John the Baptist – A Nazarite
John the Baptist was a Nazarite or Nazirite from birth. The angel Gabriel said to Zacharias his father, “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15). At all times a Nazarite (Numbers 6:2) was to control his appetite and passions to be in harmony with God’s moral law (Judges 13:5).
- Abstaining from all products of the grape, including the wine or the fruit, fresh or dried (Numbers 6:3, 4)
- Allowing the hair of the head to grow, unharmed by a razor (Numbers 6:5);
- Abstaining from coming near of a dead body to avoid defilement (Numbers 6:6).
The Nazarite vow was highly esteemed among the Hebrews (Amos 2:11; Lamentations 4:7). Samuel was a Nazarite (1 Samuel 1:11), as was also Samson (Judges 13:4, 5). The angel instructed Samson’s parents saying, “please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean. For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
In the case of John the Baptist, he had to have his mind and thoughts clear and pure that the holy Spirit may use his ministry to lead the Israelites to repentance. For John preached to Israel saying, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).
In a like manner, those who participate in the task of proclaiming the second coming of Christ must purify their lives “even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3) without being intoxicated by alcoholic drinks and defiled by sin. Those that God has called for His service must be sober and filled by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 5:8).
In His service,