1 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.
2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
3 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.
4 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.
5 So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said.
6 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.
7 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.
(1) This is one of the instances in the Bible where people faced physical death due to their rebellion against God.
There is also Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, who in the wilderness rose up against the authority of Moses and Aaron. They became preacher fighters, so God opened up the earth and swallowed Korah and his followers. (Numb. 16,17).
In the New Testament, there was Annanias and Saphira, who lied to the Holy Spirit of God and faced sudden death as a result.
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, that is exactly the way the matter should be handled.
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.
The scene here involved the two sons of Aaron the high priest.
They were Nadab and Abihu. Nadab was Aarons first born son---his name means "noble." Abihus name means "my father he is." They made a tragic mistake of thinking that if they wanted to offer the fire of their own making, it would be alright, and that God would do nothing about it. HOW DREADFULLY WRONG THEY WERE!
(2) What does "fire" speak of in the Bible.
a. Associated with the divine presence in the O.T.
Yahweh, is seen in 1 Kings 18 as the God that answers by fire.
Seen in pillar of fire, burning bush, Mt. Sinai, and in the flame on the alter. When Solomons temple was dedicated in 2 Chr. 7:1, there was fire that fell out of heaven.
b. Associated with divine wrath.
If you recall God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah by fire ( Gen.19), and according to 2 Pet. 3:12, fire will dissolve the world, when the elements shall melt with fervent heat. Some of the events that are yet to occur, that are described in the Book of the Revelation will involve fire.
c. It is associated with Gods holiness, his jealousy, his protection, his righteous judgment, his wrath against sin, the Word of God, trial and suffering, of evil desire, of the tongue, and of heaven in its purity and glory.
(3) Strange fire is no new thing today. There are all types of "strange things" in the church today. There are strange doctrines, strange practices, and strange thinking. Someone has said the word "strange" in Lev.10:1 can mean "unauthorized" fire. That would mean something that God would not put his stamp of approval upon. There are a lot of doctrine, thinking, and practices in the local church that God would never put His Divine approval upon.
Lets consider some things I trust will be helpful about "strange fire":
I. SOME DEFINITIONS OF STRANGE FIRE
A. It is "using carnal means to kindle devotion and praise."
B. It is "all not done in worship and service, in dependence upon the Holy Spirit of God and under His guidance, in obedience to the Word of God."( Arno Gabelein)
1. It involves worship and service
2. It is a fleshly hype rather than God dependence.
3. It rests in mans own guidance rather than H.G.
4. It disregards the Word of God and does it ones
C. It is fire that you try to produce yourself rather than taking fire off the alter.
D. Look up the word "strange." It comes from a word which means "to turn aside." It could be used of a traveler who is looking for a motel or a place to stay, yet, they are turned away, for whatever the reason might be.
E. It is called by some commentators as "false worship" and "will worship."
I. THE DEFINITION OF "STRANGE FIRE"
II. THE DETECTION OF "STRANGE FIRE"
How can we detect it when we are around it?
A. The Biblical Revelation
Lets look at the Biblical account and see what really happened.
Everything that Nadab and Abihu seem to be wrong here in Lev. 10.
1. Wrong People
It was not their job to handle the incense (a picture of prayer) and offer it unto the Lord. Only the priest, their father, was suppose to perform that function. Look in Ex. 30:7-10, and you will discover this truth. Ex. 30:7 says that Aaron was to burn the incense. It is certainly strange fire for an unbeliever to offer any prayer to God unless first there is a prayer of repentance and salvation. The believer is a priest, not the unbeliever.
2. Wrong Instruments
They used their own instruments rather than the censer of the high priest. See Ex. 40:9. All of the vessels of the tabernacle were to be anointed with oil. Oil in the Bible is often typlical of the Holy Spirit of God and His work. They had no anointing, thus, what they were doing was of the flesh and not of the Holy Ghost.
3. Wrong timing
It was only on the yearly Day of Atonement that the high priest could take incense into the holiest of holies. Even then there was a certain ritual he was to follow. He had to put on a holy linen coat, he was to be girded with a linen girdle, he was to wash his flesh in water and then put the clothes on, he had to take two kid goats for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering, then he was to offer the bullock of the sin offering for his own sins and the sins of the people.
Gods appointed day for the forgiveness of mans sins was when the Lord Jesus gave his life at Calvary, almost 2,000 years ago.
4. Wrong authority
They did not consult with their leader Moses or their father the high priest. Moses had received a word from God, but it did not matter to the young men whether they followed the Word of God. They were ready to act on their own and did not follow the leadership that God gave them. That is often so true in Baptist churches today. If a person wants to do anything that affects the church in any way, the man of God should be consulted. That is Gods way of doing things from the earliest times. Our generation has gotten away from the teachings of this Bible. What Nadab and Abihu did only gender trouble for themselves and for others in the congregation of Israel.
According to Leviticus 16:12, the high priest was to burn the incense on coals taken from the brazen altar. Not just any fire was to activate the incense, but fire from the alter coals. When Nadab and Abihu supplied their own fire, it was clearly rejected by Holy and Mighty God. Some say the term "strange fire" means a fire than was unauthorized by God Himself. God had already instructed what was to be used in Lev. 16:12.
5. Wrong motive-
They were not seeking to glorify God alone. In Lev. 10:3 God spoke unto Aaron about being glorified. The two young men did not have the glory of God in mind at all. We offer false fire when our motive in what we do fails in desire to give God glory.
All that you do you should do to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31 says, "Whether therefore ye eat or drink, do all ye do to the glory of God."
We do not fully know the hearts of Nadab and Abihu, but it appears their hearts were full of sinful pride. They wanted to look important in the eyes of Israel and seemingly did not have in mind at all, the glory of the Lord. They wanted to promote themselves and look important. That seems to be what motivated them in the tragic thing they did.
6. Wrong energy-
According to what verse 9 and 10 says, here in Lev.10, they very well may have been under the influence of alcohol. That impaired their judgment, but if they were under its influence, there was no need for them to be. It was their own choice!
Look at what verses 9 and 10 says:
9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations:
10 And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;
That must have just happened. The words of verses 9 and 10 seem to be a scathing rebuke for their indulgence in alcohol.
They were killed because they substituted fleshly energy for the power of the Holy Ghost. If God did that today, there would not be many people left alive in the church at all today!
If God took his people out of this world, a lot of what the church is doing now, would go on and no one would know the difference.
Eph. 5:18 says, "And be not drunk with wine......but be ye filled with the Spirit."
Heb. 12:28-29 says:
28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29 For our God is a consuming fire.
A. The Biblical Revelation
B. The Practical Application
1. Offering salvation without the blood is strange fire.
"Without the shedding of blood there is no remission" Heb.9:22.
"What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus,
what can make me whole again, nothing but the blood of Jesus
Oh precious is that flow, that makes me white as snow, no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus."
2. Offering attendance without worship is strange fire.
It is not enough to come through the doors of this sanctuary, listen to the prayers, sing and hymn, hear the preaching and go out the door without an experience of worship.
Worship can be define well in this way:
"The overflow of a grateful heart, under a sense of Divine favor." Here the writer has emphasized the fact that worship is a spontaneous thing. It is not something which has to be laboriously pumped up, but that which springs up, and overflows from a heart filled with a sense of the greatness and goodness of God.
"Worship is the occupation of the heart, not with its needs, or even with its blessings, but with God Himself."
"Worship is the upspring of a heart that has known the Father as a Giver, the Son as Savior, and the Holy Spirit as the indwelling Guest."
We need to worship when we come to the church house.
3. Offering singing without the Spirit is strange fire.
Music is good in its place but there is a way for it to be done.
Singing should be done in the power of the Holy Ghost. The singers must be filled to be effective for God, just like the preacher must be filled and controlled by God.
There is so much entertainment music in the church today. People will come out to hear a singing group but care little about the powerful proclamation of the Word of God.
You can sing like a canary but it will not ring the bells in the hearts of Gods little children until it is accompanied with Divine power.
4. Testimony without personal experience is strange fire.
I have a testimony due to a personal relationship with God.
Out of that intimate relationship comes good words about the one we are related to spiritually- God himself.
Ill- When you are close to your wife, you will speak good things concerning her out of that relationship. There will be an "overflow" of gratitude and thanksgiving for who she is and what she does.
5. Teaching without divine leadership is strange fire.
Preaching and teaching are the two main ministries of the church. Ever teacher should prepare for their lesson by asking God for at least three things:1- Insight 2- Power 3- Leadership
6. Prayer without a holy life is strange fire.
1Jo 3:22 says, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."
You cannot live just any way and get your prayers answered. The right kind of life must back up the petition.
7. Performance without power is strange fire.
Many today have the performance mentality in the church today, expecially when it comes to singers. If all a person has is a performance they have nothing.
It is like the young gold prospecter in the days of the Old West. He had spent days panning for gold and finally one day he thought he had the real thing. He took some of it to get money for what he thought was gold, and the gold exchange asked him, "Do you not realize this is not real gold? This is "fools gold." It was of no value, though the prospecter thought it was.
I. DEFINITION OF STRANGE FIRE
II. DETECTION OF STRANGE FIRE
III. DANGERS OF STRANGE FIRE
A. It Grieves The Holy Spirit Of God
Eph. 4:30 "And grieve not the Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."
"Grieve" means: "to cause sorrow."
B. It Hinders The Church
When the true "fire of God" comes things begin to happen.
Peter at Pentecost: Acts 2---full of the Holy Spirit of God.
C. It Dishonors God
The Bible says in 1 Cor. 1:31 says, "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
If God sets up a way to do things and we go another route, we dishonor the Lord.
D. It Will Bring Failure
God wants us to have good success, but to have it we cannot overlook the Word and desires of God.
Jos 1:8 declares, " This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."
DEFINITION- DETECTION- DANGERS
IV. THE DENIAL OF STRANGE FIRE
You do not have to get wrapped up in "false fire." The key to saying no is knowing what the true thing is like.
There are counterfeit fires that are burning all over America. Most of you have enough of God about you and the kind of spiritual background to detect what is from God and what is from man.
Give me what God gives rather than what man gives. Man wants some kind of fleshly hype or wants things deader than
4 AM in the morning.
The true prophet of God will do more than quote Scripture and make practical application to your life, he will have a holy power and authority that originates from the Holy Ghost.
V. THE DESTRUCTION OF STRANGE FIRE
The way you get rid of the false is to go after the true. How can we have heavenly fire to fall?
Lets go to Mt. Carmel( 1 Kings 18), and consider Elijah the prophet. Remember how the prophets of Baal were gathered with Elijah to prove who the true and living God was.
Elijah issued a challenge to the prophets of Baal to come to Carmel and there the god that would answer by fire would be the true God.
The prophets of Baal went first. They chose a bullock, prepared it, and cried out to their so called gods from morning to noon.
Elijah mocked them. They cried aloud, and cut themselves with knives and lancets until their own blood flowed. Still there was no answer from their false gods.
After than was Elijah and his Gods turn.
A. The alter was repaired.
Took 12 stones and built an alter in the name of the Lord.
We are going to have to prepare our altars, which speak of worship and devotion to the true and living God. It is so easy for our dedication to God to slip. Easy to drift from place of power and blessing.
B. The sacrifice was offered.
Laid wood in place and prepared sacrifice.
The fire comes when we get our eyes on the cross of Christ.
C. The water was poured.
Took four barrels and commanded them to be filled with water.
Pour it over sacrifice. Did that two more times. The water ran down from the sacrifice to the ditch that was dug around the alter. Proof it could not be a phoney trick. It had to be God when the fire came.
We need to preach the Word of God. It is likened unto water in the Bible.
Eph. 5:26 "Washing of the water by the word."
D. Prayer was made.
In 1 Kings 18: "Lord God of Abraham, Issac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word."
Fire came down and devoured the sacrifice and licked up the water in the trenches around the alter.
Lets avoid false fire and come to the altar of God afresh and anew and ask God for the fire of heaven to fall upon our souls once again. There may be some sin you need to confess, or your life may need to take a different direction, but it can happen to you today. The fire can fall! Very few today are asking God for a great manifestation of His power. Will you be one?