The Korah Syndrome

By C. Eldon McNabb

The epistle of Jude was written at a time when God's Church was at an all time low. The Faith which had once been "delivered unto the saints" had been lost. Appropriately, Jude admonished us to contend earnestly for its restoration. He said that ungodly men had managed to get into the ministry and had "turned the grace of God into lasciviousness."

Jude compared these preachers to the angels that fell with Lucifer. He said their offence was that they "despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities." Contrary to the example of Michael the archangel, who, "when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not. - Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity."

The entire 16th chapter of Numbers is dedicated to the "gainsaying of Core." This Core is the Korah of Numbers chapters 16 & 17: a Levite and a first cousin of Moses. Korah, Dathan, Abiram and On, the son of Peleth, with two hundred and fifty Princes of the Assembly rose up in defiance of Moses and Aaron, and boldly rejected the concept of God having an anointed leader whom He has appointed to rule over His people.

They said unto Moses and against Aaron, "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?" Moses replied, "You take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi. . Seemeth it but a small thing that unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself . to stand before the congregation to minister unto them? . And seek ye the priesthood also?"

The next day, all of them perished in a very selective earthquake. The following day, a cry of sympathy for Korah and his followers arose within the congregation, even accusing Moses of killing them. That sympathy cost fourteen thousand and seven hundred of them their lives before Moses and Aaron could persuade God to stop the plague - all because Korah and His fellow ministers despised dominion, and were not afraid to speak evil of dignities, and spoke evil of those things of which they had no knowledge.

Okay, so that was under the law. However, those who perished for the same offence during the administration of Jude, did so under "the law of faith." So, how can a person perish in the manner of Korah in the Grace Age? It cannot be done at just any time. God has not always had an anointed leader. When Peter had finished building the Church for Jesus Christ, James, the brother of the Lord, became God's anointed (Acts 15:19-21), and Peter worked under him as the Apostle to the Jews. In that post, Peter walked in godly fear of James - sometimes even to an erroneous extreme. After the death of James, Jude served in that office unto the end of the era of the Jewish Church. From that time until 1903, the people of God were not given an anointed leader.

You see, there must be a man, anointed of God, sitting in Moses' seat, or no one can be guilty of the Core's error. When Jesus began His ministry, the Scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses's seat, so Jesus admonished his followers to obey their commands. (Matt. 23:2,3) Therefore, for the next forty-year transition from the Law of Moses to the Law of Faith, the Christian Jews had to obey the administrators of both laws.

In the beginning of the twentieth century, God began again to appoint a leader: "a ruler over His household." There have been time gaps between them, but having God's Anointed with us has blessed and edified God's people. Of course, the Korah syndrome has also been with us. The modern Core, when presented with the reality of Matthew 24:45-47, has something like this to say: "All of our preachers are anointed. God has good men whom He has anointed for many works, such as General Superintendent, pastors and missionaries. What right do you have to claim that God has set you above all of us? We all have the Holy Ghost." Does that sound more than just a little like Korah in Numbers 16:3?

In the words of the Apostle Paul, "I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints."