CONTEXT: Matthew Henry comments as follows: The story of this chapter is as sad an interruption to the institutions of the levitical law as that of the golden calf was to the account of the erecting of the tabernacle. Here is, I. The sin and death of Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron (v. 1, 2). II. The quieting of Aaron under this sore affliction (v. 3). III. Orders given and observed about the funeral and mourning (v. 4-7). IV. A command to the priests not to drink wine when they went in to minister (v. 8-11). V. The care Moses took that they should go on with their work, notwithstanding the agitation produced by this event (v. 12, etc.).
Why God Killed Nadab and Abihu For False Worship
First, a few things we know and do not know:
- God had established a set of principles for worship, that were not to be broken
- Any disregard for these relative principles was considered a rebellion against God, a sin
- All sin has consequences, and there are no “small” sins
- How we worship matters
- Who leads (in this case the Jewish Priests) worship matters
- Nadab and Abihu sinned (it is not important what “strange fire is” only that God considered it sinful
- They had to be punished and as priests, they are held to a higher standard.
It is about this time, that many folks even those calling themselves “Christian” say things like well “that’s not fair.” Fair by what standard? Fair that God was so merciful He allowed you to be born and you turn your back on him with false worship?
Or the proverbial, “that is just Old Testament Law, we are a New Testament Church.” Okay, show me in the New Testament where God the Father, God the Son (Christ Jesus), or God the Holy Spirit did away with the principles of worship. We are not speaking of animal sacrifices here or the Jewish traditions that are clearly done away with, but the basic principles of worship that are just as clearly defined in scripture.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism identifies this as the main point of the Second Commandment:
Q. 50. What is required in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his Word.
Q. 51. What is forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his Word.
Q. 52. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God’s sovereignty over us, his propriety in us, and the zeal he hath to his own worship.
This is not about denominational belief, this is about God and his Holy Word. Not about my interpretation, but about the written Word of God, Read from scholars of the original languages, to ensure the meanings and nuances are correct. It is as our picture above shows ALL ABOUT HIM!!!