Children’s Study – Moses, Part 34 Korah Rebels Against Moses and Aaron

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Moses – Part 34 Korah Rebels Against Moses and Aaron

Up to this point, we have seen Israel rebel against God, and the leaders He has appointed, many times.

Num 14:22 (KJV) Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;

In our last study, the Lord has declared a very grave punishment for all of Israel’s rebellion – they are all going to die in the desert except for a few of them.  Only a few of them including Joshua and Caleb will enter the promised land.  The lesson this teaches us is that God is very patient with us, but if we continue to rebel against Him, He will eventually destroy our lives.

Num 14:23 (ERV) I promised their ancestors that I would give them that land. But none of those people who turned against me will ever enter that land!

This doesn’t mean that He will not save us.  He will save all men, including the Israelites whom He had punished for their rebellion.

1Ti 4:10 (KJV) For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

He is the savior of all men, especially of those who believe.  He will eventually pardon us from all our sins.

Psa 103:2 (BBE) Give praise to the Lord, O my soul; let not all his blessings go from your memory.
Psa 103:3 He has forgiveness for all your sins; he takes away all your diseases;

That’s why we shouldn’t think that God is unforgiving or cruel whenever we see Him punish someone in the Bible for disobeying His laws.  Here’s one incident where some would think God is being too harsh.

Num 15:32 (CEV) Once, while the Israelites were traveling through the desert, a man was caught gathering firewood on the Sabbath.
Num 15:33 He was taken to Moses, Aaron, and the rest of the community.
Num 15:34 But no one knew what to do with him, so he was not allowed to leave.
Num 15:35 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell the people to take that man outside the camp and stone him to death!”
Num 15:36 So he was killed, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

“He was just gathering sticks!”, the unbelievers will scream and shake their heads.  “Your God is a monster!”, they will say.  Of course they don’t know that He will save everyone, including those who don’t believe in Him.

The Lord had that man killed to show us He is really serious about us obeying His laws.  He even told Israel to put a tassel in their clothing to remind them to do all His commandments.

Num 15:37 (ESV) The LORD said to Moses,
Num 15:38  “Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner.
Num 15:39 (CEV) These will remind you that you must obey my laws and teachings.
Num 15:40 And when you do, you will be dedicated to me and won’t follow your own sinful desires.
Num 15:41 I am the LORD your God who led you out of Egypt.”

Today we don’t use anything in our clothing or jewelry to remind us of His laws and teachings.  What we do is read and study the Bible often and talk to the people of God.

Let’s look at another of Israel’s rebellions:

Num 16:1 (KJV) Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:
Num 16:2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown:

There are four men leading this rebellion: Korah, Dathan, Abiram and On. They are not leading just anyone from Israel.  They were joined by 250 “princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown”.  These are very well-known people among Israel.  They were probably really confident that they were right when they confronted Moses and Aaron.

Num 16:3 (KJV) And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD? 

Num 16:3 (CEV) and Aaron and said, “Why do you think you’re so much better than anyone else? We’re part of the LORD’s holy people, and he’s with all of us. What makes you think you’re the only ones in charge?”

These guys have the same accusation as Miriam and Aaron when they were accusing Moses.  “Hey, you’re not the only one chosen by God, we are too!”  “Who do you think you are?”  “Why are you being arrogant in your position?”

Are any of these claims true? No!  Moses didn’t choose himself to lead Israel.  He didn’t want to do it!  If you remember, he was giving all those excuses to God because he didn’t think he was fit to do it.  Aaron didn’t choose himself to be the priest.  It was God who chose Aaron and his sons to be the priests.  Moses did choose the 70 leaders, but it was God who told Moses to choose 70 leaders, and God approved of those leaders by giving them a measure of His spirit.

Num 16:4 (ESV) When Moses heard it, he fell on his face,
Num 16:5 and he said to Korah and all his company, “In the morning the LORD will show who is his, and who is holy, and will bring him near to him. The one whom he chooses he will bring near to him.
Num 16:6 Do this: take censers, Korah and all his company;
Num 16:7 (KJV) And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi. 

“Ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi”?  Whoa, wait a second!  Aren’t Moses and Aaron sons of Levi?  Yes, they are!  These people, at least most of them, are from the same tribe of Levi.

What does this tell us?  It is the same people of God who claim to be Christians who will persecute us.  Our Lord was persecuted by the same people whom He fed and healed of their diseases.  There will come a time that the leaders of Babylon, “princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown” , will lead everyone against the elect, and they will say the same thing as what Korah is saying here.

“Who do you think you are?”  “You think you’re the only one who can understand God’s words?  No you’re not, we understand it also!”

This time, Moses has been given the boldness to confront this rebellion head on.

Num 16:6 (ERV) So Korah, you and all your followers should do this:
Num 16:7 Tomorrow put fire and incense in some special pans. Then bring those pans before the LORD. He will choose the man who is holy. You Levites have gone too far–you are wrong!”
Num 16:8 Moses also said to Korah, “You Levites, listen to me.
Num 16:9 You should be happy that the God of Israel chose you to be different from the rest of the Israelites. He lets you come near to him to do the special work in the LORD’S Holy Tent to help the Israelites worship him. Isn’t that enough? 
Num 16:10 He brought you Levites near to him to help the priests, but now you are trying to become priests also.

“The God of Israel chose you to come near Him and to do special work for Him.” Isn’t that enough?  Well, obviously, it wasn’t enough for Korah and his company of rebels. This should teach us that we should be content to serve God in whatever capacity He has given us.  In the body of Christ, there are many roles, and we should be content on whatever part God has given us in His church.

Let’s read how God dealt with the rebels:

Num 16:11 (CEV) You and your followers have rebelled against the LORD, not against Aaron.
Num 16:12 Then Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, but they sent back this message: “We won’t come!
Num 16:13 It’s bad enough that you took us from our rich farmland in Egypt to let us die here in the desert. Now you also want to boss us around!
Num 16:14 You keep promising us rich farmlands with fertile fields and vineyards–but where are they? Stop trying to trick these people. No, we won’t come to see you.”

Not so confident now, are we?

Num 16:15 (ISV) Moses was very angry, so he told the LORD, “Please don’t accept their offering. I haven’t taken even one donkey from them nor have I hurt even one of them.”
Num 16:16 Then Moses told Korah, “You and your entire company are to present yourselves in the LORD’s presence tomorrow — you, they, and Aaron.
Num 16:17 Each man is to take a censer, put incense on it, and bring it into the LORD’s presence, each man with his censer, for a total of 250 censers. You and Aaron are each to bring his own censer.”
Num 16:18 So each man took his censer, put fire coals inside of it, placed incense in it, and then stood at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, accompanied by Moses and Aaron.

When you know that the Lord is on your side, you should be as confident as Moses was here.  It doesn’t matter who your enemy is or how many they are, if the Lord is with you, you will prevail.

Num 16:19 (ERV) Korah also gathered all the people together at the entrance of the Meeting Tent. Then the Glory of the LORD appeared to everyone there.
Num 16:20 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron,
Num 16:21 “Move away from these men! I want to destroy them now!”
Num 16:22 But Moses and Aaron bowed to the ground and cried out, “God, you know what people are thinking. Please don’t be angry with all these people. Only one man really sinned.”

Moses and Aaron realized that rebellion starts with just one man.  It is the same inside us.  It starts with one little bad thought in our mind.  If we don’t kill that bad thought with the words of God, it will lead to more bad thoughts.  Pretty soon your whole mind will be polluted.

Num 16:23 (ISV) Then the LORD instructed Moses,
Num 16:24 “Tell the community to move away from where Korah, Dathan, and Abiram are living.”
Num 16:25 So Moses got up and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him.
Num 16:26 Then he told the community, “Move away from the camps of these wicked men and don’t touch anything that belongs to them. That way you won’t be destroyed along with all their sins.”

“Don’t touch anything that belongs to them [so] you won’t be destroyed along with all their sins” is the same thing as telling us to come out of the false churches of this world.  One day, all these false churches will be destroyed, every single one of them.  We will be destroyed with them if we don’t come out of them.

Num 16:27 (CEV) So everyone moved away from those tents, except Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their families.
Num 16:28 Moses said to the crowd, “The LORD has chosen me and told me to do these things–it wasn’t my idea. And here’s how you will know:
Num 16:29 If these men die a natural death, it means the LORD hasn’t chosen me.
Num 16:30 But suppose the LORD does something that has never been done before. For example, what if a huge crack appears in the ground, and these men and their families fall into it and are buried alive, together with everything they own? Then you will know they have turned their backs on the LORD!”
Num 16:31 As soon as Moses said this, the ground under the men opened up
Num 16:32 and swallowed them alive, together with their families and everything they owned. 
Num 16:33 Then the ground closed back up, and they were gone.

When the Lord comes to rule this earth, it will be a terrible day for the false religions of this world.  On the other hand, it will be a joyful day for His elect for they will start their rulership which the Lord has promised them.

Num 16:34 (ERV) The Israelites heard the cries of the men being destroyed. So they all ran in different directions and said, “The earth will swallow us too!”
Num 16:35 Then a fire came from the LORD and destroyed the 250 men who were offering the incense.
Num 16:36 The LORD said to Moses,
Num 16:37 “Tell Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to get all the incense pans from the fire. Tell him to scatter the coals and ashes. These men sinned against me, and their sin cost them their lives. But the incense pans are still holy.
Num 16:38 The pans became holy when people gave them to the LORD. Hammer the pans into flat sheets. Use the metal sheets to cover the altar. This will be a warning to all the Israelites.”
Num 16:39 So Eleazar the priest gathered together all the bronze pans that the men had brought. These men were all burned up, but the pans were still there. Then Eleazar told some men to hammer the pans into flat metal. Then he put the metal sheets on the altar.
Num 16:40 He did this the way the LORD commanded him through Moses. This was a sign to help the Israelites remember that only someone from the family of Aaron should burn incense before the LORD. Any other person who burns incense before the Lord will die like Korah and his followers. 

It is a hard thing to accept that only a few people had been chosen by God to worship Him and rule with Him when He comes back.  Sometimes we think, “How can all these Christians be wrong and only the few elect are right?”  Remember the story of Korah and the 250 famous men when we think this way.  The Lord has chosen only a few to show us His total sovereignty or supreme power over the world.  The Lord has shown mercy to these few men and women so that they can in turn give mercy to the rest of the world.

Rom 9:18 (ERV) So God shows mercy to those he wants to show mercy to and makes stubborn those he wants to make stubborn.
Rom 9:19 So one of you will ask me, “If God controls what we do, why does he blame us for our sins?” 
Rom 9:20 Don’t ask that. You are only human and have no right to question God. A clay jar does not question the one who made it. It does not say, “Why did you make me like this?”
Rom 9:21 The one who makes the jar can make anything he wants. He uses the same clay to make different things. He might make one thing for special purposes and another for daily use.
Rom 9:22 It is the same way with what God has done. He wanted to show his anger and to let people see his power (sovereignty or supreme power). But he patiently endured those he was angry with–people who were ready to be destroyed.

Rom 11:30 (CEV) At one time you Gentiles rejected God. But now Israel has rejected God, and you have been shown mercy.
Rom 11:31 And because of the mercy shown to you, they will also be shown mercy.
Rom 11:32 All people have disobeyed God, and that’s why he treats them as prisoners. But he does this, so that he can have mercy on all of them.

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