The Nazarite Vow

Nazarite Vow

In Lectures 2,3, and 4, Dr. Meredith describes how Paul and his companions participated in a Nazarite vow.

In Numbers 6, Moses was inspired of God to lay out the requirements of a vow of special consecration to God, called a Nazarite Vow. Generally men took this vow for a specific period of time, after which, there was a ceremony marking its conclusion. During the time of their vow, the men were not to cut their hair or shave, nor were they to taste any grape product, including wine, fresh grapes, or raisins, nor were they to touch anything that would make them ceremonially defiled.” (Ogwyn, John. “A Tale of Two Nazarites”)


A “seat of Moses” carved from basalt found in the ruins of the third-fourth-century C.E. synagogue at Chorazin.

James propose to Paul to sponsor and pay the expenses of the Nazarite vow for some of the men in order to prove to Paul’s detractors that he is loyal to the Law (21:22-25).

As Mr. Meredith explains in Lecture 2, the book of Acts describes how Paul had apparently taken a Nazarite vow when he cut his hair off at Cenchreae. But there was another major character in the New Testament who lived under a Nazarite vow. That man was John the Baptist.

The two examples in the Old Testament of men who lived under a Nazarite vow were contemporaries, and they served God in leading Israel. But they were very different men.

To read the full story of these two men, just go to Mr. John Ogwyn’s article, “A Tale of Two Nazarites”.

If you’d like to do more research into how the Nazarite vow became woven into Jewish culture in history, a good place to start is the Jewish Encyclopedia. Follow this link for an article on this topic.

Diana of Ephesus

he Diana of Ephesus was a goddess “whom all Asia and the world worship” (Acts 19:27). Diana was the Roman name for the Greek deity Artemis, the “goddess of the moon and the chaste and sister of the sun-god, Apollo” (Colliers Encyclopedia). Artemis was also the “protectress of chastity and patroness of childbirth” and the goddess of seafarers, who brought good weather and profitable voyages (Encyclopaedia Britannica,11th edition). She is often portrayed as a virgin and mother goddess and the “Mistress of Animals.” Her statues depict a multi-breasted figure wearing a turreted crown. Artemis incorporates many features of the great mother goddess who was worshiped under a variety of names in the ancient world (see The Oxford Companion to the Bible).
 
We also learn that “Artemis is a deity of very ancient origins who survived and attracted great popularity in Asia Minor and Greece into Christian times when… much of her ethos [beliefs & practices] was transferred to the Virgin Mary. Both figures enjoyed major sanctuaries at Ephesus” (Encyclopedia of Gods, Jordan, p. 26).

By building a church for Mary in Ephesus and declaring her “Mother of God” near the great temple of the mother goddess Diana, the Catholic church simply borrowed and adapted ancient traditions that allowed new converts to continue pagan practices in a “Christian” context!  

…Excerpted from “The Lady of Nations,” Tomorrow’s World,  2003 November-December

To read the whole article, including Diana’s connection to modern-day worship of Mary, read “The  Lady of Nations

To learn more about “Diana”, a good resource is the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, under the article “Diana; Artemis”.

Build on the Rock

We are excited to share with you our first Living Ed Animation! This one is taken from the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 7).

We hope you enjoy!

Check for more videos coming soon!

Leave feedback/comments/ or ideas for more videos below!

Student Thoughts: Unit 4 – Lessons of Peter’s Denial

Here are a few comments from students answering the “Student Thoughts” question from Unit 4, Lesson 3: Why did Peter deny Christ (Luke 22:54-62)? What can we do in our own lives to make sure we do not deny Him (Matthew 10:32-33)?

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Why did Peter deny Christ?  Here is a man who exhibits great boldness.  He is the one that always has a ready answer. He is the one who asked to walk out on the water to Jesus.  He tells Jesus that he would not allow Him to be put to death, and he really meant what he said. Here’s is a man, armed with a sword, who attempts to protect Christ from being taken captive. And, he is told to put away the sword!  Peter was expecting a Messiah that would institute the Kingdom immediately, and all of a sudden things were not going where he had thought.  He had to be very confused, but even so Peter continued to be as close as he dared to Jesus.  He and John were the only ones that we see that did follow along.  Peter was terribly frightened. His leader was having the unthinkable happen to Him, and all this just didn’t match up with Peter’s concept of what was going to occur.  All his bravery was not enough.  He could not rely on his own strength.  Pushed into the corner, he did what is the human thing.  He lied.  He denied Christ.  Something that only a few hours before, he would have thought impossible.  Fear, confusion, and despair, and then the awful knowledge that he had denied the Christ.  We can be very thankful that this is included for us to read and to learn from, because there are vital lessons and warnings for us.  We cannot do what we must do on our own strength.  Our faith and trust must be in Christ and the Father. Things that we encounter don’t always appear as clearly as we would like, and so we have to develop that relationship with Christ and the Father so that we begin to develop the mind of Christ.  Peter’s weakness there gives us hope and comfort because we see that upon his repentance he was forgiven. God extended mercy to him as He does to us upon repentance.  Peter was relying on his own power and strength and he failed just as we will fail if we think that we can do anything right using only our own power.  There may be a time when we will be put to this extreme test, and we have the example of Peter to help us.  It is easy to make God in our own image and have it “all figured out,” but when things don’t work out the way we think, we learn to trust that God know what He is doing, and His way is always right.” – MJB

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Online Focus | The Role of the Holy Spirit

A quick glimpse of what you may be missing…

In John 14:16–20, Jesus emphasized that after His departure to be with the Father, the disciples would not simply be abandoned (the Greek term used in verse 18 is orphanous, meaning “orphans”). Rather, through the power of the Holy Spirit (1 John 3:24), Jesus and the Father would dwell inside true Christians (John 14:20, 23). The Holy Spirit imparts both understanding and strength. It flows out from God (15:26), and connects our minds to His. God is Spirit (4:24); the Holy Spirit is not some separate and distinct personality of the Godhead. Rather, the Holy Spirit is the means by which Christ and the Father make their presence felt in the hearts and minds of believers.

The Holy Spirit is God’s outflowing power (Luke 1:35). It imparts God’s love as it is “poured out” in the hearts of believers (Romans 5:5). It is the means by which He created and brought into existence the very universe (Psalm 104:30). It is the power by which He works in the minds of human beings made in His image (Genesis 6:3). It is also the power by which the lame miraculously walked, the blind saw, the deaf heard and the dead were raised from their graves during Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry (Luke 5:15–17).

The Bible describes the Holy Spirit in various ways. Primarily, the Spirit is compared to wind. After all, pneuma—the Greek word for “spirit”—means “wind” or “breath.” In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated “spirit” is ruach,and has the same meaning as the Greek pneuma.

From Unit 4: Passover to the Resurrection – Lesson 2

Is it okay to keep Thanksgiving?

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Here’s an answer from our Personal Correspondence Department, courtesy Mr. Gary Ehman…

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your question concerning the relationship between the national holiday of Thanksgiving and the Bible.

To begin, there is no direct connection between the United States national holiday on the fourth Thursday in November, and God’s biblical Holy Days. Most people recognize the first Thanksgiving as taking place in December 1621, when the Pilgrims held a three-day feast to celebrate the bountiful harvest they had reaped. In addition, the day did not become an official day of observance until the presidential proclamation of Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863, where he declared “a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

Interestingly, through Lincoln’s words, we can see a nation that once professed God to be the true God, and denounced secular teachings. In essence, there was a link between the day of Thanksgiving and God. However, there is no direct biblical command pertaining to the fourth Thursday in November, and God continues to be removed from the picture in our nation today.

Conversely, God has detailed for us His Holy Days which are to be kept in accordance to scriptural outline. The Feast of Tabernacles in the fall designates a time of thanksgiving for blessings obtained throughout the year, and the great spiritual harvest still to come (Deuteronomy 16:13-15). Furthermore, God tells us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

While the United States national holiday of Thanksgiving is not directly commanded in the Bible, we can certainly praise God and give Him thanks, at any time, for the blessings He has bestowed upon us.

If we can be of any further assistance, please let us know.

PERSONAL CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENT

LEP Updates: Unit 2…coming soon!

Life, Ministry, and Teachings of Jesus Christ: Unit 1 – Final Lesson Available

The pilot unit for the Life, Ministry and Teachings of Jesus Christ is now fully available to all members.  As an additional feature, once you have completed all the lessons, you can go back and watch or listen to the lectures as part of a “play list”, without having to go through all the lesson material.  Just click on “Conclusion” at the bottom of the menu, and then click “Audio Playlist”, or “Video Playlist”.  Again, you can move at your own pace through the lessons, so enjoy the learning experience!  Our next unit will begin after the Feast of Tabernacles.  The date the first lesson will go live is October 7th.  Happy studying!

– Mr. Jonathan McNair, Director