It is a doctrine of fornication and eating things sacrificed to idols.
Right before the Jews entered the land of Canaan, they destroyed the kingdoms of Og, king of Bashan, and Sihon, king of the Amorites. As a result, Balak, the king of Moab, outside of whose land the Jews were camped, feared an attack from the Jews against his country. Thus, he hired a prophet named Balaam (Num 22:1-6) to curse the Jews, which he thought would give the Moabites an edge if they were to go to war.
Balaam blessed the Jews instead of cursing them (Num 23-24) and Balak was furious. Consequently, Balak dismissed Balaam. Nevertheless, before Balaam returned to his place (Num 24:25), he gave Balak counsel (Num 31:16) that caused the wrath of God to come againstIsrael. He counseled Balak to let the daughters of Moab commit whoredom with the Jews and to get them to eat the things sacrificed to their idols (Num 25:1-3).
The outcome of this doctrine was disastrous. Twenty four thousand Jews died in a plague that came as a consequence of their sin (Num 25:4-9). The Jews had been forbidden to intermingle with the Moabites (Deut 23:3) and Balaam’s doctrine ran contrary to this command of God. Even in Nehemiah’s day the Jews were forced to separate from their Moabite wives (Neh 13:1-2).
In the tribulation, this doctrine is going to resurface. The Antichrist will have an idol set up for people to worship (Matt 24:15; Rev 13:14-15). The worship service will involve eating things sacrificed to the idol (Rev 17:6) and committing fornication (Rev 17:2). The fornication will be a part of the worship service because procreation is as close as humans can naturally get to being like God.
As a matter of fact, a form of Balaam’s doctrine was being practiced by the Gentiles who were getting saved in the Book of Acts. In Acts 15:29, the sentence of the apostles and elders for the Gentile converts was that they should abstain from meats offered to idols and from fornication. These sacrifices were sacrifices to devils and not to God (1 Cor 10:20-21). And when they come up in the tribulation, they will be sacrifices to the Devil himself in his false religion (Rev 17:5; 13:4).
While we are on the study of Balaam’s doctrine we should also see that there is a WAY of Balaam and an ERROR of Balaam. The way of Balaam is found in 2 Pet 2:14-15. Balaam coveted wages and chased the money. In Num 22:7; 15-21, Balaam was offered money for his services, which was typical. However, he wanted it so badly that he disobeyed the command of God after stating that he wouldn’t even if the reward were Balak’s house full of silver and gold (v18). Thus covetousness will be the motive of the preachers who cause the folks in the tribulation to follow Balaam’s doctrine.
The error of Balaam is found in Jude 11. It is simply that Balaam was against God’s chosen people like Cain was against his brother Abel. Likewise, the antichrist and his followers will commit the same error. They will fight against God’s chosen people to their own destruction, in the same way that Balaam was also destroyed (Num 31:8).
Just for your information, we are already seeing churches in the church age following Balaam’s doctrine, way and error. These things all show up in the modern apostate churches. Sex sells and sex draws a crowd. Entertainment is labeled “Praise and Worship.” The motive is money (just listen to the pitch for offerings at the end of any aired broadcast). And the result will be a world-wide ecumenical determination to get rid of the Jews. Many of these modern churches are just helping the antichrist get things ready for the coming tribulation.
Hope this helps,
Pastor Bevans Welder