SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1 (EGW)

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Chapter 16

1-50. Rebellion Against Leadership—These men of Israel complained, and influenced the people to stand with them in rebellion, and even after God stretched forth His hand and swallowed up the wrong-doers, and the people fled to their tents in horror, their rebellion was not cured. The depth of their disaffection was made manifest even under the judgment of the Lord. The morning after the destruction of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and their confederates, the people came to Moses and Aaron, saying, “Ye have killed the people of the Lord.” For this false charge on the servants of God, thousands more were killed, for there was in them sin, exultation and presumptuous wickedness (Letter 12a, 1893). 1BC 1114.2

(1 Samuel 15:23). Lessons From the Rebellion—I question whether genuine rebellion is ever curable. Study in Patriarchs and Prophets the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. This rebellion was extended, including more than two men. [Reference is here made to two men leading a rebellion in a certain field.—Editor.] It was led by two hundred and fifty princes of the congregation, men of renown. Call rebellion by its right name, and apostasy by its right name, and then consider that the experience of the ancient people of God with all its objectionable features was faithfully chronicled to pass into history. The Scripture declares, “These things were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” And if men and women who have the knowledge of the truth are so far separated from their great Leader, that they will take the great leader of apostasy, and name him Christ our Righteousness, it is because they have not sunk the shaft deep into the mines of truth. They are not able to distinguish the precious ore from the base material.... 1BC 1114.3

The Lord has permitted this matter to develop as it has done, in order to show how easily His people will be misled, when they depend upon the words of men instead of searching the Scriptures for themselves, as did the noble Bereans, to see if these things are so.... 1BC 1114.4

Rebellion and apostasy are in the very air we breathe. We shall be affected by it unless we by faith hang our helpless souls upon Christ. If men are so easily misled, how will they stand when Satan shall personate Christ, and work miracles? Who will be unmoved by his misrepresentations? Professing to be Christ when it is only Satan assuming the person of Christ, and apparently working the works of Christ? What will hold God's people from giving their allegiance to false Christs? “Go not ye after them.” 1BC 1114.5

The doctrines must be plainly understood. The men accepted to teach the truth must be anchored; then their vessel will hold against storm and tempest, because the anchor holds them firmly. The deceptions will increase, and we are to call rebellion by its right name. We are to stand with the whole armor on. My brethren, you are not meeting men only, but principalities and powers. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. Let Ephesians 6:10-18 be read carefully (Letter 1, 1897). 1BC 1114.6

Christ came to our world not to aid Satan in working up rebellion, but to put down rebellion. Wherever men start out in rebellion they will work secretly and in darkness, as they will not come as Christ has told them to do to the ones they have any matter against but will take their budget of falsehoods and enmity and evil surmisings and Satanic representations, as did Satan to the fellow angels under him, and gain their sympathy by false representations (Letter 156, 1897). 1BC 1115.1

1-3. Princes Enlisted in Rebellion—Those men of Israel were determined to resist all evidence that would prove them to be wrong, and they went on and on in their course of disaffection until many were drawn away to unite with them. Who were these? Not the weak, not the ignorant, not the unenlightened. In that rebellion there were two hundred and fifty princes famous in the congregation, men of renown (Letter 2a, 1892). 1BC 1115.2

3. Moses Accused of Hindering Progress—They accused Moses of being the cause of their not entering the promised land. They said that God had not dealt with them thus. He had not said that they should die in the wilderness. They would never believe that He had thus said; but that it was Moses who had said this, not the Lord; and that it was all arranged by Moses to never bring them to the land of Canaan (Spiritual Gifts 4a:30). 1BC 1115.3

Korah Deceived Himself—Korah had cherished his envy and rebellion until he was self-deceived, and he really thought that the congregation was a very righteous people, and that Moses was a tyrannical ruler, continually dwelling upon the necessity of the congregation's being holy, when there was no need of it, for they were holy (Spiritual Gifts 4a:31). 1BC 1115.4

19. The People Deceived Themselves—The people thought if Korah could lead them, and encourage them, and dwell upon their righteous acts, instead of reminding them of their failures, they should have a very peaceful, prosperous journey, and he would without doubt lead them, not back and forward in the wilderness, but into the promised land. They said that it was Moses who had told them that they could not go into the land, and that the Lord had not thus said. Korah in his exalted self-confidence gathered all the congregation against Moses and Aaron, “unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation” (Spiritual Gifts 4a:31.). 1BC 1115.5