Leviticus 9-10

Sunday Evening Bible Study

July 27, 1997


The priests have been ordained, they have gone through their ceremony that puts them into the ministry.

They have been washed, clothed, anointed, then sacrifices for their sins, consecration, and ordination.

Lastly, they have waited upon the Lord for seven days, hanging out in the tabernacle.

Now it's time for ministry to begin.

Leviticus 9

:2 a young calf a ram

The first set of sacrifices are going to be for the priests.

They will have first a sin offering - because you always take care of your own sins before you do ministry.

Then they will have a burnt offering - an act of being totally given over to God, also vital for ministry.

:3-4 a kid a calf and a lamb

The next set of sacrifices are going to be for the people.

Once the priests have taken care of their own walk before the Lord, they are ready to minister to the needs of the people.

First comes a sin offering, always deal with sins FIRST!

The calf and lamb are both burnt offerings, giving the people totally to the Lord.

A bull and a ram for peace offerings - After our sins are taken care of, then we can have fellowship with God, a sit down dinner with God.

:8 si offering, which was for himself

Before any ministry to others takes place, Aaron is to take care of his own sin.

"But", you may say, "Didn't he just make a sin offering for himself during the ordination in chapter eight?"

Yes he did. But that was eight days ago.

You always have to stay current with your sins.

A person in ministry can never get past dealing with their own sins.

God's desire is for ministry to come out of a clean vessel.

2TI 2:19-22 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness." 20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21 Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these {things}, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love {and} peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

:9 put it upon the horns of the altar

I believe that Aaron is actually putting the blood on the horns of the golden altar of incense, taking the blood into the tabernacle.

This was the way a sin offering was done for a priest (Lev. 4:7).

:11 burnt with fire without the camp

On most of the sin offerings, part of the meat was given to the priest as payment for his work.

But not in this case.

Remember one of the principles in sacrifice:

(Lev 6:30 KJV) And no sin offering, whereof any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of the congregation to reconcile withal in the holy place, shall be eaten: it shall be burnt in the fire.

We saw that this was done as a foreshadowing of Jesus, who would take His blood into the heavenly Holy Place, and who died outside the "camp", outside the city on Golgotha.

(Heb 13:11-13 KJV) For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. {12} Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. {13} Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

:15 the goat sin offering

It's interesting that a kid of the goats is used for the sin offering here (9:3), because a sin offering for the entire nation was to be a bull.

It was the sin offering for the common person that was to be a kid of the goats.

In other words, the first "sin offering" for the people, was to be for the common people.


Jesus died for the common man.

He didn't come for the rich, wealthy, leaders, or "super-righteous".

He came to die for the sins of the common person.

The ground is level at the cross, we all come at the same level, as ordinary sinners.

:17 meat offering

or, "grain offering".

:18 peace offerings

Again, it's after we deal with our sins, that we are able to have "peace" with God.

(Rom 5:1 KJV) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

It's when we deal with our sins, that we are able to approach God and build the kind of intimate relationship with Him that He desires with us.

:23 blessed the people

To "bless" means to call a "happiness" down on a person.

A little later, God will give Aaron some clarification on just how to "bless" the people:

(Num 6:23-27 KJV) Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, {24} The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: {25} The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: {26} The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. {27} And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.


We receive from the Lord so we can bless others.

This is the whole essence of ministry.

It's not just about coming to church and receiving great blessings and healing from the Lord.

It's about coming out of church and turning around and blessing others.

Ministry is all about passing on to others what we've received from the Lord.

:23 the glory of the LORD appeared

"Glory" seems to carry the idea of "brightness" or "shining"

This is what we call the "Shekinah", God's glory.

It may be the idea of something like a cloud, but something like a bright, shining cloud.

This is what happened a few days earlier when Moses first set up the tent:

(Exo 40:34-35 KJV) Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. {35} And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

:24 came a fire out from before the LORD

The priests didn't even have to worry about lighting the fire on the altar, God Himself sent fire.

I think it's interesting to see how God uses fire to get things started:

God lights the fire here, when the Tabernacle and it's worship are first started.

God sends fire when Solomon sets up the temple, and it gets started. (2Chr 7:1)

God sends fire again when the church is started, and "tongues of fire" rest on the heads of each of the disciples. (Acts 2)

This is an incredibly spectacular time.

Sacrifices, worship, blessing, glory, fire.

Leviticus 10

:1 strange fire

What's "strange fire", it's simply some kind of fire that God had not asked them to use.

Here's Nadab and Abihu, sons of the high priest.

They know they're supposed to be doing "priestly" kinds of stuff.

As Dad and Uncle Mo are offering these sacrifices, suddenly fire comes down from heaven, and hey shouldn't they be doing something too?

They pick up their "censer", the little things used to burn incense in (after all, that is a priestly kind of thing!), stick some incense in, and took a couple of coals from their cooking fire, and ran off to burn incense before God.

We can define "strange fire" for our personal application as simply offering something that is not prescribed by the Lord.

For us, it's like the times when we do religious things, not because God is leading us, but because it's just the thing to do.

Here's some examples:

It could be a person who thinks that during a silent time, somebody ought to be praying, and even though they don't really have anything to pray about, they just kind of wing it and say a few religious types of words.

It could be a person singing a song at church, not because of God's prompting, but because they want to be up front in front of everybody, and they need a song to sing to do that.

I can't help but think of church services that have special lighting during the prayer time, and special organ music swelling up to a crescendo at the end of the pastor's prayer, etc.

A.W. Tozer said, "If God were to take His Holy Spirit out of this world, much of what the church is doing would go right on; and nobody would know the difference."

:2 they died before the LORD

In other words, God wasn't too thrilled with these guys coming in and doing their own "thing".

God wants us to be on HIS program, not ours.

Why so harsh a penalty?

After all, it was just a "first offense".

1. It was serious because of their office, their position as representatives of the Lord. They, above all, should be examples of obedience to God.

1TI 5:19-20 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful {of sinning.}

2. During the time of beginnings, things need to start right.

There is a parallel with another time in scripture, during the time of another beginning, the beginning of the church. (Ananias and Saphira, Acts 5)

A teacher starting in a new class of children needs to demonstrate first his ability to follow through on discipline, or else the class is never in control.

:3 I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me

Or, By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy. (NAS)

God is concerned that those who draw near to Him realize just Who He is, and What He's like!

You don't treat the King of the Universe just any old way that you may feel like.

Sometimes we get to thinking about God being our friend, and forget just who this FRIEND is!

ECC 5:2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.

How do those in God's presence treat Him?

ISA 6:1-5 In the year of King Uzziah's death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, #"Holy, Holy, Holy, is the \Lord\ of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory."# 4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said, #"Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the \Lord\ of hosts."#

Look at how the angelic beings act toward God:

They cover themselves

They cry out to each other, declaring God's holiness.

Look at Isaiah's response to the vision:

He cries out, "Woe is me!"

He is aware of his unholiness.

:6-7 uncover not your heads

Aaron and the rest of his sons weren't to mourn for Nadab and Abihu.

Why weren't Aaron and his sons to mourn Nadab and Abihu? Two reasons:

1. To demonstrate the righteousness of God's judgment.

I think this is because God wanted them to demonstrate before the people that they understood what had happened and why. God was just and righteous in toasting Nadab and Abihu.

Aaron and his sons had a choice to make, were they going to choose to follow after God, or make these two men more important by mourning after them?

If they had mourned Nadab and Abihu, it could have been interpreted as disagreeing with God's judgment on them. It could be interpreted as feeling that what God had done was wrong.

Jesus said,

(Mat 10:37-38 KJV) He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. {38} And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

There are times when God's judgment seems kind of harsh to us. We can find ourselves explaining God's judgment away. Kind of making excuses for God.

The subject of hell may come up with an unbeliever, who puts you on the defensive. We try to make excuses for hell.

You may end up in a discussion with a homosexual, discussing God's judgment. They can try and turn the scriptures around, talking about God's love, but ignoring God's holiness.

We need to be careful that we don't end up mourning for poor old Nadab and Abihu, when God was very just and correct in judging them.

2. Ministry's secret pain.

They were not to go out, lest they die, because the anointing oil was on them.

In other words, their ministry wasn't over yet. They hadn't finished their ministry in the tabernacle.

They were still required to eat their portions of the sacrifices before they left their duty.

A priest has to learn to put his ministry before his own self.

PHI 2:3-8 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; 4 do not {merely} look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, {and} being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

It is our human nature to take care of Number One first. And that "Number One" is usually ourselves.

A priest has to learn to live for others. This requires that we first die to our self.

:8-11 Priests can't drink and minister

Is this like drinking and driving?

There may be a hint here that this is the underlying cause as to what happened to Nadab and Abihu.

The direct reason they were killed was because of the "strange fire".

But the reason they offered the strange fire in the first place was possibly because they had been drinking.

People are always looking for reasons and excuses to allow drinking:

A favorite verse is...

1TI 5:23 No longer drink water {exclusively,} but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

People like to remind you that they're no longer under the law, but under grace, so don't be so legalistic.

But Paul wrote:

1CO 6:12-13 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food; but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord is for the body.

Reasons for not drinking:

1. So they can be able to make a distinction between the holy and profane, between the unclean and clean.

Nadab and Abihu clearly were not making that kind of distinction. They weren't clear at all as to just what God's holiness was all about.

A person who has their discernment impaired begins to allow all sorts of garbage into their lives that shouldn't be there.

2. So they will be able to clearly teach the Word of God to the people.

A teacher needs a clear mind both as he prepares, as well as when he teaches.

You don't have to be the leader of a formal Bible Study to be considered a "teacher".

COL 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms {and} hymns {and} spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

If those things are important to you in your life, then maybe abstinence would be appropriate for you.

:15 it shall be thine

Moses is just trying to get the priests back on track and finish the offerings properly.

:16 the goat it was burnt

Because this was a "kid of the goats", this sacrifice was to have been done where the priests were to have eaten part of the meat, but instead, the entire goat had been burnt up, as if it were a burnt offering (kind of like my barbecuing sometimes)

:19 and such things have befallen me

He's kind of saying, "Hey brother, back off, if you'd look at what my family has gone through today, losing two sons, do you think God is that worried about us eating our portion of the sacrifice?"


Balance holiness with grace.

Even though we see the severity of God in Nadab and Abihu's burning, we also see the understanding and grace of God in Eleazar and Ithamar's mistake.

We can focus entirely on the burning up of Nadab and Abihu, and on God's holiness, and completely overlook the entire chapter, in which God turns around and allows them to get away with breaking one of the guidelines.

We need to learn balance.

We need to understand both holiness as well as grace.