Sabbath, November 10, 2012

Memory verse

“… Behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.” Numbers 17:8.

Aaron’s staff

1. What was in the ark of the covenant besides the two tables of the law and the pot of manna?

Hebrews 9:3, 4 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant.

2. Why was Aaron’s staff kept in the ark?

Numbers 17:5 And it shall come to pass, that the man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.

Numbers 17:10 And the Lord said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not.

“All the remarkable changes in the rod occurred in one night, to convince them that God had positively distinguished between Aaron and the rest of the children of Israel. After this miracle of divine power, the authority of the priesthood was no longer called in question. This wonderful rod was preserved to be frequently shown to the people to remind them of the past, to prevent them from murmuring, and again calling in question to whom the priesthood rightfully belonged. After the children of Israel were fully convinced of their wrong, in unjustly accusing Moses and Aaron, as they had done, they saw their past rebellion in its true light, and they were terrified.” –(Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, pp. 35, 36) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1115.

Rebellion against the leadership

3. What attempt to overthrow the leadership appointed by God was made in the camp of Israel? With what other case can this rebellion be compared?

Numbers 16:1-3 Now 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: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: 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 the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?

“In the rebellion of Korah is seen the working out, upon a narrower stage, of the same spirit that led to the rebellion of Satan in heaven. It was pride and ambition that prompted Lucifer to complain of the government of God, and to seek the overthrow of the order which had been established in heaven. Since his fall it has been his object to infuse the same spirit of envy and discontent, the same ambition for position and honor, into the minds of men. He thus worked upon the minds of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, to arouse the desire for self-exaltation and excite envy, distrust, and rebellion. Satan caused them to reject God as their leader, by rejecting the men of God’s appointment.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 403.

4. What lesson must the church today learn from the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram? Who has given authority to the church?

Matthew 16:18, 19 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

“He who despises the authority of the church despises the authority of Christ Himself.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 806.

“By ignoring the authority of the church, they show contempt for God, who gave to the church its authority….

“The church is God’s fortress, His city of refuge, which He holds in a revolted world. Any betrayal of the church is treachery to Him who has bought mankind with the blood of His only-begotten Son.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 306, 11.

Lesson for the last generation

5. What lesson can we learn from the uprising of Korah and his associates in light of the fact that Aaron’s staff provided a constant reminder of God’s leadership through His chosen instruments?

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

“In the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of stone which folded together like a book.” –Early Writings, p. 32.

“Study in Patriarchs and Prophets the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. This rebellion was extended, including more than two men. It was led by two hundred and fifty princes of the congregation, men of renown. Call rebellion by its right name and apostasy by its right name, and then consider that the experience of the ancient people of God with all its objectionable features was faithfully chronicled to pass into history. The Scripture declares, ‘These things … are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.’ 1 Corinthians 10:11.” –Selected Messages, book 2, p. 393.

6. How does the history of rebellion in Israel serve as a mirror and warning for this generation?

1 Corinthians 10:1 For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea.

1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

“Do not the same evils still exist that lay at the foundation of Korah’s ruin? Pride and ambition are widespread; and when these are cherished, they open the door to envy, and a striving for supremacy; the soul is alienated from God, and unconsciously drawn into the ranks of Satan. Like Korah and his companions, many, even of the professed followers of Christ, are thinking, planning, and working so eagerly for self-exaltation that in order to gain the sympathy and support of the people they are ready to pervert the truth, falsifying and misrepresenting the Lord’s servants, and even charging them with the base and selfish motives that inspire their own hearts. By persistently reiterating falsehood, and that against all evidence, they at last come to believe it to be truth. While endeavoring to destroy the confidence of the people in the men of God’s appointment, they really believe that they are engaged in a good work, verily doing God service.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 403, 404.

7. May we say with certainty that we do not have a spirit that would form a faction and cause separation?

Romans 2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

Jude 19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

“Rebellion and apostasy are in the very air we breathe. We shall be affected by them unless we by faith hang our helpless souls upon Christ.” –Selected Messages, book 2, p. 394.

“Christ came to our world not to aid Satan in working up rebellion, but to put down rebellion. Wherever men start out in rebellion they will work secretly and in darkness, as they will not come as Christ has told them to do to the ones they have any matter against but will take their budget of falsehoods and enmity and evil surmisings and Satanic representations, as did Satan to the fellow angels under him, and gain their sympathy by false representations.” –(Letter 156, 1897) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1115.

Be united

8. What counsel did Christ give His disciples? What counsel is supremely important for the church today?

John 13:34, 35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

“I saw that the enemy is busy to destroy souls. Exaltation has come into the ranks; there must be more humility. There is too much of an independence of spirit indulged in among the messengers. This must be laid aside, and there must be a drawing together of the servants of God.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 113.

“The words are ringing in my ears: ‘Draw together, draw together.’ The solemn, sacred truth for this time is to unify the people of God. The desire for preeminence must die. One subject of emulation must swallow up all others–who will most nearly resemble Christ in character? who will most entirely hide self in Jesus?” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 42.

For review and meditation

• What is the lesson of Aaron’s staff for us who live in the time of the final atonement?
• Do you think there is a danger of rebellion also in this generation? Why or why not?
• How alone can we be free from the spirit of rebellion?