People have rebelled against authority for centuries. Reasons range from jealousy to a general dislike for taking orders from someone else. Korah was a Levite as was Aaron, but Aaron and his sons made up the priesthood. Dathan and Abiram were of the tribe of Reuben. Jealousy in the hearts of Korah, Dathan and Abiram caused them to rise up against Moses and Aaron. They along with two hundred fifty other leaders rose up and stated, “You take too much upon yourselves…Why do you exalt yourselves…?”
Faced with that intense opposition to their leadership, Moses and Aaron conferred with God and in the end, the earth opened up and swallowed the three men, their families and all that pertained to them. Fire consumed the other two hundred fifty rebels and there were no more problems with the people.
WRONG!! The very next day the congregation of the children of Israel complained again saying, “You have killed the people of the Lord.” After God had finished punishing the people for that outburst, fourteen thousand seven hundred more of them had died from the plague.
In a show of support for Aaron’s authority, God commanded that the leaders of each tribe bring their rod with their name on it. The rod that had buds on it the next morning would denote God’s choice for leadership. Aaron’s rod had not only budded, but it had blossoms and ripe almonds on it. That rod was placed in the ark of the Covenant/Testimony as a reminder of Aaron’s authority.
Sin cannot be tolerated by God. Someone will be held accountable for it. Under the Law of Moses, the priests bore the weight of the sins of the people once the proper sacrifices had been presented. The priests and ultimately, the high priest then made the necessary offerings for the people. Christ is our High Priest today. He sacrificed Himself once for all, to bear the sins of all who accept Him.
God required the first and best offerings from the Israelites. The priests and other Levites were to perform the rituals associated with those offerings and to care for the tabernacle. As compensation for not having a portion of the Promised Land, the Levites were permitted to eat of those sacrifices and receive the tithes of the people. They served their duties and received the best of the produce of the land. The Levites then were required to offer tithes of the best from those gifts.
Uncleanness also was not allowed in the camp. Arrangements were made to provide cleansing for anyone who became unclean. A red heifer without blemish and that had never been yoked was to be ceremonially slaughtered and burnt. Its ashes were to be stored in a clean place outside the camp. Some of the ashes of that heifer were to be mixed with running water and sprinkled upon the unclean person or thing for purification on the third day. On the seventh day, that person must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water. He would be clean at evening.
A person who did not submit for cleansing would be cut off from the assembly. Today, a person who does not submit to the cleansing waters of baptism will remain outside the assembly/church.