“Each man took his fire pan, put fire in it, laid incense on it and stood at the entrance to the tent of meeting with Moshe and Aharon. Korach assembled all the group who were against them at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Then the glory of Adonai appeared to the whole assembly.”-Numbers 16:18-19
In response to being challenged by Korah, Datan and Aviram, Moses devises a test designed to demonstrate who the REAL priesthood is.
The test is that the men are to fill their censers (fire pans) with burning coals and incense and approach the door to the Sanctuary Tent.
Since the Law makes it clear that only the Priests are permitted to present incense to the Lord, presumably only those are legitimate priests will be able to gain access to the Holy Place.
Let’s go back and take a look at verses 12 and 13.
“Then Moshe sent to summon Datan and Aviram, the sons of Eli’av. But they replied, “We won’t come up! Is it such a mere trifle, bringing us up from a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the desert, that now you arrogate to yourself the role of dictator over us?”-Numbers 16:12-13
From these verses we can see that the frustration and irritation that Datan and Aviram were feeling was more directed to Moses than Aaron.
Korah, being a Levite, naturally wanted Aaron’s job.
But Datan and Aviram wanted Moses’ position of Chief Leader of all of Israel.
Recall that Datan and Aviram were from the Tribe of Reuben and Reuben was the natural firstborn of Israel.
That meant that under normal circumstances he should have naturally inherited the authority to rule over all of Israel.
Well, why didn’t it happen?
Recall the incestuous power play that Reuben made in trying to usurp his father Jacob’s power by sleeping with his concubine Bilah.
While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it.-Genesis 35:22
To read more about this, click here.
Now let’s fast forward a bit to the time at the end of the book of Genesis when Jacob is on his deathbed in Egypt pronouncing blessings (and curses) one by one on his sons.
This is what he said to Reuben:
“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my strength, the first fruits of my manhood.
Though superior in vigor and power
you are unstable as water, so your superiority will end,
because you climbed into your father’s bed
and defiled it — he climbed onto my concubine’s couch!”
What happened is that although Reuben was the firstborn and should have been made the leader of Israel, because of his infidelity, Jacob rejected Reuben and gave the firstborn rights to Judah and Joseph.
Isn’t this amazing?!
We’re literally witnessing two centuries of bitterness boiling over in the form of Reuben’s descendants Datan and Aviram.
All of this time, Reuben’s descendants could never accept there father’s divine judgement upon them that they would never be the ones to lead Israel.
This ties into what I was saying yesterday about the number one reason behind all the bitterness and lack of peace in the world.
The number one reason is comparing ourselves to others and feeling inferior as a result.
Well, running behind a close second, I would say the other main reason behind why people become bitter and all bent out of shape is not being able to accept or come to terms with God’s uncompromising and final judgement on certain matters.
A perfect example is the fighting between Israel and the Palestinians concerning who owns the Land of Israel.
The Palestinians and eventually the whole world is going to have to ACCEPT and bow down to God’s judgement decreeing that He has given that land ONLY to the People of Israel, period.