Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3


A Lesson for Our Time

In the case of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram we have a lesson of warning lest we follow their example. “Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 3T 353.1

We have evidence in God's word of the liability of His people to be greatly deceived. There are many instances where what may seem to be a sincere zeal for the honor of God has its origin in leaving the soul unguarded for the enemy to tempt and to impress the mind with a perverted sense of the real state of things. And we may expect just such things in these last days, for Satan is just as busy now as he was in the congregation of Israel. The cruelty and strength of prejudice are not understood. After the congregation had the evidence before their sight of the destruction of these leaders in rebellion, the power of suspicion and distrust which had been let into their souls was not removed. They saw the ground open and the leaders of rebellion go down into the bowels of the earth. This fearful exhibition surely ought to have cured them and led them to the deepest repentance for their abuse of Moses. 3T 353.2

Here God gave all Israel an opportunity to see and to feel the sinfulness of their course, which should have led them to repentance and confession. He gave the deceived ones overwhelming evidence that they were sinners and that His servant Moses was right. They had an opportunity to pass one night in reflection upon the fearful visitation of Heaven which they had witnessed. But reason was perverted. Korah had instigated the rebellion, and two hundred and fifty princes had joined him in spreading the disaffection. All the congregation were, to a greater or less degree, affected with the prevailing jealousy, surmisings, and hatred against Moses, which had brought the displeasure of God in a fearfully marked manner. Yet our gracious God shows Himself a God of justice and mercy. He made a distinction between the instigators—the leaders in the rebellion—and those who had been deceived or led by them. He pitied the ignorance and folly of those who had been deceived. 3T 353.3

God spoke to Moses to bid the congregation leave the tents of the men whom they had chosen in the place of Moses. The very men whose destruction they premeditated were the instruments in the hands of God of saving their lives upon that occasion. Said Moses: “Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah.” They also were in alarming danger of being destroyed in their sins by the wrath of God, for they were sharers in the crimes of the men to whom they had given their sympathy and with whom they had associated. 3T 354.1

If while Moses was trying the test before the congregation of Israel, those who had started the rebellion had repented and sought the forgiveness of God and of His injured servant, the vengeance of God would even then have been stayed. But there in their tents boldly stood Korah, the instigator of the rebellion, and his sympathizers, as if in defiance of God's wrath, as though God had never wrought through His servant Moses. And much less did these rebellious ones act as though they had been so recently honored of God by being brought with Moses almost directly into His presence, and beholding His unsurpassed glory. These men saw Moses come down from the mount after he had received the second tables of stone and while his face was so resplendent with the glory of God that the people would not approach him, but fled from him. He called to them, but they seemed terrified. He presented the tables of stone and said: I pleaded in your behalf and have turned the wrath of God from you. I urged that, if God must forsake and destroy His congregation, my name might also be blotted from His book. Lo, He has answered me, and these tables of stone that I hold in my hand are the pledge given me of His reconciliation with His people. 3T 354.2

The people perceive that it is the voice of Moses; that, although he is transformed and glorified, he is Moses yet. They tell him that they cannot look into his face, for the radiant light in his countenance is exceedingly painful to them. His face is like the sun; they cannot look upon it. When Moses finds out the difficulty, he covers his face with a veil. He does not plead that the light and glory upon his face is the reflection of God's glory that He placed upon him, and that the people must bear it; but he covers his glory. The sinfulness of the people make it painful to behold his glorified face. So will it be when the saints of God are glorified just previous to the second appearing of our Lord. The wicked will retire and shrink away from the sight, for the glory in the countenances of the saints will pain them. But all this glory upon Moses, all this divine stamp seen upon God's humble servant, is forgotten. 3T 354.3