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WHY were 24,000 of God’s People Killed at Peor? [podcast]

We must understand that God is severe in His judgment of rebels of which there are “many” who claim they are saved. Eternal damnation awaits all rebels (Matthew 7:13-23, etc.).

“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” Romans 11:22


Deuteronomy 4:1-10

24,000 of God’s own people, men, departed from obeying the instruction, the standard, the Word of God and were destroyed. They partook in the soul damning sin of fornication.

“Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. 2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. 3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you. 4 But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day. 5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. 7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? 8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? 9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; 10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.” Deuteronomy 4:1-10

Departing from the pure Word of God always leads to sinful living as was the case with 24,000 of God’s people’s worship at Baal Peor.

“And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Luke 4:4

In Deuteronomy 4, Moses warns God’s people not to change or depart from the LORD’s Word and brings up the example of God’s judgment upon 24,000 of His own people for doing so (Numbers 25).

Of the worship of Baal-Peor, one writer notes:

“Yet what was this worship of Baal-Peor and why did it draw such wrath from God? Baal-Peor is a Moabite god who was worshipped with obscene rituals. The name means ‘Lord of the Opening’ from Baal meaning owner/ husband and Peor coming from pa’ar meaning ‘open wide.’ ‘I found Israel Like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers As the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season. But they went to Baal Peor, And separated themselves to that shame; They became an abomination like the thing they loved.’ (Hosea 9:10) The worship of Baal-Peor IS an abomination. Notice that those who join themselves to Baal-Peor also ‘become’ an abomination before the Lord.”

Every person who has an idol, just one, has demons (Deuteronomy 32:17; 1 Corinthians 10:19-21). Repent now. Follow Jesus.

In Deuteronomy 4:3, Moses brings back to the memory of God’s people the judgment that fell upon the 24,000 of His own people for their idolatry and fornication. This idolatrous abomination is recorded in Numbers 25.

“And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 7 And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; 8 And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. 9 And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.” Numbers 25:6-9

Dear reader, camp out on Numbers 25, the whole chapter. Your life is not complete without this vital component of divine truth.

Not one of us has lived perfectly holy and yet, at this moment in time, some will choose to truly repent and confess their sins and others will refuse (Proverbs 28:13). Eternity depends on true repentance which always, without fail, yields a changed life, a holy life (Matthew 3:7-10; Luke 13:3).

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16

These 24,000 Israelites were slain for their sin. God is still holy and “The wages of sin” is still death (Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 18:4).

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4

Zimri, a Simeonite (of the tribe of Simeon) was the Israelite whom Phinehas, grandson of Aaron, did slay for his utterly audacious display of sin, having brought the fornication in the middle of the camp of God’s people and even into the midst of their worship (Numbers 25:6, 14).

The great apostle brings this very incident to account 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 and warns New Testament saints never to partake lest they also be destroyed. The sins Paul cites form the natural acronym L.I.F.T.M. = lust, idolatry, fornication, tempting Christ, murmuring.

5 Soul Damning Sins Named! Learning from History! [podcast] 

The spear of Phinehas must begin with ourselves – as we truly repent, lay down our lives in this world, and cut off the hand, pluck out the eye of any sin in our lives. The conscious eternal suffering, the severity of eternal judgment coming on any person who dies in sin is most profoundly declared by the Son of God Mark 9:43-49. Many of the new fake “bibles” removed this important passage.

The new “bibles” have lowered the standard and weakened many by their changing of God’s Word which Moses specifically warns us of in this main text, Deuteronomy 4.

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19

Departing from the Word of God, not obeying God on His stated terms, is the sure way to be weakened, destroyed, here and eternally. The LORD speaks often in His Word about this.

“Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word:” Jeremiah 26:2

Each Man is Choosing to Drink from One Cup or the Other

As was the case at Baal Peor, Satan is behind every idol and so all idolatry is the worship of Satan.

“What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. 22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?” 1 Corinthians 10:19-22

This passage above is speaking of the Baal Peor event and also to the temptation of Satan and his children today. Baal worship is alive and well today, calling God’s people to worship at the altar of devils, to partake is vile atrocities that separate one to Satan and away from the LORD. “No man can serve two masters” and anyone living in sin is not serving the one, true, holy LORD and Savior (Matthew 6:24)

“They joined themselves also unto Baalpeor, and ate the sacrifices of the dead. 29 Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: and the plague brake in upon them. 30 Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: and so the plague was stayed. 31 And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore.” Psalms 106:28-31

One writer notes:

“Baal Peor, or the Baal of Peor, was a local deity worshiped by the Moabites. When the Israelites, following Moses to the Promised Land, were in the vicinity of Peor, some of them fell into idolatry and worshiped Baal Peor. As a result of their sin, the men of Israel were judged by God.”

Baal Peor consisted of the worship of a false god, Satan, and fornication. Satan is behind the worship of all idols and such idolatry is filled with his devils/demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-22).

Modern day types of Baal Peor are the pornography, strip clubs, and everything in our society that has to do with any form of fornication. Movie and media are filled with such evil. The 24,000 who were destroyed in Moses day (Numbers 25), departed from the Word of God and the standards set forth there for holiness and the divine prohibition of sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8). Read Deuteronomy 4 and Numbers 25 side by side.

“Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 

Before their blunder at Peor, after God brought them out of Egypt (the world), Israel was innocent. Judgment, destruction ensued their sin of all who participated. Today, we can witness that many who once worshipped God with a pure heart, have now turned away to the worship of idols involving fornication of all kinds. Those who would rebuke these backsliders could be liked unto Phinehas.

“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved.” Hosea 9:10 

“I found Israel – The Lord speaks of himself in the person of a traveler, who unexpectedly in the wilderness finds a vine loaded with grapes; such love did God bear to Israel. Your fathers – Whom I brought out of Egypt. As the first – ripe – As the earliest ripe fruit of the fig – tree, which is most valued and desired. Separated themselves – Consecrated themselves to that shameful idol. Their abominations – Their idols, and way of worshipping them. As they loved – As they fancied.” John Wesley

Deuteronomy 4, Numbers 25, and 1 Corinthians 10 speak of the same event – the sin of God’s people in Baal worship at Peor and the consequent divine judgment that fell upon 24,000 of them. This is an eternal memorial for the judgment of God against all sin, namely idolatry and fornication.

“What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. 22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?” 1 Corinthians 10:19-22

“To abstain from idol feasts was the clear duty of all Christians. By partaking of heathen sacrifices which were offered to demons, they became one with the demons and their votaries; just as in the Lord’s Supper we show our oneness not only with the Savior but with each other. It was clear, therefore, that the Corinthian Christians could not consistently partake of idol feasts and the Lord’s Supper. What an incentive is given here to frequent and reverent participation in the Lord’s Supper! It proclaims our union with Him and His people, and it gives us a distaste for all that is alien to its spirit.” FB Meyer

Those who depart from the standards set forth in God’s Word separate themselves to idols, to devils and are under divine judgment from the unchanging God (Malachi 3:6).

The Examples of Phinehas and Jael

Perhaps we can liken what Phinehas did in spearing the sin out of the camp of God’s people, with those who call His people to worship Him in Spirit and in truth and according to His pure, uncorrupted Word (Numbers 25:10-18; Psalms 12:6-7; Proverbs 30:5-6; Revelation 22:18-19). Phinehas boldly, courageously in the fear of God stood up and stamped out sin in the camp. The judgment ended. Those who stand and boldly, fearlessly declared the Word of God and call out sin among God’s people, are the Phinehas’ of our day. Do we have a Phinehas priesthood in our midst?

“Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” Psalms 94:16

In Job 4:21-22; 5:24-27 we read about another bless-ed patriarch of the faith who stood up, who rose up against sin, slaying a wicked king.

In both the cases of Phinehas and Jael, these biblical accounts make specific record that the LORD greatly blessed these faithful followers of His, and their families, and He will do the same today for His true bold witnesses who stand against the evil of this late hour.

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