“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 Six)
Last week we started our little diversion down another trail in our study of the above text. The topic is still the transliterated forms of the Hebrew word nazer (as in Nazereth and Nazarene), however we’ve begun to look at the derivatives of this word in other Old Testament passages which would have reference to the Nazarene’s offspring, the Nazarenes.
We will get back (eventually) to studying additional Old Testament utterances cited in the New Testament but you may find this digression an interesting one because the prophets of Old spoke not just of Jesus Christ, but His people as well. This week, we turn our attention to Isaiah 27:3 which reads: “I, the LORD, am its keeper (notserah) ; I water it every moment. Lest anyone damage it, I guard it night and day. ” (NAS) Remember previously we had pointed out the various and sundry ways that the Hebrew forms of nazer are translated, such as keep, keeping, kept, watchman, watchers, besieged, preserve tends, guards, hidden things and secret places. The English words “keeper” and “guard” above in our text are forms of the word nazer. Now lets consider the general context preceding this verse. It begins at the end of chapter twenty-four with a reference to the LORD of hosts reigning “on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and His glory will be before His elders..” (Isa. 24:23b) In chapter twenty-five Isaiah states that “the LORD of Hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain” continuing he says “and on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all the peoples, even the veil which is stretched over all the nations. He will swallow up death for all time, and the Lord GOD will wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. And it will be said in that day, ‘Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.’ For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain” (Isa. 25:6a, 7-9 NAS) Ok, you should have lots of clues there as to which time and what people the LORD through Isaiah is speaking about. We know from New Testament passages that what Isaiah was speaking about concerning Mount Zion and Jerusalem was the prophesied church (Heb. 12:22-23), and the God who would save them was to be the Nazarene, one Jesus Christ. In the continuing context comes verse three of chapter twenty-seven talking of this vineyard (Isa. 27:2). One might well say an alternate translation of this verse using a little transliteration would be: “I, the LORD, do nazarize it, I water it every moment. Lest anyone damage it, I nazerize it night and day.” Or a more loose paraphrase would be:” I will make mount Zion and Jerusalem Nazarene.” Isaiah goes on to pronounce: “In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout; and they will fill the whole world with fruit.” (Isa. 27:6) Brethren, this was spoken about the church, about you, if you’re in Christ. How awesome, eh!