10 March 2015
Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, 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 a number of the people of Israel, 250 chiefs of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men. They assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?”
God had appointed specific men from a specific family of a specific tribe to be priests.
Yet Korah (from the same tribe, but different family) along with Dathan and Abiram (from another tribe) reasoned that since God had made the nation holy, anyone could serve as His priests.
In fact, these self-appointed priests accused Moses and Aaron of self-serving bias, claiming they were guilty of transgression by exalting themselves above all Israel.
Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and those who followed them tried to set one part of God’s word above another, reasoning that since the whole nation was holy, then anyone could serve as priests without distinction. Yet, although God had sanctified the nation, He had also specified who would be priests: Aaron and his sons, of the tribe of Levi.
Many Christians reason accordingly today, claiming that all who have been sanctified in Christ are able to perform any function and fulfill any role of service for the Lord, in spite of clear passages to the contrary. We now have women speaking, teaching, and even preaching in the assemblies of the church, contrary to God’s word (1 Cor 14.35; 1 Tim 2.11-12). Some churches have ordained women elders, despite God-given qualifications (1 Tim 3.2; Titus 1.6).
Some churches have begun approving marriages which Jesus clearly rejected (Matthew 19.9), and even accept same-sex unions, though God clearly defined marriage as a commitment between a man and a woman, and condemned homosexual acts (Rom 1.26-27). We would do well to learn from the example of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (1 Cor 10.6,11), recognizing that God does not approve setting one Scripture above another to nullify one part of His covenant in favor of a misapplication of another. Those who went ahead and offered incense, though they were not called to be priests, were consumed with fire from God (Num 16.35). Their leaders, who promoted this disobedience were swallowed up by the ground (Num 16.31-33).
Clearly, God is not pleased when He specifies one thing and people veto His word by doing something else.