Cain, Balaam and Korah

I. Jude provides several examples of “Ungodly Men” against whom we must “contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints.”

A. They are often “unnoticed”

B. They are like Old Testament rebellious leaders

1. Like the 10 Spies who gave a bad report

2. Like the Angels who left their place of authority

3. Like the entire cites of Sodom and Gomorrah

C. They are “dreamers” who “defile the flesh” and are like “brute beasts” who are not afraid to blaspheme the glorious works of God.

II. Jude uses the example of the way of Cain.

 A. The language is important.

 1. These people “have gone” (travel, journey:  implies intent, purpose).

a. They “walked after” their own desires
1) Jude 16, 18 – These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. . . . how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.
b. They are “walking” in an evil lifestyle.
1) 1 Peter 4:3 – doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.

2. These people travel “the way” of Cain.

a. This is the term for “broad highway.”
b. This could parallel the warning given by Christ
1) Matthew 7:13-14 – Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

B. The example is amplified by other passages.

1. Cain’s life and activity is described (Genesis 4:1-25).

a. He demonstrated self-will and disobedience
1) Genesis 4:3 – Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD.
2) Hebrews 11:4 – By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain
b. He displayed anger and hatred
1) Genesis 4:5 – [God] did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
c. He lied to God
1) Genesis 4:9 – Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?"
d. He argued with God’s punishment/judgment
1) Genesis 4:13-14 – And Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is greater than I can bear!  Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me."

2. Cain’s character is described.

a. He belonged to Satan
1) 1 John 3:12 – Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.
b. He killed because he hated righteous works
1) John 3:19-21 – And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

III. Jude uses the example of the error of Balaam.

A. The language is important.

1. These people “run greedily” (pour forth, gush, spill).

2. These people “pour out” for the “error.”

a. The root word means “to rove, as a tramp.”
b. The Scriptures consistently connect this word with error produced through spoken (preached) word
1) 2 Peter 2:18 – For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.
2) 2 Peter 3:17 – You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;
3) 1 John 4:6 – We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

B. The example finds its setting in the Old Testament (Numbers 22-24).

1. Balaam was a Babylonian magician (Numbers 22:5).

a. He lived in Pethor, near the Euphrates River
1) Deuteronomy 23:3-4 – An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the LORD . . . because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.
b. He was a diviner, a soothsayer—not a prophet
1) Joshua 13:22 – The children of Israel also killed with the sword Balaam the son of Beor, the soothsayer, among those who were killed by them.

2. Balaam did have knowledge of Jehovah

a. Numbers 22:8, 13 – And [Balaam] said to them, "Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the LORD speaks to me.".  . . So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, "Go back to your land, for the LORD has refused to give me permission to go with you."

3. Balaam was motivated by a love for money

a. Numbers 22:15-17 – Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than they. And they came to Balaam and said to him, "Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me; for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’”

4. Balaam wanted to curse Israel

a. Nehemiah 13:2 – Ammonite or Moabite . . .  hired Balaam against them to curse them. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing.
b. Peter 2:16 – [Balaam] was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.
c. He tried to persuade God
1) Deuteronomy 23:5 – Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you
d. He was “mad” (2 Peter 2:16)
1) Ecclesiastes 9:3 – Truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
e. He “pestered” God until he got his way (Numbers 22:8, 19, 22, 34)
f. He tried three times to curse Israel (Numbers 22:41; 23:13, 27)

5. Balaam was conceited and unrighteous.

a. He accepted the praise and purpose of Balak (Numbers 22:6, 37)
b. He praised his own abilities (Numbers 24:1-4, 15-16)

 6. Balaam gave evil advice to Balak.

a. He explained that the blessing would not come soon (Numbers 24:14-24)
b. He taught Balak how to teach Israel to sin (Revelation 2:14 – compare Numbers 25:1-3)

IV. Jude uses the example of the gainsaying of Core (Korah).

A. The language is important.

 1. These people were “destroyed fully.”

 2. These people were involved in “dispute and disobedience.”

a. Acts 13:45 translates the term as “contradicting.”
b. Romans 10:21 parallels the term with “disobedient (unbelieving).”
c. Titus 1:9-10 connects the term with “vain talkers and deceivers.” 

B. The example is amplified in other passages (Numbers 16:1-49).

1. Korah was a Levite, but not a priest (1Numbers 6:1, 10).

2. Dathan and Abiram were neither Levites nor priests (Numbers 16:1).

3. Korah led the rebellion (Numbers 16:2, 5, 19).

a. They wanted leadership and prestige (Numbers 16:1-3)
b. They “strove against the Lord”
1) Numbers 26:9-11 – The sons of Eliab were Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These are the Dathan and Abiram, representatives of the congregation, who contended against Moses and Aaron in the company of Korah, when they contended against the LORD; and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up together with Korah when that company died, when the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men; and they became a sign.
c. They violated a basic principle of leadership
1) 3 John 9 – Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us.
2) Matthew 20:25-28 – But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
3) Revelation 2:6 – "But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, (conquer the people) which I also hate.
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