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Commentary on "Immorality on the Border"



Day 3: Monday, December 7, 2009, "Behind the Scenes"



"'But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. (Rev. 2:14 ESV)

Moses said to them, "Have you let all the women live? Behold, these, on Balaam's advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the Lord in the incident of Peor, and so the plague came among the congregation of the Lord.” (Num. 31:15,16 ESV)

We see that Balaam’s advice to Balak was the hidden source for this strategy of seduction which would weaken the Hebrew people.



Let’s examine the Ellen White quote provided in today’s lesson and see how it compares with Scripture:

In Numbers 30:16 we see that this whole incident was initiated upon Balaam’s advice which was most likely given to Barak of the Moabites. There is no indication from the Bible that he ever spoke to the Israelites or that Moses and the Hebrew people had any prior knowledge of Balaam’s part in this apostasy. Numbers 25:1,2 indicates that it was the “the daughters of Moab” who invited Israel to their pagan sacrifices. Note that this passage simply refers to this as “sacrifices”, not a “grand festival in honor of their gods”. Ellen then goes on to speak of “music”, “dancing”, “mirth” and “indulgence in wine” which the Biblical text says nothing of. The Bible doesn’t even say they were “allured by the beauty” of these pagan women. The Bible doesn’t say the leaders “were among the first to transgress”. Scripture simply implies that they bore a responsibility in their failure to properly lead the people. Finally, the Bible does not say this “licentious worship” was coming into their camp. While Zimri’s act of bring in the Midianite woman was obvious adultery, it was not the same sin as going up Mount Peor and worshiping Baal.

If her words were simply another source of commentary, she would be making some interesting points to consider. However, from these non-biblical quotes, we see that she is promoting behavior modification as the key to entering the Promised Land. Keep in mind that the Promised Land is the type, the shadow, that represents joining God in his Kingdom. Jesus Christ is the antitype, the reality that brings each person into the Promised Land and eternal life. Only Jesus could do this because only God is good.

We will look at what Jesus has to say on this topic.

Mark 10:17-29, the account of The Rich Young Man: In Verse 17, the rich young man addresses Jesus as “good teacher” and asks what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus first responds by pointing out that none are good except for God alone. After the rich young man proclaims that he keeps all the commandments mentioned by Jesus, Jesus then states there is one thing he lacks. To acquire eternal life, he must sell all that he has and follow Jesus. Later, Jesus continues this topic with the disciples by stating that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a person with wealth to enter God’s Kingdom.

And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God." (Mark 10:26,27 ESV)

Jesus is bluntly stating that there is nothing we can do to earn or gain eternal life.



  1. The blatant implication of Ellen’s teachings is that mankind must do the good and avoid the bad to be allowed entry into the Promised Land. Since this represents joining the Kingdom of God and receiving eternal life, she is teaching that our avoidance of sinful practices and deeds will gain us favor with God and eternal life. This is heresy.
  2. Only God is good. With man, it is not possible to be saved or earn eternal life. Only with God it is possible because with God all things are possible.
  3. What the experience of the Hebrew people really teaches us is that living up to the righteous standard of God is not possible through self-willed behavior modification.
  4. Abandon your unbelief and follow Jesus. Let Jesus change your life. Let Jesus place the Seal of his Holy Spirit into your life. Let Jesus manifest his good works in your life.




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