when you're looking at this particular chapter, it uses an analogy in verse 2.

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby:"(1 Peter 2:2)

Because it's almost like a young child who is in training for the priesthood, and therefore the analogy is of a young child. It's not talking about being born again the way that the subject of born again is to be understood, but the analogy there is of a priesthood. And we are this holy priesthood, this royal priesthood as it says here. We can see, when we actually look at Jesus Christ as the High Priest, we can see how it all fits together a little bit more. In Hebrews 3 - when we ask the question: What kind of priests are we to be? - we need to look at our High Priest, and say, Right. If He is of this kind of priesthood, therefore will we also be of this kind of priesthood, because He is the High Priest of the priests underneath Him.

"Wherefore, holy brethren,[ now remember what he said, a holy priesthood - Holy brethren] partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle [the One that was sent.] and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;" (Hebrews 3:1)

In other words, what we profess. And the word profession is homologos. It means 'the same word'. It is like confession. It is what we say, Look, this is what we adhere to. This is the direction in which we are going.

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed ['throughthe heavens', is a better translation], Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession." (Hebrews 4:14)

This is the same word being used, homologos, that what we are confessing to, what we are looking forward to actually doing.

"And no man takes this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron."(Hebrews 5:4)

So, in other words, as Aaron was specifically designated to the priesthood, so too Christ was designated to this priesthood; and we have been designated to this priesthood that will exist in the future. And the training is now.

"So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, You art my Son, to day have I begotten you. [That's from Psalms 2](6) As he said also in another place, You art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."(Hebrews 5:5-6)

Now this is the High Priest who was a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. And, therefore, a similar order is what we're looking at as far as those that are going to be selected and those to which their office has also being given. And notice in verse 9 the role of this priesthood.

"And being made perfect [or, mature], he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (10) Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. [This is from Psalms 110 (11) Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing you are dull of hearing. [In other words, you can't really understand what I'm talking about.] (12) For when for the time you ought to be teachers [For that's the role of a priesthood - to be a teacher - and we are being trained to be teachers],you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." (Hebrews 5:9-12)

In other words, you're not able to bear what I've actually got to say to you. And it goes on in chapter 7.

"For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;"(Hebrews 7:1)

And it's mentioned in Psalms 110 about the Messiah, because it talks about piling the bodies in the streets when the Messiah actually begins His reign.

"Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually."(Hebrews 7:3)

The Kingdom of kings and priests in the future - of which we will be part if we are there, fit and ready to teach as a priest, because that's the role of the priesthood - is also going to be 'abiding a priest continually' as our High Priest is. So this is a Family of God. It was a family of Aaron, which were the priests. It is the Family of God that are going to be the priesthood in the future. You can put down in your notes Psalms 110, obviously, where these verses are quoted, talking about the order of Melchisedec; and in Genesis 14, around verses 18-20, it talks about Melchisedec (or Melchizedek) Himself being king of Salem. So He was a king, and He was the Priest of the most High God. So He was also a priest. He was a king and the priest together. This is the kind of priest-king that we seem to be destined to be. If there is an area where we can go back to and have a look at, from what it says in Hebrews and putting that together with I Peter, that looks as if it is the designation that we have - this original Priest-King of Melchisedec.

Preserving the Law (PLAY FROM 12:43)

Now we go on to the second point, that the priest preserves the law. Here in Hebrews 10, when we are going to be teaching the law, it is going to be under the New Covenant. Now, that New Covenant is going to be made with Israel and Judah in the future, the terms of which we're under today because we are to be the king-priests which will be teaching and which will be training in the future.

"And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: (12) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (13) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. [There's Psalm 110 again being used by Paul.] (14) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. [Remember, you are a holy priesthood, over in 1 Peter, we just read.] (15) Whereof the Holy [Spirit] also is a witness to us [forever]:for after that he had said before, (16) This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, said the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;"(Hebrews 10:11-16)

So this spiritual law of God is going to be in the heart, and the mind, and the character of the people in the future, during the Millennium. And it is to be in our heart, our mind, our character because we are the embryo of that Kingdom, within the Church. We are, therefore, under the terms of the New Covenant, though the New Covenant has not yet been ratified. But if we go back to Numbers chapter 3 we find directions being given about the way in which the ark is going to be moved, the way in which the holy things of the temple and the various bits and pieces that make up the temple. The Kohathites were a family of Levites who were the ones who were to transport the ark. Now I want you to notice what happens as far as the priest is concerned, because a priest preserves the law.

"And the chief of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel. (31) And their charge shall be the ark, and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the service thereof. (32) And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest [So there's the priesthood.] shall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary."(Numbers 3:30-32)

So the priests are actually governing the Kohathites, who were there to look after the bits and pieces and to carry them from one place to another as we'll come on and see. Notice in chapter 4 and verse 2;

"Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, after their families, by the house of their fathers, (3) From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation. (4) This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things: (5) And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it:"(Numbers 4:2-5)

And it goes through the various ways in which Aaron, the priest, had to preserve and look after the various holy things. And in verse 15:

"And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. [So the priests only were the ones that actually touched and prepared and preserved the holy things.] These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation."(Numbers 4:15)

"And the [ETERNAL] spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, (18) Cut you not off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites: (19) But thus do unto them, that they may live, and not die, when they approach unto the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in, and appoint them every one to his service and to his burden: (20) But they shall not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die."(Numbers 4:17-20)

The priests were involved with that. They did all the covering. They did all the preparation. They did all the preserving of the holy things. The Kohathites then came in as part of Levi, but they then carried them. They weren't to touch them. They weren't to look at them. They weren't to do anything with them. That was entirely the priesthood. And the priesthood, certainly, is a case of preserving the law, of preserving the holy things. Now put it in your notes Exodus 25:10-16, it talks about how the testimony, the covenant, the actual two tables of stone were carried on poles, within the ark. Another scripture you can put down in your notes, 1 Kings 8:9, the only thing in the ark were the two tables of stone. That is very clear, that is mentioned there.

Now, in 1 Chronicles 13 we find an event here that David was totally perplexed over for a certain period of time. In verse 1:

"And David consulted with the captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader. (2) And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the [ETERNAL] our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us: (3) And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul."(1 Chronicles 13:1-3)

If you remember, it was taken away; and they put it on two new heifers, and it came back, and they stopped in a certain place, and that's where it stayed. And the entire congregation was going to do this. And they went ahead and they carried it, verse 7, because obviously they'd come from the Philistines; and it was on a cart and the heifers were drawing it:

"And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart. (8) And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. (9) And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. (10) And the anger of the [ETERNAL] was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. (11) And David was displeased, because the [ETERNAL] had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perezuzza to this day. (12) And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me? (13) So David brought not the ark home to himself to the city of David, but carried it aside into the house of Obededom the Gittite."(1 Chronicles 13:7-14)

And he actually left it there in someplace outside or in an outhouse, or in the tent or something at this particular person's place. But it was something pretty profound, that here was Uzza, who put forth his hand just simply to steady it, and he was killed by God because you don't do that to the law of God. You don't put your hand on God's law. Now, we can think of somebody who did that. He put his hand and he got hold of God's law, and he tried to do something which made it a bit easier for the people. Forty weeks to the hour, he was dead. That was Joseph Tkach. He put his hand out to make it easier, to steady it, to make it a little bit easier for everybody. But you see, over in 1 Chronicles 15, we find out that David suddenly started to understand why this happened.

"And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. (2) Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the [ETERNAL] chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever."(1 Chronicles 15:1-2)

Now we just read about the Kohathites; and we read about the priests, and how the priests had to prepare it. Now I presume that this ark was not placed in an outhouse over in Obededom's place, but presumably some kind of a tabernacle was made for it that it was stored in.

"And David assembled the children of Aaron, and the Levites: (5) Of the sons of Kohath; Uriel the chief..."(1 Chronicles 15:4-5)

So the Kohathites were there. They were ready. The sons of Aaron were there. They were ready, because the Aaronic Priesthood had to get the ark ready; then the sons of Kohath had to carry it; and this is the way David understood.

"For because you did it not at the first, the [ETERNAL] our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order."(1 Chronicles 15:13)

So serious was this that God killed the man that put his hand out to steady it.

"So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the [ETERNAL] God of Israel."(1 Chronicles 15:14)

So what are we doing as far as our preparations as priests? What was their part of it? It was the case of sanctifying ourself. We are a holy priesthood, a peculiar people, set apart for a holy purpose.

"And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders [that is the Kohathites] with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the [ETERNAL]."(1 Chronicles 15:15)

And then they were actually able to bring it up.

"So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tent that David had pitched for it [That's the tabernacle.]: and they offered burnt sacrifices and peace offerings before God."(1 Chronicles 16:1)

And he made an end of offering; and he gave everybody some flesh and a flagon of wine, and sent them all home. But a priest has got to preserve the law. The Levites have got to carry the law. We, as a special peculiar people, we have got to carry that law. We're looking for a Covenant that is going to be in the future, which is going to be the New Covenant where that law is going to be in people's hearts.

Teaching the Law's Sense (PLAY FROM 24:05)

The third point I want to deal with, though, is that the priest also teaches the law's sense. Turn over to Nehemiah 8. We find here that Ezra - who was obviously a priest - but he was more than a priest. He was actually a descendant of Phinehas.

"And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month."(Nehemiah 8:2)

So you're looking at Trumpets, and everybody gathered together and read from the law. But it wasn't just a case of reading from the law. He was doing what I'm doing now. He would read a section; and then, as it says, notice in verse 8.

"So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading."(Nehemiah 8:8)

You see it wasn't just a case of reading it and getting the words, it was a case of reading it and then explaining it as well. This is why, when we're looking at the services that we have, they are very much lectures. They are lectures because that is the purpose of Church. The purpose of Church is to train - is to train the trainers, to train the teachers of the future, the very priests that are going to need to have that information, and to have that way of life, and to have the sense with it. It's not just the case of the words themselves, but the sense that goes along with it; and that has been implemented within the Church, within Ambassador College, within the things that we have been taught from Mr. Herbert Armstrong. And it wasn't just from him; it was from God also, through him. It was from God, through Mr. Herbert Armstrong, to those that were being taught.

Turn over to Malachi 2. Now remember: Those in the future, the kingdom of priests in the future, are going to be people who, as it says in Isaiah 30, there's going to be a word behind them saying, "This is the way, walk in it" - giving the sense, giving the meaning behind the law, not just the law itself. "Here's the law, yes; but here's the sense of it; and this is what you should do in this situation." This is how it applies in a certain situation. And here in Malachi 2:5 it says;

"My covenant was with him [that's with Levi] of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. (6) The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. (7) For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the [ETERNAL] of hosts. "(Malachi 2:5-7)

This is the purpose of a priest. We are a kingdom of kings and priests. Kingship because we're administering the way of God, we are administering the law and the mind of God to the people, in love. But also priests because we are teaching those people. We are teaching them the way; and we are giving the sense of God's law as well -- so that sense is also there, so that the spirit of the law is also being applied. Notice in chapter 3, this is applying specifically to the end-time.

"Then they that feared the [ETERNAL] spoke often one to another: and the [ETERNAL] hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the [ETERNAL], and that thought upon his name. (17) And they shall be mine, said the [ETERNAL] of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; (18) Then shall you return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, [Here is the sense. This is the discerning. It's the 'this is the way walk you in it, when you turn right, when you turn left.''] between him that serves God and him that serves him not."(Malachi 3:16-18)

This is what we're learning today. We need to be able to make the discernment, and we have got to do that. What we were taught through Mr. Armstrong wasn't just the Word of God. It was taking the Word of God with the Spirit of God so that we can make sense of it. So we can see the spirit of the law, the intent of the law, why the law is there, the way of give as opposed to the way of get. It is that intent that is going to have to go on, and the way of properly applying it, properly administering it - not according to just merely the letter; but according to the principle, the spirit of the law.

That is the administration that we have got to learn, that we have got to use. This is why we study the Scripture. It's not just a case of studying it, but to say: Where do we use it? How do we use it in this environment that we find ourself in today? How do we apply the principle to this environment? And we have been given specific instructions as to how that is done. That's why I keep on going back and saying, Look. It is a spiritual heritage that we have got to go back to. That is what we want, because we're going to have to take that spiritual heritage out into the universe eventually. We're going to have to take that spiritual heritage, and we're going to have to use it to establish and lay the foundation of the Earth. And we're also having to take the spiritual heritage and say to Zion, the Church, You are My people. You are the ones who need to understand these things, and need to make sure that you are ready to be the priests and teachers of the World Tomorrow. That's part of our job. It's all part of our job.

Why Phinehas' Covenant? (PLAY FROM 30:10)

So let's go into Phinehas and have a look at some of the covenants. First of all, let's have a look at the covenant with Levi. Jeremiah 33. I wonder if you've noticed this before? Here is a covenant with Levi. Remember we just read about it a little bit, over in Malachi.

"In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. (16) In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The [ETERNAL] our righteousness. (17) For thus says the [ETERNAL]; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;"(Jeremiah 33:15-17)

Now, we know that. The Queen is currently sitting on the throne of the House of Israel. She fulfills this particular position.

"Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually."(Jeremiah 33:18)

It's talking about the actual people that will be ready. Now, we've just seen how the Temple Institute is putting together the implements right now to be able to do this very thing. The fact that Passover can be celebrated, and you'd better believe it. They've gone back into the ancestry of the people who were permitted to wear these priestly garments, and they will be the Kohen.[Hebrew for "priest"] And chances are they will know whether they go back to Phinehas, or not, as well.

"And the word of the [ETERNAL] came unto Jeremiah, saying, (20) Thus said the [ETERNAL]; If you can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; (21) Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. (22) As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me."(Jeremiah 33:19-22)

So there are, right now, people who are qualified, as far as Levites are concerned by their genealogy to be able to do this; and they will do in the future as well. And the evening and the morning sacrifice - when it begins in Jerusalem as it's mentioned over in Daniel - will be done by Levites, who are claiming this promise. And who, through the Jews, know their ancestry all the way back. Now we turn back to Numbers 25. We find what God said regarding Phinehas, because not only is there a covenant as mentioned over in Jeremiah 33 with Levi that is not going to be broken - it will go on right the way through - but there is a specific covenant to Phinehas himself.

"And the [ETERNAL] spoke unto Moses, saying, (11) Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, [So Aaron was his grandfather. Eleazar was his father.]hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. (12) Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace [There was a specific covenant with Phinehas himself, individually.]: (13) And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood..."(Numbers 25:10-13)

Now, the word everlasting there is 'olam'. It literally means as far as you can see in the present situation. That's literally what olam means. So as far as can be seen in the present situation, that's what we're looking at there.

"....a priesthood because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel."(Numbers 25:13)

Now, it is interesting when you look at this event that took place, where he went into the tent and skewered these two fornicating individuals to the ground. And what had happened at that time, the women of Moab... well, let's look in Psalm 106:28.

"They joined themselves also unto Baal-peor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. (29) Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them. (30) Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed. (31) And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore."(Psalms 106:28-31)

"To olam". Again, 'olam' is being used. But here it mentions, in this sacrifice to Baal-peor with the women of Moab, they actually ate the sacrifice of the dead. Now what exactly that means - 'sacrifice to the dead' - that's as much as it actually says in the original, and it's not strictly understood as to what it means, but it could well be that they were actually eating body parts. It could be something as grisly as that. Because you go down to Nigeria today, and you can buy body parts on the markets in Owerri, and all these various other places. You'd probably be hard-pressed to find them; but they use them within their rituals and everything else within the Juju. And these people were Moabites and influenced, presumably, by the Canaanites that were there in the land.

Back now to Numbers 25, we need to understand something: It wasn't just a case of Phinehas got into his head "Right, I'll sort this out!" and marched in there and skewered these two. He was specifically told. Notice in verse 4;

"And the [ETERNAL] said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the [ETERNAL] against the sun, that the fierce anger of the [ETERNAL] may be turned away from Israel."(Numbers 25:4)

In other words, you go and find the people that are ringleaders in all of this:

"And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. (2) And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down [subjected themselves] to their gods. (3) And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the [ETERNAL] was kindled against Israel. (4) And the [ETERNAL] said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the [ETERNAL] against the sun, [So you take them off by the neck, and you hang the heads up in the sun as an example to everybody else to stop this folly.] that the fierce anger of the [ETERNAL] may be turned away from Israel. (5) And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay you every one his men that were joined unto Baal-peor. "(Numbers 25:1-5)

Now Phinehas was a Levite, and Simeon and Levi were full brothers; and if you notice when it goes on:

"And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. (7) And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; (8) And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel."(Numbers 25:6-8)

And that's the reason why God commended him. But notice what it does say; it was God who instructed what had to be done, to execute these people and hang their heads up in the sight of the sun. I want you to notice, however:

"And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand. "(Numbers 25:9)

So 24,000 people were involved. I want you to notice in verse 14:

"Now the name of the Israelite that was slain, even that was slain with the Midianitish woman, was Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites."(Numbers 25:14)

So, this was a Simeonite prince that he killed. It wasn't just anybody. This person was a leader of Simeon. Now, you don't mess with a Simeonite from what you can see in history. You just don't. But it didn't phase Phinehas. Phinehas went in there, and he still carried out what God had mentioned. And in addition to that, notice:

"And the name of the Midianitish woman that was slain [with this Simeonite] was Cozbi, the daughter of Zur; he was head over a people, and of a chief house in Midian."(Numbers 25:15)

Now, make a note of that mentally - this person, this Cozbi, the daughter of Zur - because we'll come back and actually see, again, Phinehas finishing the job; because Phinehas goes on a little bit further than this. He is in fact instrumental in finishing the job as far as Balaam was concerned.

Now, what you need to understand about Phinehas is that he obviously listened to what God had said here. He sanctified God. He said, Look, this is what God says. He says, 'Hang these heads up to dry.' And he went out, and he just did it. He did what was required and commanded of him by God, and he was respectful to God. He sanctified God. He was only a young man. He was born about the time of the Exodus and during the wilderness years. Remember, this is just as they went into the land.

This was just before they went into the land. If you remember, they came to the plains opposite Jericho; and just before they went over Jordan, Moses was still around there. They camped there by the side of Jordan; and the Moabites sent for Balaam to come and curse Israel, because they had already sorted out some of the other nations there.

But he [Phinehas] was born around the time of the Exodus. He was a young boy in the wilderness; and, if we turn over to Numbers 20, remember his genealogy. He was the grandson of Aaron, and within the household, you can guarantee what was actually being specified and being talked about.

"And the [ETERNAL] spoke unto Moses, saying..."(Numbers 20:7 )

So Aaron was his grandfather. What would Moses be? His grandfather's brother. What would you call a grandfather's brother? A great uncle is it? A grand uncle, or something. So, he was actually related to Moses.

"And the [ETERNAL] spoke unto Moses, saying, (8) Take the rod, and gather you the assembly together, you, and Aaron your brother [So that is Phinehas' grandfather now, and Phinehas would presumably be around as a young child at this time.],and speak you unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and you will bring forth to them water out of the rock: so you will give the congregation and their beasts drink. (9) And Moses took the rod from before the [ETERNAL], as he commanded him. (10) And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, you rebels; must WE fetch you water out of this rock? (11) And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: [So he got angry with the people. He let fly the fact that, you know, are we going to do this? Have we got to put up with you all this time? And smashed the rock with his rod.]and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. (12) And the [ETERNAL] spoke unto Moses and Aaron, Because you believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them."(Numbers 20:7-12)

It wasn't just a case that he didn't speak to the rock, that he went and laid into the rock with the rod. But they said, "Must WE give you water out of the rock?" They didn't make sure that God was sanctified in the eyes of the people. That was the problem.

"This is the water of Meribah [the water of strife]; because the children of Israel strove with the [ETERNAL], and he was sanctified in them."(Numbers 20:13)

"And the [ETERNAL] spoke unto Moses and Aaron in mount Hor, by the coast of the land of Edom, saying, (24) Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because you rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah. (25) Take Aaron and Eleazar his son [That was the father of Phinehas. So the two of them, grandfather and his father.], and bring them up unto mount Hor: (26) And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there. (27) And Moses did as the [ETERNAL] commanded: and they went up into mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation..."( Numbers 20:23-27)

....including Phinehas - who saw his father and his grandfather go up into the mountain, and his father come down again; and he knew very well why! He knew why. So these lessons were part of the lessons of sanctifying God that Phinehas had to learn, and it was something which was ingrained in his childhood. Turn back to Leviticus 10. Here's another event that took place with his uncles.

"And Nadab and Abihu [who were uncles of Phinehas], the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the [ETERNAL], which he commanded them not."(Leviticus 10:1)

Now in addition, probably because of verse 9, they were probably drunk at the time as well. Now that's just an inference, but it's certainly interesting with the instruction not to drink before. "And there went out fire from the [ETERNAL], and devoured them, and they died before the [ETERNAL]."(Leviticus 10:2) Now these are the two uncles of Phinehas.

"Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the [ETERNAL] spoke, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace."(Leviticus 10:3)

These were his sons that had just been killed. But this lesson, you can guarantee, was being talked about within the household. So they knew, and Phinehas knew. He had two uncles, and he probably knew the two uncles, and he remembered them dying. He remembered the incident. And we also have got to learn the same basic fundamental lesson: that we have got to sanctify God. We've got to make sure that He is always sanctified in everything that we do. As a Church, we must be that way. As priests in training, we have got to learn that lesson - the same as Phinehas, as a priest in training, learnt that lesson. It is a vital lesson that we have got to learn.

When we get on our knees everyday, when we pray to God, "Our Father, who is in heaven" - who is on high, who has a heavenly perspective of everything . Remember we said He is our Father. "Hallowed - sanctified, holy, clean - is Your name." And, if He's our Father and we are therefore sanctifying His name, we had better be sanctified as well. And then we say "Your Kingdom Come. "

So everyday that we get on our knees, and we go through that sample prayer, and we see the very opening phrases - in those opening phrases is a case of sanctifying God's name. Mr. Armstrong said that what he did when he got on his knees each day, the first thing he would do would be to glorify the name of God. To look and just remind himself which Being is he actually addressing? Who is it, this Being? And He will demand that He be sanctified! To the point of Uzza being killed because he reached behind to steady the ark. To the point of Nahab and Abihu - not having the right respect, not having the right fire, perhaps being drunk. That's why, when anyone gets up here to speak, they should not drink beforehand at all. It's a tradition within the Church, and that's the way it is; and it's going to stay as far as the Church is concerned. We do NOT drink before we get up to speak.

And as far as Aaron as well: It doesn't say, You rabble, must WE do this? It was God who was doing that - not Aaron, not Moses. And we find in Malachi 1:6 how this respect was missing in what was being described in Malachi. And there's going to have to be a refiner of silver, as it talks about in Malachi 3:3, a refining of the sons of Levi.

Now when we look at the way Phinehas learned these lessons, of the respect towards God; of making sure he didn't go the same way as his uncles or his grandfather, in making the same kind of mistake; and the fact that God said, Look, these people need to have their heads hung out to dry. And he went in there, and he accomplished the task; and it didn't matter whether it was a Simeonite; It didn't matter whether it was the daughter of one of the chiefs of the Moabites; He just simply got it sorted.

Opposite Way of Balaam: (PLAY FROM 50:05)

Now, if we turn back to Numbers again and start to look at the opposite way of Balaam in point number five. You've got to understand a little bit about what was actually happening at that time. You're looking at Israel having come into the land. They had come down onto the eastern side of the Dead Sea. They had come up the eastern side, presumably through Petra down on the mountainous area. And they'd come, then, down toward the Dead Sea; and they'd come up toward Jordan. And there is a plain area on the eastern side of Jordan in that area, in the land of Moab. As they marched through - and around that time, if you want to put in your notes Numbers 26:2 and also verse 51 - they did a census. They actually counted how many people they had who were male, who were of a certain age, who could go ahead and fight. And the army of Israel at that time was 601,730 armed men. That's how big it was. Over six hundred thousand armed men, two and a half million plus people altogether. So it was a phenomenal army for that particular time. And here in Numbers 21:21;

"And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, (22) Let me pass through your land: we will not turn into the fields, or into the vineyards; we will not drink of the waters of the well: but we will go along by the king's high way, until we be past your borders. (23) And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness: and he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel. (24) And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon: for the border of the children of Ammon was strong."( Numbers 21:21-24)

So they basically wiped out Sihon. And in verse 33:

"And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei. (34) And the [ETERNAL] said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into your hand, and all his people, and his land; and you will do to him as you didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon. (35) So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land." (Numbers 21:33-35)

Now this was on the way in, as they approached this area; but notice verse 26;

"For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even unto Arnon."(Numbers 21:26)

So this king of Sihon, the one that Israel wiped out, was stronger than Moab. And they marched in there, and they just flattened them. They then came across to the King of Bashan, and they flattened him. They completely wiped the entire nation out. Now, here were the Moabites. And in Numbers 22;

"And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho. [Now this is being written by Moses, remember. So, it's on this side of Jordan. That's the eastern side of Jordan, over against Jericho. That's what it literally means.](2) And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. [Now he saw Sihon. He saw Og. He knew how powerful they were, and they had been flattened by Israel.] (3) And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. "(Numbers 22:1-3)

So what then happened...verse 5:

"He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: "(Numbers 22:5)

Now this particular individual, as Mr. Armstrong has brought out, this place Pethor roughly equates to what we would normally know as St. Peter's [in Rome] today. Pethors, and Peters, because he was the chief of the pagan religion at that particular time. And Pethor notice, it says - "by the river of the land of his people." Now 'of his people': In fact, the Hebrew is 'am', and it could be Ammo, which is a god of that particular place.

And again, if you want to do a little bit of research yourself; but in Numbers 23:7; 'came out of the mountains of the east.' And Deuteronomy. 23:4; this place was in Mesopotamia. Now, Mesopotamia lies between the Tigress and the Euphrates. It's the area that we know as Iraq today. And it was in a mountainous area in Iraq that they sent for this individual called Balaam.

Now in Easton's Bible Dictionary, talking about Pethor, the word Pethor literally means 'the interpretation of dreams'. Interesting - Pethor, Peter, all this kind of thing. 'Interpretation of dreams, identified with Pitru, on the west bank of the Euphrates, a few miles south of the Hittite capital of Carchemish (Num.22:5, which is by the river of the land of the children of [the god] Ammo).' (See BALAAM.)

So that is where the people think that this is. It's about, if you go east-northeast from this point near Jericho, and you go for 450 miles, you then come to this place. It's about a 500-mile trip. So it's a thousand mile round-trip to go and see this individual. He was a bigwig, he really was. In the area of pagan religions, he was IT. You don't just casually send your principle men on a round trip of a thousand miles, saying, Look, come and curse this people for me. This individual, this Balaam, as it says in verse 5:

"He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people [or, the river of the land of Ammon], to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me:" (Numbers 22:5)

So he sent them this incredible distance to get this individual to come and curse Israel for him.

Now, there was something that we need to understand about this area. They did have a vague knowledge of God. There is a vague knowledge of God in this area. Remember, who are we talking about? The Midianites. Who are the Midianites? The Midianites, if you go back and do your research, in Genesis 25:2 you'll find where they are the sons of Keturah and Abraham. So the Midianites come from Keturah and Abraham. So, Abraham would have taught his sons, the same as he taught Isaac. He wasn't somebody who wouldn't have taught them. They would have understood a certain amount, but it would have been lost through the generations.

Moab and Ammon, who were they? They're from the daughters of Lot, if you remember. They had sex with their father; and Moab and Ammon were the product, because they thought presumably that, when Sodom was destroyed - knowing the Earth would be destroyed by fire ultimately, and they could therefore see that this had actually occurred - they thought they were the only ones left alive at that time.

It says it in verse 5 of Numbers 22, Balaam the son of Beor. Who is Beor? Now, if you go back and do a little bit of research, you'll find that he was the father of the first of the kings of Edom (Genesis 36:32). Now, Edom (Genesis 25:30) was the brother of Jacob. So, all these people are linked. These were people who had some kind of knowledge of the Eternal. They weren't just total pagans, as you're looking at the Canaanites. They're not the same. They're different. But here in Numbers 22, when Balaam is finally dealt with by God, it's interesting. Balaam constantly says, Oh, I'll wait; and the Eternal will, therefore, talk to me. Then it says, 'But God said to him.' Now the word God is elohim. It can be used for a pagan god. It can be used for a mighty one. That's all it means.

Now in Numbers 22 verse 31;

"Then the [ETERNAL] opened the eyes of Balaam [Now, this is when God actually starts getting involved. The true God starts getting involved with Balaam, and starts opening his eyes, because he'd just beaten his ass.],and he saw the angel of the [ETERNAL] standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. (32) And the angel of the [ETERNAL] said unto him, Wherefore hast you smitten your ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand you, because your way is perverse...."(Numbers 22:31-32)

The Hebrew there is 'yarat'. It literally means to be precipitative. In other words, you go out there, and you do your own thing regardless. It means to be rash. It means to rush headlong. It means to do whatever you want.

"And God came unto Balaam [Remember, it's elohim, the Mighty One, came to Balaam.]'at night [Who it was, it doesn't indicate; but it was a Mighty One.], and said unto him, If the men come to call you, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto you, that shalt thou do."(Numbers 22:20)

Now you say, Well, could it be an evil spirit that did this? Could these evil spirits do that? Well, I know this much; in talking to people in Nigeria, when the British came in, it was the evil spirits that actually led them and said, "Look, you let these people in, because there's nothing you can do about it. You let them in. You put white flags out. You clear the jungle, and you allow them to walk in". And that's how the British won in that area.

"If [notice; IF] the men come to call you, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto you, that will you do. (21) And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab." (Numbers 22:20-21)

He was instrumental. As it says, he was rash. He was precipitative. He was rushing headlong. As it says in Jude verse 11 he ran greedily for reward. He wanted that reward. He got his heart set on it. II Peter 2:15 talks about how he loved the wages of unrighteousness. And he was also proud and boastful that apparently God was actually dealing with him, because he was the 'great big cheese' in the pagan world. But when you're looking at this, at this individual, who in fact was doing these things - if you'll turn over to Numbers 24, right at the end, we find the prophecy that Balaam gave;

"And when Balaam saw that it pleased the [ETERNAL] to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness. "(Numbers 24:1)

In other words, once he realized what was going on, he didn't go through his pagan rituals. This was a pagan priest worshipping pagan gods, and pagan deities, and demons. But he gave this prophecy regarding Israel.

"And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish for ever. (25) And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way."(Numbers 24:24-25)

"And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab."(Numbers 25:1)

Something happened between these two verses. Nothing is said specifically; but the inference is Balaam was involved with what happened consequently. And Phinehas, remember, is the one that then came and put a stop to what the advice that then was given by Balaam. In other words, Balaam said, "I can't curse them; but what you can do is get them to sin against their God; and you can do that with the women, and then you've got them." That's what he's doing. And the advice was coming from Balaam, greedy for gain. Not a proper servant, or priest, of God in any way. He was wanting to do his own will but to be seen to be a priest, as a great powerful individual.

Phinehas' Role in Defeating Balaam (PLAY FROM 1:04:15)

And the contrast between himself - that individual - and Phinehas is huge! If you'll go over to Numbers 31, you find an event here where, if you like, Phinehas finishes the job.

"And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand."(Numbers 31:6)

Let's go back to Numbers 10, and read a little bit about the trumpets;.

"And the [ETERNAL] spoke unto Moses, saying, (2) Make you two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece will you make them: that you may use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps."(Numbers 10:1-2)

"And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations. (9) And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the [ETERNAL] your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies."(Numbers 10:8-9)

That was part of the actual process of going to war. Now back to Numbers 31 and in verse 6;

"And Moses sent them to the war, a thousand of every tribe, them and Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, to the war, with the holy instruments, and the trumpets to blow in his hand. (7) And they warred against the Midianites, as the [ETERNAL] commanded Moses; and they slew all the males. [So they went in there and they wiped these Midianites out](8) And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur."(Numbers 31:6-8)

Remember I said to make a note of Zur? Zur, the father of Cozbi. That was the woman that Phinehas went and skewered to the ground. So Phinehas was also there, serving God on behalf of the priests with the trumpets directing things, when the army went in; and they took care of the family. And in addition to that:

"and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword." (Numbers 31:8)

So he finished the job. And the reason for that, notice in verse 16;

"And Moses said unto them, Have you saved all the women alive? (16) Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the [ETERNAL] in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the [ETERNAL]." (Numbers 31:15-16)

Balaam was the one who gave council to Balak and caused this entire thing to take place. Phinehas put a stop to the problem within the camp. And Phinehas was used, later on, to actually take care of the problem and actually stop the family that was being used: Zur and also the priest that gave that advice - which was Balaam, this pagan priest.

If we go to Ezra chapter 7, we find regarding Ezra; "Now after these things, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of..."(Ezra 7:1) and it starts going down the lineage of Ezra, and you find down in verse 5;

"The son of Abishua, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the chief priest:"(Ezra 7:5)

So Ezra was in lineage going right the way back to Phinehas. It is interesting that here also you find the case that he would not allow perverted nations to build the temple with Israel. He was carrying on this legacy through history. You find Phinehas' name being mentioned in the Book of Judges, and in Joshua 22, where Phinehas was sent across to the eastern side of Jordan, because they thought the Manassites [and Reuban and Gad] were going ahead and going back to Baal-peor, having the same kind of mentality.

If we turn over to II Peter 2, here we find that Peter is dealing with people who have the same mentality as Balaam. It's an entire section, but at the end of chapter one;

"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed...(20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy [Spirit]."(II Peter 1:19-21)

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, [remember - teachers and priesthood, and you tie the two together] who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." (II Peter 2:1)

"Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: "(II Peter 2:14 )

So we're looking at this spiritually, also full of adultery.

"Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; "(II Peter 2:15) Who was greedy to get those wages of unrighteousness.

"But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. "(II Peter 2:16)

He was also proud, because here was the Eternal dealing with him. So what did the Eternal do? He actually spoke to him through an ass. He said, "Look, I can deal with asses just as much as anybody else, any other god. And I can talk to you through an ass. And I'm using you, as an ass, to go ahead and say My words."

Another in Jude 1:11; where it also mentions about this same attitude of mind. This attitude of mind of being puffed up, being greedy for gain.

Turn over to Revelation 2. We find that in Pergamos as well. This same attitude of mind, the same approach that you will find with Balaam is also there. Notice what it says:

"But I have a few things against you [to the Church in Pergamos], because you hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, [That's what he did, he instructed him how to do it.] to eat things sacrificed unto idols, [he was one of them] and to [commit pornea]commit fornication [with the women of Moab]." (Revelation 2:14)

And isn't it interesting that in the eating of things sacrificed to idols, you're mixing truth and paganism together. That's what you're doing. In the case of committing fornication, you're mixing the holy seed spiritually as well. The seed was being mixed. It's not pure. It's not the pure word. It's not the pure seed. As I said, in Matthew 24:49 it talks about them eating and drinking with the drunken. It's a warning to the Church today. But these Nicolaitans, as it says here:

"So hast you also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate." (Revelation 2:15) And this word, this reference, is going back to Balaam - back to this attitude of mind with Balaam.

Couple of scriptures in closing. Deuteronomy 4. As priests in training, we have a lot to learn.

"Now therefore hearken, O Israel [including spiritual Israel], unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the [ETERNAL] God of your fathers gives you. [As a kingdom of kings and priests, we are looking forward to that Kingdom] (2) You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it, that you may keep the commandments of the [ETERNAL] your God which I command you. [That doesn't mean you can't give the sense. That is part and parcel of the priest's job. But you don't add to, you don't take away from.] (3) Your eyes have seen what the [ETERNAL] did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the [ETERNAL] your God hath destroyed them from among you. (4) But you that did cleave unto the [ETERNAL] your God are alive every one of you this day. "(Deuteronomy 4:1-4)

Now, that is a warning; and it's a case of 'You remember! Remember Baal-peor!" Don't add. Don't take from. It's a royal priesthood. As far as we are concerned, it's a royal priesthood of the order of Melchizedek. And we have got to preserve, we have got to carry the law the same way as the Kohathites carried the law in the past. But it was the sons of Aaron that preserved them, that made sure that they were ready then to be carried on the shoulders of the Levites. The Levites shouldered the burden of the law, and they carried the law through. But they weren't to touch it. They weren't to make it easier, to start messing around with it; because you see how Uzza was smitten, in the time of David.

They were also able to teach it. They were able to give the sense of it as well. And we need to have the same clarity also that Phinehas had. He had a very great clarity. "This is what God says, these two are going into the tent, we will sort this problem out." We are battling with the same kind of devious attitude of mind, in many cases. We battle ourself. We've got to make sure that we sanctify God. That we don't have the same kind of attitude of mind that Balaam had; but we have the kind of attitude of mind that Phinehas had, where we hallow and sanctify God.

Turn over to Micah 6. This one, which we tend to read, in verse 8:

"He hath shewed you, O man, what is good; and what doth the [ETERNAL] require of you,"(Micah 6:8)

I want you to notice the context of that. We go back a little bit, and we pick it up in verse 5.

"O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that you may know the righteousness of the [ETERNAL]. [In other words, I can use an ass to speak, if necessary; and you will bless Israel.](6) Wherewith shall I come before the [ETERNAL], and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? [Is that what God wants? Is that what God's looking for. He's looking for a priesthood with a whole lot of calves to offer?] (7) Will the [ETERNAL] be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? [Is that what's necessary?] Shall I [sacrifice]my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? [Each one is ratcheting up one notch, or several notches, as he goes through the discourse.] (8) He hath shewed you, O man, what is good; and what doth the [ETERNAL] require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? "(Micah 6:5-8)

Now, that's what Phinehas did. He knew righteousness. It was a physical righteousness, but it was a righteousness that was preserved for us. He was able to discern, as it says in Malachi, between the righteous and the wicked. He could see these people going into the tent, and he sorted it out. We also need to be ready to discern between righteousness and wickedness. And we need to make sure that we do indeed walk humbly with our God; and that we don't go ahead and be rash, wanting our way over God's way, which was the way of Balaam.