ESV - 1 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them.
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In order to understand the phrase "strange fire," we must review the story in Leviticus in which it appears. The first tabernacle had been erected, and Aaron was doing a lot of sacrificing per God'...
They offered up strange fire. The lesson is that God has a standard, much like Christ said in John 4 they that worshiped Him Must worship Him in Spirit and Truth (observing His way, rather than man's way) these two attempted to approach God with incence from fires they had setup for themselves rather than using the fire that was maintained in the temple. Moses told the three remaining priests never to drink strong drink or wine when they came to minister, so one possible inference is that Nadab and Abihu had been drinking before this incident....God judged them. This illustrates the principle that Man must worship in line with God's way and not attempt to create his own way....God is exclusive it's wether His way or nothing.....Christianity is not self help, it's God's help....Jesus said I Am THE WAY, THE TRUTH & THE LIFE. He did not say I am A way, A truth and A life...He is Lord....and if you have not made Him Lord of all in your life, then you have not made Him Lord at all.
Nadab & Abihu both accompanied Moses with over 70 others to a banquet with Jehovah on Sinai (Ex 24:9-11). If you go back to Lev 9:24 it states that "came a fire out from before the Lord". With both of these I think it is safe to say that pride corruped their thinking. Both are well aware of the rules of the Tabernacle, but after having dinner with Jehovah & being appointed to the ministry by Moses. Allowed pride to convence them that (1) They were in the presence of Jehovah therefore they had speacial favor from Jehovah. (2) They were chosen by Moses confirming they had special favor from Jehovah in there mind. Now the issue with the strange fire. As I hinted to Lev 9:24 the fire showing that a offering was acceptable. With pride corroupting there thinking wanting to be seen as special in the eyes of the congregation, one way to show this is to have prof of an accetable "burnt" offering. To make sure this will happen they made a fire (strange fire) to put on the alter. Jehovah will not share his glory (Isa 42:8) all of the focus of the people was to be toward Jehovah and no one eles was to be seen as speacial.
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