ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bible: What Does Numbers 15-16 Teach Us About Holiness and the Consequences of Rebellion?

Updated on September 15, 2016

Living Under the Ceremonial Law


Holiness: A Requirement of the Redeemed

Yahweh introduces more instruction about certain laws as Israel prepares to enter Canaan (vv. 1-2).

The first law reiterates the procedures to follow when offering various sacrifices (v. 3).

With these offerings the worshiper must also bring a grain offering and a drink offering; a bull requires that a worshiper sacrifice more grain and wine than does either a ram, a lamb, or a goat (vv. 4-11).

[The offering measurements for each animal follow: bull (3/10 ephah-grain; 1/2 hin (?) wine) [vv. 8-10]; ram (1/5 ephah; 1/3 hin) [vv. 6-7]; lamb or goat (1/10 ephah; 1/4 hin) [vv. 4-5).

In each case, the amount of oil mixed with the grain is the same amount of the drink offering of wine (vv. 4-7, 9-10)].

These requirements do not vary according to the natural origin of the worshiper; whether native-born Israelite or stranger, each must follow the same ordinance (vv. 11-16).

Israel must also give a heave offering of the first of the ground meal through their generations (vv. 17-21).

[Why did Moses place this particular offering here in the text?]

The next law deals with the procedures surrounding unintentional sin (vv. 22-29).

If all the people commit unintentional sin, all the people must contribute one bull as a burnt offering (with its accompanying grain and drink sacrifices) and one goat as a sin offering to make atonement (vv. 22-26; cf. Lev. 4:13ff).

[Does this mean each family must contribute a bull, or each must pay something toward the cost of sacrifice?]

An individual who sins in this manner—whether native-born or stranger—must bring a yearling female goat as a sin offering (vv. 27-29; cf. Lev. 4:27-31).

Presumptuous Sins

view quiz statistics

Sinning "With a High Hand"

For presumptuous sins, however, no sacrifice suffices; the sinner must suffer capital punishment (vv. 30-31).

[“Presumptuous” means defiantly, or literally, “with a high hand.”]

Moses records a specific incident in which a man deliberately broke the Sabbath by gathering sticks (v. 32).

After having arrested and detained him, Israel, at the LORD’s command, stones him to death (vv. 33-36).

[Might also the people who attacked the hill people in the previous chapter have committed a presumptuous sin?]

To help Israel observe all of His commandments, Yahweh instructs them to make tassels with blue threads on the corners of their garments to serve as mnemonic devices to do His will.

Perhaps as they walk, they will notice the blue thread, and it will remind them that Yahweh requires holy conduct from redeemed people (vv. 37-41).

Moses, God's Appointed Leader


Korah: The Consequences of Rebellion

Numbers 16

Two hundred fifty representatives of the congregation—well-known leaders such as Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and On—contend with Moses and Aaron, arguing that the latter have exalted themselves over everyone else (vv. 1-3).

Again, Moses responds in fear of seeing God’s wrath fall upon them (v. 4), but then informs Korah and others that on the morrow the LORD will settle the issue of who is especially set aside for His use (v. 5).

At that time, they should burn incense before the LORD; the test will show that they (the rebels) are the ones “taking too much upon themselves” (vv. 6-7).

[This incident appears to be a major example of presumptuous sin.]

Korah's Demise


Moses desires to answer the Levites’ charges, addressing Korah first.

His comments show Korah’s discontentment with his role in the theocracy; he covets the more prestigious work: the priesthood.

Moses seeks to convince him that God has greatly privileged him to have his present position, and that he has no cause to complain against lowly Aaron (vv. 8-11).

When he attempts to speak with Dathan and Abiram, they refuse his invitation and, using his own expression (“Is it a small thing. . .”), accuse him of lording it over them and reneging on his promise to give them an inheritance (vv. 12-14).

After expressing his anger (and hurt) before God (v. 15), Moses again tells Korah and his company to bring their censers to the door of the tabernacle of meeting for the LORD’s examination (vv. 16-18).

As Korah and a great multitude stand there, Yahweh’s glory appears (v. 19).

God intends to consume His adversaries (vv. 20-21), but Moses and Aaron again intercede for the whole congregation (v. 22).

When Yahweh warns these followers through Moses that they must get away from their evil leaders lest His “new creation” [an earthquake?] destroy them (vv. 23-26), they obey His word (v. 27).

The LORD causes an earth fissure—prophesied by Moses—to swallow up Korah, his household, and all his disciples (vv. 28-33).

[Moses emphasizes his “apostleship”; he has not done any work of his own will.

The fulfillment of this prophecy proves that God had appointed and sent him (vv. 28-30)].

Understandably, “all Israel” fears for their lives and flees; God’s consuming fire, meanwhile, destroys the incense-burning two hundred fifty (vv. 34-35).

Punishment for Presumption and Rebellion

view quiz statistics

At the LORD’s direction Eleazar recovers the holy, bronze censers from the blaze, and hammers them into plates to be used as an altar covering; these plates will serve to remind Israel that only sons of Aaron, not outsiders, may offer incense before the LORD (vv. 36-40).

Again, amazingly, the uncomprehending congregation complains against Moses and Aaron, thinking that they (and not God) had killed “the people of the LORD” (v. 41).

Yahweh’s glory appears to this crowd near the tent of meeting (v. 42), and He warns Moses of certain judgment (vv. 43-45).

This time Moses realizes that he cannot postpone God’s wrath any longer, for a plague had begun.

Therefore, he instructs Aaron to make atonement for the people who remain (vv. 46-47).

The plague ceases, but not until the LORD had reduced the congregation by fourteen thousand seven hundred (including those who died in the Korah incident) [vv. 48-49].

Having carried out his role, Aaron returns to Moses at the tent of meeting (v. 50).

© 2014 glynch1


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)