Life of Moses: Rebellious Leaders

Peter Barnes: Numbers 16

(20 October 2019)


There are two accounts of rebellion here – one from Korah, and the other from Dathan and Abiram. Korah was the cousin of Moses. The Sons of Korah are mentioned in a musical capacity in the book of Psalms (Psalms 42, 45-49, 84-85, 87-88). Korah’s sons did not join the rebellion (Num.26:10-11; 1 Chron.6).

1. A rebellious call for equality.

– 16:1-3. ‘Everyone is to be holy! Of course that is true – Ex.19:6; Lev.19:2. But Korah is not after holiness but ambition.

– Dathan and Abiram are only slightly different – 16:12-14. Aaron had learnt from Lev.10:1-3. See too Jude 11.

2. Learn to be humble and content.

– 16:8-11. Phil.4:11; Jer.45:5. Did the descendants of Reuben resent Gen.35:22; 49:3-4? Matt.20:25-28.

3. God’s holy judgment.

– the glory of God appears in 16:19, 42. The result is two lots of judgment – 16:31-35, 41, 49. Is the God of the Old Testament the same as the God of the New Testament? 1 Thess.1:9-10.

4. Sin requires atonement.

– 16:39-50. Aaron as the high priest stands between the dead and the living, with his censer and with fire and incense from the altar.

– Christ made the real atonement for sinners. For God to punish anyone who has taken refuge in Christ, He would have to ignore His Son, the cross, and the resurrection. Those outside of Christ are in terrible danger; those in Christ know the plague is stopped, sin is paid for, and death is overcome.