The Nazirite Ritual Essay

2669 words - 11 pages

Introduction
In Numbers 6 the Lord gave Moses instructions on how to consecrate oneself to the Lord in special service. If we understand the meaning of the rituals and all the rules coming with the rituals we can understand more about how God wants his elects to be. In this paper I want to show what the meaning of all the rules for the Nazirites are.

What is a Nazirite
The meaning of the word Nazirite already gives us hints on what a Nazirite is. The hebrew word for Nazirite means actually “the consecrated, the set apart”. In Numbers 6 this of course means the ones consecrated for God. As a lay man one could not work in the temple. The only way to serve God as a priest was to get born into the tribe of the levites. However, this Nazirite law allowed common man to vow a special time of service to God. The most famous Nazirite was Samson, followed closely by Samuel and eventually by John the Baptist. One could consider Joseph the son of Jacob also as Nazirite, this however is questionable since only one verse describes him as set apart from his brethren. Certainly he had a special position before God and serves as role model for Jews and Christians a like. Some scholars will argue that the vow explained in Acts 18:18 needs to be understood as Nazirite vow. If this is the case certainly his vow does not belong to the other groups of Nazirite vows mentioned above.

No wine, nothing related to grapes
“3 he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried. 4 All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins.”
The first rule mentioned to become and stay separated on the Lord is, not drink wine and strong drinks. Added on top of this rule is the bonus that actually everything made of or everything which has connections to grapes or vine is to be avoided. First lets look why wine and strong drinks are to be avoided.
The first time wine is mentioned in the Bible is mentioned is in Genesis 9:21 and this is a rather shameful story of Noah laying naked in his tent after getting drunk. Wine was the gateway to shame and greater sin. This can also be seen in Genesis 19:30-36. The two daughters of Lot make him drunk so they can sleep with him. And even nowadays we can understand that by indulging in wine we usually do have a higher probability to trespass the holy law of God.
Even in the new Testament in Ephesians 5:18 drunkenness in wine is shown as opposite force to the holy Spirit:
“18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,”
This does not mean that wine should not be drunk by Christians, rather I want to argue that wine here is the major image of the entertainment and rather short and unstable “joy” of this world. Wine was the major way of having fun and trying to distract oneself from one's own misery. Instead...

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