The third warning concerns the gainsaying of Core. The Bible says that they “perished in the gainsaying of Core.” We find the rebellion of Core or “Korah” in the book of Numbers. It was a rebellion against Aaron the high priest and Moses. Korah, Moses, and Aaron were from the same tribe, the tribe of Levi. The Bible says in Numbers 16:1-3,
“Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?”
They gathered themselves together against Moses and Aaron. Notice the action of Moses. The Bible says in verse 4, “And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face.” He fell on his face, acknowledging that he was turning to the Lord with this difficulty. The Bible continues in verses 5-9, “And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him. This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company; And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi. And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?”
They were of the tribe of Levi. Moses said, “Does it mean nothing to you that you have the privilege to serve God? Moses said, “It is not enough. You want the office of the priesthood that Aaron holds also, don’t you?” He continues in verse 11, “For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD.” He does not say, “against Moses.” He does not say, “against Aaron.” He says, “against the LORD.”
God calls men into the ministry. No one on the face of the earth has a greater accountability and responsibility to God than the God-called preacher. No one walks in such severe judgment before God as does the God-called preacher (James 3:1). When a church extends an invitation to a pastor, that church acknowledges that they believe God wants that man to be the pastor of their church. When anyone rebels against this, he is really rebelling against God.
The Bible says in verse 11, “and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?” What they really wanted was Aaron’s job. The Bible continues in verses 12 and 13, “And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up: Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?”
The people began to accuse Moses in verses 14-17, “Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up. And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them. And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow: And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the LORD every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer.”
Core had gathered 250 princes of the assembly who were famous in the congregation, men of renown. It is a wonderful thing when God touches a man, touches his home, touches his family, and gives him responsibility in the work of the Lord. It is an awesome responsibility to be one of the renown—to be a person with influence in the work of the Lord. But, oh, what a responsibility to use that influence wisely!
Cain refused to come to God the blood way. We need to continue to preach that salvation is only through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Balaam was for hire. He lived to please men and to promote himself. We should serve the Lord out of a desire to please Him and Him alone.
Core rebelled against authority that was appointed by God. Core and his followers rejected the divine authority given to Moses and tried to assume power for themselves. False teachers promote themselves and override the authority of God’s servants. They will be judged, as were Core and his followers.
Cain rebelled against God’s authority in salvation, for he refused to bring a blood sacrifice as God had commanded. Balaam rebelled against God’s authority in separation, for he prostituted his gifts for money and led Israel to mix with the other nations. Core rebelled against God’s authority in service, denying that Moses was God’s appointed servant and attempting to usurp his authority.
Apostates reject the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the way, the truth and the life. Let us follow those the Lord has given to us who provide leadership in the work of God. May the Lord help us to identify “the way of Cain, the error of Balaam, and the gainsaying of Core” and to determine to follow the Lord Jesus Christ with all our hearts.
“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” — 1 Corinthians 3:9