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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Relavant New Testament lessons from the Nazarite vow


The real lesson from Jesus as a Nazarite or Nazirite is the beauty it shines on Christ’s character. The Nazarite was not an ascetic or hermit living to please his selfish nature. Asceticism was a pagan institution that resulted from religions which knew only the teachings of Satan and his host of darkness. It was Egyptian asceticism that came into the post-apostolic church during the first centuries after the apostle John died that led to the enslavement of many men and women as monks and hermits. “Poverty, chastity, and obedience” was their motto of vainly attempting to prove to God their self-generated devotion to Him. But, He had already made it clear that such human constructs greatly offended Him. Such works of human devising could only keep those souls held in the bondage of Satan.

“Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” (Isa. 58:5,6).

“Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?” (Zech. 7:5,6).

“Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god. The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts. And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.” (Mal. 2:11-13).

Neither was the Nazarite a mendicant monk who shaved his head and was ignorant of every practical duty of life, going door to door begging. As Jesus instructed his disciples, “Into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.” (Matt. 10:11). “And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.” (Luke 10:7). This was the manner their Master also used. As a spiritual Levite, this world was not His home; He had nowhere to lay His head. Jesus had no inheritance in the earth.

The Nazarite vow was for the purpose of teaching the children of Israel spirituality, which Egyptian slavery had beaten out of their conceptions. It wasn’t for anyone who wanted to appear that he or she was spiritual; it was for those who truly yearned to know God. The Lord, through the voluntary Nazarite vow, gave opportunity for Him to make Israel a whole nation of spiritual people, a kingdom of holy priests and prophets.

There is a close association between the Nazarite vow and the prophets. Listen to the prophetic parallel poetry. “I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the LORD. But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not.” (Amos 2:11,12). Were the sons of the prophets Nazarites? I believe so. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2Pet. 1:21). Could the cleansing of the body and mind from polluted food and beverages be what permitted the Spirit of God to move upon men and women in a special way? The greatest prophets proved that to be so.

“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.…  As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams….  And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” (Dan. 1:8,17,20).

“But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:13-17).

“But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet…. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matt. 11:9-11). What does this say about Elijah, who John naturally emulated? Was Elijah a Nazarite? What does this say about the schools of the prophets that Samuel instituted? Did Samuel raise up the youths of Israel to be Nazarites while they received a literary education and a practical trade? Was he organizing a Nazarite college?

Abstinence went dead against the lifestyles of the surrounding pagan nations and their satanic religions, but temperance is how Israel slowly attained peculiar characters, higher than all the people of the earth. And, had they remained faithful to the Creator, the other nations of the world would have looked on and desired the same laws that God gave Israel, including the law of the Nazarite.

“Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire.” (Lam. 4:7). Does obedience to the laws of God, including His laws of health, still lead to a more perfect polishing of body and mind, and a fuller consecration to God? Paul says so, “The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Thess. 5:23).

Jesus did not destroy any of the laws of God. Rather, being “made under the law” (Gal. 4:4), He fulfilled them. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matt. 5:17). He fully obeyed them, on a higher plane than the letter of the law. He lived their principle to the full. As David was special among the educated sons of the prophets, so Jesus stood head and shoulders above every other champion of holiness and wisdom from the Old Testament.

Jesus was the perfect Nazarite; He and John both were throwbacks to purer days. “He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.” (Isa. 42:4, cf Matt. 12:17-20). Even on the cross, tortured and thirsty at the point of shock, He rejected the putrid, corrupting Roman wine. (Matt. 27:34). To offer His Father the perfect sacrifice, His body  must remain pristine, His mind clear, and His soul immaculate.

His first miracle was at a wedding, and He drank wine, but it was heavenly, unfermented wine, like manna better than anything this world could come up with (Jn. 2:10). Flavorful and tonic, it was the choicest refreshing “new wine”—“joy” (Joel 1:10,12) for the joyful occasion. The anointed One was full of joy. “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” (Psa. 45:7).

He taught His disciples to be new covenant Nazarites and they likewise taught the church to be a peculiar people, a generation set apart from the world. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1Cor. 10:31). “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine.” (1Tim. 3:2,3).

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Rom. 12:1-3).

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.… But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1Cor. 6:9-11,17-20).

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” (Heb. 8:8-10).

Could God’s laws written in the heart, after six centuries of pagan captivity, and the pure Nazarite life restored in the mind as Daniel had, have anything to do with the restoration of the Spirit of prophecy in the New Testament church? I believe so. And if we live by the principles of physical and spiritual health given in the Bible, and a real longing to know Messiah Jesus, wouldn’t the same genuine gift of prophecy be restored again today in the church? Wouldn’t this genuine gift from heaven stand up against all the modern false manifestations of prophecy by those who reject the laws of Yahweh, as the true prophets always had to stand against a multitude of prophets of Baal? All the evidences indicate that these things would happen. This gift of the Spirit was promised.

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke [the demolition of Babylon]. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” (Joel 2:28-32).

“Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).

1 Comments:

Blogger Nsubuga Daniel said...

surely. Jesus is Michael

6/18/2014 1:46 AM  

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