Issue #368: Problems w/Protestantism #7 - Korah's Rebellion

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Topic

Problems w/Protestantism #7 - Korah's Rebellion

 

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General Comments

Hey folks,

     Just wanted to let those of you who homeschool know about an apologetics course I'll be teaching - Blue Collar Apologetics - for high school, online and live, through Homeschool Connections this Fall semester.  For more information, click on this link: 

    https://homeschoolconnections.gosignmeup.com/public/Course/browse?courseid=3027

     To sign up for the course, click here:  https://homeschoolconnections.gosignmeup.com/Public/Course/Browse

     Seating is limited, so if you have a high school student you would want to have take this course, better to sign them up sooner rather than later.  FYI: the "live" course is limited to high school students, but it is being recorded and will be available for anyone to take after the Fall semester is over. 

 

Introduction

     Okay, this week we are going to look at another in the series of "Problems With Protestantism".  This week will be a relatively short newsletter as it is focused on one, and only one, verse in the New Testament.  That verse has to do with Korah's Rebellion - an event that occurred during the Israelites' 40-years of wandering in the desert.  I'll explain below why that is a "Problem With Protestantism". I hope you enjoy...

 

Challenge/Response/Strategy

Problems With Protestantism - Korah's Rebellion

     The Letter of Jude, verse 11, says this: "Woe to them!  For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error, and perish in Korah's rebellion."  The verse is referring to those in the congregation Jude is writing to who, "...defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile the glorious ones," (verse 8).  And other negative things are said about these same people in verses 4, 12-13, 15-16.  But I want to focus specifically on what was said about them perishing in "Korah's rebellion".

     What is that all about?  Most people, if they ever bother to read Jude, just skim right over this verse and don't really stop to think about what it means.  There are people, in the first few decades of Christianity, who are described as perishing in Korah's rebellion.

     What is Korah's rebellion?  Chapter 16 of the Book of Numbers tells us all about Korah's rebellion.  Korah was the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi.  He was a Levite.  He instigated a rebellion of some of the Israelites against Moses and Moses' brother, Aaron, who was the high priest.  What was this rebellion all about?  Well, it seems that Korah was not happy that Moses and Aaron - and Aaron's sons - had, in Korah's eyes, "exalted [themselves] above the assembly of the Lord," (verse 3).  He further said, in that same verse, "For all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them." 

     In other words, Korah was upset that there was a ministerial priesthood that was set apart from the rest of the Israelites.  He was essentially saying, "Who are you to think you have some sort of special role and authority?  Don't you know that all of us are holy and you have no business thinking that you can be priests to the Lord and we can't?"  We see this in verse 8, when Moses says to Korah, "Hear now you sons of Levi: is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to Himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them; and that He has brought you near Him and all your brethren, the sons of Levi, with you?" 

     Moses is saying to him, "You are a Levite.  You have been set apart to minister at the tabernacle of the Lord.  And that isn't enough for you?  You want more?"  And what more did Korah want?  The Word of God, in verse 10, tells us: "And would you seek the priesthood also?" 

     Korah was rebelling against the priesthood and the authority that goes with it.  He was rebelling against Moses and, in particular, against the priesthood of Aaron and his sons.  Korah was saying, "Hey, you're no different than us.  We're holy just like you.  You have no authority over us."  And God punished Korah and those that joined him in his rebellion against the priesthood.

     Now, bringing that back to the Letter of Jude.  The vast majority of Protestant denominations and non-denominations, do not believe in a ministerial priesthood.  They believe in the priesthood of all believers (as do Catholics), but they do not believe in a ministerial, or sacramental, priesthood that is set apart from the rest of the "congregation" and that has any special authority to do anything that all the believers can't also do.  They will rail against the Catholic priesthood and tell you that we are all priests and that there is no mention of a ministerial or sacramental priesthood in the New Testament.

     Yes, there is no direct mention of a sacramental priesthood in the New Testament.  However, there is mention of those who are set apart for special service to the Lord and His people through the laying on of hands.  Well, those are bishops, not priests, we are told.  Okay, but at least admit that there are those who are set apart from the rest of the people by the laying on of hands, right?  Also, as we see in Acts 6:3-6, there were men who were set apart for another type of special service to God and His people, the deacons.  They had hands laid on them as well. 

     So, we see bishops and deacons having hands laid on them for them to be set apart from the rest of the People of God for special ministerial service that has a certain authority that goes along with it.  But, it doesn't say anything about priests, we are still told. 

     That's where Jude 11 comes in.  There are people, the Word of God tells us, in the New Testament era, who "perish in Korah's rebellion".  They are perishing spiritually, not necessarily physically.  Korah rebelled against "the priesthood" of Moses and Aaron and Aaron's sons, the Book of Numbers tells us, and he, and those who followed him, perished because of it.  And it wasn't the priesthood of all believers he rebelled against, it was a ministerial priesthood made up of men who had been set apart from the people for special service to the Lord, and who had been given special authority by God with which to carry out their duties.  For people to perish in Korah's rebellion in 1st century Christianity, then, means there must have been a priesthood - a ministerial priesthood - made up of men who had been set apart from the people for special service to the Lord, and who had been given special authority by God - undoubtedly through the laying on of hands - with which to carry out their duties..  It wasn't the priesthood of all believers they were rebelling against.

     So why is that a "Problem With Protestantism"?  Well, except for the Anglican church and the Lutheran church, I'm not aware of any other denominations within Protestantism that even claim to have a ministerial priesthood.  Yet, as Jude 11 shows us, there was indeed some sort of ministerial priesthood in the early church.  So, all of these Sola Scriptura folks who claim to go by the Bible, and/or who claim to model their church after the "church of the New Testament," or some such thing; yet, they don't have a ministerial priesthood that is set apart from the rest of the people with the authority for them, and only them, to perform certain tasks involved in the worship of God -  well, they have a problem.

     And this problem is further compounded by the fact that they say the Catholic Church is unscriptural for having a ministerial, or sacramental, priesthood.  So, not only is the Catholic Church the one following Scripture by having a sacramental priesthood, but those who are rebelling against this priesthood, saying those priests are no different than any other believer, denying that they have any special authority from God to carry out specific tasks for the People of God, take the risk of perishing in Korah's rebellion!

 

Closing Comments

     I hope all of you and your families are staying safe and healthy in this time of pestilence.  Please pray for each other - for all the subscribers to this newsletter - to weather this storm without too much suffering and peril. 

     Also, please pray for the Bible Christian Society.  We're in the process of upgrading our website, and starting a new evangelization campaign that includes, amongst other things, a new podcast - God willing.  Pray that all of these efforts will contribute to the salvation of souls!

 

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