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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

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At the end of the previous chapter (Lev 9:24) God showed that He accepted the sacrifice and the ministry of the priests.  But before the sin offering of the community was completed, two priests burned incense with fire that humans had lit, rather than with the divine fire on the altar. This departure from God’s instructions misrepresented Him, allowing the people to suppose that His ministers could make up their own principles of worship. So fire went out from the presence of the Lord, consumed Nadab and Abihu. Even if their minds had been clouded by alcohol (Lev. 10:8-11), that was no excuse.     

 

Moses was devastated. If the priests could not rightfully complete one service, how could God dwell among the Israelites to protect them? Moses was upset, but even more so when he discovered that the surviving priests had burned the remainder of the sin offering for the community. They should have eaten it (Lev. 6:26) to symbolically take the people’s guilt upon themselves, showing how Christ bears human guilt. Aaron told Moses that he had not felt worthy to eat the sin offering because of what had happened to his two sons.       

 

Israelite priests didn’t die when they bore guilt for others. Christ did. Having taken our sins as our Priest, He was consumed for that sin as our sacrificial Victim. This shows that Christ is our Substitute.

 

Roy Gane

Andrews University