Basic Lessons on Service, by Witness Lee


According to Leviticus 10, the offering of the strange fire might have been related to the drinking of wine. Right after Nadab and Abihu’s death, God charged the priests not to drink wine. Verses 8 and 9 say, "And Jehovah spoke to Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, that you may not die; it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations." Every logical reader would consider that probably the two sons of Aaron offered strange fire to Jehovah because they were drunk. They drank too much wine.

Drinking wine, in the Bible, signifies the overenjoyment of the worldly, natural, or physical, material things. In other words, if we overly enjoy anything of this world, this always makes us drunk. When we are drunk, we are excited and out of control, doing things without regulation. It might have been that the two sons of Aaron were drunk, so they were excited and went beyond themselves to do something without being regulated. That means they offered strange fire in a presumptuous way. The offering of strange fire was a sin of presumption. They presumed to do something for God. Actually, that was not a real offering to God but something of their presumption against God’s regulation.

People do presumptuous things because they have over-enjoyed something. They are drunk. When the priests are drunk, they lose the discernment of holiness (Lev. 10:10), and they are unable to teach God’s people (v. 11). When we lose our discernment because we are drunk, we are not being regulated; so we surely cannot teach others so that they can be regulated.

The priests had a twofold function. One was to serve God; the other was to teach others. Today in the church our priestly function also comprises these two things: offering something to God to serve God, and teaching others. In offering things to God, we must have the discernment concerning what we should or should not offer. We need this clear discernment. Also, in order to teach others, we need our own learning by our experiences. If we are drunk and lose our discernment, we are unable to teach others, and we altogether lose our function of our priesthood. This is all included in the offering of strange fire to God. We need a clear vision of these things as a warning to us in our church service.

(Basic Lessons on Service, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)