The first followers of Yahshua (the original Nazarene) were called Nazarenes. In Acts 24:5 Tertulius calls Paul a ringleader of the Nazarenes :
Ma'asei (Acts) 24:5 5 "For having found this man...a ringleader of the sect of the Natsarenes."
The word Nazarene is a possible play on words with branch (Isaiah 11:1) and watchmen (Jeremiah 31:6)] were named after their Rabbi (teacher), Master and Mashiach, Yashua the Messiah who lived in the town of Nazareth, Matthew 2:23 and was known as Yahshua the Nazarene (Acts 2:22).
Considered a ‘sect’ (Acts 24:5, even a seditious sect) within the Judaisms of the first century, the Nazarenes were zealous for the Torah (Acts 21:20), and observed it by the interpretation and ‘halacha’ (the way of living) of Yahshua the Messiah.
One of the central beliefs of the Nazarenes is that the Messiah had to suffer (Acts 3:18), be raised from the dead (Acts 2:24) and exalted to the Right Hand of the Most High יהוה (Acts 2:33).
Adherents included : Pharisees (Acts 15:5), proselytes (Acts 13:43), Samaritans (Acts 8:14), gentiles (Acts 15:3), priests (Acts 6:7) and anyone else who were persuaded to confess Yahshua as the Prophesied Messiah (Acts 2:21). The Nazarenes attended synagogues (Acts 13:14), went to the Temple (Acts 3:3), made offerings (Acts 21:26), observed the Feasts (Acts 18:21) and were even held in high esteem by the people at one time (Acts 5:13).
In his Jewish New Testament Commentary, David Stern comments the following in Ma’asei (Acts) 24:5 –
The sect of the Natzratim, a Hebrew word derived from “Natzeret”(Nazareth) the town where Yeshua the Messiah lived most of His life. The Greek word used here is “NazÔraios”; it is used six times in Acts and five times in the Gospels as descriptive of Yeshua himself…
Today a similarly derived Hebrew word, “Notzrim” is the ordinary word for “Christians”…
Tertulius wants Felix to understand the Natzratim as a Messianic group, and that any group supporting a Messiah is loyal to a different king and subversive of Roman hegemony.
(Taken from the Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1992. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net)
In the 4th century, Jerome (a ‘Church Father’) refers to Nazarenes as those:
“who accept Messiah in such a way that they do not cease to observe the old Law.”
Epiphanius, another ‘Church Father’ wrote about them in 370 CE:
They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well… they have the Good News according to Matthew in its entirety in Hebrew. For it is clear that they still preserve this, in the Hebrew alphabet, as it was originally written.
(Ephiphanius; Pan. 29)
We do not claim to be above or greater than any other group. Our focus is on יהוה our Creator and Judge and on His Son Yahshua (יהושע) through whom everything was created.
As Nazarenes of today, we affirm that the following is the TRUTH according to the inspired word of יהוה (The Most High Elohim) :
- THE FATHER (יהוה)
That יהוה (pronunciation has been lost) is the Name above all names, the Name of the Most High, He is our Abba (Father) (Romans 8:15-17), the Most High, Absolute Elohim without equal in power, knowledge, and substance. Prayers, supplications, and petitions should be directed to יהוה alone and in the Name of Yahshua the Messiah.
THE SON (YAHSHUA יהושע)
- That Yahshua (יהושע) is the name of His Son and our Messiah (Romans 1:2, 6,16). His name is a contraction of the combination of ‘Yahuah’ (or Yahweh) and ‘shua‘ in Hebrew/Aramaic and translates as ‘the salvation of YAH’ because Yah provides salvation through Him (Acts 4:12).
- He is the Spokesperson, the Word (in Hebrew Davar) who pre-existed and was with the Father from the beginning (Genesis 1:26; John1:13; 8:58; 13:3; 1Corinthians 10:4; Colossians 1:15-17).
- He stripped Himself from His celestial glory, renounced His heavenly rights and came in the human form, as a servant (John 17:5; Philippians 2:5-7; Hebrews 2:6-14)
- He was born from a maiden named Miryam through the power of יהוה (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:26-38).
- He came in the name of His Father יהוה (John 5:43).
- He lived a sinless life (Isaiah 53:9; 1Peter 2:22)
- He was “begotten” as the Word, the Messenger of יהוה (John 1:1, 2; Proverbs 8:22-30;
Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:14).
- He is the Son of man (Daniel 7:13; John 6:62). Daniel sees him ascending to יהוה to receive His kingship.
- He is the Son of יהוה (Romans 1:4; Acts 13:32, 33).
- He is our Messiah (Luke 4:16-21; Daniel 9:26, 27) the Anointed or Messiah of Psalm 2:2 and Isaiah 61:1.
- He was resurrected from death by the Father after three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40;
Acts 3:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
- He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right-hand side of the Father יהוה (Luke 24:51;
- He is fully King upon his ascension to heaven and Judge upon His own household when He returns to
gather His people (Colossians 1:13; Ephesians 1:19-23).
- He is now our Counsellor, Mediator and our High Priest (Hebrews 3:1; 4:14).
- It is only through Him that we can approach the Father (John 14:6).
- יהוה has committed all the judging to His Son. Yahshua will judge all humanity upon its resurrection from the dead.
THE SET APART SPIRIT (RUACH HAKODESH)- רוח קודש
- That the Set Apart Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh; also called Holy Spirit), is the mental power of Elohim projected to accomplish His will. Thus Paul compares it to the “mind of יהוה“.
- It is the invisible dynamic force or intellectual pressure of the Father that is shared with the Son
(1 Corinthians 2:11, 13, 16; Isaiah 40:13; Luke 24:49 John 3:8; 14:17;15:26; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16)
SHABBAT/DAY OF REST
- That as followers of Yahshua the Messiah we keep the Sabbath and seven annual Sabbaths or Holy Days because He kept them and because יהוה commanded His people to do so.
- The seventh day of the week (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) is the day that יהוה set apart and it is a memorial of His Almighty Power (Genesis 2:2-3).
- The Shabbat is a sacred Day of rest (Exodus 20:8-11).
It points towards the great millennial rest (Matthew 11:28-30; Luke 4:16-18; Hebrews 4:1-6)
- יהוה offers the Shabbat freely as an opportunity to accept and experience His wonderful creation and redemption (Mark 2:27-28; Hebrews 4:7-11).
- When we participate in the Sabbath we express our faith in Yahshua as the Facilitator and Mediator with the Father and the One who consummated of our salvation (Hebrews 12:2).
- When we rest during the Sabbath we symbolise our love, loyalty, and faith in יהוה (Exodus 31:13; Exodus 31:13)
- When we consecrate a portion of our time, which He appointed for rest and worship, we show our desire to obey Him and we recognise His authority over our lives and over the whole creation.
THE TORAH (The Word, Instruction, and Law of יהוה)
- That the whole Word of יהוה (Torah) also called the Bible is still valid and applicable to our lives today (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
- We believe in the traditional canon from Genesis to Revelation although some ancient books (Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Deuterocanon) are recognised as of historical and educational benefit.
THE GREAT COMMISSION
That we are to fulfil the Great Commission given by Yahshua the Messiah and take His message to the ends of the earth:
“Go and teach them to carry out all the things that I have commanded you – forever”
(Ancient Hebrew Matthew 28:19)
NAZARENES TO THE WORLD
Jon Hall (personal research)
David Stern (Jewish New Testament Commentary)
Mark Herber Miller (Nazarene Commentary 2000©
Unless stated otherwise, Scripture is taken from The Scriptures,
Copyright by Institute for Scripture Research.
Used by permission.