These brief messages are available on my YouTube channel, in the Playlist:
BRIEF MESSAGES George E Markakis
Good morning, today is 10 Feb 2021. Welcome to my 8th brief morning message of this campaign of prayer and devotion, which is a continuation of yesterday’s message, which you may watch on YouTube:
Yesterday we said that one of the things that was revealed to me, was something that I had no prior knowledge of; it was the spiritual principle of the VOW for a period of DEVOTION. This teaching by the Holy Spirit began unfolding through a word about Ap. Paul, in Acts 18:18 “He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow”.
Here there are 3 questions which come to mind. Why did he have his hair cut; how is that related to the vow? Why did he make a vow in the first place? And, naturally, for those who do not know, what is this vow all about?
What did Ap. Paul know that we don’t? What was his goal or motivation, when he made that vow? We might not have any clue as to what that is all about, if he had not had his hair cut, if we do not have a good knowledge of the Scriptures, and of the ecclesiastical tradition.
The fact that he had his hair cut at the time of completion of his vow, just ahead of his departure for Ephesus, identifies beyond any doubt that Ap. Paul had made the Nazarite Vow, of which we read in Numbers 6; in verse 5 it says:
“All the days of the vow of his separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD, he shall be holy. [Then] he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow”.
The original Hebrew word for vow is “nadar”, which may also be translated as “oath”, which carries more weight than a “vow”. Taking oaths has been an integral part of the ecclesiastical tradition of the Eastern Church, to this day, for those who are familiar with the concept of “tama”. Unfortunately, through the centuries the tradition of “tama” has been associated with pagan traditions.
At the same time, in the Protestant Reformation the faith became subject to an intellectual process of doctrine rather than the fruit of a process of prayer. Because of the intellectual aspect of the Enlightenment, some of the original treasures of faith and the life of prayer and devotion of the early Church, such as the oath, were lost or sacrificed on the altar of intellectual theology.
Let us see what is this NAZARITE VOW in the Bible:
Numbers 6:1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD,…
Therefore, the Nazarite Vow was not one of the commandments of the Law. God never issued a command for people to take this oath; He merely gave to Moses instructions on how to do it, when people on their own free will wanted to devote themselves to the Lord for a period of time. There was also no time length specified for this vow; it was up to the person’s free will to decide how many were the days of devotion.
About the words “to separate himself to the LORD”, the Septuagint offers an important insight as to the purpose of the vow: «αφαγνίσασθαι αγνείαν κυρίω», which may be translated in English as “to purify oneself with purity to the Lord”. So the vow was for the purpose of purification, which brings to mind the words of John, and opens up a new dimension of understanding.
1 John 3:3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
The goal of purification through a period of devotion is still a primary goal of every believer, even in the New Testament era. But it is not always so simple. Because of the struggle against temptation and sin, a period of devotion is often needed to overcome the power of the flesh.
We cannot delve deep into this teaching in a brief message; however the fact that Ap. Paul observed the Nazarite Vow confirms the validity of this vow in the New Testament. But that may be not true of every believer, but only those who desire more than merely to be saved and blessed; those who also desire to overcome the power of sin of the flesh and purify themselves to the Lord.
This month-long commitment to which the Lord called us during February this year is like a Nazarite Vow of sorts. Tomorrow we shall continue to look into this spiritual principle which has the power to change the lives of those believers who put it to practice, when we understand how to apply it in our lives, without getting stuck on the details written in Numbers 6, but, learning from those