From Parashah Naso
May 22, 2021 (11th of Sivan, 5781)
The Nazir and the One-New-Humanity
In Parashah Naso (Num. 4:21-7:89), we see the calling of the Nazi stating, “… When either a man or a woman makes a special kind of vow, the vow of the Nazir, consecrating himself to Adonai, he is to abstain from wine and other intoxicating liquor, he is not to drink vinegar from either sources, he is not to drink grape juice, and he is not to eat grapes or raisins. As long as he remains a Nazir, he is to eat nothing derived from the grapevine, not even the grape-skins or the seeds.” (6:2-4)
Early in my ministry, a non-Jewish congregant asked me how he could fulfill the Nazarite vow and perform it today? Although sincere in his questioning, this inquiry lacked a proper understanding of both biblical context or a understanding for both Messianic Jews and like-minded Gentile believers, our unique callings, and gifts in the Ruach. In answer, I told him that the Nazarite vow was an oath taken by Jews alone in direct connection to Temple worship and in connection to ancient-Torah observance. The Nazir (as referenced above) was forbidden to touch a dead body, cut their hair after taking the vow or drink alcohol or anything from the fruit of the vine. Although significant only to Temple worship and the sin offering at the Tabernacle, there is nevertheless no longer a pathway for Nazarite vows in the strictest sense since of the word since the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E.
Of the many lessons these passages teach us, Acts 21:22 brings matters into full focus by stating,
“…in regard to the Gentiles who have come to trust in Yeshua, we all joined in writing them a letter with our decision that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled and from fortification.”
Noteworthy here is the rabbinical reference that, “… we all joined in writing a letter with our decision” thus revealing a ruling of a rabbinical ruling of a rabbinical court where in coming to trust in Yeshua, the non-Jew (for salvific purposes) did not need to keep the Torah, and from it be in right relationship with God! In the end, the Torah was given to Israel as a covenantal obligation and covenantal sign and in turn, God’s chosen people are tasked of God to be a light to all nations of the world, just as all of us are called to be Lights for Yeshua!
This is best seen in Isa. 42:6 stating, “I, Adonai, called you righteously. I took hold of you by the hand. I shaped you and made you a covenant for the people, to be a light to the Goyim.”
It is here that we see the full scope of both God’s revelation and calling, where both Jews and Gentiles have been brought together as one as a “single new humanity” for the purpose of making between us all shalom, in order to reconcile us to Adonai as a single Body of Messiah! (Eph. 2:15-16) In the end, just as we are reminded that we all have from God, different gifts and anointings for God’s kingdom (Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 12), so we as both Jews and Gentiles in Messiah Yeshua alike have unique callings, tasks, and responsibilities, given to us by the Ruach HaKodesh for sake of God’s Kingdom!
~ Rabbi Mark Rantz
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