Wherefore say, Behold, I [Yahweh] give unto him [Phinehas]
my covenant of peace: And he [Phinehas] shall have it, and his
[Phinehas'] 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. (Numbers 25:12-13)
The priesthood was not bestowed upon just anyone or upon someone who performed a "Phinehas act." That is not what the scripture says, or does it say what one self-proclaimed "Phinehas Priest" of today claimed:
"…Yahweh stated that there would be an everlasting priesthood in
Phinehas' name." 8
Beware of the eisegetes, that is, those who read something into a passage that simply is not there. Anyone, who is honest with Numbers 25, can see that this everlasting or age-lasting priesthood was bestowed only upon Phinehas and his blood descendants. Consequently, there is absolutely no justification or authorization for anyone to claim himself a Phinehas priest unless he can trace his lineage back to Phinehas, which of course, is impossible.
An author who promotes a "Phinehas priesthood" for today chided others who teach that a "Phinehas act" makes a "Phinehas priest":
"Anyone who actually believes that merely performing 'Phinehas-
appearing acts' makes him a Phinehas Priest, would be committed
to the same mental institution for the same reason as the person who
believes that barking, scratching his ear with his foot, eating food out
of a bowl on the floor, chasing cars (or dogs of the opposite sex), and
turning around in a circle three times before sitting down makes him
Well said! However, in spite of that, this same author persisted in claiming that there exists today a Phinehas priesthood. Although he admitted that it is impossible for anyone to trace their lineage back to Phinehas, he claims that if someone meets seven prerequisites that such a person is indeed a Phinehas priest:
"So it is with the Phinehas Priesthood: many are called, but few
are chosen. Therefore, in summary: In order to be a legitimate and
licensed Phinehas (i.e. Being given permission to do that which is
otherwise unlawful), one must be:…"10
Never is anyone given permission to "do that which is otherwise unlawful." In his first epistle, the Apostle John defined sin in the following fashion:
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law [of Yahweh]: for
sin is the transgression of the law [of Yahweh]. (1 John 3:4)
Consequently, this author declared that God permits certain individuals to sin! Not so! Since Yahweh is the only lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22; James 4:12), then lawful is determined by Yahweh's law. Thus, that which is unlawful is transgression of Yahweh's law, and no man has been given permission to transgress law of Yahweh.
On the other hand, man and his government often make legal what Yahweh has declared unlawful and illegal what Yahweh has declared lawful. Any Christian Israelite (not just a "Phinehas priest") has Yahweh's sanction, and, in most cases, the obligation to do that which is illegal according to man when Yahweh commands otherwise. Cases in point: Shiphra and Puah (Exodus 1); Amram and Jochebed (Exodus 2); Moses (Exodus 2, 5-14); Rahab (Joshua 2); Gideon (Judges 6-8); Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3); Daniel (Daniel 6) and Peter, John and the rest of the Apostles (Acts 4-5).
In other words, if man and/or his government demands that we, as Christians and subjects of the King of kings, transgress Yahweh's law in order to keep man's "law," we must then choose at that moment who is to be our king. If our king is Yahweh/Yashua, then in performing that which is lawful or refraining from that which is unlawful, we must then do that which is illegal according to man. However, at the same time, that does not mean that Yahweh sanctions all acts of vigilantism against wicked individuals or a tyrannical government. There is no privilege given to anyone, as the previous author implies, to do that which is otherwise unlawful. Instead, consent is only given to do that which is illegal but only if such action is in harmony with the laws of Yahweh. However, to do that which is unlawful would make such a person a sinner, and sin is never condoned in the Bible.
The same author continued with a list of the seven requirements he uses to determine whether someone is a true "Phinehas priest" today:
"…one must be: 1) a pure-blooded Israelite; 2) a redeemed Israelite;
3) who is first and foremost a Levitical Priest [This particular author
believes the Levitical Priesthood is still in place today in spite of the fact
that Hebrews 7 informs us that the Levitical Priesthood was superceded
and replaced.]; 4) who has served with honor; 5) who is a direct
descendent of Phinehas; 6) who walks in obedience to God and His
Law in holiness of life, being filled with the Spirit of God, by the
evident fruit in his life; 7) who continues to serve with distinction
as a Levitical Priest, which is his first responsibility; any Phinehas
missions are strictly in addition to his main duties of being a
Although there are no such provisions found in the Bible, according to this author it takes those seven requirements to be a Phinehas priest. Concerning requisite #5, that in order for someone to be "a legitimate and licensed Phinehas" that one must be "a direct descendant of Phinehas," this author himself later admitted that it is impossible for anyone to prove such a claim to Phinehas ancestry:
"Without a doubt, I believe it would be safe to say, that no one today
can prove by genealogical records that he is a descendent of Phinehas."12
That admission did not deter this author, however, from promoting a "Phinehas priesthood" for today. He also wrote:
"He [a "Phinehas priest"] does not have the right to do whatever he
likes; he may only perform God sanctioned missions. Whereas the
Levitical Priest received his orders through an earthly High Priest, in my
opinion, the Phinehas Priest receives his orders directly from God
Himself through the person of the Holy Spirit."13
That reasoning may initially sound good, but in reality such a claim is rather nebulous and open-ended. This author also declared that true "Phinehas acts" are proven if:
"…the Spirit of God which moved him [the person claiming to be a
"Phinehas priest"] into action."14
The same author also wrote:
"So, one may still wonder, 'How can I know if I am a true Phinehas?' or
'How can I tell if someone else is truly a Phinehas?'
"A true Phinehas will know in his heart/spirit (confirmed by
the Holy Spirit) whether he is a Phinehas or not. This may
sound like a weak answer; but there is more: a true Phinehas
will know without a doubt that he is a Phinehas-and he will act
without hesitation or fear: for he will be eaten up and controlled
by the zeal and righteousness of YaHWeH…."15
This author is absolutely right: His explanation is a weak answer! He earlier postulated seven strict qualifications, but when it comes right down to it, there is not a nickel's worth of difference between his position and those he chides who declare that a "Phinehas act" makes a "Phinehas priest." Does he think that those who perform such acts are going to claim that they were inspired by Satan? Those who perform such vigilante acts believe emphatically that they are doing God's work, that the Holy Spirit has prompted and guided them and even promoted what they are doing or have already done.
In most instances, a claim of being Spirit led is extremely subjective. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines subjective, in part, in the following manner:
"…3 a) peculiar to a particular individual… b) arising from
conditions within the brain or sense organs and not directly
caused by external stimuli… c) arising out of or identified by
means of one's awareness of his own states and processes…
d) lacking in reality or substance…."16
Those are pretty good definitions for what most people identify as being Spirit led. If something is determined as being correct or proper simply by one being convinced that what he believes or thinks is Spirit led, then we would have to admit that there have been hundreds of thousands of people who have been Spirit led into becoming Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. Of course, one might inquire: "Led by what spirit?"
I am not saying that there is no such thing as being Spirit led; indeed, the Bible speaks of and even requires that we be Spirit led. Anyone can claim to be Spirit led, but there is one sure-fire way to know whether you are or are not. This is accomplished by determining your actions according to the perfect Word of God. For example there are multitudes of people who claim to be Spirit led but they deny the Biblical plan of salvation (Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:36-42, 22:1-16, 1 Peter 3:21, etc.) and who have substituted it with the man-made doctrine of "praying the sinner's prayer" and being baptized as "an outward sign of inward grace." Neither of those man-made doctrines can be found anywhere in Scripture.17 The point is that a person can think and believe with all his heart that he is Spirit led and yet be sadly mistaken.
This same author went on to declare:
"…there may be very serious consequences which may
result from unordained behavior, and not only might we
bring judgment upon ourselves, but we very well might
bring judgment also on those around us-even those whom
we love the most. …one treads on very dangerous ground
if he elects himself to be a self-appointed Phinehas while
presuming to know the mind of YaHWeH. …Unless the
Spirit of YaHWeH actually takes hold of a person, he had
better not do anything which is not lawful for him to do…."18
"Before anyone does anything, he better make sure it is God's
Spirit speaking to him, and not his own carnal spirit (which
can only bring sin and death)."19
I could not agree with this author more, and there is only one way to accomplish that: One must make absolutely certain that what he believes and does is in harmony with God's Holy Spirit-inspired Word! Do the teachings of those who promote a Phinehas priesthood for today harmonize with God's Word? One book written regarding the "Phinehas priesthood" is entitled Vigilantes of Christendom - The Story of the Phineas [sic] Priesthood. By that title, the author obviously equated the action taken by Phinehas with vigilantism. Additionally, an imprisoned self-proclaimed modern "Phinehas priest," once again, declared:
"When Israel had flagrantly disobeyed Yah's law of purity, they were
plagued with killing diseases, but when Phinehas took personal
initiative to execute Yahweh's judgment, the plague came to an end,
and Yahweh stated that there would be an everlasting priesthood in
Phinehas' name. So a Phinehas Priest is a MAN who acts on
personal initiative [author's own capitalization and underscoring] to
execute Yah's judgment on violations of Yah's laws which are
adversely affecting His people."20
The author of The War Between the Children of Light and the Powers of Darkness, wrote essentially the same thing:
"…when it comes to the duties of the Phinehas Priesthood, it is
quite possible that the Phinehas Priest receives his orders
directly and solely from the Holy Spirit, and does not consult
with any other Priests."21
"The fact that a Phinehas Priest may quite possibly work
alone, without the collusion of others, seems to be supported
by the nature of the Priesthood and the historical account in
Scripture from which it was ordained by God: Phinehas acted
on his own, without consulting anyone; it was spontaneous
and swift; not premeditated."22
Did Phinehas receive "his orders directly and solely from the Holy Spirit?" Were Phinehas' actions "spontaneous without consultation and/or premeditation" or "on personal initiative?" Let us once again look at the Biblical account and let it answer those questions for us:
And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom
with the daughters of Moab. And they [the Moabites] called the people
[of Israel] unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people [of Israel] did
eat, and bowed down to their [the Moabites'] gods. And Israel joined
himself unto Baalpeor: and the anger of Yahweh was kindled against
Israel. And Yahweh said unto Moses…. (Numbers 25:1-4)
Note first, that it is not recorded anywhere that Yahweh or the Holy Spirit spoke to Phinehas as the previous author claimed. Instead, Yahweh instead spoke to Moses who was the head under Yahweh of the civil body politic, the theocratic government of his day. Did Moses himself proceed vigilante style to carry out Yahweh's directive? Not at all. As the earthly head under Yahweh, Moses gave government orders to the judges of Israel:
And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men
that were joined unto [the Moabite god] Baalpeor. (Numbers 25:5)
What happened next?
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…. And when Phinehas …
saw it … [he] took a javelin in his hand; and he went after the man of
Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, [Zimri] the man
of Israel, and [Cozbi] the [Midianite] woman through her belly. So the
plague was stayed from the children of Israel. (Numbers 25:6-8)
Where in this passage of Scripture is there any authorization for vigilantism or for equating vigilantism with Phinehas and his descendants? There simply is no vigilantism of any kind in Numbers 25. What is described was clearly a government action by the theocratic body politic in force at that time.
The previous author claimed that since Moses' directive was to the judges of Israel and because Phinehas was a priest, therefore Phinehas' actions qualified as vigilantism. However, this author also admitted:
"The Priests could act as judges in some cases…."23
Even if Moses' directive was not specifically meant to include Phinehas (which there is no way to determine for sure), what Phinehas did certainly does not qualify as a spontaneous or personally initiated vigilante action. Phinehas was simply following orders, Yahweh's orders given through Moses. Additionally, there was nothing in Yahweh's orders to indicate that the judges had sole responsibility to carry out Moses' orders. There is no Biblical evidence that Phinehas was a judge, but he certainly may have been since the priests often performed as judges (Deuteronomy 17:12; etc.) and since he was the first to arise and carry out Moses' command. If anything, it would appear that Moses had been given the authorization himself for vigilante action, but instead Moses understood that it was to be executed through the civil body politic.
So much for Biblical sanction for vigilantism from Numbers 25, and, so much for a modern-day Phinehas priesthood. However, by example, the Scriptures do sanction two other forms of vigilantism: 1) If an existing government does not execute justice concerning someone's personal belongings, specifically one's family and possessions, by the example of Abraham in Genesis 14, that person, most specifically the head of one's family, has the right to take matters into his own hands, and to retrieve and/or judge the perpetrators of the crime. Never the less, it should also be understood that although such a response may be sanctioned by God, the existing government may still harshly judge those responsible for such vigilante acts. In other words, in such a situation one had better first count the cost before taking the law into his own hands.
2) By the example of Moses in Exodus 21, if a person is a witness to a crime as it is being perpetrated, such as robbery, rape or murder, that witness is permitted and even expected to do whatever is necessary to halt the criminal in his tracks. In such a situation, there will be little or no time to call 911, and vigilantism is justified and Biblically authorized in such instances.
Although the foregoing examples are Biblically sanctioned forms of vigilantism, nearly all other forms of vigilantism (that is, taking matters into your own hands) usurp theocratic judicial procedure. Yahweh requires that all crimes be adjudicated by a judge, confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses, and in capital cases that the execution be carried out, not by one individual, but rather by the whole community led by the victim's next of kin.
Vigilantism, except in a few instances, transgresses prescribed Biblical procedure and, thus, is criminal in behavior itself. In other words such people are Phinehas hoods, not a Phinehas priesthood.
Finally, there is one last thing about Numbers 25 that is frequently misrepresented and needs to be corrected. Many teach that one of the sins punished in the Phinehas incident was miscegenation, that is, race mixing. One author wrote:
"Phinehas … exercised the command of YaHWeH in putting
miscegenators (blood-mixers) to death…."24
"From the account given to us here in Scripture, it seems that the
duty of a Phinehas Priest is putting to death race-mixers and
idolators [sic] when the civil authorities do not do their job."25
From that mistaken premise, the same author assumed that it is therefore permissible to expand upon what Phinehas presumably did to include the same judgment upon other sins as well:
"I feel it may be safe to assume [It is instead extremely dangerous
to assume what this author goes on to speculate.] that the very thing
for which God rewarded Phinehas, then also became the very purpose
of the Priesthood thereafter. It may also be possible that the Priesthood
duties could also be expanded to include dispensing God's judgment
on other types of perverts who are not punished by the so-called 'law of
the land': prostitutes (and those who frequent them), rapists, child
molesters, incest offenders, murders, Sodomites, etc. Although there
is nothing so stated in Scripture, such would be possible if God so lead
[sic] a true Phinehas to stand in the gap so God would not have to judge
the whole community for the unchecked iniquities among them."26
This author is on very dangerous ground by subtly promoting acts of vigilantism in areas that Yahweh, Himself, never sanctioned. Additionally, perhaps it is God's intention to judge the whole community because of their transgressions.
This author is correct in that the sin explicitly denounced by Yahweh in Numbers 25 was that the Israelites had joined themselves to the pagan god Baalpeor. But there is nothing in Numbers 25 that speaks of race mixing. Race mixing requires the presence of two different races. The men in Numbers 25 are identified as Israelites, and the women are identified as the daughters of Moab and/or Midianites. Both the Moabites and the Midianites were blood relatives of the Israelites. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot, Abraham's nephew (Genesis 19:30-37), and the Midianites were descendants of Abraham by Keturah (Genesis 25:1-2).
If the sin in Numbers 25 had been race mixing then one must be prepared to accept that Moses (as recorded in Numbers 31:18) promoted race mixing. At the time the Midianites were punished for their sin in Numbers 25, Moses spared the Midianite virgins for the Israelite men, as permitted by God's law in Deuteronomy 21:10-13. In other words, Israelite men were allowed to take virgin, non-Israelite women of the same race (such as the Midianites) for wives, except from the forbidden lineages of Moab, Ammon and Caanan. The idea that Numbers 25 involved race mixing is just another mistake taught by those who promote a Phinehas priesthood for today.
To all of what has been stated in this treatise, someone may want to respond: "Well, at least they [the Phinehas hoods] are doing something!" Yes, that is true, but for which side? Most acts of vigilantism violate Yahweh's judicial procedure. Additionally, Christian Israel's enemies use such unlawful acts of idiocy to malign us and our Christian Israel message. In some cases, these enemies use such incidents of vigilantism to promote and initiate legislation that takes away more of our liberties and further enslaves us.
When we run ahead of God, that is, without God, it ends in utter failure. God has brought the present government and its curses upon us because of our sins, and no acts of vigilantism are ever going to change the tide. Yahweh, through the Prophet Isaiah, warned us that actions in transgression of Yahweh's law may very well make matters worse for the descendants of Jacob/Israel27:
Woe to the rebellious children, saith Yahweh, that take counsel, but not
of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that … add
sin to sin. (Isaiah 30:1)
The answer to our problems, in capsulated form, is right where it has always been:
If my [Yahweh's Christian Israel] people, which are called by my
name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and
turn from their wicked ways; then will I [Yahweh] hear from
heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14)
As the people of God, we must repent of our sins! There are no vigilante shortcuts! There are no Phinehas priests! May Yahweh raise up more righteous men to preach the gospel of the kingdom so that our people will repent of their sins and serve Him as the KING of all kings! Amen.
1. Mike Wilson (Times Staff Writer), "Reputation for racism taints church's welcome," The Times (St. Petersburg, FL: March 21, 1997) p. 8B.
2. Walter E. Thody, "Why Phinehas Priests in America?," 2 Real MEN, #4 (Atlanta, GA: 1997) p.1.
Since The Phinehas Hoods first appeared in the Kingdom Journal (published by Pastor James Bruggeman, PO Box 6388, Asheville, NC 28816), Mr. Thody has repented of calling himself a Phinehas Priest, although he has not repented of his unlawful actions: "…[Walter Thody, formerly Ralph Baker] founded an alleged Phinehas Priesthood group in 1990, which name was erroneously used, but for which activity no apology is made, and is currently serving cumulative sentences of life plus 125 years … for allegations of bank robberies related to funding of that group." Walter E. Thody, Author Biography, 1998.
3. Richard Kelly Hoskins, Foreword, Vigilantes of Christendom: The Story of The Phineas Priesthood (Lynchburg, VA: The Virginia Publishing Company, 1990) p. v.
4. Robert Alan Balaicius, The War Between the Children of Light and the Powers of Darkness (Mountain City, TN: Sacred Truth Ministries, 1997) p. 191.
5. Where the Tetragrammaton (the four Hebrew characters that represent the personal name of God) has been improperly rendered as "the LORD" or "GOD" in Scripture, the author has taken the liberty to correct those passages and insert God's personal name, Yahweh, as should have been done by the English translators.
6. Balaicius, p. 191.
7. "Yashua" is the English transliteration of our Savior's Hebrew name, and is preferred by the author.
8. Thody, p. 191.
9. Balaicius, p. 125.
10. Balaicius, p. 129.
11. Balaicius, p. 129.
12. Balaicius, p. 174.
13. Balaicius, p. 129.
14. Balaicius, p. 123.
15. Balaicius, pp. 178-179.
16. "subjective," Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam Co., 1975) p. 1159.
17. For a fuller explanation concerning the Biblical plan of salvation, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism and God Accepts No Substitutes can be ordered on two sixty-minute cassette tapes from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, NE 69363. A $4.00 donation for each tape or a $6.00 donation for both tapes is suggested. These two tapes are available free of charge for anyone who cannot afford to send a donation.
18. Balaicius, p. 162.
19. Balaicius, p. 143.
20. Thody, p.143.
21. Balaicius, p. 138.
22. Balaicius, p. 139.
23. Balaicius, p. 142.
24. Balaicius, p. 121.
25. Balaicius, p. 142.
26. Balaicius, pp. 142-143.
27. God's Covenant People: Yesterday, Today and Forever, a 465-page book written by Evangelist Ted R. Weiland, provides a documented dissertation regarding the identity of Israel with today's Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Scandinavian, Celtic and kindred peoples. To obtain a copy, write Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, NE 69363. Hardcover - $23.00, soft cover - $14.00 ppd.