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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Do It Wrong and Die. Do It Right and Live.

In the Old Testament Law, there was a right way to serve God and a wrong way. When God outlined the Tabernacle worship, He covered every little detail, every little step. There was to be no doubt about the ceremonial Law. The high priest knew what to do. The priests knew what to do. And, the people knew what God expected of them. All anyone had to do was to obey the steps.

Moses’ brother Aaron was the first high priest. His sons were priests, too. One day, two of them, Nadab and Abihu, decided they would do something different. They offered “strange fire.” The Bible doesn’t specify exactly where they got the coals from, but you can bet they got them from someplace other than the correct altar. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD (Leviticus 10:2). They died because they refused to represent the people in God’s way. Moses told Aaron not to say anything, because God had judged them.

Can you imagine? Aaron lost two of his sons in one instant. It happened because they disobeyed God.

When we read the details about the high priest’s duties on the Day of Atonement—the one day a year that the high priest went into the holy of holies, representing the sins of the people—we’re reminded of Nadab and Abihu’s deaths. And the LORD spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died (Leviticus 16:1).

One can only guess the impact these priests’ deaths had on their father and on the other priests.

God was serious.

To disobey Him meant certain death. It was a harsh judgment because sin demands a harsh judgment. They were making atonement for the sins of the people—and for themselves. This was serious business.

As God gave Moses all the details about the high priest’s steps on the Day of Atonement, twice God says the phrase, that he (Aaron) die not (Leviticus 16:2, 13).

We know that Aaron obeyed God. He carried out his high priestly duties to the letter. Leviticus 16:34b says, And he did as the LORD commanded Moses. He did God’s service in God’s way. He came before God’s presence, exactly as God prescribed. In exchange, God provided his every need.

He lived. In fact, he lived to the ripe old age of 123 (Numbers 33:39).

Aaron’s life and example hold lessons for us today.

The Old Testament ceremonial system was done away with when Jesus died and the veil of the Temple was ripped from top to bottom and Jesus Himself became our high priest by shedding His own blood once for all time. (Hebrews 10:10-14; Matthew 27:50-51; Hebrews 9:28)

We became priests when we put our faith in Jesus for salvation. We can freely enter into His presence in prayer. Our Intercessor is Jesus Himself, the perfect Lamb of God. (Revelation 1:5-6; Hebrews 4:15-16; Romans 8:34; John 2:29, 36)

Applications for us:
  • We have an eternal High Priest Who represents us perfectly to the Father.
  • We can approach God freely and with boldness.
  • God promises to meet all our needs.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

What a blessing!


  1. I'm so glad Jesus fulfilled the law on our behalf and we can come to Him because He shed His blood for our trespasses.

    1. It is such a blessing! I am so glad we don't have to do those ceremonies today, but we can look back to how God showed His people His holiness through them. What a blessing to have Jesus as our High Priest! Thank you for your comment.


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