“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 Five)
Alright, this week we will begin to study The Old Testament passages that contain the forms and derivatives of the Hebrew word Nazer (netzer), particularly those that have a prophetic sense concerning the LORD’s purpose in the church.
Nazer is the root from which we get the transliterated word ‘Nazarene’ via the inspired pen of the apostle Matthew. This word when properly translated in this context would mean ‘branch.’ We’ve laid lots of groundwork on this statement uttered by Matthew including but not limited to: addressing how He was called a Nazarene by other Old Testament prophets, how the city He was to be raised in had been prophesied in the Old Testament before the city even existed, and speculated why Matthew was moved by the Holy Spirit to use the transliterated word ‘Nazarene” rather than translating it. We would direct you to www.newcreation.us for more information on these and other topics. Jesus was called a Nazarene, (literal translation-branch) the church was called “the sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5), or more literally branches. In a sense this seems to be scriptural. Hear the words of the Lord Jesus Christ: “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:2-5, NAS) So, if the Old Testament prophets spoke of the Nazarene, wouldn’t they also have spoken of the Nazarenes, His branches? This writer says Amen! Let’s consider some inspired statements of Isaiah and Jeremiah and view them through the prism of men moved by the Holy Spirit who made “careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven– things into which angels long to look.” (1 Peter 1:10b-12 NAS) Our first passage to consider is from the prophet Isaiah. “And the daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a watchman’s hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. Unless the LORD of hosts had left us a few survivors, we would be like Sodom, we would be like Gomorrah.” (Isa. 1:8-9) This was part of Isaiah’s vision given him by the LORD “concerning Judah and Jerusalem” (Isa. 1:1) But our question should be, which besieged (Hebrew word netsurah, a form of Nazer) city did Isaiah see? Physical Jerusalem or spiritual Jerusalem? On the surface the besieged city would seem to be physical Jerusalem (and it was at the hands of foreign invaders). Well, lets turn to the apostle Paul who was moved by the same Spirit of Christ, to clarify the city for us. In the ninth chapter, verse twenty-nine of his letter to the Romans, Paul quotes verse twelve of Isaiah chapter one: “And just as Isaiah foretold, ‘Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity, we would have become as Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.’ ” (NAS) In context of this chapter and verses, Paul through inspiration makes it clear he is speaking of the church, those whom God called through the gospel, not only Jews but also from among the Gentiles (Rom. 9:24-28) OK, what city does the church occupy? Heavenly Jerusalem according to Hebrews 12:22. Better yet, what city is the church referred to according to New Testament revelation? New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2) which, by the way, John in the Spirit sees descending from heaven. So the besieged city would be the church, true Zion ruled by the Nazarene, comprised of Nazarenes. The New Testament makes it clear this city will be under siege (persecution) by the agents of Satan until our Lord returns for His posterity.