"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made your overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. (Acts 20:28-29)
Late in his ministry, the apostle Paul tearfully speaks to the Ephesians, where he later writes about "fighting with beasts after the manner of men." Peter and Jude's epistles, also refer to false brethren as "brute beasts."
In this article, we will briefly examine the demonic doctrine of three 'similar' biblical individuals: Diotrephes, Balaam and Jezebel. Paul, Peter, John, Jude and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, warn us to beware of certain heresies that crept into the early
Apostolic Church and are being manifested globally, in these last days. Christ refers to "inward ravening wolves," when he speaks of false prophets that come in us in sheep's clothing. Matthew 7:15, 2 Peter chapter 2; Jude 1-25; and 3 John; Acts 20:30-31)
In regard to animal behavior, I'm reminded of the Warner Brothers classic cartoon, Wolf and Sheepdog, featuring the voice of Mel Blanc as Sam 'Sheepdog' and Ralph 'Wolf.' Sam and Ralph meet and greet morning and evening while punching in and out of a time clock mounted on a tree. Throughout the day the wolf, Ralph, is trying to destroy the watchful Sam's flock of sheep but is soundly degeated by the canine.
As pastors, we must with fervent love be on guard for anything that would destroy the flock and 'peace' of a local church. For a wolf to obtain sheep's clothing, 'they' must first devour a "sheep." ("Satan" Job 1:6, 2:1; 1 Peter 5:8) Remember the Christmas story in Luke about the "Shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night?" David the shepherd king guarded his sheep while mediating in the 'night watches.'
The Bible declares in 1 Peter 5:2-4, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, thaking the oversight thereof ... (as Christ would): And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not awar."
Isaiah writes in chapter 53:6, "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him (Christ) the iniquity of us all." 1 Peter 2:25 reads, "For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."
Diotrephes (meaning "nourished by Jupiter" or "oved by Jove,: a pagan god) was a man mentioned in John's third epistle. Wayne Blank writes, "He was appointed in a leadership position and was an arrogant and personally ambitious 'professed' convert to Christianity. Diotrephes had a very autocratic and possessive attitude over those who should 'not' have permitted his leadership.
He even went so fast to pompously oppose and 'slander' St. John when the beloved apostle tried to correct him. "I write unto the church; but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the 'preeminence' among them, receiveth us not. Wherefor, if I come, I will remember his deeds which de doeth, prating against us with 'malicious' words; and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbade them that would, and casteth them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God; but he that doeth evil hath not seen God." (verses 9-11) Diotrephes wanted complete control (preeminence) of the local church, even if it meant everyone else opposing him, must leave. Here, John publicly rebukes hin for 'all' time.
Balaam was a false prophet who's evil influence attracted Balac to ask him to enchant Israel. This caused many to commit fornication and depart from the Lord. At first, God commands him not to go with Balac. The second time, Balaam's own stubborn, eillful mind and heart lead him to presume that God's mind had changed.
You know the story about Balaam's talking donkey. Second Peter 2:16 refers to Balaam's prophetic strategy as "insanity." "But he was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass (KJV) speaking with a man's voice forbad the 'madness' of the prophet." Jude 11 and Revelation 2:14 mention his error. Numbers 24:1 calls him "an enchanter" and Joshua 13:22, a "soothsayer." Israel's army killed Balaam with a sword.
Arnold Kennedy writes that Balaam is not 'minor doctrine' because, it appears by name 60 time through the Bible. Author Donald Fishgrab mentions that "false interpretation of scripture is a result of the Doctrine of Balaam, and that it is 'okey' to change the word of a God a 'little.' This self-styled, presumptuous, 'false' ideology has five distinctive traits: It is fascination; despises government; is a stumbling block; teaches to eat things sacrificed to idols' and teachers to commit fornication. It beguiles and seduces unstable souls who then become anarchists, only desiring 'their' will. (A.J. Tomlinson.
Similar to Diotrephes and Balaam, is the prophetess Jezebel who is compared with the OT wicked, pagan queen of Ahab. She worshiped Baal and hated Elijah, the Prophet of God. 'Miriam' the "prophetess" was not afraid to speak'against' Moses. This spirit plagues God's church in these last days, and can be found in many men or women who are deceived, paranoid, insecure, seductive, impatient and narcissistic. They will intimidate, cause division, slander and oppose those in pastoral or other leadership.
Jeus in Revelation 2:20-21 rebukes this influence and warns the Church at Thyatira, "Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thor sufferest that woman Jezebel which calleth herself a prophetess to teach and to seduce my servant to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols; and I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not."
Persons influenced from these three doctrinally similar personalities, have little regard for genuine unity, will usurp leadership, and desire their own way. One writer says, "They disrespect authority and possess a humanistic spirit born out of witchcraft." When rebuked by church leadership, they'll become defiant and confrontational. Paul warns in 2 Timothy 4:14 about evil Alexander "who hath greatly withstood our words." "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubborness is as iniquity and idolatry." (1 Samuel 15:23) These unstable individuals never learn to forgive other. Peter and Jude explain about the "presumptuous and self willed" "wandering stars" who are "twice dead, plucked up with dry rots;" "despise government;" and won't endure sound doctrine." 'Mark' them that cause division and 'avoid' them. (Romans 16:17) Titus 1:11 says, "Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses." Many are abusing or misusing spiritual gifts to gain control of congregations and are not following after "genuine charity." Their spiritual fruit has withered. Jesus tells us that "we will know them by their fruits." Thous shall 'love' thy neighbor as thyself." Pray for peace.
(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author's church affiliation.)