Strange Fires

I’ve always been intrigued with the story of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10. Reading through all the provisions for the Aaronic priesthood to do things in an orderly and holy fashion often seemed laborious, and I, at times, read through these rules not seeing the weight of their significance. Lately, the Lord has me paying greater attention to the holiness of these rules in ministering before Him in the Holy of Holies. I believe the grace of Jesus Christ and the Holiness before him has been taken for granted, and we need to see the parallels between the Old and New Testaments.

Nadab and Abihu are sons of Aaron, the brother of Moses. They were made aware of the importance of their responsibilities as priests before the Lord. So many of these rules were reiterated, so they should have taken notice of how to follow them. In Leviticus 10:1-3, Nadab and Abihu took it upon themselves to offer up to the Lord that which was considered profane. They offered up “strange fire.” They were immediately struck dead by the Lord. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “Those who come before Me must regard the Lord as holy and before all people the Lord must be glorified.” Normal mourning for Abihu and Nadab was not allowed. Further instructions for entering the tabernacle of meeting were given that “You may distinguish between holy and unholy and between clean and unclean and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.” (Leviticus 10:10-11)

There is still discussion and disagreement as to what the exact sin of Abihu and Nadab was. It could have even been for getting the material to start a fire from a place not designated as holy. Exodus 30:9 speaks to this. Their actions might not have been unauthorized. They may have been prideful, as they were seen as part of a special priesthood and took lightly the obedience to God’s very specific laws. I spoke with a Rabbi on his interpretation of what happened to Abihu and Nadab and he said there were so many opinions. He likened it to a “midrash” where Jewish scholars get together and discuss the Torah and come up with an opinion. He even suggested it speaks to the capriciousness of God. I reject that statement.

People will say that the severity of these judgments were specific to the Old Testament. But there are significant parallels that can cause one to take special heed to. In Acts 5 of the New Testament, Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, sold their possessions to give to the apostles for the work of the Lord. They could have kept the proceeds. No one forced them to give the money away. But they were duplicitous. They put only a portion of what they said they were giving at the feet of the apostles. They held back a portion and lied in doing so. The apostle Peter said to Ananias, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?” Ananias, hearing those words, breathed his last and fell dead. The same fate befell his wife Sapphira when she was given the chance to speak. Great fear then came upon the camp when they heard of what happened. The Old Testament has many more examples of the Lord meting out harsh judgment.  But the similarities of the holiness and seriousness of God cannot be minimized just because we are under grace and not the law. He is still God. In Acts 13, Herod had the apostle James killed and was trying to do the same with Peter. He later spoke before the people of Tyre and Sidon near Galilee and was receiving adulation from the people saying that his was the voice of a god and not a man. Immediately, an angel of the Lord struck him because Herod did not give glory to the Lord and he was filled with and eaten by worms and died.

All these examples of rejecting God’s law has led to what I see as “strange fire” being offered up by so many who have set up their own kingdoms in the body of Christ and pay no heed to how careful one must be as a teacher or leader of His word. We have been given access into the Holy of Holies by what Jesus did for us. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil that separated us from entering into direct access to our Father was rent in two. When we accept Christ as our savior, the Holy Spirit comes to reside in us. Paul asks in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? Anyone that defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple are you.” In all this, I am so thankful for the gift that is given to us in 1 John 1:9 which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” I might be a charcoal briquette were it not for this grace! Yet so many take His love and grace for granted. Teachings abound that lift up the speaker and not the Lord. Money is a prime motivator. Pride is rampant. Love of His sheep is lacking. These leaders are clouds without water carried about by every wind of doctrine. They offer up great swelling words, but deliver nothing. We are warned by the apostle Paul in Colossians 2:8, “Beware that no one distracts you or intimidates you in their attempt to lead you away from Christ’s fullness by pretending to be full of wisdom when they’re filled with endless arguments of human logic. They operate with humanistic and clouded judgments based on the mindset of the world system, and not the anointed truth of the Anointed One.” (Passion Translation) Wrong doctrine, based on nationalism and a distorted gospel of Christ, is growing. Strange fire is offered up without regard to how it affects the body of Christ. If what you hear doesn’t line up with the teachings of Christ, reject it. For those who have been part of the prophetic and evangelical teachings who have followed idols, especially for the last 5 years, walk from them. For those who have offered strange fire in what they taught, and have not fully repented from ALL their sins, walk from them. Pray for them, but come out from among them and be separate. These are perilous times. We are responsible for knowing right from wrong. Holy fire from strange, profane fire. Judgment comes and is coming. I urge you to read “Seek My Face” by Jonathan Boegl, as he explains so much more. We must be aware that as 1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of the Lord; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God.” Get before the Lord. Seek Him in all things. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks and praise always. Let the love of God be seen in our hearts. Love your brother, for you cannot love God and hate your brother. Be attentive and cast off all strange fire. I pray the peace of God that surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Blessings.

One thought on “Strange Fires

  1. Dear Edward,
    My husband, Stephen, and I had the great joy of reading your message on Strange Fire today (Sunday) together and discussing it. It overlapped so much he had been studying in the Bible during the past couple months. He agreed with your assessment of clean and unclean teaching the holiness of God. Your conclusions on some of the profane fire in some pulpits was especially poignant—and the message to flee such “another gospel” critical as the darkness descends.
    It is true that some of the OT laws—sacrificial, temple, and priestly laws—have been fulfilled in Christ. And it is true that “you are not under law but under grace,” (Rom 6:14). However, the very next verses clarifies what this means, for Paul says, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!” (Rom 6:15). People wrongly think that they can throw out the OT and NT moral laws of God (such as do not murder, commit adultery, lie, steal, commit incest, etc.) and grace will excuse their sins. This is not true. The context of the book of Romans is that we are no longer under the DEATH PENALTY OF THE LAW FOR SIN. “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Rom 8:1). “Not under the law” means “not under the death penalty of law for sin.” However, we are still commanded by God to follow the moral laws of God, just as Jesus perfectly followed those laws. What happens if a believer commits murder? It is covered on the cross, so the person does not go to hell, but that does not stop the earthly consequences of sin in the judicial system of the Bible which requires “a life for a life” if the person “lies in wait” for first degree murder. These judicial laws as well as the moral laws of God are still very much commanded by God.
    Stephen mentioned that in the surrounding societies of the OT, idolatrous religions also gave sacrifices to their idols and burned incense. So one of the things that the OT laws did was to make Israel’s incense different (holy). Such laws, once learned would have become a simple practice.
    We strongly agreed with your focus on the holiness of God, the casual emptiness of some nonbiblical messages, and the coming judgments of God.
    Thank you again, and may God prosper and spread your ministry for his kingdom and glory in Christ Jesus. Barbara


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