Question: I’ve long wondered about Balaam’s statement concerning Israel: “...lo, the people....shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Nm 23:9). Was that ever fulfilled, or is it for the future?
Answer: Balaam is one of the most enigmatic—and tragic—characters in Scripture. He was inspired of God (“the spirit of God came upon him” - Nm 24:2) to make genuine prophecies. He foretold the star that the wise men followed at the birth of Jesus (24:17). Yet he was killed by Israel at God’s command (31:1-3, 8, 16) and is in hell (2 Pt 2:15-22; Jude 11; Rv 2:14).
His prophecy about Israel not being reckoned among the nations was first of all a reiteration of what Moses understood (Ex 33:16), as God had declared: “I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people....that ye should be mine” (Lv 20:24, 26). And as a prophecy, it has literally come true in our day.
Israel has been a member of the United Nations for more than 50 years. As the only democracy in the Middle East, she surely deserves to be treated at least as well as the oppressive Muslim dictatorships all around her. Instead, she is treated as an outcast by the very UN that helped birth her. Of the UN’s 189 member nations, 188 (including terrorist regimes) are allowed to take their places for two-year rotating terms on the UN Security Council. Syria came on again on Oct. 8, 2001. Israel is the one exception—the only state not reckoned among the nations which are allowed so to serve.