Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Nadab and Abihu

If you’ve been around Churches of Christ long, you’ve heard the story from Leviticus 10 of Nadab and Abihu. They were two sons of Aaron killed by God for offering “strange fire” before the Lord. As the story is traditionally taught, Aaron’s sons fail to follow the pattern of worship given by the Lord, so Bam! God sends down his own fire and fries them in their place. And so it goes, we’re taught, for anyone who goes beyond what’s written.

Only problem is, we see in the very same chapter of Leviticus that God doesn’t always zap those who fail to follow the pattern. Aaron’s two remaining sons, along with their father, refuse to eat the offerings commanded by God. Aaron explains their reasons, and Moses, at least, is satisfied.

God must want us to consider, meditate on, and even speculate on the Scriptures. Otherwise he wouldn’t give us the kind of ambiguity we find in Leviticus 10. But problems appear when we go beyond what’s written and teach our speculations as facts.

(c) Copyright 2007, A. Milton Stanley

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