The Earth Opened Her Mouth, and Swallowed Them Up

Today’s Passage – Numbers 16 – 18

(Second Milers also read – Acts 16 – 18; Proverbs 21; Psalms 101 – 105)

“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?” – (Numbers 16:9)

“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.” – (Numbers 16:31-33)

In chapter 16, we see a group within the congregation of the children of Israel who were rebelling against the God ordained leadership. One of the leaders of this insurrection was Korah, who was a Kohathite. The Kohathites were part of the tribe of Levi, but their specific responsibility involved transporting the ark and the other pieces of furniture and instruments that were used in the service of the Tabernacle. They were not priests, but they were servants for the Lord in the Tabernacle. In the verse above (v 9), Moses rebukes Korah for not being content with the job that the Lord had given him. Korah wanted more. He wanted to grab some of the glory that he saw Moses and Aaron getting. It reminds us of Lucifer, who was not content guarding the holiness of God. He wanted more too. This rebellion resulted in the death of Korah, along with the other men involved and their families. Further, many more people from the congregation perished the next day after they complained about the death of Korah and his bunch.

We see this same type of behavior today in our local churches. God puts in place leadership for the congregation, but there will always be some Korah’s within the congregation who will attempt to gain control. The process usually begins with murmuring and complaining about the job that the pastor, and, or deacons are doing. They will often grab the ears of other disgruntled people and try to bring them in with them. Before you know it, there is a group of people within the congregation who are gaining power, working against what the leadership is trying to do. It won’t be long before it comes to a head. Somebody will have to go. Sometimes it’s the pastor. Sometimes it will be Korah; but when he leaves, he usually pulls a bunch of people out with him.

Why can’t we just trust the leadership system that God has set up. He calls a man to a ministry. That calling is then confirmed by a vote of the congregation. The congregation still has the power to remove the man if there are serious enough issues in his ministry. But unless there is something immoral, heretical, or seriously unethical, the congregation should rally behind the pastor, pray for him, and work with him as he leads the congregation in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Don’t be a Korah. Support your pastor, and the other leaders that God has placed in your church. Work with him. Help him as he tries to win souls and disciple the converts. Pray for him and his family. Love him.

Posted in Thoughts from Numbers by with 1 comment.


  • Gary Geiger says:

    At the outset, we should remember that the Bible does warn about the dangers of false brethren, II Corinthians 11:26; Galatians 2:4. However, the vast majority of scriptures dealing with false teachers describe leaders who stray from the Almighty Truth, and infect others in their rebellion against Him. Korah, along with the Reubenites Dathan, Abiram and On, along with 250 princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown, gathered themselves together against Moses and Aaron, and said, 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? Numbers 16:1-3. Here was a serious threat to the leadership of Moses over Israel. Korah wanted to push aside Moses, and take control of the congregation (church) of Israel.
    Now, who was Korah? He was a cousin of Moses! They both descended from Kohath, one of the sons of Levi, Exodus 6:16-24. The Kohathites had a special responsibility in the sacrificial system: Their charge shall be the ark, and the table [of shewbread], and the candlestick, and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging [curtain], and all the service thereof, Numbers 3:27-32. The other two sons of Levi, Gershon and Merari, had lesser responsibilities, Numbers 3:14-37. Korah had a leading responsibility in the tabernacle service!
    Korahs two chief henchmen were Reubenites, Dathan and Abiram. Were they ordinary laypersons in the congregation of Israel? No! They were both famous in the congregation, Numbers 26:9. They, along with the 250 princes who joined the rebellion, were renowned in the congregation, Numbers 1:16.
    So, we see that the Truth is exactly the opposite of what is commonly taught by the leadership of many Churches of God. It is not the ordinary rank and file membership that is the problem in Korah-type rebellions. The problem is the struggle for power among the leadership. Korah and his followers were already great renowned leaders in the congregation of Israel. That wasnt enough for them; they wanted more power, Numbers 16:9. An earthquake swallowed up Korah and his following, and a
    fire from God devoured those who were offering censers to the Eternal, Numbers 16:16-35.
    This problem of a struggle for power has long been a sign among the Church of God. Numbers 26:10 says And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a SIGN. The censers of these sinners were taken up afterwards and made into broad plates for a covering of the altar, as a perpetual sign unto the children of Israel, Numbers 16:38, 17:10. Surely, the gainsaying of Core (Korah) is a sign unto Gods people throughout all ages, Jude 11.
    Today, the real lesson of Korah appears to be lost on many in the Church of God. The main problem in the Church is its leadership. Corrupt leadership blames the brethren for being rebellious like Korah, not realizing that the finger points back to them! Korahs rebellion is very similar to that of Lucifer. Not content to serve God in the way God ordained him, Lucifer wanted to ascend above the heavens, and take over the throne of God.
    Korahs Rebellion against Moses is a sign, a lesson, for us today. Serve the Eternal with all your heart and mind, being content with the gifts (opportunities) that God has given you to serve His people. Shun those men of renown who struggle for political power, get away from their tents, Numbers 16:26, because Gods judgment is coming on them. That is the real lesson of Korah for today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.