Jesus was called a Nazarene, because He grew up in the town of Nazareth (Matthew 2:23).But a Nazarene is not the same as a Nazarite. The word Nazarite means “to separate,” “to consecrate,” “to dedicate” in a religious or ceremonial sense. A Nazarite kept a specific code of conduct to show His dedication to God (Numbers 6:2-21). This code was to:
1-Abstain from drinking alcohol “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the Lord, 3 he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink” (Numbers 6:2,3).
2-Abstain from drinking any product of the vine “neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. 4 All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin” (Numbers 6:3,4).
3-Abstain from cutting the hair on the head “All the days of the vow of his separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the Lord, he shall be holy. Then he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow…” (Numbers 6:5-8).
4-Avoid touching dead bodies “And if anyone dies very suddenly beside him, and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing; on the seventh day he shall shave it …” (Numbers 6:9-12).
A person would become a Nazarite by:
- Making a vow to God for a specific period of time (Numbers 6:2).
- If the parents made that vow from his birth to God as in the case of Samuel’s mother ”And she made a vow, saying, “LORD Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head” (1 Samuel 1:11).
- If God appoints a person to be a Nazarite as in the case of Samson, “You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5).
Jesus was not a Nazarite because He drank of the fruit of the vine as shown in the Last supper “Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Luke 26:27-29). Also Jesus held the hand of a dead girl just before He resurrected her up “Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, “Talitha kum!” (which translated means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”)” (Mark 5:41). For these reasons Jesus could not have been a Nazarite.
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In His service,
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