Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Monday - Numbers 6 - Nazarites for the Nazarene

There is a big difference between a Nazarite and a Nazarene. A Nazarite was an individual dedicated to God for a specified length of time. He couldn't partake of the fruit of the vine. He couldn't have his hair cut. He wasn't allowed to touch dead bodies. He was required to sacrifice certain offerings to God (including his hair at the end of a temporary Nazarite term). And, if he did come into contact with a corpse by accident then that was considered to be an infraction and a violation of his vow (Numbers 6:11); he was required to restart his season of separation (Numbers 6:12). But, a Nazarene....well, a Nazarene was a person from Nazareth (Matthew 2:23).

Now, though there were many Nazarites, the only Biblical characters who were lifelong Nazarites were Samson, Samuel, and John the Baptist (Judges 13:4-5, I Samuel 1:11 and Luke 1:15). Temporary Nazarites were more common. Even the apostle Paul evidently took a couple of temporary Nazarite vows upon himself.

A Nazarite vow allowed Jews who were not of the tribe of Levi to approach closer to God than they could have done otherwise. Of course, Samson is the most famous (and infamous) of all of the Nazarites. What with his long hair, superhuman strength, womanizing and strange death, he was certainly an intriguing character. But, truly, all Nazarites... even Samson... were such for one reason and one reason only. Though it might not be immediately apparent ... every Nazarite was a Nazarite in order to point to The Nazarene. Not by their title; but by their separation (Hebrews 7:26).

No comments:

Post a Comment