Numbers 16:5–6,Who is his…take censers. Incense is a biblical metaphor for the prayers of men coming up before YHVH’s throne (Rev 5:8; 8:3). YHVH accepts some men’s prayers as holy and rejects the prayers of other men whom he deems not to be holy. The story of Korah teaches us that YHVH doesn’t hear the prayers of self-centered, self-seeking, prideful and jealous rebels such as Korah et al (Prov 15:29). YHVH’s ears are open to the prayers of the righteous (Ps 34:15; 1 Pet 3:12; Jas 5:16; Heb 11:6). The prayers of a righteous man can be hindered, as well, due to unrighteous behavior such as not treating his wife in a godly manner (1 Pet 3:7), or because we have ought with our brother (Matt 5:23–24).
Numbers 16:14,You have not brought us. The sinful pride of the rebels blinded their ability to see why they had been permitted to come into the Promised Land. Instead of taking personal responsibility for their sin and rebellion as the cause of their plight, they accused and blamed Moses. This is a typical ploy of carnal men who don’t get their way. To get the heat off of themselves, they pass the buck and blame others. In psychological terms this is referred to as projection (blaming others for what you are doing yourself). This blame shifting is a form of obfuscation or psychological manipulation through the use or smoke and mirrors. Some people have turned this into a way of life and, sadly, is largely how they relate to other people.
Numbers 16:19,The glory of YHVH appeared. May the day come soon when the glory of YHVH will begin to appear, so that everyone can see who are his true servants and who are not. In this way,YHVH will make a difference between his holy saints and those who feign it illegitimately (pause and reflect on 1 Pet 4:12–18).
Numbers 16:31,The ground split apart. There earth splitting open and swallowing these rebels is likely a prophetic foreshadow of YHVH’s judgment against the ultimate arch-rebel and usurper of authority, namely Satan the devil, when YHVH will judge him at the end of this age by casting him into he bottomless pit or abyss (Rev 20:1–3).
Numbers 16:35,The children of Israel murmured. Here we see an example of YHVH’s judgment. These 250 men were the wrong men (they were not priests) offering up to YHVH the right fire (presumably from the altar of sacrifice). YHVH struck down Nadab and Abihu who were the right men (they were priests), but they used strange fire (Lev 10:1–2). What can we learn from this? Does YHVH have his prescribed method of how humans are to approach him? Discuss why leaders carry greater responsibility to not lead the people astray and how they will come under greater judgment if they do.
Numbers 16:1–3, Took men…rose up…gathered together against. The story of Korah and company is a classic example of a group of malcontents and rebels attempting to usurp divinely appointed and the arrogantly seizing authority and power for their own selfish purposes. To this day, the theme and variation of this scenario continues to play itself out as one band of humans vies for power at the expense of others be it in the political, economic or religious arenas. The originator of this modus operandi is Satan the devil himself, the arch enemy and adversary of both YHVH and man, and it goes all the way back to the beginning and the serpent in the tree. Korah and his comrades took their rules for radicals out of Satan’s playbook. Let’s now analyze Satan’s means of seizing power versus the righteous, biblical way that YHVH’s servanrts earn the privilege of being a godly leaders.
In Numbers 16:1–3, we see a progression (or downward spiral) of actions on the part of Korah and his rebels. First they separated themselves from fellowship, then they rose up against Moses, then they gathered together others of like mind,and finally they falsely accused leadership of wrong doings. This is the world’s formula for achieving political (humanistic) power and domination. It is the opposite method of advancing in YHVH’s kingdom where the way down is the way up; that is, when one humbly lays one’s life down in service, spiritual reward, advancement and blessing will occur for that person (Matt 20:27; 23:10). There is no greater example of this then Yeshua the Messiah, when he diminished himself and came to this earth to become a man and a servant. This is the supreme example for us all to emulate.
Therefore if there is any consolation in Messiah, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Messiah Yeshua, who, being in the form of Elohim, did not consider it robbery to be equal with Elohim, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore Elohim also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Yeshua Messiah is Lord, to the glory of Elohim the Father. (Phil 2:1–11)
Unlike Yeshua, who was divinely appointed for his mission, rebels like Korah arrogantly appoint themselves to be leaders and then go about attempting to seize power through subversion and violence. First, they separate themselves from fellowship (or the group of which they are a part). Then they seek out other like-minded rebels, and then rise up in defiance and accusation against legal or godly leadership. If their coup is successful, this tactic will catapult these self-appointed perpetrators into positions of political (and economic) power.
On the other hand, the way of attaining to positions of spiritual power the godly way is laid out in Acts 2:42–47, where the followers of Yeshua continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, in fellowship, breaking bread together, in prayer and served one another by sharing their time, talent and treasure. Out of this righteous atmosphere, godly and Spirit-appointed leaders naturally rose to the surface like cream rising to the top of milk. The result was real spiritual power, authority and anointing from heaven. This was not power based on usurpation, human pride, degradation of others and a hubris-based, shameless self-promotion. No. The attainment of righteous authority can only occur as people forsake not the assembling of themselves together (Heb 10:25), function according to their divine gifts and spiritual callings within the spiritual body of Yeshua, while submitted one to another as they walk in the spiritual light YHVH’s instructions in righteousness, that is, the Torah.
Yeshua confirmed the biblical way to servant-leadership, when he taught that true power in the kingdom of Elohim is a result of one laying one’s life down for one’s brother, while serving him in love and humility. Such a person will be elevated to a position of influence and authority because he has learned to serve others in love, altruism and selflessness rather than seeking to be served, which stems from a heart of selfishness, pride and, often, covetousness and greed (Matt 20:25–28; 23:11–12).
The Jewish sages note that Korah and his band of malcontents had come under the power of resentment, which grew and festered until open rebellion broke out. Korah was a fellow Levite and cousin of Aaron, who was among those “overlooked” for the priesthood, and who were relegated to being “mere” assistants to the priests. He was also a firstborn of his household (Exod 6:21), and when the tabernacle sacrificial service was inaugurated Aaron’s sons replaced the firstborn Israelites in offering sacrifices. Furthermore, Dathan, Abiram and On were of the tribe of Reuben, the first-born child of Jacob. These men had their own grudge, since Reuben had lost his birthright as the firstborn son to the sons of Joseph because of sin (note 1 Chron 5:1).
What do we see here? Resentment (a function of pride and selfishness) leads to bitterness, which then leads to separation, then to uprising, then to accusation, then to rebellion against YHVH-ordained authority, then to attempted usurpation of authority. Eventually it leads to judgment and death. Is this not the path Lucifer took in his rebellion against YHVH Elohim—a method that he and his human minions (or useful idiots) continue to this day? (Read Isa 14:12–23.) As with Korah and company, the trajectory of this downward path leads to death. For some, the earth will open its mouth and they will be cast into the bottomless pit. For the rest of the unrighteous, unrepentant malcontents and rebels, their fate is to be cast into the lake of fire, where they will become ashes under the feet of the righteous.
In this video, we explain how the children of Israel’s journey through the wilderness is a biblical metaphor for our life, and the Promised Land is a symbol of salvation and the kingdom of God. We also explain how most Christians have a wrong understanding of why the man was stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath, and why the Torah-law is still Elohim’s standard of righteousness for both Christian Gentiles and the Jews to this day.
In this video, I closed my eyes and opened the Bible and taught on the Scriptures where my finger landed. I first opened my Bible to Proverbs 7:1–9 (on how YHVH’s Torah-law will protect us from evil), then to Hebrews 1:1–10 (on how Yeshua was the God of the Old Testament), and finally to Joshua 22:43–45 (on the rest of YHVH and how it relates to salvation, the kingdom of Elohim, the seventh day Sabbath and the Millennium). And I have a special treat for you at the end of this video. Please enjoy and be blessed as the Word of Elohim edifies you.