Monday, March 05, 2007

Killed for offering "strange fire"

Number 3:1-4 Now these are the records of the generations of Aaron and Moses at the time when the LORD spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai. These then are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests, whom he ordained to serve as priests.

But Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD when they offered strange fire before the LORD in the wilderness of Sinai; and they had no children. So Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests in the lifetime of their father Aaron.


Can someone help me understand what “strange fire” is? The NIV uses “unauthorized fire.”


Mark Wilson said...

This is a trick one.

In Lev 10:1-4 people were also killed for the same thing. The explanation there sheds some light:

1 AND NADAB and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, and put incense on it, and offered strange and unholy fire before the Lord, as He had not commanded them.

2And there came forth fire from before the Lord and killed them, and they died before the Lord.

3Then Moses said to Aaron, This is what the Lord meant when He said, I [a][and My will, not their own] will be acknowledged as hallowed by those who come near Me, and before all the people I will be honored. And Aaron said nothing.

So again we have a situation which is like many of the other verses that you're struggling with - that God is a Holy God and if we're planning on coming near Him, then we have to be respectful.

Seen across the span of time, it makes more sense in that there was a fall because lucifer used his free will and 1/3rd of the angels used their free will as well.

Now we're living in the out-working of that incident.

So what's my point? Well, in the eternity to come, there is NO WAY that in the future anyone will rebel against God again, simply because lucifer will still be in the lake of fire and our story of what it's like to be separated from God will be written and available in the Book of Life.

If anyone comes to you and me and suggestions another rebeliion, we'll always be able to read about how the last one went... and politely decline.

The whole story makes sense when viewed from that perspective.

If you refuse to consider that we've fallen or been separated or that there is a devil... then the bible as it is written no longer makes sense.

But if you accept it as it is... then it all hangs together and God's behavior and choices and rewards and punishments correlate and make sense.

It all depends on whether we accept the bible's world view of two polar choices. One with God, one with a fallen rebellious angel. We then have personal choice to go one way or the other. To NOT go to God is to go the other way.


Mark Wilson said...

It seems they directly contravened this

Exo 30:9 "You shall not offer any strange incense on this altar, or burnt offering or meal offering; and you shall not pour out a drink offering on it.

Mark Wilson said...

And if you're interested, Uzzaiah did the same but this time the bible expands on the state of his heart (proud, corrupt, unfaithful):

2Ch 26:16 But when he became strong, his heart was so proud that he acted corruptly, and he was unfaithful to the LORD his God, for he entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.

Jason said...

Mark, who is Lucifer in Isaiah 14?

Secondly, the outcome of offering strange fire was punishment of the individual. There's no reference whatsoever of these priests falling under the control of an evil fallen angel.

This was all about free choice and personal responsibility. "If YOU sin, YOU will be punished". There are no warnings in the OT laws regarding the presence of the devil, which means that the devil can easily not exist and the OT still be perfectly intact.