Your Bible Questions Answered
Good News Magazine
June 1963
Volume: Vol XII, No. 6
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Your Bible Questions Answered
Good News Staff  

Was Jesus Christ Under a Nazarite Vow?

   In Numbers 6:1-27, Almighty God gives the requirements of a Nazarite vow. By comparing these with the life of Jesus Christ we will see whether Jesus was or was not under a Nazarite vow.
   First of all, a Nazarite was FORBIDDEN to use any product obtained from the grape vine. This prohibition specifically included wines. Notice it in Numbers 6:3-4. "He shall SEPARATE HIMSELF from wine and strong drink... ALL THE DAYS OF HIS SEPARATION SHALL HE EAT NOTHING THAT IS MADE OF THE VINE TREE, from the kernels even to the husk."
   Jesus Christ, however, drank wine! In His final supper with His disciples, Jesus DRANK WINE — just before He was led away by the religious leaders. At this time He said, "I will not DRINK henceforth of THIS FRUIT OF THE VINE, until that day when I drink it new with you in my FATHER'S kingdom" (Matt. 26:29).
   Matthew 11:19 tells us that the Pharisees accused Jesus Christ of being a "winebibber"! But Jesus didn't use wine in excess as the Pharisees implied. He DID DRINK IT. He encouraged the use of wine at the wedding feast at His first public miracle (John 2:1-11)!
   There was a second restriction placed on the Nazarite. His hair had to grow without being trimmed or cut for the FULL DURATION of his vow (Num. 6:5). This change in his outward appearance would identify anyone who was under 3 Nazarite vow ON SIGHT!
   But there was NOTHING about Christ that would distinguish Him on sight! Luke 22:47 illustrates that Jesus had to be specifically identified by Judas. Otherwise, the soldiers who arrested Him would NOT have known which one of the disciples He was!
   Finally, a Nazarite could not become defiled by touching a dead body (Num. 6:6-7). We find in Mark 5:41 that Jesus DID touch a dead body — the body of a girl He raised from death to life again by a miracle! If Jesus had been a Nazarite He would have BROKEN HIS VOW with God by touching the girl's dead body (Num. 19:11)!
   Once a man had taken upon himself a Nazarite vow, he was BOUND BY AN UNCONDITIONAL OATH to keep all of the restrictions that went with that vow. If he failed in any one he would have broken his covenant with God. This would have been a SIN!
   Jesus Christ NEVER SINNED! Yet He didn't keep a SINGLE REQUIREMENT of a Nazarite vow! He could NOT have been under such a vow. Jesus Christ was not a Nazarite!
   But in Matthew 2:23, Jesus Christ is called a "Nazarene".
   What is a Nazarene, and why was Jesus called by that name?
   Smith's Dictionary of the Bible explains that a Nazarene was merely an inhabitant of Nazareth! He was called, "Jesus of Nazareth" (Matt. 26:71), or a Nazarene, because He was reared in this small town. Just as today we call a man from Texas a "Texan," and a man from Europe, a European. Christ was a NazarENE, NOT a NazarITE!
   Jesus Christ was called a "Nazarene," not because He had taken a Nazarite vow, but because He had grown up in the town of Nazareth!

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Good News MagazineJune 1963Vol XII, No. 6