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February 13 Today’s Reading — Numbers 5-7
“He shall be called a Nazarene.”
When God gave his law to Israel by the hand of Moses, one of the most thoroughly expanded laws given was “the law of the Nazarite” in Numbers 6. There are many things in the law of the Nazarite that cannot be applied to our Savior. He both touched dead bodies and drank wine, though he was never made unclean by doing so. Yet, strictly speaking, as that one who was wholly devoted and separated to the Lord God, our Savior is the Nazarene typically referred to in this Old Testament law. He is the one and the only one man who perfectly fulfilled it. This is evident from the fact that the law is never mentioned again until we see it mentioned in connection with Samson (another type of our Redeemer) in Judges 13.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was solemnly set apart to the Father to do his will from eternity, sanctified (John 17:19) for the salvation of our souls. — “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”
Our Savior fulfills the type gloriously. The church is described as having hair like a flock of goats (Song of Solomon 4:1). Like the hairs of his head, a vast multitude grow up in Christ and upon him. No razor shall ever separate us from our Lord. Like the hair on our heads, we live upon Christ, depend on him, and draw life and strength from him, because we are a part of him and can never be separated from him. — As Samson’s strength and glory was his hair, so we are Christ’s glory. But our mighty Samson shall never lose his glory. — The hair is the last part of the body to die; and we shall never perish, because Christ our Savior lives forever! Therefore it may be said of every member of Christ Church, as we read in Lamentations 4:7, — “Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire.”
We must not overlook the fact that in all these offerings for sin shadowed forth the one great, all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ, our great Nazarite, by which our sins were put away. Waving the offering before the Lord was both an acknowledgement of sin before the holy Lord God and a celebration of sin’s pardon and removal by the blood of Christ.
In Mark 14:24-25 our Savior spoke of his work as the Nazarene being fulfilled, when he said, “This is the blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
We have the clearest possible evidence that all that is seen in this Nazarite law refers to Christ and his great work of redemption in the last verses of Numbers 6. In verses 22-27, upon the basis of the Nazarite’s obedience and sacrifice, God commands his blessing upon his people.
The next time the word Nazarite is mentioned is in Judges 13:5. Here it is used to describe Samson (Judges 13:5), another great type of our Savior in his consecration to God from his mother’s womb, as a Nazarite. Isaiah also used this very word when he prophesied of Christ coming to save us by the sacrifice of himself. — “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch (netzar - Nazarite) shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1).
The fact that our Savior was born at Bethlehem in fulfillment of Micah 5:2 tells us that he was, at the time of his conception in the virgin’s womb, “a Nazarene” (Luke 1:26-33). “That Holy thing,” Christ our Mediator, was the Nazarite from the womb, brought forth in the city of Nazareth by the power of the Holy Spirit, just as Isaiah told us he would be (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6). In all these things, we see that Christ the Nazarene is “the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth,” having fulfilled it entirely as our Substitute and Savior.