And the Angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, “…thy way is perverse before me…” — Numbers 22:32
I don’t pay too much attention to TV and radio pundits. They often make me cringe. Lots of theatrics and purposely inflammatory rhetoric meant to boost ratings. My reaction to Glenn Beck had been no different until last week.
Beck was in Israel for his “Restoring Courage” rallies in which he urged people to join him in committing to support Israel on the world stage. Months before, I’d heard good Christians call him the greatest prophetic voice of this generation. He sees the big picture and ugly truth about radical Islam, and he’s loudly proclaiming what he sees. This video clip excited me enough to share it my news feed.
And so began words of warning from siblings in the LORD. I have spent the morning praying and researching.
Glenn Beck is blessing Israel, much like Balaam, the prophet in Numbers. Balaam actually heard from God (even before his donkey saved his life) and could only speak what the Spirit said concerning Israel. But he was an immoral man willing to sell his prophetic gift, his Holy Spirit anointing. In the end, Balaam, probably still wanting all that gold that Balak laid out before him, revealed Israel’s kryptonite, if you will. Idolatry (compounded with sexual immorality) would displease God and cause Israel to fall. (Numbers 22-25, 31)
I only found out a few months ago that Glenn Beck is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). It was another reason to avoid his voice. But as I saw big names from the Church partner with him and heard friends I look up to endorse him, I gave him a look, a listen, with my guard down. And I did a mistake I try not to do as Bible believer: separate God from politics.
What’s the big deal about Mormonism?
The Church of Latter-Day Saints is heretical… and not just a little.
- They believe God the Father was a man once who is now ascended. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 1973 ed., p. 346)
- They deny that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115).)
- They assert Jesus and Lucifer are brothers. (Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15)
- The Book of Mormon faults those who would take the Bible alone as the Word of God. (2 Nephi 29:6‑10)
- Mormonism versus Christianity by Michael R. Bott
- A Comparison Between Christian Doctrine and Mormon Doctrine by CARM
- Mormonism vs. Christianity by Contender Ministries
How Israel gave Glenn Beck traction
During my research today, I noticed many of the articles that I will now reference were written a year ago. Almost exactly a year ago. Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington D.C. was the end of August 2010.
photo by Gage Skidmore
Jim Garlow, pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, wrote a 3300 word essay defending his partnership with Glenn Beck and other Mormons. He said there was no reason to “de-Christianize” each other.
In a post titled “Glenn Beck: The Mormon Wolf Preying on the Evangelical Sheep” a self-described former Mormon Hrafnkell Haraldsson said, “Evangelical Christians seem content with Mormon polytheism when it serves their ends, like with [anti-gay marriage] Proposition 8 in California, which was largely an ‘out of town job’ by Mormons and Mormon money. You can overlook the odd god here and there if the money is right.” This from “a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors.” Haraldsson understands compromise when he sees it.
Theological questions arose when Beck tried to rally Americans to “restore honor.” Are we Christians asking fewer questions because now he’s talking about Israel?
In the interview embedded above, Glenn Beck calls Israel the keystone of the world. Yes. Trying to explain that to the Church — through Scripture — is one my passions. And many in the Church don’t seem to be listening to those who teach about Israel. Then Beck speaks and moves and 2,000 Americans fly into Israel and thousands more watch online. I got excited. Many of us did.
Andrew Romano at Newsweek explained Beck’s allure well. He is talking about the Tea Party back in April 2010, but this applies to Zionists and non-Zionists today:
The reason we pay attention to Beck is that he both comforts and flatters his audience; he makes them feel good, and good about themselves. And by “them” I mean the two groups that obsess over Beck the most: tea partiers and liberals. Tea partiers are driven by the belief that the America that elected Barack Obama isn’t their America, and Beck comforts them by telling them they’re right: that the America they love, the America they now feel so distant from, the America of faith and the Founders and some sort of idyllic Leave It to Beaver past, is still there, waiting to be awakened from Obama’s evil spell. And he flatters them by saying that the coastal elites are too stupid or too lazy to figure out what’s really going on; only his loyal viewers are perceptive enough to see the truth and, ultimately, to save the nation. In other words, Beck makes the tea partiers feel, as Hofstadter put it, as if they are “the Elect, wholly good, abominably persecuted, yet assured of ultimate triumph,” which is better than feeling disenfranchised, marginalized, and looked down upon.
For liberals, Beck serves a similar purpose. In an era of massive problems and extreme change — the Great Recession, the health-care overhaul, etc. — liberals can avoid the difficult question of whether Obama is leading America in the right direction by simply telling themselves that the only alternative would be someone like Glenn Beck: hyperbolic, demagogic, irrational, and slightly unhinged — “just like all conservatives.” This is comforting. And by choosing to argue against Beck’s patently absurd insinuations instead of, say, the legitimate policy proposals of someone like Rep. Paul Ryan — the progressive fact-checking site Media Matters posts about 15 anti-Beck items a day — liberals can flatter themselves into believing they’re smarter and better informed than anyone who happens to disagree with them.
The Prophet Balaam and the Ass, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1626.
There are conspiracy theories that Beck is a Mormon evangelist in disguise. Some would say that his every move has been calculated, including this Israel hooplah (at least for his career, one writer says). I could find no evidence of that to document for you, so lets leave that there. That’s not the issue.
The issue for anyone is “Who is Jesus?” Is he just some Jew called to gather the non-Jews? Is he an ascended human, son of an ascended man, as the Mormons say? Is he just a good teacher who died (or didn’t)? Or is He the awaited Messiah of Israel (the Anointed one, Christos in the Greek) who is the rightful heir to the Throne of David in Jerusalem, who died and rose again and is returning?
The Mormons, as we saw above, hail another Jesus, a false messiah, yes, an anti-christ. And Paul tells us plainly:
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? –2 Corinthians 6:14-15
Balaam comes up three times in the New Testament. In all three, Believers are admonished to not be like Balaam nor follow his ways. (2 Peter 2, Jude, Revelation 2)
In Numbers 31, when Israel goes to war with Midian at God’s command, the prophet Balaam was one of the fatalities. He and the Midians died for leading Israel into idolatry.
Glenn Beck is blessing Israel. God bless him for that. But he is deceived about who Jesus is, and that qualifies him as an unbeliever. And so, Believers should not partner with him.
For more background on Glenn Beck and his religious and political positions, I suggest the following links: