We are now in the midst of discussing the death of Nadav and Avihu at the Lord’s hand, a most shocking incident indeed.
I can only imagine how Aaron must have felt to witness his sons instantly roasted alive, not to mention the horror the onlookers must have felt.
In my last post I made it clear that one factor connected to the tragic death of Nadav and Avihu is that since they were priests of Israel, they were nearer to God than the common Hebrew and thus their actions carried with them a much high degree of responsibility.
However, that doesn’t really explain the exact nature of Nadav and Avihu’s offense.
Although I’m not 100% sure, the Scriptures provide us clues that point to two plausible reasons concerning what exactly Nadav and Avihu did wrong from a technical standpoint.
Let’s take a look at Leviticus 16:1-2.
“The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the LORD. The LORD said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.”
In Leviticus chapter 16, we have the Lord warning Moses after the death of Nadav and Avihu to tell Aaron not to just willy-nilly saunter into the Holy Place unless he has every intention of committing suicide.
So one possible thing Nadav and Avihu did wrong was inadvertently stepping foot inside the Holy of Holies.
Common priests could go into the Holy Place, but ONLY the High Priest was allowed to enter into the Holy of Holies, and even that was restricted to once a year during Yom Kippur.
For the second reason, let’s take a look at Exodus 30:8-9.
“And when Aaron trims the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense. There shall be perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations. “You shall not offer any strange incense on this altar, or burnt offering or meal offering; and you shall not pour out a libation on it.”
I actually touched on this in my last post.
I mentioned that rather than “strange fire”, based on the original Hebrew of ESH ZARAH, what Nadav and Avihu really offered up was a “strange incense offering by fire“.
Although, I can’t be entirely sure, these two reasons are I believe strong plausible reasons concerning the exact nature of the offense that Nadav and Avihu committed.
But it still doesn’t explain why their actions resulted in their being burned alive by holy fire from the Lord.
Why would the God of Israel react in such a violent mater?
Again, where is the mercy and grace in this situation?
This is a question I would like to explore in my next post.