Num 17:12-13 And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish.  Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle of the LORD shall die: shall we be consumed with dying?

· If we bring this text into our day, the people were in essence saying that it is too dangerous to go to church.

· The folks here in our context had reason to feel the way they did, as we shall better understand from the following scriptures.

Num 16:1-3 Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the 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 certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?

I think it imperative to point out here that Korah was the instigator whose name in Hebrew means ice and when studied out means bald.

Korah speaks in principle of those who refuse to walk under the covering of Christ and thus are cold-hearted individuals.  These type individuals aren’t interested in God’s order; they are caught up in establishing their own Kingdom in which they will give the orders.

Num 16:5-11 And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.  This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company; And put fire therein, and put incense in them before the LORD to morrow: and it shall be that the man whom the LORD doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi.  And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi: Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?  And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?  For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him? 

Korah wasn’t satisfied with the position that the Lord had given him for it didn’t give him enough power.  Korah wanted power to be seen of men, not for the advancement and maturing of Gods’ people. 

An acid test of ones character is to give them a title or position.  Simply being, watch closely and you will see if their motive is pure or not.  Watch closely and you will see if they are seeking to use their title or position to their own advantage instead of just serving the Pastors’ vision.

Note in verse 3 Korah and his followers gathered themselves against Moses and Aaron.  However, in verse 11, we see Moses telling Korah and his followers that they were gathered together against the Lord.  I am reminded here of 1 Sam 8:7 which reads, “And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” 

The principle is simple, what you say about your pastor, you are saying about the Lord.  How you treat your pastor is how you are treating the Lord.  How you receive your pastor is how you receive the Lord.  How you respect your pastor is how you respect the Lord.  When you refuse to obey what your pastor teaches, you are disobeying the Lord. 

Num 16:12-14 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up: Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us?  Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up.

I think it imperative to point out that Dathan and Abiram had no spiritual discernment or insight in this text concerning the things of God.  Simply put, they charged Moses with bringing them out of a land that floweth with milk and honey.

Eloquence and persuasive speech were compared among the ancients to honey and milk.  We can see a picture of this in Song of Solomon 4:11 where it reads, “Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.”

With this insight, we can see in principle that Moses had delivered them from a leader whose words (honey and milk – deception – counterfeit) kept them in bondage instead of bringing freedom to them. 

Let me ask you a question now in the light of this understanding?  If I brought you out of a land flowing with milk and honey and told you that I was going to take you into a land flowing with milk and honey – “how would you know when you arrived?”  The most logical answer would be by recognizing what your mind had already been programmed to believe was milk and honey. 

Just because you believe it to be true doesn’t necessarily mean it is true.  I am reminded here of John 8:45 which reads, “And because I (Jesus) tell you (Pharisees) the truth, ye believe me not.”  If that isn’t enough, Matt 27:62-63 says, “Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver (Jesus) said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.”

Note in verse 14 that Dathan and Abiram asked Moses, “wilt thou put out the eyes of these men?”  Putting out the eyes was the Eastern punishment of treason and rebellion.  In essence, they were asking Moses if he really thought he had enough power to put the eyes out of over 200 men?

Num 16:15-19 And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the LORD, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.  And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before the LORD, thou, and they, and Aaron, to morrow: And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before the LORD every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer.  And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron.  And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the congregation.

Note in verse 16 that Moses told Korah and his followers to come before the Lord the next day.  This would equivalent in our day of the pastor having it out with some folks in his congregation on Saturday night and then getting upset and telling them to be in church on Sunday.

Note the boldness of Korah in verse 19 when he brought all his followers to the Tabernacle and still adamantly opposed Moses and Aaron.  This spirit will come (in people) into a local church with the motive and intent of running the show.  Those with this spirit will lose their temper right in the church and could care less if you see them when it happens.

I think it interesting that when Korah ganged up on Moses and Aaron at the Tabernacle (church), the LORD APPEARED to the entire congregation!

Num 16:20-27 – And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.  And they (Moses and Aaron) fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.  And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.  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.  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.

I think it interesting to point out in verse 15 that Moses was very upset with his congregation in so much that he asked God not to receive their offerings.  However, in verse 22 he and Aaron are on their faces crying out for this congregation to be spared from the wrath of God.  The prerequisite however for being spared from judgment was to separate from the ones that were causing the problems.  That shouldn’t be a hard choice to make.

Num 16:28-35 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.  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.  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.  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: 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.  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.  And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.  And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

I want to point out now that Korah, Dathan and Abiram came to the Tabernacle (church) and found themselves in a pit.  These men speak in principle of those that come to church with rebellion in their heart and when truth begins to come forth and expose their hearts, they fall into the pit.  One English rendering of pit is a miserable or depressing place or situation.  Simply being, to those that don’t want to change, a church that declares the Truth becomes a miserable and depressing place to attend.  

After these men found themselves in a pit, the two hundred and fifty men that came to the Tabernacle (church) with them found themselves consumed by the fire of God.  These men speak in principle of those that come to church and while sitting in the pew, the Pastor brings forth a word that reveal areas in their lives that need to change and it burns them up inside.  They become heated, agitated, irritated and question who you think you are to meddle in their business.  I am reminded here of Jer 5:14 which reads, “Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.”

Num 16:41-47 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD.  And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared.  And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.  And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out (because of murmuring) from the LORD; the plague is begun.  And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.

I am literally amazed at these people here.  One day they rose up against Moses and Aaron.  The very next day, God brings judgment by an earthquake and fire on those that conspired against Moses and Aaron.  And, one day after the wrath of God, these people rose up against Moses and Aaron and begin to murmur against them.

Note their charge.  Ye have killed the people of the Lord.  Even so, there are those that blame the Pastor when people are suddenly gone from the local assemblies, when if the truth be known, the Lord removed many of them.

In verse 19 Korah gathered the congregation against Moses and Aaron and the Lord appeared to the entire congregation.  In verse 42, the corrupt leaders have been removed and now the congregation sets out to oppose Moses and Aaron and the Lord appeared.  The truth is simple; you need to think twice before you move against those that the Lord has placed over you.

Note in verse 45 that God wanted to destroy this congregation for their murmuring against Moses and Aaron.  This word murmur in Hebrew means to stop and by implication means to stay permanently.  Thus one reason the Lord deals so strongly with those that murmur against their leaders is that they hinder them from advancing and maturing the saints.

Note that God brought an earthquake and fire into the church.  Now he is going to bring a plague into the church and deal with their murmuring.  One English rendering of plague is to annoy persistently.  If you refuse to change, the Lord will repeatedly send you a message into your church.  Somebody said, I’d just quit my church and go to another one.  Go ahead and give it your best shot.  But, don’t be shocked when the Lord uses the Pastors’ message where you go to plague you.  Simply being, the message will annoy (agitate, disturb, harass or infuriate) you.        

Num 17:12-13 And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish.  Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle of the LORD shall die: shall we be consumed with dying?

· When someone experiences such things in church, they are tempted to say such things as, “I don’t need this; my life is tough enough.”  Or, every time I come to church it seems as though I end up in the pit, burnt or plagued.  Just let me stay home on Sunday. 

When you go to church (bible study or devotions), it is imperative that you understand whenever you open the scriptures, it is very risky and very dangerous.  The reason is in Heb 4:12-13 where it reads, “For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul (flesh) and spirit, and of the joints and marrow (If you split the joints from the marrow, you are immobilized), and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (word gets to who you really are – reveals your motives).  Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

With this insight, you should better understand when you come to a church that preaches truth, it will be common for you as well as your leadership to be cut on and your hearts made manifest.

A local church that preaches truth is a place of comfort, a place of prayer, a place of teaching, a place of praise and worship; but it is also a gas chamber.  Simply being, it is a place of execution, a place where your flesh will be dealt with, a place of humbling.

Num 17:12-13 And the children of Israel spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish.  Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle of the LORD shall die: shall we be consumed with dying?

Shall we be consumed with dying?  The answer should be yes.  Jesus made this clear in Luke 9:23 where it reads, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”  Paul alludes to this in 1 Cor 15:31 where he said, “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”

There is no real spirit filled living without there first being a dying out to the flesh and this will only be accomplished by you getting into the Word of God and allowing it to accomplish its work within you.

Luke 4:17-19 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

When Jesus opened the book, he knew this word was talking about him.  Even so, there are times that you are going to hear the word or read the word and you will know that it is talking about you.

The only way for Jesus to attain resurrection was for his flesh to die first.

John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

Jesus got in with doors shut.  However, let it be noted that he couldn’t have gotten in like this in his previous flesh condition.  There had to be something resurrected, something new that would enable him to come in where he was in essence locked out.

We bring this up in our day and it would be like your children locking you out of their room (their life), or perhaps your spouse not opening up to you.  With this insight, can you understand that you must allow the Word to come and do away with your flesh in order that you might be able to get into places (hearts, situations, etc) that you once couldn’t.

Your flesh will limit your impact on people.  Your flesh will restrict your entries to rooms (hearts, people) that are closed off.  Your flesh will keep you down when you want to get high.

Acts 1:9-11 – And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.  And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Note they looked – He went up!  How sad today the many that look but never go up.

Jesus couldn’t have gone up like this in his previous flesh body.  It was after he went through death and was resurrected that he was able to ascend. The degree you die will determine how high you fly!   


CHURCH IS KILLING ME [Troy Nichols]          1


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