Beginning of the End


Korah Leads a Rebellion

This chapter is based on Numbers 16 and 17.

The judgments inflicted on the Israelites held back their complaining and rebellion for a while, but the spirit of rebellion was still in their hearts. Now a seriously planned conspiracy was formed to overthrow the authority of the leaders appointed by God Himself. BOE 194.1

Korah, the leading person in this movement, a cousin of Moses, was a man of ability and influence. He had become unhappy with his position and wanted the dignity of the priesthood. For some time Korah had been secretly opposing the authority of Moses and Aaron, though He had not dared to openly rebel. He finally devised a bold plan to overthrow both the civil and the religious authority. Dathan and Abiram, two princes, readily joined in his ambitious schemes and decided to divide the honors of the priesthood with Korah. BOE 194.2

The feeling among the people favored Korah. In the bitterness of their disappointment, their former doubts, jealousy, and hatred returned, and again they complained against their patient leader. They forgot that they were under God’s guidance, that the presence of Christ went in front of them, and that Moses received directions from Him. BOE 194.3

Unwilling to die in the wilderness, they were ready to believe that it was not God but Moses who had decided their doom. Although the evidence of God’s displeasure at their rebellious nature was still before them, they did not take the lesson to heart. BOE 194.4

God, who reads the secrets of all hearts, had given His people warnings and instructions that could have given them the power to escape the deception of these scheming men. They had seen the judgment of God on Miriam because of her jealousy and complaints against Moses. The Lord had declared, “I speak with him face to face. ... Why then,” He added, “were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?” (Numbers 12:8). These instructions were intended not for Aaron and Miriam alone, but for all Israel. BOE 194.5

Korah and his co-conspirators were among those who went up with Moses into the mountain and saw the divine glory. But they had held onto a temptation, though small at first, until their minds were controlled by Satan. They first whispered their resentment to one another and then to some of the leading men of Israel. At last they really believed that they were driven by zeal for God. BOE 194.6

They were successful in recruiting two hundred fifty princes. With these influential supporters they felt confident of greatly improving the administration of Moses and Aaron. BOE 195.1

Jealousy had given rise to envy, and envy to rebellion. They had deceived themselves and each another into thinking that Moses and Aaron had themselves taken the positions they held, that these two leaders had put themselves up into high positions by taking the priesthood and government. They were no more holy than the people, and it should be enough for them to be on a level with their brethren, who were equally favored with God’s presence and protection. BOE 195.2