15 December, 2014

Strange Fire

"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" (Lev. 10:1,2).

"What was their sin? Their sin was offering of strange 
fire, so the text saith that they offered strange fire, 
which God commanded them not. . . . But had God ever forbidden 
it? Where do we find that ever God had forbidden them to offer strange 
fire, or appointed that they should offer only one kind of fire? There 
is no text of Scripture that you can find from the beginning of Genesis 
to this place, where God hath said in terminus, in so 
many words expressly, You shall offer no fire but one kind of 
fire. And yet here they are consumed by fire from God, for 
offering 'strange fire.' "7

Those who reject God's regulative principle of worship have a real 
problem explaining this text. Some argue that Nadab and Abihu were 
condemned because they offered strange incense, for offering strange 
incense is expressly condemned in Exodus 30:9. But the text does not 
say "strange incense", it says "strange fire". Others 
argue that they must have been insincere or drunk. But what does the 
Holy Spirit give us as the reason for their judgment? They offered 
strange fire "which he commanded them not." When 
it comes to worshipping God, there must be a warrant out of God's 
Word. "All things in God's worship must have a warrant out of 
God's word, [and] must be commanded. It's not enough that it is not 
forbidden. . . . Now when man shall put a Religious respect 
upon a thing, by vertue [sic] of his own Institution when he hath not a 
warrant from God; Here's superstition! we must all be willing worshipers, 
but not Wil-worshipers [sic]."8

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