Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3


Flattery and False Sympathy

There is nothing which will please the people better than to be praised and flattered when they are in darkness and wrong, and deserve reproof. Korah gained the ears of the people, and next their sympathies, by representing Moses as an overbearing leader. He said that he was too harsh, too exacting, too dictatorial, and that he reproved the people as though they were sinners when they were a holy people, sanctified to the Lord, and the Lord was among them. Korah rehearsed the incidents in their experience in their travels through the wilderness, where they had been brought into strait places, and where many of them had died because of murmuring and disobedience, and with their perverted senses they thought they saw very clearly that all their trouble might have been saved if Moses had pursued a different course. He was too unyielding, too exacting, and they decided that all their disasters in the wilderness were chargeable to him. Korah, the leading spirit, professed great wisdom in discerning the true reason for their trials and afflictions. 3T 345.2

In this work of disaffection there was greater harmony and union of views and feelings among these discordant elements than had ever been known to exist before. Korah's success in gaining the larger part of the congregation of Israel on his side led him to feel confident that he was wise and correct in judgment, and that Moses was indeed usurping authority that threatened the prosperity and salvation of Israel. He claimed that God had opened the matter to him and laid upon him the burden of changing the government of Israel just before it was too late. He stated that the congregation were not at fault; they were righteous; that this great cry about the murmuring of the congregation bringing upon them the wrath of God was all a mistake; and that the people only wanted to have their rights; they wanted individual independence. 3T 346.1

As a sense of the self-sacrificing patience of Moses would force itself upon their memories, and as his disinterested efforts in their behalf while they were in the bondage of slavery would come before them, their consciences would be somewhat disturbed. Some were not wholly with Korah in his views of Moses and sought to speak in his behalf. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram must assign some reason before the people why Moses had from the first shown so great an interest for the congregation of Israel. Their selfish minds, which had been debased as Satan's instruments, suggested that they had at last found out the object of the apparent interest of Moses. He had designed to keep them wandering in the wilderness until they all, or nearly all, should perish and he should come into possession of their property. 3T 346.2

Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and the two hundred and fifty princes who had joined them, first became jealous, then envious, and next rebellious. They had talked in regard to the position of Moses as ruler of the people until they imagined that it was a very enviable position which any of them could fill as well as he. And they gave themselves up to discontent until they really deceived themselves and thought that Moses and Aaron had placed themselves in the position which they occupied in Israel. They said that Moses and Aaron exalted themselves above the congregation of the Lord in taking upon them the priesthood and the government, and that this office should not be conferred on their house alone. They said that it was sufficient for them if they were on a level with their brethren; for they were no more holy than the people, who were equally favored with God's peculiar presence and protection. 3T 346.3