James Scott Trimm
The rebellion of Korakh was the classic rebellion against leadership. The rebellion begins with Korakh gathering a group to rebel against the leadership:
1 Now Korach, the son of Izhar, the son of K’hat, the son of Levi, with Datan and
Aviram, the sons of Eli’av, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Re’uven, took men:
2 And they rose up in the face of Moshe with certain of the children of Yisra’el--two
hundred and fifty men. They were princes of the assembly, the chosen men of the
assembly; men of renown.
3 And they assembled themselves together against Moshe and against Aharon, and said
unto them, You take too much upon you, seeing all the assembly are Set-Apart, every one
of them, and YHWH is among them. Wherefore then lift you up yourselves above the
assembly of YHWH?
(Num. 16:1-3 HRV)
Leadership in the Body of Messiah
Many proclaim that they are uncomfortable with “organized religion”. Yet Scripturally we all know that YHWH is not an author of confusion (1Cor. 14:33) that He desires that everything be done on a decent and orderly manner (1Cor. 14:40).
We know that built into the Torah was a structure of order. Moses “sat and judged” (Ex. 18:13), established lower Assemblies of Elders on the tribal levels (Ex. 18:13-27) and a Great Assembly of 70 Elders (Num. 11:16f). The Torah lays out a whole system for the functioning of these bodies (Deut. 16:18-17:13; 19:15-21).
The early Nazarenes likewise were structured with an “Assembly” of “Emissaries and Elders” (Acts 15:4) and a structure of leadership:
Listen to the voice of your teachers and submit your neshomot
like they must give an account to Him for you,
that they may do this with joy and not in grief
for this is not profitable to you.
(Heb. 13:17 HRV)- See also 1Thes. 5:12-13
In fact the Matthew 18:15-20 process which is key to guaranteeing Nazarenes due process and protecting us from religious Overlords, is founded on, and requires the existence of this structure with an Assembly with the power to “bind and loose”.
As much as some are distrustful of organized religion, our Nazarene forefathers did not live in a sort of religious anarchy. A restoration of the ancient sect of the Nazarenes ultimately must include a restoration of the ancient Nazarene governing structures.
There is only one Body of Messiah (1Cor. 12:12-13; Rom. 12:5) and we are obligated to endeavor to keep the unity of the Body in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:4). The unity of the Assembly of Elohim is absolutely a priority to YHWH (Rom. 12:5; 1Cor. 1:10; 12:12-13; Eph. 4:1-6 & 1Jn. 1:7).
In fact the Scriptures tell us that dividing the Assembly of Elohim into sects and factions is a “work of the flesh” comparable to murder and idolatry (Gal. 5:20; 1Cor. 1:10-13; 3:3; 11:7-18 and 2Pt. 2:1)
In fact we are specifically told to disfellowship those who “cause divisions” from the Assembly:
Now I beseech you, brothers, mark them which cause divisions
and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned;
and avoid them.
But Matthew 18:15-20 makes it clear that disfellowshipment can only occur after a process which involves bringing witnesses before the Beit Din.
The logic is inescapable. Endeavoring to the unity of the Assembly of Elohim sometimes requires the unpleasant task of disfellowshiping those who engage in the sin of sectarianism. Disfellowshiping such persons requires a Matthew 18:15-20 process. And a Matthew 18:15-20 process requires leadership structure, an Assembly of Elders with the power to bind and loose.
Of course the head of the Body is the Messiah (Col. 1:18; 2:10-19) but under his headship we have earthly leaders to help maintain the unity of the Body:
11 And He gave some: emissaries, and some prophets, and some proclaimers, and some pastors, and some teachers,
12 For the perfecting of the Set-Apart-Ones: for the work of the service; for the edification of the body of the Messiah,
13 Until all of us become one and the same, in the trust and in the knowledge of the Son of Eloah: and one complete man, according to the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Messiah.
14 And we should not be infants, who are shaken and turned about by every wind of the deceitful teachings of the sons of men, who by their craftiness are plotting to deceive:
15 But we should be steadfast in our love, that [in] everything we may grow up in the Messiah, who is the head.
16 And from Him the whole body is fit together, and is tied together in all the joints, according to the gift that is given by measure to each member, for the growth of the body, that its edification might be accomplished in love.
Note that the leadership structure is key to the unity of the Body.
THE LAST DAYS REBELLION OF KORAKH
The book of Y'hudah (Jude) speaks of a last days rebellion of Korakh. Jude likens the rebellion of the fallen angels to a last days "rebellion of Korakh":
6 And the angels who did not keep their first estate, but left their own habitation: He
has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, for the judgment of the great day;
7 As S’dom and Amora, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having
given themselves over to sexual immorality, and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as
an example--suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
8 Likewise also, these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of rulers.
9 Yet Mikha’el the chief angel, in contending with Akel Kartza, when he disputed about
the body of Moshe, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation: but said, YHWH
10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know: and whatever they know naturally,
like brute beasts, in these things, they corrupt themselves.
11 Woe to them: for they have gone the way of Kayin; run greedily in the error of
Bil’am for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korach.
12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, tending
only to themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late
autumn trees without fruit; twice dead, pulled up by the roots;
13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is
reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
(Jude 1:6-13 HRV)
Jude goes on to quote 1Enoch 1:9 and apply it to this last days "rebellion of Korakh":
14 And Chanokh, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying,
Behold, YHWH comes with ten thousands of His Set-Apart-Ones:
15 To execute judgment on all, to convict all who are wicked among them of all their
wicked deeds which they have committed in a wicked way, and all the harsh things
which wicked sinners have spoken against Him.
16 These are murmurers; complainers: walking according to their own lusts. And their
mouth speaks great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.
(Jude 1:6-16 HRV)
COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM
After consulting with YHWH Moshe and Aharon, on behalf of YHWH, make a call to the followers of Korakh
Separate yourselves from among this congregation,
that I may consume them in a moment...
...Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korakh,...
...Depart... and touch nothing of theirs,
lest you be consumed in all their sins.
(Num. 16:21, 24, 26)
YHWH was getting ready to judge the rebellion of Korakh but first he sent his messengers to give the people fair warning.
One cannot miss the obvious parallel between this call to depart out of the rebellion of Korakh and the call to come out of Babylon and be separate given so often in the Tanak and Ketuvim Netzarim (Is. 48:20; Jer. 50:8; 51:6, 45; Zech. 2:6-7; 2Cor. 6:17; Rev. 18:4):
Depart you, Depart you, go you out from there,
touch no unclean thing; go you out of the midst of her;...
Wherefore come out from among them,
and be you separate, says YHWH,
and touch not the unclean thing;
and I will receive you.
...Come out of her, my people,
that you be not partakers of her sins,
and that you receive not her plagues.
The Doctrine of Separation
There is a distinction in Scripture between the sins of factionalism and sectarianism, which I have often taught on before, and the Scriptural precept of the doctrine of separation. Sectarianism disrupts the unity of the Body of Messiah, while the doctrine of separation protects the Body of Messiah.
"Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness…"
The heart and center of the doctrine of separation is summarized in 2Corinthians Chapter 6. Now in 2Cor. 6:11-18 Paul gives us a Midrash (in the form of a poem) on Dt. 22:10 which ties the passage to Is. 52:11/Ezkl 20:34, 41/Zech. 2:11) The midrash is as follows:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.
For what fellowship has righteousness with Torahlessness?
And what communion has light with darkness?
And what accord has the Messiah with B'liya'al?
Or what part has he who believes with an unbeliever?
And what agreement has the Temple of Elohim with idols?
For you are the Temple of the living Elohim.
As Elohim has said:
I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their Elohim,
And they shall be My people. (see Lev. 26:12; Jer. 32:38; Ezkl. 37:27;
Therefore come out from among them
And be separate, says YHWH.
Do not touch what is unclean, (see Is. 52:11; Zech. 2:11, note 2:7)
And I will receive you. (see Ezkl. 20:41, 34)
I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says YHWH Almighty. ( see 2Sam. 7:14, 8; Is. 43:6)
There are many examples in the Torah where the doctrine of separation was invoked. Our Father Avraham is a prime example when YHWH said to him "Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you." (Gen. 12:1)
It was the doctrine of Separation that Pharaoh resisted, and which YHWH used Moshe to accomplish.
It was through the doctrine of Separation that the People of Israel were separated from the rebellion of Korakh:
"Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume
them in a moment… Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korakh…
Depart… and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their
(Num. 16:21, 24, 26)
Beware of the leaders of the Rebellion of Korakh who say to the leaders "You take too much upon you, seeing all the assembly are Set-Apart, every one of them, and YHWH is among them. Wherefore then lift you up yourselves above the assembly of YHWH?." (Num. 16:3 HRV) "These are murmurers; complainers: walking according to their own lusts. And their mouth speaks great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage." (Jude 1:6-16 HRV)
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