Rebellion In Our Ranks

By John Thiel

The rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram draws a comparison with Satan in the last days. We will look at what rebellion is. In understanding what rebellion is, we can understand more fully the rebellion that took place back then. We find something in Job that impresses our minds that we take the time to know what rebellion is.

Job 34:35 Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words [were] without wisdom. 36 My desire [is that] Job may be tried unto the end because of [his] answers for wicked men. 37 For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth [his hands] among us, and multiplieth his words against God.

God had declared that Job was righteous. In the last chapter God says Job had spoken that which was right. His sin now is at a rebellion unto his sin. The scriptures also declare that despite the loss and physical suffering, he sinned not. Here is Elihu saying he has sinned but not only that, but rebelled. Its very important to understand what rebellion is. Its possible to be accused of being in rebellion when you are not in rebellion. Its possible to think you are not in rebellion when you actually are.

We need to study for our own sakes. We don’t study the word of God to search out the sins of others. We study the word of God to search our own hearts that we, me, will not be found in rebellion. What then is rebellion? How does God regard rebellion? God is speaking to the Israelites before they go into the promise land.

Deuteronomy 18:9 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you [any one] that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, [or] that useth divination, [or] an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things [are] an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

None of these people that practise such arts were to be found among his people. Those that were in the land, they were to be driven out. They were not to be suffered amongst Gods people. So much so were these people not to be suffered.

Leviticus 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood [shall be] upon them.

Those that were rebellious were not to be suffered amongst Gods people.

Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Once you communed with evil spirits or were a channel of those evil spirits, you were an abomination to God. This is the simple declaration of Gods word. They were in Gods sight great sins which were to be punished with death. The following verse speaks to us of rebellion and what they were to do in the case of rebellious people in their midst.

Deuteronmy 21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and [that], when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son [is] stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; [he is] a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. 22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: 23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged [is] accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.

Witches and wizards were to be executed and so were the rebellious. How does God regard rebellion? In the same light he regards witchcraft, sorcery and necromancers.

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.

What is rebellion? It is as the sin of witchcraft. As far as God is concerned, there is no difference between rebellion and witchcraft. They are the self same sin.

Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Why? How can you take something like rebellion and put it in the same category as witchcraft. When I have a rebellious spirit within me, I haven’t been playing with Ouija boards or dealing with evil spirits. Lets understand this.

Samuel informed Saul that his rebellion was as the sin of witchcraft. That is, when one commences to travel in the path of rebellion, he yields himself to be controlled by an influence that is in opposition to the will of God. Satan controls the rebellious mind. Those who are thus controlled lose a calm trust in God, and have less and less disposition to yield loving obedience to his will. Satan becomes more and more familiar with them, until they seem to have no power to cease to rebel. In this respect, rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. – {1SP 365.4}

In witchcraft, the wizards and witches yield themselves up to the will of the devil. Satan controls a rebellious mind. After a while you lose your calm trust in God and you have less and less disposition to be obedient and Satan becomes more and more familiar with you.

“Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” Rebellion originated with Satan. Notwithstanding the exalted position which he occupied among the heavenly host, he became dissatisfied because he was not accorded supreme honor. Hence he questioned God’s purposes and impugned his justice. He bent all his powers to allure the angels from their allegiance. The fact that he was an archangel, glorious and powerful, enabled him to exert a mighty influence. His complaints against God’s government, at first met with no favor; yet being urged again and again, they were finally accepted by those who had before been loyal and happy subjects of the King of Heaven. There was not the shadow of justification or excuse for disaffection; but envy and jealousy, once cherished, gained a power that paralyzed reason and destroyed honor and loyalty. As the result, Satan and all his sympathizers were cast out of Heaven. – {ST September 14, 1882 Par. 9}

By cherishing envy and jealousy, he paralysed himself. When we cherish envy and jealously, our reason becomes paralysed. Rebellion originated with Satan. It is him that controls the rebellious mind. A rebellious mind will do what Satan did in his rebellion.

All the powers of his master-mind were now bent to the work of deception, to secure the sympathy of the angels that had been under his command. Even the fact that Christ had warned and counseled him, was perverted to serve his traitorous designs. To those whose loving trust bound them most closely to him, Satan had represented that he was wrongly judged, that his position was not respected, and that his liberty was to be abridged. {GC88 496.1}

This is what begins to take place in a rebellious mind. As the reason becomes paralysed, things become perverted. We think that we are wrongly judged, that my office is not respected or my skills, abilities and talents. I think that my liberty is being restricted.

From misrepresentation of the words of Christ he passed to prevarication and direct falsehood, accusing the Son of God of a design to humiliate him before the inhabitants of heaven. He sought also to make a false issue between himself and the loyal angels. {GC 496.1}

You don’t care about the cause. You don’t care about the interests of heaven and its beings.

All whom he could not subvert and bring fully to his side he accused of indifference to the interests of heavenly beings. The very work which he himself was doing he charged upon those who remained true to God. {GC88 496.1}

I’m not in rebellion, they are in rebellion. Its important we understand what rebellion is and examine our hearts. To sustain his charge of what God had toward him.

It was his policy to perplex the angels with subtle arguments concerning the purposes of God. Everything that was simple he shrouded in mystery, and by artful perversion cast doubt upon the plainest statements of Jehovah. This paralysed reason infused itself and brought paralysis into the reason of others. So that which was the simplest which God had spoken, he made it to become mysterious. Those that were under his influence, their reasoning powers became enfeebled. His high position, in such close connection with the divine administration, gave greater force to his representations, and many were induced to unite with him in rebellion against Heaven’s authority. GC88 496.1

It becomes very clear why rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Satan moves in rebellion in the same spirit.

In his rebellion, Satan showed contempt for the authority of God, and virtually trampled upon every precept of his law. He is the grand prototype of all transgressors. To indulge unbelief, ingratitude, apostasy, defiance of God, or enmity against him, is but to repeat the course which Satan pursued in Heaven. {ST September 14, 1882 Par. 10}

Apostasy, defiance, enmity all in the same basket.

Rebellion against God is as directly due to Satanic influence as is the practice of witchcraft. Like witchcraft, it exerts a bewitching, deceptive power almost impossible to break. Those who set themselves against the government of God have entered into an alliance with the arch-apostate, and he will not lightly lose his prey. All his power and cunning will be exercised to captivate the senses and mislead the understanding of his victims. Everything appears to them in a false light. Under his bewitching spell they can, like our first parents, see only the great benefits to be received by transgression. To achieve the desired object, they will stop at no means, however great the danger to another or the sin to themselves. {ST September 14, 1882 Par. 10}

Their reasoning power he will also paralyse. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. It becomes very clear in our minds how God regards rebellion and what rebellion really is.

How often does the spirit of God come to us and we say, I don’t want to do that. That is rebellion. If we don’t search our own hearts, Lord am I in rebellion, we will lose that calm trust we had. We will lose less and less disposition and become like the arch apostate. An alliance with the devil. Hence, when we consider Satan’s rebellion and his influence, its the same as witchcraft.

Settled rebellion is incurable. It first originated in heaven with the angel next highest in order to Jesus Christ. This exalted angel had sympathizers who joined him in his rebellion. He, Satan, the great rebel, was turned out of heaven, and all his rebel sympathizers shared his fate. Since then it has been his special work to excite to rebellion all he can gain control over. – {CTr 115.3}

Is Satan gaining control over you? First its very subtle and you don’t even realise it. That which you perceive to be bad is good and good is bad. God is reaching out to you. How careful we should be not to permit the devil to bring us to such a condition.

Will we see rebellion in the last days? The rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram is it to be expected in these last days?

Ezekiel 20:33 [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: 34 And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. 36 Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. 37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: 38 And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.

What is God going to do? He’s going to gather from all the different nations amongst all the world, he’s going to bring them into the wilderness of the people. Then he will plead with them as he pleaded with the Israelite fathers in Egypt. What is this saying? God is going to take his people through the wilderness experience again. As he pleaded with them for 40 years to give up their stiff necks and repent, so will he plead with this people in this day. They will come under the rod, under the bonds of the covenant. They will be called to make promises. Will they harden their hearts or will they not? The same experiences of the Israelites journeying through the wilderness will be the same experience of the church in the last days. Through the experiences of Korah, Dathan and Abarium, these experiences will be met.

That those who are faithful can be taken into that promised land. How many Israelites left Egypt? It was over a million. It was a very large number. But how many of that generation went into the promised land? Two. It is declared that though Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant will be saved. Does it pay for us to examine our hearts that we will not be found in rebellion?  The sand of the sea was swept away.

Said the angel, “Rebellion will occur up to the time of the closing of the work of the third angel’s message. Marvel not, neither be discouraged. He who conquered the leader in rebellion stands at the head of this great work. Although Satan may exult and seem for a time to triumph, the first great Conqueror has His eyes upon him, and he can go no farther than He permits. He is permitted to have power for a time to reveal the true-hearted, to prove the faithful, to develop the spurious and separate them from the pure in heart. Rebels will be purged out from among the loyal and true in due time, for the truth has gathered of every kind.” – {CTr 115.4}

Marvel not at the experiences to be met in these last days. Don’t be discouraged because God is taking his children through the wilderness experience as the wheat and tares will grow up and then be separated.

The Lord reveals to men their danger, and warns them to put away all selfishness, that they may have that faith which works by love and purifies the soul. Yet, notwithstanding this, Satan works upon human minds to do as Judas did. The deadly, groveling passions that take possession of the heart in these last days, when self once becomes lifted up, bring all kinds of evil. Those who sympathized with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram in their apostasy, brought blight and death upon themselves. So it will be in these last days. The cause of Christ will be betrayed. Those who have had the light of truth, and have enjoyed its blessings, but who have turned away from it, will fight down the Spirit of God. Inspired with a spirit from beneath, they will tear down that which they once built up, and show to all reasonable, God-fearing souls that they can not be trusted. They may lay claim to truth and righteousness, but their spirit and works will testify that they are betrayers of their Lord. The attributes of Satan they call the movings of the Holy Spirit. – {RH May 24, 1898 Par. 10}

Do you know what that is? Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Settled rebellion is incurable. Rebellion is to be expected. It will happen but how easily will it happen?

Now men are placed in responsible positions who knew not Joseph. Straight testimonies have been borne to head off their ambitious projects again and again, it has hurt their pride. They have but little faith in me or the messages the Lord has given me. It would not take a very strong movement to have a state of things created as in the days of old, and Korah, Dathan, and Abiram would come to the point. {1888 988.4}

She is speaking here of men who were in positions of influence. They had no respect for the Spirit of Prophecy. As those messages come to them which is so contrary to their plans, they rise up against it. It would not take a very strong movement. Rebellion is natural. Unless rebellion in the heart is fought against, it will come. Just a few influential persons with personal grudges to set the ball rolling. The rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram is in a great sense of the word a key that unlocks the experience of Gods people in the last days. It is contained in that experience a type of a shaking that will happen amongst Gods people.

I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this will cause a shaking among God’s people. – {1T 181.1}

What is the true counsel? Rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. Some will not bear this straight testimony. Their plans are not in harmony with Gods faithful. The shaking will blow away multitudes like leaves. It becomes clear in our minds what rebellion is.

Rebellion in Our Own Ranks

How we should war against rebellion in our own ranks? Do we really want to be found at war against our Saviour after all he has done for us? Searchers of our own hearts, seek diligently. Am I obedient to every jot and tittle?

As we search our hearts, as we seek to be purified, to have that precious communion:

But we may still rejoice in the fact that it is not yet too late for wrongs to be righted. Jesus is a risen, living Saviour, our Advocate in the courts of heaven. “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” As soon as sinners see their sins in the light of God’s Word, repent, and seek pardon with contrition of soul, confessing their sins, the Lord hears and answers.—Letter 12a, 1893. – {CTr 125.7}

The warning is to all, we study for ourselves. If the Lord and His word show us up, repent. We have an advocate with the Farher, praise the Lord that we do.


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Posted on 18/10/2013, in Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Prayer Meeting Sermonettes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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