Anti-Paulism and the Rebellion of Korah
Anti-Paulism is an ideology that rejects the Apostle Paul as an apostle of Messiah Yeshua. Anti-Paulism is like a disease. It is easily spread from one person to another, especially among those who have not studied the issues for themselves. Proponents of this ideology reject all or part of Paul’s epistles, parts of the Book of Acts and the Epistle of 2 Peter. The latter two are rejected in part or in full because they portray Paul in a positive light; the latter also for historical reasons.
Korah was a Levite who rebelled against Moses and Aaron. This brought Yahweh’s judgment upon him and those who joined in his rebellion. There are uncanny parallels between the account of Korah found in Numbers 16 and the actions of anti-Paulists.
Here is the account of Korah as found in the KJV of Numbers 16 with my commentary on those parallels interspersed in this font in red. The KJV use of “the LORD” has been corrected to read “Yahweh” and “God” has been corrected to read “Elohim”.
Numbers 16:1 Now Korah (Anti-Paulist leaders are a parallel to Korah), the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men:
Numbers 16:2 And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel (Those that followed Korah are a parallel to those who follow the error of the anti-Paulis leaders.), two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown (The anti-Paulist leaders are very knowledgeable, charismatic individuals and easily gain recognition in a congregation. Many can and are being misled by them.) :
Numbers 16:3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and Yahweh is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of Yahweh? (The anti-Paulist believes he is equal to or better than Paul in understanding Torah and how it applies to the congregation of believers. After all (they reason), they were called by Yahweh and Yahweh is among them as well. They have Yahweh’s Holy Spirit in them and therefore, can discern truth.
Korah and company were coming against Yahweh’s leaders just as anti-Paulists come against Paul as a leader of New Covenant assemblies. They do this by trying to prove Paul teaches contrary to Torah and Yeshua.
Notice they accused Moses and Aaron of lifting up themselves above the congregation of Yahweh. They did not recognize that it was Yahweh Himself who lifted up both of them. The anti-Paulist accuses Paul of being a “self-appointed apostle”. They do not recognize his calling to that office by Yahweh or Yeshua.)
Numbers 16:4 And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face: (Thankfully, Paul is unaware of the attacks against him.)
Numbers 16:5 And he spoke unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even tomorrow Yahweh will show who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him. (Yahweh chose Moses and Aaron as leaders of His congregation. He also chose Paul, through Yeshua, as a leader of the New Covenant assemblies. Yeshua said of Paul;
“. . . Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake” Acts 9:15-16.
We also see, in Acts 13:1-4, that the Holy Spirit of Yahweh chose Paul and sent him on his mission:
“Now there were in the assembly that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to Yahweh, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.”)
Numbers 16:6 This do; Take you censers, Korah, and all his company;
Numbers 16:7 And put fire therein, and put incense in them before Yahweh tomorrow: and it shall be that the man whom Yahweh doth choose, he shall be holy: ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi. (The anti-Paulists take too much upon themselves in coming against Paul just as Korah and company took too much upon themselves by coming against Moses and Aaron.)
Numbers 16:8 And Moses said unto Korah, Hear, I pray you, ye sons of Levi:
Numbers 16:9 Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the Elohim of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of Yahweh, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?
Numbers 16:10 And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also? (Yahweh separated those that believe in Yeshua from the world before they became anti-Paulists. They could come boldly before His throne of grace and stand before Him clothed in Yeshua’s righteousness. But that was not good enough. Now they seek to take away Paul’s position as a leader and teacher in the assembly of the saints. They destroy Paul’s good name and office and exalt themselves as true teachers from Yahweh.)
Numbers 16:11 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against Yahweh: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him? (In coming against Moses, Korah and company were actually coming against Yahweh Himself. In coming against the Apostle Paul, anti-Paulists are actually coming against Yahweh and Yeshua; a grievous sin of rebellion)
Numbers 16:12 And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said, We will not come up:
Numbers 16:13 Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us? (Once again, Korah does not recognize Yahweh’s choice of Moses and therefore, accuses Moses of being a self-appointed prince over Israel. Anti-Paulists do not recognize Yahweh and Yeshua’s choice of Paul and accuse him of being a self-appointed apostle.
Interestingly, although Moses was Yahweh’s chosen leader and Aaron was Yahweh’s chosen priest, Yahweh never told Israel that information directly. He used Moses to relay that information indirectly. Similarly, we do not have a direct command from Yahweh or Yeshua informing us that Paul is an apostle. We know he is a “chosen vessel” based on Acts 9:15, but not that he is an apostle except through the words of Luke in Acts 14:4,14 and Paul’s testimony about himself.
Did the fact that Israel did not hear a direct command from Yahweh appointing Moses and Aaron make their appointments any less valid or null and void altogether? No. Neither does the lack of a direct command from Yahweh or Yeshua of Paul’s apostleship make his office invalid or void.)
Numbers 16:14 Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up.
Numbers 16:15 And Moses was very wroth, and said unto Yahweh, Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.
Numbers 16:16 And Moses said unto Korah, Be thou and all thy company before Yahweh, thou, and they, and Aaron, tomorrow:
Numbers 16:17 And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye before Yahweh every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers; thou also, and Aaron, each of you his censer.
Numbers 16:18 And they took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon, and stood in the door of the tabernacle of the congregation with Moses and Aaron.
Numbers 16:19 And Korah gathered all the congregation against them unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the glory of Yahweh appeared unto all the congregation. (Korah had tremendous influence over the congregation to convince them he was right and to deceive them into following him. Anti-Paulists do the same. As with Korah, many anti-Paulists will come against Paul right up until they stand before Yahweh in judgment.)
Numbers 16:20 And Yahweh spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
Numbers 16:21 Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.
Numbers 16:22 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O Elohim, the Elohim of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?
Numbers 16:23 And Yahweh spoke unto Moses, saying,
Numbers 16:24 Speak unto the congregation, saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. (Yahweh was incredibly angry with Korah, Dathan and Abiram, the architects of this rebellion. Their pride, arrogance and vanity in coming against the leaders that Yahweh put in office were a great offense to Him. The anti-Paulists’ offense is no different in coming against Paul as one of Yahweh’s chosen leaders of the New Covenant assembly. )
Numbers 16:25 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him.
Numbers 16:26 And he spoke unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins. (It would be wise for the congregation of believers in Yeshua to heed Moses’ warning (in type) and depart from anti-Paulists and their destructive influence before they end up partaking of their sins and being chastened / judged along with them.)
Numbers 16:27 So they got up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.
Numbers 16:28 And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that Yahweh hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. (We will eventually know with certainty that Yahweh sent Paul after He vindicates Paul from the slander and false accusations against him.)
Numbers 16:29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then Yahweh hath not sent me.
Numbers 16:30 But if Yahweh make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked Yahweh. (It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living Elohim. It is my prayer that this article will instill the fear of Yahweh in anti-Paulists that they may see their rebellion, provocation and sin and repent.)
Numbers 16:31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:
Numbers 16:32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
Numbers 16:33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. (Whether or not Yahweh deals with anti-Paulists as He dealt with Korah is questionable, but the fact that He will deal with people who rebel against His chosen leaders is inevitable.)
Numbers 16:34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.
Numbers 16:35 And there came out a fire from Yahweh, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense. (Those who partake in any rebellion against Yahweh’s leaders risk receiving the wages of the sin.)
Numbers 16:36 And Yahweh spoke unto Moses, saying,
Numbers 16:37 Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are hallowed.
Numbers 16:38 The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before Yahweh, therefore they are hallowed: and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel.
Numbers 16:39 And Eleazar the priest took the brasen censers, wherewith they that were burnt had offered; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar:
Numbers 16:40 To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before Yahweh; that he be not as Korah, and as his company: as Yahweh said to him by the hand of Moses.
Numbers 16:41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of Yahweh.
Numbers 16:42 And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of Yahweh appeared. (This incredible account is a testimony to the destructive influence of Korah and company. In spite of Yahweh’s judgment against Korah and company for their part in the rebellion, the entire congregation continued the rebellion in coming against Moses and Aaron even though it was not they that killed the people, but Yahweh Himself. The anti-Paulists have a similar influence over congregations. Many will continue following their rebellion in spite of repeated warnings against such a practice.)
Numbers 16:43 And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.
Numbers 16:44 And Yahweh spoke unto Moses, saying,
Numbers 16:45 Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.
Numbers 16:46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from Yahweh; the plague is begun.
Numbers 16:47 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.
Numbers 16:48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
Numbers 16:49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.
Numbers 16:50 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed. (Yeshua is a type of Moses and he is our atoning sacrifice. It is only through him that the sinner can be forgiven. He intercedes for the sinner as Moses interceded for the congregation of Israel. There is forgiveness for the sin of rebellion that anti-Paulists are committing, but they must repent. They need to spend more time trying to understand Paul’s writings through prayer and study and less time trying to refute Paul or prove him wrong.
Even anti-Paulists admit that Paul’s writings contain many valuable and edifying teachings. That being the case, the proper approach to understanding Paul’s writings is to first give him the benefit of the doubt. When we don’t understand something Yeshua taught, we don’t accuse him of being wrong, teaching against Torah, or lying. We give him the benefit of the doubt and wait on Yahweh to give us further understanding. The Apostle Paul should be treated the same way, especially since he is a leader chosen by Yahweh.
Rebellion against a chosen leader of Yahweh is a serious sin, but it is not the only sin that anti-Paulists are committing. They are slandering and falsely accusing Paul based on a false interpretation of the true evidence. Yahweh says;
"You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.” Exodus 23:1
“You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am Yahweh.” Leviticus 19:16
I admonish all anti-Paulists to reconsider the “evidence” they are standing upon in their slander and false accusations against an Apostle of Yeshua.
There are several other articles on my website that may help you understand Paul’s writings. They are found at http://www.intergate.com/~jcordaro/index.html under the heading “Apologetic Studies”. I don’t profess to understand everything Paul has written, but I do understand enough to know that anti-Paulists are wrong about him.)HOME