“Then fire came out from Adonai and destroyed the 250 men who had offered the incense.”-Numbers 16:35
We’ve just got done studying how the earth swallowed up Datan, Aviram, their families and all the men who sided with them.
The Scriptural description of this account is as succinct as it is sobering.
It simply says, “the earth closed over them and their existence in the community ceased“.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the judgement.
The scene switches over from the south side of the encampment to the east side (the location of the entrance to the Tent of Meeting) where Korah and the 250 rebels showed up with their censers in defiance of Moses and the God-established hierarchy.
We’re told they were instantly burned alive.
This should remind you of an earlier event.
Remember when Nadav and Avivu were also burned alive when they offered “strange fire” to God.
However, there is a difference in the offense that Nadav and Avihu committed and the offense that Korah and the 250 rebels committed.
We should examine this closely because it will give us a deeper understanding of how the Principles of God work on this earth.
Understand that Nadav and Avihu were given the authority to come near to God and offer incense to Him.
The reason they were destroyed is because they offered coals that did NOT come from the Altar of Burnt Offering.
The Altar of Burnt of Offering was the only place the coals were allowed to come from.
That’s why what Nadav and Avihu offered was termed “strange fire“.
However, what Korah and the 250 rebels did when they approached God with incense was much worse.
Unlike Nadav and Avihu, the 250 rebels didn’t even have the authority to come near to God let alone offer incense.
Hence, they were destroyed.
Another interesting difference is that in the case of Nadav and Avihu, it was only they who were killed for their transgression.
In Korah, Datan and Aviram’s case, not only them but their immediate families and anyone else who made the tragic mistake of siding with them were also destroyed.