Most of us have heard "Dueling Banjos," which do not lead anyone to deliverance, but have you read the Torah portion Korach, the Dueling Leaders? Two sets of judgment are executed upon the deceiving, false prophets and leaders who challenged Moses and Aaron. The Levitical, priestly service is a prophecy of death, burial, resurrection, and restored life in the Garden. The most important thing that restores every person's relationship to the Father is his respect for Heavenly authority, even when it feels as though we could do better than the Divine plan.
Those who serve the Father for His sake are holy. Those who serve the Father for their own sakes are eventually sorted out in the duel:
Fire also came forth from the LORD and consumed the two hundred and fifty men who were offering the incense. (Nu 16:35)
Those who sin with fire are judged with fire. Those who sin with separation and detachment, like Dathan and Aviram, are judged with separation and detachment. "Create a creation" is the phrase Moses uses in the Torah portion Korach to describe the supernatural opening of the earth to swallow the rebels, "Veh-im briah yivrah YHVH..."
It wasn't a natural earthquake, but the mouth of the earth opened up specifically and swallowed only Dathan and Aviram's rebel families, like a sinkhole. Unlike a sinkhole, however, the "mouth" closed back after they went down alive to the pit.
and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and
the earth closed over them, and they perished
from the midst of the assembly. (Nu 16:33).
So many lessons are in one statement:
- Their belongings went with them to the pit, yet they would not be able to use them; what things or activities of this world deceive and separate us from assembling with the People of Israel?
- The sins of the parents, Dathan and Aviram, affected their wives and children, who were swallowed with them. Our imperious, smug attitudes and behaviors do affect our families and the paths they choose. It contributes to their detachment as well.
- The punishment was excision from the community. Being detached from a faith community is a living death.
- The Israelite community was not perfect; in fact, this Torah portion records multiple imperfections; yet, it was better to be alive in an imperfect assembly than to disappear into the assembly of detachment, Sheol.
In a strange "new" creation, the principle of resurrection shows its reverse side. Instead of being caught up alive in the cloud with Yeshua, the wicked are pulled downward alive to Sheol, the not-so-sweet home of dragons, beasts, and false prophets. There is an "assembly" in the Pit, but not of the righteous.
This strange downturn contrasts with the Creation week itself, in which the seeds of resurrection were planted. On the First Day, "light is sown like seed for the righteous" (Ps 97:11). Although both righteous and wicked would eventually benefit, the light, and by extension, The Light of the Torah, was the implanted seed of resurrection. On the Third Day, the dry earth emerged, and then plant life resurrected from the Seed. The text, however, does not emphasize just any plants, but "trees bearing fruit with seed in them."
In other words, if the tree, which is a metaphor for a human being in Scripture, bears fruit, which is deeds that reflect attitudes, and the Seed is in the fruit, and the Seed is both Messiah and the Word (Ga 3:16; Lk 8:11), then the Light of the Word in the working life of righteous trees is evidence that they will resurrect.
Because the Word is a Lamp to the feet and a Light to the path, the darkness of Tzalmavet (the valley of death's shadow) lights the way up to the Garden for the righteous, not down. Indeed, many righteous ones of old were seen walking around the Holy City on the Third Day when Yeshua resurrected. Believers today have the benefit of Yeshua's Light to ascend to the Lower Garden when they die to await their new bodies at the first resurrection, just like those righteous souls who resurrected with Yeshua.
There is another resurrection day prophesied in the Creation, which is perhaps why Moses uses the phrase, "Create a creation." The Fifth Day was one on which fish swam in the sea and birds flew in the air. Now creatures existed to picture the resurrection as metaphors, not just plants. Look at any seven-branched menorah:
Look at the third and fifth branches. See how they are joined at the same "head"? That means they share a common theme. In the case of the Third and Fifth Days, they share a theme of resurrection. Now the three main locations of resurrection "seeds" are established: land, sea, sky. It is no coincidence that the dragon and beast in Revelation come from three locations: sea, earth, and air (Re 12:9; 13:1, 11).
The beast, the dragon, and the false prophet suffer the fate of Dathan and Aviram, a "living" death of separation into the pit:
And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image;
these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. (Re 19:20)
In context with the Torah portion, it makes sense, for "signs" confirmed who was holy and who was not: firefall, Sheol opening, and Aaron's rod of authority. Throughout Revelation, it is
authority at the center of the fight for the souls of man. Those with Babylon written in their hearts and on their foreheads must "fall, fall," for the dragon will be 1) thrown down to earth, and he will give his authority to the beast, who will also 2) fall down to Abaddon.
Just as Moses and Aaron were challenged by Korach's rebels and conspired with Dathan and Aviram, and so the two judgments were burning by fire and going down alive to Sheol, so the beast and the false prophet suffer similar fate.
At the end of the Days of Messiah's Millennium, the adversary is loosed once more, and the Torah portion of Korah is "remixed." Like on Korach's, Dathan's, and Aviram's deceived rebel assembly, 1) fire falls from Heaven and 2) the deceiver falls again. For this reason, John writes, it is better to have a part in the first resurrection with Yeshua:
Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in
the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is
like the sand of the seashore. And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city,
and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also... (Re 20:6-10)
In Part Two, we'll examine Caleb's battle with the giants at the tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, the sand of the seashore, and the upward resurrection from a "holy one's" daily witness to the Torah.