The Road Through Romans: The Gospel According to Balaam

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We’ve been walking the Romans Road one small step at a time. We’ve gotten to verse two in chapter one and that has sent us careening back through the Old Testament to see how the gospel was preached before Jesus was even born. As Paul says it is…

 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures.

If you have missed any of the discussion it can be found on

THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE

So far we have talked about God preaching the gospel a little in Genesis and  about Moses revealing that the Messiah would be a game-changing prophet like himself. Yet, another prophetic contemporary of Moses added a very important piece to the Messianic puzzle.

You may recall a man named Balaam from the Book of Numbers. Balaam was not a game-changer like Moses. Truth be told, as prophets go he was not very faithful. Actually he only worked part time for God. He also worked part time for the enemies of Israel and full time for his own self interests. Still God gave him a pretty important piece of the Messianic prophecy. It is spoken in Numbers chapter  24.

Balaam had been hired by a general, named Balak, to curse Israel. Instead Balaam was forced by God to bless Israel at every turn much to Balak’s chagrin. In his fourth blessing of Israel Balaam shares this foresight.

“I see him, but not now;
    I behold him, but not near.
A star will come out of Jacob;
    a scepter will rise out of Israel.
He will crush the foreheads of Moab,
    the skulls[b] of[c] all the people of Sheth.[d]
18 Edom will be conquered;
    Seir, his enemy, will be conquered,
    but Israel will grow strong.
19 A ruler will come out of Jacob
    and destroy the survivors of the city.”

It is important to note Balaam was not a Jewish prophet. He came from the area around Babylon. It is thought that his prophecies returned to that place, after his death in a battle against the Israelites, some years later. Further, it is thought that certain magicians probably referred to these prophecies thousands of years later when a certain star rose over the land of Israel. Following that star those very magicians made history when they approached a certain king of Israel proclaiming…

Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.  Ma. 2:2

This means that even in the Old Testament God was preparing the Gentiles for the message of the gospel that would be preached through Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, thousands of years later.

Just as an aside, there is a whole portion of this prophecy that was not fulfilled with Jesus’ first coming. This means it will be fulfilled with His second coming. Also interesting to note that star, “The Star of Bethlehem”,   may just have made another appearance over the Earth. If so what does that mean?

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