Today’s readings.. Leviticus 9&10, Psalm 108&109, 2 Corinthians 1&2
We have a degree of concern about the references to “fire” when God shows his extreme anger with this Godless world at the return of Christ. See 1 Cor. 3 v.13 in last week’s readings and more specifically 2 Thess. 1 v.8 and 2 Peter 3 v. 7. Our thoughts on this were spurred by the account of how two sons of Aaron were dramatically destroyed by fire as we read Leviticus 9 &10 today. Aaron and his sons were being “Sanctified” for their roles in serving in the Tabernacle that had just been built.
‘Sanctified’ means being recognized as holy; being set apart from the commonplace, treating situations with all reverence. This must be the attitude of all those who seek to truly serve God. This was a dramatic and disastrous result from a failure to do this, God means what he decrees. All the wonder of the actual presence of God in the tabernacle was demonstrated as worship in it began, “the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. And fire came out from before the LORDand consumed the burnt offerings …” [Lev. 9 v.23,24]. As a result human attitudes of reverence and humility should have been paramount. The reaction at the time was totally understandable, “they shouted and fell on their faces” [v.24]. What will happen when our Lord returns to the earth?
Aaron had four sons, all were involved in assisting their father and we now read how tragedy overwhelmed two of them. Nadab and Abihu “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” [10 v.1]
The result was terrifying for they “died before the LORD” as fire came out from before the LORDand “consumed them” [v.2]. Moses then says to Aaron, “Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified” [v.3]
There is a vital lesson here for everyone who seeks to serve God and have a close relationship with him: this applies to Christians just as much as to Israelites. We know that the teaching of a “different gospel” to “distort the gospel of Christ.” [Galatians 1 v.v.6,7] This causes Paul to warn, “let him be accursed” [v.9] who does this – so what happened to two of the sons of Aaron was a lesson for all ages.