And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.- Lev. 10:1 This cannot be properly understood without understanding that when the tabernacle had been completed, God authenticated it by sending fire down from heaven to consume the sacrifice upon the altar, which was a token of his acceptance of the Mosaic built "house of God" (tabernacle) of which he also immersed in the Shekinah glory once at its beginning authenticating that it had been all built in keeping with his revealed pattern. The fire that consumed the sacrifice was to be perpetuated on the altar as the priests were commanded to never allow it to die but to continually keep it burning. It was from this fire first kindled by God that coals were to be taken and placed in their censars while they performed the ministry in all three aspects of the house of God. It was from the censars that the fire for the candlestick and altar of incense were to be lit. "Strange fire" would have been fire that came from some other source than the fire God provided on the altar. There are many positive and negative symbolic inferences attached to the "fire" God provided and the "strange fire" provided by Nadab and Abihu. With regard to the fire kindled by God is the inference of divine origin as source. The divine purpose was identification authentication. Identification was with the brazen altar and its appropriate sacrifice. Of course this combination of altar and sacrifice represent the truth of the gospel or the requirements of God's law (His righteousness, His holiness) completely satisfied by the sacrificial substitutionary lamb of God. Every aspect of worship in the tabernacle had to identify with this fire from the altar, and thus the truth of the gospel. This is what Paul meant when he wrote the Corinthians and told them that he did not want to know anything but Christ and him crucified, as every aspect of the congregation, its nature, ordinances, ministry, worship and mission was to identify with the truth of the gospel. Any aspect that did not was offering up "strange fire." God is glorified through Christ in the church (Eph. 3:21) and whatever they were to say or do was to glorify Christ (1 Cor. 10:31). I suggest to you that so-called "houses of God" that are composed of infant membership are offering up strange fire. That sacramental congregations are offering up strange fire. That those who preach "another gospel" are offering up strange fire. That those who pervert the gospel symbol in baptism and in the Lord's Supper (sprinkling, pouring; sacramentalism) are offering up "strange fire." That initial and then perpetuated fire from God upon the altar also was divine authentication that the house of worship was built according to the divine pattern with its source and authority from God. The "strange fire" of Abihu and Nadab was self-originated, self-authenticated and self-authorized. Isaiah makes reference to such strange fire when he says: Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. – Isa. 50:11 Worship is not all that it appears many times. For example the worship recorded in 1 Chronicles 13;1-8 has all the appearance of what many would accept as true and spiritual worship. By the time of David, the tabernacle coverings had rotted and the worship of Israel centered on the Ark of the Covenant. David was bringing the ark up to Jerusalem where his son would build a temple to house it. As all Israel were bringing the ark up to Jerusalem, spontaneous worship characterized the whole procession. There was singing and praising God accompanied by all sorts musical instruments. Without question there was a right motive and attitude behind this act of public worship including no doubt joyful and wonderful feelings invoked by the unity and spontaneity of the worship in their attempt to accomplish this for the glory of God. However, in 1 Chronicle 13:9-11 we find that God rejected their worship. Why? He rejected this worship because true public worship requires more than sincerity, spontaneity, praise, music, good feelings, and right intent to glorify God. All of these things are involved in true public worship but all these things must be based upon obedience to God’s revealed will (1 Chron. 15:13-16) or it ceases to be “acceptable” worship. Ponder this carefully with regard to what many consider to be “spiritual” public worship today. The appearance unto men is not necessarily how God views it. Here was "strange fire" being offered up to God that had all the appearance, feeling, sincerity of true worship but was rejected by God.