Leviticus 10 (Part 1)
A. Leviticus sets forth the laws that governed the priesthood which sprang from Levi.
B. Leviticus was Israel's order of divine service. HEB 9:1.
C. Among other things, Leviticus provides us with principles and patterns of service to God, and is
therefore profitable and educational. HEB 8:4-5; 2TI 3:16; ROM 15:4.
1. Baptized believers are a holy, royal priesthood of God's spiritual house, the church.
1PE 2:5, 9 c/w 1TI 3:15.
2. There is a limited correspondence between O.T. priests and N.T. ministers of Jesus Christ.
3. N.T. priests function under the authority of Christ, Whose priesthood is superior to Levi.
4. Be mindful that we are N.T. priests governed by a body of law that transcends and
abolishes the O.T. 2CO 3:13; EPH 2:15; HEB 7:12.
5. Whatever may be seen in Leviticus is subject to the superior N.T. revelation of Christ.
2PE 1:19; HEB 9:15-17.
D. In preview, this chapter shows us:
1. God will be approached on His terms only.
2. the Lord will judge His people.
3. divine offices of appointment do not excuse sin by the officers.
4. obedience trumps sacrifice.
5. love of family must be subordinate to the love of God.
6. alcohol and ministry are a bad cocktail.
7. the Lord is tender and merciful.
E. It will be helpful to remember the basic layout of the tabernacle (HEB 9:1-5) and that the layout
and service of the tabernacle was a pattern of heavenly things. HEB 8:5.
A. The priesthood belonged exclusively to Aaron and his posterity. EXO 29:9; NUM 3:10.
B. Nadab and Abihu were Aaron's eldest sons (NUM 3:2-4) who were very recently consecrated to
the priesthood (LEV 8).
1. Their family and official primacy did not insulate them against judgment for their sin.
2. They are part of a list of firsts that became lasts: Adam, Ishmael, Esau, Saul, natural Israel,
3. The N.T. priesthood of believers is warned about the conditional nature of their inheritance.
1CO 5:9-13; ROM 11:22; REV 2:5.
4. N.T. ministers may through sin lose their inheritance and their office.
TIT 1:7 c/w LUK 16:2; 1CO 9:27; ACT 1:20, 25.
C. Nadab and Abihu attempted an unauthorized form of worship. It didn't take these freshly minted
priests long to cease from “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught...” (TIT 1:9).
1. The phrase, “before the LORD” denotes worshipful approach to / appearance before God.
EXO 23:17; 27:21.
a. God must be worshipped in spirit and truth. JOH 4:23-24.
b. God must be worshipped according to His order. 1CH 15:13; 1CO 11:1-2.
c. Emphasizing judgment, mercy and faith does not excuse keeping the letter of God's
law. MAT 23:23; 5:19.
2. They offered strange (foreign, alien) fire which he commanded them not.
c/w EXO 30:7-9.
Leviticus 10 10-30-11 Page 1a. The keeping of God's commandments requires no deviations from them. DEU 4:2.
b. Therefore where God specifies the details of a thing, capricious deviations from the
details constitute the breaking of a commandment.
c. This principle invalidates and condemns will worship or the traditions of men
which are strange or foreign elements that add to or diminish from God's specified
order. MAR 7:13; COL 2:22-23.
(1) Obedience trumps sacrifice. 1SAM 15:22; PRO 21:3.
(2) The form is abominable without the godliness. EZE 8:11-12; 9:6.
(3) False worship will sacrifice anything but its own ideas and sin.
d. “Every part of the religion of God is Divine. He alone knew what he designed by its
rites and ceremonies, for that which they prefigured - the whole economy of
redemption by Christ - was conceived in his own mind, and was out of the reach of
human wisdom and conjecture. He therefore who altered any part of this
representative system, who omitted or added any thing, assumed a prerogative
which belonged to God alone, and was certainly guilty of a very high offense
against the wisdom, justice, and righteousness of his Maker. This appears to have
been the sin of Nadab and Abihu, and this at once shows the reason why they were
so severely punished. The most awful judgments are threatened against those who
either add to, or take away from, the declarations of God.”
(Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible)
3. Heretofore, only Aaron had been authorized to burn incense before the LORD. EXO 30:7.
a. This implied an intrusion into a restricted office. c/w 2CH 26:18.
b. Willingness, diligence and opportunity did not justify them.
c. Neither did the fact that they were in agreement. PRO 11:21.
c. “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive
lawfully” (2TI 2:5).
d. How many men arrogate to themselves the peculiarities of the office of our High
Priest Jesus Christ or presume to approach the Creator other than through Christ?
JOH 10:1; 14:6.
4. The timing was wrong.
a. Scripture speaks of “...the time of incense” (LUK 1:10).
b. This incense was evidently not that which was to accompany the morning and
evening sacrifice (EXO 29:38-39; 30:7-9 c/w LEV 9:17), nor that which was to be
burned on the Day of Atonement. LEV 16:12-13.
c. What Nadab and Abihu did here took place after the offerings that were made in
LEV 9 but before the priests had partaken of the same. LEV 10:12-18.
(1) Their addition implied that something else was needed between the sacrifice
and the partaking of its benefits. Mind how this theme is substantially the
same as the soteriology of Arminianism, Calvinism, Catholicism and
(2) The picture of Christ that God had designed was corrupted by Nadab and
Abihu's insertion of their works!
(3) How many people believe that Jesus Christ's partaking of the benefits of the
sacrifice of Himself is denied him because of the lack of sinful man's input?
AA. Some deny that He obtained eternal redemption for all that the Father
had given Him to save. But see JOH 6:37-40; HEB 9:12.
BB. Some say that He grieves over His sacrifice because of the lack of
the sinner's input. But see ISA 53:11.
Leviticus 10 10-30-11 Page 2CC. Some say that the lack of man's obedience has denied Christ David's
throne which He was promised. But see ACT 2:29-36; REV 3:7.
d. Under the N.T., we are not bound by calendar or clock rituals, but there is a sense in
which timing is important as touching our divine service.
(1) When it's time for church assembly, that's where we ought to be.
(2) The time for the Lord's Supper is NOT the time for a carnal feast.
5. Incense is associated with prayer. PSA 141:2 c/w REV 5:8; 8:3.
a. Self-willed prayers, like Nadab and Abihu's incense, may well meet with judgment.
b. Prayers offered according to God's will are blessed. 1JO 5:14-15.
D. Nadab and Abihu “...died before the LORD” (v. 2).
1. This is the lot of the enemies of Christ: those who do not through Christ live in holiness
and righteousness before the Lord will die in shame before the Lord. LUK 19:27.
a. The promise to Abraham included holy, righteous living before God. LUK 1:74-75.
b. God's election unto Christ's atoning blood alone provides this. EPH 1:3-7.
2. Relative to the tabernacle service, “before the LORD” may refer to:
a. the immediate presence of God over the mercy seat in the holiest of all.
EXO 16:33 c/w HEB 9:4.
b. the holy place. LEV 16:12.
c. the court before the sanctuary (holy place). LEV 1:5; 10:4.
3. Though the high priest alone had access to the holiest place to be before the Lord, yet
others in their more distant service must deem themselves before the Lord.
a. The doorkeeper was before the Lord and accordingly was blessed. PSA 84:10.
b. The least esteemed in the church are before the Lord as much as are the highly
esteemed. 1CO 6:4 c/w 1TH 5:12-13.
c. Relief of the needy is before the Lord though it be done at home.
1TI 5:4; JAM 1:27.
d. Our service in the church on earth is as much before the Lord as is the service of the
church in heaven because of Christ's atonement. HEB 10:19-22; 12:22-24.
E. “And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them...” (v. 2).
1. Their bodies were not consumed. vs. 4-5.
2. God is able to burn but not consume to get our attention. EXO 3:2-4.
3. God is also able to burn and consume which should really get our attention. 2KI 1:10.
4. Presumptuous sinners may expect “...a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery
indignation which shall devour the adversaries” (HEB 10:27).
5. An account like this one should get our attention, it happening so early in the history of the
a. The account of Ananias and Sapphira's toying with God in offerings should
similarly get our attention. ACT 5:1-11.
b. The account of the Corinthian church's toying with the service of Jesus Christ
should also get our attention. 1CO 11:28-30.
6. “...let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
For our God is a consuming fire” (HEB 12:28-29).
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