Leviticus 10:1-3, “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 night me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.”
Nadab was the oldest of Aaron’s four sons. Aaron was the first High Priest of Israel and Moses was the leader of God’s people. Abihu was the second oldest of Aaron’s sons. Nadab the oldest and Abihu the second oldest did something that was very unusual for they offered strange fire on the altar.
The Brazen Altar was in the Courtyard of the Tabernacle and that is where the lamb was slain. The fire on the Brazen Altar was supposed to be burning all of the time. It was never supposed to go out. Then from the Brazen Altar one would find the Laver inside the Tabernacle, then on the left side as one entered in the Holy Place itself was the Golden Candlestick while on the right side was the Table of Shewbread. As one got closer to the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant was, there was a veil that separated the Holy of Holies from where the Mercy Seat was placed.
Just outside of the veil was a little piece of furniture called the Altar of Incense. On that Altar was burnt sweet smelly savor, incense, or a perfume kind of savor. The fire on that Altar had to come from the Brazen Altar out in the Courtyard.
The Brazen Altar was the place where the fire never went out but the fire at the Altar of Incense, God said, had to come from the fire of the Brazen Altar. There was a reason for that because the lambs had been slain and the coals were bloody coals on the Brazen Altar and God said only the blood on the coals will work! Thus, the bloody coals were on the Altar of Incense had to come from the Brazen Altar.
Nadab and Abihu were the two oldest sons of Aaron the High Priest and they decided to take a censor and put in the censer their own fire. They did not take the fire from the Brazen Altar. They put their own fire in that censer. They went to the Altar of Incense and burned the incense with their own fire.
“Preacher what in the world is the big deal?” I’ll tell you why it was such a big deal because God said He wanted the fire on the Altar of Incense to come from the fire of the Brazen Altar. There is a lot of religious fire today but it doesn’t originate at Calvary. It is not blood fire!
A lot of religious people today have much zeal but the zeal is no good unless it originates at the Brazen Altar, which is the cross of Calvary. The main reason to do it this way is because God said so!
What was the problem? Nadab and Abihu, the sons of the High Priest, had become so accustomed to all of this and this became old hat to them. The church house was their second home. So, one day they just casually used their own fire. Others would have never dared to do what these sons did. Those outside would have realized how sacred this whole process was but to Nadab and Abihu, being the sons of the High Priest, it was old stuff for them to see the Tabernacle. It was an old thing for them to see the animal sacrifice. It was old stuff for them to see the fire being taken from the bloody Brazen Altar to the Altar of Incense.
Maybe, much like the altar in the average Baptist church is old hat now to their members or maybe like soul winning is now old stuff to the average member. Maybe much like Sunday school, Sunday morning preaching, Sunday night preaching, Wednesday night Bible study, baptisms, standards, or the Christian school has become so routine that it is taken for granted. Maybe much like the King James Bible has become old hat to the average Christian. Instead of being the Holy Words of an almighty God given to us it has now become a textbook.
Thus, these sons took their censors and took their own fire to light the fire on the Altar of Incense but as soon as they did fire came down out of Heaven and destroyed them and killed them on the spot.
Why, because they thought nothing about it. They never gave it another thought that it made any difference because it had become old and trite. They had become accustomed to the house of God and their activity. They had become so familiar with the house of God. They had mentally brought the Brazen Altar, Laver, Golden Candlestick, Table of Shewbread, Veil, and the Altar of Incense down to their level of thought. They just casually took it for granted and probably said to someone who questioned them, “Oh, this is no big deal. Our dad is the High Priest and we have been here longer than you” and the result was that God killed them.
You who take lightly the preserved inspiration of the King James Bible for the English speaking peoples have become so accustomed to it that you now take steps to intellectually critique the Holy Words of an almighty God are walking in dangerous territory. Those who support such heresy will also suffer like Uzzah who innocently touched the Ark thinking he was doing the right thing but he died too. That is why those who are not sons of the High Priest look at these so-called men of God and shake their heads in unbelief that such things would occur especially in fundamental Baptist circles.
I was thinking this morning that such statements that put a question mark on the King James Bible could only occur in a college atmosphere where a large college dominates the local church. If I were to say something like that when I pastored the Longview Baptist Temple of Longview, Texas, I would have had 33 deacons knocking on my door. My board was not made up of TEXAS BAPTIST COLLEGE grads. These were really laymen who would not put up with such nonsensical statements.
There is another story in the Bible to be considered and that is about Uzzah. He was the son of a man named Abinadab. His dad was known for one thing in the Bible. The Ark of the Covenant after being captured by the Philistines was brought back to the city of David. On the was to the city of David the Ark of the Covenant had to be kept somewhere when they would stop to rest. Abinadab allowed the Ark of the Covenant to stay in his house.
This man, Abinadab, had a son whose name was Uzzah. This boy lived in the same house with the Ark. No doubt he became use to its presence. He couldn’t touch it but he knew it was there. No one else had this privilege until then. The actual Ark of the Covenant that holy powerful little piece of furniture, over which rested the Shekinah glory of God, rested in Uzzah’s house.
When it came time to take the Ark of the Covenant out of the house of Abinadab to be taken to the City of David Uzzah followed along as they transported the Ark of the Covenant to the city of David.
However, they did something they should not have done. God had said they should have the Ark of the Covenant transported by the hands of men known as Kohathites. These folks were one of the families of Levi. It was their job to transport the Ark of the Covenant and the other furniture of the Tabernacle.
God said He wanted it carried by the hands of men. However, they decided to put it on a cart. So, they placed the Ark of the Covenant on a new cart and they put some oxen out in front of it. The oxen pulled the Ark of the Covenant on this new cart. “Preacher that sounds much better to me to place it on a cart.” However, it doesn’t matter how it sounds to you. God said He wanted men to carry it by their hands.
This inspired King James Bible not only tells us of a divine message but it also tells us of a divine method of doing things. This Bible not only tells us the message but it also tells how to spread the message. This Bible not only tells us what to preach but how to preach. “But preacher soul winning doesn’t build a church.” Ok, and then don’t build a church but go soul winning! I’d rather do it God’s way and not build a church than not do it God’s way and build a church! God said by the “foolishness of preaching” not by the foolishness of “dramas.” America needs old-fashioned preaching, soul winning, and standards of holiness again!
God doesn’t need a new cart! Throw away your new cart! We find this Ark of the Covenant on this new cart being pulled by some oxen. “But preacher is looks so much better on the cart! The cart has wheels on it! After all this is a new day and we must keep up with the latest methods. It seems to me like this is much more efficient and the best way to do it.” The trouble is it doesn’t matter what you and I think, or like. It only matters what God likes and God thinks!
Observe what happens! As these oxen pulled the cart they stumbled and the cart began to shake. Uzzah instinctively reached out his hand and touched the Ark. No man was supposed to do that! Nobody was to touch the Ark and as soon as Uzzah touched it he was stricken by death. His life was snuffed out immediately.
Wait a minute! Why did God give us the story of Nadab and Abihu? Why did God give us the story of Uzzah? Why the story of Nadab and Abihu offering strange fire? It is simple because they were so familiar. Remember their dad was the boss man! They drew strength from that authority to challenge God’s Word!
What is the deal with Uzzah reaching and touching the Ark because he had become too familiar? It is so easy for those of us who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and do God’s work to become too familiar with that which is sanctified.
I believe that the lives of God’s people ought to be centered on their local church. I believe it is God’s will that the young people and children build their lives around their local church. No child of God has to prostitute to the devil’s crowd to have fun. You can have fun with God’s people.
Church is not something that takes place an hour on Sunday morning and then you go out and live like the devil all week long until you come back to church. Church is a place to come for 2 hours on Sunday morning, 2 hours on Sunday night, 2 hours on Wednesday night, 2 hours for soul winning night, 2 hours for sports, time for fellowship, time for your education, and for your fun. However, when that is true it can become very easy for God’s children to become too familiar with that which is sanctified.
Familiarity can breed contempt! Just like what happened to Uzzah. He happened to possess a privilege others did not have and because he had a privilege he thought it gave him privileges! He happened to have the Ark of the Covenant in his house. Give thought to this for in that the Ark dwelt the actual Ten Commandments on the Tablets with God’s own handwriting on those Tablets. In that Ark dwelt the Golden Pot of manna that fell every morning from Heaven in the wilderness. In that Ark dwelt Aaron’s rod that budded! All that was in Uzzah’s house. He became too familiar with it and when the Ark on the cart shifted a little he reached out to steady the Ark but God had said, “Don’t touch it!”
Likewise, Nadab and Abihu said, “We’ll just take some of our own fire and put it into our own censers and stick it into the Altar of Incense because this is so much easier! However, they had become too familiar with the work of God.
The church building is not a sanctuary and it is not the place where God lives but on the other hand it is a place sanctified for the service of God almighty. That’s one reason we built at Longview Baptist Temple the beautiful school building for Longview Christian Academy. Why, because it is easy for the LBT Auditorium and building to become a little too familiar for our children. I believe if that which is not sacred but is sanctified can lose its sanctification if God’s people are too familiar. That is why, in my opinion, gym-auditoriums are dangerous.
The church auditorium is sanctified not sacred but it is set aside for the preaching, teaching, singing, and praising God. That is why Texas Baptist College has it’s own buildings. There ought to be something about the church building that is not too familiar to God’s people. When I pastored LBT I did not come into the auditorium one or two times more than our church services. Why, because I wanted it to be a special place or a sanctified place if you please. The children should not be allowed to run around in the church auditorium. The truth is your children should be with you are some other responsible adult when on church property. The church auditorium is not sacred but it is sanctified1
God’s house is not in the sense that He lives there but it is God’s house because He owns it and it is set apart for His service. There is nothing wrong with the laughter or fellowshipping that occurs but there is something wrong with having a Ben Hur chariot race in there. This is not the place to eat or to drink. God’s house is a sanctified place!
I do not believe in formal church services, liturgy, or high church worship services but I do believe in dignity and propriety for God’s house. Too many parents bring their children to the house of God and turn them loose not knowing where they are and what they are doing. Although we should not revere the house of God we should respect the house of God. It is sanctified!
I Timothy 3:15, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
The chairs, pews, songbooks, piano, organ, pulpit, microphones, etc., were paid for with God’s money thus they belong to God are sanctified for His service. The house of God ought to be respected.
Uzza became too familiar with the Ark of the Covenant and he felt he had liberty because of familiarity to disobey God. Be careful familiarity gives no one the right to disobey God!
Nadab an Abihu were familiar with the Altar of Incense, the Brazen Altar, the Temple, the Tabernacle, and they felt liberty because of familiarity. After all their daddy was the High Priest. So, they offered the fire they wanted to offer and in so doing all three of them were killed.
THE BODY OF THE BELIEVER IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND IS SANCTIFIED
May we look at today’s Temple? It is not a building made with hands.
I Corinthians 6:18-20, “What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.”
“But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”
“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
God dwells in my body just like He dwelt in the Holy of Holies over the Ark of the Covenant in the early days. My body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit! It is not sacred but it is sanctified!
When I trusted Christ at age 11 God sanctified my spirit and set aside my spirit for Heaven. My salvation was settled and I’m set aside for a home in Heaven! When Jesus comes again this body of flesh I possess will be changed and then I will be totally set aside. I will have a body like Jesus and I will be totally sanctified. In the interval I’m being sanctified as I grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every redeemed person’s body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit just as much as Solomon’s Temple. Thus, the body should be treated with the same care that the Temple of the Old Testament was treated.
Supposed someone brought some tobacco into the Old Testament Temple and poured it all over the altar. Suppose the High Priest had come in puffing on a cigar or suppose he is sipping on a cocktail, or has acid rock blasting over a boom box what would have happened?
If Nadab and Abihu were stricken dead because of strange fire and Uzzah was stricken dead because he attempted to steady the Ark of the Covenant can you imagine what would have happened to someone entering smoking a cigarette or come in there drinking liquor?
Go to the airport and see how much little respect people have for themselves by the way they wear their clothes or don’t’ wear clothes? Look at some of the old news clips of the ballparks in Babe Ruth’s day? You will see men dressed up and the ladies dressed up too! You will see the men in suits, white shirts, ties, and they look like businessmen! Boy have things changed in America!
· The house of God is sanctified
· The body of the believer is sanctified
· The leader is sanctified
It is important to understand that no follower should become too close to his or her leader. God has given to all of us what Dr. John Rice used to call “God’s Deputies” for leadership in every area of life. I am not Father Gray but I am sanctified Gray!
No church member ought to call his or her pastor by their first name. Whatever role of leadership God has given you make sure that there is a respect for the position.
It is a shame when children call their dad “the old man” or call their mother “the old lady.” God is not pleased with that and when parents allow it to be said they are hurting their children more than they are themselves.
· The house of God is sanctified
· The body of the believer is sanctified
· The leader is sanctified
· The Scriptures are sanctified
· The Gospel is sanctified
· The nation Israel is sanctified
It is imperative that God’s people do not become too familiar with that which is sanctified or it could be a deadly thing. There should and must be a respect for the house of God, the body of the believer, the leader, the Scriptures, the Gospel, and the nation Israel.