WHO WERE THE “NAZARENES”?
Natsarim and Nazirite ~
ARE THESE RELATED WORDS?
Natsar & Nazir — A Crash Study of two Hebrew words
nazir= nun, zayin, yod, resh
natsar = nun,Tsadee, resh.
THE WORD” NATSAR”
There is usually some initial confusion with the words Natsar and Nazir. The original Hebrew for “Nazarene” is based on the root “natsar”, and means to watch– this is because the area around the burg Natsareth was named for it, hence the word “Gennetsaret” (vale of Netsar) — referring to the whole district. This root word used points to the fact that the town was situated on high ground, and provided a panoramic view of the surroundings.
It was an absolutely lovely place to grow up.
The “brow of the hill” which YAHUAHSHA’s townfolk tried to throw Him over gave the name to the town itself. Natsareth (natsar, the root) hence means “watchtower”, and Natsarenes are by extension “watchmen”, but this also fulfills the prophecies of Yesh Yahu 11:1, and Zec. 6:12.
In these places, the change in vowels forms the root “netser”, meaning “branch”; it’s a kind of synonym, like any word with two meanings, but the same spelling. “He shall be called a Natsarene” (Mt. 2:23) refers to the verses above, but it is not a direct quote as we are led to believe. This synonym (word spelled the same) forms a play-on-words: “netser”, meaning “branch”, and “natsar”, meaning “to watch”. So, we can be called branches, and watchmenfor this reason. Remember YAHUAHSHA said, “I am the vine, you arethe branches” (Yahuchanon 15:5).
The original followers of YAHUAHSHA were known as “Natsarim” (the plural of Natsari), because you’ll see “sect of the Nazarenes” written in your translations at Acts 24:5.
At Acts 28:22, we see that this “sect” was spoken against everywhere: “And we think it right to hear from you what you think, for indeed, concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” What sect? The sect of the Natsarim.
The definition of “sect” is the same as the word “cult”, and a “cult” is not necessarily a bad thing at all- it’s only a label flung about to judge a group before thoroughly examining its teachings. The Natsarim were the ORIGINAL disciples and followers of YAHUAHSHA, before Catholicism and Christianity ever existed. The brain-washing of the masses would have us believe that Abraham was a Catholic; but we know now that Kepha (Peter) wasn’t one either. Yet, Catholics believe Kepha was the “first Pope”. This is an incredible quantum leap to make.
From chapter 31 of Yerme Yahu (Jeremiah) where the promised New Covenant is located, there are the words, “There will be a day when WATCHMEN will cry out on the hills of Ephraim” (31:6) — referring to one of the 10 lost tribes hom YAHUAHSHA was sent to, among these, some are “Natsarim” (like me); and He is finishing that mission through His Natsarim today. The word watchmen” is from the same root, Natsar, from which we derive the words Natsareth, Gennetsaret, and Natsarim. Technically, we should not use a letter “z” in “Nazarene”, because the letter is a tsadee, or “ts” sound — and it confuses the word with nazir, which uses a zayin (z).
A specialist in researching the historical setting of the Natsarim, brother Norman Willis expresses it the best as he says:
“The Catholic Church Father Epiphanius lived and wrote in the fourth century CE, some three hundred years after the Messiah. Epiphanius was one of the key players responsible for the establishment of the official Roman Catholic Church dogma.
In his doctrinal book, ‘Against Heresies,’ Epiphanius wrote:
“The Nazarenes do not differ in any essential thing from them [meaning the Orthodox Jews], since they practice the customs and doctrines prescribed by Jewish Law; except that they believe in Christ…. “They believe in the resurrection of the dead, and that the universe was created by God. They preach that God is One, and that Jesus Christ is his Son….
“They are very learned in the Hebrew language.
“They read the Law [meaning the Law of Moses]….
“Therefore they differ…from the TRUE Christians because they fulfill until now ‘Jewish’ rites as the circumcision, Sabbath, and others.”
[The Church Father Epiphanius in his doctrinal book, “Against Heresies,” Panarion 29, 7, Page 41, 402]
Epiphanius tells us that the Nazarenes differed from what he called the “True Christians….” because they continued to fulfill “until now” such “Jewish” rites as the circumcision, the Sabbath, and others. Since Epiphanius lived and wrote in the fourth century, three hundred years after the Messiah, the Nazarenes and the Christians could only have been two Separate Groups at that time.
The Next quotation is by a modern-day Catholic Christian professor named Marcel Simon. Marcel Simon lived and worked in twentieth Century France, and he was widely regarded as being one of the leading experts on the First Century Assembly.
In his book ‘Judeo-Christianity,’ Professor Simon disagreed with what Epiphanius had said regarding the Nazarenes. In an effort to correct history, the Catholic Professor Simon wrote:
“They (meaning the Nazarenes) are characterized essentially by their tenacious attachment to Jewish observances. “If they became heretics in the eyes of the Mother Church , it is simply because they remained fixed on outmoded positions.”
[However….] “They well represent (although Epiphanius is energetically refusing to admit it) the very direct descendants of that primitive community, of which our author knows that it was designated by the Jews, by the same name, of Nazarenes’.”
[French Catholic Professor and First Century Assembly expert Marcel Simon, Judéo-christianisme, pp 47-48.]
Even though he was himself a practicing Roman Catholic, Marcel Simon professed that it was not the Catholic Christians, but the Nazarenes who were the “very direct descendants of that primitive community,” called the Nazarenes. By this, he means that the Nazarenes (and not the Catholics) are the direct spiritual descendants of the Apostles of the New Covenant.
The Church father Epiphanius told us that there were two different groups, the Christians and the Nazarenes; and now Professor Simon tells us that it was the Nazarenes who descended directly from James, John, Peter, Paul, Matthew, Andrew, Phillip, and the rest. And yet, curiously, Professor Simon agrees with Epiphanius that these Nazarenes were indeed heretics, because they continued to practice the exact same worship as the Apostles had.
In other words, Professor Simon says that the Nazarenes of the fourth century became heretics simply because they continued to practice the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints.” [end of quote] .
HOW CAN WE CALL OURSELVES “NATSARIM”? (this
Acts 24:5 says, “For having found this man a plague (Shaul, or Paul), who stirs up dissension among all the Yahudim throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Natsarim.”
Acts 28:22 says, “And we think it right to hear from you what you think, for indeed, concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” (what sect? The Natsarim sect)
YermeYahu 31:6 tells us of a day when watchmen (Hebrew, Natsarim) will arise: “For there shall be a day when the watchmen (Natsarim) cry on Mount Ephrayim (the lost tribes sown into the nations, Amos 9:9), ‘Arise, and let us go up to Tsiyon, to YHWH our Elohim.’” Also, read Ezekiel chapter 37, and Ephesians chapter 3; it is the ‘secret’ of Elohim, Rev. 10:7, Ephesians 3.
Our “physical” (fleshly) origins are not important; we may look Chinese, African, or Caucasian. But, we become children of YHWH by our decision to obey Him, and this shows not only our love for Him, but also it is evidence to all around us Who we serve, and Whose children we are. When we are immersed into the Name of YAHUAHSHA, and pronounce our belief in His resurrection while trusting in His blood atonement, we become His followers, and are Natsarim.
Very early, the term “Natsarim” became replaced with the gentile term “Christians”. There is more to learn about this transition, and a matter for another study. “Jesus Christ” is a man-made fabrication; “YAHUAHSHA Mashiach” is simply the order the phrase takes, because “Mashaich” is YAHUAHSHA’s title, not His “last name”. Mashiach refers to His being anointed, the Sovereign of Israel (all 12 tribes). Shaul and Dawid were also “Mashiach”, YHWH’s “anointed”. .
THE WORD “NAZIR” – and the Nazirite vow
By contrast, the “vow” of the “Nazirite”, is based on an ancient tradition which became an institution at Num 6:1-21. The root of the word is “nazir”, having distinctly different Hebrew letters:
nazir = nun, zayin, yod, resh
natsar = nun, Tsadee, resh.
The word nazir means “consecrated”, similar to the word “qodesh”. The oath or vow of the Nazirite was for a specific period of time, and was to be taken by anyone provided they offered the prescribed offerings at Num. 6:1-21 — but this is going to be very difficult without the Lewitical priesthood, Temple, Altar, and so on! But, if you have a time machine, it’s a snap. Torah specifies how the Nazirite vow was to be made. YAHUAHSHA gave strong advice to be careful what we say, or vow! He recommends NOT to do it - we’re accountable for our vows before YHWH.
The person who had taken a Nazirite vow was set-apart to YHWH for the period specified. So, the words “Natsar” and “Nazir” are completely dissimilar.
SAMSON and LONG HAIR (Shimshon, #8123, from #8121, sunrise, sunset, sun, west, or daylight) – was a Nazirite, and was so from birth (Judges 13). He never ate or drank anything derived from grapes, and NEVER cut his hair. The problems started for him when his hair was shorn.
He kept the secret of his strength from the Philistines. 1 Cor. 11:14 seems to state that “nature” teaches us that if a man has long hair, it is a shame to him.
Shaul/Paul is speaking of woman’s head coverings, and different perspectives which cause DIVISIONS within the assemblies. The confusion that results from reading what Shaul is teaching arises from differences in cultural norms. It may have been “shameful” atthat time and place for a man to have exceedingly lengthy hair; but it certainly is not wrong for all times and places. Samson, an Israelite of the tribe of DAN, had very, very, long hair; and it was linked to his being a Nazirite. It’s OK to have long hair; Scripture teaches us that it is wrong to intentionally bring baldness to our heads. Causing division, dissension, and divorce is what is to be avoided. Proverbs 6:19 and 16:28 show us that dissension is to be avoided.
I hope this clears up some of the haze at least. Don’t worry, it is quite normal to make this association between the two words, Natsarim and Nazirite. I didn’t even open the “Greek” can-of-worms here, it only makes things more confusing. We can become a “Natsarene” because we follow YAHUAHSHA, the founder of our sect. Paul was a member of the sect of the Pharisees, but became a Natsarene (or Natsari) also — he still considered himself a Pharisee as well. Except for the “adding” (leavening) of the rules of the Pharisees, and their outward showing of hypocritical righteousness, YAHUAHSHA was very much in agreement with the general pattern of the Pharisees.
WHO WERE THE “NAZARENES”? (more properly, “Natsarim”)
The Natsarim (watchmen, branches) were the sect of followers of YAHUAHSHA ha Mashiach, of Natsarith (see Acts 24:5, where Shaul was termed “a ringleader” of this sect). How can a person discern whether or not another person is of Elohim or not? Very simply; if they guard Mashiach YAHUAHSHA’s Commands (Torah) - see 1 Yohanan for evidence. Which ones? The big Ten for starters. A person cannot live in darkness, being a lawbreaker openly, and claim to be a believer, loving YHWH:
“He that has My mitzvot, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me: and he who loves Me, shall be loved by My Abba, and I will love him, and will reveal Myself to him,” Yochanan 14:21.
“O Elohim, you are my El; early will I seek You: my being thirsts for You, my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land, where no mayim is; to see Your power and Your tiferet, so as I have seen You in the Set-Apart Place. Because your loving chesed is better than chayim, my lips shall hallel you. So I will bless You while I live: I will lift up my hands to Your Name. My being shall be satisfied as with marrow and abundance; and my mouth shall hallel you with joyful lips: When I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the night watches,” Tehillim 63:1-7. Selah.
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Why does your translation of Scripture mention the Name “YHWH” in the preface, but substitute the English word “LORD” for it in the text? If the letter “J” is less than 500 years old, why use it in the Name “Jesus”? Isn’t His real Name more like Y’shua, Yahshua, or YAHUAHSHA? (The spelling “YESHUA” should be looked into, so click on the word for more detail). To call Him “Yeh-soos” or “Yeh-zeus” may not be very good, considering “soos” is Hebrew for “horse”, and of course you know who “zeus” is . . . . this Pagan name was used in many name-endings like Tarsus, Pegasus, Dionysus, Parnassus, etc., to honor Zeus phonetically. The Greek name endings like sus, sous, and seus were employed to give honor to “Zeus”. “Sus” in Latin means “pig”. The Latin Deus and Greek Zeus sounded the same, because D and Z were both joined in a “DZ” sound.
When the “anti-messiah” appears on the scene, don’t you imagine most people will be expecting someone named “Jesus”, because they were programmed this way? The “Society”, or the “Order” (Jesuits) promoted this false name, “Jesus”, using Greek and mixing in the new letter, J. Our Creator is now sealing His people with His TRUE NAME in their foreheads.
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