“But Nadab and Abihu died when they offered strange and unholy fire before the Lord.”(Numbers 26:61 AMP)

This verse follows the beginning of the generations of the Levites.  The Levites were given a special designation and honor among the tribes of Israel to minister on behalf of the people in the presence of God.

 Two of Aaron, the high priest’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, did not value their position and calling among the priesthood. Although being designated to minister the holy things of God, they offered “strange fire” before the Lord. The fire of God broke forth upon them and they died in the presence of God. What a tragedy.  What should have been the beginning of one of the most awesome privileges ,for any human being, was spoiled by death.


The root word for Nadab is “to volunteer or offer free will offerings”.  He clearly did not live up to his potential.  Rather than minister out of a heart of gratitude and love for God, he along with his brother, decided to bring unauthorized fire into the presence of God. This resulted not as a blessing but rather as a curse.

Sad to say, many, today, do not take their gifts and calling seriously. There is a lack of the fear of God. It is no light matter to have the privilege to come into the presence of God and minister in His holy name.

This was a such a serious matter that, later, the Lord designates a special inheritance blessing for those who have faithfully served Him. Regarding this reward ,He declares through the prophet Ezekiel, “It shall be for the priests of the sons of Zadok, who are sanctified, who have kept My charge, who did not go astray when the children of Israel went astray, as the Levites went astray” (Ezekiel 48:11).  The Hebrew root meaning for Zadok is “righteous”.  It is a foreshadowing of a new priestly order which Jesus the Messiah inaugurated.  “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually…Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?…For He testifies: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 7:1-3, 11, 17 NKJV)

God announced that He is doing something new in the earth. A new and faithful priesthood.  John records, by revelation, that as believers in Jesus Christ, we are a part of the new priestly order in the earth. “From Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5-6 NKJV)  The new order of priesthood is the Melchizedek order; a King-Priest order in the earth.


As we approach the Feast of Pentecost, let us reflect upon Aaron’s two sons death.  Both Nadab and Abihu died due to the sin of religious presumption.  They made light of the God who had called them to serve Him.  The apostle Peter admonishes that God commands his people, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16 NKJV)


In Isaiah Chapter 6, we have a contrasting story to that of Nadab and Abihu.  Isaiah experienced this in the year that King Uzziah died. The death of an earthly king, along with an empty throne of power, prepared him to lift his eyes higher to the heavenly throne and the thrice holy God.  At first, Isaiah, was undone by his own spiritual condition. Then he became acutely aware that this was the same condition of his own people. Isaiah’s cries out to God, confessing his own sinfulness. Immediately, God sends an angelic being, a Seraph, with a red-hot coal from the altar, touching and cleansing his lips.  From now on,they were no longer Isaiah’s lips to use as He pleased. They now would only be used for the Lord.


Isaiah was ready to fulfill his God-given destiny and purpose.  Before,he had been a priest, ministering on behalf of the PEOPLE before the Lord.  Now he would minister to the people in behalf of GOD, saying, “Thus says the Holy One of Israel”.

Like Isaiah, if you have encountered the thrice-holy God, you must get rid of any “strange” and “unauthorized” fire in your midst. When you do, you will know that you have been touched by the fire of God’s love.  You will also know that you have been touched with the coal of the fellowship of a burning heart.  From now on, things will only be said or done for the glory and honor of His Holy name. 

(c) Copyright 2015, Walter Fletcher Jr.  All rights reserved.  This article may be copied and shared free of charge provided that it is not sold or altered in any way from its original content.  Please address all correspondence to:


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