Numbers 16:1–3, Took men…rose up…gathered together against. Notice a progression (or downward spiral) of actions on the part of Korah and his rebels. They separated themselves from fellowship, rose up against Moses, gathered together others of like mind and 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 lays one’s life down in service, spiritual reward, advancement and blessing will occur for that person (Matt 20:27; 23:10).
Rebels, like Korah, tend to separate themselves from fellowship, seek out other like-minded rebels, and then rise up in defiance and accusation against godly leadership. Again, this leads to political power. The way of spiritual power 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 sharing their goods with one another. The result was real spiritual power authority and anointing from heaven, and not power based on usurpation, human pride, degradation of others and self-promotion. This can only happen as people forsake not the assembling of themselves together (Heb 10:25), function according to the place and spiritual calling within the spiritual body of Yeshua submitted one to another as they walk in the spiritual light YHVH’s instructions in righteousness—the Torah.
Additionally, Yeshua taught that true power in the kingdom of Elohim is a result of one laying one’s life down for his brother and 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 and selflessness rather than seeking to be served, which stems from a heart of selfishness and pride (Matt 20:25–28; 23:11–12).
The Jewish sages note that Korah and his band of malcontent 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, and eventually it leads to judgment and death. Is this not the path Lucifer took in his rebellion against YHVH Elohim? (Read Isa 14:12–23.)
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—get the heat off of themselves, pass the buck and blame others.
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.
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 authority—Satan—when YHVH judges 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 (from the altar). 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 men 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 16:41, There came out a fire from YHVH. Even after Elohim’s tremendous display of powerful judgment against the rebels, the people still continued in their complaining. Man is very arrogant and right in his own eyes. He will defend himself even to the death. How many times do we face YHVH’s judgment in our lives (perhaps health issues, financial troubles, broken relationships, legal problems, etc.), but we still refuse to repent and change our attitude toward others and our Heavenly Father? How long will we refuse to obey the laws of YHVH? How long will we insist on doing things our way, instead of YHVH’s way? The choice is ours: obey YHVH and be blessed, disobey and suffer the long and short-term consequences of our sin and rebellion against Elohim.
Numbers 16:44–48, They fell on their faces. Moses was a true intercessor or intermediary between YHVH and the people, and he was a prophetic picture of Yeshua who is our spiritual Advocate (legal representative) before Elohim. YHVH wanted to destroy the people for their unending rebellion and murmuring, yet Moses and Aaron interceded on their behalf and many lives were saved. How often are we inclined to write people off who have wronged us instead of interceding for them, praying for their salvation, healing, welfare or whatever their need may be? Do you go through life rendering good for evil? Where is the love of Elohim in all of this? It’s all about love—the love of YHVH in us toward a dying and hurting world. Aaron went among the dying people burning incense (verse 47). Incense is symbolic of prayer—the prayers of the saints (Rev 5:8; 8:4). How much time do you spend each day in prayer for others—or is most of your time spent in selfish prayer? Do you spend time each day in meaningful prayer? It has been reported that the average American Christian spends as little as ten minutes a week in prayer, and the average pastor about ten minutes per day. Is it any wonder this nation is as spiritually sick as it is? Perhaps the quality of your life would improve if you spent more time each day in prayer and intercession.
Here are some scriptures that reveal the work of Yeshua the Messiah as the Mediator between Elohim (the Father) and man, and as the only way to the Father:
Yeshua says unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
Truly, truly, I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my [Yeshua’s] name, he will give it to you. (John 16:23, see also 14:13, 14, 16; 16:24, 16.)
But these are written, that you might believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of Elohim; and that believing you might have life through his name. (John 20:3)
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with Elohim through our Master Messiah Yeshua by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of Elohim. (Rom 5:1–2)
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of Elohim is eternal life through Messiah Yeshua our Master. (Rom 6:23)
Who is he that condemns? It is Messiah that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of Elohim, who also makes intercession for us. (Rom 8:34)
But thanks be to Elohim, which gives us the victory through our Master Messiah Yeshua. (1 Cor 15:57)
Wherefore you are no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of Elohim through Messiah. (Gal 4:7)
But now in Messiah Yeshua you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Messiah. For he is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto Elohim in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Eph 2:13–18)
In whom we have boldness and access [to the Father in heaven] with confidence by the faith of him [Yeshua]. (Eph 3:12)
For there is one Elohim, and one mediator between Elohim and men, the man Messiah Yeshua; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Tim 2:5–6)
Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to Elohim, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (Heb 2:17)
Wherefore, set-apart brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Messiah Yeshua. Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. (Heb 3:1–2)
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Yeshua the Son of Elohim, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:14–15)
So also Messiah glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, “You are my Son, today have I begotten you.” As he says also in another place, “You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb 5:5–6)
Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Yeshua, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (Heb 6:19–20)
Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: we have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.… But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. (Heb 8:1–2, 6)
But Messiah being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the set-apart place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.… And for this cause he is the mediator of the renewed covenant, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.… For Messiah is not entered into the set-apart places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of Elohim for us. (Heb 9:11–12,15,24)
By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Yeshua Messiah once for all. And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins, but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of Elohim.… having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Yeshua, by a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of Elohim. (Heb 10:10–12,19–21)
And to Yeshua the mediator of the recently born/youthful covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel. (Heb 12:24)
My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Messiah Yeshua the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world … I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. (1 John 21–2,12)
Korah —A Character Study of a Malcontent, a Rebel and a Humanist
The Spirit of Korah
The spirit of Korah is currently alive and well on planet earth. The righteous must discern, identify and then oppose this evil spirit. Everywhere in every way, this demonic spirit of rebellion is attempting to destroy the work of YHVH Elohim on earth.
The spirit of Korah is the spirit of rebellion against YHVH and his divine authority and biblical truth. In our society, it is manifested in the philosophies of secular humanism, atheism, the New Age Movement, radical environmentalism, earth worship, progressivism, socialism, Marxism, evolution, which are all aspects of the Babylon the Great, New World Order political-religious system that will oppose the saints of Yeshua and Yeshua himself at this second coming. We also see this spirit at work, supported and encouraged in international politics, in our own government, in our educational systems, in the media, in the false religions of the world, and in the apostate church where foundational Judeo-Christian biblical values are being rejected and even demonized.
The spirit Korah, the rebel, has even worked its way into the modern church system where it is attempting to subvert and pervert the truth of Elohim as revealed in the Bible, and to undermine legitimate, YHVH-ordained authority. Every man becomes his own spiritual leader, refuses the accountability afforded by authentic godly spiritual leadership, and basically chooses to do what is right in his own eyes. Many modern churches are going so far as to water down or reject core biblical truths and values and instead emphasize ecumenism, New Age thought, one-world spirituality and a social activist paradigm. Ultimately, this is a rejection of the divine truth of YHVH Elohim as revealed in the Scriptures.
The rebellion of Korah and his comrades against Moses and Aaron and Elohim’s resulting judgment against them is a prophetic picture of what will happen in the end times against all modern Korah-like rebels. In fact, it is a picture of the judgment of Elohim that will happen to ALL sinners who choose to rebel against YHVH, his will, his Word and truth, his plans and purposes and those on this earth who are carrying out his will.
The spirit of Korah continues to manifest itself in uprisings against godly authority both within the church, and globally as the New World Order, which the Book of Revelation calls Babylon the Great, takes a more strident and virulent stand against Elohim, the Bible and the saints.
The fate of Korah and his band of rebellious malcontents is a prophetic picture of YHVH’s end time judgments against all those who dare to stand against him. The second chapter of Psalm speaks about this:
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against YHVH, and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: Adonai shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.… Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
The Spirit of Korah Under a Microscope
Although Korah was a Levite, the grandson of Levi, and therefore a cousin to Moses and Aaron, he was not a priest, but he coveted the priesthood given to Aaron and his sons.
Dathan, Abiram and On were sons Reuben who was the disinherited firstborn son of Jacob and coveted the leadership role over Israel that YHVH had given to Moses and Aaron.
In their minds, this group of men had legitimate and legally based grounds for being discontent. Korah was a Levite and Dathan and his friends were leaders of the firstborn tribe of Israel.
In their minds, they had legitimate gripes against Moses and Aaron. On that basis, they
- Numbers 16:1 “took men,”
- Numbers 16:2, “rose up,”
- Numbers 16:3, “gathered themselves together”
- Numbers 16:4, and accused Moses saying, “You take too much upon yourselves.”
These are the steps that a rebellious malcontent takes in coming against YHVH-ordained authority.
There are biblical or godly ways for the righteous to respectfully redress grievances to authority when they feel injustices have been committed. The daughters of Zelophehad were shining examples of how to do this (Num 36:19). Yeshua also addresses this in Matthew 18 (compare with Matt 5:38–42) as does Paul in 1 Timothy 5:19.
The Scriptures reveal that there are four spheres of YHVH-ordained authority on this earth against humans will typically rebel. One can find the spirit of Korah at work in all of these spheres attempting to usurp authority and foment rebellion. These spheres are:
- Ecclesiastical (church)
Lucifer Was the Original Rebel
Satan is the originator of all rebellion against YHVH-ordained authority. He was the original Korah, and the one behind the Korah’s rebellion. Scripture tells us that Satan
- Coveted YHVH’s position of authority,
- Gathered together malconent angels to oppose YHVH,
- Rose up in rebellion against YHVH,
- Falsely accused YHVH to Adam and Eve.
Isaiah records the steps Satan took in rebelling against YHVH’s authority.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation [i.e., Mount Moriah], in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (Isa 14:12–17)
Notice all the rebellious “I wills” statements in this passage. Satan the original rebel against YHVH’s rule is the originator of humanism, which is the exaltation of man’s will and authority over that of YHVH.
“Korah” at the Garden of Eden
Satan the serpent was the original Korah. Such rebellion had its roots in the Garden of Eden at the tree of knowledge where the serpent, the archenemy of YHVH enticed man to rebel against YHVH’s divine law, and purported to exalt man to a position to be able to determine for himself what is right and wrong. The roots of modern secular humanism are to be found in the lies of the serpent at the tree of knowledge. For example, the serpent lied when he told humans that they could chart their own course and determine their own ethics or lack thereof without YHVH’s guidance. This approach has led to all the sin and misery on earth to this day!
In modern politics, the democracy movement is a manifestation of the spirit of Korah. In this case, the majority of the people determine what is right or wrong and not the Bible. The problem is that the will of the people is constantly changing with the times, and is dictated by the carnal, fallen, rebellious and sinful natures of humans, and not by the unchanging and divinely revealed truth of Elohim. There are no set standards that determine what is right or wrong, no immovable boundaries, and no points on a compass to guide people in the right direction.
The spirit of Korah ultimately proclaims, “POWER TO THE PEOPLE! GOD IS DEAD or he is at least irrelevant!” In reality, it isn’t power to the people. This is just a smoke and mirrors lie. In reality, it is only power to a small ruling elite who, once in power, lord it over the people, and enslave the people for their own evil and selfish purposes, which invariably involve personal enrichment and the accrual of power to that minority. So, in the end, the people are no better off than they were before—usually worse off. They bought the big lie, and they lost. Satan always promises much, and delivers little, if anything. The results are bondage, misery and ultimately death. This is what Satan, the serpent, did to Adam and Eve, and his tactics have never changed.
The Roots of Babylon the Great—Nimrod Was a “Korah”
The Bible reveals in Genesis chapters ten and eleven that Nimrod collectivized people into cities and founded Babylon. This city state later became a great empire. This was the prophetic forerunner of the end times Babylon the Great of the Book of Revelation.
- Nimrod was the world’s first dictator (Gen 10:8).
- He put himself in a place where he was before (in front of) YHVH (Gen. 10:9).
- Nimrod endeavored to exalt man through human efforts to the level of YHVH by building a tower that would reach to heaven (Gen 11:4).
- Nimrod wanted man to make a name (fame, reputation, glory, a memorial) for himself vis-à-vis YHVH. He promoted the self exaltation of man and the diminishing YHVH (Gen 11:4).
As YHVH judged ancient Babylon—it is now an uninhabited desert wasteland in modern Iraq, so YHVH will destroy modern Babylon the Great.
YHVH’s Judgment Against the Spirit of Korah
YHVH will render judgment against those who come under the spirit of Korah. He will not tolerate his plans, purposes and will to be subverted by self-appointed, egomaniacs who go about fomenting discontent and rebellion against Elohim-ordained authority.
YHVH let us know what he thought of Korah’s rebellion when he caused the earth to open up and swallow Korah and his band of rebels (Num. 16:32). Before judgment came upon Korah, YHVH told those around him twice to separate themselves from Korah (Num 16:21, 24), so that they wouldn’t come under Korah’s judgment. Likewise, in the end times, YHVH is calling his people to separate themselves from Babylon so that they don’t come under the plagues of that end time Antichrist system (Rev 18:4).
Those rebels who were part of Korah’s rebellion who didn’t perish in the pit, were destroyed by fire from heaven (Num 16:35). Similarly, at the end of the age, Yeshua will return to the earth to judge the wicked—those who come under the influence of Satan have attempted to take over the earth and subvert righteousness and enforce their evil agendas upon mankind. What will be their fate? Satan will also be thrown into the bottomless pit as were Korah and many of his followers, and the beast and false prophet will be cast into the lake of fire, even as fire destroyed the rest of the Korah’s rebellious malcontents. At the end of the Millennium, fire will come down from heaven to destroy those from Gog and Magog who under Satan’s influence will attempt to dethrone Yeshua (Rev 19:7–10). After this incident, the white throne judgment occurs where all rebels who have ever lived will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 19:11–15).
The Book of Jude: Story of Rebellion and Moral Perversion
Jude in his short epistle equates Cain with humanism (i.e. my way, not YHVH’s way), Balaam with greed (the love of money) and Korah with rebellion and lust for power. I advise the reader to review the whole book of Jude in this light.
The main point of Jude is how men rebel against divine authority and turn from the common salvation message of Yeshua and the gospel, which is the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3), and embark on a downward path of moral and spiritual decay. The result is that the “grace of Elohim is turned into lasciviousness” (unrestrained moral looseness; verses 7–8). The spirit of Korah uniting with the spirits of Cain (humanism) and Balaam (greed and lust) is about discarding spiritual and moral restraint and turning to moral and spiritual perversion. The modern liberal Christian churches have already given in to this spirit by accepting pedophile and homosexual priests, ordaining of homosexuals, and accepting adultery, divorce, fornication and abortion. The next step on the downward spiral is “denying the Master Elohim and the Master Yeshua the Messiah” (verse 4). These moral and spiritual perverts and apostates do not want Yeshua to be their Lord or Master and to tell them what to do or what is right or wrong. They defy his laws and make up their own humanistic laws. They are so full of lust and perversion that they will deny Elohim before they will reign in their lustful perversions and repent of their evil sin. This is the state of our society religiously and culturally today in the western church!
The message of Jude is a prophetic warning to the end-times saints not to go buy into the lies of the serpent, and to not rebel against the laws of Elohim, the Creator. In Jude 11, YHVH says, “Woe” to those who go in this direction in following the examples of the evil and rebellious malcontents: Cain, Balaam and Korah.
A Call To Action
What should be the end-time saints response to this epic battle that is occurring between the followers of the serpent and those who choose to obey YHVH? Those who love YHVH’s Torah-instructions and have faith in Yeshua (Rev 12:17 and 14:12) are taking a stand against the spirit of Korah et al when they are returning to the ancient paths of Torah-righteousness. Those who are on this path must dedicate themselves to working tirelessly by being spiritual lights shining in the darkness by obeying YHVH and helping others to see this same light. We must resolve to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered” (Jude 2) and to “keep yourselves in the love of Elohim, looking for the mercy of our Master Yeshua Messiah unto eternal life” (verse 22). We must determine to be instruments in YHVH’s hands to save others who are sliding downward spiritually. “And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (verse 23).
Never forget this: The best defence is a strong offence.