Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 2:14

But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.
New American Standard

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Affections;   Backsliders;   Balaam;   Church;   Idolatry;   Lukewarmness;   Minister, Christian;   Pergamos;   Stumbling;   Scofield Reference Index - Balaam;   Day (of Jehovah);   Life;   Satan;   The Topic Concordance - Hate;   Repentance;   Teaching;   War/weapons;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Affections, the;   Desert, Journey of Israel through the;   Doctrines, False;   Offence;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Balaam;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ephesus;   Idol, idolatry;   Pergamum;   Revelation, book of;   Stumbling block;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Church, the;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Patience of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Balaam;   Nicolaitanes;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Antichrist;   Baal (1);   Balaam;   Jezebel;   Nicolaitans;   Pergamos;   Thyatira;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Balaam;   Food Offered to Idols;   Fornication;   Immorality;   Letter Form and Function;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Asia;   Balaam;   Jude, Epistle of;   Magi;   Nicolas;   Peter, Second Epistle of;   Sin;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Balaam;   Balak;   Fellowship;   Fornication ;   Israel;   Jezebel;   Manna ;   Offence (2);   Tares ;   Teaching ;   Trade and Commerce;   Type;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Baalpeor ;   Balaam;   Children;   Moab, Moabites ;   Son;   Stumbling Block,;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Sepharvaim;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Balaam;   Pergamos;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Ba'lac;   Nicola'itans;   Per'gamos;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Balaam;   Stumbling (block and stone);   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Balaam;   Nicolaitans;   Pergamus;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - On to Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Balaam;   Balak;   Crime;   Doctrine;   Gnosticism;   Nicolaitans;   Revelation of John:;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Balak;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Balaam;   Christianity in Its Relation to Judaism;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I have a few things against thee - Their good deeds are first carefully sought out and commended; what was wrong in them is touched with a gentle but effectual hand.

The followers of Balaam, the Nicolaitanes, and the Gnostics, were probably all the same kind of persons; but see on Revelation 2:6; (note). What the doctrine of Balaam was, see the notes on Numbers 24:1; (note) through Numbers 25:18; and Numbers 31:1-54 (note). It appears that there were some then in the Church at Pergamos who held eating things offered to idols in honor of those idols, and fornication, indifferent things. They associated with idolaters in the heathen temples, and partook with them in their religious festivals.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

But I have a few things against thee - As against the church at Ephesus, Revelation 2:4. The charge against this church, however, is somewhat different from that against the church at Ephesus. The charge there was, that they had “left their first love”; but it is spoken in commendation of them that they “hated the deeds of the Nicolaitanes,” Revelation 2:6. Here the charge is, that they tolerated that sect among them, and that they had among them also those who held the doctrine of Balaam. Their general course had been such that the Saviour could approve it; he did not approve, however, of their tolerating those who held to pernicious practical error - error that tended to sap the very foundation of morals.

Because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam - It is not necessary to suppose that they professedly held to the same opinion as Balaam, or openly taught the same doctrines. The meaning is, that they taught substantially the same doctrine which Balaam did, and deserved to be classed with him. What that doctrine was is stated in the subsequent part of the verse.

Who taught Balac to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel - The word “stumbling-block” properly means anything over which one falls or stumbles, and then anything over which anyone may fall into sin, or which becomes the occasion of one‘s falling into sin. The meaning here is, that it was through the instructions of Balaam that Balak learned the way by which the Israelites might be led into sin, and might thus bring upon themselves the divine malediction. The main circumstances in the case were these:

(1) Balak, king of Moab, when the children of Israel approached his borders, felt that he could not contend successfully against so great a host, for his people were dispirited and disheartened at their numbers, Numbers 22:3-4.

(2) in these circumstances he resolved to send for one who had a distinguished reputation as a prophet, that he might “curse” that people, or might utter a malediction over them, in order, at the same time, to ensure their destruction, and to inspirit his own people in making war on them: in accordance with a prevalent opinion of ancient times, that prophets had the power of blighting anything by their curse. Compare the notes on Job 3:8. For this purpose he sent messengers to Balaam to invite him to come and perform this service, Numbers 22:5-6.

(3) Balaam professed to be a prophet of the Lord, and it was obviously proper that he should inquire of the Lord whether he should comply with this request. He did so, and was positively forbidden to go, Numbers 22:12.

(4) when the answer of Balaam was reported to Balak, he supposed that he might be prevailed to come by the offer of rewards, and he sent more distinguished messengers with an offer of ample honor if he would come, Numbers 22:15-17.

(5) Balaam was evidently strongly inclined to go, but, in accordance with his character as a prophet, he said that if Balak would give him his house full of silver and gold he could do no more, and say no more, than the Lord permitted, and he proposed again to consult the Lord, to see if he could obtain permission to go with the messengers of Balak. He obtained permission, but with the express injunction that he was only to utter what God should say; and when he came to Balak, notwithstanding his own manifest desire to comply with the wish of Balak, and notwithstanding all the offers which Balak made to him to induce him to do the contrary, he only continued to bless the Hebrew people, until, in disgust and indignation, Balak sent him away again to his own land, Numbers 24:10 ff.

(6) Balaam returned to his own house, but evidently with a desire still to gratify Balak. Being forbidden to curse the people of Israel; having been overruled in all his purposes to do it; having been, contrary to his own desires, constrained to bless them when he was himself more than willing to curse them; and having still a desire to comply with the wishes of the King of Moab, he cast about for some way in which the object might yet he accomplished - that is, in which the curse of God might in fact rest upon the Hebrew people, and they might become exposed to the divine displeasure. To do this, no way occurred so plausible, and that had such probability of success, as to lead them into idolatry, and into the sinful and corrupt practices connected with idolatry. It was, therefore, resolved to make use of the charms of the females of Moab, that through their influence the Hebrews might be drawn into licentiousness. This was done. The abominations of idolatry spread through the camp of Israel; licentiousness everywhere prevailed, and God sent a plague upon them to punish them, Numbers 25:1 ff. That also this was planned and instigated by Balaam is apparent from Numbers 31:16; “Behold these (women) caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord, in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.” The attitude of Balaam‘s mind in the matter was this:

I. He had a strong desire to do what he knew was wrong, and which was forbidden expressly by God.

II. He was restrained by internal checks and remonstrances, and prevented from doing what he wished to do.

III. He cast about for some way in which he might do it, notwithstanding these internal checks and remonstrances, and finally accomplished the same thing in fact, though in form different from that which he had first prepared. This is not an unfair description of what often occurs in the plans and purposes of a wicked man. The meaning in the passage before us is, that in the church at Pergamos there were those who taught, substantially, the same thing that Balaam did; that is, the tendency of whose teaching was to lead people into idolatry, and the ordinary accompaniment of idolatry - licentiousness.

To eat things sacrificed unto idols - Balaam taught the Hebrews to do this - perhaps in some way securing their attendance on the riotous and gluttonous feasts of idolatry celebrated among the people among whom they sojourned. Such feasts were commonly held in idol temples, and they usually led to scenes of dissipation and corruption. By plausibly teaching that there could be no harm in eating what had been offered in sacrifice - since an idol was nothing, and the flesh of animals offered in sacrifice was the same as if slaughtered for some other purpose, it would seem that these teachers at Pergamos had induced professing Christians to attend on those feasts - thus lending their countenance to idolatry, and exposing themselves to all the corruption and licentiousness that commonly attended such celebrations. See the banefulness of thus eating the meat offered in sacrifice to idols considered in the notes on Acts 15:20.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-2.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there some that hold the teachings of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also some that hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans in like manner.

The teaching of Balaam ... "Evidently this error of Balaam was the chief principle of the sect of the Nicolaitans."[66] "The teaching of Balaam is merely John's opprobrious name for the teaching of the Nicolaitans"[67] The nature of their teaching is clear enough. They advocated participation in pagan worship, eating things sacrificed to idols, and committing fornication, essential ingredients of all pagan worship. Significantly it is the "works," the behavior of the Nicolaitans, that is condemned in the Ephesian church; but at Pergamum, the practice of immorality has become an established teaching by some who openly advocated it, perhaps on the basis that some kind of compromise with paganism was inevitable. Balaam, repeatedly mentioned by New Testament writers, is usually held up as an example of evil. His error is set forth in Numbers 25:lff; 31:16. Regarding the Nicolaitans, some have supposedly found a connection between his name and that of Balaam; but Beckwith noted that:

The purely symbolical interpretation of the name based upon a supposed identity of the Greek word [@Nikolaos] with the Hebrew word [Balaam] is not supported by certain etymology and is too artificial.[68]

See further comment on Nicolaitans under Revelation 2:6.

[66] Merrill C. Tenney, op. cit., p. 60.

[67] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 39.

[68] Isbon T. Beckwith, op. cit., p. 400.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But I have a few things against thee,.... The members of this church before their open separation from the apostasy; who still continued in the communion of the corrupt church of Rome, though they remonstrated against the errors and evil practices that crept in; and so were a stumbling block, and a snare to others to join in their idolatry and superstition:

because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel,

to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication: which latter was in order to the former: the instruction Balaam gave to Balak, which is here called his doctrine, was, that Balak should get some of the most beautiful women in his kingdom to ply the men of Israel, and draw them into uncleanness, and so to idolatry; by which means, God being angry with them, he might get an advantage over them: that the Israelites did commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab, and eat things sacrificed to idols, and bowed down to Baal Peor, is certain, Numbers 25:1; but that this was brought about through the counsel of Balaam is not so plainly expressed, though it is hinted at in Numbers 31:15; but the Jewish writers are very express about this matter. Jonathan ben Uzziel, one of their Targumists on Numbers 24:14, has these words of Balaam,

"Come, and I will counsel thee, (speaking to Balak,) go and set up inns, and place in them whorish women, to sell food and drink at a low price: and this people will come and eat and drink, and be drunken, and will lie with them, and deny their God; and they will be quickly delivered into thine hands, and many of them shall fall.

This now was the stumbling block he taught Balak to lay before them. And elsewhereF7T. Hieros. Sanhedrin, fol. 28. 4. & Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 106. 1. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 20. fol. 229. 1. Yalkut, par. 1. fol. 244. 3, 4. & par. 2. fol. 76. 4. it is said,

"that Balaam, the wicked, gave counsel to Balak, the son of Zippor, to cause the Israelites to fall by the sword; he said to him, the God of this people hates whoredom, cause thy daughters to commit whoredom with them, and ye shall rule over them.

And then they go on to relate how they built shops, and placed an old woman without, and a young woman within; and when the Israelites came to buy, how well they used them, and what familiarity they admitted them to; how they made them drink of Ammonitish wine, which inclined to lust and when the signified their desire, oblige them to worship Baal Peor, and renounce the law of Moses. Both PhiloF8De Vita Mosis, l. 7. p. 647, 648. and JosephusF9Antiqu. l. 4. c. 6. sect. 6, 7, 8, 9. speak of this counsel of Balaam, much to the same purpose. The Samaritan Chronicle saysF11Apud Hottinger. Exercit. Antimorin. p. 109. that this counsel pleased the king, and he sent into the camp of Israel, on a sabbath day, twenty four thousand young women, by whom the Israelites were so seduced, that they did everything they desired them, which was just the number of those that were slain, Numbers 25:9. By Balaam may be meant the pope of Rome, for that name signifies, "the lord of the people"; and is very appropriate to him, who in this interval took upon him to be universal bishop, and lorded it over both church and state, in a most haughty and tyrannical manner; and the Balaamites were those who submitted to his power and authority, and received his doctrines; and by Balak, king of Moab, may be intended the secular powers, the emperors, kings, and princes of the earth, who were instructed by the popes of Rome, to draw their subjects into idolatry, which is spiritual fornication, to eat the breaden God, to worship the host, images, and saints departed; and which proved a snare, and a stumbling to some of this church, as to the Israelites of old, to do the same things,

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to f eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

(f) That which is here spoken of things offered to idols, is meant of the same type which Paul speaks of in (1 Corinthians 10:14).
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-2.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

few — in comparison of the many tokens of thy faithfulness.

hold the doctrine of Balaam — “the teaching of Balaam,” namely, that which he “taught Balak.” Compare “the counsel of Balaam,” Numbers 31:16. “Balak” is dative in the Greek, whence Bengel translates, “taught (the Moabites) for (that is, to please) Balak.” But though in Numbers it is not expressly said he taught Balak, yet there is nothing said inconsistent with his having done so; and Josephus [Antiquities,4. 6. 6], says he did so. The dative case is a Hebraism for the accusative case.

childrenGreek,sons of Israel.”

stumbling-block — literally, that part of a trap on which the bait was laid, and which, when touched, caused the trap to close on its prey; then any entanglement to the foot [Trench].

eat things sacrificed unto idols — the act common to the Israelites of old, and the Nicolaitanes in John‘s day; he does not add what was peculiar to the Israelites, namely, that they sacrificed to idols. The temptation to eat idol-meats was a peculiarly strong one to the Gentile converts. For not to do so involved almost a withdrawal from partaking of any social meal with the heathen around. For idol-meats, after a part had been offered in sacrifice, were nearly sure to be on the heathen entertainer‘s table; so much so, that the Greek “to kill” ({thuein}) meant originally “to sacrifice.” Hence arose the decree of the council of Jerusalem forbidding to eat such meats; subsequently some at Corinth ate unscrupulously and knowingly of such meats, on the ground that the idol is nothing; others needlessly tortured themselves with scruples, lest unknowingly they should eat of them when they got meat from the market or in a heathen friend‘s house. Paul handles the question in 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; 1 Corinthians 10:25-33.

fornication — often connected with idolatry.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-2.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

There (εκειekei). That is παρ υμινpar' humin (among you). A party in the church that resisted emperor-worship, to the death in the case of Antipas, yet were caught in the insidious wiles of the Nicolaitans which the church in Ephesus withstood.

Some that hold (κρατουνταςkratountas). “Men holding” (present active participle of κρατεωkrateō).

The teaching of Balaam (την διδαχην αλααμtēn didachēn Balaam). Indeclinable substantive Balaam (Numbers 25:1-9; Numbers 31:15.). The point of likeness of these heretics with Balaam is here explained.

Taught Balak (εδιδασκεν τωι αλακedidasken tōi Balak). Imperfect indicative of διδασκωdidaskō Balaam‘s habit, “as the prototype of all corrupt teachers” (Charles). These early Gnostics practised licentiousness as a principle since they were not under law, but under grace (Romans 6:15). The use of the dative with διδασκωdidaskō is a colloquialism rather than a Hebraism. Two accusatives often occur with διδασκωdidaskō cast a stumbling-block (βαλειν σκανδαλονbalein skandalon). Second aorist active infinitive (accusative case after εδιδασκενedidasken) of βαλλωballō regular use with σκανδαλονskandalon (trap) like τιτημι σκανδαλονtithēmi skandalon in Romans 14:13. Balaam, as Josephus and Philo also say, showed Balak how to set a trap for the Israelites by beguiling them into the double sin of idolatry and fornication, which often went together (and do so still).

To eat things sacrificed to idols (παγειν ειδωλοτυταphagein eidōlothuta). Second aorist active infinitive of εστιωesthiō and the verbal adjective (from ειδωλονeidōlon and τυωthuō), quoted here from Numbers 25:1., but in inverse order, repeated in other order in Revelation 2:20. See Acts 15:29; Acts 21:25; 1 Corinthians 8:1. for the controversy over the temptation to Gentile Christians to do what in itself was harmless, but which led to evil if it led to participation in the pagan feasts. Perhaps both ideas are involved here. Balaam taught Balak how to lead the Israelites into sin in both ways.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Doctrine ( διδαχὴν )

Rev., better, teaching.

Balaam

See Numbers 25:1-9; Numbers 31:15, Numbers 31:16. Compare 2 Peter 2:15; Judges 1:11.

A stumbling-block ( σκάνδαλον )

See on offend, Matthew 5:29, and see on offense, Matthew 16:23.

Before ( ἐνώπιον )

Lit., in the sight of. See on Luke 24:11.

Things sacrificed to idols ( εἰδωλόθυτα )

In the A.V. the word is rendered in four different ways: meats offered to idols (Acts 15:29): things offered to idols (Acts 21:25): things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols (1 Corinthians 8:4); and as here Rev., uniformly, things sacrificed to idols.

The eating of idol meats, which was no temptation to the Jewish Christian, was quite otherwise to the Gentile. The act of sacrifice, among all ancient nations, was a social no less than a religious act. Commonly only a part of the victim was consumed as an offering, and the rest became the portion of the priests, was given to the poor, or was sold again in the markets. Hence sacrifice and feast were identified. The word originally used for killing in sacrifice ( θύειν ) obtained the general sense of killing (Acts 10:13). Among the Greeks this identification was carried to the highest pitch. Thucydides enumerates sacrifices among popular entertainments. “We have not forgotten,” he says, “to provide for our weary spirits many relaxations from toil. We have regular games and sacrifices throughout the year” (ii., 38). So Aristotle: “And some fellowships seem to be for the sake of pleasure; those of the followers of Love, and those of club-diners; for these are for the sake of sacrifice and social intercourse” (“Ethics,” viii., 9,5). Suetonius relates of Claudius, the Roman Emperor, that, on one occasion, while in the Forum of Augustus, smelling the odor of the banquet which was being prepared for the priests in the neighboring temple of Mars, he left the tribunal and placed himself at the table with the priests (“Claudius,” 33). Also how Vitellius would snatch from the altar-fire the entrails of victims and the corn, and consume them (“Vitellius,” 13). Thus, for the Gentile, “refusal to partake of the idol-meats involved absence from public and private festivity, a withdrawal, in great part, from the social life of his time.” The subject is discussed by Paul in Romans 14:2-21, and 1 Corinthians 8:1-11:1. The council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) forbade the eating of meat offered to idols, not as esteeming it forbidden by the Mosaic law, but as becoming a possible occasion of sin to weak Christians. In his letter to the Corinthians, among whom the Jewish and more scrupulous party was the weaker, Paul, in arguing with the stronger and more independent party, never alludes to the decree of the Jerusalem council, but discusses the matter from the stand-point of the rights of conscience. While he admits the possibility of a blameless participation in a banquet, even in the idol-temple, he dissuades from it on the ground of its dangerous consequences to weak consciences, and as involving a formal recognition of the false worship which they had renounced at their baptism. “In the Epistle to the Romans we see the excess to which the scruples of the weaker brethren were carried, even to the pitch of abstaining altogether from animal food; as, ill the Nicolaitans of the Apocalyptic churches, we see the excess of the indifferentist party, who plunged without restraint into all the pollutions, moral as well as ceremonial, with which the heathen rites were accompanied” (Stanley, “On Corinthians”). “It may be noted as accounting for the stronger and more vehement language of the Apocalypse, considered even as a simply Human book, that the conditions of the case had altered. Christians and heathen were no longer dwelling together, as at Corinth, with comparatively slight interruption to their social intercourse, but were divided by a sharp line of demarcation. The eating of things sacrificed to idols was more and more a crucial test, involving a cowardly shrinking from the open confession of a Christian's faith. Disciples who sat at meat in the idol's temple were making merry with those whose hands were red with the blood of their fellow-worshippers, and whose lips had uttered blaspheming scoffs against the Holy Name” (Plumptre).

In times of persecution, tasting the wine of the libations or eating meat offered to idols, was understood to signify recantation of Christianity.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

But thou hast there — Whom thou oughtest to have immediately cast out from the flock.

Them that hold the doctrine of Balaam — Doctrine nearly resembling his.

Who taught Balak — And the rest of the Moabites.

To cast a stumblingblock before the sons of Israel — They are generally termed, the children, but here, the sons, of Israel, in opposition to the daughters of Moab, by whom Balaam enticed them to fornication and idolatry.

To eat things sacrificed to idols — Which, in so idolatrous a city as Pergamos, was in the highest degree hurtful to Christianity.

And to commit fornication — Which was constantly joined with the idol-worship of the heathens.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-2.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The account of Balak's enticing the children of Israel to sin is contained in Numbers 25:1-18: Allusions to Balaam's influence in the instigation of this design are found in other places. (2 Peter 2:15; Judee 1:11.)--A stumbling-block; an enticement to sin.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-2.html. 1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

The "doctrine" of Balaam

The doctrine of Balaam (CF) (See Scofield "2 Peter 2:15") See Scofield "Judges 1:11" was his teaching Balak to corrupt the people who could not be cursed.; Numbers 31:15; Numbers 31:16; Numbers 22:5; Numbers 23:8 by tempting them to marry women of Moab, defile their separation, and abandon their pilgrim character. It is that union with the world and the church which is spiritual unchastity. James 4:4. Pergamos had lost the pilgrim character and was "dwelling" Revelation 2:13 "where Satan's throne is," in the world.; John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11.

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 2:14". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-2.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Ver. 14. I have a few things] More he might have had, but the Lord is not extreme to mark what is amiss in his weak but willing people. The high places were not removed; nevertheless (though that was his fault) the heart of Asa was perfect all his days, 2 Chronicles 15:17.

And to commit fornication] Nothing hath so enriched hell (saith one) as fair faces. These were those Balaam’s stumblingblocks that Israel so stumbled at.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 2:14. The doctrine of Balaam, As Balaam has the same signification in Hebrew which Nicolas has in Greek, and both signify "conquerors of the people," (which name might probably have been given to Balaam, on account of the influence which he had in the place where he lived;) it seems most likely that the peculiar doctrines of Balaam and of the Nicolaitans were the same; or the latter might be more strenuous in justifying and propagating their doctrine, and acting upon it. As if he said, "Balaam taught Balak to lay a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, and thou hast also those who hold the doctrine of the Balaamites." See Numbers 31:15-16. Jude, Revelation 2:11.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-2.html. 1801-1803.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 2:14. τῷ βαλὰκ) This is the reading of the Alex. Cod.,(33) and indeed, as I have mentioned in the Apparatus, in the first edition of Mill. See App. Ed. ii.: The changes which the Edition of Kuster was the first to make for the worse, or even for the better, are everywhere ascribed by philologists on this side of the sea to Mill himself. I indeed corrected with great labour, from the first edition of Mill, the errors of the second, especially in the Apocalypse: therefore where my Apparatus differs from the second edition, I again and again assert, that the difference is not the result of carelessness. In this phrase, who taught τῷ Balak, the Dative of advantage [for Balak] is the sense which holds good, which Wolf does not deny, p. 463; nor is that case more to be met with anywhere than in the history of Balaam: κατάρασαί μοι τὸν λαὸν τοῦτου, κ. τ. λ., Numbers 22, 23. Josephus, l. 4, Ant. ch. vi. § 6, makes Balaam speak thus: βάλακε καὶ τῶν ΄αδιανιτῶν οἱ παρόντες· χρὴ γάρ ΄ε καὶ παρὰ βούλησιν τοῦ θεοῦ χαρίσαθαι υ΄ιν, κ. τ. λ With the same meaning the Apocalypse has, ἐδίασκεν τῷ βαλάκ: for Balaam did not teach Balak, but he taught the people of Balak, for the sake of Balak, by whom Balaam had been hired. See Numbers 24:14; Numbers 25:1-2; Numbers 31:8; Numbers 31:16.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-2.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

But I have a few things against thee; though I have much to commend thee for, yet I have some things to accuse thee of, and to complain of thee for.

Because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam: by the doctrine of Balaam, he means the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, (as he expounds himself, Revelation 2:15), which was like the doctrine of Balaam.

Who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel; that Balaam of whom we read, Numbers 24:1-25:18, who being sent for by Balak the king of Moab to come and curse Israel, and finding that God restrained him, and turned his tongue from cursing them to pronounce blessings to them, instructed Balak at last how to lay a stumblingblock before them, to make them to fall, viz. to set the Moabitish women to tempt them to commit uncleanness with them, and so to feast with them in their idols’ temples, and eat of their meat first offered unto their idols.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-2.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Учение Валаама Валаам неудачно пытался нечестиво использовать свой пророческий дар и проклясть Израиль за деньги, предложенные ему Валаком, царем Моава. По его наущению женщины-моавитянки совратили израильских мужчин к сожительству. Результатом этого явилась богохульная связь Израиля с Моавом через внебрачные связи и идолопоклоннические пиршества (об истории Валаама см. Чис. 22-25).

идоложертвенное (см. Деян. 15:19-29).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-2.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Hold the doctrine of Balaam; imitate Balaam in their spirit and teachings. When Balaam could not obtain permission to curse Israel, he counselled Balak to seduce the Israelites to fornication and idolatry through the agency of the women of Moab. Numbers 25:1-9; Numbers 31:16; 2 Peter 2:15-16; Judges 1:11-12.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 2:14. The defects of the church are next alluded to. There were in Pergamos some that held fast the teaching of Balaam. Comp. Numbers 25; Numbers 31:16. The sins next mentioned are in all probability to be literally understood. It is to be observed that these teachers of erroneous doctrine, these seducers to grievous sin, were not merely inhabitants of the city; they were members of the church.—Thou hast are the words employed.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-2.html. 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Balaam. See Num 22-25. Joshua 13:22.

cast, &c. See Numbers 25:1, &c.; Revelation 31:16, &c. 2 Peter 2:15. Jude 1:11.

stumblingblock. Greek. skandalon. See Numbers 25 (Septuagint)

children. App-108.

things . . . idols. Greek. eidolothuton.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

Few - in comparison of many tokens of thy faithfulness.

Hold the doctrine (teaching) of Balaam - that which he "taught Balac." Compare "the counsel of Balaam," Numbers 31:16. Balac is dative, whence Bengel, 'taught (the Moabites) for (i:e., to please) Balac.' But though in Numbers it is not expressly said he taught Balac, yet there is nothing inconsistent with his having done so; Josephus ('Antiquities,' 4:, 6, 6) says he did. The dative is a Hebraism for the accusative.

Stumblingblock - literally, that part of a trap on which the bait was laid, and which, when touched, caused the trap to close on its prey: then any entanglement (Trench).

Children - `sons of Israel.'

Eat things sacrificed unto idols - common to the Israelites and the Nicolaitanes. He does not add what was special to the Israelites-namely, that they sacred to idols. The temptation to eat idol meats was peculiarly strong to the Gentile converts. Not to do so involved almost a withdrawal from any social meal with the pagan. For idol meats, after a part had been offered in sacrifice, were generally on the pagan entertainer's table; so much so, that 'to kill' [ thuein (Greek #2380)] meant originally 'to sacrifice.' Hence arose the decree of the council of Jerusalem forbidding such meats: subsequently some at Corinth ate knowingly such meats, on the ground that the idol is nothing; others tortured themselves with scruples, lest unknowingly they should eat them, in getting meat from the market, or in a pagan friend's house (1 Corinthians 8:1-13 and 1 Corinthians 10:25-33).

Fornication - often connected with idolatry.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-2.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(14) But I have a few things against thee.—The word “few” is not to be taken as though the ground of rebuke was a trifling one. The little leaven might leaven the whole lump; and those who had been brave unto death in the days of persecution had been less temptation-proof against more seductive influences. The church tolerated without remonstrance men holding [the word is the same as that used in commendation (Revelation 2:13), “Thou holdest (fast) My name”] “the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling-block before the sons of Israel; (namely) to eat things sacrified to idols, and to commit fornication.” Israel could not be cursed, but they might be made to bring a curse upon themselves by yielding to sin; so the counsel of Balaam was to tempt them through the women of Midian, and “Behold, these caused the children of Israel to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord” (Numbers 31:16). A similar temptation was endangering the Pergamene Church.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
I have
4,20
Balaam
Numbers 24:14; 25:1-3; 31:8,16; Joshua 24:9; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11
a stumbling-block
Isaiah 57:14; Jeremiah 6:21; Ezekiel 3:20; 44:12; Matthew 18:7; Romans 9:32; 11:9; Romans 14:13,21; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 8:9; 1 Peter 2:8
eat
20; Acts 15:20,21,29; 21:25; 1 Corinthians 8:4-13; 10:18-31
to commit
21:8; 22:15; 1 Corinthians 6:13-18; 7:2; Hebrews 13:4
Reciprocal: Leviticus 14:40 - take away;  Leviticus 19:14 - not curse;  Leviticus 20:4 - and kill;  Numbers 22:5 - sent;  Numbers 25:2 - they called;  Numbers 25:18 - vex you;  Deuteronomy 27:18 - GeneralJoshua 13:22 - Balaam;  Psalm 68:21 - of such;  Psalm 106:28 - joined;  Proverbs 28:10 - causeth;  Isaiah 28:23 - GeneralEzekiel 14:3 - and put;  Micah 1:13 - she;  Micah 6:5 - Balak;  Zephaniah 1:3 - stumblingblocks;  Matthew 5:19 - shall teach;  Matthew 22:10 - both;  Mark 10:21 - One thing;  Luke 17:1 - It is;  1 Corinthians 3:12 - wood;  1 Corinthians 5:11 - fornicator;  1 Corinthians 8:1 - touching;  1 Corinthians 10:8 - General1 Corinthians 10:14 - flee;  2 Corinthians 2:17 - which;  Galatians 1:7 - pervert;  Ephesians 5:3 - fornication;  1 Timothy 1:3 - charge;  1 Timothy 6:10 - coveted;  2 Timothy 3:8 - resist;  Titus 1:10 - there;  James 3:6 - a world;  Revelation 2:6 - that

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-2.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Thou hast there means the church was holding within its fellowship these characters. Hold the doctrine denotes that they believe and retain and endorse it. The doctrine of Balaam is briefly stated in direct connection with this passage. It pertains to the advice that Balaam gave Balac after the four speeches that he (Balaam) made under the control of the Lord. The historical account of it is quoted from Josephus in connection with Numbers 25:1-5 in Volume1of Bible Commentary. The persons in the church at Pergamos were endorsing the same practices which were a mixture of idolatry and immorality.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-2.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 2:14

Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

"But I have a few things against thee," etc.

Those few things were not sins of infirmity, for God useth to pass by the transgressions of his churches, ministers and saints of that kind, { Micah 7:18} but sins of enormity, gross pollutions, and defiling abominations, which Christ saw amongst them in this church that were held by some of her teachers and members, which his soul loathed, as appears by those iniquities Christ charges them with, in Revelation 2:14-15.

"Because thou hast there them that hold the Doctrine of Balaam," etc.

You may read the doctrine of Balaam, Numbers 31:16 to wit, the wicked counsel he gave to the Midianitish women, which occasioned the people of Israel to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab, and to commit idolatry also etc, { Numbers 25:1-3} for which wicked counsel Balaam was killed. { Numbers 31:8} And Moses was wroth with the commanders and captains of the host of Israel, because they saved those Midianitish women alive who followed Balaam's counsel, and caused them to be put to death. { Numbers 31:14-17}

"cast a stumbling block"

Some teachers in this church, by their false doctrines and opinions, did (like Balaam) "cast a stumbling block" before the members of this church, which became a sin and a snare unto them, as Balaam's doctrine and counsel did unto the people of Israel.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-2.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 2:14. But I have a little against thee, that thou hast there those that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught for Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things offered to idols and to commit fornication. Bengel: "By this it is indicated, that if the angel of the church had done his part, the vexatious Balaamites would either not have come up, or would have been again put down. Oh! if a pastor in the present day considers what sort of people he has to do with, he must be appalled!" The blame is represented as a little thing. It shows that the angel himself was pure and free from any participation in the dangerous heresies, only that his resistance of these should have been more energetic. Such a representation could not have been given of the angel of the church at Ephesus; he had himself fallen from his first love. Instead of, for Balak, Luther has, through Balak, following an incorrect reading: ἐ ν τῷ βαλά κ. It properly means, who taught to Balak. According to the common opinion, this must be a Hebraistic expression for Balak. But in Revelation 2:20 we find the verb to teach construed quite regularly with the accusative; and this is done also in the Hebrew with the solitary exception of Job 21:22. We must rather suppose, that to "Balak" is as much as, in the interest of Balak, or for pleasing Balak. Bengel even in his day drew attention to the fact, that this Dativus commodi occurs very often in the history of Balaam: curse to me this people, etc. The history is quite silent about Balaam's teaching Balak. It is said in Numbers 31:16, as a reason why Moses reproved the army sent forth against the Midianite host for neglect of duty in sparing the women, "Lo, it was these, who at the word of Balaam taught the children of Israel unfaithfulness toward the Lord in the matter of Peor, and judgment came forth upon the congregation of the Lord." It was, therefore, the women whom Balaam taught. Here it is not expressly said, whom he taught, but there is to be supplied from the connection: Balak's people. According to Numbers 24:25, indeed, Balaam no more met with Balak—see my work on Balaam. The last look of Balaam was directed toward Balak; expecting to obtain from him the reward, when the stratagem succeeded. But he did not venture to apply directly to him. The charge here undoubtedly has respect to existing relations. As remarked by Bengel, "The Balaamites at Pergamos also courted the favour of heathens in high rank." The same trait, which appears in these false teachers, of seeking to win the favour of ethnicizing heathens (as indeed the breaking down of the limits between the church and the world is in all ages the consequence of such designs), discovers itself even in the epistles of Peter and Jude. In 2 Peter 2:15, it is said, "They follow after the way of Balaam, who loved the wages of unrighteousness." And in Jude Jude 1:16, "Their mouth speaks proud words, and they have respect of persons for the sake of profit." To cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, was to employ a temptation by which they might be made to fall, or be brought to destruction; comp. Isaiah 8:15. In reference to the expressions of "eating things offered to idols and committing fornication," Herder remarks: "the temptation they occasioned did not consist in a literal eating of things offered to idols but licentiousness; for this is only a symbol drawn from the history of Balaam. In whatever manner they caused stumbling and defiled the sanctuary with heathenish pollutions, they were Balaamites; that is, they were seducers, idolators, whoremongers." But this is only so far right, as among the different kinds of participation in heathenish ways those are here brought specially into notice, which made their appearance even in primitive times. It admits of historical proof, that these very forms of corruption were currently practised by the heretics, whom John has in view, nay that with such they occupied the foreground. To eat things offered to idols or not to eat them, was even in St Paul's time the Shibboleth between the lax and the stricter party at Corinth (1 Corinthians 10). At that time, those who ate stood upon the ground of being permitted to do so, from the insight they had obtained into the nothingness of idolatry, and from their Christian liberty. But at a later period, the eating of such offerings was defended by the Gnostics, on the ground of that free and mighty spirit they possessed, which nothing could defile, which might handle and taste every thing, nay must do so, in order to give proof of its invincible power; and on the ground also of a false spiritualism, which held everything corporeal to be indifferent. The Jew Trypho in Justin throws it out as a reproach against the Christians, that many of them ate things offered to idols, under the pretext that it did them no harm (Dial. Tryp. 35). Justin's reply is, that they who did so, Marcianites, Valentinianians, &c., were only Christian in name, and had no proper connection with Christ and his church. The latter, therefore, could not be answerable for what they did. In Eusebius IV. 7 it is stated, as matter of reproach against Basilides, that he had taught it was an indifferent action, if in times of persecution one should taste what had been offered to idols, or had unwarily abjured the faith. And that the Gnostics did not stand even at this, that without any plea of necessity they participated in the heathen festivals and idol offerings, is clear from Irenaeus I. 6, "They eat without hesitation the idol-offerings, because they do not reckon themselves to be thereby defiled. And at every festive diversion of the heathen, which they observe in honour of their gods, they are the first to assemble." Fornication also appears in the resolution of the council at Jerusalem (Acts 15:20), in connection with the idolatrous feasts, as something which the Christians might easily be supposed to fall into from their contact with heathenism. From the licentious character of the heathen festivals it went hand in hand with the eating of things offered to idols. Irenaeus, in the passage already referred to, reproaches the Gnostics, after having mentioned their eating of what was offered to idols, with giving full satisfaction to the lusts of the flesh, and proceeds to speak of their licentiousness. According to Eusebius, B. IV. c. 7, those who went farthest even taught "that the basest deeds should be perpetrated by those who would attain to a perfect insight into their secret doctrine." "Those people availed themselves of the wicked spirit as a helper, in order to make such as were deceived by him the miserable slaves of corruption; whilst to the unbelieving heathen they gave great occasion to slander the true religion, as the ill report proceeding from, them imparted a bad odour to Christianity at large."

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-2.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

14.Doctrine of Balaam—The teachings of Balaam and of the Nicolaitans, had each a very different historical origin and doctrinal basis. The former is Shemitic, the latter is Aryan; the former came from Phoenicia, the latter from India. Baal-Peor, the god of Balaam and the Moabites, was no other than the Phoenician god Baal, with Peor added to designate the local name of his Moabite worship. Baal was held by the glowing sensuality of the Phoenicians to be the sun-god, the fire-god; thence the god of all sexual generation in nature, vegetable, animal, human. The taurus, bull, was his animal representative, the type of vigorous generative power. His image for worship was the phallus. In the religious theory the sexual impulse was a holy sensation, the temple was a consecrated brothel, the priestess was a harlot, and the rites were debauchery; not only made decent and respectable, but sacred and religious by this most satanic of systems. As counterpart this same Baal, as fire-god, was Moloch, the representative of the destructive power of the element of heat. Human victims were made sacrifices to this form of the god, by “passing through the fire,” fully proving the serious earnestness of the belief of the people in both forms of deity and both systems of rites. Ashtaroth (Greek form, Astarte) was the feminine side of the same worship, to which the lustful Venus was in later ages the Roman parallel. It was the most seductive of religions, and haunted Israel through his whole history, requiring all the energy of prophets and priests, and of pious kings, to repel its inroads and preserve the nation true to its holy mission. The failure was at last complete, and brought on the captivity. Pictures of the ruin wrought by Israel’s adoption of this double system of sensuality and cruelty—of Baal and Moloch— abound in the sacred history, but as specimen passages, 2 Kings 17:6-33, and Hosea 4:12-14, may be read. In the Apocalyptic age, some of the more sensual traits of this system passed to the Roman mythology, (see our vol. iv, p. 9,) and its ideas would often be adopted by mystical sensualists who loved to veil base indulgences with religious sanctions. In our own day sexual promiscuity is sometimes blended with religious pretences, but more usually under the authority of physiology and race developments. The existence of the doctrine of Balaam at Pergamos seemed to be rather in intimate proximity with the Church than within it. The Church was responsible, not so much for sharing in it, as for too little energy of opposition to it.

Stumblingblock—Note on Matthew 18:7.

Idols’ fornication—It was this union of sacrificial feasting with regularly established and expected debaucheries, which we at this day can hardly understand, that rendered it dangerous for the Christian to attend a feast or to eat of sacrificial meat. It was by this route that sexuality would have a short cut into a primitive Church. So it was in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 5:1.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-2.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 2:14. , the errorists are a mere minority; they do not represent or affect the main body of the church, whose fault is not sympathy but indifference. This carelessness arose probably from contempt or fear rather than through ignorance.— (in the midst of loyalty and martyrdom). . (not , but) lax principles worthy of a Balaam, the note of a pupil of Balaam being (according to Pirke Aboth, Revelation 2:19), an evil eye, a proud spirit, and a sensual soul. Contemporary opponents of Gnostic tendencies evidently found it an effective weapon to employ O.T. analogies or identifications such as this or the similar ones in 2 Timothy 3:8, Judges 1:2. In the Hexateuch (JE = Numbers 25:1-5, [901]=Num. 25:6–18, 31; Numbers 8-16, Joshua 13:22) Balaam is represented as a magician who prompts the Moabite women to seduce the Israelites into foreign worship and its attendant sensualism; but in the subsequent Jewish Midrash (followed here) his advice is given to Balak (Joseph. Ant. iv. 6, 6; cf. iv. 6, 11 for Zimri, and Philo’s Vit. Mos. i. 48–55), and the sorcerer comes to be regarded as the prototype of all corrupt teachers and magicians (for this sombre reputation, see E.J. ii. 467), as of this party at Pergamos who held—to John’s indignation—that it was legitimate for a Christian to buy food in the open market, which had already been consecrated to an idol. This problem, which had occurred years before in a sharp form at Corinth, was certain to cause embarrassment and trouble in a city like Pergamos, or indeed in any pagan town, where entertainments had a tendency towards obscenity. It is a curious instance of how at certain periods a scruple may assume the rank of a principle, and of how the ethical inexpediency of some practices lies in their associations rather than in their essential elements. Such questions of religious conscience in the East were frequently connected with food; for the association of the latter with sexual vice, see the notes on Acts 15:20 (also 1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Corinthians 10:8, in its context). The literal sense is preferable, although the usage of the Apocalypse makes the metaphorical sense of . possible, as a general description of pagan religions viewed under the aspect of unfaithfulness to the true God (cf.John 8:41, Philo de migr Abr. § 12) For the connexion between certain forms of popular religion in Phrygia and prostitution, see C.B.P., i. 94 f. Such burning questions arose from the nature of the early Christian society, which never aspired to form a ghetto, and consequently, in a pagan township, had to face many nice problems with regard to the prudence and limits of conformity or the need of nonconformity (cf.2 Corinthians 6:16-17). In social and trading pursuits the individual Christian met and mingled with fellow-citizens outside his own religious circle, and these relationships started serious points of ethical principle (Dobschütz, 26 f., 188 f.). The line was drawn, but not always at the same place; and naturally laxity lay on the borders of enlightenment.

[901] Codex Porphyrianus (sæc. ix.), at St. Petersburg, collated by Tischendorf. Its text is deficient for chap. Revelation 2:13-16.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-2.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

14. A few things. Probably, they emphasized individuality to the point where church discipline was ignored. In the error of Balaam (Numbers 25:2; Numbers 31:16)false teachers at Pergamum taught Christians to join in the feasts of idols and the sex orgies. They may have taught that this was allowed in order to escape persecution.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:14". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.