Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3


The Rebellion Not Cured

After this terrible exhibition of God's judgment the people returned to their tents. They were terrified, but not humbled. They had been deeply influenced by the spirit of rebellion and had been flattered by Korah and his company to believe that they were a very good people and that they had been wronged and abused by Moses. Their minds were so thoroughly imbued with the spirit of those who had perished that it was difficult to free themselves from their blind prejudice. If they should admit that Korah and his company were all wicked and Moses righteous, then they would be compelled to receive as the word of God that which they were unwilling to believe, that they should certainly all die in the wilderness. They were not willing to submit to this and tried to believe that it was all an imposture, that Moses had deceived them. The men who had perished had spoken pleasant words to them and had manifested special interest and love for them, and they thought Moses a designing man. They decided that they could not be wrong; that, after all, those men who had perished were good men, and Moses had by some means been the cause of their destruction. 3T 351.1

Satan can lead deceived souls to great lengths. He can pervert their judgment, their sight, and their hearing. It was so in the case of the Israelites. “But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord.” The people were disappointed that the matter resulted as it did in favor of Moses and Aaron. The appearance of Korah and his company, all impiously exercising the priests’ office with their censers, struck the people with admiration. They did not see that these men were offering a daring affront to the divine Majesty. When they were destroyed, the people were terrified; but after a short time all came in a tumultuous manner to Moses and Aaron, and charged them with the blood of those who had perished by the hand of God. 3T 351.2

“And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.” Notwithstanding the rebellion of Israel and their cruel conduct to Moses, he still manifested for them the same interest as before. Falling upon his face before the Lord, he implored Him to spare the people. While thus praying for the Lord to pardon the sins of His people, Moses requested Aaron to make an atonement for their sin while he remained before the Lord, that his prayers might ascend with the incense and be acceptable to God, and that all the congregation might not perish in their rebellion. 3T 352.1

“And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague is begun. And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation, and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed. Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah. And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.” 3T 352.2