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Understanding the meaning of the Nazarite vow is extremely important to the committed Christian believer. It is a guide for living a fulfilling and victorious life. Summarized in one sentence, living the Nazarite Vow is the putting away of hindrances in order that something more important and very pleasing to God might take place in our lives.

Arrow Right Abstaining from wine and strong drink

The complete abstinence from grapes in that day was representative of giving up worldly pleasures, for the fruit of the vine symbolized life's frivolity. Not only was intoxicating drink withheld, but also the chamar, which was a sweet grape juice that symbolized the sweet things of the world. In other words, wine, which is made from rotten (fermented) grapes represents worldly pleasures found in the rotten, putrefied areas of a worldly life. Nevertheless, God-given pleasures in which a person may partake without guilt of sin were likewise excluded for a period of time. This was a fast of pleasure – a self-imposed austerity that was engaged in to keep a person from being distracted by worldliness in order to draw close to God and perform extraordinary exploits for Him.

Relevance for today: As Christian believers, we are to live in the world, yet separated from the world. Any thing that intoxicates us (money, fame, lusts of the flesh, etc.) will ultimately dull our spiritual senses and draw us away from God. Today, we live in the substance of what was pictured in that beautiful ritual act. We, who believe live in the true meaning of that symbolic act, refrain from becoming intoxicated by anything that might draw us away from intimacy with God.

Arrow Right Let the locks of hair on his head grow long

Long hair in the society of that day symbolized that a person was living under the authority and covering of another.

Relevance for today: As believers, we now live under the authority and covering of our Lord. We were bought with a price that He paid on the cross. Therefore, we belong to Him and we are in covenant union with Him. Today, we demonstrate submission through the way we conduct of our lives - under the authority of another through dependence and obedience.  We seek Him for guidance and counsel.  We obey His word. We live our lives to serve Him and to please Him. Living this kind of lifestyle today is a greater testimony to the world than the ritual act of growing long hair. In this day, hair is grown (or not grown) as a matter of preference and style. Moreover, some of us are bald and have no choice in the matter. Therefore, hair length in this era gives no meaningful testimony to the world.  And testimony is what the ancient Nazarite's long hair was all about. Today, obedience and devotion to God convey the strongest possible testimony to the world. This is a testimony that cannot be ignored. It is important to remember that Old Testament ritual acts were shadows and types of the reality that was to come. The substance of these shadows and types (Col 2:16) is Christ Himself - who was, spiritually speaking,  the perfect Nazarite. By His example and through His empowerment (the Holy Spirit), we can live in the true meaning of the Nazarite vow.

Arrow Right Don't go near to a dead person

The requirement to stay away from dead bodies is another important symbol. It strongly suggests that the Nazarite should not go near death because doing so would make them ritually unclean.

Relevance for today: Succinctly stated, this ritual refrain means don't go near sin because sin will bring spiritual death. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death.

Jesus certainly lived by the spiritual principles of the Nazarite vow. He lived a life of self-denial and separation to God the Father. The most obvious aspect of his self-denial was His death for our sins. Yeshua (Jesus) tells us in several parables that we also should be living this way. Do we compartmentalize Him? In other words, do we simply add Him to everything else we do, or do we give him every aspect of our lives to control?

Should I take the Nazarite Vow?

Since there is no longer a Temple in Jerusalem, it is impossible to meet the Old Testament requirements for entering into the Nazarite Vow. Actually, that's a good thing. The reason why that it is a good thing is because, when Christ died for us, He established a new and better Temple within us (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Today we make our connection to God and please Him through our spirit man. We were given a new spirit on the day we were born again. Now, we can please Him through our spiritual connection to Him. We are connected to God through the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of that connection is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). These are our Heavenly Father’s attributes! Yes, you are being conformed to His likeness. If you draw near to Him and walk in these attributes as you grow in Him, you will please God more than entering into a ritual act or anything else you could possibly do for Him.

How Can I live in the world, but not be of the world?

By definition the word "world" (as often used in the bible) refers to a world system ruled by Satan. Jesus said that believers are no longer of the world—we are no longer ruled by sin, nor are we bound by the principles of the world. In addition, we are being changed into the image of Christ, causing our interest in the things of the world to become less and less as we mature in Him.

Believers in Jesus Christ are simply in the world—physically present—but not of it, not part of its values (John 17:14-15). As believers, we should be set apart from the world. This is the meaning of being holy and living a holy, righteous life—to be set apart. We are not to engage in the sinful activities the world promotes, nor are we to retain the insipid, corrupt mind that the world creates. Rather, we are to conform ourselves, and our minds, to that of Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1-2). This is a daily activity and commitment.

We must also understand that being in the world, but not of it, is necessary if we are to be a light to those who are in spiritual darkness. We are to live in such a way that those outside the faith see our good deeds and our manner and know that there is something “different” about us. Christians who make every effort to live, think and act like those who do not know Christ do Him a great disservice. Even the heathen knows that “by their fruits you shall know them,” and as Christians, we should exhibit the fruit of the Spirit within us.

Being “in” the world also means we can enjoy the things of the world, such as the beautiful creation God has given us, but we are not to immerse ourselves in what the world values, nor are we to chase after worldly pleasures. Pleasure is no longer our calling in life, as it once was, but rather the worship of God. Living the Nazarite Vow today means that we must separate ourselves from the world and live our lives for Him.

Yes, you can still live a normal (supernatural) life. Love your neighbor. Be kind and gentle to those who differ with you. Love, even your enemy. Yes, you can still live a normal life, but if you do it the Lord's way, the world will see the extraordinary work He has done in you heart and in your life. And they will want what you have!

How can I live the Nazarite Lifestyle?

You live the Nazarite lifestyle by wholly dedicating your life to God. Isn't that what you did when you were born again? Yes, it is! I know it is what you intended when you gave yourself to Him, my friend. No Nazarite could ever draw closer to God than you have today. Their righteousness was based upon things they did. But your righteousness is based upon a free gift through the sacrifice of our Lord. And now, you are treated by God the Father as if you were Christ Himself! Isn't that incredibly wonderful?

May I suggest a book called "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dietrich Bonnhoffer. The author helps the reader to count the costs of knowing Yeshua. May each of us enter into a wholehearted love of God and be separated to the Lord.

If you do not yet know the Lord, today could be your day of salvation. A simple heartfelt prayer is all that is needed.

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