Summary: What happened to Nadab and Abihu is an important example that we must never tamper with things that God have sanctified as holy.
February 22, 2003
A. Results of disobedience
1) Leviticus 10:1-7, “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace. And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp. So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said. And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the LORD hath kindled. And ye shall not go out from the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: for the anointing oil of the LORD is upon you. And they did according to the word of Moses.”
2) This is one of the instances in the Bible where people faced physical death due to their rebellion against God.
3) In the Old Testament, there was Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, who in the wilderness rose up against the authority of Moses and Aaron. (Numb. 16,17).
4) In the New Testament, there was Ananias and Saphira, who lied to the Holy Spirit of God and faced sudden death as a result (Acts 5:1-10).
5) It is a serious matter to tamper in a wrong way with the holy things of a Holy God. When God lays out orders for something to be done in a certain way, it must be followed accordingly.
6) This is one of the tragic scenes of the Bible. It manifests a reckless and careless attitude about spiritual things that provoked an undesirable response from God.
A. Fire in the Bible
1) Fire is associated with God’s presence
a) 1 Kings 18—Elijah at Mount Carmel
b) 2 Chronicles 7:1—Fire fell from heaven after Solomon’s dedicatory prayer of God’s temple
1. “Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.”
c) Pillar of fire during 40 years of sojourn in the wilderness
d) Burning bush at Mt. Horeb during the commissioning of Moses
2) Fire is associated with divine wrath
a) Genesis 19—Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
b) 2 Peter 3:12—Destruction of the whole earth at Christ’s Second Coming. “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”
3) Fire represents holiness and purity
a) Revelation 3:18, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.”
b) Zechariah 13:9—Trial by fire. “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”
4) Fire represents the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:1-4, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
B. Strange Fire—Definition
1) The word “strange” is taken from the Hebrew word “Zowr”, which means “unauthorized”, “foreigner or stranger.”
2) C.I. Schofield defined it as "using carnal means to kindle devotion and praise."
Strange fire in our churches
a) Some churches put up a big screen to watch soccer after church worship to boost attendance.
b) Playing bingo after worship
c) Tradition of men. Matthew 15:9, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”