At the inauguration of the service of the Tabernacle of Moses, God demonstrated his acceptance of the offerings which foreshadowed Christ by consuming the sacrifices by fire from His Holy presence(Leviticus 9:22-24).
This fire which consumed the sacrifices came from the presence of God from within the Holy of Holies. This demonstration of God’s glory was repeated at the dedication of the Temple which Solomon built, except this time the fire came down from Heaven (2 Chronicles 7:1).
When God consumed the sacrifices at the dedication of the Tabernacle under Moses, there was lit upon the altar – a divine fire. This was the fire of which God had instructed Moses saying, “it shall not be put out” and “it shall never be put out” (Leviticus 6:9-13).
This is significant because of the important role which the brazen altar of sacrifice had in connection to the golden altar of incense within the Holy Place.
In scripture, the incense from the golden altar is associated prayer (Revelation 8:3). The burning of the incense upon the golden altar was evidently from the divine fire taken from the brazen altar.
In Leviticus 10, not long after God had consumed the sacrifices with divine fire from His presence, Aaron’s two sons (Nadab and Abihu) took it upon themselves to offer incense with “strange fire.” When they did this, divine fire once again came from the presence of the Lord, but this time, it devoured the two sons of Aaron.
This all foreshadowed Christ, who is man’s only approach to God, All other ways lead to God’s judgment. Through Christ alone we are enabled to approach and stand in the presence of a Holy God. Jesus gave Himself for us as a sweet smelling savor to God (Ephesians 5:2) and it is through him alone that the divine presence of God burns within our hearts. Through Him alone we have access with confidence, and in Him our prayers becomes as sweet incense.
Anything else would be strange fire.