1. THE CONSECRATION OF AARON AND HIS SONS
a. Describe briefly the ceremony of consecration of Aaron and his sons for the service of the sanctuary. Leviticus 8:1–9, 12, 13, 24, 30, 33.
“All had been done as God commanded, and He accepted the sacrifice, and revealed His glory in a remarkable manner; fire came from the Lord and consumed the offering upon the altar. The people looked upon this wonderful manifestation of divine power with awe and intense interest. They saw in it a token of God’s glory and favor, and they raised a universal shout of praise and adoration and fell on their faces as if in the immediate presence of Jehovah.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 359.
b. What was required of those who were called to service in the presence of the Lord? Exodus 19:22. What disqualifies men for sacred responsibilities?
“If one has not a vital connection with God, his own spirit and sentiments will prevail. These may be well represented as strange fire offered in the place of the sacred.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 371.
2. NADAB AND ABIHU ARE SLAIN
a. What action on the part of Nadab and Abihu showed that they were not qualified for the sacred office that was given them? Leviticus 10:1. How do professed Christians use “strange fire” in our days?
“The converting power of God must come upon men who handle sacred things, yet who are unable, through some cause best known to God, to distinguish between the sacred fire of God’s own kindling and the strange fire which they offer. That strange fire is as dishonoring to God as was that presented by Nadab and Abihu. The sacred fire of God’s love would make men tender and kind and sympathetic toward those in peril. Those who indulge in sharp, overbearing words, are really saying: I am holier than thou. Do you not see my exalted position?”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 356.
“Converted men are needed—men who will love and honor God, fearing to move in their own wisdom, and realizing that their efforts can prove successful only as recognized by Him without whose blessing there is no prosperity. Every moment divine power must be combined with human effort, else strange fire will be offered instead of the sacred. . . .
“To handle sacred things as we would common matters is an offense to God; for that which God has set apart to do His service in giving light to this world is holy. Those who have any connection with the work of God are not to walk in the vanity of their own wisdom, but in the wisdom of God, or they will be in danger of placing sacred and common things on the same level, and thus separate themselves from God.”—The Review and Herald, September 8, 1896.
b. How was their profane behavior punished? Leviticus 10:2.
“At the hour of worship, as the prayers and praise of the people were ascending to God, two of the sons of Aaron took each his censer and burned fragrant incense thereon, to rise as a sweet odor before the Lord. But they transgressed His command by the use of ‘strange fire.’ For burning the incense they took common instead of the sacred fire which God Himself had kindled, and which He had commanded to be used for this purpose. For this sin a fire went out from the Lord and devoured them in the sight of the people.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 359.
3. THE RESULTS OF FAULTY TRAINING
a. As Moses immediately saw the cause of the trouble, what did he say to Aaron? Leviticus 10:3. What made the sin of Nadab and Abihu all the more grievous in the eyes of God?
“Next to Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu had stood highest in Israel. They had been especially honored by the Lord, having been permitted with the seventy elders to behold His glory in the mount. But their transgression was not therefore to be excused or lightly regarded. All this rendered their sin more grievous.”— Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 359.
b. What principles should Aaron have known in the training of his sons? Proverbs 22:6; 29:21. In what area did he fail?
“Nadab and Abihu had not in their youth been trained to habits of self-control. The father’s yielding disposition, his lack of firmness for right, had led him to neglect the discipline of his children. His sons had been permitted to follow inclination. Habits of self-indulgence, long cherished, obtained a hold upon them which even the responsibility of the most sacred office had not power to break. They had not been taught to respect the authority of their father, and they did not realize the necessity of exact obedience to the requirements of God.”—Ibid., p. 360.
“Too much importance cannot be placed upon the early training of children. The lessons learned, the habits formed, during the years of infancy and childhood, have more to do with the formation of the character and the direction of the life than have all the instruction and training of after years.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 380.
c. What instruction and warning did Moses give to Aaron and his surviving sons? Why? Leviticus 10:6, 7.
“By no manifestation of grief must [Aaron] seem to sympathize with sin. The congregation must not be led to murmur against God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 361.
4. A WARNING TO US TODAY
a. What warning did the Lord give against the use of alcoholic beverages? Leviticus 10:8–11. Does this warning extend to us today? Exodus 19:5, 6.
“The use of spirituous liquors has the effect to weaken the body, confuse the mind, and debase the morals. It prevents men from realizing the sacredness of holy things or the binding force of God’s requirements. All who occupied positions of sacred responsibility were to be men of strict temperance, that their minds might be clear to discriminate between right and wrong, that they might possess firmness of principle, and wisdom to administer justice and to show mercy.”— Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 362.
b. What biblical principles show us that the wine provided by Jesus at the marriage feast was unfermented grape juice? Proverbs 20:1; 23:32.
“It has been declared by some that Christ favored the moderate use of fermented wine, in witness whereof they refer to His miracle of changing water into wine. But we protest that Christ never made intoxicating wine; such an act would have been contrary to all the teachings and example of His life.”—The Health Reformer, July 1, 1878.
c. What will those do who are striving for the mastery in the Christian life? 1 Corinthians 9:25.
“True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful, and to use judiciously that which is healthful.”—Temperance, p. 138.
“The only safe course is to touch not, taste not, handle not, tea, coffee, wines, tobacco, opium, and alcoholic drinks. . . .
“Let us never partake of a glass of alcoholic liquor. Let us never touch it.”—Ibid., p. 163.
“The youth and children should understand the effect of alcohol, tobacco, and other like poisons in breaking down the body, beclouding the mind, and sensualizing the soul. It should be made plain that no one who uses these things can long possess the full strength of his physical, mental, or moral faculties.”—Education, p. 202.
5. “HOLY AND REVEREND IS HIS NAME”
a. Why was the sin of Nadab and Abihu recorded? Romans 15:4. What can we learn from this incident?
“God designed to teach the people that they must approach Him with reverence and awe, and in His own appointed manner. He cannot accept partial obedience. It was not enough that in this solemn season of worship nearly everything was done as He had directed. God has pronounced a curse upon those who depart from His commandments, and put no difference between common and holy things.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 360.
b. What kind of men does the Lord call to occupy positions of sacred responsibility? 1 Peter 1:15, 16; 2:9.
“A minister of Christ should be pure in conversation and in actions. He should ever bear in mind that he is handling words of inspiration, words of a holy God. He must also bear in mind that the flock is entrusted to his care, and that he is to bear their cases to Jesus, and plead for them as Jesus pleads for us with the Father. I was pointed back to the children of Israel anciently and saw how pure and holy the ministers of the sanctuary had to be, because they were brought by their work into a close connection with God. They that minister must be holy, pure, and without blemish, or God will destroy them. God has not changed.”—Early Writings, p. 103.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why is it that we sometimes bring our own opinions and selfish ideas into the work of God?
2. What is necessary in order to avoid placing sacred and common things on the same level?
3. When is self-control to be learned? Why?
4. Why does God want me to be strictly temperate today?
5. Why is reverence so important? Where does this begin? How?