According to the Torah, the sons of Aharon (Nadav and Avihu) did not maintain holiness
before the Lord, the result they died.
Vayikra / Leviticus 10:1 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective
firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire
before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. (NASB) The question
though is how did Nadav and Avihu sin not maintaining holiness for the Lord? Some
has suggested that drunkenness was the basis for their sin (
Vayikra / Leviticus 10:9), others suggest that they died because they had
entered the Kedosh Kedoshim (Holy of Holies) (
Vayikra / Leviticus 10:1-2). The Scriptures however always
associates the death of these two priests with their offering “strange”
or “unauthorized” fire before God (see
Vayikra / Leviticus 10:1-3, Bamidbar / Numbers 3:4, and 26:61
). The Hebrew text provides some insight into the reason for their sin.
According to Vayikra / Leviticus 10:1, it says
va’yitnu vahen esh”
meaning “they put in them fire.” How did Nadav and Avihu placing fire into
their firepans (censers) violate the command of God and how did this prevent them from sanctifying
the Lord during worship? How do these Scriptures apply to us today?
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