The Biblical Examiner 
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand 


August 1997

Christian Identity


Christian Identity

and the Phinehas Priesthood

[I can understand the impetus behind the Identity movement. Our own community is seeing a great influx of Mexicans, even illegal immigrants. Then a White school teacher came down from Lafayette to a public meeting being held over the matter, and said that she rejoiced that America's Anglo-Saxon culture was being destroyed.]

     Earlier this year (1997), there was a group of men who took violent actions against "evil." Their defense was centered in a supposed "Phinehas Priesthood." The first trial of the accused men resulted in a hung jury. The second trial resulted in convictions.

     The national media showed the men being arrested for their actions, and mentioned that they robed the banks for funds to finance their "White supremacy" cause. But it is quite interesting that there was a total media blackout about their trial, quite unlike the Oklahoma City trial. Why? I complemented The Spokesman-Review for posting their articles on the web.[1] They responded that it was their duty to keep folks informed. I then asked why they did not sound the alarm about the U.S. Constitution being bared from the courtroom. They did not respond to that question.


     What Happened?

     In the far North West, three men were accused of bombing a Planed Parenthood abortion clinic, the Spokane Valley office of The Spokesman-Review, and twice robbing an U.S. Bank branch (April 1 and July 12, 1996) The three men were: Charles Barbee, 45 (he used "Yah" instead of "God" during the second trial), Robert Berry, 43, and Verne Jay Merrell, 51. Their first trial, April, 97, resulted in a hung jury (one person "hung" the jury). Their second trial, July, 97, resulted in convictions. The three are members of the Idaho militia, and were followers of "Christian Identity." The three considered Randy Weavers' 1992 siege on Ruby Ridge a life-changing experience -- proof Uncle Sam is waging war on U.S. citizens.

     Part of Barbee's defense in the second trial was that he read a book detailing the story of the "lost tribes" of Israel. That book led him to say, "I'm an Israelite. I feel I'm a descendant of one of the lost tribes." Part of the Christian Identity doctrine which came out during the trial was the Christian Identity teaching that Northern Europeans are the true Israelites and that modern Jews descend from Satan.[2]


     Constitution Bared

     In order to get a conviction, the judge barred the U.S. Constitution. In the second trial, Judge Frem Nielsen asked if any juror had read the Citizens Rule Book, and told them that if any held to any of those feelings or beliefs, they "wouldn't be qualified to serve as a juror on this case." Though the news account did not mention this, the Rule Book simply contains copies of the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Ten Commandments and the Communist Manifesto, accompanied by comments by our founding fathers on the dangers of civil government. It tells jurors that they are the ones with the final say in the courtroom, not the judge.[3] In other words, Nielsen told the prospective jurors for the second trial that if any believed the U.S. Constitution, they were disqualified from sitting on the jury. A copy of the Rule Book taken from Barbee's home by FBI was offered as evidence by the defense over the strong objections from the FBI. It was permitted by Nielsen, but he warned the jurors not to take the pamphlet (i.e., the U.S. Constitution) to heart.

     Letters left at the bombing and robbery scenes contained references to Yahweh, a Hebrew name for God popular among Identity. The letters were signed "Phineas Priests," with the "Phinehas Priesthood" symbol, which is used within the Aryan Nations by some who claim to be "Phineas Priests."

     Some of the "incriminating evidence" found in Merrell's vehicle and used against him was a Bible with the words, the Lord crossed out and the word "Yahweh" handwritten in the margins, a cassette of a sermon by Christian Identity preacher Pet Peters titled, "The War on Whoredom," and fake Oregon driver's licenses.


     Barbee's testimony as reported by the Spokesman-Review is worth repeating:

As Merrell did in the earlier trial, Barbee called himself an ambassador of Yahweh and said God occasionally manifests himself in people. (This is taught by Hoskins, as we will see, ed.)

"He could manifest himself through you, right?" Harrington asked. (Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Harrington, ed.)

"Or through you," Barbee shot back.

Barbee also said usury -- the charging of interest -- is a crime, but only between Israelites.

"Israelites can't charge Israelites interest, but they can charge strangers interest," Barbee said.

And Barbee said Phineas -- a biblical figure who killed an Israelite man after he slept with a foreign woman -- was justified in murdering the mixed-race couple.

"He was given an everlasting priesthood," Barbee said.


     On a following day, Harrington said,

"These men are at war. They believe violent acts against the 'Babylonic' society are justified by their biblical views."


     After the guilty verdict was delivered, one of the comments reported by the Spokesman-Review was:

John Nugent keeps a copy of a threatening letter mailed by the terrorists in a folder at his desk at Planned Parenthood. Nugent looks at the letter once a week to remind himself of the punch in the stomach delivered by mail Sept. 11.

"We keep it as a reminder of those religious individuals who would like to impose their religion on others," said Nugent, the new executive director of Planned Parenthood of Spokane and Whitman Counties.


     "... those religious individuals who would like to impose their religion on others."

     Nugent's statement is a very common statement as the wicked desire to be free from any restraints of God's standard of right living. Nugent's words will be used against all Christian efforts to reinstill godly standards into society, and the radical "Phinehas Priesthood" anarchism will be used to gain public support. The public will support the increased warfare against any Biblical Christianity that seeks any return to godly standards as civil law. Nugent complained of one's religion being imposted on others, but he failed to mention that his religious belief is not only imposed on others, but it forces others to finance his religion that requires the sacrifice of unborn children to the god of mammon, e.g., tax supported Planned Parenthood.


     After the Verdict

     The Valley clinic reopened, and helped 20 patients that day — no doubt, to kill their babies. The Editor of the Spokesman-Review, Chris Peck, said the system worked. But he did not note that the "system" could only work after the U.S. Constitution was thrown out of the courtroom. (I am not even implying that what these men did under the color of Biblical authority was "constitutional.") Though U.S. Attorney Jim Connelly refused to speculate on why the second jury favored the prosecution more than the first, throwing out the U.S. Constitution probably helped. Defense attorneys plan to appeal. A fourth man has been arrested as a bombing suspect, Brian Ratigan, 38, and prosecutors are preparing for a September trial. Sentencing for the three is set for Oct. 6, 1997.


     "Phineas Priests"

     The "Phineas Priests" are a product of the Christian Identity movement, howbeit, a very radical fringe of Identity. Identity followers claim to be the true decedents of Abraham, and some even go as far as to say only the Anglo-Saxons decended from Adam. Identity supports its claim with "secular," non-Biblical history, archeology, lies, misrepresentations, speculations, false premisses, personal opinions, misused Scriptural words with uniquely Identity meanings, verses wrested from their Scriptural context, the Apocrypha (giving it equal authority with the 66 books — particularly first and second Maccabees), Josephus (giving him equal authority with Scripture), allegories, superficial word studies (no deeper than Strong's'), misused and misapplied parables, and very vivid imaginations. Some adherents go as far as claiming to be the true Hebrews of Scripture. (Some even refuse to be called by the name, Christian, saying that the average Christian is known for his lawlessness, i.e., despite for the Commandments of God.) Claiming to be the true Hebrews of Scripture, some Identity adherents literally keep all the rites and rituals of the old Hebrew nation, even the ceremonial laws done away with by the work of Christ. (Col. 2:14.)

     As seen above, some who have been charged by the civil authority with "lawless" actions have used as their defense Numbers 25:1-15. Their claim is that since they, as White, Anglo-Saxons, are the true, literal, physical decedents of Abraham and Jacob (who was the true Biblical Hebrew/Israelite), and because they have a zeal to see God's laws against social wickedness enforced, they are the legal heirs before God to the office and promise of the covenant of an everlasting priesthood given to Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, vv. 11-13. (Cf. Ps. 106:30.) Their defense for taking violent action against the social wickedness that the civil government refuses to take is that being the proper decedents of Phinehas and his covenant, they have the God-given right to violently act as did Phinehas against obvious social evils. Keep in mind what they identify as social evils worthy of "judgment."

     Though very small, this growing group within the "Christian Identity" (also identified with the "Aryan Nation") movement believes God has uniquely chosen a few people to violently execute His wrath and judgment against the ungodly. This group believes that when the civil authority fails to execute righteous judgment — that is, uphold Biblical Law — God has given them authority to execute that judgment. Though not advocating outright taking the lives of the ungodly, their writings strongly imply that such action by select private individuals is authorized by the Lord God Himself.[4] They trace their supposed authority to the actions of Phinehas against the wicked deed of Zimri and Cozbi. (Num. 25.) They call themselves members of the "Phinehas Priesthood". (Note that Phinehas is spelled differently by different authors: Phinehas and Phineas.)


     Does it Concern Genuine Christians?

     What makes the "Phinehas Priesthood" anarchistic movement so dangerous to genuine Christians who love the law of the Lord is that these "priests" act as individual, independent agents, accountable to no man, under the color of the law of the Lord. Unless the Christian God (Who, by the way, was manifested in human flesh and named Jesus, though they seem to hate the name of Jesus) intervenes, the ungodly will use this anarchistic group's actions to dramatically suppress those who love the law of the Lord and desire to influence others with it. At the very least, the wicked will identify all who claim to love the law of the Lord with this radical, anarchistic group in Christian Identity. After all, those who hate the law of the Lord as given through Moses already believe that those who desire to see that law return as the social norm (as it once was) are out to violently force it upon them. Those who hate the law of the Lord believe those who love the law of the Lord must be stopped at all cost. (Cf., Ps. 2.) As the Identity and the "Phinehas Priesthood" movements gain momentum, the ungodly could easily use their actions to declare illicit anyone who believes the Ten Commandments are God's current standards for all of life and thought. (Many professed Christians would thus escape the wrath of the ungodly, for they do not believe that anyway.)

     We must lay the blame for the increased following of Identity, and other groups such as the Mormons, at the feet of church leaders who fail to teach anything from the pulpits except how to feel good about one's salvation and self. (I am on several mailing lists, and with few exceptions, all the Bible messages in the materials simply deal with salvation, justification, forgiveness of sin, and maybe civil government — hence, Identity, Mormons, &c. People do not know God's written Word in areas other than the few mentioned..)

     Those supporting the "Phinehas Priesthood" consider several things evil enough to require violent action against by the "Phinehas Priests." Among those things are: 1) resisting and/or violating God's Law; 2) lending money — that is, those who charge interest, i.e., bankers, and 3) those who pass and enforce taxes, particularly against property.


     Blood Mixing

     However, to Identity, and to the "Phinehas Priesthood" particularly, the most vile of all evils is to be "biologically lawless" — that is, Anglo-Saxon, who alone are Israelites, mixing with non Anglo-Saxons.[5] Nevertheless, they do not take a strong stand against fornication and adultery among Anglo-Saxons. Inter-racial copulation, i.e., Anglo-Saxon and any other race, is the peak of wickedness. "Blood mixing," they hold, was the sin Phinehas stood against. Zimri, a Hebrew, was copulating with Cozbi, a non-Hebrew, and thus had God's wrath against him. God, according to this corrupt thinking, passed His judgment on Zimri and Cozbi because they were "mongrelizing" the Hebrew race. A bastard in the Identity religion mean a mix raced person, a mongrel—an Anglo-Saxon (Hebrew/Israelite) and a non Anglo-Saxon. Some even go as far as to say that the "bastard" is to be bared from the "congregation" for ten generations. (Deut. 23:2.) Obviously, the stand against "blood mixing" is a cornerstone in the Anglo-Saxon religion, the Identity faith:

     Phinehas was not the only one who exercised the command of YaHWeH in putting miscegenators (blood-mixers) to death; yet he was the only one awarded this "special" Priesthood. ... Did God simply draw a name out of a hat by lottery and arbitrarily decide to honor that one man, though he had done nothing extraordinary? I think not![6]


     Thus the evil for which the two were killed in Numbers 25 was "blood-mixing." God then exalted Phinehas because he acted without thinking against "blood-mixing."[7]

     Besides the obvious corruptions of the facts of Numbers 25 by Identity, that faith fail to recognize that: 1) Jacob's sons, the first twelve Israelites, all took non Israelite brides; 2) a great many Egyptians departed Egypt with Israel, and were absorbed so throughly that the mixed multitude is not referred to again after the golden calf; 3) Ruth was a Moabite; 4) Rahab was a Canaanite, and 5) Israelite soldiers were permitted to marry non-Israelite captives (Deut. 21:10ff.).[8]


     "Phinehas Priesthood" — Two Schools of Thought

     There are two schools of thought behind the "Phinehas Priesthood" — one presented by Richard Kelly Hoskins, and the other by Robert Alan Balaicius.

     First, "Phineas Acts." Hoskins presents the following idea, and it is the most openly radical and dangerous.

     The scripture states that election of the Priesthood of Phineas was achieved by eagerness and dedication to uphold God's Law. Phineas proved that he was ready to act for his people in other capacities in addition to that of the General of the Armies.

Honors were his because he proved his dedication. Praises were given; recognition and approval abounded. Greater responsibilities awaited.[9]


     According to Hoskins', anyone (restricted, of course, to Anglo-Saxons), both men, e.g., Ehud (Judges 3:1-30) and women, e.g., Jael (Judges 4), desiring to see the Law of God enforced and civil wickedness suppressed is ordained of God to take whatever action necessary against evil. The person does not even have to be a "Christian" to take action against social evil, e.g., Robin Hood is used as an example of justifiable action against bankers and high taxes:

Robin Hood, a Phineas Priest, sired a host of imitators...

The thing that Phineas heros hold in common is their dedication to the word - the dedication to enforcing God's Law. Their ends also all read alike. Most are martyrs or are willing to be martyrs to the cause... There are countless others, some of whom are mentioned in the pages following. The thing all have in common is the fanatical drive to enforce God's Law and to fight the tyrant and lawbreaker of the day.[10]

     The ideas in the "Phinehas Priesthood," presented by both Hoskins and Balaicius, sound very much like Moslem fundamentalists who consider it a privilege to kill and be killed for their faith. This is a very dangerous aspect of the "Phinehas Priesthood", for in their acts, they are willing to forfeit their lives for their faith. In fact, under "Actions Have Consequences," Balaicius implies that the "Phinehas Priest" must be willing to suffer, and even die, for his violent actions against the ungodly.[11]

     Second, "Phineas Linage." Believing that there still exists a literal, physical linage to Aaron and thus a literal priesthood, Balaicius stands against a "Phineas Act" priesthood, but not against the violent acts:

As I shall show, preforming a so-called "Phinehas act" does not make a person a Phinehas Priest, but rather only one who is truly a Phinehas Priest can perform that which is truly a Phinehas act. Therefore, a nonPhinehas who perpetrates a seemingly "Phinehas act" is merely a criminal.[12]


     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 a dog.

Militant readers take note: What did God say? Did God say He promised this Priesthood to whomever wished to be a member of it? Did God say He offered the Priesthood to anyone who wanted to do "zealous deeds"? Did God say He ordained the Priesthood to whomever was voted to be the Phinehas for a certain event? No! It was ordained and promised solely to direct, physical descendants of Phinehas—and none other! ...

The only true, legitimate Phinehas Priest is that person who has descended directly from Phinehas. It seems quite odd to me that professing Israel believers (who realize that only physical descent makes one an Israelite) cannot see that the same rules apply to the Phinehas Priesthood, which is but a special Priesthood within the Levitical-Aaronic Priesthood. There is no "spiritual Phinehas Priesthood" any more than there is a "spiritual Israel."

     It is not just enough to be descended from Israel, but one must also be called, chosen, and ordained. We know that physical descent through Israel alone is not enough to inherit eternal life, but that one must be a redeemed Israelite; that is, each Israelite must personally, at some point in time in his life, come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, formally repenting of his sins and accepting the gift of salvation by confessing with his mouth the Lord Christ YeHoSHua, thus coming under the blood of the Lamb of God: the Divine sacrifice which atoned for our sins. And further, in order to be a vessel of honor which God will use, one must be holy: daily walking in obedience to Christ, by being filled with the Holy Spirit in order to be able to follow the Law of God, and do that which is pleasing in God's sight.

     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:

1) a pure-blooded Israelite;

2) a redeemed Israelite;

3) who is first and foremost a Levitical Priest;

4) who has served with honor;

5) who is a direct descendent of Phinehas; (He is very dogmatic on this point, saying that "the responsibilities of a Phinehas Priest are only given to those who have actually descended from Phinehas...," ed.)

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 spiritual leader.[13]

     Balaicius admits that there is no way one can prove "that he is a descendent of Phinehas," for the records were burned by "General Titus." But he does not let that stop him as he continues to develop the modern "duties" of his "Phinehas Priest." His "Phinehas Priesthood" operates to enforce God's wrath against the wicked apart from any human authority — the "priest" receives his instructions directly from God, and many times, he acts alone and on a moment's notice. His "Phinehas Priesthood" acts according to "obedience to the divine will ... inwrought..."[14] Scofieldites cannot condemn Balaicius, for Balaicius' "Phinehas Priesthood" simply obeys what he, the "priest," feels is best at the time. Balaicius does admit that "Scripture does not formally mention anymore about this controversial Priesthood..."


     So how does one know if he is a "Phinehas Priest"?

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—but he will not act callously as a terrorist or in a random, uncontrollable fashion. Finally, the most important to knowing who a true Phinehas is: a true Phinehas will not be harmed by anyone—including any "government"—for his actions which are sanctioned by God... [H]e will be safe from all retribution by the enemy or anyone...[15]

     According to Balaicius, evil must be purged, and if civil authority will not do it, the "Phinehas Priesthood" has been ordained by God to do it. One major point in the Identity faith, though not held by all, is that non-Israelites cannot be saved. With no hope of the conversion of those outside the Anglo-Saxons, these folks are left with no hope of any social change through the preaching of the gospel, leaving them with only physical violence to change the wicked who are not genuine Anglo-Saxons. Though Balaicius speaks of true concern for and compassion toward one's brother, his definition of brother is a fellow Anglo-Saxon.[16]


     Dispensationalism Run Amuck

     Balaicius is strongly dispensational, looking for a coming millennial reign when Iarael, i.e, the Anglo-Saxons, will reign with Christ over the non Israelites. Until Christ comes and delivers the Anglo-Saxons once and for all from the clutches of evil men in authority, the Anglo-Saxons must suffer, with only a few, isolated instances of the "Phinehas Priests" working to deliver them temporally from that suffering. And "YaHWeH will deliver them "just in the nick of time..."[17]

     The above is a very abbreviated overview of the false doctrines and assumptions presented by both Hoskins and Balaicius as they try to justify the violent actions of supposed "Phinehas Priests."


     What is Going On?

     Knowing man's fallen nature and his desire to find support for his opinions, we should NOT find the absurdities mentioned above surprising. As we see, both Hoskins and Balaicius, by corrupting Scripture, agree that violent, physical action is God's answer in our day against wickedness. The major difference between the two is how is the "Phinehas Priesthood" ordained. One of the more obvious problems of both schools of the evil "Phinhas" thought is that they see that the enemies of God must be confronted with violence and a sword (the purpose of the "Phinehas Priesthood") rather than with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God and conversion of all peoples to Christ. (See 2 Cor. 10:4, &c.) Actually, the physical subduing of the enemies of God rather than subduing their spirits through conversion to Christ is an outgrowth of millennialism, for that faith says it is impossible to subdue enemies without physical violence.

     Those supporting the "Phinehas Priesthood" argue that Phinehas held no "official" office permitting him to commit the act; nor did Phinehas act upon a direct command by God, for the offenders were not under his jurisdiction as a judge; nor did he act in fulfillment of any revealed law or duty, for no blame would have attached to him if he had let it alone. He thus saw a problem, and acted on his own. Yet his "unauthorized" action stopped God's judgment against Israel.[18] Therefore, using Phinehas' actions, there are those who claim to be heirs to the covenant made with him by God, and thus they claim God's authority to take action against evil where civil authority will not.

     The movement goes further: There are those "taking the law into their own hands" under the guise of defending God's Law who use the Maccabean wars to justify their actions. In 1 Maccabees chapter two we read:

1 In those days arose Mattathias the son of John, the son of Simeon, a priest of the sons of Joarib, from Jerusalem, and dwelt in Modin. 2 And he had five sons, Joannan, called Caddis: 3 Simon; called Thassi: 4 Judas, who was called Maccabeus: 5 Eleazar, called Avaran: and Jonathan, whose surname was Apphus. 6 And when he saw the blasphemies that were committed in Juda and Jerusalem, 7 He said, Woe is me! wherefore was I born to see this misery of my people, and of the holy city, and to dwell there, when it was delivered into the hand of the enemy, and the sanctuary into the hand of strangers? 8 Her temple is become as a man without glory. 9 Her glorious vessels are carried away into captivity, her infants are slain in the streets, her young men with the sword of the enemy. 10 What nation hath not had a part in her kingdom and gotten of her spoils? 11 All her ornaments are taken away; of a free woman she is become a bondslave. 12 And, behold, our sanctuary, even our beauty and our glory, is laid waste, and the Gentiles have profaned it. 13 To what end therefore shall we live any longer? 14 Then Mattathias and his sons rent their clothes, and put on sackcloth, and mourned very sore. 15 In the mean while the king's officers, such as compelled the people to revolt, came into the city Modin, to make them sacrifice. 16 And when many of Israel came unto them, Mattathias also and his sons came together. 17 Then answered the king's officers, and said to Mattathias on this wise, Thou art a ruler, and an honourable and great man in this city, and strengthened with sons and brethren: 18 Now therefore come thou first, and fulfil the king's commandment, like as all the heathen have done, yea, and the men of Juda also, and such as remain at Jerusalem: so shalt thou and thy house be in the number of the king's friends, and thou and thy children shall be honoured with silver and gold, and many rewards. 19 Then Mattathias answered and spake with a loud voice, Though all the nations that are under the king's dominion obey him, and fall away every one from the religion of their fathers, and give consent to his commandments: 20 Yet will I and my sons and my brethren walk in the covenant of our fathers. 21 God forbid that we should forsake the law and the ordinances. 22 We will not hearken to the king's words, to go from our religion, either on the right hand, or the left. 23 Now when he had left speaking these words, there came one of the Jews in the sight of all to sacrifice on the altar which was at Modin, according to the king's commandment. 24 Which thing when Mattathias saw, he was inflamed with zeal, and his reins trembled, neither could he forear to shew his anger according to judgment: wherefore he ran, and slew him upon the altar. 25 Also the king's commissioner, who compelled men to sacrifice, he killed at that time, and the altar he pulled down. 26 Thus dealt he zealously for the law of God like as Phinees did unto Zambri the son of Salom. 27 And Mattathias cried throughout the city with a loud voice, saying, Whosoever is zealous of the law, and maintaineth the covenant, let him follow me. 28 So he and his sons fled into the mountains, and left all that ever they had in the city. 29 Then many that sought after justice and judgment went down into the wilderness, to dwell there: 30 Both they, and their children, and their wives; and their cattle; because afflictions increased sore upon them.[19]

     King Antiochus moved against Mattathias because Mattathias refused to submit to the king's laws, for they violated God's law. Though Antiochus offered clemency to Mattathias and his followers who had fled, Mattathias refused to compromise. Antiochus moved on the sabbath against those who fled, and they refused to fight on that day — about a thousand were killed. The killings caused Mattathias to determine to fight on the sabbath. Those who were devoted to the law joined with Mattathias. Mattathias and his friends then went around about killing sinners, pulling down altars and circumcising the children Antiochus had forbidden to be circumcised: "So they recovered the law out of the hand of the Gentiles, and out of the hand of kings, neither suffered they the sinner to triumph." (1 Mac. 2:48.)

     When the time drew near for Mattathias to die, he called his sons together:

49 Now when the time drew near that Mattathias should die, he said unto his sons, Now hath pride and rebuke gotten strength, and the time of destruction, and the wrath of indignation: 50 Now therefore, my sons, be ye zealous for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of your fathers. 51 Call to remembrance what acts our fathers did in their time; so shall ye receive great honour and an everlasting name. 52 Was not Abraham found faithful in temptation, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness? 53 Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment and was made lord of Egypt. 54 Phinees our father in being zealous and fervent obtained the covenant of an everlasting priesthood. 55 Jesus for fulfilling the word was made a judge in Israel. 56 Caleb for bearing witness before the congregation received the heritage of the land. 57 David for being merciful possessed the throne of an everlasting kingdom. 58 Elias for being zealous and fervent for the law was taken up into heaven. 59 Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, by believing were saved out of the flame. 60 Daniel for his innocency was delivered from the mouth of lions. 61 And thus consider ye throughout all ages, that none that put their trust in him shall be overcome. 62 Fear not then the words of a sinful man: for his glory shall be dung and worms. 63 To day he shall be lifted up and to morrow he shall not be found, because he is returned into his dust, and his thought is come to nothing. 64 Wherefore, ye my sons, be valiant and shew yourselves men in the behalf of the law; for by it shall ye obtain glory. 65 And behold, I know that your brother Simon is a man of counsel, give ear unto him alway: he shall be a father unto you. 66 As for Judas Maccabeus, he hath been mighty and strong, even from his youth up: let him be your captain, and fight the battle of the people. 67 Take also unto you all those that observe the law, and avenge ye the wrong of your people. 68 Recompense fully the heathen, and take heed to the commandments of the law. 69 So he blessed them, and was gathered to his fathers. 70 And he died in the hundred forty and sixth year, and his sons buried him in the sepulchres of his fathers at Modin, and all Israel made great lamentation for him.

     And thus the Maccabean wars were set in motion under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus. Though we will not discuss the wars here, the accounts in 1 & 2 Maccabees are good reading. We see above that Phinehas' actions against sin were used to motivate those who loved the law of God. He motivated them to take military action against those who were against God's Commandments to His people. (Judas Maccabeus was of the line of Aaron.) Keil's footnote for Numbers 25:8, pretty well sums up the "Phinehas Priesthood" thinking:

Upon this act of Phinehas, and the similar examples of Samuel (I Sam. xv. 33) and Mattathias (1 Macc. ii.24), the later Jews erected the so-called "Zealot right," jus zelotarum, according to which any one, even though not qualified by his official position, possessed the right, in cases of any daring contempt of the theocratic institutions, or any daring violation of the honour of God, to proceed with vengeance against the criminals. (See Salden, otia theol. pp. 609 sqq., and Buddeus, de jure zelotarum apud Hebr. 1699, and in Oelrich's collect. T. I. Diss. 5.) The stoning of Stephen furnishes an example of this.[20]

     Zeal for God's Law that results in violent action after Christ has God's curse against it. Accordingly, in the above mentioned movement, there are men (e.g., Charles Barbee, Robert Berry, and Verne Jay Merrell) whose radical Identity faith sees them as the physical heirs of Israel, even Hebrews. They thus consider themselves justified in moving against those whom they consider are in "daring violation of the honour of God." Their faith sees themselves as the ones who must save their Anglo-Saxon society from the overwhelming evils taking place against their race. Because they have no hope for the conversion of non-Anglo-Saxon sinners, they must take violent action, for it was Phinehas' action that stopped God's plague against the Anglo-Saxon nation, Israel. Using Phinehas as an example, who they believe had no "official" right to kill the sinners though he did it with God's blessings, they feel justified in taking "vengeance against the criminals." They believe they do so with the same blessings of God as Phinehas had.[21]


     Phinehas, the Truth.

     We find in Numbers 25:1-6:

     1) the women of Moab offered their "pleasures" to the men of Israel. Along with the "pleasures," the women strongly influenced, if not required, the men to participate in their evil worship of Baal. "They committed the one for the sake of being indulged in the other."[22] Their purpose, of course, was to move Jehovah God's hand against His own people. Unable to curse Israel, Balaam instructed Balak as to how he could get the Lord to move against His own people. (See Num. 24; 2 Pet. 2:15; Jude 11 & Rev. 2:14, fornication, both "carnal and spiritual whoredom.")[23]

     2) the purpose was accomplished, and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.

     3) the Lord God gives His instructions, v. 4:

     Ver. 4. And the Lord said unto Moses, &c.] Being provoked with the sins of the people, he called to him out of the tabernacle, or out of the cloud:

     take all the heads of the people, the princes of the tribes, not to hang them, but to judge those that worshipped Peor, as Jarchi interprets it; though some think that these having sinned, were ordered to be taken and hanged, and made public examples of; but it can hardly be thought, though there were some that might be guilty of the above sins, as Zimri, yet not all of them:

     hang them up before the Lord against the sun; that is, those that were guilty of idolatry: the meaning is, and which all the Targums give into, that these heads of the people were to assemble at some proper place, the court of judicature, and order the delinquents to be brought before them, and try, judge, and condemn those they found guilty, and cause them to be hanged somewhere near the tabernacle, and before it, having neglected the worship of God there, and served an idol; and this was to be done openly in the daytime, that all might see and fear; and if it was the sun that was worshipped in this idol, as some think, they were hanged against the sun, to show that the idol they worshipped was not able to deliver them; but, in the face of it, and as it were in defiance of it, they were ordered to be hanged up; and this, according to the Targum of Jonathan, was in the morning against the rising sun, and where they hung all day, and were taken down at sun setting:

     that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel; when justice had taken place, and proper punishment was inflicted upon the criminals, whereby a just resentment was made against sin, and God glorified.[24]


     ... (them) does not refer to the heads of the nation, but to the guilty persons, upon whom the heads of the nation were to pronounce sentence. —Ver. 5. The judges were to put to death every one his men, i.e. such of the evil-doers as belonged to his forum, according to the judicial arrangements instituted in Ex. xviii. This command of Moses to the judges was not carried out, however, because the matter took a different turn.[25]

     The heads of the people, the leaders, were to make diligent inquiry as to who had joined in the fornication and idolatry, and capital punishment was to be publicly administered against the guilty. (Cf. Exo. 21:22ff.)

     4) Moses speaks to the judges of Israel, v. 5. These were either the heads of the people or the rulers as established in Exodus 18. Every judge, or ruler, was responsible for those within his jurisdiction. If the accused was found guilty, he was to be executed either by the hands of the judges or those appointed by them.

     5) the depth of the evil within Israel is shown by the openness with which a man sought to commit his wickedness — in the very midst of the weeping of the people before the Lord over the plague. We might notice here that, evidently, the vast majority of the people were not involved in the wickedness; rather, they mourned over the turn of events. Good men were bewailing the sin and its results.

     6) the congregation was weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. To this physical, literal location sinners were brought for judgment, and from this location went forth God's judgment against sin, e.g., Numbers 16.

     7) Phinehas observed what the Israelite was doing, for the man purposely flaunted his evil before all those at the door of the tabernacle. Phinehas followed the man and woman into his family's tent, and thrust them both through, the woman through her belly.

     [B]y which, it seems, they were killed in the very act of uncleanness; this was an extraordinary action, done by a person of public authority, and under a more than common emotion of spirit, and not to be drawn into an example by persons of a private character.[26]

     8) the Lord gave a promise to Phinehas for his zeal:

     His descent and genealogy is observed as before, partly to show that he was not a private person, but a man of public authority that did the above fact; perhaps one of the judges that Moses ordered to slay every man his man, and therefore what he did by the order of the supreme magistrate; and partly to show that he was heir apparent to the office of high priest, who in course was to succeed in it; nor should this action of his hinder it, but rather serve to secure and confirm it to him:[27]

     Christ's zeal for the house of God caused Him to take matters into His own hands, but He did not act in any manner contrary to civil law, Psalms 69:9 Mark 11; John 2.

     Phinehas' zeal for the law of the Lord received a covenant of peace, and an everlasting priesthood.

     a) Phinehas was assured by the Lord God that his line would remain in the priesthood. It did, interrupted for a time by Eli (1 Sam. 1-3, 14:3), "unto the coming of the Messiah, in whom it had its fulfilling end."[28] Solomon restored the line of Phinehas. The book of Hebrews clearly tells us that Christ is the One with the everlasting priesthood, and it is not the Aaronic priesthood, Hebrews seven. Either God lied to Phinehas or to Christ, or the two work together. Obviously, the two must work together, for God cannot lie. Therefore, the covenant of peace and the everlasting priesthood must have been a type of Christ, Who had a consuming zeal for His Father's name and law.

     1 Chronicles 6:4-15, traces Phinehas' seed to the carrying away by Nebuchadnezzar.

     It is remarkable, too, that the priests who serve in Ezekiel's ideal temple are always styled 'the sons of Zadok' (4046 4319 4415 4811), as if they could claim no higher antiquity.[29]

     Zadok is mentioned as a descendant of Phinehas in 1 Chronicles 6:8. Therefore, the sons of Zadok who minister in Ezekiel's temple must be spiritual, as was the promised seed of Abraham. (Gal. 3:29.) Fairbairn proves that Ezekiel's end time temple is a type of the Church under the Gospel:

     2. What has been said respecting the form of the prophet's communication, is confirmed by the substance of it; as there is much in this that seems obviously designed to force on us the conviction of its ideal character. There are things in the description which, taken literally, are in the highest degree improbable, and even involve natural impossibilities. This was long ago marked by Lightfoot, in regard to the dimensions of the temple and city: "And now, if any one will take up the full circuit of the wall that encompassed the holy ground, according to our English measure, it will amount to half a mile and about 166 yards. And whosoever likewise will measure the square of Ezek. xiii. 20, he will find it six times as large as this, the whole amounting to three miles and a half and about 140 yards—a compass incomparably greater than Mount Moriah divers times over. And by this very thing is showed that that is spiritually and mystically to be understood.... As for a literal respondency of that city and temple (viz. those which were to be built after the return from Babylon) to all the particulars of this description, it is so far from it, that Ezekiel's temple is delineated larger than all the earthly Jerusalem, and his Jerusalem larger than all the land of Canaan. And thereby the scope of the Holy Spirit in that ichnography is clearly held out to be, to signify the great enlarging of the spiritual Jerusalem and temple, the Church under the Gospel, the spiritual beauty and glory of it,—as well as to certify captived Israel of hopes of an earthly city and temple to be rebuilt; which came to pass upon the return under Cyrus." (Description of Temple, pp. 5, 6. Ed. 1650.)[30]

     b) Christ, not Phinehas, is the legal heir to the covenant of peace. (Ps. 89:28, 29; Isa. 54:10; Mal. 2:5.) In fact, Christ is the covenant of peace. (Isa. 42:1-7; 49:8; 53:5; Eze. 37:26; Eph. 2:14.)


     Is everlasting everlasting?

     Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. (1 Sam. 2:30.)

     The unbiased reader can scarcely fail to see a plain allusion to the promise to Phinehas, and a no less plain assertion that the promise was conditional..., as are all the promises of God.[31]


     Phinehas, a Civil Ruler

     And Shallum the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah, and his brethren, of the house of his father, the Korahites, were over the work of the service, keepers of the thresholds of the tent, and their fathers, set over the camp of Jehovah, were keepers of the entrance. And Phinehas the son of Eleazar was the ruler over them formerly; Jehovah was with him. (1 Chron. 9:19, 20.)

     Phinehas was a ruler over the Korahites, and had, besides his priestly office, civil authority when he moved against the sin. Moreover, Phinehas commanded the army that went out against the Midianites, Numbers 31:6-8; Phinehas led the delegation of civil leaders to check out the altar built by the two and a half tribes, Joshua 22:13-20.

     Clearly, Phinehas, though the son of Aaron in line for the office of high priest, had great authority in Israel as a civil leader (his civil authority was evidently in the tribe of Levi, but the people gladly accepted it throughout Israel. He was the eldest son of Aaron, Exo. 6:25). Thus he clearly was not acting in the office of the priest when he took action in Numbers 25; he was acting in the civil capacity he held at the time.

     It is not at all difficult to justify Phinehas in what he did; for, being now heir-apparent to the high-priesthood, no doubt he was one of those judges of Israel whom Moses had ordered, by the divine appointment, to slay all those whom they knew to have joined themselves to Baal-peor, so that this gives no countenance at all to private persons, under pretence of zeal against sin, to put offenders to death, who ought to be prosecuted by due course of law. The civil magistrate is the avenger, to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil, and no private person may take this work out of his hand.[32]


     Phinehas' Authority

     Phinehas, after replacing his father as high priest, sought the Lord's direction in the war against evil in the tribe of Benjamin. (Jud. 20:28.) It is interesting that Ezra was a descendant of Phinehas. (Ezra 7:1-5.) Other children of Phinehas played very important roles in restoring the temple. (Ezra 8:2, 33.) A point that must not be overlooked is that before any of the sons of Levi, i.e., Aaron, could claim any kind of authority to do anything they had to prove their genealogy back to Aaron, and thus to Levi. In other words, any kind of a modern claim to a "Phinehas Priesthood" can only be a corrupt figment of someone's very vivid and wild imitation, for no person can prove his genealogy to Aaron, a fact admitted by Balaicius.


     False Claim, Zeal.

     The false (and totally ludicrous) claim to any kind of authority from Phinehas is based upon a "zeal" for the law of God — that is, one has the same "zeal" as did Phinehas. In this corrupt faith, zeal proves that a person has a proper claim on that "priesthood" to take violent action reserved only for civil authority. (Rom. 13:1-5.)[33] Paul addresses zeal:

     Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. (Rom. 10:1-4.)

     Zeal, but not according to knowledge. Though not all involved in the movement reject Christ and His substitutionary work for sinners, the more "radical" insist that Christ died only for the Anglo-Saxon race, whom they identify as Israel. Some go further, saying that they are to continue the old rites and rituals of the Hebrew religion that were done away with in Christ. Paul describes those who believe and teach any kind of continuation of the rituals of the Mosaic law and regulations of the Jewish traditions (philosophy, love of wisdom) as vain deceivers, Colossians 2:7-9. Certainly, they may have zeal for the Law of God, but their zeal is not according to knowledge of the reconciling work of Christ that redeems people to the Father out of every kindred, and language, and people, and nations... (Col. 1:20ff.; Rev. 5:9. As Paul said, they are ignorant of God's righteousness, and have gone about to establish their own righteousness; they have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.


     The Lord Jesus Christ

     One of the main things those involved in the "Phinehas Priesthood" movement do is reject the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the Word of God. Most in the Identity faith seem to stand against the name of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. Of course, the "Jews" reject Christ and His completed work, so even today they attempt to continue the line of the Aaron/Phinehas priesthood. (The Identity faith militates against the name Jesus, using instead, "YaHWeH.")



     First, God's kingdom on earth is not advanced nor defended today by the sword, but by the Sword of the Spirit. (Eph. 6:17.) It is advanced by preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 10:4.) God's kingdom is defended by teaching serious, in-depth doctrine, which God's people seem to despise today, Jude 3. The average, immature Christian today cannot handle the strong meat that would protect him from things like Identity with its corrupt "Phinehas Priesthood." People do not know God's Word—they love the modern emotional Bible teaching that makes them feel good. They search out the speakers who make them feel good, and pastors know it—it has laid a firm foundation for the rise of things like Mormonism and Identity. The Spirit speaks clearly—it is the power of the gospel that changes men, not the threat of the sword. (Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18ff.) People who do not know Scripture nor the power of God to change men from the inside out are left with nothing but violent action, Matthew 22:29.[34]

     Second, the Maccabean wars were before Christ. Accordingly, they were comparable to what took place in the book of Judges, for Christ's kingdom is not expanded nor defended with a sword but with the preaching of the whole council of God's Word. (John 18:11, 36; Rom. 14:17; Col. 1:12, 13.)

     Third, Phinehas was a member of the group commanded by Moses to kill the transgressors. He acted according to the specific command given to his group in that situation.

     Fourth, over the past 30 years of working with people, I have found that once folks make up their minds to believe something, only the supernatural working of God's Spirit can change their ideas. In other words, those who justify taking matters into their own hands by the ludicrous claim of a supposed "Phinehas Priesthood" will not change their opinions regardless of the facts presented from the Word of God. In fact, the Word of God falls far into the background when it does not support what folks WANT to believe. If they will support what one desires to believe, secular history and archeology become the standard for faith and practice rather than the inspired Word of God.

     Unless God intervenes, the anarchistic actions of a few individuals acting in the name of a supposed "Phinehas Priesthood" will move civil authority even more against those who desire to see God's Law-Word reinstated as the basis of civil law, as was once common law in this country.


End Notes

 1 The entire account is found a [] Summery of the second trial is located at []

2 This is Identity's "Seedline Doctrine." See Identifying Identity by this pastor.

3 The Citizens Rule book can be ordered from: Whitten Printers, 1001 S. 5th St., Phoenix, AZ. (602) 258-6406.

4 "Nothing in this book is to be misconstrued to be advice. This book does not purpose to encourage anyone to exhibit any type of behavior or to perform any type of action." Emp. his. Robert Alan Balaicius, The War Between The Children of Light and The Powers of Darkness: How The Christian-Israelite Can Live In An Evil World System Iincluding: The True Story of The Phinehas Priesthood. 3.

5 Richard Kelly Hoskins, VIGILANTES OF CHRISTENDOM, The history of THE PHINEAS PRIESTHOOD. 36.

6 Emp his. Balaicius, 121

7 This writer continues to be amazed at the flagrant corruption of Scripture taking place in the Identity movement, yet it attracts good people who should be able to think for themselves. Most, if not all, of the corruptions of Scripture taking place in Identity are covered in Identifying Identity, by this pastor.

8 Moab was the son of Abraham's nephew, Lot, and one of his daughters, but the problem with Ruth is explained away by saying that she was actually an Israelite living in Moab, thus a Moabite. Balaicius, 437.

9 Hoskins, 39.

10 Hoskins', 56-61.

11 Balaicius, 158-164.

12 Emp. his. Balaicius, 116.

13 Emp. his. Balaicius, 125-129, 157. Balaicius goes to great length to trace the line of Phinehas, but he admits he can only go as far as the destruction of Jerusalem, 165-174.

14 Balaicius, 139, 174, 138, 139. Old Scofield Bible, 1245.

15 Balaicius, 178, 179. See also, 150ff. Note that those who take violent action will not know the "truth" until they "get away with it." If they get caught, they were not the real thing. However, Balaicius said the true "priest" must be prepared to die if necessary for his cause, 158. The inconsistencies in false religions are overwhelming.

16 Balaicius, 61, 48, 68. Identifying Identity deals with the salvation issue and many other wicked doctrines within the Identity faith.

17 Balaicius, 82, 83, 109, 117, 155, &c.

18 See The Pulpit Commentary, 2: 345, 346. The Pulpit Commentary "solves" the problem of anarchy by saying that Phinehas lived in a different dispensation, which is partly true.

19 Online Bible, V. 7.01. There are several versions of the Apocrypha. This writer likes the Confraternity - Douay Version best, but the one quoted above is on the Online Bible CDROM. It was simple cut and past.

20 Emp. added. Keil-Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Fourth Book of Moses, 206.

21 Those promoting a "Phinehas Priesthood" sound far more like the zealots who challenged Jesus Christ in Mat. 22:17, &c. Edersheim's treatment of the zealots of Christ's day is worth reading, and will show that the radical, unbiblical thinking behind the "Phinehas Priesthood" is not new, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, I. 237-242; ii. 385. I find it interesting that BDB gives the meaning for Phinehas, the negro, a meaning from old Egypt, Online Bible. Online Bible gives an lternate meaning, Mouth of brass. Gill: "Phinehas signifies either 'the face of him that spares', that is, of God, that spares; Christ is the face of God, the express image of his person, even of him, who, though he spared not Christ himself, yet he spares his people for Christ's sake; or else 'he shall look that spares', or 'and spare'; that is, God, who looks upon the person, righteousness, blood, and sacrifice of his Son, and spares his people."

22 Gill, Online Bible

23 Keil.

24 Gill.

25 Keil.

26 Gill

27 Gill.

28 Gill. See Gill's complete comments on Num. 25:13.

29 James Hastings, A Dictionary of the Bible, 1: 7.

30 Patrick Fairbairn, An Exposition of Ezekiel, 437.

31 Hastings, 1: 6; 3: 854

32 Matthew Henry, Commentary, 1: 688. (Online Bible.)

33 Note that both Hoskins and Balaicius believe that inward zeal to take violent action is the "calling of God." Romans 13, what to do with it? This pastor has a 60 + page document dealing with vv. 1-7.

34 Please note we are not addressing what is happening today in the Sudan. See Chalcedon Report, Sept. 97.

Pastor Need

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