I.   The death of Nadab and Abihu

A.     They decide to do things their own way. They want to serve God their own way, not in the way approved by God.

1.       Gal. 1:6,7 - Another gospel which is not another - all that believe a false gospel will die without mercy before God.

2.       The same fire that showed the burnt offering was accepted, destroyed the bearers of the false gospel.

B.     They knew better.

1.       V. 1 - "Which he commanded them not" -- Compare to 8:5, 9:6. They should have followed the commandment of the Lord.

2.       Heb. 12:29 - Our God is a consuming fire - for the good and to the bad.

C.     Why did the Lord deal so severely with them?

1.       Were they not the sons of Aaron, the saint of the Lord, and nephews to Moses, the great favorite of heaven?

2.       Was the holy anointing oil on them?

3.       Had they not been consecrated for seven days?

4.       Would it not excuse them that they were young and inexperienced in this line of work? Isn't this the very first day of work?

5.       These couldn't be spared. There are only five men to do the work of the priesthood. Aaron and his four sons. And now with two of them dead, that leaves only three men to do all the work! Num. 3:4 states that these men died childless, so there is no hope of there ever being any help from their children.

a.      I was a member of a church that had seven members. One had to be excluded. Was this a wise move? God said it was. We must always follow God.

b.      Our church has lost some people that were singers and good carpenters. Was this loss good? If they don't follow the Word of God, we don't need them. God will bless us with people that will follow Him.

D.     They had seen others:

1.       Aaron had apparently started the fire which consumed the sin offering and burnt offering for himself, and the sin offering for himself.

2.       Moses and Aaron had gone into the tabernacle.

3.       The lesson: If you see somebody do something, make sure God has told you to do it before you do it. He could bless that person and judge you for it.

E.      Wrong.

1.       Wrong time - should have asked Aaron.

2.       Wrong place - not in open court (v. 4) supposed to be inside the tabernacle. (At the altar of incense, not the brazen altar - they approached the brazen altar without blood.)

3.       Wrong fire - (also probably wrong incense) - Should have come from God's fire on the altar.

F.      Why are they killed like this? Some are judged quickly, some are judged later, but all are judged!! See Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5).

1.       Because of their position - nobody played politics here.

2.       God hates "will worship", which is idolatry. They are really setting up a religion of their own.

3.       "I will be sanctified (set apart). All false religions will one day be destroyed.

4.       Because of time. The sacrifice and priesthood are just being established. God is impressing them that they will do things His way.

5.       To impress them with the imperfections of the priesthood, (and law), while showing His honor on it.


II.   The burial

A.     They were cremated, but their bodies weren't completely burned up.

1.       This doesn't mean that God approves of cremation, because their ashes are buried. Cremation is always a sign of God's judgment upon a person, or people, or nation.

2.       Carried in their coats - the coats weren't burned.

a.      Three Hebrews of Daniel - the guards were burned up and the rope destroyed, but the three men escaped alive.

b.      God's fire destroys what He wants it to. God's judgment is severe only on those that are disobedient.

B.     Aaron doesn't attend the funeral.

1.       Aaron is allowed no sign of grief (v. 6,7). Aaron is not to grief to keep judgment off of Israel. All of Israel is supposed to grieve. (v. 6).

2.       Lev. 21:10-12 - Same law.

3.       They were not buried in a family cemetery. This shows they are not looking for the family to be reunited in the cemetery. They expect the reunion to be in heaven.


III.   V. 8-11 - A command to Aaron and his sons not to drink strong drink when they go in to the place of service.

A.     They must have a clear head in order to tell the difference between the profane and the holy.

B.     Were these two men drunk and is this the reason this command is placed here? We will really never know.

1.       Strong drink - beer products - all products made from grain.

2.       I Tim. 3:3, "not given to wine" - The same law applies to preachers. (Compare to I Tim. 3:8, the requirement for deacons is: "not given to much wine".)

3.       Eph. 5:8, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Holy Spirit."


IV.   V. 12-15 - Continuing in the work of the Lord.

A.     They were expected to continue worshipping even in the face of the death of a loved one.

1.       II Sam. 12:20 - David worshipped when his child born of adultery and murder died.

2.       Ezekiel 24:15-18 - Ezekiel's wife died in the evening after he preached in the morning.

3.       We should go to church and worship when our saved loved ones die.

B.     The difference between the Most Holy and the part that belonged to the priest.

1.       V. 12,13 - Only the priest shall eat.

2.       V. 14,15 - The peace offerings shall be taken home and the priest family eats them.


V.   Where's the goat? V. 16-20.

A.     V. 16-18 - Part of the sin offering of the people (9:15) is supposed to be eaten by the priest for God has given them to bear the iniquity of the people.

1.       The sin offering was supposed to be eaten in 9:15, but it was erroneously burnt with the burnt offering.

2.       Moses sees this error as a gross sin which is likely to bring the judgment of God upon the remaining priests. Then there would be nobody to stand between God and the people. The beginning system of worship would be over before it ever really began.

3.       Moses is angry. The "chewing out" given to the priests is well deserved for they are to do things exactly like God commanded.

B.     V. 19 - Aaron's answer

1.       He didn't try to excuse himself for this error.

2.       They offered sin and burnt offering before the Lord - all four of his sons and himself.

3.       Now such things are befallen me. The death of his two sons (Nadab and Abihu).

4.       If I had eaten the sin offering today, would it have been accepted?

a.      A realization of the fairness of God in killing his two sons because their hearts were not right with God. Their immediate death was a picture of the eternal death all unbelievers would face.

b.      A realization that only by the grace of God was he placed in the position of high priest.

c.      Aaron realized he is just a sinner and needs God to forgive him before he bears the iniquity of the congregation.

d.      It is by the grace of God that Aaron can bear the iniquity of the congregation.

e.      Conclusion:

1)      Aaron is talking about the "spirit of the law", not just the "letter of the law".

2)      People commonly call the church age the "age of grace". This is error. The "Age of grace" is while there is time on the earth. The "age of law" is during the same time. People have always been saved by grace through faith.

C.     V. 20 - Moses also understands about the "spirit of the law". Sometimes we get so busy with details, we forget that to be accepted of God is the most important. (It is more important to have our names written in the Lambs Book of Life than to do many wonderful works.)