Why Were the 250 Leaders Swallowed by the Earth

November 2, 2021

The Old Testament records this story: When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, the 250 leaders disobeyed his leadership and thus perished in a crack in the earth. However, very few people know why their opposing Moses led them to perish.

The Bible records that God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and that through Moses God promulgated the Ten Commandments for man to follow. Seeing that Moses was esteemed and trusted by the common people, the 250 leaders of the congregation of Israel at that time were not convinced of him. More than two hundred prestigious people led by the Korah, Dathan and Abiram all attacked Moses and Aaron by saying, “You take too much on you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and Jehovah is among them: why then lift you up yourselves above the congregation of Jehovah?” (Num 16:3).

“Is it a small thing that you have brought us up out of a land that flows with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except you make yourself altogether a prince over us? Moreover you have not brought us into a land that flows with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: will you put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up” (Num 16:13–14). From these words, we can see that, the 250 leaders thought Moses made himself king; they were unwilling to accept the leadership of Moses, and moreover complained to and attacked Moses many times. Jehovah heard their every word and saw their every move. Afterward, His anger came upon them: He made the earth instantly open up and swallow them, all of their families and the men with them, causing these people to descend alive into the netherworld.

But why did the 250 leaders meet God’s destruction due to opposing Moses? This is what God said about it in His words: “Perhaps some of you have read the story of Moses in the Bible. After Moses was anointed by God, the 250 leaders expressed their disobedience to Moses because of his actions and for various other reasons. To whom did they refuse to submit? It was not Moses. They refused to submit to God’s arrangements; they refused to submit to God’s work on this issue. They said the following: ‘You take too much on you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and Jehovah is among them….’ Are these words and lines very serious, from a human point of view? They are not serious! At least, the literal meaning of these words is not serious. In a legal sense, they do not break any laws, because on its very surface, this is not hostile language or vocabulary, much less does it have any blasphemous connotations. These are just common sentences, nothing more. Why is it, then, that these words can trigger such rage from God? It is because they were not spoken to people, but to God. The attitude and disposition expressed by them is precisely what aggravates God’s disposition, and they offend God’s disposition that must not be offended.

From these words of God, we can see that: Moses was used by God personally; all he did was in accordance with Jehovah God’s commands and was doing God’s will; his work represented part of the Holy Spirit’s work. However, the 250 leaders not only did not obey Moses, they instead openly went up and clamored against him. They believed that, since God was able to speak to Moses, then God should be able to speak to them; since Moses could be used by God, then they could also be used by God. They also said that they only listened to God and not Moses. This is how they resisted the man used by God. They had already offended God’s disposition. So God vented His rage on them and made the earth open up and swallow them. We can also see that the 250 leaders did not know God’s disposition or the Holy Spirit’s work at all. These are the real reasons why God destroyed them in hell.

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