Korah leads a rebellion against Moses and Aaron; the plague of judgment sent by God; duties for the priests; the tithe offering; the sacrifice of the red heifer.


The complaints that were hurled against Moses in chapter 12 came from his own brother and sister. The uprising against him in chapter 16 comes from his own cousins, Korah, Dathan, and Abram. The sad thing is that Korah, the ringleader of the rebellion, was able to negatively influence 250 of the leaders of Israel against Moses and Aaron.

Their accusations against Moses and Aaron, the God-ordained authorities in Israel, was that they assumed too much authority, and that there were others, namely THEM (!), who were deserving of an equal voice in the decisions that were made for the nation. They, no doubt, were assured that they were right, and that they were seeking to champion the “Lord’s cause”, and a cause that was for the “good of the people.” They were wrong. Dead wrong! In fact, verse 11 reveals that their actual rebellion wasn’t against the authority of Moses and Aaron but against the authority of the Lord Himself! (“. . . both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord” (16:11). As the Lord recounts this story in Numbers 26:9, He says that, “they strove against the Lord.”

It is interesting to note that Moses and Aaron did not seek to defend themselves. They let God be their defense (Psalm 59:9). Moses instructs Korah and his 250 rebels to bring censers (the pots used for burning incense) to the Tabernacle so that God could reveal who was right in the dispute. The object lesson was incredible. The ground opened up and swallowed Korah, Dathan, Abram, and as the 250 princes offered their incense, God breathed out fire and they themselves went up in smoke!

One would think that the supernatural intervention of God confirming the authority of Moses and Aaron, would have caused the people to willfully and joyfully submit. Rather, they murmured once again, actually blaming Moses and Aaron for the killing of Korah and all his cohorts! Wow! Needless to say, God was not pleased. He instructs Moses and Aaron to back off so that He could consume every last one of the murmurers. Moses (what a guy!), rather than relish in God’s JUDGMENT on the people, instructs Aaron to offer ATONEMENT for them so that the people would be spared. Before Aaron can offer the atonement, however, 14,700 people were killed!!!

Evidently, even the events of chapter 16 weren’t enough to convince the people of Aaron’s authority in the priesthood. In chapter 17, God wants to settle the issue once and for all. God instructs Moses to tell each tribe to present a rod (a dead stick) to be placed in front of the Ark in the Tabernacle. The rod that blossomed would indicate the one He had chosen for the priesthood. Obviously, Aaron’s rod was the only one that budded but not only that, in a single day, it budded, blossomed, and bore fruit! The other rods were still as dead as a door nail. While each of the princes took back his lifeless rod, the rod of Aaron was placed in the Tabernacle before the Ark to be a constant reminder to the rebels of the nation who the one High Priest of Israel actually was.

Aaron’s rod, of course, is a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many religious leaders and teachers have arisen throughout the course of time. They all had one thing in common: they died! Only One rose from the dead! He alone is the Source and Giver of life, our Great High Priest!


In AARON’S BUDDING ROD Num. 17:1-8 (I Cor. 15:20; Acts 17:3: 26:23) In AARON AND HIS SONS who were responsible to bear the iniquity of the people in the sanctuary Num. 18:1 (Isa. 53:4-7; Titus 2:14) In the RED HEIFER which was to be offered as a cleansing from defilement.

It was to be without spot or blemish Num. 19:2

(Christ was “without blemish and without spot” I Pet. 1:19) It was to have never born a yoke Num. 19:2

(A yoke is put on an animal to subdue its wild nature and compel

subjection. Christ needed no yoke, but came saying, “Lo, I come to

do thy will, O God” Heb. 10:7)

It was to be red Num. 19:2

(A picture of the blood of Christ Heb. 9:14; I Pet. 1:2, 19) It was to be slain without (outside) the camp Num. 19:3

(Christ was crucified on Golgotha, a place outside of the city of

Jerusalem John 19:17)

It’s blood was to be sprinkled seven times before the Tabernacle

Num. 19:4

(Seven is the number of completion and perfection in the Bible.

Christ offered one complete and perfect sacrifice for sin Heb.