Parshas Korach
Numbers 16:1 -18:32

Challenging G-d...? ©


By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Gary L and Donald W Belk, may they rest in peace.

Within our Torah Hashem has three distinctions known as Yisroel, Levium and Kohanim.

The first grouping is made up of the descendants from eleven of the twelve sons of Yaakov: Reuvein, Shimon, Yehudah, Zebulun, Yissachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naftali, Yoseif, and Binyamin.

The second grouping is made up of the descendants from Levi, the only son of Yaakov that was NOT LISTED like his eleven brothers termed Yisroel. Levi had three sons: Gershon, Kehas and Merari {Numbers 3:17}.

The descendants of Gershon were two sons, Livni and Shim'i. The Gershonites camped behind the Mishkon on the west side. Their responsibilities were "the Mishkon and the Tent, its cover and the Curtain for the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. The hanging Curtains of the courtyard and the Curtain at the entrance of the courtyard which is around the Mishkon and Altar, and its ropes (the Mishkon and Tent) for all of the work involving these things." Numbers 3:25,26 The descendants of Kehas were four sons, Amram, Yitzhar, Chevron and Uziel. The Kehosites camped on the south side of the Mishkon. Their responsibilities were guardianship of "the Ark, the Table, the Menorah, the Altars and the sacred utensils with which they serve and the Curtain and all the work involving these things." Numbers 3:31

The descendants of Merari were two sons, Machli and Mushi. The Merorites camped on the north side of of the Mishkon. Their responsibilities were guardianship of "the beams of the Mishkon, its bars, pillars and sockets; all of its utensils, and all of the work involving these things. Also the pillars of the surrounding courtyard and their sockets, pegs and ropes." Numbers 3:36, 37

The third grouping which is the most important is mentioned last. The Kohanim are the descendants of Levi through his son Kehas, his grandson Amram and his great grandsons Moshe and Aharon, the Kohen Gadol. The Kohanim camped in front of the Tent of Meeting on the east side. "...Moshe, Aharon and his sons, guardians of the guardianship of the Sanctuary {are} to guard on behalf of B'nei Yisroel. Any outsider{non-kohein} who comes near, shall be put to death." Numbers 3:38

As a side note to the above explanation, Jesus {who Christians / Messianics proclaim to be a prophet, high priest and king} cannot be the Kohen Godal, the high priest. Jesus is NOT from the tribe of Levi. Jesus is NOT a Kohain.

Now, our Torah parsha begins, "Korach took, [Korach], the son of Yitzhar the son of Kehos, the son of Levi..." This helps to explain several important issues. Korach was in the second grouping. Korach was a Levi. He was NOT a Kohain! Even though he was a very righteous man this was a point of contention with him. He felt that he was more fit to be a Kohain than the family of Amram. He believed that he should have been chosen as the Kohen Godal rather than Aharon. Korach based his argument on the fact that he did not participate in making or contributing to the molten calf but that Aharon did! He deliberately overlooked Aharon's intentions. He merely stated the obvious! This teaches us that even very righteous men can make very serious mistakes, G-d forbid! It is very possible to have a skewed view of what is actually transpiring.

Now, dear reader, how does this affect us today? What is the significance of the story of Korach?

First we observe that Korach spoke out against what Hashem had commanded. The Torah relates, "They gathered against Moshe and Aharon, and they said to them: 'You have [taken] too much for yourselves [and] since the entire congregation are all holy and Hashem is in their midst, why do you raise yourselves above the assembly of Hashem?'" Numbers 16:3

Moshe "spoke to Korach and to his entire congregation, saying: '[In the] morning, Hashem will make known who is [qualified to be] His, and who is holy, He will bring close to Him; and whoever He chooses, He will bring near to Him. Do this: Take, for yourselves, fire pans, Korach and his entire congregation {of two-hundred and fifty} and place fire in them and put incense upon them before Hashem, tomorrow; and it will be that the man who will be chosen by Hashem, he is the holy one; you have taken [too] much upon yourselves, sons of Levi." Numbers 16:5-7

In other words according to Rashi, "You have undertaken an immense task for yourselves to dispute the Holy One, blessed is He."

Holy reader, in our present world there are those who have not learned from Parshas Korach. Korach, the cousin of Moshe and Aharon, was disputing their positions and their appointment by the Holy One, blessed is He!

Korach presented an argument of theory as opposed to practice.

Korach remarked that the majority of the appointments to dignitary positions for the Mishkon were to the immediate relatives of Moshe and his brother Aharon. In theory this appeared correct.

According to the Midrash...
Korach remarked to the other Levium, 'Why has Moshe made you only Levium and not Kohanim? He has appointed you merely as assistants for his brother Aharon and his sons.' In theory this appeared correct.

Korach remarked to the princes of each tribe, the firstborn, 'By what right did Moshe declare you unfit for the avoda and put the Levium in your place?' Again, in theory this appeared correct.

Korach remarked to the tribe of Reuvein, 'Reuvein was the firstborn of Yaakov's sons. Look how Ben Amram {Moshe, the son of Amram} slighted you when the altar was inaugurated. He did not let your nassi {prince} offer his korbanos first but chose the nassi of Yehuda.' In theory this appeared correct.

Korach asked, 'Why?' Why did Moshe choose the nassi of Yehuda over the nassi of Reuvein? "Because his brother Aharon married Nachshon's sister, Elisheva. For this reason, Moshe appointed Nachshon as the head of the degalim and summoned to offer sacrifices. Again In theory this may have been correct.

Korach remarked, 'What makes you thing that only Aharon deserved the position of priesthood? We are all great enough to be Kohanim, for weren't we told by Hashem, "And you shall be to Me a kingdom of Kohanim and a holy people"?' {Exodus 19:6}

Korach continued his assault on Moshe and Aharon which for the most part seemed reasonable in theory only. In practice he was wrong.

Hashem appointed the positions of Levium and Kohanim, NOT Moshe and Aharon...

Hashem chose the dignitaries, NOT Moshe and Aharon.

Hashem removed the princes of B'nei Yisroel because of their sin and replaced them with the Levium, NOT Moshe and Aharon.

Hashem selected Yehuda over Reuvein.

As a result Korach was classified as the one who "scorned Hashem's Word." In theory his arguments made some sense but in practice he was very wrong!!

Now in a similar fashion B'nei Yisroel is affronted by another Korach of modern times that proclaims:

The Jewish Messiah has come. In Theory they argue that Jesus was that Messiah but in practice Jesus is NOT!

Christians / Messianics proclaim that Jesus is a descendant of Dovid Ha Melech and therefore proclaim his right to Dovid's throne as King of Yisroel.

However according to Christian / Messianic doctrine Yoseif is NOT Jesus' father. Yoseif is acknowledged as Jesus' "stepfather" . As a "stepson" to Yosief, Jesus has no rightful claim to the royal throne of Dovid Ha Melech! The Moshiach {Messiah} must be a blood descendant. In theory it would appear that Jesus has a claim to Dovid Ha Melech's royal throne but in practice HE HAS NONE.

Mary, Jesus' mother, is a descendant of Dovid Ha Melech but NOT through the house of Shlomo. Whoever lays claim to Dovid Ha Melech's royal throne MUST be a descendant through the house of Shlomo. NO EXCEPTIONS! According to Luke, Mary is a descendant through another son, Nathan. Therefore Jesus DOES NOT have any rightful claim to the royal throne of Dovid Ha Melech. Again, in theory it would appear that Jesus has a claim to Dovid Ha Melech's royal throne but in practice HE HAS NONE.

Jesus CANNOT make any claim to Dovid Ha Melech's throne.

Dear reader, Christians / Messianics argue many theories like Korach did. They challenge what Hashem has said in the Torah as Korach did! They scorn Hashem's Word as Korach did! In our section "Response to Missionaries" we discuss dozens of Christian / Messianic theories that constantly collide with the Torah of Hashem.

One could argue that Korach did not intend to scorn Hashem's Word just as one may argue that Christians / Messianics do not intend to scorn Hashem's Word. Yet through a series of misled beliefs Korach did scorn Hashem's Word. He died for his scorn.

The difference between Korach and Christians / Messianics is Korach KNEW that his theory was wrong. Christians / Messianics generally do not understand how their theories are wrong. They actually believe in their theories from ONLY a New Testament viewpoint. When Christian / Messianic theories are compared with Torah practice they collide!

Christians / Messianics have difficulty understanding that what they term The Old Testament, our Tenach, The Jewish Tenach, the Torah, The Writings and The Prophets was ONLY GIVEN TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE.

They may choose to follow our Tenach in theory along with their New Testament but it is optional for them. It is only theory for them. For the Jew Tenach is a command! It is NOT optional! It is our practice! It is our way of life! IT IS WHAT MAKES US JEWS!!

Therefore in theory one can be both a Christian / Messianic and a Jew BUT in practice a Jew can only be a Jew!! In practice a Jew cannot be both a Christian / Messianic and a Jew!!

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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