The sin of Korah

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I have heard people say that we do not need leaders, teachers, or pastors because we all have the Holy Spirit to guide us. This is the same basic argument that Korah made.
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The sin of Korah

by Lex Meyer

Korah was a Levite and the cousin of Moses and Aaron. He was not happy about their leadership and he gathered others with him to challenge the authority of Moses and Aaron. Korah led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, accusing them of exalting themselves above the congregation. This rebellion shows us the consequences of those who undermine the authority God has established to be leaders for His people.

"Now Korah the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, with 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 some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown. They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?" So when Moses heard it, he fell on his face"
- Numbers 16:1-4

One could say this was the first church split. Korah and 250 leaders of the congregation challenged the authority of Moses and Aaron. We have people like Korah in the body of Messiah today. They challenge authority and try to exalt themselves over God's chosen leadership.

Notice that Moses fell on his face when he heard these things. His response was to go to God in prayer. He did not argue or retaliate against them. He got on his face before the LORD and prayed. I say this to encourage ministers who have felt the attack of people like Korah in their own congregations.

It is interesting to note that Korah means "to make oneself bald", which indicates that he brought shame upon his head. The act of rejecting authority brings shame upon your own head, thus you are making yourself bald. With that in mind, now consider what happened when some young people mocked Elisha by calling him baldhead.

"Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, "Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!" So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths."
- 2 Kings 2:23-24

When those disrespectful youth mocked Elisha by calling him baldhead, they were essentially mocking his authority, because they were mocking his head. When you mock a man of God, you are mocking God. When you honor the authority God has established you honor God, when you rebel against the authority God has established you rebel against God.

"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves."
- Romans 13:1-2

This is a very serious sin. God does not treat rebellion and disrespect for authority lightly. God establishes order and authority, and the Bible says,

"rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry..."
- 1 Samuel 15:23

Now, with that in mind, listen to the order of authority that is established in the body of Messiah.

"But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered... For this reason the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels."
- 1 Corinthians 11:3-6,10

I have heard people teach that this passage is about modesty and that wearing head coverings is a way of dressing modestly. However, this passage specifically tells us it is about submitting to authority. The Bible says the head of woman is man, the head of man is Messiah, and the head of Messiah is God. So, if you dishonor your head, you are bringing shame to God who is the head of all. This is why rebellion and disrespect for authority is such a terrible sin, because it brings shame to God.

Those who reject the authority of Messiah are bringing shame to God. Likewise, women who reject the authority of their husband bring shame to God. The Bible says that women who reject the authority of their husband should have their head shaved, showing a connection to Korah's rebellion against authority.

It was very common at that time for prostitutes and lesbians to shave their heads. These were women who did not have authority over them (they had no husband). The Bible says a woman who rejects the authority of her husband should shave her head like a lesbian or a prostitute because she rejects the authority of her husband and shames her head. When you reject the authority God has established, then you are rejecting God. When you shame the authority God has established, you bring shame to your own head, thus bringing shame to God.

Jude also warns us about people like this in the body of Messiah who follow in Korah's rebellion.

"For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ... Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries... Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever... These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage... These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit."
- Jude 1 (selected verses)

I have heard people say that we don't need leaders or teachers or pastors because we all have the Holy Spirit to guide us. This is the same basic argument that Korah made when he said,

"You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?"
- Numbers 16:3

The Bible tells us that Yeshua is the head, and He has established leadership within the body of believers. There are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. The authority that is given to these men is to shepherd the flock, to teach and equip believers, and to build up their faith.

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ"
- Ephesians 4:11-13

The Bible also speaks about elders who help lead and teach the congregation.

"Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine."
- 1 Timothy 5:17

People who reject authority and try to bring division in the body of Messiah, also bring shame upon Messiah who is the head of the body. These people are not walking in the Holy Spirit, they are walking in the spirit of Korah. So, please heed this warning and don't be like Korah.

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