Difference between revisions of "Nazareth"

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They quote 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 shall be called a Nazarene."

One of the problems with this is there is little to no evidence that Nazareth ever existed as a town at or before that time.

Is there evidence that Jesus lived in a town called Nazareth?

• Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament.

• The Talmud names 63 Galilean towns but no Nazareth there nor in early rabbinic literature.

• St Paul mentions Jesus 221 times but does not mention 'Nazareth'.

• There seems to be no ancient historian or geographer who mentions Nazareth.

• The 3rd century Church Father Origen lived at Caesarea some 30 miles from where Nazareth was supposed to be, knew the gospel but had no clear idea where Nazareth was.

Nazareth seems to be first noted at the beginning of the 4th century as a real place. (see also Vows#The_Nazarite_Vow)


So if there was no city of Nazareth then what did the original authors mean?

Yes, we see Matthew saying 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 shall be called a Nazarene."


Polis

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid." Matthew 5:14

The word commonly translated city in the New Testament is the word Polis which may not mean a town or city as we think of the term today. It may mean a juridical community.

A "polis" (plural: poleis) was not always a place but could also be something that you were a part of like a community. "It can also mean citizenship and body of citizens."[1]

According to Dr. Gerard Casey Professor Emeritus of University College at Dublin a polis was neither a city nor a state but a sort of fellowship. In Aristotle's Politics, it is suggested that a polis is something more than a collection of individuals seeking safety in life and gain in the exercise of trade. It was “a union of families and villages in a perfect and self-sufficing life by which we mean happy and honourable life" [2] A polis might not have members as we think of citizens of a State but the individual was a member of a family which formed a community of aggregated families in the common pursuit of happiness.

In another Polis the people might give up some of their freedom and power of choice to the State in order to obtain protection or benefits. In such a polis the people would be persons who would be less and less free as more and more power of choice was vested in the State or Polis.

A "polis" was the social structure of a community in the ancient Greek world. Although poleis were each a unique cultural and political unit, a common feature included religious beliefs. Since Religion was the manner in which you conducted and provided welfare for a community the Corban of groups like the Essenes, Mandaeans or "Nazarene".

The Pharisees and Rome provided civil polis systems of welfare called Corban too but those types of welfare systems made the word of God to none effect.

Dr. Moshe Berent wrote:

“Though the notion of the free, or self-governed community, originated in ancient Greece, the Greek polis seems to pose a problem for the modern post-Hobbesian concept of sovereignty. For the latter presupposes that of the State, that is an agency which monopolizes the use of violence, as an instrument by which sovereignty is constituted. Yet, the polis was not a State but rather what the anthropologists call a stateless community. The latter is characterized by the absence of ‘government’, that is of an agency which has separated itself from the rest of social life and which monopolizes the use of violence. In stateless societies the ability to use force is more or less evenly distributed among armed or potentially armed members of the community. Being stateless, then, in what sense can we say that the polis was sovereign? On the practical level the Greek polis had a very limited ability to control and direct legislation. The decentralised nature of Greek society and the absence of coercive apparatuses meant that the laws had to be identical with the customs of the community or else that decisions had to be shared by a wide consensus, which imposed a severe limitation on the ability of the poleis to change their laws or initiate changes in the community.”[3]

This description of the ancient Polis government is where the leaders are only titular and not "lawmakers". It ascribes more to the Libera res Publica of ancient Rome before the rise of emperors and the virtual death of the Republic. If the leaders of society are only servants who cannot exercise authority one over the other the people remain free.

These voluntary societies were supported by the generosity of the people rather than the force commonly used in modern governments today. The character of the society created by such a Republican form of government was not only different but often more common than the modern historian would lead us to believe.

Tacitus in his description of ancient Germania writes, “The communities are wont, of their own accord and man by man, to bestow upon their Princes a certain number of beasts, or a certain portion of grain; a contribution which passes indeed for a mark of reverence and honour, but serves also to supply their necessities.”[4]

The words 'of their own accord' is from the Latin 'ultro' meaning 'voluntarily'. “[O]ur modern reliance on government to make law and establish order is not the historical norm.”[5] See Orders

Jesus uses the same word polis in Matthew 5:14, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid." He is instructing his apostles and followers to be that light and city as he continues in Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

The people of Israel were strangers and pilgrims but the Hebrews passage is talking about the city that actually is given to us, not as a location, but as something to be a part of since we are not to be "of the world".

The word politeia[6] from polites[7] which is from polis is translated freedom [8]and commonwealth[9].




The expression 'Jesus of Nazareth' is a translation of the original Greek 'Jesous o Nazoraios' which is actually saying 'Jesus the Nazarene'.

Nazarene more likely comes from the Hebrew root of the name is NZR, nazir which is often translated NAZARITE meaning to dedicate, consecrate, separate.

There is lots of reasons to believe that Jesus separated himself and appeared to be associated with Nazarite Essene teachings.

Descriptions of groups with this title are given by the A fourth century church father known as Epiphanius (370 CE) speaks of Nazarite Essene.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1911 stated definitely that the name Nazarenes specifically identified an obscure Jewish-Christian sect, existing at the time of Epiphanius.

"…The Nazarene sect was before Christ" (Epiphanius, Panarion 29)

"For this group did not name themselves after Christ or with Jesus’ own name, but “Nazarene.” All Christians were called Nazarene once, before the disciples began to be called “Christians” at Antioch… They were so-called followers of the apostles…they dedicate themselves to the law…However, everyone called the Christians Nazarenes as I said before." (Epiphanius, Panarion 29)

The Nazarenes did not eat meat but made exception at Passover and at other times. They were fond of taking a vow of the Nazarite which was for a period of time or permanently. Even Paul took the vow at times and would not cut his hair during that period nor drink wine.

The Nazarenes looked at the Bible and words differently and came to a different conclusion about much of that text. Today, modern Christians believe they have it all figured out. They want to deny that Christ was doing something very much different than what they do today at church.

A Nazarite was not to go near a body of a dead person. Some like to quote Matthew 9:24-25 "He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and TOOK HER BY THE HAND, and the maid arose."

And then note the verse Numbers 6:6 "All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body."

They completely miss Matthew 9:24 "He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn."

She was dead but not dead in another sense. Entering the room where the dead body was which was a part of the vow of the Nazarite, the vow of separation/consecration,would seem to be a violation of the vow.

Jesus was making it clear to them that the death God is talking about is not the death of the flesh but of the Spirit. He spoke about this numerous times.[10]

The same is true of wine. It may mean something different in different places. There are more than one word in the testaments that is translated wine. Many of the things we see as rituals have meanings that references something else.

“When a symbol unmoors itself from what it symbolizes, it loses meaning. It becomes ineffective” Albert Einstein

Modern religionists who try to privately interpret the Bible fall back on the letter to give them faith which is a form of idolatry but they often do not even know the meaning of religion as James used it. They worship the words rather than the spirit of the truth.

When Luke 9:60 says "Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." Was Jesus talking about zombies actually burying the dead?

The literalistic read of the Bible in the spirit may easily fool people because the letter killeth...

So why was Jesus called the Nazarene?

The 2nd century gnostic Gospel of Philip [47] mentions:" The apostles that came before us called him Jesus Nazarene the Christ ...'Nazara' is the 'Truth'. Therefore 'Nazarene' is 'The One of the Truth' ..."

The Nazarene (or Nazorean) was the name of an early Jewish sect of the Essenes that some historians associate with early Christians. The root of their name may have been the Hebrew noun 'netser' (netzor), meaning 'branch' which could in turn refer to the claim that Jesus was a "descendant of David." The plural of 'Netzor' becomes 'Netzoreem.'

Paul from Tarsus does not mention Nazareth nor Nazarenes but is accused of being a Nazorean in Acts 24:5 "For 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: Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law."

They say Jesus was not a Nazarite because "Jesus drank wine" and Numbers 6:3 says "He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried."

Since the vow was often temporary he could have drank wine for some times and not for others. We do see him saying that he would not drink for a period of time.

Matthew 26:29 "But I say unto you, 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."

These same people miss entirely that Jesus does drink with them later so the kingdom was there and they were in it. Jesus said he would take the kingdom from the Pharisees and He took it from them because they misunderstood the Old Testament. They were not bearing fruit with their forced sacrifice so he took it from them and gave it to the apostles, appointing them that kingdom. But forbade them from exercising authority one over the other.[11]

Just as Jesus touched the dead who were not dead but asleep could Jesus have drank wine but did not drink "wine" in the sense that the original author meant?

There are more than one word in the Hebrew text translated into wine and if you do not know the difference and the purpose of the ritual descriptions then you may easily miss the true meaning of the ritual as you depend on your private interpretation.

There is a great deal of confusion and misinterpretation of what Jesus was doing and saying.

That is understandable since most of the modern christian coreligionists have asked the Pharisees to tell them what the Old Testament meant.

Flesh and blood study [12]does not reveal the truth of the scripture which is why there are so many different interpretations and denominations.

As long as people continue to worship their personal ideas about the Bible, their modern religionist ideas and private interpretations they will remain under a strong delusion about the real meaning of the Gospel of the kingdom.

That is why they seem to have more in common with the Pharisees and probably would not recognize Christ with short hair or long since most of them do the direct opposite of what Christ actually said.

It really is irrelevant if Jesus had long hair or not. It is a distraction to argue the point when there is so much that people have already missed that is fundamental to living by faith.

People still pray/apply to men who call themselves benefactors but exercise authority one over the other in-spite of the fact that Jesus saying you are not to be that way.

With such covetousness they curse their children to bondage as Peter warned. With every benefit they take they plunge their children further into debt.

2 Peter 2:14 "Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:"

People have become merchandise, human resources as Peter also warned us:

2 Peter 2:3 "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."

People strain at gnats and swallow a camel. They fail to tend to the weightier matters which Christ said we should have done.

But many of the modern worshipers of religious beliefs will cling to their misinterpretation of Paul which Peter also warned about.


2 Peter 3:15 "And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

We cover all this on our website and will be a good topic of one of our broadcasts.


The text of Numbers 6 of the KJV

Numbers 6: 1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:

3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.

4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk.

5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.

6 All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body.

7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.

8 All the days of his separation he is holy unto the LORD.

9 And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it.

10 And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:

11 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day.

12 And he shall consecrate unto the LORD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled.

13 And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:

14 And he shall offer his offering unto the LORD, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings,

15 And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings.

16 And the priest shall bring them before the LORD, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering:

17 And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering.

18 And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings.

19 And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven:

20 And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the LORD: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine.

21 This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the LORD for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation.

Footnotes

  1. "Polis (/ˈpɒlᵻs/; Greek: πόλις [pólis]), plural poleis (/ˈpɒleɪz/, πόλεις [póleːs]) literally means city in Greek. It can also mean citizenship and body of citizens."
  2. Aristotle 35 also translated "a community of families and aggregations of families in well-being, for the sake of a perfect and self-sufficing life. ... The end of the state [polis] is the good life. . . .”
  3. Polis: The Journal of the Society for Greek Political Thought, Volume 17, Numbers 1-2, 2000, pp. 2-34(33) Berent M. Sovereignty: ancient and modern.
  4. Tacitus says of the ancient Germans, in Germania 15,
  5. The Enterprise of Law: Justice without the State. Bruce L. Benson Publisher: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy (San Francisco), 1991 ’
  6. 4174 1) the administration of civil affairs 2) a state or commonwealth 3) citizenship, the rights of a citizen
  7. 4177 a citizen
  8. Acts 22:28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was [free] born.
  9. Ephesians 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
  10. Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
    Luke 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
  11. Luke 22:25 "And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But it shall not be so among you: " Matthew 20:25 Mark 10:42
  12. Matthew 16:17 "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." it is that revelation that is the rock that he builds on.
    1 Corinthians 15:50 "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."