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Numbers 16:23-35

Judgment

23 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 24 Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. 25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. 26 And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins. 27 So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children. 28 And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. 29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. 30 But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. 31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: 32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. 33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. 34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also. 35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.


God had threatened to consume the entire congregation of Israel, but Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before the Lord and interceded for the people. Therefore, God decided to destroy only Korah, Dathan and Abiram along with their families and the two hundred and fifty followers who participated in the rebellion. God sent Moses to warn all of the others to stay away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram and to touch nothing that belonged to them.

"...lest ye be consumed in all their sins." It is a dangerous thing for anyone to be too involved with the wicked men of this world. Our ministry must be only to share the gospel with them but, when they refuse to accept it, we should not become entangled in their affairs. The warning to separate ourselves is repeated over and over in scripture (See Deut 13:17; Isa 52:11; Matt 10:14; 2Cor 6:17; 1Tim 5:22). The final warning is to come out of Mystery Babylon and is given in Revelation 18:4, "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."

So, the people separated themselves from the tents and belongings of the three leaders and, as the three stood with their families in the door of their tents, Moses explained what the sign of their destruction would mean. If they lived and died a normal death like any other man, the people would know that God had not sent Moses to lead the people. He had acted of his own free will to do everything that he had done so far. However, if the ground opened and swallowed them and all their belongings, the people would know that these three men, Korah, Dathan and Abiram had provoked the Lord to anger by their rebellion.

As soon as Moses finished speaking, the ground opened and swallowed the three along with their families, their tents and all of their belongings. They were instantly buried alive. The people of Israel ran for fear that they might be next. This would have been an unforgettable lesson for everyone in the congregation. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and God will not tolerate it. Separate yourselves from wicked men lest you be partakers of their sins and their punishments.

Then, a fire came out from the Lord. This was probably like a flash of lightning shooting from the cloud in which the Lord had appeared to them. It instantly burned only the two hundred and fifty men who had helped Korah in the rebellion. Some have debated whether their bodies were left in tact or whether they were completely reduced to ashes, but that is a frivolous argument. Dead is dead, and the impact that it must have had on the people would not have been any different.

This is a powerful story designed to teach us that we must be carefull to follow only godly men. There are many false prophets today who are using the gospel message to lead people away from the knowledge of the Lord. They are clever and attract many followers, but theirs is every bit as much of a rebellion against the Lord as that of Korah and company. The most successful of these is the Pope and the catholic church, leading people in the name of Christ to worship idols and to pray to the dead.

Before the Throne:

Pray that God will give you the ability to quickly discern the lies of evil men so that you can warn others. Ask Him to save those whom you know have fallen for the schemes of a false prophet. Pray for the boldness to speak out and for the power of His word to effectively work through you.

For Further Study:

(v.25)
** Num 11:16, 17, 25, 30;

(v.26) ** Num 16:21-24; Gen 19:12-14; Deut 13:17; Isa 52:11; Matt 10:14; Acts 8:20; Acts 13:51; 2Cor 6:17; 1Tim 5:22; Rev 18:4;

(v.27) ** and stood. 2Kgs 9:30, 31; Job 9:4; Job 40:10-11; Prov 16:18; Prov 18:12; Isa 28:14;

(v.28) ** Hereby. Exod 3:12; Exod 4:1-9; Exod 7:9; Deut 18:22; Zech 2:9; Zech 4:9; John 5:36; John 11:42; John 14:11; ** of mine. Num 24:13; 1Kgs 18:36; Jer 23:16; Ezek 13:17; John 5:30; John 6:38;

(v.29) ** visited. Exod 20:5; Exod 32:34; Job 35:15; Isa 10:3; Jer 5:9; Lam 4:22; ** the Lord. 1Kgs 22:28; 2Chr 18:27;

(v.30) ** make a new thing. Job 31:3; Isa 28:21; Isa 43:19; Isa 45:7, 12; Jer 31:22; ** and they. Num 16:33; Ps 55:15;

(v.31) ** Num 26:10, 11; Num 27:3; Deut 11:6; Ps 106:17-18;

(v.32) ** the earth. Num 16:30; Gen 4:11; Isa 5:14; Rev 12:16; ** all the. Num 16:17; Num 26:11; Num 27:3; 1Chr 6:22, 37; Ps 84:1; Ps 85:1; Ps 88:1;

(v.33) ** into the. Ps 9:15; Ps 55:23; Ps 69:15; Ps 143:7; Isa 14:9, 15; Ezek 32:18, 30; ** they perished. Jude 1:11;

(v.34) ** fled. Isa 33:3; Zech 14:5; Rev 6:15-17; ** Lest. Num 17:12-13;

(v.35) ** And there. Num 11:1; Num 26:10; Lev 10:2; Ps 106:18; ** two hundred. Num 16:2, 17;

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