Preach the Word of Truth of GOD.
STRANGE FIRE in THE HOUSE of THE LORD
STRANGE FIRE in THE HOUSE of THE LORD
by J. Lee Grady
We need to be careful. Current fads involving angels, ecstatic
worship and necromancy could push us off the edge of spiritual sanity.
No one fully understands what Nadab and Abihu did to prompt
God to strike them dead in the sanctuary of Israel. The Bible says
they loaded their firepans with incense, ignited the substance and
“offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded
them” (Lev. 10:1, NASB). As a result of their careless and
irreverent behavior, fire came from God’s presence and consumed them.
Zap. In an instant they were ashes.
When Moses had to explain to Aaron what happened to the two
men, he said: “It is what the Lord spoke, saying, `By those who
come near to Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people
I will be honored'” (v. 3). Although we don’t know the details of what
Nadab and his brother did with the holy incense, we know they
were careless and irreverent about the things of God.
“We want the miracles of God, but we also want the fear and
reverence of God. We cannot allow this strange fire to spread unchecked.”
This ancient story has relevant application for us today. We don’t
use incense or firepans in our worship, but we are expected to
handle God’s Word with care and minister to His people in the fear
of the Lord. In other words: No funny business allowed. We aren’t
allowed to mix God’s Word with foreign concepts or mix our
worship with pagan practices.
Yet as I minister in various churches around this country I am
finding that strange fire is spreading in our midst-even in churches
that call themselves “Spirit-filled.” Pastors and leaders need to be
aware of these trends:
1. Deadly visitations. In some charismatic circles today, people
are claiming to have spiritual experiences that involve
communication with the dead. One Michigan pastor told me last
week that some church leaders he knows promote this bizarre
practice and base it on Jesus’ experience on the Mount of
Transfiguration. The logic is that since Jesus talked to Moses and
Elijah on the day He was glorified, this gives us permission to talk
to dead Christians and our dead relatives.
Although little is said about these experiences from the pulpit
(since the average believer is not ready to handle this “new
revelation”), people in some streams of the prophetic movement
are claiming to have visitations from Aimee Semple McPherson,
William Branham, John Wimber or various Bible characters. And
we are expected to say, “Ooooooo, that’s so deep” – and then go
looking for our own mystical, beyond-the-grave epiphany.
That is creepy. Communication with the dead was strictly
forbidden in the Old Testament (Deut. 18:11), and there is
nothing in the New that indicates the rules were changed. Those
who seek counsel from the dead – whether through mediums and
séances or in “prophetic visions” – are taking a dangerous step
2. Ecstatic rapture. Not long after ecstasy became known as a
recreational drug, someone in our movement got the bright idea to
promote spiritual ecstasy as a form of legitimate worship. The
concept evolved from “spiritual drunkenness” to the current fad in
which people gather at church altars and pretend to shoot needles
in their arms for a “spiritual high.” Some preachers today are
encouraging people to “toke the Holy Ghost” – a reference to
I hate to be a party pooper, but the Bible warns us to “be of sound
judgment and sober spirit” (1 Pet. 4:7). There is plenty of freedom
and joy in the Holy Spirit; we don’t have to quench it by introducing people to pagan revelry.
Christian worship is not about losing
control. Those who worship Jesus do it “in spirit and in truth” (John
4:24), and our love for God is not measured by how violently we
shake or how many times we fall on the floor.
Recently I told a friend in Pennsylvania that when people get tired
of this drug imagery it won’t be long before we see some
Christians having sexual experiences at the altar. “It’s already
happening,” my friend said. He described a recent “worship
concert” in which one of the musicians simulated sex while
stroking a microphone and whispering sensual phrases to Jesus.
What is next – orgasmic worship? God help us.
3. Angels among us. Angels have always played a vital role in the
life of the church. They are “ministering spirits” sent to protect,
guide and strengthen believers (Heb. 1:14). But suddenly angels
have become the rage in some segments of our movement. People
are claiming to see them everywhere, and often the stories don’t
line up with the Word of God.
During the Lakeland Revival last year in Florida, a man from
Germany took the stage and claimed that an angel walked into a
restaurant while he was eating a hamburger, took his intestines
out and replaced them with a gold substance. Others have testified
that angels took them to heaven and operated on them. And many
are claiming that angels are dropping feathers, gold dust and
precious gems on worshippers.
I know God can do anything. He can make an iron ax head float,
hide a coin in a fish’s mouth and use a little boy’s lunch to feed a
multitude. Those were genuine miracles that He can still do today.
But we still have to use caution here. There are counterfeits. If we
promote a false miracle or a false angel in the Lord’s house, we
are participating in strange fire.
I know of a case where a man was caught planting fake jewels on
the floor of a church. He told his friends he was “seeding the room”
to lift the people’s faith. I know of others who have been caught
putting gold glitter on themselves in a restroom and then running
back in a church service, only to claim that God was blessing
them with this special favor. Where is the fear of God when
Christians would actually fabricate a miracle?
This is a time for all true believers with backbones to draw clear
lines between what is godly worship and what is pagan practice.
We want the miracles of God, but we also want the fear and
reverence of God. We cannot allow this strange fire to spread
~ J. Lee Grady
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