Sects in the NT
The Pharisees were considered a sect in the NT and so were the Sadducees:
Act 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
Act 5:17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
Paul was a Pharisee [Acts 26:5] in his youth and was also called a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. Christ was called a Nazarene, from the city, Nazareth [Matt 2:23]. Paul was a follower of Christ, thus called a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.
Act 24:5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:
Whilst in Rome as a prisoner, the Jews that came to Paul’s lodging, said this about the sect of the Nazarenes:
Act 28:22 But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against.
But Paul also was under the Nazarite vow. Let us now briefly consider being under the vow of the Nazarites as given by the Lord through Moses [Num 6:1-2], seeing that Paul took the vow of a Nazarite, coming out from under this vow as he was maturing in Christ. We know that Paul in his earlier walk was keeping the feasts [Acts 18:21] and purifying himself signifying the accomplishment of the days of purification [Acts 21:26]. He was under the vow of the Nazarites, separating himself unto God.
Act 18:18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.
This typifies us, as babes in Christ [1Co 3:1-4]. The Nazarite vow typifies the immature carnal zeal which is typical of carnal babes in Christ. A Nazarite makes his zeal known to all, by separating himself through a vow [Num 6:2]. He wants everybody to know that he is not like other men looking down on the publican [Luk 18:11]. We notice the three requirements of this vow [shadow] and what this is spiritually representing to us, Christ’s sons.
1] The Nazarite was forbidden to drink wine or strong drink or touching anything made of the fruit of the vine.
Num 6:3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
This sounds so special. Here is the NT witness or parallel to this exclusiveness:
1Co 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
1Co 1:5 That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
1Co 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
1Co 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
But is this holiness really so glorious or is there something that excels?
2Co 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
2Co 3:7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
2Co 3:8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
2Co 3:9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
2Co 3:10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.
As spiritual Nazarites at the beginning of our walk, we too, do many wonderful works under this vow [type] [Matt 7:22-23] while we spiritually walk this out in our immaturity. We are blind as bats, as Samson, the lifelong Nazarite [Judges 13:5], whose eyes were put out [Judges 16:21] to then see, being made blind first [John 9:39-41, NT parallel]. Paul was three days without sight [Acts 9:9]. The symbolism of not being permitted to drink, eat or touch anything concerned with the vine tree or the fruit of the vine, is the symbol of Christ and His Words [Matt 26:26-29].
Luk 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
Joh 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
After the days of our separation [type and shadow], we now partake of the fruit of the vine. We are now mature enough to partake of Christ, eat His meat and drink His blood [John 6:53].
2] The Nazarite could not cut the locks of his hair [Num 6:5] which symbolizes his own self-righteous works.
We know we have to exceed the righteousness of the law.
Mat 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
What is the spiritual reality for us, after our vow [type] is fulfilled [when we mature in Christ]? We can cut our hair and live by a much more mature law. The symbolism of not being permitted to cut one’s hair, short hair being the symbol of the man who is the head of the woman, means in the spiritual language that Christ’s Spirit in us is ruling over our souls. This only comes as we are maturing through much sorrow of having fiery trials.
1Co 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
1Co 11:4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
1Co 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
3] The Nazarite could not touch a dead body until the days of his vow was fulfilled.
Num 6:6 All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body.
Num 6:7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.
As spiritual Nazarites in type and shadow, we, are not able to eat all things or esteem every day alike at the beginning [Rom 14]. But as maturing sons, we reckon ourselves dead with Christ, dying daily [1Co 15:31] [Gal 2:20] and make ourselves unclean for Christ’s Body [type and shadow] filling up what is behind of the afflictions of Christ.
Rom 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
Paul, as a Nazarite, in the beginning, did not understand that the Lord is making Himself one new man and only whilst in Rome, not being under this vow anymore, now declares these Words:
Eph 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; ………. Eph 2:19
Coming out from under the Nazarite vow, all spiritual Nazarites Lord willing, will get past the need for any vows [type and shadow, when our separation is fulfilled] and will be made able and ready to follow Christ who says this concerning any vows:
Mat 5:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
Mat 5:35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
Mat 5:36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
Mat 5:37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
We, as the sons of God, members of the many membered body of Christ, only have the Truth and His Spirit to ward off the fiery darts of our enemies. The Words of Christ never puts us to shame. Christ’s Words are Life [John 6:63]. The carnal world does not understand the Truths we hold and cherish [Joh 12:38].
2Co 13:8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
Dan 12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
Dan 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
We, as the true Bride of Christ, are not members of a cult, but reformers as is Christ because as He is, so are we [1 John 4:17]. We rest in Him because He is our Sabbath.