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.
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
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.
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. Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord. And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of music of the Lord, which David the king had made to praise the Lord, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood. Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brazen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:1-7
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 with 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 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, fire once again came from the presence of the Lord, but this time, it devoured the two sons of Aaron.
And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. ~ Leviticus 10:1-2 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 through him alone the authentic fire of God’s presence burns within our hearts. Through Jesus alone we have access with confidence, and in Him our prayers become as sweet incense before God’s throne.
Anything else, other than the authentic Jesus, is strange fire.