Nazirene -- What does it mean?

The word Nazirene means the "keeper of The Way".  

While it is taught that believers are saved by faith in Messiah, the journey of the disciple of Jesus is one of absolute dedication to The Way. The disciple must become a Nazirene who is consecrated and wholly set apart as they walk the Narrow Way, enter through the Strait Gate, and learn directly from the Lord.


The word Nazirene comes from the biblical term Nazir, which denotes one who is under a vow.  Thus, the Commandment of the Lord reads: "The LORD said to Moses, Speak to the Israelites and say to them: If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of separation to the LORD as a Nazirite, he must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or from other fermented drink. He must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins. As long as he is a Nazirite, he must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins. During the entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head. He must be holy until the period of his separation to the LORD is over; he must let the hair of his head grow long. Throughout the period of his separation to the LORD he must not go near a dead body. Even if his own father or mother or brother or sister dies, he must not make himself ceremonially unclean on account of them, because the symbol of his separation to God is on his head. Throughout the period of his separation he is consecrated to the LORD" (Num 6:1-8 NIV).  

A Nazirite was one who was Anointed by the Lord to teach or free His people from enslavement to the forces of this world.  Thus, it is written: "Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years. A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was sterile and remained childless. The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean, because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines" (Judg 13:1-5 NIV).

When Samson explained to Delilah the source of his super-human strength, he said to her: "No razor has ever been used on my head, he said, because I have been a Nazirite set apart to God since birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.  When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, Come back once more; he has told me everything. So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands.  Having put him to sleep on her lap, she called a man to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him" (Judg 16:17-19 NIV).

A Nazir or Nazirene, is one who takes a vow to abstain from the things of this world, and consecrate himself to God.  A Nazirene has always been used in reference to a Holy Man who possessed the gift of spiritual vision, knowledge, prophesy, psychic perception and ecstatic insight into man's higher reality.   Another important element in the term Nazir is its linguistic relation to the words Nezer and Netzer -- meaning one of whom it can be said that they represent a militant message of freedom from "worldly Kings" and their secular wickedness.  

In order to be a Nazirene one must so purify and consecrate their physical body and mind so as to be set wholly apart for the Lord.   Thus, the Nazirene must become the very definition of the requirement to be in the world and not of it.  A Nazirene cannot hold allegience to manmade doctrines, traditions, or religious institutions.  A Nazirene knows that there is only One True teacher of the true meaning of the scriptures -- and he lives in such a faithful and contrite manner, that he receives instruction directly from the Lord.  Thus, a Nazirene must so live their life that the inner door of utterance from the Holy Spirit will be opened, and they will be taught directly from God -- "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4 NKJ); "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak" (Eph 6:18-20 NKJ); "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak" (Col 4:2-4 KJV).  

What is the difference between a Nazarene and a Nazirene?

Historically, the Nazarenes were known as a sect of Jews practicing a Messianic form of Karaite Judaism as given in Torah. The early believers in Yashua including the Apostles were Nazarene Jews. The Apostle Paul is referred to as a ringleader of the Nazarene Jews.   "For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5 NKJ)

Nazirites, on the other hand, are those who have taken the vow of the Nazirite, a vow of separation (Numbers 6:1-21). Nazirites start the vow by shaving their head and then let their hair grow long, they do not cut the hair on their head and they do not eat anything from the grape vine, and neither do they come into contact with anything that is dead. The Apostle Paul was not only a Nazarene, he was also a Nazirite:   "And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow" (Acts 18:18 KJV).

The Apostle Paul was not the only one who had taken the vow of the Nazirite. It is believed that all the Apostles were Nazirites as Jesus was. Paul was added to the twelve much later than the other Apostles and therefore had taken the vow much later, after he became an Apostle. Further, the vow of the Nazirite was not just something for the Apostles alone, and we can see this in their statement to Paul:  "Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;  Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law" (Acts 21:23-24 KJV).  

The word Nazarene also shares the same root as Nazirite and Nazirene, which means that they share something in common. It is believed that it was a common practice for many, if not all new Male believers in Jesus, to take the vow of the Nazirite. After all Jesus himself was a Nazirite and the Scripture says that we ought to live as he did:  "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (1 John 2:6 NKJ).

The vow of the Nazirite is a vow of separation -- separation unto God -- separation from the world and its ways. The literal meaning of the word Nazirite is set-apart and the word 'holy' also means set-apart. The very idea of being a Nazirite is to live a 'holy' life. Nazirites are highly revered by the Father and are named with the Prophets: "I raised up some of your sons as prophets, and some of your young men as Nazirites. Is it not so, O you children of Israel? Says the LORD" (Amos 2:11 NKJ).  

A true Nazirene is one who has so dedicated their life to the service of the Lord, that they live for Him -- and Him alone.  The Lord in return then Anoints the mind of His faithful servant -- teaching him the Mysteries of the Gospel and the Secrets of Creation.  That the Nazirene who lives apart from the rest of society -- holding fast to the Nazir vow -- and purifying his physical body and mind as if they lived in Eden -- holding to the words: "And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food" (Gen 1:29 NKJ).

The importance of this purification of body/mind is further seen in the Book of Daniel where it is written: "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, 'I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.' So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 'Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king's delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.' So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days. And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king's delicacies. Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams" (Dan 1:8-17 NKJ).

Those who can hear the Word of God being spoken in their ears, are the Nazirites who are under the vow of separation to the Lord.  They reject the doctrines of men, and learn only from the One Teacher and Rabbi.  The have no part in the spirit of this world. They live as Jesus lived.  And they do not defile their bodies by touching or eating dead flesh.  

It is important to note that Jesus saw two classes of people -- i.e., the common believer, and the disciple.  Thus, it is written: " Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? So Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and your mother.' And he answered and said to Him, Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth. Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me. But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions" (Mark 10:17-22 NKJ).

What this conveys is that while the believer who seeks eternal life is to live in accordance with the Law, the disciple must rid themselves of the things of this world and take the vow of separation, pick up their cross and crucify the lower nature of the flesh, and follow in the footsteps of the Master of The Way.