Bible Insights

Fire Came Down from Heaven

The People Shout for Joy and Worship God

The book of Leviticus contains God’s explicit instructions on how they should worship him. In chapter 8 the Lord explains the precise way Aaron and his sons will be consecrated for the priesthood and ordained as priests.

Moses and Aaron

In chapter 9, after Moses follows God’s instructions, Moses and Aaron go into the tent of meeting. Though we don’t know what happens inside, we wouldn’t be wrong to assume they connect with God.

When they come out the Lord’s glory appears to all the people.

Fire comes down from heaven—the very presence of God—and burns up the offering on the altar. When the people see this, they shout for joy and fall on their faces in awe, worshipping God.

Though this is the first time that fire came down from heaven it’s not the last.

Nadab and Abihu

In fact, it happens again in the very next chapter. This time, however, it’s a sign of God’s displeasure, of his punishment for disobedience.

Two of Aaron’s sons—Nadab and Abihu—fail to follow God’s specific instructions for worshipping him. In response, the Almighty sends down fire (Leviticus 10:1-3).

They die for their sin of improper worship. They are consumed, just like the offerings on the altar were consumed when they were ordained as priests.


Later, Elijah has some fiery experiences too.

The prophet has a confrontation with the prophets of Baal on mount Carmel. He prepares an altar before the Lord, places the sacrifice on it, and prays to God.

Fire comes down from heaven and burns up the sacrifice and everything around it. The people fall before God and worship him (1 Kings 18:36-39).

Another time, the king of Israel sends a captain with fifty men to bring Elijah to him. Fire comes down from heaven and consumes all the men. And it happens again with a second delegation (2 Kings 1:9-15).

God’s Power

In each of these instances, fire came down from heaven, showing God’s power. In each case, the people worship and revere God.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Leviticus 7-9 and today’s post is on Leviticus 9:23-24.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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