Volume VII, Number 15
In this issue:
Leviticus 10:1-2 is plain enough. The people are named, their action is stated, their sin is identified and their punishment is described. Nadab and Abihu “offered profane (strange, kjv) fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.” Yet, some deny the obvious when it comes to Nadab and Abihu. These reject the principle that Bible patterns exist which we must follow, sarcastically chiding the use of Nadab and Abihu as proof of such Bible patterns. One such critic stated, “‘Remember Nadab and Abihu!’ has been the mantra of rigid religiosity for generations” (Al Maxey, “Nadab and Abihu: The Nature of their Fatal Error,” Reflections, #62, 8/18/03). Maxey applies his opinion that there is no Biblical “Law of Silence” by adding many of his own personal assumptions to the inspired text concerning these two sons of Aaron. He thereby concludes that one of their sins was drunkenness. When one is not constrained by what the text says and does not say he can weave any fanciful theory that supports his views.
But, what does the text say was the sin of Nadab and Abihu? Consider first their earlier faithfulness in Leviticus 8:36: “So Aaron and his sons did all the things that the LORD had commanded by the hand of Moses.” Prior to their sin and death, Nadab and Abihu were following the pattern of the Lord’s commands. A careful reading of Leviticus 9 shows that Nadab and Abihu assisted their High Priest father (Aaron) in offering sacrifices unto God “according to the prescribed manner” (Lev. 9:16). It sounds like a pattern was being followed, doesn’t it? (If their sin was drunkenness, when did they get drunk: While assisting Aaron offer sacrifices to the Lord “according to the prescribed manner”? Who can believe it! Evidently one can come to such a conclusion when he disposes of Bible patterns.)
All was going well. Aaron had concluded the offerings (Lev. 9:22). Moses and Aaron entered the tabernacle of meeting, exited and blessed the people (Lev. 9:23). Next, the glory of the Lord appeared “and fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces” (Lev. 9:23-24).
Then, Nadab and Abihu (who had previously been serving “according to the prescribed manner”) offered “strange fire” on their incense-filled censers “which He had not commanded them” (Lev. 10:1). They failed to use approved fire (from the altar, Lev. 6:12-13; 16:12). God called their fire “strange” (“to turn aside; hence to be a foreigner, strange, profane,” Strong). It was foreign to what the Lord approved. He had “not commanded” it (nothing said about the fire they used).
Thus, they sinned when they changed the “prescribed manner” (the fire God had commanded). They changed the divine pattern and because of their irreverent disobedience, they lost their lives.
We hold God in reverence when we follow the pattern He commands of us. We cannot alter His “pattern of sound words” (by doing things the Lord has not spoken), we must hold it fast (2 Tim. 1:13). To do so is to dishonor God: “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified” (Lev. 10:3). That which is holy and clean conforms to the divine pattern; that which violates it is unholy and unclean (Lev. 10:10).
Rigid religiosity? No. Careful conformity to God’s revealed pattern (Heb. 8:5; 2 Tim. 3:10). Following God’s pattern – His “prescribed” ways – honors Him. We sin when we add to what God has said. By presuming upon what God has not said, we choose silence over substance. For instance:
When we go beyond the pattern of truth and add the instrument of music to God’s command to sing, we join Nadab and Abihu in offering “strange fire” to the Lord (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).
When we go beyond the pattern of truth and add social activities to the work of the local church, we join Nadab and Abihu in offering “strange fire” to the Lord (1 Cor. 11:22, 34).
When we go beyond the pattern of truth and add Thursday night to the first day of the week on which we come together to eat the Lord’s Supper, we join Nadab and Abihu in offering “strange fire” to the Lord (Acts 20:7).
The Bible establishes the boundaries of approved worship, service and morality for God’s people. When we go beyond it by saying, “it doesn’t say not to”, we join Nadab and Abihu in offering “strange fire” to the Lord (1 Cor. 4:6).
Oh, yes. “Remember Nadab and Abihu!”
The church of Christ is the church established by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, nearly 2000 years ago. It antecedes all denominations and “so-called Christian” religious movements. To be the same church today it must of necessity be the same in organization, faith and practice as revealed in the New Testament. With Jesus as its head (Col. 1:18), all of its doctrines and practices are only heaven-directed (authorized by the Bible). Free from all the human creeds and speculation, we call Bible things by Bible names and do Bible things in Bible ways. (1 Peter 4:11)
You are invited to meet with us and investigate us. We stand ready to give an answer for our existence and practice. (I Peter 3:15) God’s Truth never fears investigation.
“COME, LET US REASON TOGETHER … To the Law and to the Testimony (Scriptures)! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 1:18, 8:20)
-Robert Wayne LaCoste
· Our faith may be measured by what we do in our solitude. -Alfred North Whitehead
· Kids aren’t just an inconvenience that you deal with. Kids are something you give your life to. -Michael Card
· The hardening of men’s hearts is much more serious than the hardening of their arteries.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
When the Lines of Communication Fail
Scripture Reading: Genesis 11:1-9
I. CHRISTIANS NEED TO BE COMMUNICATING…
A. To God in Prayer & Praise – Lk. 18:1; Phil. 4:6-7; 1 Ths. 5:17; 1
Tim. 2:1-2; Col. 4:2.
II. WHEN THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION FAIL (Gen. 11:1-9):
-(Languages were confused because men exalted themselves rather than honor & obey God, 9:1; 11:4). If man had done so, his ability to communicate would not have been diminished.)
A. Confusion, Disputes & Division Reign – 11:8-9.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Does the Silence of the Scriptures Grant Permission or Set Limits?
Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 13:1-12
We must have Christ’s authority for all we do (Matt. 28:18; Col. 3:17; 2
I. OT TEACHES SILENCE SETS LIMITS.
A. Moving the Ark of the Covenant: God’s Law Revealed – Num.
4:1-6, 15; 7:9.
II. GOD’S JUDGMENTS AGAINST MAN DOING WHAT HE DID NOT SAY TO DO
A. Nadab & Abihu – Lev. 8:36; 9:2-24; 10:1-2 (6:12-13; 16:12).
III. ADDING TO GOD’S SILENCE IS GOING BEYOND HIS DOCTRINE & AUTHORITY– 2Tim.1:13 (Col.3:17; 2Jno.9).
A. Music in Worship (Eph. 5:19).
God Was With Me in the End Zone!
It’s football time in America
again. High school, college and pro athletes have donned their helmets
– let the pigskin fly!
Praising God for success in sports can be not only grating but a form of self-flattery. When an athlete says, in effect, “God helped me catch that touchdown pass,” he’s saying that in a world of poverty, inequality and war, higher powers thought his touchdown catch so vastly important that God intervened on Earth to make sure that both feet came down inbounds, while doing nothing to prevent slaughter in Africa or the Middle East. Though meant to suggest humility, praising God for success in sports often becomes a form of vanity: God wanted me to catch that pass! When I hear athletes imply that this is what the divine is like, I think: No thanks. (Gregg Easterbrook, “Divine Intervention”, espn.com)
God has ordained that “time and chance” happens to everyone; “the
race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong” (Eccl.
9:11). The hero of one football game often becomes the goat of the
God has a lot to do with our lives and hopes; God has nothing to do with who wins games, or throws or catches touchdowns. God is neither honored by good performances nor dishonored by poor ones. It’s just sports, a very minor concern compared to faith, a major concern.
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 09/09/2003
Sword is a free, weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ,