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The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary

Nazarene

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As this name was given to our Lord Jesus Christ, and we are told by the evangelist, that his residence in Nazareth was on this account, that he might be so called, it will certainly merit particular attention.

The word Nazarene or Nazarite, (for it is one and the same) is derived from Nezar, and means separated; so that a Nazarite is one separated and given up to God from the womb. The Jews, out of contempt to the person of Christ, called him the Nazarite or Nazarene; and certainly they meant no other by it but, as we mean, an inhabitant of a place, when we say, one of Plymouth, or the like. And as Nazareth itself was but a small city of Zebulun, they had yet greater contempt for Christ's person, for springing, as they supposed, from thence. "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46) But we shall find that this title, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, was all along designed of God, as of the highest import, and among the strongest testimonies to this peculiarity of character, as the one, yea, the only one great Nazarite of God.

As the proper apprehension of this point is, in my view, of infinite value in the faith of a believer, I beg the reader's indulgence to state the whole subject very particularly.

And first, then, I request to remark on the expression of the evangelist Matthew, (Matthew 2:23) "And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets—he should be called a Nazarene?"

The question is, what prophets are there who so spake concerning Christ? To which I answer, all the writers of the Old Testament are generally called prophets, because many of their sayings are really and truly prophesies. Thus Jacob when dying called his sons and said, "Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days." (Genesis 49:1) Eminently Jacob was a prophet in what he here predicted of his sons, and the glorious events he then delivered, since fulfilled, proves it. And the apostle Peter denominates the whole of the Old Testament "a word of prophecy;" for speaking of it he saith, "we have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed." (2 Peter 1:19) So that not only the immediate writings of the prophets whose titles are expressly so spoken of as prophetical, but the scope of the whole body of Scripture, and especially such as are looking into gospel times, and speaking of events then to be accomplished, may be truly and justly called prophecies, and the writers of them prophets.

The next enquiry is, which of the sacred writers is it that thus predicted Christ should be called a Nazarene? To which I answer, in type and figure; Jacob and Moses both represented this great truth in their dying testimonies concerning Joseph, the typical Nazarite of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jacob's prophecy concerning Joseph in this particular runs thus: (Genesis 49:26) "The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors, unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren." In the original the word separate is Nezer, that is, a Nazarite among his brethren. And this is the same word, used in Genesis 49:26 as is used, Judges 13:5 for Nazarite. Strong testimonies these to the point in question. Moses, in like manner, makes use of the same allusion, when delivering his dying prediction concerning Joseph as typical of Christ. For the good will of him, (said he) my dweller in the bush, (referring to his first views of God incarnate, Exodus 3:2 compared with Acts 7:30) "Let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separate from his brethren." In the original the very same word for separate is used as Genesis 49:26—so that Moses as well as Jacob, declared by the type Joseph, that the great Antitype should be the Nazarite or separate from among his brethren.

The third step to which I beg the reader to follow me, in this most interesting subject concerning our glorious Nazarite, and justly called so, is in the writings of the evangelist St. Luke; where I hope we shall discover, under the teaching of God the Holy Ghost, that Jesus, though born at Bethlehem to fulfil another prophecy, was literally and truly conceived at Nazareth, and as such became a real Nazarene.

Thus the Holy Ghost, by the evangelist, states the circumstances of the conception, of Christ, (Luke 1:26, etc.) "And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God, unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man, whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail! thou that are highly favoured, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God; and behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus." From hence we date the conception. The miraculous power of the Holy Ghost is no sooner announced, and Mary's consent obtained, than the impregnation takes place; so that "that Holy thing," or the man of the unction, as Christ is declared by the angel to be, is immediately conceived, and the Nazarite from the womb is formed in the city of Nazareth, as the prophet had foretold. (See Isaiah 7:14) This, in my view of the subject, is most blessed indeed!

Under a fourth particular, the reader will find this great event most strikingly shadowed out in the instance of Samson, the type of Christ, and especially in this feature of character as a Nazarite. Here indeed we find many wonderful things to shew the correspondence between the type and the antitype. The birth of Samson was announced precisely in the same manner, by the ministry of an angel. The wife of Manoah, Samson's mother, was barren at the time, as if to shew that the birth of this child, though not miraculous, yet was extraordinary. The message the angel brought to Manoah's wife, and to the Virgin Mary, were (as far as the similarity of circumstances would admit) so much alike, that one might be led to conclude that the messenger was the same, and the one ministered but to the other. And lastly, and above all, as the angel concerning Samson declared, that he should be a Nazarite to God from the womb, and should begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, so eminently did the angel announce to the Virgin Mary concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, that he should be that Holy Thing, and be called the Son of the Highest, and should deliver "his people from their sins." (Compare Judges 13:2-7 with Luke 1:26, etc. and Matthew 1:20-21) I do not think it necessary to insert in this place, at large, the law concerning Nazarites to God. The reader will find it, Numbers 6:2-5. But from the particular precepts concerning it, and the case of Samson, seen with an eye to Christ, "as the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth," I humbly conceive that the point is thus strikingly illustrated.

I have only one thing more to add, in order to shew that this our glorious Nazarite was the one, and the only one, to whom all that went before were mere types and shadows, and only ministered in this character to him; and also that the law concerning Nazarites had an eye wholly to him, and in him alone was completed. I say I have only to add, in confirmation of it, that when we find so many different characters all directly overruled to call Jesus by this name, and thus decidedly stamping his character as the Nazarite of God, however many of them meant not so, neither did they intend it, nothing surely can more plainly prove that the whole must have originated in the divine mind, and that JEHOVAH adopted all these methods to shew that Christ, and Christ only, is the One Holy and glorious Nazarite to God.

The first we meet with in the gospel who called our Lord Jesus of Nazareth, or the Nazarite, was Satan, when he said, "Let us alone; what, have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God." (Mark 1:24) Next we find the apostles giving in their testimony to the same blessed truth, John 1:45 "We have found him (saith Philip) of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." When the band of men and officers from the chief priests came to apprehend Christ in the garden, they enquired after the Lord under the same name, Jesus of Nazareth, (John 18:5) The servant maid in the hall of Pilate spoke of our Lord by the same name; for charging Peter as an accomplice, she said, "And this fellow also was with Jesus of Galilee." (Matthew 26:71) And yet more, the Roman governor, as if constrained by an overruling power, in giving a testimony to Christ the very reverse of the ignominy he meant to put upon him, both subscribed to his regal authority, at the same time he proclaimed him the Nazarite to God; and wrote a superscription in three different languages, and put it on the cross, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." (John 19:19) Still farther, the angels which attended the Lord's sepulchre, when he arose from the dead, announced to the pious women the resurrection of Christ by the same name, "Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified; he is risen, he is not here; behold the place where the Lord lay." (Mark 16:6) In like manner, the apostles, after our Lord's ascension to glory, continually dwelt upon this name. Jesus Christ of Nazareth, said Peter, in his sermon on the day of Pentecost, a man approved of God among you; as if to insist upon this glorious feature of the man, the Nazarite. (Acts 2:22) So again, when he healed the cripple at the gate of the temple, the blessed words he used were, "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth." (Acts 3:6) So again Acts 4:10. And lastly, to mention no more, the Lord Jesus himself, when calling to Paul from heaven, called himself by this name, "I am Jesus of Nazareth," or, as it might be rendered, I am Jesus the Nazarite, not a Nazarite, but the Nazarite, the very identical, yea, the only one. (Acts 22:8)

From the whole then, I hope the reader will think with me, that God the Holy Ghost had all along a design, from the first dawn of revelation, with an eye to the Lord Jesus in this most important character; and to this end and purpose directed his servants' minds, Jacob and Moses, to point to this great Nazarite, by type and figure, in the separation of Joseph from his brethren. And I trust that the reader will also see with me from the Lord's own teaching, that the law of the Nazarites, (Numbers 6:1-27) and especially the striking typical representation in the case of Samson, had no other meaning but to set forth the feature of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not enough, in my view, to allow these things to be typical of Christ, if at the same time we allow them to have any secondary and subordinate reference to themselves. They only spake of Jesus; they only ministered to him. Any sanctity or supposed sanctity in themselves, or any Nazarites under the law, is foreign to the very spirit of the Gospel of Christ. The word of God not only insists upon it, that there is salvation in no other but Jesus, but it includes all other under sin. "The imagination, yea, every imagination of the thoughts of man's heart is only evil, and that continually," (Genesis 6:5) consequently there could be no real Nazarite to God but this one. Every thing that we read of concerning holy vows and dedications, as far as they were true, were all typical of Christ. And by this exclusive personal right in our Jesus to this Nazarite of God, we plainly discover this sweet feature of character in our Lord, which endears him to his people, and shews the solemn dedication of himself for them to God. Hail, thou precious blessed Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Blessings for ever be on the head of him that was separated from his brethren! Verily, "thy father's children shall bow down before thee:" here, and to all eternity, thou shalt be called the Nazarite of God!


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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Nazarene'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/pmd/n/nazarene.html. London. 1828.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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