Friday, April 7, 2017

He Shall Be Called A Nazarene

And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, 
He shall be called a Nazarene. 
— Mathew 2:23

This is not found in any single prophecy of the Old Testament, nor is the town of Nazareth mentioned in the Old Testament. It is based on the sense of several OT prophecies (notice the plural word “prophets” Some such OT texts are Isa 11:1 where the Davidic king of the messianic age is called “neser” -- a rod, (or lit. a bud) that shall blossom from the roots of Jesse, and Judges 13:5, 7 where Samson, the future deliverer of Israel, is called one who shall be consecrated a “nazir” (Hebrew Strong’s #H5139 separated, an unpruned vine) to God. In this sense, Samson is seen as a type of Christ. 
More likely, however, Nazarene could be a synonym for “contemptible” or “despised,’ since Nazareth was a most unlikely place for the residence of the Messiah.  We should consider John 1:46 where Nathanael asked, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” and compare this to such Old Testament passages as Isaiah 53:3 and Psalms 22:6 where the Bible states that the Messiah  would be “despised and rejected of men.” Moreover, Nazarene  is a name given to the followers of Christ by the Jews -- no doubt to show contempt.  Tertullus, in behalf of Ananias the high priest said, concerning Paul, “We have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:” — Acts 22:5. So, then, by Matthew writing that “He shall be called a Nazarene” should, most likely, not be understood in a literal sense, but should, instead, be understood as an allegorical idiom for “contemptible.”

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