Korah’s rebellion?

Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. Jude 11

John MacArthur explains:

Korah rebelled against the Word of God.

  • Whereas Cain ignored the God’s command,
  • and Balaam sought to circumvent it,
  • Korah blatantly rebelled against it.

Korah, a cousin of Moses, resented his exclusion from being a priest and envied Moses as God’s mediator. In effect, Korah said, “Forget it. We don’t need priests, and we don’t need Moses.” Abiram, Dathan, and two hundred and fifty others agreed with Korah and joined in his rebellion. According to Numbers 16:3, they believed that the entire congregation was holy and could there enter into God’s presence without having a mediating priesthood. As a result of that rebellion, God opened the ground so that the three leaders with all that belonged to them were swallowed up. He consumed their two hundred and fifty followers with fire.

b. The Application

You say, “That’s pretty serious.” Yes, it is. Korah was a classic example of somebody who doesn’t think that sinful man needs a Savior to serve as a Mediator between himself and a holy God. Such a person propagates the “fatherhood of God”: He claims that all men are the sons of God and have access to Him apart from Christ. That false view asserts that Jesus didn’t have to open the way of access, because God accepts everybody. They think that He is too “loving” to send anyone to hell. If there is such a thing as sin, they are sure that God is only too glad to overlook it.

But God clearly showed that He is greatly displeased with those ideas. Paul said, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). Jesus said, “…no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (Jn. 14:6). Although God had established the priesthood and Moses as His mediator, Korah claimed that he didn’t need a priest or any other mediator. He thought everybody in the congregation was holy enough to approach God. In effect, he was blaspheming the holy character of God by assuming that a mortal man could enter the presence of God without a mediator. But that is ridiculous. Apostates who claim that they need no Savior may not be judged as immediately as Korah was, but God’s judgment will certainly catch up with them. Their verdict is stated by Jude in verse 11: “Woe unto them!…”