This week’s portion of the Torah reading is called Korah. Who was this man Korah?
For me personally this Torah portion is an enigma. No matter how and no matter when and no matter where in the world I am when this Torah portion is being read, I get to teach it and preach it.
I chose to share with you this issue of “who was Korah?” Because of an old polemic argument that is often used by the anti-gospel, anti-Jewish-disciples-of-Yeshua rabbis that attack the two genealogies of Yeshua. The one from Matthew chapter 1 and the one from Luke.
When we examine the Bible carefully we see that genealogies in general have problems. Most often the genealogies are used for political purposes, and not as historical certification.
The issue of Korah is a good example of this phenomenon. Here are the different genealogies of Korah in the Word of God:
Exodus 6:18 presents the shortest genealogy:
Kohath , Izhar , Korah, Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph
“Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with Dathan and Abiram the sons of Eliab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men…” — Numbers 16:1
In 1 Chronicles 6:22-24:
Kohath, Amminadab, Korah, Assir, Elkanah, Ebiasaph, Assir, Tahath, Uriel, Uzziah, Shaul…
In 1 Chronicles 6:31:
Kohath, Izhar, Korah, Ebiasaph, Assir, Tahath, Zephaniah, Azariah, Joel, Elkanah, Amasai, Mahath, Elkanah, Zuph, Toah, Eliel, Jeroham, Elkanah, Samuel, Joel, Heman the Singer…
This I share with you in order to give you information to answer those who seek to destroy and defame our faith in God, and in Yeshua as the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!
The battle for truth is not a battle that will be fully victorious until that great day that the saints will be gathered, dressed in white, in front of the great throne of the Lord. And Yeshua will be seated in judgment, and we will be singing the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb of God.
On that great day and great occasion, all false teachers and defamers of God’s chosen ones will fall, begging for mercy and asking forgiveness. But it will be too late. The gracious Judge will say, “You goats have no room with God’s lambs, go down and join the Pharaohs of Egypt and Haman the Persian, and Antiochus the Greek… Go for eternity with those who did evil, and abused humanity for their own gain…”
The reading of this shabbat is from the portion called Korah, Numbers 16:1-18:32, from the prophets we will be reading from 1 Samuel 11:14-12:22, and from the New Testament we will be reading Romans 13:1-7. My suggestion is always for every one of us to read from the Torah, from the prophets, and from the New Testament.
I remember an old friend who led a congregation outside of Chicago in the early 1980’s — Dr. James Tabor. He had his congregation reading from the Torah, the prophets, the New Testament, and from the Mishnah.
We are not going that far, but we are staying within the same tradition as Yeshua and the apostles did. And we add a complementary reading from the teachings of the apostles, the New Testament.
The Korahite rebellion that we read about in our Torah portion is a union of the leadership of two major tribes in Israel. The tribe of Levi, that is the tribe of Aaron and Moses, and the tribe of Reuben, who was the firstborn of Jacob and Leah.
People of two tribes that have a claim of elite status. Levi being the tribes of the priests, and Reuben being the firstborn of Jacob’s children.
Let us examine the Korahite rebellion and it’s motives and claims. The reason I think that this is an important text for us is because we are witnessing today in our time the same claims with the same motives that Korah and his band of rebels claimed. Yes, these claims seem just and reasonable today as they did in the days of Moses in the wilderness of Sinai.
“Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with 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 some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown. They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, ‘You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?’” — Numbers 16:1-3 [NKJV]
Let us notice first that the people who joined Korah are people who already had problems with Moses, and people who were seeking notoriety and honor even in Egypt by speaking against Moses and Aaron, Dothan, and Abiram. Second, notice that all those who wanted to take a share of the leadership and demote Moses were representatives of the congregation (“Knesset members”) and men of renown. These men of renown were the powerful, rich, and popular, whom we would call today the VIPs of the camp of Israel.
The hard-working, dedicated, humble, and faithful regular Joe’s, Naftali’s, and Samuel’s didn’t rebel against Moses. They were busy living and working and taking care of their families, and helping those who needed help. Quietly volunteering in the camp of Israel, and not seeking recognition. Because they were looking for their true reward for their good works from God and not from men.
The next thing to notice is the claims of these rebels against Moses:
- “…you take too much upon yourselves!”
- “We are all holy and equally capable of leading just as well as you can lead…” (and the implication of this statement is that: “You Moses do not share with us the power and the leadership. You want to do it all alone yourself!”)
- “Moses you are in leadership so long. Maybe you should let us lead now and just step down! Stop exalting yourself over the congregation.”
I think that in the last three years we are all familiar with some claims of leadership that have at least similarity with this Torah portion. Now let us learn from the reaction of Moses to these claims of Korah and his band of rebels:
“So when Moses heard it, he fell on his face; and he spoke to Korah and all his company, saying, ‘Tomorrow morning the Lord will show who is His and who is holy, and will cause him to come near to Him. That one whom He chooses He will cause to come near to Him. Do this: Take censers, Korah and all your company; put fire in them and put incense in them before the Lord tomorrow, and it shall be that the man whom the Lord chooses is the holy one. You take too much upon yourselves, you sons of Levi!’ Then Moses said to Korah, ‘Hear now, you sons of Levi: Is it a small thing to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do the work of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to serve them; and that He has brought you near to Himself, you and all your brethren, the sons of Levi, with you? And are you seeking the priesthood also?’” — Numbers 16:4-10 [NKJV]
The first thing that Moses does is fall on his face. The falling of one’s face is a submission to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is an act of submission as a slave before his Lord, willing to accept the master’s verdict on all things.
(In the whole Bible there is no example of people falling on their back side as an act of God or the Holy Spirit. This false and fake action is pure pagan, strange, and man-made by false prophets and fake apostles. I say this as someone who has been pushed by some of the most famous, honored, and rich fakes in the Christian TV circuses.)
The second thing that Moses does is take action to defend himself. Moses allowed and let the Lord prove who He, the Almighty, has chosen to lead Israel from the wilderness of Sinai to the land of Canaan that was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel as an everlasting inheritance.
This is a very important point. We don’t have to use the same tools to defend ourselves against our enemies that the enemy uses.
We have to have full confidence as servants of God and His people that He, the Creator of all our world, knows what to do and how to defend His servants. Our recurring mistake is that we feel that we have to respond, and usually our response is with the same weak and bad tools that our enemies use.
We must learn from Moses in this case to allow God to take care of our enemies in His most gracious and powerful way. We must just always remind ourselves that God knows best and God knows what is best for His children and His servants.
We don’t need instant gratification and satisfaction for our pain and suffering in persecution. We need real, long-term, and final gratification and satisfaction to see our enemies put to shame by God in the most important hours of their lives!
It has happened in my life more than once. And I pray for myself that God would always give me the wisdom and the patience and the stamina that I need not to be Gary Cooper in “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral”. (I confess that I don’t always succeed to hold my tongue and not to respond with more virtue than my enemies!)
The third thing that we learn from Moses and from God’s response to the rebellious seed of Levi, in this case, is that God’s judgment is much more effective and even educative than anything that Moses or we as humans can do to stop the evil hands of the enemy from doing evil and demanding to destroy and damage the Kingdom of God and defame the Son of God and His Kingdom.
When God defends us and our place and mission in His Kingdom – His defense is usually final. In every case, before God acts against our enemies, He gives them a chance to wise up, repent, change, ask forgiveness, and turn back from their evil ways.
This is true in every case. Even in this case of Korah and his rebellious gang of 250 leaders in Israel, who by claiming “democracy and equality” aimed to destroy the anointed one of God — Moses!
“Then Moses was very angry, and said to the Lord, ‘Do not respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, nor have I hurt one of them.’” — Numbers 16:15 [NKJV]
Here is how Moses and God gave Korah and his gang a chance to repent. This is important for us to learn from these words of God.
First, Moses, guided by God Himself, says to Korah and his gang:
“And Moses said to Korah, ‘Tomorrow, you and all your company be present before the Lord—you and they, as well as Aaron. Let each take his censer and put incense in it, and each of you bring his censer before the Lord, two hundred and fifty censers; both you and Aaron, each with his censer.’ So every man took his censer, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and stood at the door of the tabernacle of meeting with Moses and Aaron. And Korah gathered all the congregation against them at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the congregation.” — Numbers 16:16-19 [NKJV]
Second, the following:
“Moses said to the congregation of Israel and the Levites with Aaron, ‘And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” Then they fell on their faces, and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and You be angry with all the congregation?”’” — Numbers 16:20-22 [NKJV]
The thing to do is stop the fighting and the arguments with your enemies. Separate yourselves from the enemies. Just ignore them and walk away, stop fighting, stop the bitterness.
Walk away! This is divine wisdom! We don’t have to win every battle, but we have to stay faithful to the Lord and stick to His guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We must learn to seek and hear the Word of the Holy Spirit of God, by staying close to God and His Word, and to be open to hear from God through advice and fellowship with other older brothers, who have years of experience walking with God.
Third, stand by and watch the work of God doing what is always just and always best for His children and for the Kingdom.
This is what God did to the rebellious gang of Korah, all 250 leaders and men of renown, and their families!
“Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly. Then all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, ‘Lest the earth swallow us up also!’” — Numbers 16:31-34 [NKJV]
Let us stop our own rebellious spirit!
Let us allow the Lord to fight our battles!
Let us fall on our faces before the Lord daily in submission to His will and acceptance of His choices!
(This is especially true after five elections in Israel in three years.)
Let us watch and see the work of the Lord in favor of His faithful children, and also His retribution towards His enemies. Often God has more patience than we do, and His timing is always perfect.
God bless you all and bless your families and your ministries, and the nation of Israel worldwide!
This article originally appeared on Netivyah and is reposted with permission.