Shemini "Eighth" (Lev. 9-11)

Nadav and Avihu, two of Aaron’s sons, die in this passage when they offer strange (foreign) fire to God in their incense pans. How does Moses explain this? He says, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified'” (KJV, Lev.10.3). For these two men, being “sanctified” meant being consumed by fire when they did something God already told them not to do. Poof. Gone. Holiness is deadly.

I’m reminded of the Christian fiction I’ve often heard, and God forbid, probably repeated, “God’s not going to strike someone dead for disobeying him.” Oh, really? Tell that to Nadav and Avihu. Or to Israel. Or to Annanias and Sapphira. Or the whole world before the flood. Or the whole world before the final destruction comes.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” (KJV, Psalm 111:10).


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