Friday, October 17, 2014

Samson was a Nazarite: Are we to be?

We call ourselves Christians! That's a term ascribed to Herod Agrippa in the Book of Acts of the Apostles:

Acts 11:26 "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."
Acts 26:28  "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."
However, "Christians" were also known at that time known by another name:
Acts 24:5 "For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:"
In the west, thanks to the early church, we call ourselves "Christians". However, in the Holy Land and beyond in the Arab world, the term used is "Nazarenes". Why? That's what Jesus called himself and others called him that:
Acts 22:8 And I (Paul) answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power:
Jesus admitted to Peter that he indeed was "Christ" in Matthew 16:15-17, but he never called himself Christ, although at his birth he was announced to be "Jesus Christ"! Christ was his title. "Christ" means "The Messiah". However, Christ was not his name, but a title.meaning "the annointed one". Since Jesus was annointed by God, "Christians" would be those who follow "the one anointed by God".

God's Son's name IS NOT Jesus, nor Emmanuel. That's what he's called. Being God, his name is "I AM" and Emmanuel confirms that Jesus is "God (I AM) with us"! Jesus is no different than "the voice of God" who walked in the cool of the evening back in the beginning. He was Emmanuel then and he still is because God never changes!

God incarnate is CALLED Jesus who is from Nazareth. He lived there for a time so that prophecy could be fulfilled:
Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
We have God incarnate to be called three names: "Jesus", "Emmanuel" and "a Nazarene". Hence, it's very understandable why Jews still call followers of Christ "Nazarenes" because Jesus was called one! He wasn't named "Christ", but was "the annointed one"! Therefore, to be called "Nazarene" is just as accurate as "Christian". Actually we are of the sect of Nazarenes who follow the "annointed one", Christ. "Nazarenes" may be more befitting!
Wikipedia explains "The name used by Tertullus survives into Rabbinic and modern Hebrew as notzrim (נוצרים) a standard Hebrew term for "Christian", and also into the Quran and modern Arabic as nasara (plural of nasrani "Christians"). The Arabic word nasara (نَصارى) comes from the Arabic root "n s r" (ن ص ر)."
"Nasrani" are followers of Christ in Arabic and "Nasiri " are people who live in Nazareth. In this day  "Christian" homes are painted with a red Arabic "N" (ن, pronounced "nun") to identify them as Nasrani (Nazarenes). Their homes are marked so they can be converted, taxed or killed!

Some Hebrews were "separated" from other righteous people and were to be an example of righteousness:
Numbers 6:1 " And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord:
As Nazarites were to be "separated" as holy people, Christians today are to be types of "Nazarites". As "Nazarenes" we're to be "set apart". In the New Testament the term used is "santification".

How are we to become "sanctified"? We become "Nazarites" which I believe are a picture of Nazarenes (Christians):
Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
As followers of Christ we are "set apart". We're called to be different than the world, not because of actions of ourselves, but because God made us Nazarites. Samson was a picture of what Christians are to be. He was anointed from birth and we are anointed as we're "born again"! It's by the blood, but righteousness is loving God enough to follow his commands. That's our half of being "set apart" or "sanctified".  We know that God did the anointing of Samson, but here's what Samson and the other Nazarites did:
Numbers 6:3 "He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.
5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.
6 All the days that he separateth himself unto the Lord he shall come at no dead body.
7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.
8 All the days of his separation he is holy unto the Lord.

There were life-time Nazarites from birth and others could be Nazarites for a time. Nazarenes are meant to be permanent Nazarites because "he shall be holy". We have different methods of being holy than Samsom did because we are anointed by the blood of Jesus. Samson was symbolic of what was to come and his "holiness" was displayed by what's physical. He "did" things not associated with "loving others" whereas our holiness is all about "loving God by showing love to others"!

Basically, Nazarites were not to eat of anything distilled or which was subject to distillation. It would appear that alcohol or even the potential of alcohol was uncleanless. Like Nazarites righteous Christians are to remain sober, as scripture tells us. The "ideal" is to be alcohol free, and for those in early times, that meant that no product of fermentation was to be consumed!

Nazarites were to let their hair grow natural and uncut. This is a testimony that they were "set apart" from other Hebrews. It says to the others "My life is to be righteous". It is a testimony to God that "he is holy unto the Lord".

We have ways that we can show that we're Nazarites! We dress modestly, we remain sober, we love others, we show joy and humility and we tell others why we're that way! That's how Nazarenes refrain from "cutting of the hair" so to speak! The intent of both is "being holy"!

Furthermore, Nazarites were to remain clean! They were not to come near the dead; even close relatives. We are to do the same. Those "dead" are those who fail to accept Christ. Scripture tells us that if they fail to listen to continue in their sins, even after they confess Christ, we are to separate ourselves from them, by shaking the dust from our feet (for unbelievers) or we're "not to eat" with them who claim Christ, but live in sin (for so-called believers). We set ourselves apart from those "dead in sin"!

Also in Numbers are how a Nazarite is to sacrifice upon ending the Nazarite period:

The first of the three offerings is a ewe for a "sin offering", the second is lamb for an "praise offering", and lastly a ram as a "peace offering". After bringing the sacrifices, the Nazirite shaves the head. Unlike Nazarites, Nazarenes never end the Nazarite period. Nazarenes (Christians) are to remain set apart and are to never cut their "spiritual hair" (righteousness). Nazarenes are always to be sanctified (set apart). Hence, Christians are to be permanent Nazarites! Rather than the three offerings of the Nazarites, Nazarenes make only one: they present themselves as a "living sacrfice"! Nazarenes (Christians) are to be holy as God is holy!

Since Jesus was the "sin sacrifice" by his own blood, Nazarenes merely have to make a "peace offering" (accepting Jesus) and a "praise offering" (loving Jesus for his sin sacrifice he made to redeem us!)

There weren't Nazarites in the Old Testament "just for the fun of it"! It meant something then, but more importantly, it was symbolic of sanctification today. Only some were anointed as Nazarites, but all Christians are to be Nazarenes! We're all to be sanctified.

Sanctification is a shortcoming of most Christians. Most believe and have faith, but fail to love God by being righteous. That life of "righteousness" is "sanctification" and is what makes Nazarites Nazarenes.

Disclaimer: None of this commentary is meant to refer to the denomination of Christians called "Nazarenes", but the universal sect of Nazarenes.

No comments:

Post a Comment