ENOCH – The Gainsaying of Core (Lesson 4)

The way of Cain was the choice of many of God’s people, as they demanded His worship of them and their works by refusing to offer worthy and righteous gifts to the LORD God. The error of Balaam was embraced by many of God’s people, when they lustfully sought riches, prestige and power instead of walking in the Ways of the LORD God. This attitude led to worship of false gods, as they gained a false sense of entitlement through their manipulation attempts toward the True LORD God. In this lesson, we are going to examine the gainsaying of Core, to complete our study of the three levels of errors that polluted many within the generations of disobedient people belonging to God.

The dramatic account of Core (known as Korah in Hebrew Old Testament) can be found at Numbers 16:1-50, which records his influence in causing 250 Israelite leaders to turn away from the LORD God. Ultimately, 14,700 were put to death as a direct result of the gainsaying of Korah, and the resulting plague against those who followed after him. It is this major event that leads Enoch to warn those of the coming wrath of the LORD God that is written about in Jude 1:14.

Let’s begin our deeper study by examining the meaning of “gainsaying” found in Jude 1:11 as a description of the error of Korah. The Greek word for “gainsaying” is “antiologia.” Note the two words combined which are “anti” and “logia” which translate literally to “ANTI LOGIC.” Other definitions of the word that lend deeper understanding include contradiction, opposition, and rebellion. The gainsaying of Korah meant that he was going against the logic of his belief in the LORD God, and the common sense that Moses was the leader established to lead him. Let’s look at the account of the revolution that Korah started, and the LORD God ended.

The anti-logical revolution began when Korah encouraged 250 famous princes to challenge the authority of Moses and Aaron. These leaders with renowned reputations among all of the people in all of the Tribes of Israel were convinced by Korah that Moses was taking too much holiness for himself. The anti-logical 250 leaders led by the nose with the hand of Korah were convinced that all of the people that were congregated together within the Tribes of Israel were just as holy as Moses. They angrily charged Moses that he acted as if he were “better than others” (in common speech of today), and chided him to step down.

“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?” (Numbers 16:1-3)

When Moses heard this, his immediate reaction was to fall on his face. One could sense his despair at the suggestion that he led God’s Chosen People with his will rather than through the LORD God’s direction. His solution for the determining whether the charges were truthful was both brilliant and risky. He called upon Korah and his followers to appear before the LORD God the next day, with Aaron and him, and allow the LORD God to decide who was right.

What had caused this anti-logical rebellion against a beloved leader who had helped free them from the oppressive control of Egyptian taskmasters and freed them for their journey to the Promised Land?

Two events foreshadowed the angry uprising to usurp the authority of Moses. Moses had ordered the stoning of a Sabbath breaker by every member of the congregation after the LORD God instructed this punishment.

“And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.” (Numbers 15:32-36)

Then to cause them to remember all of the commandments of the LORD God, He instructed them through Moses to place fringes on their garments. These fringes were to help them:

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.” (Numbers 15:37-41)

Interestingly, the very mindset that the LORD God wanted them to possess concerning the things of heart that he instituted with the fringes on the garments, was violated through the anti-logical rebellion of Korah and the princes. They did not want to think anyone holier than them. They sought after their own hearts, and were jealous of the holiness of Moses, and the priests established to serve the LORD God. Whether the stoning of the Sabbath breaker, and the requirement for fringes upon their garments sparked the uprising is not known; however, the rebellion questioned the authority of Moses, Aaron and the Priests, and kept the anti-logic of rebellion towards God’s ways moving throughout the camp.

There could be no doubt about their jealous resentment of the leadership forming around Moses. They were angry with them because they were wandering the wilderness and never arriving to the Promised Land which flowed with milk and honey as they appointed themselves in holy judgment against all others. The rebels wanted the position of Moses and Aaron and the Priests to end, and they wanted themselves to replace the exiled leadership immediately.

The gainsaying of Korah was against the setting apart of the family of Aaron for the duties and privileges of the priesthood. Moses wisely challenged them to appear with him before the LORD God and let Him choose. It would be the LORD God’s choice that would declare the holiness of the man, whether it was Moses and Aaron, or whether it be Korah and the 250 Princes who challenged the position Moses held.

They gathered together the next day; Moses, Aaron, the priests with Korah and the 250 princes, standing in the Tabernacle door with incense in censers to bring a pleasant smell as they approached the LORD God. The congregation of Israelites surrounded the Tabernacle, awaiting the decision of the LORD God. That decision came quickly. The LORD God spoke to Moses and Aaron and advised them to separate immediately from the congregated people, because he was going to destroy them.

Moses quickly pleaded to the LORD God to allow them to give the congregation of people gathered to watch the proceedings a chance to save themselves. The LORD God agreed. Moses told everyone:

“Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.” (Numbers 16:26)

Then 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. (Numbers 16:28-30)

At the end of Moses’ speech, the earth opened up her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. Moses was confirmed to be the holy leader, established by the LORD God, in full view of the congregation of Israelites, as he lived, and the rebels died.

“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.” (Numbers 16:28-35)

Unbelievably, many of the Israelites charged Moses with the death of the troublemakers, rather than acknowledge the destruction of them at the hands of a wrath-filled LORD God. It took the intercession of Moses to save the entire people of Israel from destruction; in the end, 14,700 people died in a divine plague before Moses’ prayers became effective.

“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 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. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed. Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah. And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.” (Numbers 16:41-50)

And that is the result of the gainsaying of Korah. The rebellion made the LORD God angry, and caused the destruction of him, the 250 princes that rebelled with him, and 14,700 people who followed after their ways. It was a rebellion against religious and political authority, coupled with the jealousy of men who wanted things to be the way they chose, rather than the way that the LORD God willed, that caused the destruction of so many.

We will delve into learning about the abhorrent ways of a sinful nation of disobedient people that developed as a result of these errors entering into their ways, as we examine the Prophesy of Enoch in our next lesson.