Maranatha Media

Baalpeor, Phinehas and the Javelin and Appeasement Based Atonement

Posted Mar 09, 2019 by Adrian Ebens in Character of God
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Making Atonement

Animal Sacrifice

Exo 30:10  And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD. 

Lev 4:35  And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him

Atonement through death of key offending leaders

Num 25:12-13  Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:  (13)  And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.

Atonement through intercession

Num 16:45-49  Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.  (46)  And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.  (47)  And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.  (48)  And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.  (49)  Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.

Atonement through money

Exo 30:14-16  Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD.  (15)  The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.  (16)  And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.

What was Israel’s view of God and their connection to Him?

Exo 17:3  And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? 


Num 21:5  And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 

By continually dwelling on the dark side of their experiences, they separated themselves farther and farther from God. They lost sight of the fact that but for their murmuring when the water ceased at Kadesh, they would have been spared the journey around Edom. God had purposed better things for them. Their hearts should have been filled with gratitude to Him that He had punished their sin so lightly. But instead of this, they flattered themselves that if God and Moses had not interfered, they might now have been in possession of the Promised Land. PP 428

When you separate yourself from God through focusing on the dark side of your experience what happens? It does not mean you cease to have a view of God, it simply means your view of God changes into something that is dark and foreboding. Thus through idolatry God is made to look Jealous. As calamity comes it seems very clear that God is bringing the calamity in revenge when it is actually simply the consequences of ones own choices.


Num 25:1-9  And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.  (2)  And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.  (3)  And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.  (4)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel.  (5)  And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor.  (6)  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.

Num 25:10-13  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  (11)  Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.  (12)  Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace:  (13)  And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.

At Balaam's suggestion, a grand festival in honor of their gods was appointed by the king of Moab, and it was secretly arranged that Balaam should induce the Israelites to attend. He was regarded by them as a prophet of God, and hence had little difficulty in accomplishing his purpose. Great numbers of the people joined him in witnessing the festivities. They ventured upon the forbidden ground, and were entangled in the snare of Satan. Beguiled with music and dancing, and allured by the beauty of heathen vestals, they cast off their fealty to Jehovah. As they united in mirth and feasting, indulgence in wine beclouded their senses and broke down the barriers of self-control. Passion had full sway; and having defiled their consciences by lewdness, they were persuaded to bow down to idols. They offered sacrifice upon heathen altars and participated in the most degrading rites. 

     It was not long before the poison had spread, like a deadly infection, through the camp of Israel. Those who would have conquered their enemies in battle were overcome by the wiles of heathen women. The people seemed to be infatuated. The rulers and the leading men were among the first to transgress, and so many of the people were guilty that the apostasy became national. "Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor." When Moses was  [455] aroused to perceive the evil, the plots of their enemies had been so successful that not only were the Israelites participating in the licentious worship at Mount Peor, but the heathen rites were coming to be observed in the camp of Israel. The aged leader was filled with indignation, and the wrath of God was kindled.  {PP 454.4} 

     Their iniquitous practices did that for Israel which all the enchantments of Balaam could not do--they separated them from God. By swift-coming judgments the people were awakened to the enormity of their sin. A terrible pestilence broke out in the camp, to which tens of thousands speedily fell a prey. God commanded that the leaders in this apostasy be put to death by the magistrates. This order was promptly obeyed. The offenders were slain, then their bodies were hung up in sight of all Israel that the congregation, seeing the leaders so severely dealt with, might have a deep sense of God's abhorrence of their sin and the terror of His wrath against them.  {PP 455.1} 

     All felt that the punishment was just, and the people hastened to the tabernacle, and with tears and deep humiliation confessed their sin. PP 454, 455

Killing that which causes offense and hanging it up and then looking at it and finding atonement.

Num 21:6-9  And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.  (7)  Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.  (8)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.  (9)  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

Moses was divinely commanded to make a serpent of brass resembling the living ones, and to elevate it among the people. To this, all who had been bitten were to look, and they would find relief. He did so, and the joyful news was sounded throughout the encampment that all who had been bitten might look upon the brazen serpent and live. PP 430

  1. It was serpents that were killing them.
  2. An image or symbol of that object in brass (dead) form is raised up as a symbol of punishment. Conversely it might be seen that by looking to the Brass serpent that you are acknowledging the power of the serpent and then the supposed god relents from killing the people.  
  3. The people look to object lifted up
  4. Salvation or atonement is secured.   


At Baalpeor

  1. the leaders of the nation were lifted up.
  2. The people of the camp saw them
  3. The people were saved – had salvation.

Num 25:4 – The plague is not mentioned until later. The telling of the story heightens the sense of God’s displeasure.

  1. People are fallen into idolatry and sin.
  2. The protection of God is removed. (The quarrel of the covenant – pestilence; delivered into the hands of the enemy.)
  3. A plague goes through the camp
  4. This awakens a sense of wrong doing and the need for atonement.
  5. Human perceptions of Justice demand a sacrificial atonement.
  6. The leaders – who represent the people are offered up as a sacrifice even though most of the people in the camp were guilty along with the leaders. They are hung up.
  7. Once human perception of justice is satisfied, the people believe they can be forgiven.
  8.  Once the people believe justice has been served then they believe God will forgive the rest of the people.


In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law be broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned. Every sin must meet its punishment, urged Satan; and if God should remit the punishment of sin, He would not be a God of truth and justice. DA 761.4

Justice without Mercy

Psa 97:1-5  The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.  (2)  Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.  (3)  A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about.  (4)  His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled.  (5)  The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.

Justice with Mercy

Psa 89:1  Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite. I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations…. 

Psa 89:14-18  Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.  (15)  Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.  (17)  For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted.  (18)  For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.

Isa 58:1-2  Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.  (2)  Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

God permits His Son to be delivered up for our offenses. He Himself assumes toward the Sin Bearer the character of a judge, divesting Himself of the endearing qualities of a father.  {TM 245.2}

Psa 50:21  These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.