Fire and Glory: The Fire Which Consumes the Sacrifice & the Fire Which Makes A Sacrifice

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book fo Leviticus which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters nine through eleven of this Old Testament book. THE FIRE, THE GLORY, THE PRIESTS! TAKE AARON AND HIS SONS! GATHER THE CONGREGATION TOGETHER UNTO THE DOOR OF THE TABERNACLE! WASHED, CLOTHED, ANOINTED! ABIDE AT THE DOOR OF THE TABERNACLE OF CONGREGATION! THIS IS THE THING WHICH THE LORD COMMANDED THAT YE SHOULD DO! AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHALL APPEAR UNTO YOU! GLORY IS DIRECTLY CONNECTED TO OBEDIENCE! ITS TIME TO CARRY OUT THE COMMAND OF THE LORD! THE FIRE & THE GLORY! WHEN STRANGE FIRE FOLLOWS TRUE FIRE! I WILL BE SANCTIFIED IN THEM THAT COME NIGH ME! BEFORE ALL THE PEOPLE I WILL BE GLORIFIED! THERE COMES A SECOND FIRE! FIRE BEGETS FIRE! FIRE OF JUDGMENT OR FIRE OF HOLINESS! PUTTING A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE HOLY AND UNHOLY! DRAWING A LINE BETWEEN CLEAN AND UNCLEAN! When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the ninth chapter of the book of Leviticus picking up right where the eighth chapter left off. IF you turn and direct your attention back to the eighth chapter of the book of Leviticus you will find that the time had come for Aaron and his sons together with him to be brought together with the garments, the anointing oil, the bullock for the sin offering, two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread. That which you will find within the opening verses of the eighth chapter is the setting of the stage for the ordination, the appointing and the anointing of Aaron and his sons—Aaron who would serve as the high priest of the Lord, and his sons who would be chosen to minister alongside him. What’s so incredibly intriguing about that which we find in the eighth and ninth chapters of the book of Leviticus is that what is mentioned here was previously ordained and appointed by the living God in the book of Exodus. If you turn and direct your attention to the Old Testament book of Exodus—specifically and particularly with the final verses of the twenty-sixth chapter, the entire twenty-seventh chapter, and even the twenty-eighth chapter—you will find the calling and the choosing of Aaron and his sons to minister before the Lord as His sacred and holy priests. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this absolutely incredible reality, for it shines a tremendous amount of light on to how the living God moves and operates within our lives when He calls and chooses us. We read in the New Testament when Jesus the Christ emphatically declared that many are called, but few are chosen, and there is an absolutely wonderful and incredible truth that is contained within these verses.

If you think about and consider the words which Jesus the Christ spoke concerning many are called, but only a few are chosen, it would be incredibly difficult to recognize and understand that which He was actually speaking about. What’s more, is that I would dare say that these words which Jesus the living Christ spoke have the potential to be incredibly confusing when you take the time to think about it. How can one be called and yet not chosen? How can many be called and yet only a few are actually chosen? The words which Jesus the Christ spoke unto His disciples and those who walked with and followed Him might appear to not have any semblance of reality or truth, and yet there is not a doubt in my mind that what we find within these words is an incredibly powerful truth which we must recognize and understand. The truth which we find wrapped up and contained within these words which Jesus spoke have the potential to unlock a wonderful mystery concerning how the living God works within the earth—specifically as it pertains to those whom He called in direct connection to those who are actually chosen. In all reality, I am convinced there are two distinct passages found within Scripture that help shine a tremendous amount of light on to the words which Jesus spoke, and help us understand the absolutely incredible reality that many are called, and yet only a few are chosen. The first of these two passages is actually found in the Old Testament book of Exodus, and specifically references one of the tribes of Israel. If you turn and direct your attention back to the thirty-second chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus you will find that after the sin of the golden calf Moses issued a profound and resounding question which was undoubtedly heard by all those who came out of the land of Egypt. As you read the words found within this chapter you will notice that Moses presents a question to the entire congregation of Israel asking who among them was on the Lord’s side. What’s so interesting about this question is that anyone could have responded by stepping forward and demonstrating they were on the Lord’s side. What’s more, is that it could have been possible that none stepped forward when Moses issued this question which was presented to the entire congregation of Israel. The truth of the matter is that there was one tribe which responded to the clarion call of Moses when he asked who was on the Lord’s side. Consider if you will the narrative and account as it was written and recorded by Moses in the thirty-second chapter:

“Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to day to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing today” (Exodus 32:26-29).

What we must recognize concerning the words which are found in this passage is that when Moses issued this clarion call unto the entire congregation of Israel, he stood in the gate of the camp. I am convinced this is incredibly significant, for by standing in the gate of the camp the clarion call and resounding question Moses asked could have been heard by any of the tribes of the children of Israel. Judah could have responded to the call; Dan could have responded to the call; Benjamin could have responded to the call; Gad could have responded unto the call; Asher could have responded to the call. Any of the twelve tribes of Israel could hav responded to this call which Moses spoke forth and issued, and yet when the call came concerning those who were on the Lord’s side, only the sons of Levi responded by coming unto Moses. This is absolutely and incredible significant, for although all among the congregation and camp of the children of Israel were called by Moses to come unto him and demonstrate they were on the Lord’s side, only the sons of Levi stepped forward and came unto Moses. Please don’t’ miss and lose sight of this awesome and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss the absolutely wonderful reality that all from among the children of Israel were called, and yet only the sons of Levi and those from the tribe of Levi were actually chosen. We need to understand that they were chosen because when they were called they responded to the call instead of remaining in their place of comfort and convenience. Consider if you will the fact that the children of Israel had just committed idolatry before and in the sight of the living God with the golden calf, and in direct response to the sin of the golden calf Moses asked who from among them were on the Lord’s side. Although the congregation of Israel had committed sin against the Lord by committing idolatry and fornication before the golden calf—when asked who among the entire camp was on the Lord’s side, the sons of Levi chose to step forward. What’s more, is that when they stepped forward and came unto Moses they had absolutely no clue what Moses was going to ask and speak unto them. The only thing the sons of Levi knew when they stepped forward was that there was a very pointed and direct call concerning those who were on the Lord’s side, and they were determined to respond to that call. This is quite profound and unique, for when the sons of Levi stepped forward to respond to the call of Moses concerning those who were on the Lord’s side, they had absolutely no clue their response would require them to take up their sword and go within and throughout the camp of Israel and slaughter every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. The sons of Levi had absolutely no clue what being chosen by the Lord in response to them coming forward and declaring they were on the Lord’s side, however, it would soon be made clear as they would be instructed to take up the sword and go throughout the camp and unleash a slaughter in the midst of it.

While it is true the account of the sons of Levi coming forward the demonstrating and declaring they were on the Lord’s side was a wonderful example of the principle of many being called, and yet only a few being chosen, there is another passage that helps illustrate this reality even more. There is without a doubt in my mind a strong connection between the narrative and account of the sons of Levi and a parable which Jesus spoke unto those who gathered unto Him to hear and listen to the words which He spoke. If you turn and direct your attention to the New Testament gospel of Matthew—specifically the twenty-second chapter—you will find a specific parable which Jesus told concerning the kingdom of heaven being likened unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden [or called] to the wedding. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we read and find within this parable is a wonderful and strong link and connection between what we find concerning the sons of Levi, as well as concerning Aaron and his sons being called and chosen to stand before the Lord as ministers in His holy sanctuary. Beginning with the first verse of the twenty-second chapter you will find the following words within this New Testament chapter—words which will in fact conclude with the very words I mentioned concerning many being called and few being chosen. Consider if you will the words found within this chapter beginning with the first verse of the twenty-second chapter and continuing through to the fourteenth verse of the same chapter:

“And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which were bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatllings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:1-14).

Within this particular parable we are brought face to face with the absolutely crucial and critical reality that many are called, but only few are chosen. Pause for a moment and think about and consider this reality, for this reality is such that is quite astounding to consider and think about. If and as you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find and discover that initially there were those who had been bidden or called to the wedding, and when the time came for them to come unto the wedding they would not come. What makes this even more interesting and intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that when the king recognized and realized that they had not come when they were first called by the servants he sent, he sent still more servants who would bid or call them to come. What you find after this is not only those who were bidden to come treating it lightly and going their own ways, but the remnant of those which remained took the servants of the king, entreated them spitefully, and slaughtered them. When the king heard what these who had been called had done, he was enraged and sent forth his armies to destroy the murderers and burn their city. What follows is a second call which would be issued, for the king instructed his servants to go into the highways, and as many as they found, both bad and good, call and bring them unto the wedding. Please note and understand that there is a very clear and distinctive tone within this chapter concerning the original group of those who were initially called by the king to come unto the marriage—and not only called once, but called twice to come unto the marriage which he had prepared for his son. When those who had been called refused and rejected the call to come unto the wedding the king ordered his servants to go out into the highways and choose as many as they could find and bring them unto the wedding. Although there was in fact a group of those who were called to the wedding, there were another group—a secondary group who were specifically chosen to come unto the wedding, and who were brought by the servants of the king to come unto the marriage which he had prepared for his son. If there is one thing we must recognize and understands concerning the words found within this chapter, it’s that there are many who are and many who have been called, and yet there are few who have been chosen. The entire congregation of Israel was called by Moses to come unto him and demonstrate and declare they were on the Lord’s side, and yet only the sons of Levi chose to come forward and declare they were on the Lord’s side. As a result of their coming forward—not only were they chosen to take up their sword and pass through the camp of the children of Israel, but we will later find them being chosen by the Lord for the ministry of the Tabernacle, and for the carrying of the sacred furniture, instruments and furnishings of the Tabernacle and sanctuary of the living God.

With all of this being said—when we come unto the eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of Leviticus we find the time coming for Aaron and his sons to transition beyond simply being chosen and called by God as priests and ministers of His sanctuary, to now being ordained and anointed. If there is one thing we must recognize and understand it’s that there is a vast and fundamental difference between being called and chosen and being ordained and anointed. There is a vast difference between being called and chosen by the living God and actually being ordained and appointed. What we find within these chapters is a truly spectacular reality concerning those who are indeed called by the Lord God for service before Him within His kingdom, and actually being anointed and ordained before and by the living God. One thing worth noting when reading these chapters is that Aaron and his sons had been called by the living God who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt and from their slavery and bondage, and yet they were called and yet they had not yet been anointed. In the final verses of the twenty-seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus we find the Lord speaking concerning Aaron and his sons and the golden lampstand which was in the sanctuary of the Lord and was to be lit and kept burning before him. Beginning with the twentieth verse of this chapter you will find the following words: “And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. In the tabernacle of the congregation without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it form evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel” (Exodus 27:20-21). If you continue reading in the twenty-eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus you will find the Lord continuing to speak unto Moses concerning Aaron and his sons, and their being called and chosen to stand before Him as His holy ministers within the Tabernacle and sanctuary of the Lord. Beginning with the first verse of the twenty-eighth chapter you will find the following words concerning Aaron and his sons: “And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abib, Eleanor and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priests’s office. And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a bride red coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen” (Exodus 28:1-5).

As you continue reading the words which are written and found within these chapters you will find the Lord continuing to speak unto Moses concerning the garments which Aaron and his sons were to wear for their duty and responsibility of ministering before Him as His holy priests and ministers of the sanctuary. What’s more, is that when you come to the twenty-ninth chapter you will find and encounter the living God providing very specific instruction concerning their anointing and ordination before Him and before all the congregation of the children of Israel. The Lord provided very specific instruction concerning the ordination and anointing of Aaron and his sons as they ministered before him in the office of the priests of the Lord, and when we come to the eighth and ninth chapters of this Old Testament book of Leviticus we find the days of calling and being chosen giving way to the ordination, the appointing and anointing of Aaron and his sons. The eighth and ninth chapters of the Old Testament book of Leviticus are truly remarkable and astounding, for not only do we find and read of their being washed, their being clothed, and their being anointed, but we also find them being consecrated and made holy before the Lord as a result of the sacrifice and offering that was made upon the altar of burnt offering. What’s so absolutely intriguing about these chapters is that Aaron and his sons weren’t anointed first, and then washed and finally clothed. If and as you read the words which are found within these chapters you will find and discover that when Aaron and his sons were ordained and appointed as the priests and ministers of the Lord—first they were washed with water, and then after they had been washed the sacred and holy garments were then placed on them in the sight of the entire congregation of Israel. Once the sacred and holy garments were upon Aaron and his sons they were then anointed with the holy anointing oil—anointing oil which could not be poured upon any common man. If there is one thing we must understand concerning the anointing oil, it’s that it could not be poured upon any common man, and it certainly couldn’t be poured upon any unclean man. Please don’t miss or lose sight of this absolutely incredible reality, for the anointing oil was poured upon those who had been chosen by the living God, and those who were washed, consecrated and holy before Him in His sight. It’s absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that when it came to the anointing and ordination of Aaron and his sons, they could not bear upon themselves the anointing oil until they were first washed, and then clothed with the sacred and holy garments which were ordained and appointed by the living God. That which we find in the eighth and ninth chapters of the Old Testament book of Leviticus brings us face to face with the absolutely wonderful reality of Aaron and his sons entering into that place of anointing and ordination before the living God and before all the children of Israel after having been called and chosen by the living God—separated and set apart for the work of the ministry of the sanctuary and Tabernacle of the living God.

If you continue reading within these chapters you will find Moses speaking unto Aaron and his sons concerning that which He ordained and appointed unto them to do as they prepared to step into the ministry of the priests. One of the greatest things that so grips and captivated me when I read the words found in these chapters is that even though Aaron and his sons were chosen to stand before the Lord as His holy ministers within His sanctuary and before His altar, it wasn’t as simple as putting on the garments and immediately walking in the ministry of the priests. As you read the words which are found in this passage of scripture you will encounter and come face to face with the fact that although Aaron and his sons were called and chosen by the Lord to stand before Him as priests and ministers of the sanctuary, there was a process that needed to take place before they could actually begin to step into that for which they were called, chosen, set apart and separated by the living God. When you read the words which are found within these chapters you will fine and encounter Moses speaking unto Aaron and his sons and declaring unto them that what they were required to do was that which the living God had ordained and commanded them to do. What is so absolutely wonderful about these words is that Moses doesn’t simply stop there. Moses doesn’t simply declare unto Aaron and his sons that this and these things were what the Lord commanded unto them,, but he would actually continue speaking unto them further and directly linking and connecting their obedience to the appearance of the glory of the Lord. You will read the words which are found within these chapters and you will quickly notice and encounter the absolutely wonderful reality that the appearance and manifestation of the glory of the Lord was intrinsically linked and connected to their obedience to that which the living God had ordained and commanded. This is actually something that is worth noting and considering, for there are countless men and women among us within the house of God who want the appearance and who want the manifestation of the glory of God and yet they are unwilling to give themselves unto obedience before and unto the commands of the living God. There are countless men and women who may state they desire the glory of the living God, however, they are unwilling to commit themselves to the obedience that is both necessary and required. Oh there is this growing tendency to think and even believe that we can experience the manifestation and appearance of the glory of the living God without and apart from obedience to His commands and His statutes.

The more I read the words which are found within these chapters the more I can’t help but be gripped and captivated with the tremendous reality that there is a strong and wonderful link between the commandment of the living God and the appearance and manifestation of the glory of God. In fact, one might say that the glory of the living God is a direct result and byproduct of His commandment and that at the very heart of the appearance of the glory of God is His commandment. What we find and read within these chapters is actually quite remarkable and astounding when you take the time to think about and consider it, for within these chapters we find Moses speaking and declaring unto Aaron and his sins that what they were now partaking in, and what they were no engaging in was something which the Lord had commanded, yes, but it was something so much bigger and so much greater than just the ministry of the priesthood. I’d you read and study the words which are found within these chapters you will find and discover that what is before us and what was before Aaron and his sins was something beyond their service and ministry as priests of the living God. What is presented unto and before us within these chapters demonstrates and reveals the truly wonderful and powerful reality that the commandment of the living God, as well as the obedience of Aaron and his sins was about so much more than their stepping into that for which they were called. These words which I have presented before and unto you demonstrate the main and underlying focal point of Aaron and his sons and their obedience to that which the living God had commanded. What’s more, is that their service as priests and ministers of the sanctuary was about so much more than themselves, and so much more than the offerings which they were to present before and unto the living God. In all reality, the beauty of the Tabernacle was not only it’s direct connection to the people of the children of Israel, but also its direct connection and link to the glory of the living God and His desire to dwell in the midst of His people. Oh that we would recognize and understand this truly wonderful reality, for when you think about the tabernacle, as well as the ministry of the priests you must understand that both were directly connected to the people of God and their offerings, as well as the glory of the living God and His dwelling in the midst of them. We dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely wonderful reality, for to do so would be to miss the truly wonderful reality concerning the Tabernacle and how at the very heart of the sanctuary was the desire of the living God to dwell in the midst of His people, and to be their God, and that they would be His people. The very foundation upon which the sanctuary was built was not merely around the sacrifices and offerings—though those were important to worship, to please and to draw near the living God—but it was about the divine glory and presence of the living God. The entire purpose and function of the sanctuary was to be a place in the midst of the children of Israel where the living God could in fact dwell among them and be their God. How absolutely wonderful and important it is to think about and consider the fact that when you think about the sanctuary you come face to face with the reality that at the very heart of it was the living God desiring to be God unto His people and that His glory might dwell in the midst of them.

As you read the words which are found within the scriptures—specifically linked to the building of the sanctuary and the ordination and anointing of Aaron and his sins—you will find that obedience to the commands and statutes of the living God was directly linked and connected to His glory and His presence. There are far too many of us who would dare try and separate obedience to the commands and decrees of the living God from the appearance and manifestation of His divine glory appearing and manifesting before, unto and in our midst. This theme of glory and obedience is seen and witnessed firsthand in the final chapter of the previous book of the Bible, for within the fortieth chapter of the book you will find the work of the sanctuary and its construction having been completed and being brought unto Moses for inspection. It is quite intriguing to think about and consider the fact that when you think about the final chapter of the Old Testament book of exodus you will encounter and come face to face with the absolutely incredible reality that the divine glory and presence of the living God is intrinsically linked to obedience to His commands. What’s more, is that the sopranos and manifestation of the divine glory of the living God is not only linked and connected to obedience to that which He has commanded, but it is also intrinsically linked and connected to what I would describe as finished obedience. Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider that there is a vast difference between obedience and finished obedience? One such example of this is found within the life of Saul king of Israel when he was commanded to utterly destroy Amalek, and instead of utterly destroying them all, he spared their king alive, as well as the best of the flocks, herds and sheep. It was the prophet Samuel who declared unto him that obedience is better then sacrifice and to adhere was better then the fat of lambs. With that being said, a truly wonderful example—not only of obedience, but also finished obedience—is found in the New Testament gospel of John. Within this book you will not only find Jesus the Christ emphatically declaring unto the Father that He finished the work for which He was called and sent, but when He was on the cross He declared with a loud voice that it was finished. It is absolutely undeniable and unmistakable they not only did Jesus the Christ fully obey that which the Father had commanded Him to do, but He also finished the obedience that was required of Him. When you look at and examine the life of Christ you will come face to face with the reality that there is a marked and noticeable difference between mere obedience, and finished obedience which completely carries out and completes the command of the living God. With this being said, we must turn and direct our attention to the words which are found within the final chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus, for it is what we find and read in this chapter that helps set the stage for something else which we find within these chapters concerning the ordination and anointing of Aaron and his sons. Consider if you will the words which are found in the final chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus beginning with the thirty-fourth verse of the chapter:

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the Tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeyed: but if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys” (Exodus 40:34-38).

It’s worth noting and pointing out that which is found within this final chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus, for it is what’s in this final chapter that helps set the stage and serve as the foundation for what we find within the chapters before us in the Old Testament book of Exodus. In the fortieth chapter of the book of Exodus we find the cloud covering the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filling the Tabernacle. So incredible and so tremendous was the cloud of the glory of the living God upon the tent of the congregation that Moses was not able to enter into the tent of congregation. The reason this is so incredibly vital to our understanding of what we find in the book of Leviticus is that in the book of Exodus we read of the cloud covering the tent of the congregation and the glory of the LORD filling the Tabernacle, however, we don’t read of a manifestation that is found within Scripture on more than one occasion. If you read and study the history of the Tabernacle and Temple, as well as the history of the prophet Elijah and David king of Israel you will find wonderful and powerful references to the fire of the living God being manifested in the earth—and each and every time the fire of the living God was directly linked and connected to obedience in sacrifice and obedience to offering. The cloud covering the tent of the congregation and the glory filling the Tabernacle was directly linked and connected to the completion and finishing of the work of the sanctuary and Tabernacle, however, the fire of God which came out from his presence was intrinsically linked and connected to sacrifice and offering and that which is found upon His sacred and holy altar. We dare not and must not miss and lose of this absolutely wonderful and incredible truth, for to do so would be to miss out on the manifestation of the fire of God in our midst and upon our sacrifices and offerings. In the sixth verse of the ninth chapter Moses speaks unto Aaron and his sons and declares unto them that “this is the thing which the Lord commanded that ye should do: and the glory of the LORD shall appear unto you.” What we find next is something that is quite remarkable when and as you take the time to consider it, for immediately after you find Moses declaring unto Aaron and his sons that obedience was directly linked to the manifestation and appearance of the glory of God, you will find him instructing Aaron and his sons to go unto the altar and offer their sin offering, and their burnt offering, and make an atonement for themselves and for the people. What’s more, is that you will find Moses going on to instruct Aaron and his sons to offer the offering of the people, and to make an atonement for them, as the Lord had commanded. When and as the eighth verse of this chapter begins and opens, it does so with the words “Aaron therefore went unto the altar.”

AARON THEREFORE WENT UNTO THE ALTAR! In the seventh verse we find Moses instructing Aaron to go unto the altar, and in the very next verse we find Aaron doing just that and going unto the altar of burnt offering which was before the people in the court of the Tabernacle. It’s important that we recognize and understand this, for when we think about and consider that which is found within the ninth chapter we find it written how Aaron and his sons heard that obedience to the commands of the living God was intrinsically linked to the appearance of His glory, and immediately after that Aaron was instructed by Moses to go unto the altar and present the offerings which were commanded by the LORD God unto Moses the servant of the Lord. Immediately in response to the command of Moses Aaron went up to the altar and committed and engaged himself in the process of presenting the offerings for himself and for his sons, as well as the offerings for the people of the children of Israel as well. This is quite unique and quite astounding when you think about it, for after Aaron had gone up to the altar, and after Aaron had finished presenting the offerings for himself and for the people upon the altar, and after he had made an end of the offerings which the living God had required, we find something absolutely incredible taking place. If you turn and direct your attention to the twenty-second verse of the ninth chapter you will find something written and found within the final verses of this chapter that is intrinsically linked to the altar and to the presentation of sacrifices and offerings before and unto the living God. In the fortieth and final chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus we find the cloud covering the tent of congregation, and the glory of the LORD filling the Tabernacle, while in this particular passage of Scripture we find mention of the same glory which appeared at the Tabernacle after the completed work of the sanctuary, as well as the manifestation of the fire of living God. If you begin reading with and from the twenty-second verse of the ninth chapter you will find the following words concerning the manifestation of the fire and the glory:

“And Aaron lifted up his hand toward the people, and blessed them, and came down from offering of the sin offering, and the burnt offering, and peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD< and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces” (Leviticus 9:22-24).

It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that which is found within these verses, for within these verses we encounter and come face to face with the absolutely incredible and tremendous reality of the link between the fire of God and the glory of God. What’s more, is that not only do we find an intrinsic link between the glory of the living God and the fire of God, but we also find a direct connection between the fire and glory of God and sacrifices upon His altar in His sight and in His presence. There is within the final verses of the ninth chapter a truly wonderful picture—not only of the glory of the living God appearing before the people among them in their midst, but also the fire of God coming out from before the LORD and consuming upon the altar the burnt offering which was upon it. What’s worth noting is that this would be the first time in Scripture when fire would come out from the presence of the living God and consume the sacrifice which was upon the altar. Oh, we read about the encounter Moses had with the LORD God of Hebrews at the mountain of God when he gazed upon a bush that burned with fire and yet was not consumed. We read about how the whole mountain of God was altogether on a smoke because the LORD descended upon it as a consuming fire. Within the Old Testament book of Exodus we find the fire of God being manifested at the bush in the wilderness, and we find the fire of God being manifested atop the mountain as the LORD God of the Hebrews Himself descended upon the mountain in thick clouds and darkness before the people. Now we encounter and come face to face with the absolutely wonderful reality of the fire of God coming out from before the presence of the LORD in order that it might consume the sacrifice which was upon the altar. This is important for us to recognize and consider, for when we think about the fire of God we must think about and consider it in terms of the fire coming out from the presence of the Lord—not only upon obedience to that which He had commanded, but also coming out from His presence in order that it might consume the sacrifice which burned upon the altar. In the ninth chapter of the book of Leviticus we find that after Aaron had carried out and completed the command of the Lord by offering the burnt offering, the sin offering, and the peace offerings—both for himself and for the people of Israel—he blessed the people and came down from the altar and from the process of offering. Both Aaron and Moses would then enter into the sanctuary and Tabernacle and would come out to bless the people, and immediately after they came out from the midst of the Tabernacle the glory of the LORD appeared before and unto all the people, and there came a fire out from before the Lord, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat. This is important for us to recognize and consider, for this would not be the first time the fire of God would come out from his presence and consume the sacrifice which was upon the altar, nor would it be the first time the glory of the living God would be directly linked and connected to the fire of God coming out from His presence. Consider if you will the following words which are found within three other passages in Scripture:

“Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, He is the God; the LORD, he is the God” (1 Kings 18:38-39).

“And David belt there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and called upon the LORD; and He answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering. And the LORD commanded the angel; and he put up his sword again into the sheath thereof. At that time when David saw that the LORD had answered him in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there. For the Tabernacle of the Lord which Moses made in the wilderness, and the altar of the burnt offering, were at that season in the high place at Gibeon. But David could not go before it to inquire of God: for he was fraud because of the sword of the angel of the LORD” (1 Chronicles 21:26-30).

“Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the Lord’s house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For He is good; for his mercy endureth for ever” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3).

What we find within the ninth chapter of the Old Testament book of Leviticus is quite remarkable and astounding when you take the time to consider it, for not only did the glory of the Lord appear as Moses had declared unto Aaron and his sons upon their carrying out of that which the LORD had commanded and required. IN the ninth chapter of the Old Testament book of Leviticus we find the glory of the LORD appearing before and unto the people for the second time—this time around, however, it would not only be the glory of the LORD that would appear before and in the presence of the people, but it would also be accompanied by the fire of God coming out from before Him in the sanctuary and Tabernacle. What we must recognize and understand is that both the fire and the glory of the Lord are intrinsically linked to the altar and the offering of sacrifice(s) upon the altar, as well as our obedience to the commands and decrees of the living God. We cannot afford to miss and lose sight of the absolutely incredible reality that when the children of Israel together with Moses, Aaron and his sons beheld the glory of the Lord—and not only the fire of God coming out from before the LORD and consuming the sacrifice which was upon the altar—it was in direct response to carrying out to completion that which the living God had ordained, appointed and required. We tend to think that the glory of the living God is merely linked to sacrifice, to worship and to the presenting of offerings before and unto Him, and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t true, nor is it correct. It was true the fire of God came out from before the LORD, yet we must note that when the fire came out from before the LORD it came out in order that it might come upon the altar, and that it might consume the burnt offering which was upon the altar. The fire of God came out from before the LORD upon the altar and upon that which was found to be present thereon, and what we notice is that it was linked to worship before the Lord as sacrifices and offerings were made. With that being said, however, we must also recognize that it was directly linked and tied to the obedience of Aaron and his sons to the command which the Lord had commanded. Would it surprise you to think about and consider the fact that if you desire to experience the fire of God, worship itself is not enough to bring the fire of God upon the altar, and upon the sacrifice? I realize that statement might stun and amaze you, and yet if you study the manifestation of the fire of God coming out from before Him, and coming out of heaven upon the burnt offerings and sacrifices, you will find that there is always this underlying theme of obedience. What’s more, is that there is not only this theme of obedience, but there is also this theme of repentance that is linked to the fire of God. The fire of God came out from before the Lord at the ordination and anointing of Aaron and his sons after they carried out and completed the burnt offerings, the sin offerings and peace offerings, and the fire of God came down from heaven at the dedication of the Temple during the days and generation of Solomon.

Is it possible that the fire of God which Elijah experienced atop mount Carmel was not only linked to the offerings which were upon the altar, and even the restoration of the altar, but also linked to a returning to the LORD and a restoration of worship among the children of Israel? What we must understand about the days of Elijah was that Elijah was a prophet of the LORD in the northern kingdom of Israel and that the Temple of the living God was present within the city of Jerusalem in the southern kingdom of Judah. When Elijah restored and repaired the altar of the LORD there at Carmel—that which he was seeking to do was bring about a restoration of the altar and a restoration in the northern kingdom of Israel which had turned its back on the living God during the days of Jezebel and her husband Ahab king of Israel. It might very well be said that the repairing of the altar not only pointed back to the Tabernacle in the wilderness where the fire of God came out from before the Lord and consumed the sacrifice which was upon the altar, but also pointed to the Temple and the fire of God which came down from heaven upon the altar and the sacrifices which were upon the altar. We must recognize and understand this absolutely wonderful and tremendous reality, for this reality brings us face to face with the fact that the fire of God which fell during the days of Elijah was not only linked to the restoration of the altar, but it was also linked to a return to the living God. What is so remarkable about the narrative of Elijah and the fire off God coming down from heaven and consuming the sacrifice, the water in the trench, and even the dust round about the altar was that it was directly linked to the restoration of worship and the repairing of the altar. Oh we must carefully consider this reality, for it is true we might very well think about and consider the fire of God coming out from before Him, and the fire of God coming upon the altar among us in our midst, and yet the fire of God never manifested for the sake of sacrifice alone. The fire of God always came in direct response to obedience to the command of the living God, and even a wonderful demonstration of repentance and a turning back to the living God. The fire of God which fell upon the altar during the days of Solomon king of Israel came as the people of Israel were preparing to worship the true and living God at the Temple which would replace the Tabernacle of Moses which was built in the wilderness. The fire of God came down from heaven upon the altar and upon the sacrifices during the days and generation of Solomon, for the fiery and the glory consecrated both the altar and the Temple in the sight of the people of Israel. The fire of God came down from heaven upon the sacrifices and upon the altar during the days of Solomon because it was the manifestation of the fire and the glory that consecrated the Temple and hallowed it for the purpose of the living God dwelling among His people in the midst of the Holy of Holies beyond the veil, and the living God being God unto the people and their being His people. The fire which fell during the days of David was in direct response to his repentance before the living God; the fire which fell during the days of Moses and Aaron was in response to their obedience to the command of the Lord, and in response to the consecration of the altar and the Tabernacle of the living God; the fire of God during the days of Elijah was in direct response to the restoration of worship in the northern kingdom of Israel and the repairing of the altar; the fire of God during the days of Solomon were in direct response to the dedication of the Temple before and unto the LORD and the consecration of the Temple for the purpose of worship before the living God and His desire to dwell in the midst of His people.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close it is important to point out a second fire that is found within these chapters within the book of Leviticus. If you read these chapters you will undoubtedly encounter the fire which came out from before the LORD to consume the burnt offering which was upon the altar, however, as you continue to read you will find that there was a second fire which came out from the presence of the LORD. This second fire which came out from the presence of the LORD was not a fire of approval, nor was it a fire of consecration, but it was a fire of judgment and a fire of displeasure. In order for us to understand the difference between these two fires we must understand that there is a fire of approval and there is a fire of holiness and consecration as the fire of God consumes the sacrifice which is upon the altar. With that being said, however, there is a second fire which can come out from the presence of the LORD—not a fire of approval and pleasure, but rather a fire of judgment upon those who violated His holiness, those who violated His commandment, and those who violated what He had ordained and appointed. If you read the words which are written and found within the tenth chapter of the Old Testament book fo Leviticus you will find that there was a second fire which came out from before the LORD—a fire that came not upon the altar and consumed the burnt offering, but rather a fire that came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed a different sacrifice. Would it shock you to think about and consider the fact that there is a fire of pleasure that consumes the sacrifice which pleases the LORD, and there is a fire of judgment which doesn’t consume the sacrifice, but which also makes a sacrifice. THE FIRE WHICH CONSUMES THE SACRIFICE, THE FIRE WHICH MAKES A SACRIFICE! The tenth chapter of the book fo Leviticus presents us with the narrative of Nadab and Abihu—the sons of Aaron the high priest and Moses’ brother—and how they took their censers, and put fire within them, and put incense upon their censers and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not to. What you find in response to their offering of strange fire is that there would come out from before the LORD a second time a second fire. This time, however, the fire which would come out from before the LORD would not come upon the altar and consume the sacrifice, but would actually make a sacrifice of those who violated His commandment and violated His statutes. It’s worth noting that this wasn’t the first time fire could out from before the LORD and consume those who rebelled and disobeyed the command and statute of the LORD, for if you turn and direct your attention to the sixteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers you will find a fire coming out from before the LORD a second time and consuming all those who aligned themselves with Koran and the rebellion he would mount against Moses in the wilderness. There would be a fire that would come out from before the Lord during the days of Moses and Aaron which would consume the sacrifice which was upon the altar, but there would come out from before the LORD two additional fires—each fire which would consume those who rebelled against the authority and command of the LORD, and those who disobeyed His command.

It’s necessary that we recognize and understand that which is found within these chapters found within the book of Leviticus, for there is a fire of consecration and holiness upon the altar which consumes the sacrifice in response to obedience to the command of the LORD, and there is also a fire which can come out from the presence of the LORD and make a sacrifice of those who disobey and rebel against the command of the living God. Nadab and Abihu offered before the LORD that which He instructed and commanded them not to, and as a direct response to their offering of strange fire and their rebellion against the authority of the living God the LORD caused a fire to come out from before Him and make a sacrifice of them. This same fire would come out from before the LORD a second time and make a sacrifice of those two-hundred and fifty men who would align themselves with Korah and the rebellion he mounted against the authority of Moses, and ultimately the authority of the living God among the children of Israel. Oh that we would recognize that there is a fire which consumes the sacrifice and which comes upon the altar, and there is a fire which makes a sacrifice of those who disobey the commandment of the LORD and rebel against His authority and command. With that being said I have to admit that I have never seen fire come out from the presence of the Lord and consume the sacrifice upon the altar, nor have I ever seen fire come out from before the LORD and make a sacrifice of those who disobeyed the command of the LORD. With that being said, however, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand the incredible importance of honoring the authority of the living God, and honoring the commands which He has given unto us as we walk in obedience to Him. It is true that the fire of God can in fact move among us, and yet the question we must ask ourselves is whether or not the fire we experience is a fire of consecration and holiness, or whether the fire we experience is a fire of judgment as the living God consumes those who have rebelled against His authority, His command, and that which He has asked and required of us.

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