“But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he departed for the regions of Galilee, and came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’ ” Matt. 2:22-23 (Part Two)
We’ve begun to break down this prophetic statement, “He shall be called a Nazarene”, penned by the apostle Matthew under inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Last week we noted you will not find this statement anywhere in the Old Testament. We also informed you, the reader, that it is due to the fact that Nazarene (and Nazareth) are transliterated Hebrew words in Hellenized (Greek) form. This is also true of the English translations. The words are still a transliteration, not a translation. Once we know the Hebrew root words (natsar or netser) and their derivatives, an actual study of the Hebrew words as they are translated into English offers a virtual plethora of references that can be ultimately tied to the person of Jesus Christ and not surprisingly, His church. Last week we discovered a “hidden” prophecy of the name of Jesus’ hometown, Nazareth, (Feminine plural form of natsar, nazeroth) in Isaiah 48:6. Space is limited so we’ll refer you to www.newcreation.us if you missed that first installment of our study on the above passage. This week we shall consider a verse containing a derivative of natsar mentioned also in last week’s bulletin. The word is netzer (Strong’s #5342, also pronounced nazer by other Hebrew linguists). This direct derivative of natsar is found four times in the Old Testament and is translated from the Hebrew into English (NAS) as “branch” three times, “descendents” once. The key passage where this word is used is Isaiah 11:1: “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.” (NAS) Branch (ve-netzer in Hebrew) in this verse is an obvious allusion to the coming Messiah. Now here’s something interesting brethren. There is no corresponding word “Christian” in Hebrew usage, neither today or when the church was born. There are pious Jews who won’t even refer to Jesus by His name. However, do you know what many Jews do call Him? In Hebrew He is referred to as “notsri”, or Yeshu HaNotsri, which is a form of the Hebrew word netzer, meaning “branch.” Christians then are called notsriyim. Nazarene, again as a reminder, is the Hellenized form of the Hebrew word netzer. Now just so you understand, the Hebrews call Jesus notsri (branch or Nazarene) because they say He led an offshoot “branch” of Judaism. It would follow that his disciples would be called Nazarenes, and indeed they are called just that in Acts 24:5. Don’t you find it ironic that His biggest skeptics call Him by this very name and yet miss the obvious from messianic passages concerning the Christ to be called “Branch”? Now if this word Nazarene were translated properly from the Hebrew and the Greek texts into English in our quote above, the latter part of Matthew 2:23 would read like this: “He shall be called Branch.” It seems pretty evident now that one could tie in Isaiah 11:1 to Matthew’s inspired statement and see how Matthew could state confidently, He shall be called a Nazarene, (Branch) and know this statement originated with the Old Testament messianic passages!