Trinity School of Apologetics and Theology
Vs. 11 – Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.
Jude presents us with a very clear picture of false teachers by using an illustration from the lives of three men: Cain, Balaam & Korah.
THE WAY OF CAIN
- Gen. 4:1 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.”
Notice that Eve recognizes that babies come with the help of the Lord, not just from the biological union of a male and female.
- Gen. 4:2-7 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
Why would Go not look with favor on Cain’s offering? Because Abel brought the right sacrifice, and he brought the best part of that offering. We’ll look at that in a moment. But how did Cain and Abel even know they were to bring an offering to God in the first place? What was this offering for? It was for the forgiveness of sin! God was the first to show that a blood offering was necessary for the forgiveness of sins.
- Genesis 3:21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
Where would you get garments made from animal skins? Not from a live animal, but from a dead one. God made the first sacrifice of blood for the sins of Adam and Eve. Jesus Christ is also the first and only perfect blood sacrifice for sin. This first blood sacrifice prefigures the ultimate sacrifice God made of His only Son. God is the only One who can atone for sins, from beginning to end. So Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel knew that a blood sacrifice, an animal offering, must be brought to the Lord for the forgiveness of sins. When Cain was upset over God not accepting his offering, he was acting like a rebellious child. God warned him that he was giving himself over to sin with his rebellious attitude. But Cain again didn’t listen to God.
- Gen. 4:8-9 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Now Cain takes his rebellion a step further and lies to God.
- Gen. 4:10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.
Sin demands a blood sacrifice. Only blood can cover over sins like murder. God knew what had happened to Abel.
- Gen. 4:11-16 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” But the LORD said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
God orders Cain to leave the ground he polluted with his sin and the blood of Abel. God must judge those who sin. Anyone who lives in unrepentant sin and does not obey the Lord will be driven from His presence in eternity. God will send sinners away from His presence to a “land of Nod” in eternity called Hell.
It is interesting that Cain is punished by being given a mark and sent to the land of Nod. Some commentators think that the mark was trembling. Nod means “agitation, commotion, quaking, trembling.” Whenever we see trembling in the Bible it is usually associated with fear of God or fear of judgment from God. That puts us in mind of those in the Third Wave who do slain in the spirit and claim the trembling, shaking and crazy behavior that comes from it are a blessing from God. The Shakers and Quakers, who were instrumental in influencing the Third Wave historically, also did the same thing. But trembling is usually not a blessing from God. It means judgment is coming.
Some false teachers say that the mark of Cain was dark skin. This is false doctrine. There is no support for this in the Bible. It is also silly because the only family left after the flood was Noah’s family. He was likely medium brown skin because it has been proven that all skin colors can be produced from the genes of those who have medium brown skin. This doctrine is still used by the KKK, Arnold Murray and other false teachers.
So how does the story of Cain help us understand false teachers?
(1) False teachers bring a false gospel. Cain brought fruits instead of a blood sacrifice. Cain worked the fields and the fruit of his work was the fruit he brought as an offering. But we cannot be saved by our work. We must bring the kind of offering God wants. Today God requires us to believe in His Only Son, who shed His blood on the cross as the perfect blood sacrifice for our sins. Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice is pictured in all the imperfect animal blood sacrifices that God required before Christ. Today there is only one way to be saved, and that is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Third Wave, Catholics and many others add works to salvation. Third Wavers say you must have a second experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, adding this to salvation. Catholics add the sacraments. They are bringing other sacrifices when only Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross will do. They do this in rebellion just like Cain brought an offering against the will of God. On judgment day many people will bring their fruits before God hoping that will buy them salvation. But they will be rejected if they do not claim the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for salvation.
(2) False teachers try to worship God in a way He has not ordained. We cannot worship God in unbiblical ways. Cain brought an offering and thought that bringing an offering was all that was needed. Worship other than God’s way is no worship at all–in fact it displeases God. Uzzah reached out and touched the Ark on a manmade new cart he helped to build when God had commanded only Kohathites to carry the Ark on poles and for no one to touch it. Third Wavers, Benny Hinn, Brownsville, and Toronto do not follow Biblical teachings, yet they have their hands all over Gods people. God will surely judge them for their actions. They need to stop getting people to worship God in ways He does not want.
(3) False teachers do not give their best to God. Notice that Cain simply brought some of the fruit of the soil. Abel brought the fat portions. The fat portions, in most cultures, are the most prized portions of the meat. God wants our best, not our leftovers. Ananias and Saphira promised God the money from the sale of their land, yet when it came time to give it they withheld some of what they promised God. False teachers today live lavish lifestyles, spending money sent in to them by poor people for ministry. They are a bad example to people everywhere, showing them that you can worship God the way you want, reserving the best for yourself.
Rebellion leads to separation from God and judgment.
- Num. 22:4-35 The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the River, in his native land. Balak said: “A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the country. For I know that those you bless are blessed, and those you curse are cursed.” The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination. When they came to Balaam, they told him what Balak had said. “Spend the night here,” Balaam said to them, “and I will bring you back the answer the LORD gives me.” So the Moabite princes stayed with him. God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?” Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent me this message: ‘A people that has come out of Egypt covers the face of the land. Now come and put a curse on them for me. Perhaps then I will be able to fight them and drive them away.’” But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.” The next morning Balaam got up and said to Balak’s princes, “Go back to your own country, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you.” So the Moabite princes returned to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.” Then Balak sent other princes, more numerous and more distinguished than the first. They came to Balaam and said: “This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me, because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.” But Balaam answered them, “Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the LORD my God. Now stay here tonight as the others did, and I will find out what else the LORD will tell me.” That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.” Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road. Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again. Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.” The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said. Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.” Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back. The angel of the LORD said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
- Numbers 31:16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and were the means of turning the Israelites away from the LORD in what happened at Peor, so that a plague struck the LORD’s people.
- Numbers 31:8 Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba— the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword.
- 2 Peter 2:15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.
(1) False teachers practice sorcery like Balaam. Sorcery is trying to conjure up spirits or even God Himself. God cannot be conjured up or summoned. He is completely sovereign and does things by His will, not the will of men. Balaam was trying to get God to say what he wanted Him to say so that he could be paid. If God was not going to say what he wanted, then he was going to make up something. Word-Faith teachers like Kenneth Copeland teach that Christians can speak whatever they want into existence, using the power of faith just like God used that same power to create the world. That is sorcery and witchcraft. The false prophets of the Third Wave prophesy things that they know please people rather than God, and they make a handsome living doing so. Trying to control God or work around the will of God like Balaam did will only bring you to judgment.
(2) False teachers do what they do for profit – the love of money. But the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. TBN is full of televangelists who spend a high percentage of their time asking for money. They use sorcery to do slain in the spirit tricks so they can make a name for themselves and lots of money. They sell things like “holy” anointing oils, and cloths that have been touched by televangelists with the “anointing”. They claim these things will heal. They then turn around and spend a lot of the money they raise with these tactics on themselves, living lives like millionaires.
(3) False teachers lead people into immorality. Balaam was responsible for leading the people of Israel into immorality. The followers of Balaam and the Nicolaitans did the same thing in the time of the early church. We have the same type of people in the churches today. The claim we have freedom in Christ and can do anything we want and God will just forgive us. But repentance from sin is more than just throwing up a quick prayer “Scusi. Mini regretti.” It is turning from wicked ways. We do not have a license to do whatever we want to do. We are not to commit adultery as Christians with the idea that later we will just tell God we are sorry. False teachers today in the Third Wave create events where people are allowed to go wild. The music is wild, the preaching is wild, the manifestations are wild. This stirs up the flesh. Once you get people wild, they naturally want more. This leads to other sins like adultery, drug use, alcoholism, and immoral behaviors.
The rush to riches is a highway to deceit, covetousness and seduction.
- Num. 16:1-35 Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites— Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth— became insolent and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?” When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. Then he said to Korah and all his followers: “In the morning the LORD will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him. You, Korah, and all your followers are to do this: Take censers and tomorrow put fire and incense in them before the LORD. The man the LORD chooses will be the one who is holy. You Levites have gone too far!” Moses also said to Korah, “Now listen, you Levites! Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the LORD’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. It is against the LORD that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him?” Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab. But they said, “We will not come! Isn’t it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert? And now you also want to lord it over us? Moreover, you haven’t brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Will you gouge out the eyes of these men? No, we will not come!” Then Moses became very angry and said to the LORD, “Do not accept their offering. I have not taken so much as a donkey from them, nor have I wronged any of them.” Moses said to Korah, “You and all your followers are to appear before the LORD tomorrow— you and they and Aaron. Each man is to take his censer and put incense in it— 250 censers in all— and present it before the LORD. You and Aaron are to present your censers also.” So each man took his censer, put fire and incense in it, and stood with Moses and Aaron at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. When Korah had gathered all his followers in opposition to them at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, the glory of the LORD appeared to the entire assembly. The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Separate yourselves from this assembly so I can put an end to them at once.” But Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, “O God, God of the spirits of all mankind, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?” Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to the assembly, ‘Move away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.’” Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. He warned the assembly, “Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.” So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents. Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: If these men die a natural death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt.” As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!” And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.
(1) False teachers claim an anointing and authority God has not given them. Saying you are anointed when you are not is dangerous. It is a quick way to be judged. The false teachers today go even further by saying they have such a powerful anointing they can pass it on by their will to others by laying on of hands. This is heresy. There is only one anointing and that is the anointing of the Anointed One, Jesus Christ.
- 2 Cor. 1:21-22 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come
- 1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.
- Tit. 3:4-7 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
- Isaiah 44:6 “This is what the LORD says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.
- Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
- 1 Corinthians 4:6 Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.
Pride and not following the will of God is an avenue that leads to destruction, faction and sedition against leaders and ministry.